Monday, December 28, 2009
While their summer foliage was dense and dark, their small, rounded leaves are now--by turns--bright orange, and yellow; firebrick and wine-red. Patches of plum and sienna make appearances too, as well as scatterings of latent verdancy in their innermost leaves. Even the trees' whitish, winter buds add to the array of autumnal resplendence.
I continue along the sidewalk, squarely in the middle of doing my morning patrol. As a security officer, one strives to run balance of being approachable, yet authoritative. But, ultimately, there is no person is here. The variegated leaf-light and the shimmering sounds of crisp foliage in the buffeting breezes occur wholly in presence. Instead of me walking, it feels as if I am steadily and quietly being paraded-through.
Sri Atmananda (Krishna Menon) wrote that there are three spiritual graces: 1. To be born a human being (as such, you have the ability not only to know that you exist, but to know that you are Existence proper); 2. To have a keen desire for awakening to your natural state; and 3. To be able to talk with someone who has recognized his or her ever-present Reality.
I would tentatively add a fourth benevolence (at least for this particular body/mind): To feel the depth and beauty of the seasons. This, of course, is more than mere leaf-viewing or taking some moment to enjoy the redolent scents of April flowers. For to be able to fully revel in the multitudinous changes in the rhythms of the year, you must first know that which Does Not Move. It is only with the recognition of this beginningless Background that you are truly made speechless by, say, the hushness of a snow-ladened yard or the turquoise horizon of some summer seascape.
Though it is December's end, the Callery Pears provide a perfect motley of fall-like hues. Like the silence and spaciousness in which these colors are occurring, they are graces all.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Rodney: You're most welcome. And thank you for taking the time to pen a few words.
Q: For a long time, I have been reading all the nonduality people you said you had read yourself. And of late, mostly John Wheeler. I found your blog a few days ago from the Urban Guru cafe website and began to read the pointers and your replies to people.
Rodney: I'm happy that the blog resonates with you. One never knows how (or if) a particular statement or observation is going to touch some-one. The writing comes naturally and quickly. Thus, there is a certain detachment to the process, on one level, and a great love for the beauty and the directness to which truth can be pointed, on the other level. If something here is helpful, that's great. If it isn't, that's okay too.
Q: Well, it was while reading your words that it became utterly clear that there was something that never changes. ("Something" is probably not the right word, but it will do for now.) Then, I suddenly saw--even before I realized that it had happened--that I AM that something!
Rodney: Precisely. You are That! And the part about recognizing that something even before you "realized that it had happened" is absolutely on-target.
Q: When I saw this second discovery--I am that which does not change--it was like a flash of light. A delightful light, like the "radiance" in your blog-title. It was amazing, and yet so simple. I started to laugh and cry. I don't know if I will loose this understanding, because so many people seem to "get it" for a while and then loose it. Or at least they say they do when they write to people like you and John Wheeler.
Rodney: Once you see what you truly are, you don't loose it. Indeed, it is more real to you than your heartbeat or breathing, as you can now attest. But yes, the thought this felt-knowingness is going to suddenly or gradually disappear is probably the first fear or notion to emerge. It was certainly mine. Shortly after I came to this knowing, I stood up from the sofa on which I was reclining and gingerly made my way to my apartment's balcony, upon which I could see the evening's first slew of stars. It was then that I--like you--quickly discovered another ancient truth: That the universe was wholly within me! That there was no "distant" anything. This immediate and additional recognition pretty much confirmed to me, right then and there, that this was the Supreme Reality to which all the sages had pointed, and that it wasn't going anywhere! So as you can see, there is really no need to worry.
Q: Yes, I clearly see your point. How can that which never changes be lost? It can't go anywhere. In a way, it IS everything. At least it seems that way to me right now.
Rodney: Sterling points all. Your seeing is clear and your comments solid. Just relax with all that occurs, knowing--as Sailor Bob put it--that this isn't something from which you can ever be "tossed." After all, this is your natural state, which is neither an object nor an experience (either of which, by their very nature, do come and go).
Q: I have already noticed that thoughts and emotions hold less sway, as you say, but that they are just the same otherwise. I felt one of my old familiar emotional patterns yesterday, but the peace was there in the background, and the interest and belief in the emotion soon fell away. It was rather like a wave rising then subsiding . Problems occur--all as usual --but there does not seem to be the same worry or concern. And solutions seem (surprisingly) to simply arise. And oftentimes, I readily find myself gazing at something like a grass leaf swaying in the breeze or just sitting still and listening.
Rodney: Yes, what you describe is significant and telling, indicating (once again) that you understanding is unequivocal. Continue to let things settle, as you gather some experience with this, though I hasten to declare that there is no maintaining or stabilization of any kind going on here. That which is, has now been fully seen...All I can add is that I am totally thrilled. A huge hug to you.
Q: Thank you so much, Rodney. The hug feels good, even from afar. If any questions arise, I will certainly write to you again...And you mentioned Sailor Bob -- Well, I happen to live in Australia, also!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Nonduality is not about higher states, self-improvement, choiceless awareness, some future enlightenment, or exploring any kind of spiritual mystery. If any of these actions or kinds of thinking are going on, they will be of no help to you.
You are already "at" where you need to be. Nothing is required of you, other than seeing or understanding the proceeding sentence.
An idealist is someone who continues to hold a conceptual understanding of reality, however grand and humanistic his or her thinking may be.
Thoughts are not the problem. It is your mis-understanding of them that is the issue. Thoughts are conceptual responses to your environment. They help you to survive, function, and commu-nicate. But they cannot know presence (and neither can the mind, which--essentially--is all a thought is anyway). You are that subtle, translu-cent Beingness that is present before any thought arises. You are That which is already there.
To my mind, a sage is someone who--in addition to being self-realized--has considerable skill or experience at pointing to the immediacy of presence. True sages can do this through talks, writing, gazes, or even silence. And more often than not, they lead seemingly ordinary lives. Indeed, Sri Atmananda (Krishna Menon) once referred to sages as "good citizens."
What is it that is present, but is not your body, your thoughts, your sensations, or your state of consciousness? Reflect upon this with ease and gentleness. Come back to it at some later time, if necessary, when your seeing may be clearer.
