“[Awaking to awareness] gives you everything that is beautiful, everything that is fragrant. Your existence is all-pervading. All the four Vedas do not know how to praise you.” ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Q&A: Why Call It Anything?
Question: Hi, Rodney. I've been reading your books, as well as John Wheeler's Awakening to the Natural State. What I find so surprising and refreshing is the way you both keep returning to the simplicity of observing what's really happening, not giving in to the mind's attempts to "figure it out." Instead, just attend to presence.
Rodney: Right. The mind is in no position to either comprehend awareness or witness it. Indeed, it arises wholly within awareness.
Q: The simplicity of your directions seems to be working. I'm going to attempt to describe what is being seen here, and I wonder if you could please comment.
Q: First, it is so simple that it is nearly impossible to describe. Mostly, there is a strong sense of presence, which is clearly awareness. It is silent, with nothing at all to say. It is entirely at peace with itself.
Rodney: Very good--and that's beautifully articulated, by the way.
Q: There is no movement, no desire to move, no sense of anything desired or required for completeness. It is also quite obvious that this present awareness, this "no thing," is at the center of everything, is what I might want to call "me" except for the hilarious fact that "I" don't really exist.
Rodney: Again, all of that is on-the-mark.
Q: Of course I must at the same time say that "I am." But it really seems that the "I" is utterly unimportant.
Rodney: It is, to a substantial degree. But our temporary sense-of-self allows us to function in life. Whether it's writing, speaking, paying our bills, or arranging a lunch get-together, our provisional "self" functions as the doer. But the doer is just a thought, and a thought isn't conscious. It only appears to be sentient because presence is shining through it.
Q: Exactly. And it seems better to just call it presence or present awareness and be done with it. Or even better, why call it anything? It just IS. It always is, and it is always the same utterly quiet, peaceful sense of being. Why the need to name it?
Rodney: We name it in order to speak about it or to point to it. We also name because we want others to understand what we are talking about when we talking about awareness proper. For we aren't speaking about the tree in the yard or even everyday consciousness, of course. We are pointing to something that is ceaseless, as well as our natural and luminous state.
Q: I do find that mind comes in and distracts attention from presence now and then.
Rodney: That's going to happen. Your body is going to continue to react to stimuli from your surroundings, and thoughts are going to appear as a result of those reactions. Presence really doesn't disappear; rather, your attention momentarily goes to other things. But you never move from being absolute awareness. And it never moves from being absolutely present. So the question becomes: What is it, right now, that is always the same? When the answer to that question is recognized, you most certainly will never loose it.
Rodney's new book, Fully Present: Daily Reflections on Nonduality, is now out. It is $18.95 for the paperback (excluding postage). You can order it directly from the publisher right HERE.
The paperback version of Fully Presentis now on AMAZON! It can also be purchased at Barnes & Noble, and is available through bookstores nationwide.
For the Kindle edition of Fully Present, go here: AMAZON.
And go HERE for the press release for Fully Present.
For Tami Brady's review of Fully Present in TCM Reviews, go HERE.
"Fully Presentis an elegant addition to the growing literature on nonduality as it is being uncovered, lived and understood in the modern West."
--Philip Goldberg, author ofthe best-sellingAmerican 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."
--Catherine Ann Jones, award-winning screenwriter, spiritual workshop leader, and author of The Way of the Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing. Her Web site is www.wayofstory.com
Rodney is also the author ofA 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.
Check out Rodney on YouTubetalking about "The Fundamental Thing."
Feel free to read 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.
"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 everySunday afternoon, Eastern Standard Time.