Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Q&A: A Pause Like None Other

Question: I’m really making a good faith effort to get to that recognition that you so elegantly speak about in your books.

Rodney: Thank you. But any effort is merely a distraction from what is.

Q: Your books are not a distraction, Rodney!

Rodney: I understand what you’re saying. But books, methods, and meditative approaches (by their very nature) are of mind and by the mind. And the mind, of course, has no relationship to awareness. None! It is just a temporary appearance in presence. And that which is immortal cannot become mortal. So rather than probing your discontent, why not center on that unchanging contentment which is simply being neglected?

Q: And time isn't a factor?

Rodney: None.

Q: Well, that’s good news in itself!

Rodney: It is indeed.

Q: I would like to set up a couple of phone consultations with you, if that’s okay? But in the meantime, maybe you can help me with some basic nondual stuff. The questions are really basic, so I want to apologize in advance.

Rodney: You are cordial and sincere. No apology needed!

Q: So, in nonduality, I have to look for awareness.

Rodney: No, you look for what is fully present, right at this moment. Awareness is a word, a concept; and if you remain with that, you will likely miss the thing itself, which we label awareness. The name is pointing to an actuality, which is your everyday, natural state. Thoughts are arising in that state, but you are not the thoughts. Feelings are arising in that state, but you aren't feelings. Facets of your personality are arising in that state, but you are not those either. So do you see how this going? Anything that is moving, changing or is any way time-dependent cannot be you—so that includes nearly everything, including your body, as well.

Q: How do I get over the body identification?

Rodney: By discovering that you are not your body.

Q: So it’s just a matter of seeing that that is not the case.

Rodney: Why wouldn’t it be? You are intimating that it has to be something more than that—that it can’t be that simple. But it can and is. Having said that, it is remarkable revelation to find that you are neither your body nor your mind. It’s a pause like none other. 

Q: Nisargadatta said that only “one in a million” will attain enlightenment. Can that be right?

Rodney: It's probably more like one in ten million.

Q: What!? My God, why should I even bother!?

Rodney: You aren’t seeing the full picture. Few people become self-realized because they aren't able to grasp the utter simplicity of it. They over-complicated the seeking, the enquiry, and the perceiving of something that is in full view. From the very first moment, they begin to search outside of themselves; and this could be done in a multitude of ways, via a mantra, celibacy, yoga position, vow of poverty, mindfulness practice, etc. In all of those endeavors, you are attempting to move towards something that is not yourself (in this case, “enlightenment”). But none of those things is going to be able to help you. Nothing is going to “take” you there except your own direct seeing. Therefore, time and strenuous strivings are not an issue; but alertness and clear seeing are.

Q: Okay, I think I get that now.

Rodney: As long as you think that there is something to reach or attain, you are bound for failure. And that is precisely how 99% of the world’s spiritual seekers think. But you have to understand that your true Self is prior to the seeking. Even before you make the first chant, you are awareness already. But because you are focused on the method or action, you are missing that which is already in total view—absolute total view!

Q: Occasionally, I'll say, “I am formless, I am formless” with slow repetitions. I don’t know why, but those words really move me. 

Rodney: That's fine as far as it goes. But that formlessness is not your direct experience. You are merely being hopeful, at most, and conceptually repetitive, at worst. Nothing is being achieved there but a short-term calmness. You aren’t even being paused in any significant way. You're merely pretending at something instead taking a moment to see what is unequivocally present. I’m not saying any this with any kind of animus; I’m merely pointing to what you said, and offering—I hope—some kind of clarification on the issue. You see, if you need to go to the pharmacist to pick up a prescription, and you’re going in a direction that is froth with delays and frustrations, I feel incumbent to say, “I know an immensely shorter way. I’ve gone that route myself. Please allow me to point you in that direction.” But you may like your route and say, “No thank you.” And that’s perfectly fine with me. God’s speed, my friend. And I’ve moved on. You are completely out of my mind! There are no lingering thoughts about you whatsoever. I don’t say that to be mean or coarse; that’s just how this body/mind operates now. 

Q: Well, I certainly want to know that shortest route, Rodney!

Rodney: And it is indeed the shortest, because there is no distance whatsoever. It is where you are at this present moment. Can you begin and end where you are, right now? Can you see how that is your actuality, that nothing has to be done, but only perceived? Don’t move from that fact. End your supposed “journey,” because there is none. There is absolutely no place to go.

News & Info

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

"If you want to learn about non-dual awareness, you must read Rodney Stevens' brilliant book, The Only True Life. His collection of essays, conversations, and pointing-out instructions will take you over and over again to what you perceive to be the edge of your own awareness, only to remind you ultimately that there is no such edge. However, as Rodney himself will teach you, if you are ready to experience non-dual awareness, then you must stop reading and recognize that this book has pointed you only toward what has always been, what you already knew about living The Only True Life. Open this book's pages and prepare to see, in the space surrounding each letter, the truth that no book can teach you." — Karen Wyatt, M.D., Author of What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying

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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:

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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.

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

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

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"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 www.philipgoldberg.com.

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"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

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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.

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"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)

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I am now doing phone consultations via Skype! Each conversation will take about an hour, and a $45 donation will be greatly appreciated.

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This blog is generally updated every month.