August 1, 2010 Sunday, Venture Fourth

Keywords: intention, healing, earth transition, elements, ultimate/relative levels, manifestation, Brahmaviharas, jhanas, Unconditioned

Barbara: There are some wonderful exercises in chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7. So between now and the next intensive, read these 4 chapters and work with the exercises. I also have a couple of books at home that I will email you the titles to, as highly recommended optional reading.

One is called Compassion in Action by Ram Dass. One is called How Can I Help, also co-authored by Ram Dass. I'll send you more specific detail about those 2 books. Not required reading, just suggested if it interests you.

Compassion in Action by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush, Bell Tower, NY, 1992

How Can I Help, Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, Knopf, 1988

These are both older books, but timeless.

We're not going to drop off the mindfulness and Mussar practices you've been doing the whole past year, not at all, but you're not going to take specific characteristics on which to focus, but rather to take all those characteristics into the next step. Ask, " What am I doing in the world? How am I using these characteristics in the world? What supports me in the world?"

For instance, patience, responsibility, courage. When do they come up in my daily life and help support my intention to be of service in the world? Be inclusive! So we're basically bringing the Mussar work toward living our everyday lives from this centered place with all the qualities. This is really no different than what you have been doing for a year, but now you are graduate students!

In the book chapters, I'm going to find what I have underscored here, just a minute... Opening to suffering, opening to compassion, on page 81. Noticing our reactive patterns over and over again. We will be paying attention to things like that. I know for many of you this book is nothing new, it's just a reminder helping to bring you back to, "where do I need to pay attention?"

I want you also to reflect between now and the next intensive on, "What is my personal path to service?" For some of you it may simply be, "Taking care of my family," and that's perfectly sufficient. For others of you it may be service to the world through deepening my meditation practice and awakenedness, and that's perfectly sufficient. Others of you may feel called to get into some kind of service project, serving food once a week in a food kitchen or driving Meals On Wheels to people once a week, work with children or the elderly, or getting involved in a political campaign. What calls to you?

So I want you to find something, whether it's simply taking care of your child, grandchild, partner, or service in the greater world in some way, but I want you to begin to think of this in terms of, "This is my service area for now. How am I doing it? Is there a lot of self in it? What of my past unwholesome patterns are coming forth in this? Do I try to control a lot? Do I feel a sense of resignation or helplessness? What comes up as I do this work?" Ideally something you're doing regularly, at least once a week, but if possible even more than once a week.

What of the supports that I've been nurturing, working with the elements, with chakras, with vipassana practice, what of these help to release some of these old unwholesome patterns? Especially if you're involved in a service project with others who are not so centered, their lack of centeredness can really push you into your old patterning. So you may be involved in a political or environmental campaign and people are, "Fix this! Do that!" and it brings up all of your old stuff, they're mirroring your old patterns of wanting to fix and control. How do we work with that?

Q: Can this involve, if we are already involved in service, just sort of from a deeper place?

Barbara: Of course. I'm not necessarily asking people to pick up some new project, although some of you may. But you, for example, you're working a lot with your family, working with your clients. Those are paths of service, just be more attentive to them as paths of service.

Q: Does this involve also maybe serving ourselves in self-caring ways as well?

Barbara: Yes, certainly. The point is I want people to be aware, "Here is another area of service," not to say, "Wow, look at me, I'm carrying 4 different areas of service," just to be aware of all the ways we are doing service in the world so that we bring more mindfulness into whether that effort is coming from a place of as much emptiness as possible, and how we're doing with it, not bringing in all of our unwholesome habit energies to that; taking care of it.

I will send out probably in about 2 weeks a new letter with this. I'll ask Janice to transcribe this one first so I've got this material, get this to you, and anything that I choose to add, to give some sense of direction for the next month.

I'll be meeting with each of you just once between now and the next intensive. The next intensive is only in 3 months, so I'm taking the whole month of August off. That's my way of caring for myself. I have one or two counseling appointments that I had arranged previously and that I will honor, but other than that, no meetings, no teaching–tomorrow and Tuesday I'm teaching dharma at the Zen camp that's held annually for 5 days at the lake where I live, but that's fun. They all come up to my cabin and we talk dharma. I don't consider that teaching. You can take the dharma teacher away from so-called "work," but wherever I am we end up talking dharma. But no formal work that I have to do, and I'm really looking forward to a quiet month to meditate, to read, to swim, to spend with my family. All my children are coming to visit. And I have a lot of terra cotta to play with too!

So I will meet with each of you once either in September or October, and in that 2 week period in between our meetings I'll be at Omega. I'll be visiting one of my children who lives near Omega and then at Omega with John of God, so I'll be gone those 2 weeks in between. And then we meet again in October.

At the Venture Fourth in October I had envisioned that we would be doing various service projects as one part of our intensive, probably for one day or two days, probably one day. I'd explored a bit and found some possibilities but now I'm not sure how best to structure this, and what your needs are.

