March 24, 2004

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Please keep your eyes closed and remain in this meditative space. I am going to lead you in a guided meditation. (many pauses, not noted)

Imagine yourself emerging from a dark forest into an open meadow flooded with sunshine. The forest was chill and damp. The sun is a delight to the senses, to the body. Lie yourself down on the grass in the sun and allow yourself to absorb into that heat. Feel the warmth of it, soaking into the body.

With your eyes closed, look toward the sun and see the intensity of its radiance, glowing through the eyelids. Body relaxed. Breathing in deeply. And again.

Allow yourself to move into the sun, losing the dampness of the ground. Floating; rising. Right into the heart of the sun. There are special factors at work here so it will not burn your essence. Allow it to melt away the thoughts, the ego, even the heaviness of the body. Brighter and brighter, warmer and warmer. (light is gradually turned up as Aaron speaks.)

Floating. Lifting. Releasing all sense of the separate self to enter into the innate radiance of your true being.

Floating. Opening to the true self. Releasing everything that is heavy or separate. You are energy and light. You are coming home.

Continue to move upward, inward, to that place of deepest center. Look directly into the light, into the sun. Feel the radiance of it. Feel the energy fields vibrating with that radiance.

Please do not try to make this happen; allow it. If there is tension, simply bring kind awareness to the tension. Nothing to fix or change or do.

In the last class, we experimented, trying to expand your energy vs. the natural expansion of that energy through release of boundaries. Feel the blessed warmth, the high energy of that light, and know that you are that.

Allow yourself to float into this radiance and love that are your true being. If possible, sit erect, spine straight, and feel the high energy moving through the chakras. A little smile, please; relax.

I am going to quite literally place my, we can't quite call it a hand, but my energy field, lightly touching each of your crown chakras. See if you can feel that touch with my finger. The crown of the head. Reach your body up into that touch. Bring that energy down to the base chakra.

This is very beautiful. You are vibrating like a 25-stringed instrument here in this room.

This is center, no self. Now, I realize all of you are not fully there. And at the same time, you are always there but the consciousness of the ego and the body get in the way a bit of the full experience of that center. It's okay. The important thing is to recognize that there is this space where, when you are there and I am there, we are One. There is nothing else. Nothing else but the divine, however you name it, and you rest in the heart of that divine.

Now I ask you consciously to bring a thought to mind, such as your name, "I am (your name), and I am sitting in the Deep Spring meditation hall." Begin to bring awareness into the physical body. Feel yourself moving out of that radiance. (light gradually dims)

We do not lose the light. This is the non-dual experience of dharmakaya and nirmanakaya. You are always in the light. And, there is this physical expression, mental expression, emotional expression.

Coming back into the body, into this outer expression of essence. Can you feel that you have not lost that essence? You carry both. Look back a moment, see the brightness. It has not departed, but you turn your face from it as one who turns their back from a window to do their work within the room.

I'm going to end the guided meditation here. Give you a moment to stretch, and then we'll begin my talk for the evening.

(Bell) (Bell) (Bell)


My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron.

Many more of you have come in now, a little bit late tonight, but there are still some absent. I would like to remind you of the commitment nature of this class. Speaking here to those who are not with us, I realize that some of you must miss a class from time to time. Our content in each class builds on the last. It will be very important that you carefully read the transcript notes of this class, read the notes and work with the exercises.

Tonight I want to tie many things together. I want to speak both theoretically and practically.

I find it is useful to many people to more deeply intellectually understand the process of a movement or exercise, to have a map of it. For others, such a map is not needed. There is no right way to learn, but we offer the map to those for whom it is useful. If it is not useful, just lay it aside.

There are many different planes of being. There are various bodies. There are what we call principles. Different traditions give different names, which can make it confusing.

The question we are looking at is this: when we speak of healing, whether healing of the physical or the emotional or the mental body, what do we mean by healing? In the light of that which we call the Ever-Perfect, what heals? What carried distortion? If the Ever-Perfect exists, if the dharmakaya exists, is the distortion an illusion? But we certainly experience it as real. And from my perspective, it is real. The nirmanakaya expressions are as real as the dharmakaya, and not other than the dharmakaya.