The body, its actions, and its senses are all objects. They are not what you are. You are the presence that recognizes these objects. See that you are only the seeing. You are that which knows that objects are present, not the objects themselves.
Moral, societal, and philosophical issues hold zero interest for this particular body/mind. There are plenty of teachers who will happily engage you on those topics, and that's perfectly fine. In fact, the diversity of nondual expression today is incredible and to be applauded. My penchant, for whatever reason, is for writing and speaking about aware-ness itself. This happens to have been the per-spective that Nisargadatta took during his final talks (e.g., Consciousness and the Absolute). During this period, he playfully (and not so play-fully) told seekers that they were now in "graduate school." Though the dialogues during these years tended to be terse and abrupt, they were also spot-on, original, and exquisite. But rest assured, there is nothing difficult about this understanding. Though subtle, your natural state is utterly obvious. Take a non-moment to see this for yourself.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Rodney: Great to hear from you. And many thanks.
Question: Got a question or two. I understand that there is only THIS....presence awareness... and I AM THAT.
Rodney: Correct on all counts.
Question: Hmm, maybe I had better quit while I'm ahead!
Rodney: Refreshingly, there is no "ahead" in this part of the universe. You're pretty much either spot-on or you're misunderstanding the basics of who and what you are. And really, the basics are all that matter. After that, everything else pretty much falls into place.
Q: Happy to hear it...In combination to my above statement, I also gather that in presence, objects are manifested within this 'ether' of awareness/ light that straddles time and space (sort of speak.)
Rodney: Well, that's only partly true. Objects do emerge from presence and are nothing but presence. Apt analogies are bracelets made from gold and pots being made from clay. Each of these is one substance, despite the innumerable shapes, colors, and sizes in which they can appear. But there is no "ether" of awareness. There is simply awareness itself. And it doesn't "straddle" anything, particularly time and space, which are merely concepts--important and convenient concepts, but notions nonetheless.
Q: Okay, thanks for clearing that it.
Rodney: No problem.
Q: Still, my emotions, thoughts, objects, passions block me from seeing the above CLEARLY. Charlie Hayes, Randall Friend, etc. all say that we must look deeply into who we are, until we see clearly that we are 'no thing'. There is then nothing left and the mind falls away, the first death. Would you expand on how it is that we are to LOOK DEEPLY into WHO AM I?
Rodney: It only appears that feelings are "blocking" you from your true and essential stillness. Awareness can't be blocked by anything! It can be ignored, overlooked, and misunder-stood, but never blocked. But having emotions are a natural part of a body/mind being lived. Just remember that they are experiences in aware-ness, in what you truly and already are. You aren't the experiences, however strong or beautiful they may be. Further, that such feelings should somehow be "mastered," controlled, inhibited, or even constantly watched is one of the many myths from dualistic teachers and teachings. When normal emotions rise, it is generally better to let them have their temporary appearance in awareness (provided neither you nor anyone gets hurt!) than to label them or to berate yourself.
Q: But how do I LOOK DEEPLY?
Rodney: To "look deeply" into what you are entails no one doing it. It is simply a sudden seeing or understanding that presence is in full evidence, and that you are it. Many seekers think that "looking deeply" means engaging in some type of prolonged concentration or watchfulness. But that certainly isn't the case. Indeed, a long history of nondual sages--from Gaudapada and U. G. Krishnamurti to Nisargadatta Maharaj and "Sailor" Bob Adamson--point to the immediacy of what you are, to your own innate depth and clarity. And there is absolutely nothing difficult or effortful about it. And once it is perceived, it is immediately perceived (though never fully plumbed, for it is without beginning or end).
Q: So I should just let my thoughts go?
Rodney: See that there is nothing to be done about them, that when a thought or feeling appears, it is already there. It is the ego that comes in after a particular thought or emotion and condemns it, praises it, or attempts to control it. You are the awareness within which all of this is occurs. You are not the thoughts and feelings. Thus, there is no one to let your thoughts go. You're the spaciousness. You are that which is directly in front of you: Felt-Beingness from which thoughts, feelings, and even worlds arise. Give your alertness and attention to this, and you will marvel at how you have missed it for all of this time.
Q: And upon seeing that, the mind then falls away?
R: That's one of those spiritually-belabored expressions that has no meaning. The mind does not "fall away" because there is no mind. Be careful not to become enraptured by concepts, especially the spiritual and nondual ones. Just see that there is an immeasurable richness and peace in the spaciousness directly before you. Upon recognizing this, you automatically understand that there is no one to look deeply into anything.
Q: Lots of great stuff to ponder. Thank you, sir!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Alas, your focus is on your ego, which is simply a reoccuring function. Why not be alert to the fact that there is a unconditioned and imperishable presence that, among things, registers the momentary appearance of any thought or emotion (which is all the ego is anyway)? Stay with presence, not with the thought or feeling.
If you are waiting on enlightenment at some future date, that day will never arrive. Why? Because you are giving credence to the chronological, which is not a factor in self-knowing. For time is a concept; understanding is not. Also, what you're searching for is entirely self-evident. And you need no duration--much less a lifetime!--to recognize its immediacy.
There is no person to awaken. There is only an awakening to the presence of this natural state.
Don't get caught up on semantic matters. Presence, Self, Awareness, Intrinsic Awareness, Nonconceptual Reality all point to the same thing. But they are not the thing itself. No intellectual comprehension of nonduality--however vigorous and nuanced--can remotely match a felt-understanding of it. For with this understanding comes the actual seeing that you are Existence itself, that you are that immenseness.
Stay with that which Does Not Move. What is it, right now, that Does Not Change?
