Waking up to our Wisdom

Updated: Jan 16


Thich Nhat Hanh uses a metaphor describing people as saucepans. All quotes are excerpted from a Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on November 20, 1997 in Plum Village, France.

Every one of us in the beginning feels that we lack something, that we are only half a person. And we wander around in this world to look for our other half. We're like a saucepan that hasn't got a lid, and we're always going looking for our lid. That is why we feel we lack the other person. But if we observe carefully, we see that this feeling of lack arises from a wrong perception.”
In this world, on this earth we are deceiving each other. Deep down we feel there is nothing good, beautiful and true in us. But on the other hand, we are trying to show people all the time the good, beautiful, and true that we are. And so we deceive ourselves from generation to generation. And when we are deceiving others, we are also being deceived by others. We are each other's victims. We are all deceiving each other, we are all trying to make ourselves up so we will look less ugly, and at the same time others are doing the same.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve lived looking for others to complete me, changing my appearance, my goals, my attitudes, my beliefs all in the name of finding my lid.


Multiply this concept by billions of people who are all looking for their lids.


All living beings have the fully awakened nature, but none of them know it. And because of that they drift and sink from lifetime to lifetime in the great ocean of samsara, in suffering.”
The truth is that we return to ourselves in order to be in touch with the good, beautiful and true that are in us. And at the moment we are in touch with those things, we are able to stop wandering around feeling we lack something. And we are able to stop deceiving others. We don't have to adorn ourselves, make ourselves up anymore, because we have discovered the true, the beautiful, and the good right here within us.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

The world is waking up to this misconception one person at a time. The wisdom messages are the same, no matter where they originate from. Turn within for the answer.


When I finally stopped looking outside for my answers, I felt inadequate and disappointed because I realized I didn’t trust myself, I didn’t support me, even understand me, and I didn’t believe any answers were within me.


Because there were no other answers, I had to learn to trust me and believe I had wisdom within. I faked it and began on a stumbling journey until I got used to the idea I’m on my own, but I’m not alone. There’s wisdom within. It takes a commitment one step at a time.


When we are able to recognize that in us there is the essence of the good, the beautiful and the true, we will be able to stop going in search. We will stop feeling that we lack something and we will stop running around in the world, in the universe looking for something.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

This evolutionary change has begun. It’s in all the dire messages of the planet – the answers are within.


Participants' Reflections:


  • Thank you so much. That was powerful. I was struck by the line I had to get “used to the idea I’m on my own, but I’m not alone.” I couldn’t stand the idea of being alone or on my own which is why I drank for so many years. It took facing that when I got sober. I bought a condo the year before I got sober. I think those five years in that condo were the only time in my life I’ve lived alone. I had to accept being on my own and being alone, and that it was okay. I started doing crafts and nurturing myself. I was learning to feel comfort and joy being alone. Thank you for this reading. It helps me reflect on how far I’ve come, that I can now enjoy being alone and on my own, and in the company of wonderful people who are also dealing with being on their own and alone.

  • I want to respond to the message I heard in your reading about people in the world waking up to the situation and people one by one coming to understand why they don’t value themselves and to turn that around. I just say may it be so.

  • The pot looking for the lid really struck me. I do live alone and I’ve always been yearning for that other half. I’ve lived alone most of my life. And feeling that I am not alone and I can fill the pot on my own is sometimes a struggle. In the meditation, I realized the natural ache and longing for unity, to be seen, to feel safe, to be loved is okay. It’s that little frantic edge that feels more needy and I think comes from old wounds and that’s where I need to be more curious. Thank you. You offered love and insight in today’s reading.

  • Thank you for that reading. And thank you to the previous share where you put into words what I feel. Yesterday, I started a three-day class with the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. I’ve done work with her before. Yesterday, they were talking about the core light in everyone and that we are all born with the same amount of light. I asked if we are all born with the same amount, why is there reincarnation because my understanding is that we are to grow through reincarnation. My understanding is we have it inside of us already but that over lifetimes, it is revealed more when we are conscious of it. Sometimes we see people with this great light, and it’s not that they have more light, but it’s that they are able to reveal more light. What a wonderful thing, I want to be able to reveal more of my light. Take that shell and chip it away so that more light is shining through. We all have that. We don’t need to look outside for that. That’s what I’m working on.

  • Something I had to learn is that I am the cake and everything else is the icing. So that when I am in relationship with other people, I am still the cake and they are the icing. I’m not looking at them to fulfill me. I fulfill myself and everything else is icing on the cake.

  • I think that in some ways being alone can be a gift because then you have to look into yourself and see who you are and what your gift may be and what your blocks are. The challenge is to maintain that and recognize that and hold that when you are in relationship, especially in an intimate relationship. But it’s easier to learn when you are, for whatever reason, forced to rely on yourself.

  • For me, I was enjoying being alone and focusing on being present. I’ve done a little change where I am opening my eyes softly and feeling my body and trying to be as present as I can. It’s different because sometimes in the meditations, I’ve tried to just escape and be somewhere else. That’s new. I heard something last night around breathing in those that rub me abrasively, taking them in, and then breathing out love. I tried that today. I want to speak to the aloneness. I felt so connected. In my apartment, I am alone physically but I am not alone. I am getting more and more attuned to how I can take my soul and spirit and connect to others when I want to. And if I choose to breathe their essence in by my imagination and love them, and breathe out love, there’s a connection that is unmistakable. Thank you to the invitation to be alone but not alone.

  • I want to respond about the cake and icing. My mother had a recipe where the cake made its own icing. Sometimes our cake makes its own icing. After taking it out of the oven, that cake had to be turned upside down. Sometimes we have to turn our lives upside down in order to be both the cake and the icing.

  • Thank you for receiving Thich Nhat Hanh’s words and receiving my thoughts. Thank you for opening up your heart fields, your emotional fields, your thinking fields and allowing us into your private space. I hope you all have a gentle day and really feel you are not alone in your aloneness.