Thursday, November 27, 2014

Q&A: New Book Announcement !!

Seth: Recorder on. Testing, testing...Well, Rodney, we're sitting here in front of Starbucks in Trenholm Plaza, in Columbia, South Carolina, to talk about your new book, Precisely That: Reflections Upon Enlightenment, which is a collection of very moving and powerful essays. I believe this is where you wrote most of the book, right?

Rodney: No, most of it was written at my apartment. Some of it was done here, of course. I'd be going to or coming from the Original Pancake House, which is just a few feet up. Either I'd work at one of these tables or on that sofa over there. And when it was too cold, I'd go inside. A lot of times, though, I simply sat and did nothing.

Seth: Going in and out of ecstasy, right?

Rodney: Very funny.

Seth: Readers of the book will know which piece I'm alluding to there. But I've got to say, up front, that I'm surprised by the title, or at least the "Enlightenment" part of it.  

Rodney: I know, I know. I wanted to give the book a greater reach. "Enlightenment" is what most people know and are familiar with. Nonduality and natural state? Not so much. So for seekers, at least, the subtitle may draw them into delving beneath the covers. Maybe it will resonate with them, and maybe it won't. That issue is not in my hands, and it's certainly not something over which I fret. The book is what it is. That said, the first sentence in the first essay states, in no uncertain terms, that there is no enlightenment and no one to be enlightened. Further, the tenor of that statement is repeated throughout the book.

Seth: Okay, I guess I'll let you off the hook. 

Rodney: Your intentions were well-meaning, I'm sure. (Laughs)

Seth: I also enjoyed your takes on creativity, originality, and productivity.

Rodney: Well, thanks. But I don't see them as "takes." There are perspectives and explorations on those particular topics. No, they certainly aren't thesis length, but that was by design. I wanted to cut to the heart of the matter on a slew of topics, and to point to each issue as cleanly as I could. If some phrase or sentence is particularly well-turned, then so much the better. If I made a muddle of something, well, that wasn't my intention.

Seth: I found no muddles.

Rodney: Thrilled to hear it. To speak a bit more about creativity and prolificnessWriting is what I do, so those topics are close to my heart. Originality is too, but that is for others to speak about, in its regards to me. I get up every morning at 4:00am, make my coffee, do some yoga or exercise, and then start to write. Every morning. It's as natural to me as breathing. If I'm on the road or in the air, I don't fret over not being able to spend time on my laptop. I'm still scribbling, taking notes, and detecting analogies. So the creativeness never stops. And yes, there is a routine in the morning, but it is no elaborate psychological construct. It's simply what works for me, and there is nothing intricate about it in the least. Yes, I must have coffee; but that's a benign addiction—perhaps even a healthy one, given the recent studies on the benefits of moderate caffeine usage on the body and brain. The burgeoning ideas during that time have a hushed ambience to them. There was nothing tempestuous about the writing and creativity at all. I was either sitting at one of these tables or back at my apartment, silently creating. The heavens didn't open once; or rather, they were always open!

Seth: And you are the heavens.

Rodney: Everyone is. Yes. The human brain is designed to be keen, quick, and perceptive. It loves being fully utilized! Creativity is just a form or expression of that utilization. There is a woman with whom I have regular phone consultations. Her gift and aptitude is in deliberating on her nondual introspections—and she does this in a such thoroughly articulate manner. There is little doubt that she is close to this understanding herself. Normally, when people are as intelligent and as lucid as she, the intelligence gets in the way. But not with her; and that is her creativeness—that introspection and expressiveness. You see, I'm not captivated by creativity for creativity's sake. I'm much more interested in knowing how it can work more effectively with everyone, as well as how it relates to self-knowing. If I were writing about creativity from a memoirist or fiction writer's perspective, I would say be emotionally invested in your story. That way, when you sat down to write, there would be an ardent connection to the words and narrative. The same applies to this larger issue of self-knowledge; but instead of emotions, there is an energy and intuitive rightness to your work that is far stronger than feelings. In short, your heart is leading the way.

Seth: Another matter that you continue to emphasize in the book is the value of pauses.

Rodney: You know, I'm strongly convinced that that is the only way that self-realization happens. I know that's a grand statement, and that it sounds doctrinaire. But if you really examine the issue, you will see that pauses are not just a component in nonduality, but are a part of practically any spiritual path you mention. There has to come a moment when you are significantly and spontaneously paused; and in that timeless instant comes the possibility that you will perceive that you are nothing less than the pause itself. Then everything is clear! It's all there, whether there was some expansive or volatile moment preceding it or not. In that single second, your seeing is spot-on. You are not witnessing or merging with anything. Rather, you are timelessly perceiving that awareness has always been and will always be precisely who and what you are. 

Seth: Wow, that is really potent.

Rodney: There is this continuity beneath all things that are rising and falling in our lives—the thoughts, the feelings, the words, the events, the relationships, all of it. That continuity is there not because it is doing anything or is actively attempting to maintain itself. It's there because that is what we are! It is our natural state. In a pause, we are able to discern that this is indeed the case. This isn't a way into ourselves; there is no inner exploration going on. This is simply a recognition (though a magnificent one) of our fundamental nature. Awareness has always been there for the seeing. It's merely a matter of realizing that that is the case.

Seth: Magnificent also is your new book, Rodney. I'm even tempted to say that it is "Precisely That"!

Rodney: Thanks, Seth. I enjoyed this.

Seth: Well, I'm going to get out my earbuds here and bliss-out on some cosmic chanting.

Rodney: Go right ahead. Enjoy yourself (Laughing).

Seth: Again, readers will know which essay that I'm pointing to here. (Playfully putting in earbuds). Okay, any rapturous requests, Rodney?

Rodney: Ah, sure...How about Ronald Isley's Living for the Love of You? It's a beautiful song—totally old school. And how could you not love those heart-tugging lyrics, "Paradise I have within/Can't feel insecure again/...And this I see?"

News & Info

Precisely That: Reflections Upon Enlightenment is available on Amazon. Go to the above link.

To buy the book directly from the publisher, click on Lulu Press


Rodney's previous book, The Only True Life: Living from the Natural State, can be purchased from Amazon by clicking on the above link.

Or you can buy the book directly from the publisher, Lulu Press

“Reading Rodney Stevens' The Only True Life is like floating with a gentle current on a beautiful summer day—right into the silence of the heart. His dialogues are joyful offerings that cut through the attachments of the mind and point directly to our true nature as aware being. Love clearly flows through every word.”

  Gail Brenner, Ph,D.Clinical Psychologist, speaker, and author of the forthcoming The Way of Yes: Finding Peace and Happiness Right at the Heart of Your Messy, Scary, Brilliant Life."


Susan Ferguson is a talented artist, writer, and book reviewer, who lives in the gorgeous, green hills of North Canterbury, New Zealand.

You may read her review of The Only True Life at her beautiful Web site: Metaphysical Musing:


Feel free to check out Jimmy Dabrowski's beautiful and downloadable MixTape. Jimmy's a great guy, and I am honored to be one of the nondual authors in his collection.


Rodney's earlier book is State of Wonder: Awakening to Presence.


Click HERE to purchase Rodney's Fully Present: Daily Reflections on Nonduality.


"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 America Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the WestPhilip's Web site can be found at


"In Fully Present, Rodney 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.


"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 $45 donation will be greatly appreciated.


This blog is generally updated every month.