141. Rafael Stoneman

Rafael StonemanRafael Stoneman and his wife Natalia live in Ojai, California and are doing work through AH. Nonprofit that includes making films and other spontaneous acts that revolve around living a life of Self-inquiry.

In addition, Rafael is currently working as a Community Service Coordinator for Community Solutions, Inc. in Santa Barbara, CA with people on parole and attending college on G.I. Bill Benefits

To contact them, use the website: http://ah-nonprofit.com. A.H. Nonprofit: 501c3 Tax Exempt EIN: 90-0450329 MISSION STATEMENT: “A.H. Nonprofit provides services to to people who are in need, feeling lost, challenged by practical living needs, or facing spiritual crisis, as well as being an aide for people focused on a life of self-inquiry, surrender, or devotion.”

Interview recorded 10/7/2012

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

39 thoughts on “141. Rafael Stoneman

  1. The cool thing about not assigning certain characteristics or attributes to being/having awakened is….

    awakening can appear to you in every characteristic.

    And not just the ones that you may have confined it to.

  2. Yeah, as I’ve stated before, for whatever unknown reason, there’s no tendency here to want to list attributes of awakenedness — albeit, some would seem self-evident, like a lot of story-generated, woe-is-me suffering, or a clear absence of heart, or empathy. However, as we’ve seen elsewhere, such a list can tend to get quite esoteric and exclusive, including certain aura and chakra databank requirements. But ultimately, I can only ascertain this heart-felt experience, and then express it as best one can. As such, when watching these chats, the only ‘quaility’ of the reflection that is of interest is resonance. If it happens, fine. If it doesn’t, there’s no tendency to want to argue with it. I just let it go, and return the focus to where it truly needs to be … on one’s Self-nature.

  3. Yeah – the hell with standards…here’s my new list for future potential interviewees – listen up Rick..

    My dentist Stan – who once read a book on Kabbala..
    My Uncle Ed – who passed over but who comes to visit me every now and then..
    My friend Harry who actually visited Ramana’s cave once..
    My 88 year old next door neighbor who who can sit in a full lotus..
    My college boyfriend who sold the best acid in Boston ….and was adept at tantra…
    My beloved dog Duchess – who meditated for 40 years and who I’m sure was Self Realized…and without a teacher too..
    .
    Yep – we could invite everyone and their grandmother to the site…without the least concern for Truth..and we can all make up our own ideas of awake..great idea..

    Dec 22 can’t get here soon enough..

  4. Here’s the beauty of not assigning any attributes or characteristics to enlightenment or awakening:

    every person you meet has the potential of being your best teacher at the moment.

    Intend to see your reflection in them and their reflection in you. Irrespective of what their surface personae may be.

    When you do, they become your best teacher at the moment.

    For they present themselves to reflect you in them and them in you.

    Each and every person whom you cross paths with.

    P.S. I’d love to check with you on the 22nd of December, Jill, to see if you’re thrilled with what you’re expecting then.

  5. This is ascertained here … Emptiness being expressed in some way, shape or form … All there ever is, ever has been, or ever will be .. including 12/22/12

    No expectation in sight, of how it must appear, all falling into place, or falling away, exactly as it should…

    Take a deep breath and relax now :-)

  6. As Adyashanti said, and I enthusiastically second – “In order to go deeper, ruthless self-honesty is called for”…..

    The Self is above all honest – It doesn’t try to agree with everything everyone says in order to float above the waves…That’s not love – it’s an imitation of it.. If one is the Self – one recognizes it in others as Francis Bennett said…immediately..

    The Self, at times, uses the sword of discrimination especially when it comes to spiritual truth..not everyone is speaking it lucidly..and neti neti is important for all seekers..It’s the doorway in.

    This energy has to be embodied or it’s useless…Reality is not something we get off a hallmark card…

    It’s true that everyone one meets is seen as Divine – and is appreciated and loved for who they are – yet a true teacher recognizes not only the divinity in each soul but where there is still a veil covering it…

    Re Dec 22 – I was making a joke -but many of us are hoping that the second sun will bring clarity and illumination to a very confused earth..

  7. Not speaking for any others, but self-honesty can only be ascertained here in one’s heart-felt experience … no one else required to point it out.

  8. Pam:
    As Jill said, you are welcome to share your feelings/reactions/thoughts here. Thank-you for your answer. And I second Jill’s invitation to listen to the gut feeling.

  9. “It’s true that everyone one meets is seen as Divine – and is appreciated and loved for who they are – yet a true teacher recognizes not only the divinity in each soul but where there is still a veil covering it”

    Divinity is an attribute. I am not pointing to seeing anyone or everyone with that particular attribute. I am, instead, pointing to seeing all who cross paths with you with the absence of separation.