Let us start with this center point. Some of you approached that point tonight, others not so deeply. But most of you at some time in this lifetime have experience at least some moments of resting in that center. It is a place of complete non-separation. At that point there are no bodies, no planes; there is just that which is.

We cannot speak of what comes first to lead us to seemingly depart from that center. Often, but not always, it is a sudden shift in awareness, the I Am shifting from a universal mode to a personal one.

The nature of the Unconditioned is to express itself. You are all part of that outer expression. And yet, you have not left the center.

Imagine something, here. Put two hands out toward me, reaching your hands out. Reaching your hands toward that light (lamps are turned up again) ; reaching, reaching. Now, imagine a noise behind you. Keep one hand toward the light and turn your bodies away from the light. Reach the other hand behind you. (pause) Has the first hand departed, even in the slightest, from the light? And yet, your attention is toward the darkness. That is all; please relax.

Can you feel that simultaneity? You are always home, and it is human nature to lose the sense of that home and move into the illusion of separation. You never literally leave the center, where there is no separate self and therefore, no karma generated. But as soon as you move into the illusion that you have left, you shift into what we call the causal plane. This is the field of karma, cause and effect.

At that point, the various bodies (physical, mental, emotional, and spirit) may emerge, depending on whether you have lost yourself into a material or non-material plane. Within each of those bodies, there will be a form level and an energetic level. Here we will find various planes: the astral plane, which has more to do with the heavier density of earth; the etheric plane, which has to do with the ether, the energy, chi, or however you wish to name it; and the higher planes.

On the astral plane, there is a lower astral and an upper astral, and also on the etheric plane. The lower astral is often involved with emotion, heavy emotion, such as fear and anger. Within the body, the lower astral is involved with pain, distortion. The upper astral is more involved with the purified emotions, such as lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

The lower etheric level is more involved with the thought forms out of which emotion and physical sensation give rise. When we work with the observation of contraction of energy, we are observing at the etheric level and often we are observing the expression of etheric energy into more material form, be it physical, mental or emotional. When I say physical-emotional form, I'm speaking of the direct experience of anger, greed or fear. A physical-mental form is a thought, such as a planning or judging thought.

If this information feels too dense, let it go. It is not necessary, but will be helpful to some of you who prefer clear analysis of each step.

There is a flow. There is the energetic impulse and usually some tension, and then the outflow into a thought, emotion, or physicality. This movement is part of the sambhogakaya, the transition or wealth body. You must remember that even as we talk about transition, which implies a linearity, it is all simultaneous. That hand reaching into the heart of the divine never lets go. That is why a so-called enlightenment experience can happen in an instant. We recognize our true nature, right here in this moment.

You are in human experience, in human form, to come to know that true nature. But also, you are in human form to get to know the expressions of that true nature, and to more deeply develop both equanimity and compassion through your own direct experience of how hard it is to lose touch with that center.

The human body is impermanent. It begins as the fetus, takes birth, grows, ages, and declines. I singled out the human body, but of course any object on the earth goes through that process.

Even if one stayed in perfect touch with that center, the body would still age in the same way that a mountain will erode as the wind and rain sweep by it century after century. The body is subject to decay. But sometimes we seem to speed up that decay through distortions on the mental, emotional, and physical plane, which distortions cannot be separated.

If you develop a nervous habit to clench your shoulders and fists, eventually you will develop pain in the shoulder and arm. We cannot say it is a mental issue or an emotional issue or a physical issue; it is a combination.

Distortions will happen simply because your bodies are destructible. If you are walking in the dark in a place where there should be no nails, a place that seemed clear just an hour earlier in the daylight, and you step on a nail, we cannot say you chose to step on a nail. You participated in it, but it truly can be consciously unintentional. This does not mean it is coincidental. Something energetically drew you to that place where that nail was and into the experience, even while there was no conscious intention. You cannot fault yourself and say, "Why was I careless?" You walked where you needed to walk. In the hour since you last passed that way, somebody dropped a tack. It happened to fall point up, and your foot connected with it.

