Monday, August 9, 2010

Q&A: Shifting Your Attention

Question: Hello Rodney! I'm a coed at the University of Florida, and I've been listening to and thoroughly enjoying the Urban Guru Cafe podcast that you did last year.

Rodney: Happy to hear you're enjoying it. I've never been to Florida, but I've always wanted to visit South Beach--even in the summer, with all of SoBe's heat and humidity.

Q: Come on down! I'll give you a personal tour. Maybe we can even have a Satsang on the sand. :)

Rodney: Only if we have a
very shady umbrella and numerous bottles of cold, green tea.

Q: Not to worry. I'll take care of all the details...While we're on the subject, are you planning any talks near Florida, or anywhere actually? I would really make it a point of trying to attend. For the way you explain nonduality and its related matters are so interesting and clear.

Rodney: There is the possibility of some talks being set up here in Columbia (SC), perhaps sometime in the Fall. It's really in its infancy stages, and is largely dependent upon local interest and the generous efforts of a fine West Columbia-based nonduality group. But I will announce it on my blog when and if the talks begin.

Q: Great!...In the meantime, I have a question. When I close my eyes, there is a definite spaciousness. But, after a moment, I get caught up in thoughts and feelings again. What is it that gets caught up, if I am ever present awareness?

Rodney: Ultimately, there is no one who gets "caught up" in such things. What happens is that while you are sitting with your eyes closed (neither the sitting nor the eyes being closed is a prerequisite for realizing your natural state, by the way), a thought comes up in presence and is recognized by presence. If your attention remains on the thought, you'll probably get another thought saying something to the effect of "Why can't I still my mind?" or "Why am I such a bad meditator?" And by then, of course, there are a slew of other similar questions and assessments popping up. But the thoughts are inconsequential. They are a part of the body/mind experience. Be thankful that they are there! In order to perceive that even your body/mind is an appearance, shift your attention away from the thoughts to that
presence of awareness from which they arise. And this shift requires no strain or undue effort. It is a relaxed and simple understanding of something that has always been available to you.

Q: Okay, I think I see what you mean now. It's like all of this spiritual stuff--yoga and meditation etc.--are things "on top" of what we already are.

Rodney: Precisely. Though if you enjoy yoga, meditation, and sitting, by all means enjoy them. (For I certainly still enjoy yoga!) Just know that they are not a route or a way to discover your true Self.

Q: It's really great to know that it can be that easy.

Rodney: It
is that easy. Just reflect upon all of this when you feel an inclination to do so. See that no matter what thoughts, emotions, or questions are there, that there is an unchanging presence of awareness in which all of those things are appearing. You will then discern, in no uncertain terms,that this pristine sheerness is who and what you actually are. Again, you are the spaciousness. That point is central to your seeing this for yourself. And this apperception and understanding is one of the simplest things in the world to come by. It is just a matter of seeing what you have been overlooking.

Q: Thanks so much, Rodney! I'm getting the cooler out for our bottles of green tea as I type, which is no easy task, mind you. But, hey, anything for our SoBe Satsang!


The interview that I recently did for the new online publication,
Nonduality Magazine, can be found at the following link:

If the link isn't highlighted (or is highlighted but won't open), simply copy and paste it into your Subject line, and click.


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