Class Four on Relationship - May 2, 2007

Aaron: My blessings and love. I am Aaron. It's good to have our larger group in between weeks and to have our smaller group on the alternate weeks. Last class, toward the end, I said this, (reading transcript) "I'd like you to take this home with you, the exercise you did of the circle. Be observant in the places in your life in which you feel a move into separation. Stop and note the experience of separating and ask yourself, ‘What would help me integrate back into a unity with whatever I'm separating from?' Meditate on the group experience you just had."

Is there anyone here who was absent in the last class? Alright, what we did was much like the children's 3-legged race. We took 6 of you in a circle, arms on each other's shoulders, and we tied all the legs together. I asked you to close your eyes and very gradually to move, not to move anywhere special, just to move.

At first, people felt resistance. They would start to move their leg and the other leg would tug at it. But slowly people relaxed into simply being the group, not into a separate self, began energetically to feel the group impulse to move,. Some of you began to have a telepathic response to each other. And slowly the groups began to glide around the room.

People had a strong experience of letting go of the individuated self. There was still a self, it wasn't gone completely, but the self-identity was much weaker and instead there was a sense of the wholeness of the group.

"Meditate on the group experience you just had." In other words, don't try to figure it out, just rest in that sense of group energy and reflect on how it feels. "Inevitably, through your day, you will experience occasional conflict. It may be a horn honking behind you. It may be somebody who gives you a glum or angry look. It may be a sudden pain in your body, in which case you are relating with separation to your own body. It may be seeing a pain in somebody else. There may be a sudden rain squall. It may be seeing a dead squirrel in the road. It may be walking in the woods and seeing all the trash. When the thought comes up of ‘Why did they leave trash? Why did they hit the squirrel and leave it? Why is he scowling at me? Why is he honking his horn at me?' feel the tension and the sense of separation; stop and breathe, and if you're not driving your car, put your hands out." Feel yourself in that circle with your group. "… Feel yourself coming back into this group energy and then, invite whatever is seen as other in the experience into your circle."

I'm hoping that some of you did this exercise. I would like to hear your experiences. What creates an "other" and what invites it back? If you did not consciously do this experience as written in the transcript, then just share what comes to your mind, In recent experiences in the past week with something that seemed to be other, and how you were able to change your relationship to it and bring it into your own circle of being.

Q: I found in the experience of being tied together, and then a couple of other times when separation from others started coming up, that trust, which I interpreted as a non-fear response, trust slowly dissolved the separation.

Aaron: Thank you. So you're saying that in that circle experience, the fear dissolved slowly and trust took its place. And how does that relate to your outside world experiences? I don't want to put you on the spot as the one who volunteered to speak first, but if you have anything to add about your daily life experience, I would like to hear it.

Q: Basically that with a not-fear reaction and a trust reaction to the concept of other, there was less self-judgment, judgment in general, that arose in experience with other people…

Aaron: Thank you. (smiling) Dare I say the term "Others?" There are no others here, only one self, different aspects of the self. Who would like to speak?

Q: I did not use the exact exercise in the homework but the class last time helped clarify my thinking about the problems I've been having at work with my boss. I have been feeling very angry and very used and neglected. And yet I was aware of the fact that my anger was pushing him away and I was aware that much of what I found most difficult about working with him were traits that he had which I have also. And that my dislike and my pushing him away was a mirror of how I pushed away those traits in myself.

And so I have been working these last 2 weeks to try to talk with him instead of at him. And I think we've made a lot of progress.

Aaron: Thank you. I would like to add here, just as in a dream every character is an aspect of yourself, so in your daily life, every "other" is really an aspect of yourself. When there's somebody in your life who is angry, often when you can see that what disturbs you about this person is he mirrors the angry aspect of yourself, and there's not kindness to that angry aspect of yourself, it's hard to bring kindness to the other angry expression. But when you can see, this is just me and my own self-judgment, as you soften that self-judgment it becomes much easier to relate with kindness to the person whose presence is disturbing to you.

