Seth: You have a new book out. Congratulations!
Rodney: Thank you.
Seth: The theme of this book seems to be how to be enlightened. Am I accurate on that?
Rodney: That was certainly not my intention. However, if such a theme appears to be there, so be it. But don't get me started on the word "enlightened." Otherwise, we will be here for a while. There is no enlightenment, of course—because we are already that which we are seeking. All there is, really, is the recognition of an abiding presence of peace and boundlessness. Now, you can label that seeing and understanding as "enlightenment" if you want to. I am uncomfortable with the term because it hints of your gaining or acquiring something that you do not already possess. In fact, there is no "you" to possess it! So that leaves you with awareness only. That is the core and kernel of the matter, isn't it? You are awareness only, which is one of the central things to which the book is pointing.
Seth: I love the title, State of Wonder: Awakening to Presence. Would you say a little about your chosing it?
Rodney: Well, it chose me. I was at a Cinnabon table at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, waiting for my US Airways flight to Columbia (South Carolina). I was reading one of U.G. Krishnamurti's early discussions about self-realization, and he used the three words of the title (not the subtitle); and I immediately knew that that phrase would be the name of my next work. For the words beautifully describe the natural state itself, as well as this lived life of mine. Awareness, as it presents itself through this particular human appearance, is very ordinary on one level, and thoroughly incredible on another. But it never "shouts" or reverberates or calls attention to itself. It simply is what it is—immovable presence.
Seth: And you are certainly productive, almost producing a book a year, so far. Your last work was Fully Present: Daily Reflections on Nonduality. But there seems to be have a delay with this new one.
Rodney: Right. The guy who was doing the formatting for both the book and the Amazon Kindle version of it turned out to be totally unreliable, to say the least. I won't bore you with the unfortunate details. But when I finally decided to search for and found a new self-publishing assistant, I could not actually afford to get him because of the money that I had paid the original guy!
Seth: Oh, goodness.
Rodney: But things worked out, as they tend to do. A number of very, very kind people sent me unbidden donations near and during the holidays last year, and those donations allowed me to hire Tim C. Taylor, who lives in the U.K. I simply cannot say enough good things about him—he's fast, gracious, reliable, and positively brilliant at book and Kindle formatting, graphics, and anything to do with self-publishing. His Website is at: http://timctaylor.wordpress.com. And his email is: email@example.com
Seth: I believed you mentioned to me that there was yet another delay in the book's publication.
Rodney: There was a printer's error, through no fault my own. My book's cover was perfect, but inside of the book itself was another book entirely! So Lulu, my publisher, had to straighten that out. But they were great in finding out how the problem occurred, correcting it, and then FedExing me a new proof copy. Once I approved that, my Global Distribution package—which allows my book to be published not only by Lulu, but to be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at brick & mortar bookstores—finally began to cycle its way into the various databases. It takes 6-8 weeks for this to happen; so that was yet another significant delay. So I knew that the book would not be out until mid-spring, at the earliest—though I much prefer winter publication dates, for whatever reason.
Seth: And what about State of Wonder itself? What is it about?
Rodney: It is two-hundred and twenty-five pages of protracted meditation techniques. They are positively guaranteed to produce any number of amazing spiritual states.
Seth: That can't possibly be true!
Rodney: And it isn't. No, the book is a collection of blog pointers, discussions, and essays, pointing to what is directly in front of you right now—which, of course, is unbounded awareness. And that is the heart of the matter, isn't it—your own actual and living nondualism? Your very own nature. You are what the term and concept are pointing to. The question for 99.99% of the world's spiritual seekers is "How do I meditate?" But nonduality—as well as State of Wonder, if I may be allowed to say so—clearly points to the fact that you do not have to meditate to become self-realized, that you are the very thing that you are seeking, which is your unchanging, everyday awareness. So meditation ends up distracting you from the recognition of your own natural state! Now if you enjoy meditation and find it relaxing and pleasurable, by all means continue to do it. Just understand that it is not a gateway to self-knowledge. That is a false promise thrown out there by greedy teachers and spiritual wannabes.
Seth: Speaking of which, I especially love the pointers in this book. They are like these little but very powerful spiritual contemplations.
Rodney: I am delighted that you are resonating with them. Some readers will enjoy the book, and others may not. But I certainly hope that they do! With books, you can be reading one page, then turn to the next, and right there is a phrase or pointer that pauses you significantly enough into recognizing your own innate clarity. Or you may be pondering something that you had read in the book earlier in the day, and suddenly, everything is clear to you! So a book can most certainly help you to discover your very own state of wonderment, which is Freedom itself. Again, you are not seeking freedom. You are merely recognizing and understanding that Freedom is your essence, your very nature. There is no where to go and nothing to acquire! We are talking about something that you already are. And to be clear: We are speaking about something not that you have, but that you are. Do you see the difference? Contemplate that question, if you're drawn to do so. Though the question is conceptual, it points to something that is very real, eternal, and absolutely present.
Seth: Thanks very much, Rodney. And I look forward to re-reading your new book!
Rodney: And thank you, Seth.