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!