Sunday, February 6, 2011

Q&A: A Sort of Amazing Experience

Question: Rodney, I've had a sort of amazing experience, and am not sure what to make of it. I don't know if it's an "awakening" experience or what, and I was wondering if I might get your insight. Afterall, you've already been there, done that, and surely have a better understanding of the terrain than most.

Rodney: Tell me about it.

Q: I've been noticing, every now and again, that my center of energy shifts away from its usual location in my head (mind...thinking) to my heart (deep thoughts...clarity). It happened spontaneously the first time, and I simply noticed it with interest.

Rodney: Good, that's the way to observe such things--simply noticing them (with curiosity or not) and letting them go.

Q: Well, you see, that's just it. I don't let them go. As soon as my mind catches wind of what's happening, it jumps in and tries to "assist," and the experience stops. But then it happens again, and again. It feels like the center of consciousness/awareness is suddenly located in the heart region. And when it happens, there are no thoughts (or rather, no attachment to thoughts), and there is a permeating sense of mystery and utter fascination. (I remember your love of the word "wonderful," and I see now how very accurate that word is). I witness my environment in an innocent, childlike way. There is no particular sense of joy, bliss, none of that....just clarity and an emptiness that 'shines', for lack of a better word.

Rodney: Thanks for relating the details. But as beautiful and as captivating as the above sounds, it's all experiences. Just to touch upon a few key points: 1) Awareness isn't localized in any area of the body--rather, the entire body is an appearance in it; 2) Awareness doesn't cease to exist when thoughts and feelings (i.e. mind) arise; 3) Even witnessing your environment in "an innocent, childway way" hints of a someone--however wholesome and well-meaning--doing the observing; and 4) "Fascination" is not a term that I would use in connection with presence--however, "clarity" and "emptiness" certainly are. Indeed, they hit the nail squarely on the head.

Q: If this is Consciousness awakening in me, then it's astonishingly uncomplicated, though the moments are brief. And there are no bells, whistles, or choruses singing Bach in the background. That too would feel like clutter. No, this is just about as simple and unadulterated as it gets.

Rodney: Well, it gets even simpler when you see and understand that consciousness isn't awakening in you. In fact, c
onsciousness--your sense of being present and of knowing that you are present--doesn't change in any significant way with self-realization, except to operate more efficiently. But you do seem to be experiencing moments stillness and clarity. Now notice that there is a felt-presence of awareness even within those pristine moments; It is an expansiveness that is ever there, that is neither an experience nor a notion; but rather, a limitless actuality that is nothing less than your true and natural state.

Q: Hmm, okay...I guess the good news is that I can stop tying myself in knots, wondering when I would have those next clear moments, as well as sometimes even trying to have them and seeing if I could prolong them in some way.

Rodney: Right, none of that is needed. If you happen to feel a temporary sense of "clarity" and "emptiness" in your heart region, merely take note that it is there. Don't try to do anything to "steady" it. That's the mind is operation. Just know or recognize that awareness is maintained by its own existence. It's self-luminous, and it requires absolutely nothing from you.

Q: Well, truth be told, all of those attempts at stabilizing it were starting to wear me out!...Thank you, Rodney. As always, I appreciate the wisdom and light that you share so openly on your blog.

Rodney: You're most welcomed. And remember, your
presence of awareness is the answer, and not any verbal response that I might give you.


News & Info

"Loved the book, Rodney. Enjoyed it as much as John Wheeler's first book, Awakening to the Natural State. My favourite quote of yours was "you are no more your personal history than you are your toothbrush." I like the fact that you included little tidbits of your life and surrounds. It felt more like reading a book on travel or history than some of the other textbook style books on nonduality. I think for anyone serious about a direct approach, your book and John Wheeler's are the two to have." -- Ian


A Vastness All Around: Awakening to Your Natural State is now available for purchase. Rodney's first collection of essays, discussions, interviews and powerful pointers can be ordered directly from the publisher at Lulu Press.


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