Sometimes there is a deeper participation. At her cabin with her wood stove used for heat, Barbara experiences occasional small burns. Sometimes the glove is on but a spark pops up and hits the arm above the glove. Sometimes there is carelessness, failing to put on her heavy gloves.

So we see that on one level, the bodies are perfect. On another level, they exhibit distortion.

It may be useful to some of you to reflect on at what point that distortion has entered. Is the distortion present on the astral level, in the astral bodies? Is it present in the etheric bodies? Is it present on the higher planes? Here you may be led to observe the Ever-Perfect and an habitual impulse into distortion.

Others of you will not find this a useful reflection, and that's fine. If you are led to such investigation, try in your meditation to open to the Ever-Perfect of that finger that has a cut, for example. Try to find the place where the cut does not exist, where the skin is whole, and the place where the cut does exist. You will find as you trace it back that there is almost a karmic impulse into injury or distortion in some part of the body. This is easiest to find in areas of the body where there is a chronic ailment.

Barbara experiences back pain at times, When the pain starts, she goes to the Ever-Perfect, to the pain-free back. Then she observes that moment when old habit led to a certain awkward tension in the back and then the arising pain. The pain is a result. She wants to attend to the cause as well, not the literal cause such as fear or anger so much as just the mechanical movement into tension, whatever it's source, and the habit of carrying the tension to the back.

Look in the same way where there is anger. Observing that which is not angry; resting in awareness that watches anger and does not participate. It is like moving into the sun and then back out again. Find the moment when anger first appears, not in this present situation in which it has arisen but the whole tension, energy, and impulse toward anger held in the emotional body. You'll find on these higher planes only the refined energies, the purified energies, and you will literally feel that moment of squeezing into the separate self and the emergence of fear, separation, and anger. It is an existential experience: the emergence of the soul, if we may use that word, coming out of center, out of the higher planes, and meeting relative reality in its habitual ways. Here is the stream tumbling from that deep, pure underground spring, opening up and pouring down the hillside. At what moment does pollution first enter it?

It's not necessary to see a specific lifetime. We're more interested in the growing wisdom here, that somehow this shift was conditioned, and therefore is not self, is not something you can define yourself by, but is habit energy. It is as if once a dog bit you and now when you see a dog, the body tenses and a stomach ache begins. Habit. Someone wearing a certain scent was abusive to you and now when you smell that scent, fear or rage arise. Habit. The important thing is to know, "This is habit," and see both the expression and the Ever-Perfect. Perhaps you can see where I'm going here, because at this point, one can work with the Four Empowerments or Seven Branch Prayer, both releasing that energy for physical distortion on the relative plane and resting in the Ever-Perfect on the ultimate plane.

You will begin to see the habit energy toward distortion often simply grew out of a naive curiosity to play with distortion, much as a child goes out and plays in the mud, stomping mud over his new clothes. Have you seen a child repeatedly build a pile of blocks and tear it down? Or she may paint a colorful picture, then paint black over it. And it is not bad to play in those ways with distortion, but it can be very painful, very uncomfortable. And perhaps you have outgrown this particular mud puddle.

So we are watching the arising of physical or emotional distortion to see the habitual quality of it. As we watch, we observe both the distorted expression and the simultaneous experience of the Ever-Perfect. What needs to be healed? We attend to the distortion even as we rest in the Ever-Perfect. For those for whom such analysis is helpful and not confusing, you may wish to see if the distortion is arising on both the astral and etheric levels? Where does the Ever-Perfect begin? You'll find the shift comes between the higher and lower astral and higher and lower etheric levels, In other words, with the energy of anger (lower etheric) there will also be compassion (higher etheric) Can you see the move into distortion in all the bodies? They are all involved. If this analysis is not helpful, let it go. To watch all this may feel like you are a traveler at a busy train station, with people rushing every direction. Some travelers may benefit to know about all the trains. Others need to just find the sign to their own destination and let the rest pass.

Now I'm going to shift into a very specific exercise. We're going to work here with the physical body, simply because it is easy to see the process in the physical body. You are more invested in ownership of your emotions.

