Q: I have been reading your A Vastness All Around. I really enjoy it a lot! I don't read much new material nowadays, other than John Wheeler. However, after doing the phone consultation with you and getting so much out of it, I thought I would order your book. You really make nonduality so captivating and accessible. And yet, I sense that enormous depth and spaciousness that you are pointing to. So thanks for your sharing and for writing such a wonderful book!
Rodney: Thank you for the purchase; and I deeply appreciate your compliments as well. You never know if and how a work is going to resonate with someone. But when the pausing is there, the book can a be a significant "nudger" into stillness. That stillness isn't something new or manifested, of course. It is your very own peace and vastness of which you haven't taken note.
Q: A couple of classic pointers at the beginning of your work really resonated with me—particularly the one that talks about how you can't escape presence, no matter what you think or do. It's here. You can't deny it either.
Rodney: Oh, the irony! Here are seekers desperately trying to reach, unite and meditate their way to this Supreme Reality, when, as it turns out, there is no way out of it! Further, you are that Supreme Reality! You are precisely that for which you are seeking! You can deny it all you want, but that won't negate the actuality of the matter. You can say, think, or claim that it isn't so all day long. But do you really think presence will be affected by these assertions? Will it be disturbed, bothered, or somehow diminished by such ridiculous notions by seekers, spiritualists, or theologians?
Q: Not at all. Fortunately, I have seen through the "uniting with" aspects of all this.
Q: In fact, for the past week, I have been going back to things throughout the day. Sometimes I would contemplate something, and at other times, I wouldn't. But when, as you suggested, I just sat with this calmness, I didn't need any other pointers. I got a real sense that there is only awareness, and that there was nothing I can do or imagine that was not in this awareness. I would then take the contemplating deeper and see that the seeking, denying, and even "I" were only appearing as this and that in awareness. However, with this seeing, I instantly felt overwhelmed—big time. I had to walk it off or do something to distract myself. Then I felt exhausted. I have no idea what is causing all of this kind of panic.
Rodney: I assure you, there is no need for concern or apprehension when it comes to self-realization. Indeed, with this recognition comes the very opposite: A hushed and immediate presence of subtle, unbounded serenity. Anxiousness may arise, from time to time, from some conditioned response or unexamined notion. But they can be easily dealt with and investigated. You may also be feeling that your involvement in life will be lessened with this understanding or that your feelings and relationships with friends and partners may change. All of that may happen, but I doubt it—at least in any substantial or unsettling manner.
Q: Maybe those concerns are there. I don't know.
Rodney: Regardless, it sounds like you are having some keen insights regarding other matters, particularly when you are "just sitting with" a pointer or having a moment of clarity. Not physically moving during any pauses would be a good idea. I hesitate to give this understanding any kind of physical context, lest it be turned into a practice or regimen. Nonetheless, bodily quietude at this time has its benefits. If any anxiousness arises, do precisely what you did: Get up and walk it off, allow your mind to be moved in another direction. But again, awareness, though serene and measureless, is nothing to be fearful of. It is what you are at precisely this moment! There are no cataclysmic shifts or ascensions to that experience. You do not become something that you aren't already.
Q: Other than those sudden agitations, it feels like my nondual examinations are really working. But like you said, I am wary of any traps that I may be falling into, such as turning the pointing into a method. I also am a little concerned with this exhausted feeling that sometimes comes up when the panic isn't there.
Rodney: The more you focus on those reactions, the more credence and solidity you give them. You are awareness, here and now. Recognizing that is really the only thing that matters, nondual-wise. If the unease is medically or biologically related, that's an entirely different matter, and it should be addressed. But don't try to not experience the apprehension—that would be one part of the mind attempting to control another part; or rather, one thought trying to domineer another one. Nothing productive will come of that. Again, try giving less emphasis to those reactions that we discussed. See that they are coming and going on their own. It's just that you are giving more attention to the "coming" part! But their lessening and dissipation happen also.
Q: Sounds good!
Rodney: Further, stop calling it "panic." The labeling sounds alarming in itself! It is your fundamental nature that is being pointed to here, nothing else. There is absolutely nothing about it to feel flustered. Remain with that fact, rather than with any wayward and unrelated sentiments surrounding it. Also, remember that this understanding doesn't require time, effort, and diligence; rather, it is a hushed and sudden seeing of who and what you unequivocally are. Once seen, it is forever seen. There won't be any moving away from it at any time. Indeed, how could it? Your essence is unchanging and immortal. It is never less than that. Those facts alone should fill you with joy, bravado, curiosity, and most of all, wonder.
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