One thing that comes to mind is a very simple one, which is simply raking leaves and doing clean-up here at Sunnyside for a day, and doing that with a lot of mindfulness, which is a great service to Dottie and Bernie, and for which we don't have to arrange transportation or other things; we can all do it together. It will be a great gift for them, and a place where people can rake and clean up and look at the feeling, "Let's get this finished!" If too much tension, we can just stop and sit for half an hour and then go back to the pile we were raking. So it gives us the perfect opportunity to combine service and meditation.

I've looked at a couple of possibilities of doing things like serving food at a homeless shelter, and a place where we might be able to work in an elderly person's house, doing some clean-up, cleaning out a garage or something like that, but it sort of feels too busy. So is there anybody who is uncomfortable with our just saying to Dottie and Bernie, "We're at your disposable for the day. Have a list of raking leaves and other such tasks, simple tasks for us, cleaning out the garden and so forth."?

Q: Perhaps we could create a list of skills that we have that might be of service to Bernie and Dottie?

Barbara: That would be wonderful. Why don't you email me that in the next 2 weeks.

Q: I was thinking about maybe some cooking, a meal, instead of George and Dottie and Bernie cooking, we could cook.

Barbara: Great idea, that some of you could do some cooking. Is there anybody who feels they want to go out of Sunnyside and go off someplace and do some kind of service work? Okay, then we'll start with this. Send me a list of any special skills you have or any interests you have and I will take this to Dottie, Bernie, and George, and ask them to make a list of ways they can best utilize your skills, that we can both be of great service to Dottie and Bernie and also, we can do this over a 2-day period with a lot of silence. One of those days in silence doing work, seva practice, doing work in silence. Being able to stop and sit whenever you need to, and working to stay in as much a place of awareness as you work as is possible.

Q: Bernie just asked me in the kitchen saying he would like some help..

Barbara: I'm going to turn the recorder off...

(tape off and on)

Barbara: Talking about returning to a centered place, I'm telling a story about Plum Village, the meal process. There was a boatload of Vietnamese boat people, the boat was in danger of capsizing. A lot of people were in danger of drowning. They were trying to find ways to rescue these people. Word had come to Thay and he was trying to organize the rescue.

Then the lunch bell rang, and she said she was astonished: everybody stopped what they were doing. She said to Thay, "But these people might drown! Shouldn't we stay here and continue this work?" He said, "You'll be much better able to continue it for 20 minutes of silence and a little bit of food." Stop. End the phone call. End whatever you're doing. Now we go to the dining room. He didn't stay there for a leisurely hour meal. Twenty minutes, silence, have some soup, eat something. Breathe; then go back to your work.

Q: No matter what we end up doing, I would like to be sure that our service receivers do not feel that they have to manage us or do anything to keep us busy.

(recorder off)

August 1, 2010 Sunday Morning, Venture Fourth Continued.

Barbara: We're back on Sunday morning and Aaron will talk...

Aaron: I am looking at a tiny spider crawling across the table top. Good morning, I am Aaron. A very little baby spider... Too fragile, I think, to lift him up and carry him outside, I'm not sure if I can. I hope Barbara will forgive me if I lift the spider with her body! ...Okay... Don't tell Barbara I was about to pick up a spider with her hand! (laughter) If it were a big spider that would possibly bite her I would not do that; that would be her decision. But such a little one could not harm her.

Q: Conditioning.

Aaron: Conditioning. She has improved. She doesn't kill them anymore. She smiles at them. She catches them in a plastic container and carries them outside. But she will not let one touch her. It's a step in the right direction.

I'm open to anything you want to talk about. I would especially like to include some time of talking about your experiences with the exercise of yesterday afternoon. But that's just one piece of what we might talk about now. Any questions, any discussion.

Q: The work with the elements I've been doing, it seems almost magical. Is this all just a form of suggestion? (signer signs additional explanation not recorded)

Aaron: Is the work with the elements just a form of mental suggestion? Do you mean that as you think them into balance, they come into balance? Matter always follows mind. As we think, thus we create. But it's not just mental suggestion. Something is happening literally with the elements, but it happens first in the mind. The mind invites the possibility and then the matter aligns with the thoughts.

If I say, "I want a drink of water," I have to think of the water. The hand can't reach out to the water bottle if the thought doesn't precede it. The body feels dry. At some level there's a mental idea of needing to balance the dryness of the body with water. Water bottle, thinking, reaching, reaching, intention. How do I bring water into this body?

The mind goes first. So as you understand the workings of the elements and begin to pay attention to the imbalance in the elements, then balance comes.

Q: Yesterday I worked with my lungs. They were feeling low and squeezed in and not enough volume. So I invited in earth to make more lung tissue, and I invited in warmth and liquid to increase blood supply. I invited space in to make the alveoli larger. And I invited in more fire to energize all of that. And lo and behold, I'm breathing quite in a balanced way, no tension, no stress, no difficulty.

