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.