It seems to happen for people with whatever traits they most judge about themselves. If it's not a trait that bothers you in yourself, it won't bother you about somebody else. If you are relatively punctual but sometimes a little late and don't worry too much about it, are careful not to seriously offend others, not to be disrespectful by being very late, but sometimes lateness happens and you are relaxed about it, if somebody else is habitually late, you more or less shrug and say, "That's just the way he is." But if you constantly judge yourself, "I should be more punctual. I'm bad not to be more punctual," then you probably will also judge the other person who's not punctual because they reflect yourself.

We see this also in the dream where the figures that come up in your dream are often aspects of yourself that are hard to love. And as you open your heart more deeply to those aspects of yourself, your compassion grows enormously for the other person, even if it's a person who is deeply negative or abusive. It's not that you condone what they do, it's just that compassion opens.

Are there others who would like to speak?

Q: For a number of years recently, I've been thinking about how I feel toward my mother. I have been very distant to her since I was a young man, even since I was a young boy. And I'm beginning to regret it and think this could not go on, even though she passed away in 1975 or 1974. It's all been rather intellectual, this resolution, until maybe 2 weeks ago when somewhere in my soul I remembered her, how she was when I was a child, how I loved her. And that was good, I accepted that and said, that is the way I will be from now on with her…

Aaron: Thank you. Do you see qualities in her that you disliked in yourself?

Q: I do. I'm very much like her.

Aaron: Do you see the possibility of your judgment of her relating to your self-judgment, reflected off onto her?

Q: Not specifically but I have been making it my practice to be more accepting of myself in things that I'd be critical of, so in general, yes.

Aaron: Not about specific areas, but in general. What helps you to bring her back into the circle of the heart?

Q: Have the feeling arise.

Aaron: Have the feeling arise? What feeling?

Q: <inaudible>

Aaron: So getting beyond the surface, more into who she really is.

Q: All those years I tried intellectually or without feelings to control relationship, and <inaudible>

Aaron: So is this for all of you another way that we can zero in on what creates the other, that when there's separation, we see the other in a more superficial way, stereotyped? Not seeing the deepest truth of that person but just the surface? The surface often is not pleasant and it can lead to judgment.

Of course, for all of you, when that happens, is there some movement of fear, of wanting to keep the self safe by creating the other out there, and stereotyping in that way? What we're really talking about is intimacy is what invites and what diminishes intimacy. Are there any thoughts about that?

(Same) Q: In my case, I think these feelings coming back together was preceded by a willingness to drop resentment and anger.

Aaron: Something told to me by somebody many years ago is relevant here. They were working with strongly abusive and negative people in their lives and I'd asked them to pick somebody who was strongly negative but not with whom they had a personal relationship, and this person chose Hitler. She said at first she could not sit meditatively in his presence. Just the thought, Hitler, the name, brought up so much rage.

So I asked, what do you think Hitler was like as a 5-year-old? How about as a 2-year-old? What was his life like, what were his relationships with others like? Was he treated with kindness? Was he happy or sad, secure or insecure? Can you see him as a 2-year-old and love him? Can you see him as a 5-year-old and love him? Can you really get into who he is? Not condoning what he did in the world, but simply finding compassion for him?

With compassion, my experience is separation dies and intimacy grows. Within that intimacy, there is the ability to speak heart-to-heart with another person, to share your own truth fearlessly, even though the other's truth may differ from your own. But there's not a sense of separation anymore.

Who else would like to speak?

Q: Aaron, I shared a dream with you that I'm not sure it would be a good dream to share with this group.

Aaron: I was hoping that you would! Please do.

Q: A couple weeks ago, I had a dream about the killer at Virginia Tech. Prior to the dream, I was so filled with rage and hatred just looking at pictures of this man that it all but consumed me. And then I had this dream where I was at work and I knew that he was in the workplace, and I knew that he was killing people, and I knew that he was coming to where I worked. For some reason I knew he was going to kill my coworker. I was afraid for myself but I was convinced that he was going to kill her.

