Question: I just finished the audio book Perfect Brilliant Stillness, by David Carse and read by Terrance Stamp. I thoroughly enjoyed this work because Carse was so brutally honest about there not being a separate individual at all and that what we are is just presence, awareness.
Rodney: Yes, I purchased that title years back. It's definitely a keeper, and I still have it somewhere on my bookshelf. I haven't heard the audio version. However, Terence Stamp appears to have been the perfect reader; for his temperament seems fully in sync with Carse's.
Question: He certainly provides no new information, but I found his whole story an adventure, and I liked how he just went back to carpentry and sort of just disappeared.
Rodney: There is really no new information when it comes to nonduality. What is original, though, is the perspective of the person who comes to this understanding. He or she then speaks and writes about it (if the person is inclined to do so) in his own way, which will no doubt resonate with certain seekers.
Question: Yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that it is a very genuine story. It rekindles a hope (there is that nasty "future" again) that I will see this non-existent me that is so obviously right in front of me, and will then wonder how I ever missed it.
Rodney: Oh, but you do exist! You are Self itself. Even thoughts and emotions are certainly there. But what is not present is a sustained, individual you that is different from and outside of awareness. That fictitious entity is maintained largely through memory and our re-occurring body-sense.
Q: I have to tell you, Rodney, I feel like all of this is like some sort of "Tractor Beam" slowly pulling at me, and I can't seem to break free. I feel it in my heart, and it brings me to tears sometimes. I have read so many nondual books and looked at so many nondual DVDs. I have been at this for a couple of years now, maybe three. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I just pack all the books and DVDs up and throw them in a closet and say, "That's it, I've had enough, I can't do this anymore!"
Rodney: And that's okay, too. Nondual books and DVDs (at least those that are replete with clear pointing) aren't really to blame. All too often seekers read and watch them strictly from a conceptual or even mythical standpoint. So there will indeed be frustration because they will never see that to which the writers or teachers are pointing, which is their own true self. The machinations of thought and memory have to briefly stop or be paused. But this has to happen naturally. It can't be done through meditation or concentration. Then there is a simple seeing of what has always been radiantly present.
Q: And you know what else frustrates me? All those turbulent years in Christianity, being conditioned to pray to God for help whenever I felt helpless or desperate. Supposedly, this was a God who listened to us because he loved us. Now it turns out that this God is within us, and not in Heaven some where. Those were just years wasted.
Rodney: And now it's over. Count your blessings that you have seen the Light, so to speak--that you now have this innate feeling of who and what God really must be.
Q: But it is soooooo frustrating that something that is so simple and right in front of me is so elusive. And you can't talk about this to people, OMG, they think you are nuts when you suggest that all this is an illusion, an "apparent" body/mind/life.
Rodney: See the other perspective, though, which--I can assure you--is the correct one. And that is that it is such an incredible thing that presence is "so simple and right in front of me." That sterling fact, in itself, is enough to make one want to shout Emaho! (that Tibetan/Dzogchen exclamation meaning Yes! Marvelous! Far out! Amazing!). While your understanding may not yet be clear, you intuit that it is one of the easiest things in the world to come to. Be thankful for this fact, that presence isn't something that you have to attain or work toward. It is what you are at this very moment. Allow yourself to be paused by the following: What is it, right now, that is not a thought, an emotion, or a body sensation? What is it, right now, that is subtle, beginningless, and most definitely present? Ponder this, keep it in your heart, and you will see for yourself that you have always been the answer.
Q: Thanks for listening, my friend. Sorry this went on so long. I know you must get boat loads of email. I really appreciate your blog for its clarity and truth. Please keep it up.
Rodney: You're most welcome.
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