The first part of understanding is acceptance. There can be no enlightenment through denial. What we allow ourselves to feel and experience are the seeds that become the trees of knowledge and wisdom.
There is growth in the darkness of despair just as there is in the light of prosperity. We shield ourselves from fears and tragedies in hopes of escaping the sorrows that befall humanity. We close our eyes and withdraw from others to find sanctuary within ourselves, trying to avoid the bleak times upon us.
This causes us to lose sight of our potential to expand our understanding of life. What we refuse to see and acknowledge becomes our fears and our boundaries. When we choose not to know it, we take away our choice and opportunity to rise up above it and become illuminated in every darkness that follows.