Saturday, June 30, 2012

Q&A: How Can You Not Be Awake?

Question: Oh, Rodney. What a sad and funny joke this searching business is?

Rodney: It needn't be. But yes, in most cases, it certainly is.

Q: It's like a phantom searching for a phantom.  

Rodney: Well, awareness is certainly real!

Q: Thanks for the reassurance! (Laughing). In theory, I see what you are saying. As I am this completely free and non-conceptual awareness itself, how can there possibly be an "I" to participate in a search?  

Rodney: Precisely. And the "I" or sense-of-self, is the phantom. Again, there is only a sense-of-self there, not an actual one. And that fact alone has a very powerful resonance.

Q: Right.

Rodney: So on one hand, there can be this careful reasoning which can lead to direct understanding or recognition of your natural state. And other the hand, your thoughts or notions about awareness really don't matter. They may be incorrect or dead-on. But fundamentally, they are of little consequence because--

Q: They are just thoughts and ideas. Right.

Rodney: And all beliefs and debates surrounding self-knowledge (whether the perspectives are Buddhist, Zen Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, or nondual) are operating on a conceptual level. And yet, all of the previous frames of spiritual references have their nuggets of truth. They aren't the truths themselves, mind you. They are simply pointing to your very own radiance.

Q: I like how you raise the point in your writings about how can you not be awake? 

Rodney: Which promptly pauses you.

Q: And before the next question appears, I am already here, this presence of awareness. I have read it a hundred times and not grasped the reality of it. So I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to have a phone consultation with you.

Rodney: Certainly. We then would be able to quickly pinpoint whatever issues that need clarifying, as well as address any impromptu questions you might have. 

Q: And whatever I'm doing wrong, feel free to tell me to stop it!

Rodney: Well, it's more about overlooking the obvious, rather than being right or wrong. Awareness is what you are. Yet, you are scanning the horizons, being captivated by this and that. (And maybe not you personally. It's the general way of things with today's seekers.) But however beautiful and tantalizing the sights, thoughts, and sensations may be, they pale in comparison to your own innate peace and light. It's boundless and unchanging. And you are precisely That right at this moment. So it's not a matter of your someday "becoming" it or having some grand, visionary experience. There is nothing to attain or even hope for! But just to be clear, it's fine to want and earnestly explore this understanding. Just be mindful of the point that you are wanting something that you absolutely and presently are.

Q: I really like that. It's beautiful, and it momentarily stops my thinking cold.

Rodney: Remain with that pause and beauty. What is it that you are seeing? See how it's directly pointing to your true identity at this actual moment. Forget about tomorrow. Tomorrow is a thought--it's the mind and "me" in full operation. What is it right now that is utterly hushed, unvarying, and clarity itself?


News & Info

Fully Present is now available at the excellent Powell's Bookstore, in Portland, Oregon. 


Fiona Robertson interviews Rodney on Nic Higham's NONDUALITY NETWORK!


Click HERE to buy Rodney's Fully Present: Daily Reflections on Nonduality from Amazon.


And click HERE to purchase Fully Present at Barnes & Noble.


And go HERE for the press release for Fully Present.


For Tami Brady's review of Fully Present in TCM Reviews, go HERE.


"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 WestPhilip's Web site can be found at


"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


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."


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 every Sunday afternoon, Eastern Standard Time.