Rodney Stevens: THE ONLY TRUE LIFE, Living from the Natural State
In South Carolina lives a remarkable man who works as a night watchman, and I wonder if his employers know he is a brahman. Rodney Stevens is living proof that no matter where or into what circumstances we are born, if we truly want to reach God-Consciousness, absorption in the effulgence, then the way Home awaits.
Rodney Stevens says that growing up as "a little black kid from a Lilliputian town in rural South Carolina" he found solace in books. I also grew up in the southern part of the USA, and I know that not all families are so keen to have their children become, as my father often said, 'eggheads'! Thus from his early years Rodney Stevens was showing symptoms of perhaps previous lives and a thirst for Truth — as he puts it "a life of self-knowing." Preferring vegetables to meat and solitude to family, he began his search in the proverbial walk on the Razor's Edge.
In his preface to 'The Only True Life' the author Rodney Stevens says that he can't say very much about the natural state; for “tears will quietly effuse.”
“…it is a topic on which I cannot linger. For tears will quietly effuse. Why this body/mind reacts that way, I haven’t a clue.”
This immediately connected me with Rodney Stevens, for I know from my own experiences that proximity with what I call the God-within — That which is ubiquitous and simultaneously within everyone and everything — calls forth the sweetest tears I have ever known. Perhaps it is a sense of relief from centuries of our deep longing for Home, or simply that feeling close to the Eternal Immeasurable Immensity, that which cannot be named, and yet is all names and forms, perhaps such nearness to That is overwhelming – and we just cry. In Love and in Joy, we weep the sweetest tears.
Rodney’s book is packed with inspiring wisdom, beautifully intelligently written in simply easy to grok language. In sharing his experiential wisdom, he has presented us with a precious gift. I have taken a few of his gems and reflected on them, because they connected me to what I love best. His wonderful writing will do the same for you.
A Living Reality
Rodney Stevens: “But I am sure of one thing: That this is the only true life. It is a living reality for me, and it can be for you, as well. For there is absolutely no distant between awareness (your actual identity) and your arising notions of a separate and objective self. The ‘I & me’ come and go. And something that comes and goes cannot possibly be your true identity. But awareness is absolute and immovable, and it is precisely what you are at this very moment.”
I love the humility, power and authenticity in Rodney’s words. Not only is he a wonderful writer, his words carry us into his experiential wisdom. Isn’t it amazing, encouraging and downright hopeful that many all over the planet in various walks of life, are waking up and recognizing that we are and have always been the One. When I first read Rodney’s preface, I cried. I grew up in Texas and I know that seeking Enlightenment was not what my family had in mind for me. You might say I failed their expectations miserably, but I filled the terrible emptiness that had ached in my heart — and found my way Home. We just have to really want it.
Rodney Stevens: “Clearly, a life of self-knowing was, for me (even when I was eleven and twelve years old!), the only true life, though I could not quite articulate it then. I had to find a way to earn a living, of course. But that was secondary to ‘enlightenment’ itself, as I termed it all of those years ago.”
Rodney’s innocent, direct and honest revelations tell me that from his birth, this man was on his way Home. Some are intent upon finding God from their beginnings — while others who have never given it a thought, find Truth thrust upon them. We are fortunate and blessed by both and all in between. For every seeker who finds their true Self leaves the fragrance of wisdom wherever they wander, and are a blessing in this world.
Rodney Stevens: “Creativity and the natural state. I could speak about this, spontaneously, for any length of time, as long as the voice holds out. It is amazing how easily any words relating to this Reality simply gush forth.”
Once we find, as Rodney calls it the Presence, our ‘only true life’ it seems that the God-within us often inspires us to share our experiences and “words relating to this Reality simply gush forth.” The last few verses in the final chapter of the Bhagavad Gita warn us not to reveal the secret of life to those who are not ready, yet for those who ‘have the ears to hear’ teaching this “supreme secret” is considered to be the highest form of devotion and more pleasing to the Oneness than any other endeavor. We talk about the Real because this gushing forth is sheer Joy.
Bhagavad Gita XVIII.71: “The ones who ‘hear’ and are full of faith grounded in experience and Wisdom-Knowledge, they shall become liberated (muktas), released, and reach the joyful worlds of those whose actions are pure.”
Rodney Stevens: “…that’s just the way it happened. Everyone comes to this seeing differently. It may occur on your very next re-read. Or it may come while you are working at your desk, blowing your nose, gardening, or having a cup of tea or coffee. There is really no predicting it. Further, time is not a factor in this. It just isn’t. So preparing for ‘the long haul’ is a projection that you can forget about. Also, any talk of time is a way for the ego—that temporary sense of individuality—to sneak and borrow into the mix of things. And neither it nor years of any kind of practice can help you to witness your abiding clarity.”
God is everywhere. Rodney is expressing a teaching that is also in Kashmir Shaivism. Recognition that you are the One is indeed mysterious, a sort of chicken-egg conundrum. Do you meditate to reach your Real Being, or is meditation a sign of Grace given to you by That which you already are? As usual, the Creator of this vast and magnificent universe is enjoying Itself though us, a sort of gentle ‘Play’ which in Sanskrit is called the Divine Lila. We are all mirrors reflecting the myriad forms of the One in this temporal illusory hologram — Life.
Rodney: “…awakening—or whatever term you prefer to use—is merely a matter of seeing something that has always been one-hundred percent present. Any methodology or goal-oriented action toward it is, in reality, a move away from it.”
Exactly! Some have said that enlightenment is like a switch, either you are in God-Consciousness, or you are in differentiated five-sense perception. The Bhagavad Gita II.52 says that when we have crossed over the delusion-thicket (mohakalilam), we shall be disgusted with that which is heard and yet to be heard. Kashmir Shaivite saint Abhinavagupta has said “all such theories are merely some dialectical speculations useful in discussions…mere suppositions and imaginary concepts of thinkers.” There is only the One, the Presence.
Awareness is beyond ...
Rodney Stevens: “…no thought, action, or intellectual activity has any relationship to awareness, which is totally beyond all physical and mental activities. And yet, presence is nothing more than your ordinary, everyday awareness, which is what you are right now. That is one of the keys to the non-puzzle: That presence is the ‘whatness’ or the knowingness that is existing within and as you at this very moment.”
The Bhagavad Gita says that once we have Realized, as Rodney says ‘Presence’ – a good word, English is often impossible – nothing else remains to be known. The One veils Itself in us and plays in the temporal illusory holographic universe until we, as That, become weary and long for Home. The Kashmir Shaivite Swami Lakshmanjoo has said, “This whole universe has come into existence just to carry you to God Consciousness”
As Rodney Stevens says so beautifully, “All that is needed is the recognition of it, of that unchanging presence of peace and spacious that is thoroughly before and within you. …And that is what nonduality is about all: It is a timeless teaching that directs you to your fundamental nature.”
The Sanskrit word for this experience of Recognition, meaning recognizing who we are, is Pratyabhijña. The sages have said that he who knows this universe is identical with his own Self, and regards the whole world as a Play of the Divine, being thus ever united with God Consciousness is without a doubt, liberated even while alive.
In Rodney Stevens, you will find great wisdom in gentle words, words that resonate with the ancient teachings in the Sanskrit texts. Thank you, Mr. Stevens for being on the planet. I touch your feet in gratitude. Namaste.
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