Tatvamasi: You Are That (DVD/$19.95) is a lush and riveting 87-minute work on the life and teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. The film's producer and scriptwriter, Nitin Ram, clearly has a deep understanding of nonduality. For we given--through quotes and archival footage of Nisargadatta himself-- such telling and captivating exhortations as "No color, no design--that is your true nature" and "Self-realization is not the outcome of spiritual practices...It is, in fact, the dissolution of the seeker notion!" Excellent, too, are rarely seen selections from the sage's early notebooks ("I went through many extraordinary experiences during my wandering period") and the appearances in the film by "Sailor" Bob Adams (a direct disciple of Nisargadatta's), Gilbert Schultz, Mark West, and Charlie Hayes, who presently lives in Enid, Oklahoma. You can order this excellent DVD directly from the company's Web site at: www.abideinself.com
As You Are Unborn: Pointers to Your Natural State of Eternal Freedom (Lulu/$18.95 paper/$10.95 download) amply illustrates, Charlie Hayes' productivity is matched only by his clarity. Indeed, the cleanness and concision of his prose is apt to nudge the seeker into carefully re-reading whatever nondual gem that he or she may be perusing. This occurs not because Charlie's expressions are difficult follow, but because --more often than not--the seeker is likely to think: "It can't be that simple!" or "Wait, can this really be what he is pointing to"? And that it is: Felt-presence and spaciousness. Only this and nothing else. With these pointers, I am tempted to proffer (and pun!) that Charlie points the way. But there is no "way," as much--just a clear seeing or understanding of That which is in full evidence. Perhaps the greatest compliment that one nonduality teacher can offer to another one is to say that he or she is "the real deal." And Charlie Hayes is just that. (The book is available through Amazon or at Charlie's blog on this page's Link list.)
Monday, November 23, 2009
For a moment, forget your name, job, and accomplishments. Instead of saying "I am so-and-so," see that you can actually stop at "I am," and that something sheer, significant, and limitless remains.
Awareness, through sentient-consciousness, is able to know itself, to know that it exists. Thus, you have a superb opportunity, here, to recognize the true richness and splendor of your seemingly routine existence. Take this very moment to see what has always been magnificently present.
Awareness does not "happen" or "blossom-forth." It is your natural state. It Does Not Move.
Self-realization is the recognition of the Knower of existence. But this Knower is no entity. Neither is it an appearance or an experience. Ditto a sound. It is this presence of spaciousness, which is, at once, a living and non-moving essence. It is your ordinary, day-to-day awareness seen in all of its sublimity. Its clarity is so apparent that it may appear difficult to discern. But that is only a notion. You are That. That is what you are. See the clear and immediate simplicity of this for yourself.
There really is no spiritual ignorance--just a misunderstanding as to what you truly are.
Nonduality is not about feelings, serenity, healing, ascension, "regressive therapies," or even esoteric philosophies. If you're seeking more experiences and conceptual theories, then by all means indulge. Have at them. However, they are not paths to Truth, because there aren't any. The undertaking of any path or practice is--seemingly, at least--a move away from this shimmering substratum.
This understanding cannot be found in theories or concepts (even advaitic ones)! It is, in toto, the unconditioned spaciousness that is prior to any thought or experience.
Thinking, searching, debating, meditating, and attempts to be "mindful" lead directly back to the supposed-mind. Indeed, these functions and activities are simply the mind itself in full operation. Why bother with all that when you are in full possession of your true and glorious nature? Never for a moment has awareness not been present. You have simply been overlooking it. It is subtle, yet undeniable. When you fathom its depth for yourself, you will shake your head (even gasp!) at its presence and immediacy. Again, take note of what is present. Not who.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Rodney: Thanks for writing, and I'm glad you liked the interview. Areti Alexova and Gilbert Schultz did a fantastic job, which is saying lot, given that I don't have Skype, my phone is cheap, and I was often holding the mouth-piece too close to my mouth. But the sound-editing was marvelously tight (as it would be, given that Gilbert is an ace audio engineer), and it was a total pleasure talking with Areti.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Rodney: Thanks for taking the time to write. You are the first Columbian I've met who has had any interest in nonduality. It tends to hold little appeal for spiritual seekers--particularly here in the Midlands (which we call this particular region to the state, blog readers)--because nonduality points to the fact that there is nothing to "achieve," only to understand. Most seekers would rather strive, suffer, and even grovel rather than see what is directly in front of them. Their battle cry could well be the same as Shakespeare's Henry V: "Once more to the breach, dear friends, once more."
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Pause a moment and see if you can discern the difference between consciousness (your general sense of awakeness) and awareness (that unchanging, beginningless presence behind consciousness). It is such a simple thing to do. If the recognition doesn't occur, don't berate yourself. Just come back to it at some later point, when you can see things anew.
Once presence is recognized, it is more real to you than your body and breathing.
I have no teaching of my own. I merely speak from a stupendous lineage of nondual writers and speakers whose words and books point clearly and unerringly to our natural and ever-present state. Those teachers include Shankara, Huang Po, Nisargadatta Maharaj, "Sailor" Bob Anderson, and John Wheeler. My only original aspect is my perspective: How I can to this understanding, and how it is for this particular body/mind to be lived while reveling in Beingness.
Ironically, the so-called "mature seeker" is the person who sees what is glowingly apparent, not what is complicated, conceptual, or supposedly time-ladened. And that what is apparent is our ordinary, everyday awareness.
When no thought is there, what is there? What is it that remains?
Yoga--which was developed in India over 5,000-years ago--is a rich, elegant, and efficacious practice of asanas and breathing exercises that increase and maintain mobility in your joints, muscles, and even deep tissue. Yoga is not, however, a path to self-knowing.
Don't turn your seeking into a quest or pilgrimage. There is no special place that you need to go to understand who and what you are. Awareness is everywhere, and it is resplendently apparent. Further, you are That, not the limited-person and mind that you now take yourself to be.
Stop a moment and feel the spaciousness from which your previous thought arose.
Wisdom doesn't come from the ability to be still. It comes from seeing that you are stillness itself. Those who teach that you must be "adept" at "entering" your "inner Self" are completely wrong. You are supreme awareness. Given this, you now know that before you indulge in any meditating, "resting as awareness," or forced periods of silence, you are staring squarely into and at your very own peace and clarity. Nothing needs to be attained, and there is no one to attain it.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Rodney: You're certainly welcome.
Question: I have a question about one of your recent blog posting. You mention to the person who contacted you that there is no person to perform the practice of "resting as awareness." I understand what you are saying here. However, you also say "Responsibly address all concerns."
Rodney: Yes, there needn't be conflict--in the idea or actuality--of being a compassionate and conscientious citizen and being self-realized. Nisargadatta Maharaj certainly was an excellent example of that.
