“[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 23, 2013
Q&A: But What is Knowing All of This?
Question: Hey Rodney! How are you, my friend?
Rodney: Pretty busy. But it's always great to hear from you. How are you doing?
Q: Very busy here, too, although Easter break is just round the corner. Hurray! I've also had some kind of cold/ cough/ virus, which has left me rather worn out, although I am a little better now. Teaching is a curious profession. It is, by turns, exhilarating and frustrating, as well as energizing and enervating! I do seem to spend most weekends just recovering from the job!
Rodney: Get yourself a bottle of hand sanitizer. That should cut down on the coughs and colds. I never go anywhere without the stuff.
Q: Will do...Thanks, as ever, for your wonderful pointers, and for the way in which you used our recent dialogue. It was so powerfully illuminating! Your words, quite simply, are an unfailingly bright light.
Rodney: Thank you, my friend.
Q: The pointer that I keep coming back to is: "And the only thing about you that does not change is pure awareness."
Q: I often take moments during the day just to pause and reflect upon the question, "What am I"? The radiance of what "does not change" is dazzling! Everything changes—sensations, thoughts, perceptions, the world of experience, etc.—but what is knowing all of this?
Rodney: Precisely. With TM (just to cite an example), the question always is, "How do I do transcendental meditation?" But with nonduality, there is no doing, per se—just a seeing or understanding that you are awareness itself.
Q: There is something that is eternally fresh and unchanging. The mind contorts itself sometimes trying to locate it, as if it were an object, which it is not. And it is neither inside nor outside of the body. In fact, it has nothing to do with such conceptual terms and locations, which arise simply within it. It just Is, bright and cognizant. And it is not faint or hard to detect, as thought might assert. In fact, there is nothing else to detect!
Rodney: There is nothing to detect. You are simply recognizing a presence that has always been present. And that presence is pure awareness, which is what each of us is. And given that that is a fact, there is, then, no "each of us." Everything is awareness. Our bodies, thoughts, state of consciousness, and universe are appearances in that awareness. Though the appearances have a certain reality, a body or a mind (just to use two examples) can't possibly be who and what we are because—among other things—they are transitory, they have no inherent intelligence, and they are perceived (and thus having a subject-object relationship). But nondual sages and scripture tell us that there are no two things in the universe. See the awe and beauty of this: There are no two things in the entire universe! All is awareness. So what is, right now, that is fully present but that is not an object?
Q: Presence itself.
Rodney: And presence is totally without attributes or qualities. Yet, it manifests itself through our ephemeral bodies and minds as unwavering
equanimity and spaciousness.
Q: So beautiful, Rodney...Take care, my friend! It would be lovely to Skype again soon—perhaps in a few weeks or whenever you can schedule me in.
Rodney: Sounds good. We'll work it out. And best to you too!
Click HERE to buy Rodney's Fully Present: Daily Reflections on Nonduality from Amazon.
And click HEREto purchase Fully Presentat 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 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 every other Sunday afternoon, Eastern Standard Time.