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Promenade – Rodney Stevens

Below is a short + sweet excerpt from a book called “A Vastness All Around: Awakening To Your Natural State” by Rodney Stevens. Through his blog, Rodney has attracted readers and spiritual seekers from across the globe. In this book he gathers essays, dialogues, and interviews that point to our natural and immediate state.  N-Joy…~MK



Ah, my annual holiday walk along the Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, (South Carolina). The Horseshoe is the heart of the campus, with its lush lawn and brick-path promenade that showcase nearly a dozen 19th century buildings and a multitude of towering trees, including Southern magnolias and majestic live oaks. As always at this time of the year, there are less than a handful of people about.

My secret place is in one of the five gardens that are located to the rear of one of the buildings. Within the garden’s firebrick walls, there is a snug greenhouse with its opalescent exterior; dormant rose bushes and vines; cropped crape myrtles flaunting their smooth, cinnamon trunks; and (slightly to the rear of the space) a circular, softly pruned rosemary bush that I’ve claimed as my own. I dip my hands into the sticky leaves and gently rub their evergreen fragility between my fingers. Several seconds are all that is needed before my hands are pungent with the herb’s heady aroma.

I sit on a bench in front of the gun-metal, three-dish fountain (its steady murmurs formed by a thin stream of water). Again and again, I bring my cupped hands to my face and relish the camphoraceous scent. Through the years, it has always been a delight to come here and savor the quietness. But this year, having finally become clear on who and what I truly am (awareness itself!), I discover that there is even a space within the quietness, a space that is—at once—subtle, beginingless, and profound.

I then do something that I don’t often do: I simply sit with the presence of Beingness. Anyone entering the area would intriguingly (or annoyingly) think I was meditating or praying. But no, all seeking has stopped; and if I were praying, it would be for thanks, not supplication. There is just the simple sitting with the wafts of rosemary and the soft gurgles of water.


Or as Dōgen Zenji wrote:

Awakened, the one great truth:
Black rain on the temple roof.


Rodney Stevens: After decades of exploring many spiritual paths, Rodney came upon John Wheeler’s classic, AWAKENING TO THE NATURAL STATE. In the spring of 2007 (after some brief email exchanges with John) Rodney recognized his own radiant and ever-present clarity.

He lives in Columbia, South Carolina, and enjoys conversing with those who are vitally interested in self-knowledge.

Check out: A Vastness All Around: Awakening to Your Natural State

4 responses

  1. Awesome, pure and beautiful post yet again that shines of life’s immanent light-thank you!

    September 12, 2011 at 2:23 am

    • Rodney

      Many thanks, Maren. Your Web site and poetry are beautiful also. Keep up the great work!


      September 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  2. What an wonderful and enjoyable read.
    Felt like I was actually there.

    Thanks! Really look forward to reading Rodney’s book.

    September 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

  3. Thank you, Ernie. And I hope you enjoy the book. 🙂


    September 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

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