Question: Oh, yes. I whole-heartedly agree. And yet--
Rodney: Right, saying that there is no person and to responsibly address all concerns appears to be a contradiction. But that contradiction is only from the mind, which struggles to reconcile the two views and can't. Why? Because the bare truth of this cannot be seen conceptually. For the mind's notions about itself include, among other things, that there is a individual thinker present, that thoughts are derived from the mind itself, and that ideas and mathematical formulae are the "highest" that man can go, philosophically speaking.
Question: It's interesting that you mentioned mathematics. I'm a scientist at a major university.
Rodney: The contributions in those fields of science and mathematics have been enormous. But the ultimate truth, which we are concerned with here, is the presence of awareness, which is our natural state. That's one of the great good things about nonduality: You already are that which you are seeking. Recognizing your natural state can essentially be done in two ways: Apperceiving this presence within you or coming to a mental and intellectual Full Stop (as Sailor Bob Adamson so winningly pulls it) in the presence of a potent pointer, which could be statement, a work of art, a smiling child, some natural setting, a strand of music, some breath-taking constellation, or the sound of a lone temple bell.
Question: So instead of focusing on some ever-looping mental issue, I should just center on what is happening at the moment?
Rodney: Not quite. The attention should be on the simple presence of presence, not on any events or occurences that may be going on at the time. And with this comes the realization that, among other things, you are being lived, that there is no longer a "you" living a separate and autonomous life. And with this understanding, you naturally and easily continue to live as responsibly as possible, as a citizen in whatever country you choose to live.
Question: I have heard certain teachers advocate "Resting as Awareness." In each case, they clearly point out that at the beginning it will appear that there is an entity resting as awareness, but they explain that this is a fiction. They have found that this is an effective way to get people to quiet the mind and its obsession on phenomena. I know there is legitimate disagreement on whether this is the best approach. It seems you advocate a direct seeing - as opposed to a process that matures over time.
Rodney: Yes, I point to direct-seeing. I'm not really an advocate of anything, nor am I in opposition to any specific teacher. But I see what you are saying. My pointing and teaching is certainly not in sync with most present-day teachers. But that just happens to be the case. I'm not attempting to be oppositional. I'm merely speaking from the nondual lineage of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Sailor Bob Adamson, and John Wheeler, among others. And these teachers are unassailable. Also, I'm writing from what I have come to know, which is that you are awareness proper, and that you need no time or "maturing" to realize that fact.
Question: I really appreciate your detailed response. It was very helpful. For I really want to get to the bottom of this, so to speak.
Rodney: To ask who or what you truly are is the most vital question you could ever ask yourself. So I applaud your wanting to discover the immediacy of all this. At "bottom" and in plain view is this magnificent ground of Beingness. That's the open secret that is being pointed to here, as well as at other credible Web sites and blogs.
Question: Thanks again. Your sincerity and love are certainly shining through in your blog.
Rodney: All the best, and feel free to keep in touch, if the spirit moves.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
You have overlooked awareness, giving priority to your body, mind, and senses. So work your way backwards: What is it, right now, that is not your body, mind, or senses? See that there is a subtle, yet boundless presence that has always been in evidence.
Forget all methods and concepts. Simply understand what you are at this very moment. I say "what" because there is no who. I say "this very moment" because no time is needed to recognize what you already are. All of your conjectures, entertainments, and philosophizing amount to nothing more than a kind of excuse-making--which is perfectly fine if you only want an academic understanding of Self, rather than a living one.
Don't bother with trying to "let go of thoughts." How is that going to help you? Thoughts are just temporary appearances in your bare and unchanging spaciousness. Thoughts certainly have their purpose, but they are not what you are. Bring your attention to that which is between each thought. There you will find your ever-present treasure.
"I thought" really means "There was the awareness of a thought." That awareness is you. It is the expansiveness in which that particular thought appeared. Bring your attention that presence and you may immediately perceive that there has never been a moment when you weren't Knowingness itself.
Unity Consciousness is just another name for your natural state.
See that the personal pronoun "I" does not stand for any individual entity. It is the cognitizing spaciousness that is within you and around you. Indeed, it is nothing but you. Its recognition annihilates all doubts, questions, and seeking. And you will wonder how you could have missed for all of this time.
Awareness radiates through all states and experiences. Ironically, it is so easily overlooked because it is so vividly apparent. Just a moment of attentive seeing or understanding is all that is needed to clarify what is already present.
The ego is no defined thing or entity. It is only your temporary sense of an individual self.
Close your eyes. You will immediately note that there is a definite presence of boundlessness and freedom. Now slowly open your eyes, continuing to feel what was there in the darkness. See that that sheerness and presence unwaveringly remain. That is it. That is what you are!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Rodney: Thank you. The writing comes naturally and quickly, though never without revision!
Question: One of the things I like about your message (though that probably is not the correct word) is that you don't say that it is all just a dream.
Rodney: Yes, I have problems with the dream analogy--though this classic, Advaitic angle is not without merit. It's just that it tends to confuse sincere seekers when the "it's all a dream" speech is tossed about so casually by meditators and teachers who have no inkling about what they are saying. As I type these words, the traffic-sounds are certainly there, and the dark, morning rain is beautifully falling. But they are all appearances in awareness, in what you are. Events, people, and occurrences (whether they are labeled tender, noisy, passionate, annoying, loving, terrible, astonishing, etc.) are dreams in the sense that they only appear to be wholly separate things and activities. In truth, all is awareness. There is no separation anywhere. When water--for whatever reason--becomes a wave, it is still water. That simple little fact pretty much says it all. An added point: Some people try to skirt a society's laws and customs by saying "it's all an illusion--do want you want to do." My take is: Responsibly address all concerns, and see that your body/mind is being lived, that there is no individual person there. In this way, your life will automatically be filled with compassion and understanding.
Question: Thank you for clearing that up!...I've desperately been trying to gear my life towards seeing who and what I am. I am currently doing the practice of "resting as awareness" with [the name of the organization].
Rodney: How is that going?
Question: Well, I have been practicing this for over a year, and more and more there is pervading sense of immense peace. However, suffering still does come up for me. From your and John Wheeler's sites (and even others that I recently perused), it seems to be what you are saying is that this self-realization can happen pretty quick and there are no real practices needed. If this is so, I would like some help with this.
