Monday, January 25, 2010

Q&A: Falling from Error

Question: Rodney, thanks for your writing. I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and I love reading it. There is a clarity and simplicity to it that I really appreciate, and feel touched by.

Rodney: Thanks for your lovely words. And I'm delighted, of course, that the blog resonates with you.

Q: I live in The Midlands too, but it is in Nottingham, UK, which is currently covered in beautiful snow.

Rodney: Oh, please send some this way! Or at least a few digital pictures. We haven't had snow in the Midlands of South Carolina for what seems like nearly a decade.

Q: Today, as I read your first couple of pointers, tears came at the words, "Nonconceptual Reality is totally beyond the mind (i.e., it can neither be found in the mind nor by the mind"). Thus, no amount of concentrated effort or theorizing can "get" you there." There was an emotional letting go as I realised that I have believed that concentrated effort would, somehow, get me to That, even though I've read so many times that this realisation has nothing to do with the mind.

Rodney: Allow the tears to come. They are, after all, a kind of pause, in themselves. Further, such apperceptions can sometimes trigger an emotional response. Every personality is different. Some people have a rush of feelings upon seeing a baby's innocent, outstretched arms to them; or when peering into an abandoned kitten's fright-ened blue eyes; or upon hearing a particularly strand of music (an angelic concerto by Georg Philipp Telemann is playing on the radio as I type these words); or when standing in front of a stunning work of art. At such moments, fully allow whatever pause is there to deepen (which happens immediately; there is no deepening "process"). See that there is a nonconceptual, space-like awareness just beneath and behind the tears and the joy.

Q: I think I see what you mean--to let the understanding come of itself, and not make it into something on my 'to do' list, along with other staples such as 'improving my relationship' and 'sorting out my health'.

Rodney: Precisely. The seeing
is the understand-ing. There is no "you" to see, and neither is there a "you" that understands. There is simply felt-awareness without end. And as the ancients succinctly put it, "You are That." But this is even better framed--though not quite as poetically--in the statement, "That thou art." For this points to the fact that, from the very beginning, there is only Presence. You may label it God, Brahman, awareness, spaciousness, the Absolute, cognitizing emptiness, etc. Use whatever term with which you are comfortable.

Q: I know that there was this profound uprising of compassion that came from reading your pointer. But right now, it feels as if I am in some nether-world. I find it hard to put into words. And yet.... there is still the feeling that I haven't realised it yet, that there is still somewhere to go and something to get.

Rodney: Yes, but of course, there isn't. You are what you are: Awareness itself. Through our body/minds, awareness--in its natural state--feels like eternal sheerness, utter serenity and clarity, or unblemished beingness.
Again, take your pick. The description is not the thing anyway--just a pointer to that which you already are. So there is absolutely nothing to attain, nothing to work at, and nothing to journey to. Not for a second do you ever move this treasured peace and benevo-lence. How could you? You are the spaciousness! You are That! Everything that comes after it--e.g., thoughts, feelings, ideas, doubts, sensations, images, etc--are merely appearances in that Boundlessness. Huang Po put it nicely when he said that awareness is "that which you see before you--begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error."

Q: Thanks for the detailed reply. I really appreciate it. Yes, I've had that sense of being "paused" a number of times over the last year or so, and I know that for me that pausing usually comes with either crying, or less frequently, laughter. It's awesome to me how we can read the same words or pointers repeatedly, taking them in intellectually, and then one day read the same thing and suddenly have that wave of recognition or realisation beyond the mind.

Rodney: Absolutely. I couldn't have phrased it better myself.

Q: And I rather like the idea of being paused, as that is just how it feels. And what you've said about always being this, that there is no striving necessary, resonates very strongly within me. In some subtle way, over the last few months, I've noticed that whilst there has still been a sense of suffering, at times, I'm just taking it all a bit less personally, buying into ideas and stories about how and why things are just a little bit less. It reminds me of a residential with Tony Parsons that I went to last year, when it became clear that I was not going to get anything, that there was nothing to do and nowhere to go, no striving necessary, and it felt like the most loving thing ever.

Rodney: You are seeing things very clearly, as well as articulating your insights with considerable grace. Continue to explore the various points above (if you so choose), while allowing your heart--your marvelously intuitive heart--to lead the way.

Q: Right now, my heart is telling me to start with my sense of existence, which you wrote about in one of your early postings. That I know, and it's so clearly always here. So I'll just follow my nose from there and see what happens.

Rodney: That all sounds good.

Q: The snow here is really beautiful, Rodney. I hope, by some miracle, it comes your way. The whole country is covered. I'm told, in fact, that it's the snowiest and coldest weather since 1981. Here, it hasn't been bad enough to cause disruption, although most of the roads and pavements are very icy. I've been at the local park with my dog this afternoon - the snow covered trees and grass, glinting in the low afternoon sunlight, crunching underfoot and people on sledges. It's wonderful!