I've called in the elements and told them to line up in a certain way or do certain things. I also in the past have suffered the same physical symptoms and said, "I think I'll just put on my breathing mask and let that take care of it," and the same thing happened. So I'm just combining all the elements in the mask ready-made and putting them on.

Aaron: I think all of this is very natural. You're paying attention to the body. As soon as you pay attention you see where there are imbalances. There is a wholesome intention to invite balance and the body begins to balance. Sometimes it's almost as if a light shines on the imbalances to help highlight them, and then keeps shining as it comes into balance so you can see it.

Who knows the Four Foundations of Mindfulness in the Satipatthana sutra? Mindfulness of the body... (group offers answers) Feelings.... Okay. It's an assignment for you. I want you to all Google, find the Satipatthana sutra and read it. This is all we're really talking about, deepening mindfulness of the body, the mind, the feelings, dharma, consciousness. It's very basic dharma. Read it.

I'll ask Barbara to find a good translation of it.

(and attached to this email)

Q: Tenzin Wagyal describes I think really well in the book that the elements are <both> symbolic and actual. And that for instance the sun is symbolic of fire as well as made of fire. So for me there is an element of visual relation symbolically and then integrating that into my body as I ... (Aaron asks Q to slow down) This <comment?> is related to what Q was saying: is it a suggestion?

Aaron: Is this both? It is both. There can't be the manifestation without the suggestion. The idea comes first. "We are what we think, with our minds we make the world." This is very much about the integration of dharmakaya and nirmanakaya. We have the dharmakaya vision, the ever-perfect vision, and we begin to try to manifest it. At first it's an imperfect manifestation but it keeps coming closer to the ever-perfect template.

In a lifetime of mine long ago, among what you would term primitive people, if somebody fell and broke their leg, the whole group would gather around. There was no denying the break in the leg. It might be necessary if it was a compound break for somebody to grab the foot and pull to straighten the bone, and of course that would be painful so that the person would be given certain kinds of herbs or something to help sedate them so they would not have the agony of the bone being straightened. If it was a clean fracture, that wasn't necessary.

People would then gather around and envision the non-broken bone. The elements would be very out of balance because of the break. They would envision the balanced elements. They would envision the molecules not as they were separated but reintegrated. They would sing to the bone using harmonics.

Within roughly half an hour at most, the bone would be solidly knit. That's all it took. Even with a severe break it never took more than an hour. These are "primitive" people. How primitive were we now? How much has been lost?

But this was done primarily through seeing both that which was distorted, the break, the imbalance in elements, the imbalance the way the chakras had closed up around the break, and seeing the ever-perfect and holding the doorway open to the ever-perfect so the body could return to the ever-perfect. Given the opportunity, the body will do that.

In that society I don't remember anybody within my memory dying of malignant tumor. Now of course there must have been some cancer in that part of the world, maybe far less than you have today because there were far fewer carcinogenic agents in our diet, in our air, and so forth. But if somebody had a growth of some kind on their body, people would gather around and sing to it in the same way; see it releasing, see it diminishing. That sometimes took 2 or 3 sessions, not just one.

I'm not suggesting we all had perfect health and lived to 100 years of age, but most people died in accidental death, being gored by an animal or falling off a cliff in the dark. Very few people died of illness. I don't remember anybody with dental problems. I never had dental care in that culture. I did clean my teeth with a kind of a reed, something that we used as a toothbrush to clean the teeth. We did not eat sugar. We had a very wholesome diet. Only very occasional sugar. Not your purified white sugar but sugar cane.

We understood the power, how to visualize when there was pain in the body to go to the root of that pain. An abscess, for example, a splinter into the hand, and bacteria entered and there was an abscess. The splinter would be removed. We would use herbal compresses and we would envision the heart of that abscess and literally release it. Come to that which was not infected, see the wholeness there, and invite that wholeness.

You have completely lost the memory of having had these abilities. Probably all of you have past karmic ancestors that have lived in cultures that had those abilities. You have lost the memories. It's time to rekindle the memories.

This is much of what Barbara's new book Cosmic Healing is about; visioning the ever-perfect, whether it's in the body or in the culture. Seeing the healthy society where people relate to each other with love and trust, respect, even reverence, and seeing the possibility of moving from the abscess to the wholeness.

On the relative level it's a movement; on the ultimate level there's no movement, there's just the shift. The ultimate has always been there. We let go of the relative.


Q: I'm wondering if all of us here have some memory of it because I would suspect we have tried to find many alternatives to the culture we are living in, that has brought us all to you and Barbara.

Aaron: You may not all have conscious memory of it, but all of you have done such work before. I think there's a group karma here, not just with this group but with many groups that are seeking resolution of the distortions of the culture. Many of the groups that see the possibility of a world that is truly at peace and in which there is no starvation, no painful deprivation; a world in which beings respect each other.

