Awaken the One Who Knows

As your spacious heart opens, you can rediscover the vast perspective you’d almost forgotten. A spacious heart reveals the spacious mind. This is the mind that, after you’ve stubbed your toe, hopped around, and howled, finally laughs. The mind that, when you are upset with your partner, goes to sleep and wakes up, and sees that what was such a big deal has fallen into perspective.

Your spacious mind is the natural awareness that knows and accommodates everything. My meditation teacher in the forests of Thailand, Ajahn Chah, called it the “One Who Knows.” He said this is the original nature of mind, the silent witness, spacious consciousness. His instructions were simple: Become witness to it all, the person with perspective, the One Who Knows. Sometimes he would say, “If you are lost in the forest, that is not really being lost. You are really lost if you forget who you are.”

Pay attention to the movie showing in your life right now. Notice the plot. It might be an adventure, a tragedy, a romance, a soap opera, or a battle. “All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare. Sometimes you get caught in the plot. But remember, you are also the audience. Take a breath. Look around. Become a loving witness to it all, the spacious awareness, the One Who Knows.

With mindfulness we can step out of the story we tell and simply notice the telling of it. With a quiet mind, the One Who Knows sees how we construct our world through repeating our stories. And we discover the stories are mostly one-sided or untrue.

If you pay careful attention in the midst of your crises, you will begin to sense a witnessing consciousness, a wise presence inside of you, the One Who Knows. Even in the toughest times, underneath even your most catastrophic challenges and fears, the One Who Knows in you remains calm and clear. It already accepts whatever is going on. It sees beyond the immediate situation to something much larger. It knows long before we do that the end of our suffering begins when we turn to face our suffering and embrace its truth and wisdom.

But how can we find this “One Who Knows” in the midst of our most overwhelming difficulties? Go to the mirror. Look at your body. You will see someone who looks older than you looked several years ago, though inside you don’t feel any older. This is because it is only your body that has aged. The timeless awareness through which you see your body is the One Who Knows. Your body is only a temporary vessel for this awareness. It is a temporary and impermanent container for the undying consciousness of the One Who Knows.

When we rest in the One Who Knows, time drops away, self drops away, the one who suffers is released. We are simply the awareness of it all. As the One Who Knows, witness it all, let loving awareness make room for everything: boredom and excitement, fear and trust, pleasure and pain, birth and death. Return again and again to loving awareness, come home to the One Who Knows, the wise and gracious heart that is your true home.

Find Peace


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