I grabbed her by the hand and pulled her. We had to run and hide. We were running through this open warehouse and there was a car sitting there, and I pushed her into the back seat and I got in the back seat, too, and locked the door, and we crouched down. But within just a few seconds, his face appeared at the window and he was pointing the gun at us.

I was terrified. I knew we were both going to die. But something happened. I opened the lock to the car door and stepped out and I just started saying to him, "Cho, I'm so sorry," and I kept repeating his name and I just kept saying over and over, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." And he started to cry. And he just stood there crying, and then he reached out his arm holding the gun, and he dropped the gun in my hands. That was the end of the dream.

Since then, all I feel is terrible sadness but the rage and the anger and the hatred just aren't there anymore.

Aaron: That was a profound and life-changing dream. L and I have talked about this, and with her permission, I'll tell you all a bit about what I said to her. But I'd also like to hear from others of you how this dream sits with you. Before I talk, I'd like to hear from some of you others. The word "other" is so deeply implanted in your language.

Q: Frankly, feels right.

Aaron: It feels right?

Q: It reminds me of what I read about a healer in Hawaii, who helped heal psychiatric inmates by healing himself, his relationship with… he never met the inmates but he read their records and then felt in himself the part that was connected with their soul, and they were healed. Perhaps partly from him healing his relationship with himself. I've thought about that a lot, knowing that we are all connected and that if I heal my feeling of separation with others or discomfort with others, it opens up the love that heals all. And this idea that we are separate goes away. So to say I'm sorry to someone who is broken…

That was my reaction on the day of 9-11. I was overcome with sorrow. My first reaction was to say, "I'm sorry. What have we done that this man is so angry" when I saw him on TV. And I wanted so much to heal that separation. But I didn't get angry, it was more of a "What have we done?" or "What have I neglected to do as a citizen?" and how can we come together.

Aaron: Thank you for sharing that, my sister. What you have spoken of is really profound. That place where we all come together and where the healing of one is the healing of all. It's the question that you as a society must ask, when you look at some of the bitter wars going on throughout the world. At some level you're participating in that hatred. How do you heal that hatred?

I think it's a possibility that your world is increasingly coming to, and that the deeper knowing of non-duality, the deep knowing of your direct connection with everyone and everything, will be the new forefront of change in the world. It will take a lot of courage. It takes more courage to open your heart to another than simply to hold a gun.

Are there some thoughts about what V has shared?

Q: Have seen that this human body is capable of doing anything, and if it had been raised or subjected to the same conditions that others were in, it would do the same thing. So there is no difference, which has helped to drop any judgment.

Aaron: So when you drop the strong belief in the individuated self, even though that thought may still come, there's not so much ownership of the thought. It allows you to get to a deeper level of connection. And that level of connection is so powerful.

I believe I told this story recently at the retreat in North Carolina, during the dharma talk. A being that I was that lived in a cave. There was an earthquake. Rocks began to slide down the hill. There were young children. There was no way I could save the children, grab them and move them out of the way of one large falling boulder. I could move myself out of the way, but there wasn't time to move them out of the way.

It was, I would not say a car-sized boulder, but big enough that there was no way a human man of modest build and middle-age could possibly have stopped that boulder. I did not think, "*I* will stop the boulder. *I* will save the children." There was just a strong sense, "The children must be saved." There were others standing by, watching in horror, everybody frozen to the spot.

There were many smaller rocks sliding down the hill, but there was just this one big boulder and 3 small children. The only thing I could think to do was to turn toward the boulder and put up my hands. On the rational level, this is absurd. It was hundreds of pounds and it had great momentum. Somehow, it seems that I picked up the energy. The people watching me saw what I was about to do and sent their energy with mine, and I was able to reach up and literally hold the boulder until somebody got the children out of the way. And then several people came up with me to hold it, and we just simultaneously stepped aside and let it slip past.