Many of you, all of you I would say, are working to balance your own past karma in lifetimes in which this ego self took for itself and ignored the plight of others. You've released or are working to release the habitual energies of greed, of fear, of self-centeredness. Now the balancing of karma comes in asking, "How do I support the emergence of the conscious, loving heart in the world?"

Is there anybody here who does not know the 100th monkey story? Very briefly then, one monkey finds sand in his food so he washes it. Another monkey sees him washing it. He doesn't know what the first is doing but the second picks up some food and imitates, washes it. Mmm, good.

A third and fourth monkey are watching. They imitate. Then the whole colony of monkeys is doing it. Energetically the idea leaps to someplace where there's a monkey who had not seen this, but the energy is released and the monkey picks up his piece of food and thinks, "Hmm, I'm right here by the stream, let's see what happens." And then the monkeys in his colony are all doing it. And that colony and a 3rd, a 4th one and a 6th one and a 100th one.

A term, "hundredth monkey" is symbolic, metaphorical. There comes a point where a trend picks up steam and suddenly is the norm instead of the avant garde. How many monkeys does it take? How many groups like this group, committed to doing their own inner work and to service in the world will it take before we can turn things around?

If I did not believe it was possible I would not be with you here trying to teach this. I would have gone fishing! Or maybe hitting golf balls. I would be off someplace else relaxing under a tree, looking at the sky. But I and many other entities like myself deeply believe that you as humans can do the work that you came into the incarnation to do, that the world is not in a hopeless state. Just by carrying the message of positive intention and hope, you shift people out of their lethargy and feelings of hopelessness.

I'm not telling those of you who are feeling hopeless, don't feel hopeless, or that it's bad to feel hopeless, but right there with the hopelessness, is potential. What is hopelessness? Bring "hopeless" into your vipassana practice. How does hopelessness feel? What else is there with the hopelessness? That which is aware of hopelessness does not feel hopeless. Rest in that awareness and see the clarity that knows that possibilities for the Earth, even while the human is feeling overwhelmed or hopeless because the more of you that are able to hold that space of clarity, the more you're contributing to this emergence into the hundredth monkey and the place where the world suddenly says, "That's enough. It's time to clean things up. It's time to find a world where we can all live in safety and peace."

There are always going to be negatively polarized individuals who say, "Ah, we've got enough food for everybody. Well I'm taking half." How do you learn to say no to such people with kindness? As long as the approach to nay-saying is one of, "You touch that food and I'm gonna shoot you," it's not going to work. How do we learn to deal with negativity with love? This is what your whole incarnation is about. This is what your whole world is doing as it moves into 4th density. It's learning these skills.

The Earth is shifting into 4th density. Fourth density also has positive and negative polarity so just because you become 4th density doesn't mean there will be no negative polarity. But the 4th density positively polarized being is no longer caught up by his negative emotions, sees negativity as an object, and with compassion, and is not reactive to negativity.

Eventually, probably beyond all of your present lifetimes, Earth will transform into a fully 4th density planet and 3rd density human incarnates in a different place. Third density human will not simply be dropped off; 3rd density human will continue. They won't know that they're not on Earth. It will be their Earth, wherever it is in the galaxy. They won't say, "What happened? How did we get here? What happened to my pine trees? What is this funny looking feathery tree? I've never seen that before. And why is the sky so purple?" Their present will be what they remember, though just as you have some memories of crystal worlds, they may have dim memories of earth. But they will take birth after this transition on a different plane, a different planet.

There they will fight their wars; they will struggle with anger, self-centeredness and greed as 3rd density beings. They're not yet ready to evolve into 4th density. That's fine. This new environment will be a new place of learning for younger souls. Those older souls such as those who have evolved to 4th density may choose to come back as bodhisattvas and incarnate in 3rd density plane to be guides, just as there are some more highly evolved beings amongst you. I'm thinking here of somebody like Jesus or more recently, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, beings who have lead the way.

So you also will come back, some of you, into 4th density, some of you into 3rd density as guides. And in 4th density there will still be both positive and negative polarity. Some of you might enjoy reading the Ra Material channeled by Carla Rueckart. It's a big volume. Ra is an extra-terrestrial entity, actually a group entity. He calls himself a social memory complex. He is an outer-plane source. That means he, or the parts of this social memory complex, have not been incarnate on Earth. But there is great love and wisdom. It's a very highly positively polarized source.

Ra talks a lot about this whole evolution. The Ra material is very interesting material. We take it a step beyond that. The same publisher that is publishing Cosmic Healing is publishing The Aaron/Q'uo Dialogues. Q'uo is to Ra as I am to Ariel. Ariel is my teacher. Ra is a higher vibration and the teacher or greater extension of Q'uo. Q'uo is part of that social memory complex but of a slightly lower vibration, as I am connected with Ariel but of a slightly lower vibration.