Rodney: Quickly is only the way that it can happen. There is nothing to work towards or gradually develop at all. It is sudden seeing or understanding that not only is awareness fully present, but that you are It. You are that awareness. As I have often said, your natural state is simply being overlooked. Indeed, its immediacy cannot be overstated. It is closer to you than your thoughts, body, breathing, and consciousness. Though you may have periods of calm and apparent peace, those periods, by your own admission, are quite temporary. Ironically, it is your practice that is keeping you from seeing what is already vividly present. Spiritual methods--however elegant, powerful, and well-intentioned--bring with them a clear host of problems. The central one, of course, is who exactly is attempting to practice? Can a thought, belief, conviction, personality, or body/mind rest as awareness? No, none of them can rest as anything! They are inert, temporary appearances in presence, in what you already are.
Question: Okay, I understand that much better now. No "I" or ego can rest as awareness. But where do I go from there?
Rodney: Where does who go from there? Permit yourself to be truly paused by that question. It is not at all a rhetorical one. It is clear and accurate pointer to your natural and every-present state. Further, the next time you find yourself paused by anything (whether it be a sentence, a work of art, a piece of music, or some gorgeous natural setting), allow that pause to go deeper--or rather, see that it actually (and timelessly) deepens itself into felt-awareness without end.
Question: And it is then when suffering stops?
Rodney: How could it not? You have discovered that you are Existence itself, rather than a mere body and mind. Suffering occurs when you have a certain image about yourself, which includes the "I am now enlightened" self-image! One additional point: Even when one's understanding is radiant and unwavering, events and issues (including physical pain and discomfort) still come up. But they are dealt with far more effectively: Responses tend to be swift, full, and accurate because there is no "one" doing them. Emotions are still there, but they are no longer a weight or a problem. For now you see, as Buddha so beautifully stated, that "it is our very search for perfection outside ourselves that causes our suffering."
Question: Thank you, Rodney. I'm deeply grateful! I am sure that I will be writing you again soon. I hope that's okay. I would so love to meet you for coffee, but I live in Toronto!
Rodney: Feel free to write anytime. And I love Canada. So I'll definitely take a rain-check on the coffee!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Waking, sleeping, dreaming, and even deep sleep are states of consciousness that come and go. What is the background from which consciousness emerges? It is Beingness itself. It is what you are as you peruse these words at this very moment.
Witnessing is not something that you practice. It is your very nature. You are the seeing.
Right now, there is a presence within you that is completely untouched. It is vivid, formless, and free. There is nothing you need to renounce, and there is nothing you need to attain. It is directly before you, as well as within you. It is simply being overlook.
Back up! Back up! There is an unwavering sheerness beneath and throughout your various states of consciousness.
To whom can this understanding occur? It can't be your body or thoughts because they have no self-reflective qualities. Thus, the recognition happens to no discrete or separate entity. You are that. You are the understanding. There is no "enlightenment" of absolutely anyone.
Seekers are quick to follow popular and/or dynamic teachers because the teachers' words all too often support their sense of a self, e.g., they will be able to achieve something (liberation) with something (their minds, bodies, beliefs, convictions, practices, etc).
Behind all prescribed practices is a conceptual "me." That is why methods can't help you. Yet, you persist in your endeavors. The years and decades go by, as you sit, chant, meditate, and observe your thoughts and sensations. It's all for naught, of course. On the other hand, your ultimate state is your natural state. It is right here, right now. It brims with peace and radiance. Take a moment to see this for yourself. And all seeking will be over.
When no thoughts are present, You are present.
Where is the who? Look carefully, and all you will find is spaciousness. Any thoughts or sensations that come up are not only temporary, they are constantly changing. Your essence, then, has be something that Does Not Move. So look again: Where is the who? There is no who--only sheer, naked awareness. It is so quiet and so ordinary. And yet, its magnificence can never be put into words. So go ahead, see it for yourself: Utter Beingness without end.
Enlightenment/Liberation/Self-Abidance are simply loaded terms for your natural state. Thus, it isn't something for which you have strive. Nor is it anything that needs to be integrated or maintained. Those who would tell you otherwise are simply not self-realized themselves. Some of these so-called teachers are even attempting to appropriate nondual terms and language in a desperate effort to hold on their "disciples," who are slowly wising up to the game that is being played upon them. But such "gurus" and teachers quickly reveal their almost comic shallowness after a few, tepid utterances or responses about self-knowing. When you've had your fill of their facades, know that you only need to ask yourself one simple question: Where is the who?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Rodney: Thank you. Sailor Bob Adamson pointed out the truth to John Wheeler, and John pointed it out to me. So I wanted to keep the ball rolling (after John encouraged me to speak about this) by pointing to our natural state in the blog you're reading. If something here resonates with seekers, that's terrific. If it doesn't, they should simply check out other sites from teachers who have an untainted understanding of who and what they truly are.
Question: I regularly go to three sites. But don't worry, I won't name names!
Rodney: Great! No names are necessary--only your clear seeing is the issue here. Whomever that occurs with is quite secondary.
Question: How is it that we are not the body? The very perception of sentience seems to take place in this body. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.
Rodney: You are neither your body nor your thoughts. You are the awareness that is aware of your body and your thinking. If you pause and truly reflect upon this, you can easily perceive that that is the case. Further, you are aware of your consciousness, as well. Thus, awareness is your essence; it's that which never changes. Note that everything around you is in some sort of flux, whether it be quick or slow, dynamic or subtle. But if you look carefully, you will see that there is indeed a presence of awareness within and around you. It's a felt actually with no beginning or end.
Question: Yes, something in me knows that this is true as I read your beautiful words. I don't know what it is. Maybe that's what I need to figure out.
Rodney: It's not a matter of "figuring" out. It's a matter of seeing what is already there. For instance, the pauses between thoughts aren't blank at all. They are alive with peace, radiance, and freedom. They, quite literally, are what you are. But we have been wrongly taught by society that our thoughts, degrees, bank accounts, and professions are our identity. And we have been incorrectly told by spiritual teachers that our visions, experiences, and ecstasies are what we must experience or "achieve" in order to qualify as an "Enlightened Being" (which is yet another falsehood).
Question: I like what you said about the wave and the water in a previous blog entry. I seem to "get" that.
