Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Links to Commendable Sites

John Wheeler
The Natural State

"Try not to make things too complicated and miss the sheer simplicity of this. You are effortlessly present and aware right now. This is not in the mind. It is not a product of thought. The mind appears in that."


Bob Adamson
Non-conceptual, Self-Knowing Awareness
"Self-shining presence-awareness is not the result of effort. There is no need to try to do something with the expectation that suddenly something will be there. Presence-awareness is always here and now, whether it is recognized or seemingly lost."


Charlie Hayes
The Eternal State
"YOU are not a thought, not a concept, not a feeling, not a time bound entity. You are Awakeness, Aliveness, Presence-Awareness. Just THAT and NOTHING else. The story of 'me'...ANY 'me" irrelevant. Let's cut through the crap right now! Okay?"


Felipe Oliveira
Only Timeless Being
"Being is in silence/ Whole/ Embracing/ Affectionate/ Humble./ The Teacher is/ The flame/ And the river/ And the motive/ And being."


Randall Friend
You Are Dreaming
"The Truth of what this is about isn't complicated, difficult, requiring years of meditation or self-enquiry. The Truth is what IS is very, very simple and already VERY obvious."


Stephen Wingate

Living In Peace--The Natural State
"Right now you are this freedom, this liberation, this awakening, this enlightenment. There is nothing mystical about your presence as awareness--you just are. Notice it now."


Jerry Katz
" is the first web site to cover nonduality without keeping a close orbit around a single sage or school of thought. The purpose of this Web site is to consider the varieties of expression about nonduality and to make nonduality as easy as possible to approach and understand."


Dennis Waite
This excellent (and massive!) site disseminates information on all aspects of advaita. It includes, among other things, over 200 essays from 100-plus teachers and writers from around the world, the teaching of Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, and page links to other sites, blogs, ezines, and organizations.


Mary McGovern
Grace is Now
"You don't have to be open ... You are openess
You don't have to let go ... You are deep release
You don't have to love ... You are love
You don't have to become ... You are.


Julian Noyce
Non-Duality Press
Non-Duality Press publishes outstanding works on modern and contemporary advaita. The design and printing of the Press's books are as matchless as the writers themselves, which include John Wheeler, Bob Adamson, Jan Kersschot, Nathan Gill, and Joan Tollifson.

Monday, December 29, 2008


See right at this moment that you are present as awareness. Again, see right at this moment that you are present as awareness. The beauty and simplicity of this fact cannot be overstated.


If you are comfortable with the terms Awakening and Liberation, that's fine. Only know that there is no person to awaken or liberate. Awakening is an impersonal occurrence in consciousness (though not limited by consciousness), where the presence of awareness is recognized.


Note that there is a spaciousness in which everything is happening. There may be a slew of thoughts, feelings, sounds, and sensations occuring also. But if you carefully pause, you can discern a background of awareness that is, at once, vast, peaceful, and ever-present. It is to that, ultimately, that Zen, Dzogchen, Advaita, and the Tao are pointing.


There is no way to come to this understanding through time. When a teacher tells you that it will take at least 6-weeks or 6-lifetimes for you to become self-realized, he or she is lying. Time and Beingness are in no way related. Beingness is beyond time! Indeed, one of the very first things you realize when you see this for yourself is the immediacy of presence. There is absolutely no separation from you and Freedom itself.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Book Review: The Light Behind Consciousness

Like some advaitic benediction, John Wheeler's new book, The Light Behind Consciousness: Radical Self-Knowledge and the End of Seeking (Non-Duality Press, $19.95) arrived just in time for the holidays. The vermilion cover design admirably compliments John's four other titles. Similiar, too, is the book's inclusion of both essays and dialogues.

But this time around, we are gifted with a bountiful section (thirty-six pages!) of incisive and clarifying pointers. Also different is his initial focus on the conceptual distinctions between awareness and consciousness; hence, the book's elegant title. But John doesn't belabor this vital issue. The prose and discussions are meritoriously varied, and include such headings as "Prior to Consciousness," "LIfe Goes On, But Without the Self-Center," "Awareness and the Brain," "The Limits of Language," and "The Essence of the Inquiry."

Every teacher of nonduality is different. There is Bob Adamson's directness and incredible association with Nisargadatta, Gilbert Schultz's elucidating energy, and Stephen Wingate's down-to-earthness (Wingate, by the way, provides the fine Preface to this work). John attributes are his profound patience in addressing seekers' concerns and--foremost, perhaps--the precision and clarity of his pointers, e.g., "Thoughts and feelings come up in the natural awareness that you are. It is that simple. You are already that natural and effortless awareness. What else can you be?"