Q'uo and I met through Barbara and Carla for a period of 10 years. I think there are 23 sessions. It's a long book, over 400 pages, and many of the questions you're asking are covered in that book. It will be published next August. So a second book that the publisher will release next year. The Aaron/Q'uo dialogues are present not available until the publication a year from now, but the Ra Material is available.

The Ra Material may be found session by session on line at

It can be bought at

It can be downloaded complete at

Actually the Aaron/Q'uo dialogues are available, if they are still there, in a slightly altered form, not yet with their full editing, on Carla's website. Barbara will have to give information about how to access that website. So the dialogues were put up on the website before a publisher was found and I think they remain there.

Look for this at: My dial up connection is too slow to be certain it works.

So let me just sum this up. Don't be afraid. You came into the incarnation to do some work and you are doing it. Each of you is one solitary link in a deeply interconnected chain. This is a positive chain, not the heavy chain of karma, let's say a web rather than a chain. Each of you is supporting the whole work. Each of you with a commitment to help the world move into higher consciousness, higher vibration, non-dual consciousness, and positive polarity versus negative polarity. Just keep doing your part, that's all that's asked of you. Don't give up.

Q: I have been exposed to some teachings recently that say there is only the Ever-Perfect; all else is an illusion. Therefore, not to see a distortion such as an illness at all. To completely disregard that as an illusion and see only the healthy body. Some of these people have been able to do a lot of healing through this kind of seeing. What is the value of including the relative distortion?

Aaron: My dear one, if you are working in the kitchen cutting vegetables and you half-slice through your finger so it's hanging, cut into the bone and only hanging by some threads of muscle, are you going to say, "Oh, it's all an illusion"? Or are you going to get it sewn up?

It may be that it's an illusion but we also need to respect the relative reality. If you look at the finger and say, "Oh! I'm going to lose my finger! Look what I've done! Help! Help! What will I do?," that's also not going to help. Then you're creating the heavy rope or chain.

If you look at the finger and say, "Oh, it's just an illusion. I'll simply hold it here, breathe, and expect when I open my eyes in two minutes it's going to be fully repaired," you're probably going to be disappointed because you don't yet have that skill. I'm not saying that skill is beyond the human, but you don't yet have it.

In the same way, we can not say, "People filled with hatred in some parts of the world; it's all an illusion." We also do not say, "Look at the hatred in parts of the world. How do we fix it? If we don't fix it they'll keep killing people and we'll keep killing them. We've got to fix it now." That doesn't help, that's just ropes.

You are here in human incarnation to learn both wisdom and compassion. That includes compassion for the cut, compassion for the anguish, compassion for the angry and confused. What is the experience of compassion and how does compassion help to create healing? From the heart, sending out that thread to the cut finger, and to those whose hearts are filled with hatred, recognizing you and they are caught in the illusion and it's a painful illusion. We hold them and ourselves present with this love and within that presence, we view the ever-perfect; we view the ever-whole: the loving heart, the uncut finger, the unbroken leg. Then as I recited, one gathers around and holds the image of the ever-perfect, and with practice one learns how to restore the energetic ripples and bring back the ever-perfect.

If you were all already so highly skilled at that that you were ready to completely disregard the illusion, the earth plane would have ceased to be a place where you could learn compassion. Your work is not just about to return to the ever-perfect but also to know compassion. This is a major part of the human teaching and experience. These catalysts are for a purpose, be they cut fingers, broken bones, or hatred.

Q: I agree with you. I was just wondering what you would say because I have a number of friends who are buying into this right now.

Aaron: They will experience the consequences. If by any chance they are already very highly awakened beings, they may be able to do deep healing. But they don't understand the whole thing yet, perhaps. They're probably going to have to come back to a situation in which there is pain again because they have not really resolved the karma, they've simply bypassed it. It's possible to bypass it. It's not necessarily wholesome to bypass it.

Q: I wanted to share quickly a story of manifesting as you described, holding an image and sending out a silver thread, as Barbara did with her tile floor.

Earlier in July N and J and I met. J and I told N we didn't think we could come because our financial situation had gotten severe. And she suggested we all see the image of J and I floating on the lake with everyone. The 3 of us closed our eyes and really saw us floating on the lake with everyone; we felt it. And then I forgot about it until N reminded me a few days ago that we manifested that. So we saw it and then we released it and it happened.

Aaron: And you also surrendered, not saying, "How am I going to fix this? How am I going to get there?" but J describes a sense of deep surrender and trust. If it needs to be, it will be.

Barbara experienced this a bit with Cosmic Healing. Last summer, a year ago, she was looking for a publisher through conventional channels. She had an agent who sent out inquiries about the book and then sent the book itself to various publishers. One publisher who Barbara liked came along and said, "I like this very much but it's 2 times too long. It's 350 pages, I want to cut it to 200 pages."

