Q: Hi. Earlier you were speaking about knowing and so I’m wondering if you could say more about what is to know. I think in the Tao they talk about being empty so I’m wondering if you could say more about what it is to know.
John: As soon as you’re aware, you know. On whatever level of your existence you’re aware. If you’re aware within a busy life, you know. Wherever there is awareness, you know, and there are levels of knowing just as there are levels of you. When you’re thinking you know you’re thinking. When you feel, you know you’re feeling. You know what you feel and you know what you think. You’re inseparable from knowing, but that doesn’t mean you’re one with what you know.
To be pure awareness is to be in response to all you know on every level of awareness that you’ve awakened to – from the deepest levels of knowing and awareness that you’ve awakened to right through to the surface. There’s knowing in common sense. There’s knowing within what’s deeper than common sense. You have knowing in your heart. That knowing in your heart doesn’t have the breadth that you have of knowing in your self and knowing in your person. You know much more deeply than thought and feeling, but your broadest experience of knowing is within thought and feeling. But that level of knowing is quite superficial. The deeper you go into what you know, the less you understand.
As awareness relaxes it naturally knows more deeply. When you’re in a pressure-full situation as a person and you relax as awareness, that drops you right into what you know in your heart, in the midst of being within that pressure as a person. That gives a rootedness in knowing much more deeply than the experience that you’re in.
You cannot be aware without knowing, but knowing the truth doesn’t mean that you’re at home in what you know. It matters not just to know, but to fundamentally agree with what you know. Awareness can know, and know very deeply. That doesn’t mean that as awareness you’re one with what you know. You can know and be separate from it. When you are profoundly in agreement with what you do know the truth of, that brings you into being the same as what you know, so then knowing isn’t separate from your awareness: you move as that knowing.
When you hold a baby and you look at each other, a baby isn’t understanding you. It doesn’t have the resources that you have to comprehend. What does occur when a baby looks at you is it is directly knowing you. It doesn’t see what you’re all about, it doesn’t comprehend your self and your life. A baby directly comprehends you. When a baby looks at you, you are known. A baby looks at you and the baby is aware of you, and right there meets you.