Questioner: I'm continuing to plod along, Rodney. That's about as much as I can say, right now.
Rodney: I understand. Plodding along is okay.
Q: I'm going to just take my time with this.
Rodney: Taking your time is fine, as long as you keep in mind that time isn't a factor in nonduality. It's all about seeing or understanding what is fully present, not about "getting" or "attaining" anything.
Q: Reading your blog helps keep me going. But sometimes, I really feel discouraged.
Rodney: Again, I understand. What comes up--in terms of your thoughts, feelings, and uncertainties--is what comes up. Just know that those sentiments make absolutely no impact on what you are at this moment. Presence cannot be touched. You aren't your doubts or hesitations. You are the clarity and spaciousness that knows that the doubts are temporarily there. You (largely by force of habit) are bringing your attention to your uncertainties rather than to this simple presence of awareness that is before, around, and beyond those uncertainties.
Q: Yes, I know you're right. I'm just not seeing it.
Rodney: It isn't evident to you yet. But you see (and this is something that you might want to ponder or reflect upon, if you're drawn to do so), the central reason you aren't recognizing it is because it is so directly in front of you that you are looking right passed it, so to speak--for there is no place where it is not. Awareness is your natural state. Any thoughts, images, concepts, and doubts are merely temporary arisings in that awareness. Even your body is a passing appearance in your perpetual spaciousness!
Q: I get these little moments when I feel like that's how it actually is. But I can't get those times to remain stable.
Rodney: If you're talking about peaceful moments, they are merely experiences. They are, by their very nature, fleeting. But if you're talking about pauses, you are genuinely "open," at that point, to who and what you fundamentally are.
Q: How can I be sure of the difference?
Rodney: If it's an experience, you are likely to be thinking or feeling that this moment is nice, pleasurable, etc. With a pause, however, there are no thoughts whatsoever--just a subtle but very real presence of awareness, that you immediately know or intuit is everlasting.
Q: Okay, that helps me to see the difference between them.
Rodney: Just take note of what it is that remains as all of your thoughts, emotions, and unsureness come and go. Something remains, something doesn't change. Allow yourself to be alert for a subtle absoluteness that is within you right now. For you aren't a theory or a belief or a spiritual concept. You're awareness itself. You are that that never changes. Take note of what it is that remains absolutely the same at any time, whether you're bringing your attention to it or not. That is your essence, your treasure-trove. Have a look for yourself. For there is nothing that is more immediately before you than That.
Q: Thanks, Rodney. I'll let all this marinade a little, and maybe get back to you in a couple of weeks.
Rodney: Sounds good.
News & Info
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.
The Kindle version of Fully Present is now available on AMAZON.
And go HERE for the press release for Fully Present.
More praise for the new book:
"Fully Present is an elegant addition to the growing literature on nonduality as it is being uncovered, lived and understood in the modern West."
--Philip Goldberg, author of the best-selling American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation--How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. Philip's Web site can be found at www.philipgoldberg.com.
"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.
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.