I believe that I had read the definition for a word that was described as an experience that must be experienced in order to be understood. The example was parenting in that you cannot Simply read about it to gain understanding and that you must actually live it. Is there a single word that describes this?
A common phrase for such an experience is a "first-hand experience" or something that can "only be experienced first hand." A more informal way to say this is: "you had to be there."
- personal/individual/unique experience
- a live experience
- empirical, hands-on
- indescribable, ineffable, beyond words
And so on. I was not able to find one that specifically refers to the need of such a first-hand experience in order to fully understand something. I typically hear phrases like, "You won't understand until it happens to you."
Quale (plural: Qualia).
It's a mildly pretentious word, so use with caution. But I think it means what you want.