When it came to rest at the bottom of the hill and I went to it, I couldn't budge it. It weighted 5 times what I weighed. It wasn't me that stopped the boulder; it was love that stopped the boulder. And it was all of our energy together that stopped the boulder. Not for ego gratification. Not out of fear. Just, the children must be saved, stop the boulder.

As I look back, I think I could have stopped it without touching it, just with energy. I was really just channeling the energy of the group that came through me and into my hands. We're still connected to L's dream and V's present statement. Let's stay in that area for the moment.

Q: Last week I went to graduation ceremony at U of M, and Bill Clinton was speaking. He was talking about our inter-dependence and about viewing the world as an integrated community. He said there is a word for this in South Africa that translates into English as, "I am because you are." So I've been thinking about this.

Aaron: That's a very powerful thought, "I am because you are." It touches on many levels of deep thought. Do we have any existence separate from each other? And when I look at something like a bottle of water in its relative reality, does it have any ultimate reality separate from me? Others?

Q: I had a physical reaction to L's dream. In the exercise that we did last time, the swaying of the group was very powerful for me. The whole energy throughout everyone, and I could feel that energy for days afterwards. And when I heard L's dream, I could feel that energy as her energy and Cho's energy were in that circle, through my whole body.

Aaron: Thank you. Think about this, each of you. What if Cho was in your circle? What if as you stood there, eyes closed, arms connected, legs connected, swaying, suddenly he pulled out a gun and said, "I want to kill everybody." First imagine the sense of separation that might come out of the shock of his rage. And then imagine how you can hold the space for that rage, inviting him back into the circle, because while one being can kill in this way, the circle that is grounded in love cannot kill. It's similar to the story that V told, how do we heal each other and heal ourselves energetically by holding that space?

There are some specifics of this. The energy flows through the chakras in each of you. If one person is enraged in that way and feeling hatred, the chakra is blocked, probably the sacral chakra, maybe the solar plexus chakra, completely blocked. When you are with somebody who has a blocked chakra - think about this in your own experience - can you sense that blockage? Not all the time, perhaps, but sometimes?

You've probably all been with people who are very down-to-earth and the upper chakras are not open, there's no sense of any spiritual connection. The heart may be open, but the energy stops there. You can feel that the third eye is not open, that the crown is not open, that the person is down in their body, very heavy. Similarly, you've all been with people with whom the upper chakras are open and the lower chakras are blocked.

Most of you can sense that at least some of the time. Each of you has experienced blockage in your chakras. In relation to V's story, we attend to that blockage not in the other person with that "I will fix you" attitude but we find a mirror of that blockage in ourselves. And as we open the energy in ourselves, it helps to open it in the other, bringing the other back into an intimate connection again. Because there cannot be an intimate connection when this one's chakras are blocked here and that one's chakras are blocked there. You can't connect.

So work with the chakras is one very helpful way to re-establish connection. It's not the only way, it's a helpful way. Other comments here about the immediate topic?

Q: I have a question about the topic. This morning I received an email from a judge in my country, and he was telling me that a person who committed a crime excused himself by blaming the anger and hatred that controls all his reasoning, to commit the crimes. This judge was asking, what can we do to teach people how to control their anger?

In part, he saw that it's true, that when you are in anger, you feel so much hatred, you cannot reason properly. And I ask this question to you.

Aaron: Personally I would radically revise the whole education system. (laughter)

In the ideal society, children would learn these skills from their parents. But we have a situation where so many parents do not have these skills. We send children to school at an early age to learn academic skills. We send them sometimes to nursery school to learn to co-exist with a group. But they are not taught the real skills of dealing with emotions.

In the lifetime I lived, in several lifetimes but I'm thinking of one specifically, which is the lifetime in which Jesus also lived, as a boy I was a shepherd. I spent part of my lifetime in the hills with the sheep and part of my lifetime in the Essene school, because my father was also a shepherd and teacher in the school. I was there in the school a lot from an early age.

The first lessons were to children came at age 1 and 2 and 3. There were many adult mentors who taught them how to hold space for emotions. If any one child in the group blew up with anger, the adult mentor would sit the whole group down, offering loving words and helping that angry child and the others who were reacting to the angry energy to hold a space. It's what we teach here, non-self-identification with the anger, to see it just arises from conditions and passes away.