John is becoming a tad more categorical these days, which is perfectly fine, given that his pronouncements are utterly incontestable. Here are two gems that, no doubt, would make U.G. Krishnamurti whoop: "All paths and approaches based on gradual arrival are false" and "Everything after the 'I am' is a lie. Cross that line and...there is suffering."

The Light Behind Consciousness is a truly illuminating work. Savor it, ponder it, and allow it resonate; and perhaps you, too, will have all doubts and questions cleared away.

Note: John's books can be ordered either from Amazon ( or directly from the publisher at:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It's an oddly warm December day. I pause on my trek through the woods and stare: A toppled river birch is being silently feasted upon by bracken fungi which, in time, will turn the trunk into pristine organic nutrients. Those nutrients, perhaps, will be sustenance for some other birch, and certainly for the adjacent Christmas ferns and spotted wintergreen. Nature wastes nothing. Balance is beautifully and mercilessly maintained.

In John Burroughs' America, Burroughs writes, "How insignificant appear most of the facts which one sees in his walks, in the life of the birds, the flowers, the animals, or in the phases of the landscape or the look of the sky--insignificant until they are put through some mental or emotional process and their value appears."

Of course, we need no mental or emotional process to grasp our own true nature. Just a bit of self-reflection or direct seeing will do it. Everyone comes to this understanding differently. But once it occurs, that's it. You require absolutely no time to "deepen" or "stabilize" it. And why should you? This is who and what you are--this ripe and glorious presence, in a lived existence (for you now know that there is no "you" living a life). You know, too, that despite the months, years, or even decades of searching, there has been no trek or journey. Indeed, you have never--for one moment--not been who you are.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


True renunciation is not depriving yourself of the earth's splendors or living in abject poverty. It is the clear recognition that you are truth itself.


A genuine teacher, in question-and-answer sessions, aims at taking you beyond your questions, rather than simply answering them. And he or she certainly has no interest in arguing or debating with you about anything. Some teachers, however, have strong personalities, as did Nisargadatta and U.G. Krishnamurti. They often enjoyed a little give-and-take. But however rancorous such exchanges may get, the teacher is continually pointing to that abiding stillness within us all.


Just pause a moment and discern the fact that there are thoughts, sounds, and sensations present, as well as a subtle, unchanging presence of awareness. Stay with that presence for a moment, and you will see that there was never a time when it was not there.


One of the great spiritual pointers of all time was said not by an acclaimed saint or sage, but by the early 20th-century Polish-American semanticist Alfred Korzybski, who uttered, "The map is not the territory." No matter how moving the chants, mantras, experiences, or even silence maybe, they are not the thing itself. Truth can only be directly cognitized. See that this living reality exists as you at this very moment, as you read these words. You are the space in which this comprehension is happening. There is no mystery here. Only wonder.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Neither Here, Nor There

I recently read where physicists, using a quantum stroboscope and super-short bursts of laser light, were able to capture an electron in motion. One of the fascinating aspects of this experiment is that each of the several flashes of laser light lasted only an attosecond. To give you an idea of how short this is, consider that one second contains nearly twice as many attoseconds as there are seconds in the 14-billion year life of our universe.

But there is something even more incredible: Time is a concept, not a truth. It is a practically used by all of us. But it does not govern our discovering who we are. Presence is appearing right now as your ordinary/extraordinary awareness. You are simply overlooking its halcyon subtlety. I liken it to one of those "Can You Find the Smiling Face in the Picture" illustrations. Yet, awareness isn't a puzzle, and there is nothing to figure out--only something to see and/or relax into. Then you will discover a spaciousness that has always been in attendance. You don't need a mantra, a spiritual name, a month-long retreat, or an expensive (or cheap) flight to India for this understanding to occur. Further, Truth isn't patiently waiting somewhere for you to discover it. It is neither here, nor there--yet, it's lustrous, in plain view, and everywhere.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Attending talks by someone who is established in his or her true nature can be problematic. He may not be an interesting speaker, he may possess a bizarre accent, he may harbor a distracting personality, or he may have near-zero interest in speaking with others about his new-found clarity. Yet, conversing with such persons can be incredibly fruitful. Questions can be immediately asked, explored, and--it is hoped--resolved. Such talks, while ordinary in some degrees, are extraordinary in others. More often than note, the responses, silences, and even the laughter are marvelously textured and veritable pointers in themselves.

Fortunately, you no longer have to travel to India to meet such speakers and teachers. They are not accessible by email, but are scattered in various locations around the globe. They include the estimable John Wheeler (who hosts relaxed but incisive weekly talks in Santa Cruz, California), Bob Adamson (John's teacher, who has a triumvirate of get-togethers each week at his home in Melbourne, Australia), and Stephen Wingate (who holds weekly chats in Arlington, Mass.). What these and other credible teachers of nonduality say, in essence, is this: What "happened" to me has already happened to you. You just don't realize it. Let's discuss how you too might live an awakened life.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Self-realization is a matter of being WHAT you are; not who you are.