Rodney: Well, just so you know: In your concluding sentence, you employ my most favorite word in the English language. Thus, you have described it perfectly. So, thank

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pointers & Review

Every object is a pointer to the Absolute--even our egos.


Liberation isn't the end of bondage. It is the seeing or understanding that you have
always been Freedom itself--bare, utter, and complete.


The Absolute can never be described or communicated to anybody. All one can do is point.


You can't annihilate the ego (which is just an appearance anyway) or attain some egoless state. Those are spiritual fictions. Simply direct your attention to your ever-present
presence of awareness until it is clear and undeniable. Then thoughts and feelings are naturally balanced.


A religious or spiritual experience connotes that, at some time or the other, you were
happy. Upon the recognition of your natural state, you discover that you are Happiness proper.


You can't find peace in thoughts and concepts because peace is a total pause in theorizing and conceptualization. Peace shows its prominence (or rather, its prominence is made clear) when your mind or thinking is completely and effortlessly still.


Boris and Clair Jansch's
Who's Driving the Dream-bus? (Baci Films/99 mins) is a beautiful and illu-minating work. It details Boris's spiritual seeking through a rapt series of interviews with eight teachers and writers: Gangaji, Tony Parsons, Genpo Roshi, Timothy Freke, Guy Smith, Toni Packer, Amit Goswami, and Jeff Foster. Given the number of people questioned, viewers are likely to find themselves resonating with at least one of the teachers here. Most of them make astute and obviously lived-declarations and pointers (though I would take issue with a handful of the statements made). The filmmakers are attentive documen-tarians: The lighting is crisp and nuanced; the sound quality is excellent; and the scenes are invitingly sequenced and gorgeously composed. Indeed, some of the shots are so winningly framed that they qualify as cinematographic pointers in themselves. I'm particularly thinking of the quiet, opening shot of some urban quay (the Thames?) and the setting sun over an ocean and beach (this, ironically, is in the chapter titled "Enlightenment/Self-Realisation"). It's little wonder that the film was one of the Official Selections at the Science & Non-Duality Film Festival and the winner of the "Premier Award" at the Insight Film Festival. Along with the above material, there is a Director's interview in the first Disc. In Disc 2, each of the teachers talk about specific topics, which range from their backgrounds and how they came to their understanding to God, Death, and Seeking. So it is well-worth getting the 2-Disc edition, which has nearly two-hours of additional footage. The Single-Disc version sells for $27.00, plus shipping and handling. The 2-Disc edition costs $34.00, plus shipping and handling. The filmmakers' colorful Web site can be found at:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Q&A: There Is No Spoon

Question: Hi, Rodney. I love your latest batch of pointers. I can instinctively feel the "rightness" of the following one -- "What is it that is present, but is not your body, your thoughts, your sensations, or even 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."

Rodney: The part about "coming back" to a pointer at some later time is a worthwhile consi-deration. I know someone who happened to have been reading a sentence or two from the blog that deeply moved him. He didn't come to a sudden understanding of at that point. That came later, when he was reflecting upon the pointer while washing a spoon in the kitchen. "The washing slowed," he wrote, "not because I was trying to do it, but because I was, like, seeing/ feeling this spaciousness around
the spoon! And that this spaciousness was the genuine me!"

Q: What a beautiful story!

Rodney: Yes, very quiet, very ordinary. Yet, monumental in the sense that this former-seeker ended up discovering the deep peace and radi-ance of his ever-present Reality. He just hap-pened to go to the kitchen sink for a moment, half-reflecting on what he had previously perused and been moved by. The pause was significant enough that the gentleman was able to apperceive awareness in all of its richness and glory.

Q: And ultimately, there is no spoon, of course! (Laughing).

Rodney: Excellent! Right, as
The Matrix correctly (on this issue) points out: There is no spoon. There is awareness manifesting as a spoon. But it's all presence.

Q: I'm continuing to focus on that. For a while there, I was confusing the by-product of awakening --the bliss and fireworks that came and went--with awakening itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. The bliss and fireworks were obviously experiences that were happening inside of Big I. But this was ultimately confusing because there was the thinking that the experiences were happening to Little I. Ridiculous. Nothing happens to Little I. Little I is a happening itself. Little I is another rising and falling event within the stillness of This That Sees.

Rodney: Correct. The "Little I" can't possibly grasp or recognize the Ultimate I. For the very moment you attempt to utilize a self-image (whether it be a thought, a feeling, a personality, or an assumed body or person), you are implicitly declaring that you are
not already what you are seeking. And that, most definitely, is not the case. Truly, you lack for nothing. At this very second, you are awareness proper. See that there is this some-thing that remains absolutely still, no matter what thoughts, emotions, or perceptions may arise.