Rodney: Yes, that's a classic nondual analogy, as well as a fine pointer in itself. While every wave in the ocean is marvelously singular, each wave is nothing but the ocean itself. Water is its fundamental nature, as awareness is ours (actually, awareness is the ground of everything). But we, unlike waves, know that we are present.
Question: That's the sentience.
Rodney: That's the sentience. It's an aspect of consciousness that allows us to say that "I know that I am right here, at this very moment." The wave just exists; it can't reflect upon itself. But as sentient body/minds, we are able to utter, "I know that I am present, that I exists." Now, nondual sages and teachers say to take that statement (or the matter of sentience) to its ultimate: Not only do you know that you exist, you are Existence itself!
Question: Okay, I see that now--in my mind. But that's okay, it's clearer.
Rodney: Yes, though it's still a conceptual understanding, the point or issue is clearer. And a "correct" conceptual understanding can easily lead to a deep and living one. All that is needed is a bit of fine tuning, as it were. For Presence is ever-present. Sentient beings are merely waves on the water. There is no separation from awareness at any point or time. We are That...So just stay with the basics of this until your understanding is lucid and unwavering.
Question: Thank you, my friend. Here is my mantra for today: "Presence is ever-present!" I hope you are laughing. Still, it is a reminder that will be with me.
Rodney: I'm chuckling...Let the reminder come naturally, and you will be fine. Or better yet, explore the following: What is it from which the reminder arises?
Question: Ah, I must admit to resonating with the question more. Why is that?
Rodney: Why be concerned? Just go with it.
Question: I love your musical pointers. I would like to offer a few of my own in closing, if I may?
Question: Mozart's Mass in C minor, K.427 - the soprano solo during the kyrie eleison. There is a moment during the solo, as performed by Felicity Lott (on the Amadeus soundtrack), when she hits the highest note of the piece on the word "Christe". Hot dripping FULL STOP, that one! Another great musical pointer - Miles Davis "It's About Time" on In a Silent Way - when Tony Williams comes in full on with the drums after a long, long, long series of rim shots on his snare. FULL STOP. And here is a fine pointer from Miles himself -- "Don't play what's there. Play what's not there."
Rodney: Excellent list. Thank you. That declaration from Miles is particularly potent!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Musical pointer: The Denon recording of the #14 Allemanda: Allegro movement in Arcangelo Corelli's concerto No.9 in F Major. Listen to it with headphones or earbuds, if possible, to feel the depth, elegance, and nuances of this truly numinous piece.
How can a thought know spaciousness? The question should startle you a little, give you pause. How can a thought know spaciousness? It cannot. It can only know about spaciousness; it can only give you a pallid approximation as to what this living sheerness actually is.
There is nothing personal about self-realization. It is simply a seeing that you are the seeing itself.
You are either the witness or the doer. You can't possibly be the doer because you are aware of various actions and events around you. Thus, you are clearly the knower, that which unblinkingly recognizes all your thoughts, feelings, and states of consciousness. Your body/mind is being lived as part of the mammoth functioning of the entire universe.
Look at what is already present. Not who, but what. Because awareness is self-evident, 99.99% of all seekers (not to mention teachers!) completely overlook it.
You are not your body. You are that which is aware of your body.
Right now, as you peruse your computer screen, you intuitively recognize the truth of these words. Something in you knows that it is your very own Beingness that is being pointed to--call it a deep faith or conviction, if you want. But such faith can lead a sudden apperception of your real and unconditioned state, which is Existence-Awareness in all of its glory.
All practices and methods are time-bound, while presence transcends the element of time. So how could one possibly have any relationship to or connection with the other?
Your natural state is beyond even happiness. It is Peace itself.
You have wrongly identified yourself as an individual. Your body/mind is just that: A body/mind. While it is unique and even wondrous in its complexity, it arises from awareness and is nothing but awareness. It is a mere wave on the ocean of presence.
You are the whatness that never moves. See that everything about you and around you is in a constant state of flux--except a subtle yet certain presence of awareness that never changes. Take a moment right now to witness what is fully evident. Even if I could hand it to you, it would take more time and require more effort for you to grasp it than it would for you to simply see it for yourself. And seeing it for yourself is the only way that this understanding can happen. True teachers will tell you that they can only point to that which is always present. So look carefully. It is there.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Rodney: I'm delighted to hear it. Thank you.
Question: I would really appreciate your help with a persistent conviction that I have. You recently said: "What is it from which you never move? It can't be your body, because--among other things--your body is clearly animated by something other than itself."
Rodney: Yes, that's correct.
Question: I can see that the body is animated or lived by ... something.... call it life, spirit, or whatever.
Rodney: Right, the name or label isn't ultimately important. What is vital, however, is that the term point to that "whatever" in a direct and clarifying way. Such expressions as Self, presence, awareness, supreme awareness, the Absolute, nonconceptual reality, and supreme intelligence all obviously work. God and Brahman are also okay. But the religious connotations that come with those two expressions often get in the way of a seeker's seeing what is clearly in front of him or her. As for "consciousness," it, like thoughts, is an appearance in awareness. So it's obviously not the core of your existence.
Question: I can't get away from the fact that what I am is always tied up with the body. Yes, the body changes over time, but life, to me at any rate, is totally lived within this vehicle that is termed a body. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Rodney: Your always being "tied up" with your body is only an apparent fact. With a little clear seeing and understanding, you would quickly and decisively perceive that you aren't your body at all. Pause right now and notice that there is something present in addition to your thoughts and sensations. The common thinking is that it is consciousness. And while consciousness (which is mainly your sense of sentience, that you know that you exist) is there, it is not continually so. Also, to know that consciousness is present, there absolutely has to be something there that is prior to consciousness, something that is even registering it! Some teachers will have seekers to calmly follow their thoughts and sensations; whereupon the seekers, decades hence, will hopefully "achieve" some state beyond consciousness, e.g., Enlightenment. But watching your thoughts and sensations--with whatever level of dispassion--is merely following your distractions. It isn't leading you anywhere. Better to go straight to awareness itself. And to do that, you simply perceive what is already present.
Question: Hmm, very good. Suddenly--do I dare say amazingly?--there is a little less conviction that I am inextricably tied up with and contained within this body/mind!