All that arises--from your very next thought to the most spectacular nebulosity--emanates from this pristine, formless presence that we call awareness. You may also call it God, Brahman, Clear Light, the Holy Spirit, or Supreme Intelligence. The name is utterly unimportant. What is paramount is to see that there is no separation between Beingness and the person you take yourself to be. Why? Because the person is a fiction, a recurring assemblage of--among other things--senses, memory, and personality traits with no enduring continuity.


Personalities tend not to change after self-realization. Thoughts, emotions, and feelings still come up. But they are seen for what they are: Mere appearances in awareness. Identification with thoughts and sentiments may continue for a while until your understanding is clear. This is simply an adjustment period. Soon you see that there is less and less identification with whatever arises, with absolutely no effort on your part.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Bright Light Perfected

Question: I'm really enjoying your nonduality blog. Thanks for starting it.

Rodney: Thank you!

Q: This is probably a silly question, but does true nondual understanding awakening interfere with one's religious faith?

Rodney: If I may ask, why would you want to have faith in God when you not only can know that He exists, but that He exists within you? Discovering who or what you are can be the ultimate boon to your spiritual life. Then you are alive to hymns, scripture, and fellowship in ways you could never imagine. St. John of the Cross said that upon discovering your "original state of unknowing," all learning and theology are "perfected," as when a faint light mingles with a bright light, and the bright light prevails."

Q: I'm afraid I might leave the church, though it's nondemoninational and has great people.

Rodney: You're projecting, of course. But yes, you may choose to leave the world of organized religion. It depends upon your personality and temperament. But don't try to predict what's going to happen. That's just thoughts coming up, and thoughts can't be used as accurate assessments of anything nondual. Make your decision from the Source of your existence, when your understanding is clear. Then the answer will be clear and immediate.

Q: Are there miracles?

Rodney: You're the miracle.

Q: How so?

Rodney: Only you can answer that question. I can point to the answer, but you must discover it for yourself.

Q: Is Advaita a religion?

Rodney: No. Advaita--an ancient Indian school of nonduality that shows that everything in the universe is ultimately God, Brahman, Self, Absolute Reality--isn't a religion. It's that which points to the direct experience of KNOWING that you are awareness itself. And awareness belongs to no group, person, or religion. As Atmananda Krishna Menon (1883-1959) noted, "It is Truth pointing to Truth."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book Review Links

The following links are to book reviews I did for Jerry Katz's splendid Web site, Nonduality Highlights (

1) You Were Never Born, John Wheeler

2) The Mystique of Enlightenment, U.G. Krishnamurti

3) The Advaita Worldview, Anantanand Rambachan

4) Ask the Awakened, Wei Wu Wei

5) Doing Nothing, Steven Harrison

6) The Nature of Man According to the Vedanta, John Levy

7) The Penguin U. G. Krishnamurti Reader, Rodney Arms

8) Invitation to Awaken, Tony Parsons

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Don't attempt to repeat or memorize these pointers. Rather, let them resonate within you. You may even try putting them aside for a while, and then re-reading them. Coming upon them fresh may allow you to see, directly and unequivocally, the awareness to which they are pointing.

Answers questions about nonduality aren't meant to make you feel good or to confirm some philosophical concept of yours. Rather, they are to help you to directly perceive who--or more accurately, what--you truly are.


Ancient texts on nonduality are fine. But you are more likely to feel an affinity with a present-day book or teacher. As laudable as a few of the early classics are, contemporary works tend to be less dense with cultural, historical, and linquistics subtleties. Once your understanding is solid, you will be able to appreciate these early works more fully, separating, as it were, the dross from the cream. Or you may have no inclination to return to them at all. Every personality is different.


There are no grades or levels to our natural state. No person is more "enlightened" than the other. Buddha and Christ's understanding are the same as Nisargadatta and Bob Adamson's. However, each person expresses that understanding differently. And there certainly may be varying experiences before self-realization. But these events do not lead to your cognitizing presence. That can only be done immediately, tout de suite. But most seekers not only long for experiences, they want the exact ones that they have heard and read about from popular spiritual writers and teachers. But such endeavors are unavailing. For experiences, however spectacular, are temporary. Thus, they can never be the essence of who you are.


