Question: Hey, Rodney. Congratulations on the new book!
Rodney: Thank you.
Q: I've already ordered a copy, and I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Rodney: Thanks again!
Q: How do I recognize something that is "prior to consciousness," as Nisargadatta called awareness? It seems really difficult--make that impossible--from my vantage point.
Rodney: Well, first of all, get rid of the idea of there needing to be a "vantage point" from which to discover presence. The vantage point is part of the problem, because it can take the form of any number of things--your mind, your personality, your gender, your nationality, your physicality, etc.
Q: Those things are just the ego, I take it?
Rodney: Right. We are simply taking ourselves to be this or that throughout the day and evenings. And that this occurs so often points to the fact your ego is a temporary appearance. It isn't this defined "thing" that you can obliterate or chip away at, as some teachers suggest you can do. It is merely self-identification with whatever you are feeling, thinking, or imagining at the moment.
Q: It's just coming and going.
Rodney: Coming and going.
Rodney: Consciousness also is coming and going, with its varying states. So at this point, you have to ask yourself, "Can something that is occasional and conceptual actually recognize awareness?"
Q: Okay, I see it now. No, it won't work that way.
Rodney: Exactly. So what perceives awareness? Awareness recognizes itself, which it can do through the body/mind structure. You can think of this recognition and understanding as an ultimate form of sentience, with the following trio of statements becoming progressively more clarifying for the seeker: "I exist, I am aware that I exist, and I am Awareness." In pure presence, no objects are there. Deep sleep is close to such awareness, but not fully so. Still, you feel profound rest and contentment when you wake in the early morning hours.
Q: That's good. I'm getting a real sense of what you're saying.
Rodney: And again, it is merely a matter of seeing and understanding something that has already taken place. Presence isn't going to "happen" to you at some future time or at some supposedly sacred location along the Ganges or high atop some Mayan ruin.
Q: I couldn't afford to go anyway!
Rodney: I mean, it might happen while you're there. I'm just saying that it isn't necessary. Your time would be far better spent talking--directly or by phone--to someone whose understanding is unimpeachable. You see, before you take a single step to go to any of those supposedly spiritual places, you are already shining in your own resplendence--a resplendence in which your thoughts, emotions, and varying states of consciousness are appearing. What is it, right now, that is aware that all of those things are coming and going, coming and going? If you look carefully, you will see that it is a beginningless peace and spaciousness for which all words pale, and that has never not been present.
Q: Rodney, I really appreciate this--your taking the time and all. I'll touch base with you again in a week or so, if that's okay?
Rodney: No problem. Take care.
News & Info
JUST IN: The Kindle version of Fully Present is now available on AMAZON.
Rodney's new book, Fully Present: Daily Reflections on Nonduality, has just been published. It is $18.95 for the paperback (excluding postage). You can order it directly from the publisher right HERE.
And go HERE for the press release for Fully Present.
Praise for the new book:
"Rodney Stevens opens his daily life and thoughts to us in these immensely natural and pleasant ramblings of one who is fully engaged in life, love, nonduality, and cinnamon muffins."
Rodney is also the author of A Vastness All Around: Awakening to Your Natural State, a powerful and elegant collection of essays, discussions, interviews, and powerful pointers. It can be ordered directly from the publisher at Lulu Press.
For the book's Press Release, click Here.
Vastness is now available for the Amazon Kindle! Order Here.
Check out Rodney on YouTube talking about "The Fundamental Thing."
"I like your approach in A Vastness All Around. The stories, thoughts and vignettes of your life seem wonderful ways to make people stop and pay attention to where they actually are right now, rather than in some imagined past or future. They show that you don't have to be some specially qualified person, preferably with a title and a name in Sanskrit, to pursue the spiritual quest. Your message comes across particularly well in such pieces as 'Sheerness of Being.'"
--Valerie J. Roebuck, Ph.D., Honorary Research Fellow, University of Manchester (England)
I am now doing phone consultations via Skype! Each conversation will take about an hour, and a $25 donation will be greatly appreciated.
I am also scheduling teaching events at this time. If you would like to arrange something in your area, you may email me at: writerguy (at) fastmail (dot) fm
This blog is generally updated every Sunday afternoon, Eastern Standard Time.