We were taught to read and write and do figures, but there was not a lot of concern about that until we neared adolescence. The whole emphasis of pre-adolescence was this learning how to hold space for the emotions, how to be responsible for the emotions regardless of the catalyst. To know whatever comes up in me arises out of conditions and I am responsible to it. It was only after these basics had been mastered that children were taught various academic skills and livelihood skills.

So I would revise your whole education system. And unfortunately I don't think people are going to listen to me. But those of you who have contact with young children can each do what you can to teach them these skills. As more children learn this, we'll have increasingly a world where people are able to be responsible to their emotions without creating a lot of stories about the emotions, knowing they arose out of certain conditions.

The catalyst for those conditions may be very strong; maybe somebody was kicking me. Nevertheless, I do not have the right to act out my anger on the other person. I can stop the other person from kicking me, in whatever way is skillful. When a child kicks another child and is stopped by shaming the child, by force, they just learn that they have to get bigger to be powerful enough to get away with kicking. When a child kicks another child and is stopped and held lovingly, and told, "I see how angry you are, but you may not harm another," the child learns respect for others, respect for himself, and not to be afraid of the emotions that come up in him.

Each being has different karma. For some beings, the experience of anger is very intense. That doesn't mean one can act it out. This is, at this point, the most dangerous habit energy of your culture, the fact that you are looking for somebody to blame rather than taking self-responsibility. And if you don't blame somebody else, you blame yourself and believe, "I am bad." It's just a different kind of hatred.

Certainly this person who is blaming others, the life issue for him is that he is here to learn that no matter what the catalyst, he is responsible for whatever he does in the world. And if he does harm, he will bear the consequences of that harm, no matter what catalyst drew it forth. But the catalyst for that harm is provided through life, it doesn't have to come through hatred of other people.

We talk about peer pressure, that if a child is acting in an unsociable way and other children get angry at him, he'll finally feel ashamed enough to straighten himself out. But really he just takes the anger deeper inside. But the children gathered around him can be taught, "This person is hurting, how can we sit down with this person and hold loving space for him until he's not hurting so badly?" It's a very simple thing to do with 2 and 3 year olds, they're very receptive to it. When one person is acting in a bullying or angry way, you just take the whole group and sit down and say, "So-and-so is feeling pain. Let us sing love to him. Let us hold him in our hearts until he feels better." And there's no shame in feeling anger, it's just acknowledged, it came up, it will pass. And when the adult mentor sees the child is relaxing again and open, can ask, "Are you feeling better now?" "Yes. Okay, let us resume our play." It's not as punishment, it really empowers the children to see how much power they have to help each other, to learn how to love.


If nothing else specific concerning L's dream, I would like to speak just a bit about it.

Every character in the dream is an aspect of yourself. Some of you have been in dream analysis classes with me through the years. When there's a very angry person in the dream, it's an angry aspect of yourself, and all of you have angry aspects. If you don't, I'd be surprised.

The co-worker in the dream, the one who was going to be killed who needed protection, perhaps in some ways that was the everyday self. And the one that L saw herself to be was the superconscious mind, the strongest aspect of the self, the clear, loving aspect of the self who saw how to protect the everyday self, not through hatred but through love. This was the aspect of the self that was able to come to a place of true compassion for pain and not get caught up in the fear.

What I find important in the dream for L and for any of you who might have similar kind of dream, is the ability to say no to negativity. Through the years we've done a lot of work here with lucid dreaming. This is that level of dreaming where in the middle of the dream you're aware this is a dream. He's chasing me and I don't have to run from him. I can turn around and say, "That's enough."

Somebody talks about this, saying that she was fleeing from a monster. She got to the edge of the cliff, turned around and said, "That's enough. I'm not going off the cliff. What do we do now?" The monster said, "I don't know, it's your dream!"

