Become witness to it all

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

– Jack Kornfield

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