Question: A spiritual friend of mine recommended your blog. And I'm happy that she did! I felt an immediate pull to your pointers and writing.
Rodney: Happy to hear it.
Q: I've just ordered Fully Present and your new book, State of Wonder. I'm really looking forward to reading them.
Rodney: Thank you!
Q: For a few years now, I've been following the practices of [names a popular American Buddhist teacher]. In her meditation practices, she says that you have to first "locate the mind" and then "stabilize the mind." What do you think about that?
Rodney: What I think about it is pretty much a non-issue. You are drawn to who you are drawn to. It's a little like being in love: Suddenly, it's there! As far as your teacher's practices go, my first response is, "Good luck with all of that." Then again, feel free to give those suggestions a go, if you are inclined to do so. But I believe you mentioned that you have been following her for "a few years now."
Q: More like six or seven.
Rodney: And something obviously isn't working, otherwise you would not have emailed me.
Q: Exactly! So where do I go from here?
Rodney: Well, we could go back to her directions and see if there is anything that should be re-examined there. You say that she said to "Locate the mind" and then to "stabilize the mind." The mind isn't a separate, observable entity. So how can you even start your meditation if there is no discrete mind to begin with? The mind is just the appearance of thoughts and thinking. It arises and disappears, arises and disappears. So what your teacher is actually saying is to "stabilize thoughts." Now, can you do that? Can anyone do that? Is it even necessary to do that for self-knowledge? No, no, and no! You don't even know what your next thought is going to be, and you think that you can "stabilize" your thinking!? Thoughts and thinking are normal actions in presence. They do not need to be "stabilized" in order for you to recognize your natural state.
Q: Yep, that pretty much clarifies it for me.
Rodney: And who would be doing the stabilizing? You see, now there is this assumed meditator attempting to do all of this. And further, you are striving for this so-called enlightenment. But the meditator, the striving, and enlightenment are all notions and actions that are getting in your way. They are preventing you from seeing what is already directly within you: Your unvarying presence of unblemished awareness. That is what you are, and that is what needs to be perceived and understood. All else are just half-measures and fantastical thinking. But feel free to completely disregard what I am saying here. Continue with what you are doing for a few years more. Then get back to me and see if anything has changed.
Q: Thanks. (Laughing). But I'll pass.
Rodney: Alas, 99.99% percent of the teachers out there are not self-realized themselves. So all that they can offer you are practices! But genuine nondual authorities point from their own source to precisely what you are, which is the very same source. There is nothing overly-spiritual or wishy-washy about these individuals. They will simply direct you—in any number of ways—to what is always perfectly present.
Q: I particularly see that with you.
Rodney: There is nothing special about me. There are close to a dozen active and genuine teachers out there who could help and encourage you with your nondual exploration. It mainly depends on with whom you resonate and whose words and phrases point radiantly beyond their inherent conceptual limitations. Again, it all comes down to the pointing. For one of the first things you are going to realize when you come to this understanding yourself is how simple it is to recognize—and how no technique can possibly "take" you to this. And of those false teachers, you are going to immediately think, "Why on earth did you have me do all of that!? It was totally unnecessary! I am what I am at this very moment! I never move from that!" I am not at all saying that you will or should be resentful. That feeling probably won't even come up. It didn't with me. The fact of their being incompetent certainly did. But no bitter emotions arose here. Non-realized teachers are simply people who are where they are. Some are honest about their lack of self-knowing; others are not. Some are well-meaning; others aren't.
Q: Well, I'm positively thrilled to have discovered you, Rodney. And I'm afraid that I'm going to have a few questions more, every now and then, as I continue to sort through this question of "Who am I?"
Rodney: You are awareness itself, which means that you are the answer to the question that you are raising. There is nothing really to sort—only to see. It's a clarification, more than anything else. And nothing could be easier. But yes, feel free to write at any time. It will be nice to hear from you again.