So we come to this place where there may or may not be consciousness. For L there was no consciousness it was a dream. But still, this deep, clear aspect of the self was able to come forth and say, "That's enough," and to say it in a compassionate way by offering lovingkindness to the negativity.

Whatever is chasing you in a dream is some aspect of negativity. It can be a dragon, it can be a killer, whoever it is. During the retreat at Emerald Isle, Barbara had a very strong nightmare which is very unusual for her, it's probably been 5 or 6 years since she's had a nightmare. She was in a place where somebody had taken her and other loved ones captive. They were going to rape and kill her. She saw a chance to get away but she couldn't get the others free. She understood that to sacrifice herself would be meaningless because they were going to kill everybody. If she could get away, she would get away.

So she got away and she came back into a house where they were aware of this killer on the loose and were barricading doors and were setting up big machine guns, and she recoiled from it. She said, "That's not the way to keep us safe. No." Within the dream - it was not a lucid dream, she was not aware she was dreaming within the dream - because of the meditation practice, the strength of the practice, she said, "No. Weapons are not the way, no."

Then a box arrived and it was from the killer. She opened it and there was horror. It was not her real brother, but in the dream, the one who had been her brother. His head was there in the box. And she woke up with terror and rage.

At some level she knew immediately as she woke up, this is just negativity. Often in a crowded retreat center where people are having a lot of deep material surfacing, old anger and fear and sadness, Barbara finds she's very susceptible to other people's dreams and energy, especially at night when she's in a more open space as she's sleeping. So when she woke up there was the almost immediate recognition, this is just negativity. It's somebody's pain out there, human or spirit, coming toward me. I send love to it. "Whatever negative energy is out there, whatever is trying to pull me in to its negativity, I offer you my prayers. I offer you my love. I see in you a being in great pain. But I will not be pulled into your hatred and negativity."

The picture of these men trying to arm the building perhaps had some relationship to that school, because it was a school-type building. Each time she tried to close her eyes, the image arose of receiving the box, opening it and the horror of finding the brother's severed head. Each time she closed her eyes, that scene came. So she just sat up and did metta. After about half an hour she was completely calm and went back to sleep.

Interestingly, when she told the retreat of this dream in the morning instruction period, several people in the retreat said, "I had nightmares at that time of night. I was dreaming of all kinds of things following me, grasping at me." There was a lot of fear. And they all reported that the dreams eased off and they went back into a much more peaceful sleep. Very interesting that one person's energy sending love out to the group clustered sleeping in the house can shift the energy in that way. Think of what would happen if millions of you learned how to bring deep loving kindness, as L did in her dream, to negativity.

Are there others who would like to share something from the class assignment, seeing that which is separate and how you bring it back into the circle?

Q: The experience of the actual energy within the room, connecting not only one group but all the people, felt familiar and so… during the time between, since class, it has helped to identify or put a name to energy feelings that had been felt but no association of them. So it has helped to make use of the energy more skillfully.

Aaron: Could you say it gave you a model for connected energy?

Q: Yes, so since the group meeting, have literally been able to call up that energy to surround a negative situation or many times surround this body when it was in emotional difficulty. And the separation between either the body and difficult emotions or between self and others just melted.

Aaron: Thank you. I believe I spoke to this class at least briefly about the civilization of Lemuria. There was no sense of self and other. There was complete telepathic sharing. But there was not the ability for compassion in Lemuria. When you shifted into a strong experience of duality, there was the opportunity for compassion but it was very difficult to find compassion because there was so much fear and hatred.

Now as you've come full circle, you begin to know the reality of unity and individuation. In other words, that there is only one but that you are all expressions of that one, you are learning to hold both, to be responsible to your own experiences. To work with compassion when something is an affront to your experience. But not to take it the next step to say, "That out there that's separate, that has to be fixed." But to find the root cause of that suffering in the self, and as V pointed out, to heal it in the self. And as it is healed in the self, the energy goes out. It's a gradual process but it's a real process.

