Saturday, July 23, 2011

Greetings from the Netherlands

Questioner: Hi, Rodney. I'm writing from the Netherlands. The internet can be such a blessing! One discovery after another! I don't even remember precisely how I came across your blog. What I do remember, though, is that after reading some of your postings, I immediately purchased the e-book version of A Vastness All Around. And I loved it so much that I then ordered the paper version, as well.

Rodney: Wow, thanks! I'm thrilled that you resonated with the book.

Q: A few years ago, I found John Wheeler's site. I bought his books and devoured them, as well--re-reading them over and over again. They had a tremendous impact. For the first time, it became clear that before any meditation, practice, or mind-expansion type-stuff, "is-ness" already is, so to speak.

Rodney: Precisely. Any practices toward presence are away from presence. From the very first second, you are looking away from the very thing that you are seeking.

Q: I went on reading (and listening to) a whole bunch of other teachers, including Bob Adamson, Stephen Wingate, Joan Tollifson, Annette Nibley, and Vince Flammini. Again, the Web is such a goldmine, really! The only problem is: there still seems to be a gold-digger here.

Rodney: Yes, the seeker remains.

Q: So a bit of fine-tuning would be most welcome. I particularly want to understand the awareness "versus" consciousness question.

Rodney: Trying to sort out the conceptual differences between awareness and consciousness can be tricky. You end up just re-defining your terms because things have gotten murky. But the issue resolves itself quite clearly with the recognition of your natural state. So begin (and possibly end) with what you already know--that, for instance, during a pause between thoughts--

Q: Right, as soon as I pause thought, there is this immediate and incredibly basic is-ness that I was talking about. It is peaceful, alive, throbbing with a kind of joyful expectation, (very subtle). Is this awareness?

Rodney: It is awareness, but it isn't your natural state, which--while peaceful and immediate--is never "throbbing," "joyful," or filled with any kind of expectation. What you're looking for is a subtle-yet-very definite presence of peace, spaciousness, and tranquility. It does not change in the least, because it is what you are, right here and now.

Q: Right, seeing that there is a "what," and not a "who."

Rodney: Be mindful, too, that there is something that it is not changing throughout your day-to-day life. What is that something? Deliberate on this when you have some time to sit comfortably and quietly, or even while you are out walking--if you are careful! That "something" can't be consciousness because consciousness changes: Thoughts arise and disappear; you feel awake one moment and drowsy the next; feelings come and go; you are responsive to situations and your environment, etc. All these things are part of consciousness. Now take note of the fact that there is a knowingness that is aware that these things are occurring. What is that knowingness?

Q: Yes, I see what you're saying. And it's completely ridiculous that I keep missing it! Because as you say, it is the most ordinary and obvious of things.

Rodney: Don't beat yourself up about it. You're focusing on the "wrong" aspect of the issue. The good (indeed awesome) news is that self-knowledge--because of its immediacy and simplicity--is one of the easiest things to come by. We aren't talking about something that is inherently difficult or a chore to understand. It is your own subtle self at this very moment. It isn't something that you are going to come by at some future date.

Q: Right.

Rodney: Remember, too, that stress will only inhibit your seeing. Let all of this be a gentle but frequent contemplation, all the while knowing that what we are speaking about is a living reality, the whatness of your being, and there is absolutely no lack of it within you.

Q: It's coincidental that you should mention that. T
oday, I was re-reading your book. (It's such a treasure, really!) And I was thinking how you are the first author who underlines so explicitly that it is not so much "Who are you" but "What are you"?

Rodney: Thanks, but most first-rate nondual writers and teachers point to it also. It's just that I tend to make it an issue because it slows the seeker's conceptual momentum. And thus, there is no "I" to build upon--just unbounded peace and spaciousness.


News & Info

JUST IN: Tami Brady reviewed A Vastness All Around on her TCM Reviews page.


"A Vastness All Around is, hands down, one of the best books on nonduality. Thank you for all of your writing." --Alex Taylor


Here's a review of the Kindle Edition of Vastness on Amazon.


Nonduality Magazine has published a discussion with Rodney about his work and book. The extensive and wide-ranging interview was done by John LeKay, the magazine's editor.


"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 Rodney's first collection of essays, discussions, interviews, and powerful pointers. It can be ordered directly from the publisher at Lulu Press.


Vastness is now available for the Amazon Kindle! Order Here.


And for the book's Press Release, click Here.


If you would like to meet Rodney, have him to discuss nonduality, sign books, or read, you can email him at: Such events are self-organized, so funding is key, with groups and universities that can cover travel expenses getting priority. And much appreciation!


John Wheeler's site is no longer up. But earnest and serious seekers can reach him at:


This blog is generally updated every Sunday afternoon, Eastern Standard Time.

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