Barbara toyed with the idea. She felt it would destroy the integrity of the book, but here was a very seemingly suitable (on the surface) publisher. I said to her, "Envision the book published the way you want it to be published. Think about it. Does this feel suitable? Then let it go and just hold the vision."

And almost immediately came in a new possibility, just through a friend. A friend said, "Try my publisher." She sent it out. The publisher said, "Perfect, I love it. Send me the whole manuscript." She said, "Will you want to cut anything?" And he said, "No, it all needs to be there. It will destroy the integrity of the book to cut it." She visualized how she wanted it to be. Now it is manifesting.

One learns to see the fear that comes within the holding of the vision. Is it really going to work? Work skillfully with the fear, continually if necessary, so that the image you're sending out to manifest is a clear, loving image of light, and a sense of surrender. "I don't know how this is going to happen but if it's for the highest good, it will happen."

This again is part of what Cosmic Healing is about. Barbara tells the story through the years of seeming equanimity with deafness, then seeing that with the equanimity also was resignation. "What if I could hear again?" Then grasping when the Casa entities said, "You will hear."

She had to learn how to hold equanimity and invitation together, true equanimity with being deaf and the invitation to hear, how to hold the image. What would it mean to hear? How would that feel?

So now she's increasingly able to feel great joy in things that she can hear, which are increasing as time goes on. To see grasping when it comes up, as it still does, and work with it and release it. And to rest in that place of surrender knowing, "I invite hearing but my highest intention is for the highest good, however this will happen. I fully trust that if they say I will hear, I will hear. Next week, next year, in a decade, whenever it happens, however it happens, I will hear. I let go of control of this. I simply continue to extend the invitation and to follow up in a skillful way, in an uncontracted way, with whatever is suggested to help support the intention, such as the work with the tuning forks and toning." That's it.

I know that when the book comes out in the spring, in March, Barbara plans to do some workshops with it just based on the book, and day-long workshops on Cosmic Healing, Then she will talk about all this in more depth.

I would like to hear from those of you who have not spoken much this weekend. No pressure, you don't have to talk, but those who have been asking questions and speaking a lot, hold your voices for a bit and leave space those who are a little slower to raise their hands, raise their hands.

Clean to here

Q: I have a question about space. I was lying on the lake doing the exercise. And I felt each of the elements and they seemed to be in balance. And then I was able to move into a place of light and space very easily. And I'm wondering if you can perceive space without having the other elements in balance, or do the 4 elements have to be in balance before the 5th element is able to be worked with?

Aaron: Not in perfect balance but in good balance. They'll never stay in perfect balance because they're always changing. Being rupa they're subject to change. But when there's intention to hold them stable, they seem almost to follow that invitation and move back into balance on their own accord. In Barbara's lake there are many small fish. They nip. They incapable of biting; the mouth is too small. They cannot do any harm, but (nipping sounds). When she's floating on her back in the shallow water, often there are a lot of fish (nipping sounds). The elements are in very good balance and suddenly (nip, nip) and tension comes up, contraction. The first thought is "contracting, contracting," then recognizing the touch, and perception of "fish, tension". It happens almost in 2 or 3 seconds. Because of the intention for the elements to remain balanced, the elements come back into balance almost immediately. There's not a conscious balancing of them, they simply restore themselves to the balance. And immediately she's back, resting in awareness with light, space, just floating on the lake. If you have such a lake at your disposal it's a wonderful place to practice.

One additional thought about the elements and space. Space is an expression of akasha. Akasha is in part the container of the balanced elements. It is Unconditioned in essence so always there, not arising form conditions, but your entry into it and knowing of it is conditioned by whether your personal gateway is open, that gateway being balance. Thus, when there is balance of the elements, awareness is able to move through the open gateway into akasha.

Others who have talked little?

Q: I would like to talk about the activity yesterday afternoon. It was disturbing for me. During the process of the activity, I felt tension, agitated in my solar plexus. I had a difficult time relaxing that. I'm aware that one of the reasons for doing this was to invite us more into a space of compassion for those who are angry and enraged. But I'm wondering if you could more enlighten me as to the purpose of the exercise.

Aaron: First, I did not have any fixed knowledge about how people would respond. You're each unique and you'll each respond in your own ways. For some it would bring up tension and agitation, for others it would not.

I'm not afraid of bringing up tension and agitation in you because life brings up tension and agitation, and here is a safe place to practice with it. If there is agitation, can it simply be brought into the heart of awareness, and held there in spaciousness until it dissolves? That which is aware of agitation is not agitated.

I didn't want to go into details before you did the exercise because to suggest, "If when you become agitated then work with it in this way," is going to lead you into thinking, "Well I should be getting agitated." Some of you did not become agitated; some of you simply experienced with very compassionate spaciousness. And if you became agitated, that agitation is not bad or wrong. It is simply the expression of not yet purified conditions

It's just an opportunity to be in a situation in which there is a possible friction, to see what comes up and what is needed in each of you to come back to this place of center and respond from as egoless and openhearted a place as is possible. It is much easier to practice with it here than practice with it in a family setting where somebody is enraged or a political situation where people are screaming. Here you're in a group of friends and you can feel what you're feeling and respond however you need to respond, and know that people are holding you in compassion.

