Q: Hi, Rodney. This is my first email ever to a spiritual teacher and author!
Rodney: Thank you!
Q: I am really struck by the directness and simplicity and persistence of your pointers.
Rodney: I'm delighted that they resonate with you.
Q: I'm in my sixties and live in [names European country]. When I was nineteen, I had an amazing series of experiences. I'll be happy to share them with you, if you like?
Rodney: I'm all ears.
Q: I awoke one morning with the most wondrous feelings of peace and well-being. Scintillating feelings of joy became my moment to moment experience. There was also deep clarity and fullness. It pervaded every cell in my being. For the first time ever, I felt totally free and alive! I saw myself now as part of the flow of the universe. Deep feelings of love and compassion for all of life filled me to capacity.
Rodney: It sounds beautiful.
Q: Thoughts seemed to be mechanical and stale--the immediacy of the Now was where life was! There was also the realisation that Everyone and Everything was connected. And Everything had meaning. Prior to this, I hated getting up in the morning. But now, after only a few hours of restful sleep, my energy levels soared, and I couldn't wait to see what the day would bring! Also, wave after wave of insights continued to arise, and I seemed to live in what can only be described an enormous sea of love.
Rodney: Again, very nice.
Q: Alas, after six days, the mind came back in and began dismantling the joy, and that universal "Me" was scattered into thousands of different pieces...I know you had a similar experience when you were twelve or fourteen, that you describe in A Vastness All Around. Can you tell me just what it was that we were experiencing? It would also be nice get it back. (Laughing.)
Rodney: What we both experienced were simply experiences. Yes, they were powerful, intuitive, penetrating, and awe-inspiring. But they were experiences nonetheless. I'm not attempting to totally discount them, but rather, to give an accurate assessment. Some people call them "awakening experiences" and other label them as "awakenings." I only reserved the term "awakening" for a sudden and unwavering recognition of your natural state. It is a recognition that doesn't change in the least. It's unfortunate that many people who have such occurrences promptly pronounce themselves as fully awake or enlightened. But nothing could be further from the truth. But that's their bandwagon, and I wish them nothing but Happy Trails.
Q: I like that.
Rodney: Such experiences, though, can be instrumental in spurring one on to true self-knowledge. I know that that was certainly the case with me. But no experience, however psychic or visionary, was captivating enough to pull me away from this quest for a fundamental understanding of both myself and of life. And I was certainly guilty--all of those years ago--of labeling the intention of my quest as Enlightenment. But in the spring of 2007, I clearly saw that there is no separate individual to be enlightened at all! All there was was my natural state, which was one of enduring peace and spaciousness. And that natural state was pristine awareness, from which one never moves. So you are already what you are seeking. Thus, any notions of practices, methods, or spiritual journeys can be simply be thrown out the window.
Q: I see that so clearly now--how any practice is just a heap of rubbish.
Rodney: And you mentioned wanting to get those transcendental experiences back--
Q: Well, not so much anymore--and that insight occurred in these very few minutes!
Rodney: Excellent. Because any experience--by it's very nature--is transitory. However glorious it may be, it isn't going to be able to help you with knowing who and what you are. For experiences, among other things, have no inherent intelligence. They're insentient, lifeless. But what is that presence of awareness that is witnessing all of these appearances? What is that presence of awareness that is staring you in the face at this very moment? It is right here, right now. Come back to that point and question, throughout your day and afternoon, if you're drawn to so. Because the answer, you see, is you--your very own nature.