Questioner: Hey, man. It's been a while since I've written. Sorry about that. I've been concentrating on work, wife, and kids.
Rodney: It sounds like you've got three full-time jobs there. Don't be concerned about writing to me. Just focus on getting your rest and sleep!
Q: I hear ya! Still, I just wanted to give you a shout-out and let you know how much your writing continues to mean to me. Sometimes, I may not be getting what you're saying. But I'm still captivated, you know? I've even found myself glued to the computer screen, and not knowing why.
Rodney: The "not-knowing" is perfectly fine. The important thing is the pause (or at least the slowing down of thought and conceptualization), and your recognition of it. Most people overlook that the "full stop" (as Bob Adamson nicely terms it) has momentarily happened, which is unfortunate, to say the least. For the pause is both the gateway to presence and is presence itself. I even hesitate to use the term "gateway" because awareness isn't something that you move into. And neither is it some rapturous state, which is just an experience and not awareness proper, which is your fundamental reality.
Q: But how to I stay at that full stop?
Rodney: Once presence is recognized, you don't have to do a thing to "remain" there or to maintain the seeing. The seeing and and understanding fully stops you to who and what you actually are. Presence is then beautifully apparent and unmoving. Thoughts, feelings, silliness, anger, and joy will still come up; but they will come up and disappear within a pristine expanse that is nothing less than Existence itself. So that is very little identification with any thoughts and emotions. They are like waves in the ocean, rising and falling, coming and going. But what is it that remains? What is it about the waves that does not change?
Q: I don't have a clue.
Rodney: It's the fact that all waves are water. It's all one sea.
Q: Oh man, how did I miss that?
Rodney: Don't stress about it. You'll likely be saying the same thing about awareness one of these days.
Q: That's the plan! (Laughing)
Rodney: And be careful about queries relating to "how" when it comes to nonduality. If such questions naturally come up (as it did here), we can certainly address them. But know that when you are centered on the "how" as it relates to this understanding, you are focused on a "future" event, rather than on what is right here, at this very moment. So if you're going to remain with anything, remain with the fact that you are seeking something that is directly in front of you. And even that is a bit of a stretch; for you are It. You are awareness itself, which--within the body/mind--expresses itself is a peace and presence that defies all acclamation.
Q: I've been trying to read The Lamp of Non-Dual Knowledge and Cream of Liberation, because Ramana Maharshi recommended them. What do you think about those books?
Rodney: Well, I have those titles on my own bookshelf, and they aren't easy reading. They are over five-hundred years old and dense with advaitic and metaphysical references. And much of what is recommended in them isn't necessary at all (and some of it is even flat-out wrong). So if I were to recommend anything, it would be for you to explore more contemporary writers and teachers with whom you resonate. Then when your understanding is clear and beyond doubt, you can go back to those books (if you feel any inclination to do so) and read them anew. Then you will have a better sense of what the authors were saying or attempting to say. You will also be able to readily perceive statements that badly translated, romantically rendered, or simply incorrect.
Q: I know that this is probably a stupid question, but do you still remember how it felt like before you awakened?
Rodney: Vaguely. I really have to struggle for that remembrance to come up. Then, after while, the sense of isolation, malaise, and anxiousness are briefly recollected.
Q: Yep, that's me! Every one of them.
Rodney: They are only the apparent you. And that's one of the central tenets of this blog: That what you take to be yourself is not that at all. You are that in which all of your body and mind arise. And really, this natural state is beyond spaciousness. That's just a pointer to Beingness itself. Our sense of spaciousness is contained within presence, which is beyond description. Yet, it is so plainly and radiantly evident that you will wonder--upon its discovery--how it ever could have been missed.
Q: Well, I'm on it, That's all I can say. I just can't let go of this.
Rodney: It sounds like earnestness to me.
Q: Happy to hear it. At least that's a start!
Rodney: More of an ending, without a doubt.
Q: Thanks, man. That really touches me....It's good I'm not the crying type, right?
Rodney: You and me, both.
Here is an interview that I recently did for the new online publication, Nonduality Magazine: http://www.nondualitymagazine.org/nonduality_magazine_volume_1.contents.htm