Nonduality has been given a multitude of definitions through the centuries. You can sieve through the glosses and interpretations at a host of spiritual Web sites. But nonduality proper is simply the direct knowing of your natural state.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Standing

Sunday morning--4:35am. I stand in front of my apartment's sliding-glass door, sipping coffee and watching the rain fall on the black, glistening asphalt several-floors below. Bach's BRANDENBURG CONCERTO No. 6 plays in the background on NPR. Neville Marriner's Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields brings out the warmth and plushness of the piece. They don't rush it, allowing the melody to fully issue forth from their period instruments.

This synchronicity of rain, music, and sumptuous coffee (Columbian, with French Vanilla creamer, of course) are simply occurrences in this vastness that is both you and me. Though I will likely get soaked on my short walk to work, that is also an occurrence. One could label the trek as fun or a pain, I suppose. But events are rarely labeled in this body/mind anymore. Occasionally, there is the rhetorical "Oh, man!" But it is more of a hollow response rather than a visceral emotion.

Even with my large umbrella, my shoes are going to get drenched. So I'll carry an extra pair of dry socks. One responds to the situation at hand and moves on. When you are living from the felt position of presence, you aren't overly dwelling on changing events. And this occurs naturally. It isn't something you must strive to accomplished. It is simply you, living in and as that peace that passes all understanding.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving with my friend, Susan. She invited me over to her cozy home, knowing that I would be alone, and that I don't mind being alone. It is a delight to see her and her feline crew of four--especially Midtown, the Norwegian Forest cat that I found, as a famished and shivering kitten, at the mall where I work. He's handsome and healthy now, thanks to Susan, who promptly took him in. For a few tender moments, he allows me to stroke and hold him. But because of his temperament, he soon scurries back out into the bright, chilly afternoon.

As Susan cooks, I wash dishes to keep them from piling up, as well as peruse her slew of subscribed magazines--Time, Newsweek, The Economist, and my favorite Entertainment Weekly(!). After a while, I step out into the backyard with my organic eggnog. The yard is wild and familiar: The stunted red maple and the myriad of oaks, along with the distant catalpa and ever-present wisteria. And though it's late in the season, kudzu and pepper-vines loop through and over much of the length of the metal fence. The kitties, unseen, are at varying points in the farrago of leaves and color, reveling in the fact that they can pounce out at me at any moment.

The food, of course, is delicious. There is the tofu turkey with tamari gravy, corn souffle, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, and roasted brussels sprout with brown butter and almonds (looking rustic and Tuscan in the royal blue bowl). For dessert, we devour fudgy-pecan pie, topped with organic wipping cream.

The afternoon sun angles softly onto the table through the storm-doors and windows, which are steamed with aromatic condensation. Midtown sits regally on the front porch with his back to us, facing the sun-set. Perhaps he, too, is giving thanks for this blessed appearance in awareness.


Not long after Buddha became self-realized, he met a man on a road who was astonished by his peaceful and singular presence. The fellow asked if he was famous or a magician or even a god! Buddha answered "no" to each question. The man then asked, "Well, what are you?"

Buddha replied, "I am awake."

How marvelous that. He knew, of course, that the statement wasn't quite right. For this Living Reality is always up-front and in the very bow of your life. Indeed, you are It. Your body and brain are certainly there and functioning quite nicely, thank you. But with self-recognition, your thoughts, feelings, and physicality are almost secondary. For you see that you literally are being LIVED; that there is no "you" living a life.

But Buddha, I suspect, was simply using his answer as a cue, a guide. If we get too enraptured with the terminology, we'll overlook that beingness to which he was pointing. For after Buddha's reply, you'll notice that your thoughts are momentarily quieted. If you bring your bare attention to that silence, you can directly and immediately see that it is bottomless, exquisite, and clarity itself.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Don't try to repeat or memorize these pointers. Rather, let them resonate within you. You may even try putting them aside for a while, and then re-reading them. Coming upon them fresh in this way just may allow you to see, directly and unequivocally, the awareness to which they are pointing.


Nonduality is oneness without a second.


Throughout the day, see that there is a living, immutable presence within you, whether you are thinking, singing, reading, or emoting. You are only able to recognize those thoughts, feelings and melodies because of this pure, nonconceptual background. Thoughts and responses come and go. But you, the background, remains.


Let's be clear about our terms: Consciousness is a state, and it includes waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Awareness is the source from which consciousness arises. Awareness is what you truly are.


However romantic it may sound, there is no "journey of awakening." How can there be when you never move from being stillness itself?


Genuine, self-realized teachers will never hold silent retreats, offer transmissions of power, stipulate spiritual practices, focus upon "overcoming" the ego, or require your allegiance. They will simply point to your pristine and radiant nature. Because the personality and perspective of each nondual teacher is different, you will likely resonate with one more than you do the others. That's perfectly fine and normal. Besides, they all are pointing to the same truth.