Latin root “com” = together in mind, “prehendere” = to grasp it, or pick it up
To comprehend something means to pick it up and be one with it. There is no other way to understand something.
Latin Root “respectus”, from the verb “respicere” to look back at, regard. Consisting of “re” = back “specere” = look at or look back
Respect means to look again, to keep looking with increasingly sensitive eyes.
Respect only arises when we can take another look and realize the preciousness of what someone or something has to offer.
From Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Heart of Understanding”:
“When we want to understand something, we cannot just stand outside and observe it. We have to enter deeply into it and be one with it in order to really understand. If we want to understand a person, we have to feel their feelings, suffer their sufferings, and enjoy their joy.
If we are concerned with peace and want to understand another country [or our own], we can’t just stand outside and observe. We have to be one with a citizen of that country in order to understand her feelings, perceptions, and mental formations. Any meaningful work for peace must follow the principal of non-duality, the principal of comprehension [and respect]. This is our peace practice” to comprehend, to be one with, in order to really understand.”