Rodney: You are seeing that your conviction--which is only a concept, anyway--is not based upon fact. What remains to be understood is that there is a magnificent and irrefutable presence that is prior to all thoughts and thinking. Your body is being lived by it and is the essence from which it is formed. Nonconceptual awareness is subtle, yet fully evident. But it is not an object. Rather, it is what you truly are, which is Existence itself.
Question: As I believed you mentioned in your blog, it's not the who, but the what.
Rodney: Exactly. It's that which leaves you without a single doubt or question as to your unalloyed identity. Again, you can't possibly be your body and mind because you are aware of your body and your mind.
Question: Yes, there was a deep pause from that last statement...Unfortunately, it's that "what" that I am still not seeing.
Rodney: Don't be overly concerned. The seeds has been planted. Continue to allow things to unfold, and you will see that the pause is the What. Also, keep coming back to the pointers (on this blog or others) until your seeing is clear. Laudable pointers do just that: They point the way with unerring accuracy. Not that the pointers here necessarily harbor that quality. But they certainly arise from the source of all things, which is bare and unconditioned awareness. So let them guide you, if you like. And please know that this isn't something that you have to work at or struggle with. Your ordinary, everyday awareness is what you are. It just needs to be seen in all its fullness and glory. And that recognition is is one of the simplest--and yet most profound--things you can ever do.
Question: Thank you so much, Rodney. I shall keep to the pointers and come back to what is aware, to what it is that knows.
Rodney: Precisely, "to what it is that knows." That is the master key that opens you to yourself.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Reread the above sentence. The answer is there. You needn't go any further than that. Allow it to show you that you've never been bounded, that there is no permanent entity within you at all--only sheer and pristine awareness giving rise to the phenomenal world.
Self-knowing appears to elude you because, among other things, you are trying to grasp it through your thinking. But can a thought about awareness know awareness? Thoughts and concepts, however lofty, are basicly "dead" appearances. Yet, they are precisely what you are attempting to use to understand who and what you are! So what are you left with? Beingness itself.
What is the whatness that Does Not Sleep?
Nonduality is not a religion. Yet, it is at the core of all major religions, from Hinduism and Sufism to Zen Buddhism and Christianity. Nonduality proper is a timeless teaching about our ultimate nature, which is awareness itself. With this recognition comes the discovery of our innate peace and spaciousness. Nondual themes can be found in the "highest" teachings of Dzogchen, Kashmir Shaivism, Advaita Vedanta, and Zen.
No one belongs to anyone. When certainly personalities resonate, a friendship/romance/sexual relationship may develop because being with that person tends to be a rich and wholesome experience.
In truly profound and loving relationships, you can intuit presence in one another's gazes, feel it one another's touches, and taste it in one another's kisses.
Look carefully: You are the spaciousness. That is it! That is what you are!
Your natural state couldn't be more obvious. Back up, back up! You are overlooking your everyday, self-shining awareness. Your thoughts, body, and consciousness are only appearances in that awareness. Or to re-phrase it in the form of a question: What is it in which your thoughts, body, and even consciousness are appearing at this very moment?
Don't make the mistake of looking for presence inside of you. It is actually penetrating through and emanating from your so-called body and mind. Similarly, it is the stuff from which your body and mind are comprised. Its sheerness is real, vital, and completely without bounds. You are That, right here and now. Everything is perfectly present. Indeed, there is no place in the universe where Beingness is not. All is awareness. All is You.
Pointers help you to see what you already are. In addition to being verbal, they can musical (e.g., Mozart's "Agnus Dei" in his celebrated Requiem) and visual, e.g., Zen artists Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) and the legendary swordsman-samurai Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) both produced bold, elegant, and thought-stopping master-works that should not be missed. Even silence can be a powerful pointer--when it is completely natural, and there is no one attempting to be quiet. Or when one is in the presence of someone who is self-realized. In such a setting, you feel the depth and resonance of the speaker's pauses. Something stirs within you. It is not surface-emotion at all. It's a deep and intuitive knowing that clarity is at hand.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Question: I have listened to your podcast with Charlie Hayes several times now and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your approach to the subject of nonduality.
Rodney: Thanks for the kind words. Because of my cheap telephone and the lack of Skype, the sound quality on my end of the interview is poor. But if a pointer or comment resonates with any listener, then the interview will have served its purpose. And I certainly enjoyed talking with Charlie!
Question: Well, that enjoyment definitely came through...I was especially moved by the following description of your final understanding, as I believe Balsekar calls it--"So here John [Wheeler] was saying that what I had been searching for was not only 'fully present,' but it was fully present at this very moment. So I thought to myself, 'What am I looking at but--apparently--not seeing?'...Again, 'What I am looking at, but--apparently--not seeing?"....And suddenly, there it was! Utter peace and spaciousness! Felt-awareness without end!'"
Rodney: Yes, that was it--the end of the "story," so to speak. Life continued, but as Existence itself, which includes the appearances of thoughts, a body/mind, a job description, etc. The ease with which this understanding can takes place can't adequately be put into words. Suddenly, you are seeing something that not only has always, always been directly in front of you, it has been you precisely. It is beyond time and all expression, and yet, it is the most basic and most evident of things.
Question: I also appreciate your blog very much and find a deep resonance with your expression. We share a common experience in our earlier searching - I too became fascinated with the Catholic Church and joined it - this was after exploring many disciplines and teachings, both eastern and western.
Rodney: Yes, all of those years, disciplines, practices, and teachings (East and West). I still have fond memories of certain aspects of the Catholic Church: The cool stone floors, the heartfelt a cappella sections of the service, and the sweet-smelling incense, with its high-ascending smoke. But no anger or regret broils over my decades of searching. There are a number of reasons for that. Perhaps the most obvious one is that there is no longer a self-image from which that kind of regret can arise. Would it have been great to come to this understanding sooner? Sure! But it isn't something that I ponder. It happened as it happened. And my main purpose here is simply to point out to seekers and readers that this seeing and understanding needn't take any time at all, much less years or decades. You are already that which you are seeking. Allow these words to nudge you into seeing that which is already perfectly present.
Question: Yes, already perfectly present! It's a notion that I completely by passed for the longest time.
Rodney: Same here, of course.
