I think the real difference is between knowledge and wisdom. I don't see knowledge and understanding as being very different from one another, as both of them are left brain cognitive activities. The author apparently thinks of understanding as I think of wisdom, so perhaps our differences are just a matter of word usage. As I see it, it is wisdom that leads us to being. Someone said there are three levels of communication, that is, head to head, heart to heart, and soul to soul. As I see it, knowledge and understanding are head endeavors, and wisdom is a heart and soul endeavor that can be expressed through the head thus making it a whole person activity. I think we move from the cognitive level to the deeper levels by way of opening at all three levels in speaking and in listening, ie, open mind, open heart, and open soul. When someone's presence has acted on my whole being it's because the person was expressing from his whole being (not just from his head) which touched my whole being and helped open my whole being and instilled a deep and lasting impression. Those are precious moments.