May 19, 2011 Thursday AM, Venture Fourth, Opening Session

May 19, 2011 Thursday AM, Venture Fourth 6, Opening Session

Aaron: Blessings of the dharma to all of you. It's so good to be back together with you again. I'm going to keep this talk short. I'm delighted to have Donald here, as I've said, because so many of you have found deep value in his book.

We've been meeting now for 2 years. You've learned so much; you've grown so much. Now many of you are asking, “Where do I go from here?” How do we integrate what we've learned and use it in our daily lives?

You've deepened, all of you, in your vipassana practice, and also in pure awareness practice. You've learned how to work with the elements. You've learned how to work with heavy emotions, and how to use the elements to support clarification of heavy emotions. You've learned to discern the arising of the ego in the self, and rather than trying to boot it out or thrash it over the head with a stick, you've learned to be kind and tolerant to it, while not allowing it to be the boss.

Now, how do we bring all this out into the world? I'm going to share with you a visual aid that Barbara made for the book Cosmic Healing, for her book tours. Many people have enjoyed this and found it a clear image. (Demonstrating with the red canisters and teddy bear.)

Most of us live in a little box called relative reality. We just hang out in this relative reality container, usually with the lid on. Once in awhile, if you're a meditator, you find yourself in ultimate reality, also with the lid on. Not that ultimate reality has a lid, but you lose touch with relative reality and there you are in ultimate reality. And then the meditation ends, and you're back in relative reality. “Where did the ultimate go? How did I lose it?”

We hop back and forth a bit, in Ultimate, “Oh, I like that!” but then we end up—(putting bear back in the relative container) somebody's got to take out the garbage-- “Here I am again,” until one day you discover that relative reality is within ultimate reality. (Puts one canister inside the other.) Now they're together but you still seem to be in one or the other. But in practice, you learn how to straddle both.

You learn that you can be mostly in relative reality and keep one finger there in the ultimate. You don't lose the ultimate, you stay connected. We've talked about, in dzogchen, “view meditation and action”. You don't lose the view. You don't lose rigpa.

In the times when you are largely in the ultimate, perhaps you've got a toe in the relative, you stay connected to the relative, no matter how deep you go into the ultimate. You don't lose the relative.

This is our work, now. Certainly I wish all of you a deep experience of enlightenment, but for now we are less concerned with becoming arahants than with taking what we know into the world, because it is in that practice of service in the world that we watch how the ego wants to take over, and we keep developing the strength to say no to it in gentle ways, and to stay centered in the pure mind, to stay centered in the highest intentions. And it is this that will lead you to awakening.

Six of you were at the Emerald Isle retreat. In the afternoons,  I spoke in depth through the whole week of the akashic field. Barbara emailed out some of the transcripts from the week, and also the morning instructions and the dharma talks. About 5 of those transcripts are on the piano. If you have not read them, I'd like you to glance over them. We'll be talking about them on Saturday. Please keep them in those main rooms so they don't get lost. Find a chair and read them in there. None of them are long, but I'd like you to have this background on which we can build on Saturday.

That's all. My blessings and love to you, and I'm happy to hand you over to Donald.

(recording ends)