    When the apparently separated are treated/greeted as they are you and you are they… attributes and characteristics (including divinity) are seen for what they essentially are: nothing but aspects of appearance.

    I encourage the reader to not look for a teacher who possesses a certain set of attributes or characteristics. Instead, turn everyone you meet into the right teacher for the moment… by receiving them in the absence of separation between you and them.

  10. Snow:
    I’ve noticed you often take the stance of everything is a reflection of That, and so all is well, and don’t judge, etc When anyone, but particularly Jill I think, says anything even remotely critical, judging, opinionated, preferential, you tend to chime in with the mirror/reflection analogy, reminding everyone that everything is perfect exactly as it is. Why talk about others. etc There also seems to be a thing with authority/teachers. Is there anything to this, or am I off-base?

    ps. I’m taking the liberty of talking candidly here, as we have spoken away from here, and know eachother fairly well. So you know my heart, and that it’s not mean-spirited or pretentious. But if it’s annoying, or whatever, just tell me to bugger off and that’s totally fine.

  11. @ Mike … Why should it be annoying? All clarifications are welcome … so I’ll try to clarify.

    As stated, one must trust one’s own heart-felt, or gut-level, feeling. But it is also essential to realize what internalized, unconscious conditioning, beliefs, repressed memories, etc, are at the root of those emotions that arise when when react to some experience. As such, any seemingly external experience, whether in human form, or some sort of emotion or though-generating event, is always going to be a kind of reflection of the internal, embodied state. So if one is watching Rafael, for example, and feels some sort of discomfort, rather than projecting that ‘out there’ onto the external circumstance, perhaps some closer introspection is warranted that will possibly reveal where those feelings are truly originating. This process, of course, requires the kind of uncompromising self-honesty that Adyashanti refers to: by asking, who is responsible for these feelings. In other words, do we simply blame the ‘reflection,’ or do we look within for its unconscious roots.

    Also, it’s worth noting again that there are the internal feelings, or energies that are arising, and then there is the story about them — i.e. this person is annoying, this person is bad, this person needs help, this person is not awakened, etc — which serves no purpose but to distract one from the process of honest introspection, by blaming our feelings on ‘the other,’ and thus absolving us from our self-responsibility to self-inquire. Ultimately, of course, once one has realized one’s true Self-nature, it can be no surprise that That is all that remains to be reflected — all the unconscious stuff no longer obscuring its light. Hence, why we then are able to see that very same Self-nature reflected in every one of its unique individual expressions, without all the though-based judgements, and story-generated suffering. Indeed, this my be one of the so-called ‘qualities’ of the Awakened state.

    In Rick’s most recent interview with Eliza Mada Dalian they explore this process in some depth, and which perhaps explains it better than I can. So you might want to check it out — with an open mind and heart.

    I trust this clarifies the mirror analogy somewhat

    with love

  12. P.S. there is no problem here with teachers, or anyone who feels, for whatever reason, compelled to sit with them. As I’ve stated often enough, I don’t rule out that possibility here, should such a teacher come along who compels. However, there is a problem with placing teachers on pedestals as authority figures. The true satgurus, it seems, are the ones who point the seekers inward to trust their own Self-authority. Which is trusted in implicitly here … hence, one supposes, why there is no current need for any teacher to point it out.

  13. “I encourage the reader to not look for a teacher who possesses a certain set of attributes or characteristics. Instead, turn everyone you meet into the right teacher for the moment… by receiving them in the absence of separation between you and them.”

    Peter — the suggestion to “receive them in the absence of separation between you and them” is a beautiful one — and to the extent that one is able to do this, it seems to me that a profound Awakening has already occurred — and so then yes, no need in such a case for any “teacher” other than each and every arising phenomena, realized as an expression of Awareness …

    But for the vast majority of people, this hasn’t yet happened, and so your suggestion feels to me kind of like the proverbial “putting the cart before the horse.” In other words, you seem to be saying, “just be Awakened, already.” But for someone who isn’t able to perceive in this way (to know themselves consciously as the Awareness that includes all), it’s not necessarily (nor likely) an easy or automatic way of perceiving — and they could perhaps benefit in profound ways from finding an appropriate and specific Teacher, by exercising the kind of discrimination that Jill is pointing to.

    Ultimately, there’s no difference between Ramana and Hitler — but to say that, for a beginner, they are equally qualified to act as a Teacher, strikes me as absurd.

