Monday, November 23, 2009


What is present? Not who.


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

Q&A: Amazing Grace

Question: Good afternoon, Rodney. I have just listened to and really enjoyed your interview on Urban Guru Cafe.

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.

Q: And I love the music selections, along with hearing your voice.

Rodney: Kudos to Gilbert and Areti for the music also. I, myself, was particularly moved by the Sting selection and those elegant strands of Amazing Grace. Speaking of which, one could well say that about one's natural state--that it, itself, is a kind of Amazing Grace.

Q: After listening to your interview, I went on to enjoy reading your blog, with its clear-writing and pointers.

Rodney: Clarity is a vital issue for me. Whether I'm writing succinctly or at length on any point, being clear is foremost in my mind. Because the clearer I am, the more accurately I am pointing. Our minds want to make nonduality appear complicated, "far off," and something that must be "mastered" or achieved. That's the only way that our thinking selves can make any sense of it. But by following those notions, we go straight passed what is immediate and ever-present, which is presence itself. Concepts, of course, have their place. We couldn't communicate and function socially without them. But because our focus here is on this nondual, living Reality, we have to come to see--for ourselves--how, when conceptual thinking is naturally halted, that what remains is what we always have been.

Q: I've been eagerly learning/studying for the past several years and have recently focused on Advaita and found John Wheeler's book [Awakening to the Natural State] to be a huge help. You and he say that there is no process involved in awakening. Would you not call the 19 or so times you read John Wheeler's book as a process of sorts?!

Rodney: Oh, not an all!

Q: Oh, okay. [Laughter].

Rodney: I read John's book over a dozen times before my understanding occurred. But that wasn't a process; it was simply how things happened. There was no structure to it all, and structure is one of the components that is implicit in a process. I simply stretched out on my old green sofa each afternoon and delved into the richness of the book. The reclining, the sofa, and even the color of the sofa were neither here nor there. More important was the fact that there was no effort involved in my reading. For I was completely captivated by John's prose, pointing, and details. There was just this deep or intuitive knowing, on my part, that what he was saying was the absolute truth.

Q: Yes, it's the exact same with me!

Rodney: Also, I happened to have been the classic "earnest" seeker, i.e., nothing interested me more than getting to the bottom of who and what I truly was. And I wasn't going to allow anything or anyone get in the way of that. (Alas, some my old girlfriends will attest to that!) An "earnest seeker," as Nisargadatta and sages noted, is never rude or harsh, just determined. Even "determined" probably isn't quite right. "Undeterred" is more on-point. And when you find a teacher with whom you resonate, then you follow his words, talks, advice, and writing with great ease and an abiding faith. Finally, you come to the point where you leave even the teacher's words behind! This occurs when you see that you, literally, are the answer; that--for however long a time--you have been looking beyond yourself at varying thoughts, concepts, emotions, and what-have-you. But awareness has always been there, resplendent and in plain view.

Q: Yes, the teacher doesn't give you anything. She just shows you, as you said, that you are the answer that you are seeking!

Rodney: Precisely. And that was what John Wheeler pointed out for me to see. So continue with your reading and reflections. And be especially attune to any pauses that naturally occur during those times. For the pauses are awareness proper. They are THAT. They only appear nondescript because you have not properly brought your attention to them. And during any reflective moment or pause, allow the following question to be gently present: "What am I looking at, but apparently not seeing?"

Q: Got it! And will do. One of the difficulties that I've come to see with nonduality is in understanding way we each define words, such as "process" and "awareness." So thanks for the great explanations, and please keep writing. I love your blog!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Q&A: To the Breach

Question: Hello, Rodney. I live in Columbia (SC), as well. It's great to see there's someone in town who shares a common grounding.

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."

Q: "Or close the wall up with our English dead."

Rodney: Very good!

Q: Thanks...Like you, I've been on a spiritual path for a lot of years, beginning with Buddhism and then moving on to books and recordings by Eckhart Tolle, Nisargadatta, Ramana, Byron Katie, Ramesh Balsekar, Gangaji, Tony Parsons, pretty much everybody. I've been immersed in Adyashanti's teachings for the last year.

Rodney: How is it all going?

Q: I've had glimpses of Reality (forgive the language), some of them sustained for days, but more often they are slow to come and quick to go. I do know what I am (Awakeness), but I--Big I--seem to lose the living experience of that and then that body/mind/personality entity looms large again. In other words, the story moves back into the foreground. I imagine you understand what's I'm driving at. In essence, I'm saying that I do not have an abiding realization.

Rodney: Right, you don't yet have an abiding realization that you are presence itself. But your insights about the matter are, for the most part, honest, clear-headed, and well-articulated. And that certainly counts for something!

Q: I wonder if you experienced any of the above yourself and if you have any advice?

Rodney: I can empathize with you on a number levels: The years of searching, the exploration of the works by most of the writers you mentioned, and the sundry spiritual experiences (which include numerous blissful periods for hours and even days). But the operative term here is "periods." Not only did they not last, but they were "experiences" of joy and peace, i.e., mere semblances of them. And there was still the assumed-person having these experiences. As long as that assumption is there, there can be no deep and final understanding.

Q: Yes, I see what you mean.

Rodney: The ultimate state, as Nisargadatta points out, is your natural state. There is nothing to gain or to stabilize because you are It--supreme and knowing spaciousness. This isn't an experience, yet peace and fullness is vividly present. Those are simply two of the qualities of your nonconceptual essence. This fact can only be pointed to. You have to discover it for yourself. And this comes about through an actual seeing or understanding of who and what you actually are. Books, pointers, and talks can only take you so far. But you are certainly going in the "right" direction with all this, and I commend your earnestness.

Q: I will try to just witness the experiences as they come up.

Rodney: But that "I" would be an additional witness. You don't want any notions of an entity remaining, however faintly. Just see that whatever experiences arise (whether joyous or quiet) are born from and already witnessed by a felt-spaciousness that heretofore has been overlooked. Indeed, it is a spaciousness that is so clearly apparent that it is missed by 99.99% of all spiritual seekers.

Q: Alas, I am one of them.

Rodney: That is simply how things appear right now. Continue to move beyond the experiences, knowing that you are the presence of awareness from which they arise. For the experiences themselves, however captivating, are of little importance. I tell seekers that spiritual occurrences are basically on the same levels as dreams, about which, ironically, people still love to discuss or to relay the most intimate details. Awareness is neither an experience nor insubstantial. It is a genuine presence that is both unchanging and unarising. And you can discover this for yourself in the blink of an eye.

Q: As always, many thanks!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


In nonduality, you are the answer.


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.