The function was threefold. First, the exercise was modeled on the non-violent training Barbara had... 50 years ago? I don't know, I'm not good at years, but maybe in 1960 so that would be 50 years ago. The so-called A group were trained volunteers that were going to be resistent, pushing at the B group. The people of B did not know the As. The A group volunteers simply came to these trainings, as something they did as volunteers to help people learn how to stay centered in a non-violent resistance demonstration. What happens if you are asking to sit in a restaurant and suddenly there are 50 policemen there with teargas and pointing guns and yelling, and hundreds of angry people? You are simply sitting on the ground saying, "No, I will not move." What happens? How does one stay centered? If one becomes angry, one could get killed and get others killed. How does one stay centered?

But Barbara and I together could not bring in such a volunteer A group. It would have been wonderful if we could have done that but we felt it would be sufficient to simply bring us together as we did, to give you an opportunity to experience both sides of it. How it feels to be the angry ones. How it feels to be the ones who are holding a truth in their heart and asking to approach that truth. That was part of it.

Part of it was the actual practice of doing it. I thought it was wonderful that you came together in a circle, and of course being who you are without any genuine A group it was easy to form that circle, hold hands and pass a talking stick around. There was anger but you were able to contain your anger and to hear each other. The A group were making statements in that circle of, "We're protecting our lake for 7 generations in the future." The B group thought, "That's a lot of bullshit but nevertheless, this is A's truth. How do we hold space for A's truth?" How to find the place in your heart where instead of reacting you can listen and hear somebody whose truth seems so opposing to yours. So this was part of the purpose and you responded wonderfully by creating that circle. You were each learning you had more capacity for centering and hearing than you had thought.

Part of the purpose was simply to remind you that you have the potential to return to center again and yet again, as often as is necessary, when you become pulled out by agitation, by fear. Does that answer your question?

Q: (hard to hear) This has 2 parts. I love playing with imagination in my spiritual practice. It helps me break through <some areas, sometimes>. I was surprised yesterday with the exercise. I knew being an A would be difficult but I was surprised how hard being a B was. I really didn't care about the lake. And this makes me think that in the next Intensive I really want to care about who I'm working for, who I'm doing service to.

And at home I wouldn't pick a random place and just feel my boundaries stretched, I would pick something that speaks to my heart. And I certainly understand what people were saying this morning, and I respect that and can see their point of view and understand <> do that. But serving Bernie and Dottie and George <speaks to me> because they've given so much, and I would like that opportunity.

Part two. I get caught in my mind with understanding this concept, and I would like to hear you vocalize it and speak to it a little bit. The Brahmaviharas are, and here's where I struggle, a direct expression of the Unconditioned. I know those aren't the right words but I would like to hear how they are different than other conditions.

Aaron: Thank you. First, be assured nobody will be asked to go to the farm that would prefer to stay here and work. Nobody will be asked to work here who would prefer to go to the farm and work. If there is anybody who is not comfortable with these 2 alternatives, please email Barbara and we will research a third alternative to which a small group, even just one person, can go in a car and work. We want this to be suitable for everybody. I understand what you're saying, the preference it be something you care about.

The Brahmaviharas. There are many kinds of conditioned objects, nama and rupa, mental and material. They arise out of conditions and cease when the conditions cease, be it a rug, heat or a thought.

What we call direct expressions of the Unconditioned, such as nada, are not things; they are direct expressions of the Unconditioned, the Unconditioned expressing a sound, or luminosity, the Unconditioned expressing as light. In the same way the Unconditioned can express as compassion, muditta. It can express as equanimity, uppekha, as each of the Brahamviharas.

I see the metaphor of the sun. Sometimes when the sun is behind a cloud you see the rays of the sun pouring out, very bright streaks of sunshine. You have absolutely no doubt that they come from the sun. You can't see the sun; it's blotted by the cloud. But there's 100% certainty, "This is the sun I'm seeing, in its expression as sun rays." These rays are created by conditioned elements, in other words you see the sun rays because of the atmosphere. But the rays are not the atmosphere, they are only brought into visibility because of the atmosphere.

We cannot say the sun ray does not exist if there's no atmosphere. If there's a sun, it sends out light. That light extends out. It becomes visible because of the atmosphere. In certain conditioned experiences, any of the Brahmaviharas become more apparent but they are direct expressions of the Unconditioned.

We distinguish between the direct expression and the conditions that bring it into visibility. In other words, if there was no anger or tension, could you recognize compassion? What brings the experience of compassion, into focus? For me it's the fact that it is something centered that remains there even when there is agitation. So I feel the compassion, I feel the metta; I feel the equanimity. They've always been there. It cannot be otherwise because they are direct expressions of the Unconditioned, but I cannot always access them. When they are accessible it's because of the depth of practice that teaches us how to re-center in these beautiful qualities, even when there's a lot of agitation, fear, disturbance, doubt, and so forth.