Q: Well, I'm continuing to do very little to try to wake up.

Rodney: Even a little is too much. There can be no half-measures here.

Q: You mean, essentially I'm helpless.

Rodney: That which you perceive as "you" is helpless, yes. For your sense of separation is only that: An apparency that doesn't bare up to close inspection.

Q: I'm starting to fell ragged. I think I'm going to just take a little break all this.

Rodney: Sounds good!

Q: But I already know that after a couple of days, the non-search (or whatever you may call it) will all begin again. It never lasts for very long. The compulsion (what else can you call it?) will be on me again shortly, but I intend to appreciate the rest.

Rodney: That which you call a "compulsion" is just a your deep faith that you are
already awareness itself. So, the less stressful you make all of this, the better. Otherwise, you are likely to continue to do what you are doing: Overlooking the obvious. But don't feel put-upon. For this is the heart of the issue for nearly all seekers. Yet, coming to this understanding need not be time-consuming or burdensome. The seeing is akin to being told by some knowing and compassionate soul that there is a smiling face within this picture of apparently disconnected dots. So, you naturally relax--even smile--to yourself, as you earnestly look for what you know is already before you.

Q: Yes, I see what you mean. But right now, it seems like there is this mind that insists upon pinning down God or It or Reality, if you will. It wants to place It--meaning attach some central focal point onto Spaciousness--either behind the body-mind, or in front of it. Everything, of course, is in relation to the human unit, which the mind views as the Hub of All Things. But God, Spaciousness, or whatever word one wishes to use entirely encompasses and permeates the body-mind--and everything else.

Rodney: What arises in the mind is neither here nor there, particularly any thought or concept saying that it (the mind) is the "Hub of it all." Move from this conceptual focusing to seeing what the concepts are pointing
to. It is easy to get lost--and ragged!--in nondual conceptualization. So go ahead: Take some time away from all this. Then return to it, if you so choose, with ease and gentleness. Don't work at it. For it works on you--or rather, the assumed "you"!

Q: So the awareness is there, but it's not there.

Rodney: No, no. Not only is it thoroughly present, but it is precisely
what you are. The "it's not there" is merely a thought coming up. So let your focus be on the immediate and luxuriant nature of awareness, and not on some idea that is appearing in awareness.

Q: Yes, conceptually, I see the great Truth of it. But it just stops there...I am worn out, I really am. I'm not deeply despondent, but I am absolutely worn out. About all I can stand doing in the spiritual vein right now is writing you, reading your blog, and maybe reading a little of Rumi.

Rodney: Better Rumi than your attempting to force something.

Q: Exactly! It's like I've been forever trying to open a can of beans with my fingernails!

Rodney: Again, nonduality works on you. Not you on it. The seeing comes from the direction of presence, not from this apparent individual that you take yourself be. If you remain mindful of that, you should be fine. For as we mentioned earlier, there is no spoon--or "you." Both are appearances in awareness. And you are That.

Q: Bravo!...Thank you, my friend. Everything is a bit fresher.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


What is it that is already awake?


Nonconceptual Reality is totally beyond the mind (i.e., it can neither be found
in the mind nor by the mind). Thus, no amount of concentrated effort or theorizing can "get" you there. So relax and see that there is a sure presence of awareness directly before you and as you at this very moment.


Awareness witnesses
through consciousness. Thus, consciousness is clearly not the Ultimate I.


Consciousness is a state or movement within awareness. It is closely linked to the body, and its attributes include awakeness, dreaming, drowsi-ness, and sleeping. Awareness is spaciousness, but it is not a void. It is a very real and cognitizing presence that can't begin to be put into words.


Again, you are spaciousness. You are
not your body or your mind. You are that which knows that your body and your varying states of conscious-ness are present. Your body and mind are not even "yours." They are merely appearances in awareness and are comprised of nothing but awareness.


All pointers are just a way of saying that You Are Awareness Itself. Full Stop.


Thoughts, feelings, and occurrences have no independent existence from presence. Any talk of form and formlessness (or even of origination) is just that: Talk. Mere conceptualization. Yes, concepts are needed to speak and to communi-cate with one another. But
see to what the concepts are pointing. Don't get ensnared or enraptured by terms and expressions.


There is no one to rest
as or in awareness. Any thinking in that direction, however limited, leads you nowhere. For Truth can only be seen by Truth. And when this seeing occurs, it is quick, unquestionable, and completely free of any "I" or "you."


Perception proves the existence of awareness, and the not the existence of the objects themselves.


Wisdom is self-knowledge, not
objective or conceptual knowledge.


Completely forget your thoughts and body for a moment. Even shelve the fact that you are presently awake. What is it, at this very second, that effortlessly remains? Re-read the previous sentences and see the clarity to which the words are pointing. What is it, at the end of the words that you are perusing right now, that wonderfully remains...?