The Knowing And The Known

However hard the wind blows, it’s truly wonderful to know there’s only the effortless knowing of experience – the knowing and the known, the awareness of being present – and both are beyond one and the same.

Relax and look at your present moment experience. Simply notice everything that’s appearing in awareness right now. What does your present moment contain?

For me, I can see my fingers tapping on the keyboard, the computer screen, the top of the desk, a few notepads and pens, a lamp, the tops of my thighs, my totally ripped abs and the faint blur of the end of my nose. I am aware of thoughts – I am writing this while wondering whether my daughter got the bus on time – and I am aware of my aching back which I managed to fall on while sliding off a ledge last week. There is the sense of identity, of being the body-mind, of owning the abs, the aches and the thoughts, of being the person – and I am aware of something else.

All that appears in and as the present – the body, the mind, the sense of identity, the world and everything else – is made of the self-same stuff and is very much the self-same thing: it is that which is known. It is this present moment experience: the totality of all that is appearing right now. The body is being known, the mind is being known, the sense of identifying is being known, and the world around the body-mind is being known. Everything that appears in the present moment is that which is being known – it is all one and the same: the known.

What is being known – within consciousness, this knowing of being present, this knowledge that says ‘I am’ – is an immersive first-person perspective experience of being a person in a world – and you cannot be that which is known. You necessarily stand apart from it, as the knowing of it; and all that is known, all that is being experienced, is nothing but the knowing of it.

Your everyday moment-to-moment experience is the knowing of this experience – how can you be anything that is being known by the knowing ‘I’ that you are?

The sense of identity, the constant stream of ‘I’ thoughts, the constant feedback loop that says ‘This is happening to me and I am this person, this body-mind’, which appears as a part of the known, creates a powerful illusion of separation where there is no such thing.

What is an illusion? It is a misinterpretation of reality. Consciousness is the awareness of being present – the present moment – and within this knowledge that says ‘I am, I am, I am’, that I exist, is this play of being a person in a world. It is an immersive first-person perspective play. The present is the known – I am and I know that I am – and the play within this sense of presence is a brilliant illusion of ‘I am this and that in a world of things that are not me’.

You are separate from the person, the persona, the mask in the play – nothing that happens to the person can ever touch the ‘I’ that you are – but the entire play, the totality of experience, is nothing but you. You never cease to be the knowing ‘I’ – the Ultimate Reality – and life, this present moment, is akin to getting lost watching an immersive first-person perspective play, movie, video game or dream, but you never cease to be that which you are.

Just relax and try, try and try again to notice what is: the awareness of the present, the knowing of experience; and know that the knowing ‘I’ that you are stands apart from that, but nothing stands apart from you – everything is within you, effortlessly so.

This is your everyday moment-to-moment experience of what is, so strive not to cover it up with what isn’t – don’t get lost in thoughts of separation, don’t misinterpret reality – but if you do, fear not, it doesn’t matter – you never cease to be That.


Sign up for Quiet Mind Pilgrim updates