  14. Peter –
    Let’s get real..No one is looking at ‘characteristics’ per say – you’re missing the point…It’s an intuitive ‘knowing’ if someone is speaking from Truth..as they share a common download however they arrived at the Self..and that resonates..

    I can listen to Francis Lucille and Adya and Ramesh Balsekar and Mooji – all different lineages and gurus – and yet the same language of Self is being spoken…Francis Bennett woke up in a Trappist monastery – same download – Eckhart woke up out of great suffering as did Byron Katie and Jeff Foster – same download..Awake is Awake…

    Your path is not one I’m familiar with and I hope it is satisfying for you – but I do know that to the extent we have realized Truth within ourselves, that is the extent we can recognize it in others…and it matters.. as only the Truth can set one free..We’re here to uncover our lies – that’s all..

    Meeting people from the non-separated state is indeed what any good teacher does – I agree – IF that’s where one truly lives – and it’s the only thing that can possibly affect transformation in another- but paradoxically. that meeting includes discrimination on both the subtle and gross level –

    and this meeting is rare – one can’t TRY to meet people in non-separation – Who would advocate that? – Can we TRY to be awake? Wouldn’t that be faking it?

    If we take the Absolute view that all is good -and everyone is the Self and it’s all One – before it actually is true for us – before all suffering has ceased and we are living in joy – resting in our nature — we are perpetuating a lie of enormous proportions….and it has consequences…

    The mind will never tell us we’re in error -or that we’re halfway up the mountain – or totally off base – because it IS the error..The mind is illusory – and it can’t see through it’s own game – no matter how long we practice – How does the illusion see through the illusion? – only Grace – only Grace –

    I recently sent someone to Adya – as she was sure she was ‘there’ – ready to hang out the teacher shingle -…and I thought not – she’s merely witnessing….but she had to hear it loud and clear…

    Adya talked to her for 5 minutes and said – keep going – a lot more to be uncovered..this is just an opening…She was crushed.. but it was what she needed to hear – because at some point -the mind has to be humbled – that’s the surrender…First we tell ourselves material stories and then we end up telling spiritual stories…same difference..

    We eventually come to God naked – from a place of total honesty and humility..from not knowing – That’s the starting point..A cup that is already filled cannot invite Grace in to fill it…Seeing our own arrogance reflected back by the presence of a true teacher is indeed humbling…and why most people don’t want to go near it…

    I once asked my son when he had a crush on a girl in junior high – why don’t you just ask her out and end the longing – and he said, but what if she turns me down – or it doesn’t work out -.I’d rather keep the fantasy than end up with the possibility of nothing..

    There are commonalities to awakening whether you care to notice them or not…the most common being a sense of Reality – and just as a musician can hear the subtler sounds of the notes, or an art historian can appreciate the finer aspects of a painting – the Self can hear and recognize when Truth is being spoken..and again, I say it matters..

  15. @MIla…

    Thank you for your thought-full reply. I appreciate it.

    FEELing the absence of separation between you and the other person has nothing to do with awakening and enlightenment. Which partly explains why those two concepts are rarely used by me in my descriptions of my experience. And I mostly speak from personal experience.

    Our bodily senses certain do a great job of supporting the “realness” of the apparition of separation for us.

    But there is an extra-sensory FEEL to the presence of the absence of separation, Mila. And you do not have to embrace any particular concept/definition of enlightenment or awakening to FEEL the presence of the absence of separation.

    All it takes are two ingredients: intention and attention.

    There are practices that you can perform with your attention that can… like tuning a radio to receive frequencies that have been previously blocked… open your ability to (ap)perceive the presence of the absence of separation.

    They don’t involve the embracing of any particular concepts.

    All they involve, instead, is the retuning of your attention.

    Thanks, again,for your input.

  16. I found Rafael Stoneman refreshingly honest. The negative impressions that Pam and others seem to have had is more to do with them than him. I liked Stoneman’s emphasis on continual self-enquiry.

    I also found his initial distaste for Francis Lucille because he lives in a mansion on a mountain interesting. Well, Siddhartha left his palace, didn’t he. And Lucille, though he has much of interest to say, has also said a few things that raise questions. I was surprised, for instance, when he said that a sign of being ‘unshakably established in peace and happiness’ was financial abundance: ‘there should be financial abundance due to the discovery of the universal law of infinite supply’. This is stated on this page:

    http://www.francislucille.com/advaita_channel_item.php?id=371

    Until I read that, I had quite a liking for Francis Lucille’s teachings. I don’t see that it follows that ‘financial abundance’ is a sign of self-realisation at all.

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