Does that answer your question?

Q: (hard to hear) Yes... let me try and ask a different one... With your example, when tension arises, and sensing, say, calmness behind the tension, sensing the peace behind the tension, that calmness, if we're honest with ourselves, is distorting the Unconditioned, it's distorting the compassion.

Aaron: The calmness is distorting the compassion in what way?

Q: The same way the atmosphere is changing the rays of the sun.

Aaron: So you're asking, what is the experience of pure compassion beyond the conditioned mind-thought of calmness or whatever? I think it's a matter of depth, just going deeper and deeper. It's like the direct experience of the Unconditioned. First there is a spaciousness, and we could say that spaciousness distorts the actual experience of the Unconditioned. Fine, but we're on our way. We simply note that spaciousness is still within the semi-object realm. We don't rest there, we just keep going.

So you do your practice; in the formal practice one notes, "spacious, pleasant". The sense of spaciousness falls away into nothing arising or dissolve, beyond spaciousness, but it's still not the Unconditioned, there's still a subtle conceptual quality to it. One notes that. That falls away. One just keeps going.

There's a distinction because what we're talking about here with the Brahmaviharas is not the Unconditioned, it is the Brahmaviharas, which are expressions of the Unconditioned. You are not going to find the Unconditioned as long as you are attached to the Brahmavihara.

This relates a bit to practice with the higher jhanas. I'm not suggesting that you practice with the higher jhanas but that you do some reading about the practice through which one moves into each jhana by taking each preceding jhana as the object until it breaks open and the next jhana arises. I repeat, I am not suggesting you do this as a practice, just read the instructions that a normally given as to how to open to each jhana and then take that back to this question. "The Brahmavihara: how pure is it?" This is equanimity with a little bit of shakiness, now it's purer equanimity, now it's completely open. But there is still a mind noting a quality of equanimity. Is it attached to equanimity? What happens when you break through the equanimity, what remains?

All of the expressions of the Unconditioned are as we use nada or luminosity. You don't hold on to the nada, the nada is a pathway that helps you. Eventually you let go of nada; you let go of luminosity. They are expressions of the Unconditioned like the finger pointing to the moon, and you follow the finger out. You don't hold on to the finger; you let go of the finger, and go to the moon.

Q: The conditions disappear.

Aaron: Yes. With skillful practice it disappears. But it's a pathway and a very important pathway because it is a direct expression of the Unconditioned. Each of these are fingers pointing to the moon. Any one is suitable but when you get to the tip of the finger, go beyond to the Unconditioned. Don't hold the tip of the finger. In this way, what you are presently experiencing as a distortion is instead known as a guiding finger.

Q: But it feels like I'm pushing conditions away...

Aaron: Then note that. What is the experience of pushing conditions away? Bring that into your practice. Is it a pleasant or unpleasant experience or neutral? Who is pushing conditions away and how does it feel to push them away?

I would use the experience, if you're pushing them away there's tension. Bring attention to that very subtle tension... Body tension, mental tension.

Q: But you're telling me the goal is purification.

Aaron: I am not saying the goal is to not have conditions. The goal is to know conditions as conditions and not take them as the Unconditioned, just to recognize them for what they are, to bow to them, to appreciate them. The Unconditioned is right there with the conditioned; sort through it. There in the bag of sand is the tiniest diamond. It's there in the bag of sand. Can you trust that it's there? You might choose to sift through the sand or you might just spend weeks playing, building sand castles with joy until suddenly while you're building, "Ah, what's this? There's the diamond. I knew it was there somewhere."

Don't discard the conditioned realm; hold reverence for the conditioned realm. Enjoy it. And know it's all expression of the Unconditioned. Go down when we're finished talking and jump in the lake. Splash around. Splash! Kick your feet. Watch the water, sparkling diamonds of water. Conditioned. And then just float on your back and rest in the spaciousness. The water exists and the spaciousness exists, and beyond the spaciousness, what? Just resting there.

Is that sufficient?

Barbara intended that we would stop at 11 to give you a chance to talk among yourselves and relax. We respect all the richness that happens when you interact with each other and I think some of you probably will want to swim before you leave and before lunch. So do you want to end here or to continue? Is there anyone who feels unfinished? (laughter) Let me phrase that differently-- is there anyone who feels unfinished for today?

To all of you, my blessings and love. I love you all dearly.

Q: We love you.

Aaron: Thank you for so deeply opening your hearts and for the deep work that you are doing. Thank you from me, from all beings, sentient beings everywhere, incarnate and not incarnate, thank you. Keep going. Liberation is possible. An end to suffering is possible. Trust and keep going. (session ends)