Often, relying on the intellect for understanding, we become satisfied with concepts. We can be conditioned to assume, upon hearing certain words, that we understand what is meant without ever having had direct experience of what the word indicates. Instead of relying on direct apprehension of the truth behind the concept, we consult the conceptual models we have constructed of that which we wish to understand.

This makes it easy to stay lost in the moving mind; it is mistaking the map for the territory, or the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself. While we may end up with an impressive description of the truth, we also end up not living in that truth.

The conceptual mind is incapable of direct perception; it recognizes things only through projected mental images and through language, which is itself inferential. The conceptual mind does not need to stay oriented in the sensual present, but can exist in its own fabrications.

This capacity of the conceptual mind to model direct experience, though of inestimable value to us as humans, is the cause of one of the most insistent obstacles in practice. Before and after direct experience of the nature of mind, the conventional mind attempts to conceptualize the experience. We can then think we know the nature of mind when we are only experiencing a relationship to a concept.