Question: Also, I have so appreciated the work of John Wheeler and have had the good fortune of attending a couple of his meetings in Santa Cruz. Though I feel that my search is over, I enjoy reading and listening to John and Sailor Bob, and I know I will be visiting your blog often.
Rodney: John and Sailor Bob are true marvels. And yes, you do indeed have the good fortune to be able to attend John's talks in Santa Cruz. Questions can be immediately and spontaneously asked and answered. And when presence becomes your living reality, there will certainly be no more questions. Your seeking will be over. As for my blog, feel free to stop by any time.
Question: So a big Thank You for being the bright light and brilliant communicator that you are.
Rodney: You are most welcome.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
--Wake up, Neo.--
See that you are only the seeing. Nothing else.
You never fully come out of deep sleep (which is awareness without thoughts, images, feelings, etc). Presence remains firmly in the background during your day-to-day activities, witnessing your varying states of consciousness, as well as radiating through them. Indeed, all is awareness.
Being in love is the closest thing that one can compare to self-realization. But it is a love that is wholly without deception, turmoil, disappointment, or end. There is no personal element to it at all. And yet, it is the most giving, the most intimate, and the most radiant of things. Its Adoration is fully present. It is love beyond Love: It is Love itself.
True Self-inquiry isn't a practice. It is, as the name implies, an inquiry that is allowed to easily unfold. Let us say you have the thought, "I am brilliant." What you're looking for is the quick, out-of-the-blue response, "Who is brilliant?" It is only when this response is natural and unexpected that it delivers a deep pause. And if you remain with that pause, you may see that there is no "who" present at all; but rather, a magnificent spaciousness that is both untouched and unborn. This is the Self-inquiry about which Ramana Mahashi was speaking.
You are not your thoughts, body, and feelings. You are the awareness that is aware of your thoughts, body, and feelings. Intuit the clear and simple reality of this, and you needn't concern yourself with attempting to cease identification with your physicality and concepts. This will happen of its own accord.
Four A.M. -- Coffee, Bach, email, blog-work, unfathomable beingness....
You would not be able to perceive that you are awake and conscious if you were not that that is prior to consciousness. Allow yourself to be halted by this glorious truth. Don't rush back to thoughts and thinking. Self-knowing is one of the sim-plest of things. There is absolutely nothing abstruse or theoretical about it. Nor is it anything that you have to strive for or achieve. Simply see what is being pointed to--an utterly peaceful and inherent presence that is prior to all thoughts and conceptualizing.
What is it from which you never move? It can't be your body, because--among other things--your body is clearly animated by something other than itself. It can't be your thoughts because your thoughts come and go. Ditto consciousness. What is, at this very moment, that is subtler than consciousness? Find it, see it, revel in it. This is your Reality.
You are already That which you are seeking. See this subtle whatness that is both before you and within you. It is pure intelligence-- sheer, knowing, and eternal.
Self-realization is the seeing or understanding that you are awareness itself. There is no need for you to practice, become, or achieve anything. That's the glory of nonduality, which is the ultimate Truth. And you, quite literally, are that Truth. It is supremely present at this very moment. It only appears not to be evident because you are overlooking it. Back up, back up! See that there is a felt-presence and sheerness that is prior to your changing states of consciousness. That is what you are! That is your essence and freedom. Do Not Move From This.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Question: We have come across your blog via John Wheeler's website. I want to thank you for your clear and direct pointing to our natural state.
Rodney: You are welcome. And I'm glad that you discovered John's fine site. It's a pristine multiplicity of bright truths and pointing. All one needs to do is heed what is there. And because pointers don't have to be verbal, John is now including beautiful pictures of the universe that just may give you pause. Other powerful visual pointers you might want to check out is the picture of the park in Tony Parsons' As It Is, the cover-photo of U.G. Krishnamurti on his The Mystique of Enlightenment, the dock-image on Charlie Hayes' Website and blog, and certain pictures of Nisargadatta gazing directly into the camera.
Question: Yes, I will look into those. And I love the information that John includes at the bottom of each image.
Rodney: After reading the info, go back to the picture itself. Allow the beauty, power, and majesty of it to bring you to a stillness that is nothing less than your true Self. Don't make it an effort. You will resonate with some pictures more than others, of course. Or you may not resonate with stellar images at all. Every personality is different.
Question: Relatedly, I wonder what the process was for you, subjectively, on how were you able to recognize your natural state?
Rodney: I could easily go into detail about that. And by "easily," I mean give an even and accurate accounting how this seeing occurred. Why do I bother (though I have grown a little bored with telling it)? Because the answers to such inquiries can sometimes help point the way to someone else's understanding, as long as that someone knows that there is no actual "person" that awakens, and that his or her understanding will, in all likelihood, not occur the same exact manner. It's the knowing that's paramount here, not the manner in which is happens. That said, it would be, easier for me to give you a link in which I speak about the recognition of my natural state in the spring of 2007:
This is an article I did for Advaita.org last year. If you have any questions after perusing it, please feel free to write.
Question: Thank you, I eagerly look forward to reading it...One quick question--How have you been able to abide in that natural state, without the mind or the ego constantly over shadowing the pure awareness that you are?
Rodney: Abiding as pure awareness involves no effort or maintenance. It is a discovery that you are That, presence itself. You never move from this. Thus, the mind, which is nothing but the appearance of thoughts, is never an over shadowing presence. Thoughts and emotions appear in awareness, and then disappear. There may be some brief and occasional identification with them, but it's never a problem. Having thoughts is a normal functioning of life. It's a part of this body/mind being lived. What's vital is to take note of is that there is a boundless and unchanging background that is nothing less than your true nature. Thus, it is the what--not the who--that is to be discovered and understood. Just see this for yourself. It isn't at all difficult to recognize. You're simply looking passed it, thinking that it is somewhere outside of yourself, or even heavenward! But it is the Presence behind these very words that you are reading right now. You know doubt feel it: An indefinable immediacy and spaciousness. Allow that feeling to bring you to pause. Because in doing that, it is bringing you to yourself. Then you see that were always home.
Question: Thank you for the beautiful response, Rodney. I'm tearing up a little, but don't know why.
Rodney: No worries. If tears appear, tears are fine.
Question: I will check into the article above. I'm sure I will have an extra question or two. In the meantime, thank you again.