June 25, 2012 private session

Akashic field; access concentration; different aspects of Field or Ground.

This is a portion of private transcript with portions about the akashic field and access concentration, which Aaron requested transcribed to be shared.

Aaron: (Regarding) your experience this morning... (pause) Awareness is the citta that opens to the akashic field, just as a certain level of citta/ consciousness opens to access concentration, as a certain level of awareness opens to rigpa. They're not different, but perhaps you could see them as overlapping layers. They're related to each other, and yet each has certain predominant manifestations that let you know, “Ah, this one is rigpa. This one is access concentration. This is the akashic field.”

The akashic field is the ground to which citta opens. Every citta takes an object. Mundane citta take a mundane object and supramundane citta take a supramundane object. The akashic field is the object of that supramundane awareness. Access concentration is both citta, the form of consciousness, and the object, which we also call access concentration. So citta, consciousness, takes this field of access concentration as object.  Access concentration then is both citta and object; as object it is really a field, different than the akashic field but related to the akashic field.

When access concentration as citta is strong, you see the arising and passing away of objects and there's no sense of self, going out to or retreating from the objects. This is also a foundation for entering the akashic field; although it is not the only route to the akashic field. What we're seeing is an overlay, the objects arising and passing away. As you move through those objects, to the ground out of which they arise and to which they dissolve, one aspect of that ground or field is the akashic field. If you take any one object and go out with it as it dissolves, it takes you into the akashic field. As you're deeply present with any tiny blip of an arising object, you see it emerging from the akashic field,. However in these situations the focus is on the objects arising and dissolving and not on the field.

When you meditate with intention to use access concentration as a pathway into the field, then you begin to see beyond the arising and passing away of objects. This is not done from the perspective of a self; it is simply based on the intention to understand, release, and purify old karma. You see a certain object like a body sensation. You see it arise, you see it pass away, and you follow it into the field as it passes away. When you follow it into the field, it's like seeing the whole network of interconnected conditions.

Let's use a simple example of a pain somewhere in the body. You see the network of conditions, such as a recent injury that's related to that pain. You see some old karmic streams that are related to that pain. You see the aversion as related to the re-establishment of the pain, or grasping. It's like seeing a spider web, all connected. You see it all connected. The “you” here of course is not self, but Awareness.

Picture the spider web where the web touches at one end, touches at another end. It gathers in toward the center, growing outward, opening outward, and shrinking into the center spot. This experiencing of the akashic field is very much like a spider web, moving out. Instead of focusing on the center, which is where you were with access concentration, you begin to focus more on the threads going out. The present consciousness is able to look at each thread and see its lack of substantiality, and that right there with that thread is the place where the thread isn't. Seeing through. Seeing the spaciousness.

Let's talk about shame. If shame arises as you're meditating, with access concentration there's the experience of shame but no stories around it. Then, based on the intention to fully release all the patterns around it and to go to the place where it's non-existent and to stabilize that place, instead of simply noting the shame arisen and then passing away, focused on that impermanence and not self nature of the arising / dissolving object, one goes with it as it passes away, seeing the whole picture. There's still access concentration. There's no sense of a self. There are no stories. But all these old events, all the different conditions that cause the arising of shame in this human, are noted. With each of these threads, there's the radiance in the spaces beyond, and the reality that all that's holding up this core network of shame is these strands, and that none of them really have any substance.

Being present in the akashic field in that way, there is an awareness that there has been a choosing to give more substance to the strands so as to hold the core object of shame together because there was a belief that the shame needed to be fixed in some way, that there was some wrongness that needed to be resolved.

Now, sometimes there is. If a person is acting in a way that's deeply harmful to others, you cannot find release from that in the akashic field. First you must do the work with sila. But once you've done the work, this holding the strands is what I mean by the constant recreation of melodrama. Just fixing on that central aspect, shame or body pain or whatever it may be-- seeing all of this field, one simply lets it drop. There's nothing to hold that shame in place anymore. Letting go of all of those empty strands, it just falls apart.

Within the akashic field, also, and an important part of the practice, is recognizing the radiant and divine human, the angel. Loving that angel. Loving that human with all the mistakes it's made in its life. Loving the courage of the human to have come into incarnation in the first place. Heart open.