Are there any other questions or thoughts? It's useful to keep a perspective on this, a very large-scale perspective through millions of years, to see the evolution and mature participating. Each of you having been there back then and in the middle and now.

Are there any questions or other thoughts to share?

Let us pause, then, for a break for 10 minutes. And when we come back we're going to try an exercise and then have time to talk about it…


Barbara: Aaron will come back into my body for the discussion. I'm going to describe the exercise to you. It's a very simple exercise. Aaron recognizes and I recognize that it may be challenging for some of you. I want you each to find a partner…

You're going to find a comfortable seat facing each other, very close. And for about 10 minutes you're going to silently look in each other's eyes. Just that.

So find a partner, find yourself a place to sit…

Watch what comes up for you. Is there a feeling of being seen too deeply, wanting to close up? Can you relax into being seen that deeply? Is there a fear of seeing that deeply into the other person? Does the sense of separation fall away? Do you stop being 2 people? Do you really find that place of soul connection as you just sit there looking?

If you feel moved to reach out and take the other person's hand, both of you move together, that's okay to do that, but it's okay not to do that, too. It's up to you. But no talking. After the 10 to 15 minutes, we'll take a few minutes for you to talk about it just with your partner, and then we'll come back together to share. Any question?


(sharing not transcribed at Barbara's request; people found this exercise to be profound; for many people, all sense of separation died away. The sharing was deep but private and we'll respect that but leaving out the specifics.

(For V and V, in response to their question to Aaron if they had been sisters)

Aaron: You were actually nuns together, sisters in that sense. But nuns who came into the order as young girls. V: Did we giggle a lot? Aaron: Yes. Sometimes to the consternation of the elders! V: That's what I kept flashing on, was the two of us giggling and laughing and going to get in trouble, but not taking it very seriously. Aaron: The two of you in that lifetime felt that the love of God, the faith you were expressing in your lives, and you were neither of you forced into this life but chose it with joy, that it should be joyful. You were young teenagers, just barely adolescent, so it was hard for you to take this austere society so seriously. And the elders tried to ingrain the seriousness of it into you, but you both rejected that and brought much joy and delight into your surroundings. V: Thank you.

(sharing continues)

Aaron: Anybody else? We'll end here, then. I ask you at home to do a few different things. One, on the human level, if you have someone with whom to share this exercise, please do it again. With your partner, with a friend, with a child, whoever shows up.

And number two, find a picture of somebody who is difficult in your life, for example, B, of your mother, ideally a larger picture where you can see the eyes; do the exercise with the picture. Feel yourself being seen by this person through the picture, and seeing deeply into this person. If there's not a person in your life that comes to mind, it's okay to do it with either a loved or a difficult universal figure. In other words, I think of someone like Hitler, a difficult person, this man Cho, someone like that. You may also wish to try it with a beloved person. I know you don't have a photograph of them, but a drawing of Jesus or the Buddha, a picture that shares the eyes, though. Ideally with a photograph rather than a conceptual drawing of the person.

Finally, please do this with yourself looking in a mirror. Give it at least 10 minutes, ideally even longer. Just look into your own eyes. So try the exercise these 3 ways,

And finally, and related, when there is something difficult happening in your life, if it's with somebody with whom you can suggest "Let us just sit for a few minutes and look at each other before we try to talk," try that and see where it takes you. If you cannot literally sit with that person, do it in your meditation. Close your eyes and imagine that person in front of you looking into your eyes and you looking into his or her eyes. What releases the separation? What opens the heart, brings connection?

Please remember that our next class is in 3 weeks, May the 23rd. I'll be giving more of a talk on the 23rd… and not as much discussion as tonight. And then we have our final class on June 6…

For our last 2 weeks, we're focused more on connection with the divine. I hope that this exercise of looking in your own eyes will take you into a realization of the divinity in the self, the self as expression of the divine. See how that works for you. I don't want to plant any thoughts about it, just do it. That is all. Good night. Are there any questions?


Thank you. Good night. My blessings. Enjoy your beautiful spring weather. May the days be filled with flowers for you.

Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Brodsky