Monday, December 28, 2009

It's A Gift

I silently saunter through the allee of Callery Pears. These 20 to 30-foot deciduous trees were planted decades ago on both sides of the main thru-way directly in front of the mall in which I work. For the longest while, I didn't know what kind of trees they were. Then I went into our Barnes & Noble, and perused the Sibley Guide. Not only did I find the arbor's identity, I discovered that they were actually planted all around the property! (The younger trees' unblemished barks make them appear slightly different from the maturer pears, with their furrowed trunks.)

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-

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

Q&A: Presence Made Clear

Q: Rodney, I would first like to thank you for the clarity and light in your writing.

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


Spaciousness does not suffer. It is the self-image that we have of ourselves that causes us pain, heartache, and tension. Recognize the truth of what you are. Then any thought or reaction that comes up is seen as merely that: A temporary and impersonal appearance in awareness.


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

Q&A: Notions Nonetheless

Question: Hi, Rodney. Just wanted to touch base with you again. Heard your Urban Guru Cafe interview a couple of weeks ago--just loved it.

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

Pointers & Reviews

Ultimately, nothing we say matters. Awareness is already fully present, and we are That.


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:


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.)