It's the power of the recognition of that radiance, the power of that love, which allows the fullest release of all these strands that are holding that object in the middle. It's easier in some ways with an emotion like shame than with a body object because the emotional body is not quite as heavy as the physical body. The mental body is even easier. An old story, an old idea to which one is attached, goes more easily. Emotions, next. When there's a body object such as pain in a specific area of the body, or some known body distortion, it's held more firmly in the body and takes longer for the body to release it even after you do the work in the akashic field. But the akashic field is a wonderful place to start.

(personal material skipped over)

For me the greatest value of this akashic field work is that instead of seeing one strand of karma and another strand of karma and spending months working on one strand or another, one basically sees that it's all hanging together, and that each of those strands-- the spider moves this way, the spider moves that way, attaching, attaching. There's nothing separate. One takes the whole mass of that karma and just says, “That's enough.” But it's not out of aversion, it's out of a very clear knowing, “That really is enough. I let it go.” Think of the spider web and how there's nothing there. It looks big. No spider in it anymore, it's just this very thin silk. There's nothing there.

Q: So how does this experience of working within the akashic field in the way you just described, by watching an emotion like shame and following the dissolution of that emotion into the akashic field, how does this relate to the dissolution that leads to cessation?

Aaron: One sees how one has been creating subtle stories through the entire lifetime (sometimes in seeing the akashic field, you're seeing many lifetimes) and that there was never any substance to it in the first place. There was just kneejerk reaction... All of these objects will arise. There was never anything bad to begin with. It's just this whole collection of objects creating the web, and the web collapses. At that point, very deep compassion and forgiveness are possible for all the people involved.

Q: So that was what I was experiencing this morning in my meditation, as I went deeper into the akashic field, I was experiencing compassion and forgiveness.

Aaron: Yes, yes. Are you clear now on the relationship between access concentration and the akashic field? Access concentration is a form of citta. When you rest in access concentration, you can be in a number of places, if I can use that word, including the akashic field. But when you rest in access concentration you are not always in the akashic field. The lens must be focused onto what you want to focus it on. So it can focus on emptiness. It can pick up the emptiness, the spaciousness, of access concentration; the no-self aspect. So there has to be usually pre-determined decision before the sitting that you want to bring the focus into the akashic field.

It's very different than jhana, but it's similar to jhana in that if you sit with jhana, you start with the intention to open to jhana, and to what level of jhana. It's not drifting into but directing.

Q: The experience I had during the Emrich retreat after the last sitting, I felt like I was spinning around in a vortex. And it was going deeper and deeper inside. I came right to the edge of the cliff, but not over into full cessation.

Aaron: I think you just don't fully trust the experience of the akashic field, and it will take a bit more practice with it.

Clean to here

Let me talk about resting in pure awareness. You are experiencing the vast spaciousness, resting in pure awareness. It's one field, this All Ground, one field. There are different entries to that All Ground, and different expressions of spaciousness. What we call rigpa as citta takes spaciousness as object. What we call access concentration takes the whole nature of arising and passing away as object, impermanence and not-self nature of objects. Resting in the same level of consciousness, one choice is to open into the akashic field, and a still further choice is to simply open into the Unconditioned.

The experience of the Unconditioned is a powerful one. But does one simply want to have that experience over and over? It's a deeply healing experience. Does one want to investigate old karma? Or does one want a deeper understanding of impermanence and the not-self nature of objects? What is one's intention? So it's one dharma, and it's really one field with many avenues of learning available.

Q: I think that my primary intention now in my practice is resolution of karma. So that seems to be the primary intention in my practice, the resolution and balancing of karma.

Aaron: I think that's appropriate. You already have deep understanding of anatta and anicca, and you've had experiences of the Unconditioned. What's important now is the resolution of karma so as not to create new karma, so that you are then able to go deeper into the Unconditioned.

Q: What is the relationship between the akashic field and sila, in terms of my practice?

Aaron: That you have a deep understanding of sila and a deep intention to do no harm, to live your life in service to others. And this gives you the courage to go into the akashic field and look at the places where there was harm, to yourself and from yourself to others, even just through anger. The other may have done something inappropriate. That's their karma. And your karma is the unresolved anger about it. Seeing that you do not choose to carry any of that negativity in you, but to as deeply as possible align yourself with positive polarity, in yourself and in the universe. That gives you the courage to go into the akashic field and instead of recycling this old shame or anger or pain, to say, “That's enough,” and to find the courage to forgive yourself and the other. So it's built on a foundation of sila.

(end of akashic material)