I want you to choose something small in the physical body. For example, Barbara will work with a small burn, not her deafness. Find something in the physical body, a pimple, an itch, a splinter, a small bruise. Bring loving attention to it.

See if there are any emotions around it. Barbara burned herself last night at 2am. The burn is just above where her heavy gloves were. She reached in the stove, tried to log and make it feed in. Reached just a bit too far, so her arm touched the hot stove. Then anger arose. Judgment. Careless. Anger, "Oh no, I'm burned. It's going to hurt." Annoyance. These were just habit energies that arose. She knows them well. So she sat down and worked with energetically with the burn, and also offered metta to the emotions that came. This was attendance to the physical expressions. She also noted the place of no burn and no anger or judgment, just held that doorway open. After a few minutes of attendance to the physical levels, she worked with the Seven Branch prayer, to release the habit energy to judgment and also the habit energy to not be so mindful in the small hours of the night. Here, the balancing was found in metta offered.

With your own bruise, cut, or other distortion, see what emotions lie with it. This collection of distortion, let's call it a physical/emotional/mental contraction, a stewpot, all of them together. Trace it back. It exists on the heavy astral level as physicality. It exists on the etheric or energetic level. You may be able to perceive the arising of it as you work backwards as a small blip into the etheric level. It will be like watching a movie in reverse. Run the movie backwards to the point where the distortion does not exist on any of these levels.

Then run the movie forward again, watching that moment of burn, of cut, of bruise, and the emotional and mental forms that came with it. Take them all together. Run it backwards a bit.

Barbara's experience was that of a place of deep caring that watches and preserves the body, and a level of irritation, needing to build up the fire, that expresses itself in self-hurt. Here the hurt takes the form of heedlessness. It does not matter that she loves her cabin and chooses to be there with her wood stove. This is ancient habit. Going past that habit, linearly, she comes to a place of deep kindness, of the Ever-Perfect itself

We must practice in this linear way because your minds cannot fully hold simultaneous experience, but I remind you, this is not linear but simultaneous. After you run it backwards and forwards several times, can you rest in the simultaneity of the innate perfection and of the distortion? This is like wataching a film of someone balanced on a bicycle. Suddenly she starts to fall. Run the film back and forth. Can you see the moment that just precedes and contains the start of the fall? Perfect balance/ falling. In that moment when we first begin to lose balance, does the body go first, or the mind, or do they come together? Find the sambhogakaya moment! It is at this point that we must work to heal any distortion, be it the prick of a thorn or something very severe in the body. It is at this point that we have been training Barbara to work with her deafness.

While realizing the simultaneity on the linear level, you come to a fulcrum, like a teeter-totter, a see-saw, where it tilts and the energy suddenly picks up speed as the end that was lighter now suddenly is heavier. The specific exercise I would like you to do in the coming two weeks, working with physical small injury, or with the arising of anger, or greed, or some other emotion, is to try to move back and forward in this way until you come to this place that I've called the fulcrum, where you can easily extend one hand to the light, the other back into the distortion.

The vital question here, what pushes the route of distortion? What feeds it energy? Often you will find it's just habit. Some of you may find that frequently it is the impulse to be a self, which in itself is a habit energy.

What happens when you attend to that bit of contraction, right there at the fulcrum? One tool of choice would be your personalized version of the Seven Branch Prayer. First, you attend to the physical injury, wash it off, work energetically with it, whatever feels appropriate as First Aid. Then come in and find this fulcrum point. See if you experience the ability to release that impulse toward distortion. More relaxation into the Ever-Perfect. And if you do so, literally hold that Ever-Perfect in all of the bodies - physical, mental and emotional - hold it up as a mirror to the outer expression where the distortion lies. Invite the body to shift back into that place of its innate perfection.

As you work with this, you will probably find with some wonder that small injuries heal very quickly, that anger dissipates very quickly, and so forth. Several weeks ago I mentioned cellular regeneration. We could call this practice that I have taught you tonight the first step in that process. I'm going to pause now to hear your questions, and then we will break into groups. I thank you for hearing me and for this opportunity to share these teachings with you.

I pause.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron, he says he believes you can all see how important your vipassana practice is to this because without mindfulness, you cannot do any of this. He pauses.

Let us hear your questions. Basically we just want to make sure that the practice is clear, and then Aaron will tell you what he wants you to do in the groups.

Are there any questions about the process he has just described? He realizes that it was a pretty complex talk, and that some of you will need to read it to really get it.

Q: I was working with tension in my jaw. At first I went back to a more specific incident in the last day or two, but then as you talked, I began thinking about, well when did this habit start? Because I've used it a lot as a reaction to similar situations. So I what I wanted to know was, should I just have stayed with this specific incident recently or go back to earlier in the habit?

Barbara: Aaron is saying, it needs to be intuitive. We need to learn to trust ourselves. He says, if the going back is filled with, "I've got to get it" kind of tension, then just relax and come back to the present. But if the going back feels it grows from a kind intention to uncover something, not from a grasping energy, just the mind flowing back into past experience somewhat spaciously, then go with it and explore that way. He says, our deepest wisdom and love will move intuitively into opening to what we need to know according to our intention, but fear will set us scooting off into many different sidetracks, saying let's figure this out, wanting to control. That's not helpful. So at that point one just notes, "fear" and comes back more to the immediate experience. He's saying, just stay with that tension in the jaw, and the memory of it on the physical and emotional and mental levels, and relax into the place where there's no tension.


Q:  I'm wondering what percent of our activity is a desire to be a self?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Len, this will differ greatly for different individuals at different periods in their lives. In itself it becomes a wonderful investigation: who or what wants to become or remain a self? When investigated in this way with an open heart and no judgment, one usually quickly discovers the habit energy of it. There's nobody that wants to become a self. Fear wants to become a self, and fear is not me or you, mine or yours, it's just a habit energy. That which can relate fearlessly to fear is not a self. The more that self comes up in this way and is worked with as practice, the more directly we're brought back into no self. So it can be very powerful and lead to a very quick learning.

The same is true with any difficult energy. That which is aware of anger is not angry. The more anger, the more opportunity to rest in that non-angry awareness and get to know it. And in this way, that which keeps propelling itself into self dissolves. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Q: Yes, thank you.

Barbara: Any others?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Let us do 2 things in your groups. In your last class, you worked with feeling each other's energy fields. I would have you invite one person into the center of your circle who has a burn or cut or bruise, or some more severe distortion such as If somebody had a broken arm, or any such a distortion. I would like not only that person but the whole circle to observe the distortion in the physical and other bodies. Perhaps you can feel the outer expression of that distortion: physical, mental, and emotional, and the energetic levels of it. You can literally feel the Ever-Perfect too. Talk about it amongst yourselves. How does it feel to the observer. What is experienced by the one in the center when others hold up the mirror of the Ever-Perfect?

For the most part, at home, you are going to be working on yourselves. But the same process is useful with others. Any of you who spend a lot of time with other people, you don't have to be a physician to be helpful when there's an injury. You don't have to have highly developed technical skills, only to learn to find that fulcrum of which I've spoken and step slightly back into the clear space, seeing the tilt into distortion. You mirror the Ever-Perfect back to the distortion and hold the space in which the distortion can resolve.

I expect there will be a lot of trial and error as you try this today, and I hope some laughter. Do not be afraid of feeling that you are fumbling, simply try it.

In a sense I am holding a carrot on a stick in front of the horse, as it was once said, to draw you into this practice. It interests all of you to learn ways to heal the physical body, but I confess I am more personally interested in how you can apply this process to negative thought and emotion, and how quickly you will find such thought and emotion dissipates with such practice.

This is not the identical practice to the Seven Branch Prayer practice. That can be part of this, but this is a larger practice. The other thing you may wish to do in your small groups is simply to discuss what I have said to try to clarify it a bit more for yourself. In the next class there will not be much new material. We will spend more time in discussion of this after you have had a chance to read the transcript and practice with it.

If you bring a person into the center, bring just one at a time; although several people may have that center seat during group time. That is all.

(taping ends)

Copyright © 2004 by Barbara Brodsky