March 26, 2010 Friday Evening, Venture Fourth #3

This transcript has only been lightly reviewed, filling in any blanks

Keywords: dzogchen, pure awareness practice, access concentration, Bon tradition, Tibetan tradition, teaching/teachers, 5 elements practice, space element

Barbara: Just some sharing tonight, inviting questions, comments, anything you'd like to share about your experience today, so both questions and comments.

(I just want to comment for Janice, who is transcribing) We're sitting in a beautiful wooden building with heavy wooden posts and beams, large windows and a balcony hanging right out over the lake. It's a beautiful blue-sky evening. The lake is very still, everything reflected in it, the sun shining on it, evening sun, very beautiful.

Q: I have a request for Aaron. Since he's 6th density, could he merge with some of the dzogchen masters who attained enlightenment and then know what they know and teach us from that?

Barbara: Aaron says he'll come in and answer it directly.

Aaron: My blessings to you all. Q, I already do know what they know. That's not the issue. The issue is that I want to make this material accessible to the person who has not followed a traditional Tibetan path of practice. So I'm trying to translate it into an accessible modern format using no special vocabulary.

I know the vocabulary but I'd rather not push that vocabulary on people. I consider myself, I don't want to use the term 'interfaith' but a teacher of non-duality who is not grounded in any one tradition. Different traditions talk about the teachings in different ways. The Tibetan masters' teachings are deep and brilliant but one works best with those teachings when one has been grounded in that tradition.

What do we do, for example, with the idea of the rainbow body? We can talk about it completely in Tibetan terminology. Or better yet, we can talk about it through looking at the juncture of the chakras and elements. It's the same thing but we're working here with the chakras and the elements so I don't want to use a Tibetan terminology to talk about it. It will take you to the same place, somewhat different practices, equivalent practices.

Q: Sign me up!

Aaron: If you want to learn this from a Tibetan master, you can go to a Tibetan master and learn it. But I think it's very important that it not be thought of as a Tibetan practice, although I have deep reverence for the Tibetan tradition in the same way I have deep reverence for the ancient Theravada tradition. But I'm also not a Theravada Buddhist meditation master. I draw what's useful from that material and try to translate it to make it accessible.

Q: Since we don't want to call it dzogchen, can we call it pseudo-dzogchen? (laughter)

Aaron: Pseudo-dzogchen! Let's just call it awareness. In the Native American tradition there is a lot of talk of grandmother or grandfather awareness. And it's the same awareness, of course. The practice there is not called dzogchen, it's just called Grandmother/Grandfather Awareness, or becoming Grandmother/Grandfather Awareness.

Q: When you first started teaching us dzogchen, you called it dzogchen. Now we're not supposed to call it dzogchen.

Aaron: This was almost 20 years ago. It was, I would not say an error but at that time I did not think it through fully. If we call it dzogchen then we're bound into the Tibetan tradition. It feels more skillful to me not to call it dzogchen, just as I don't call our meditation, it is vipassana but I don't call it Theravada Buddhist vipassana. We study Visuddhi Magga, for example, but we're not teaching only from Visuddhi Magga. We use all of this profound wisdom to help us.

But we as Venturers Fourth need to find ways of bringing this clarity into the world in simple human terms. You know as a Deep Spring teacher that much of your training was how to translate this without using any Buddhist terminology. So when I was first teaching this, this was 18 years ago, when we first started talking about dzogchen, I did not think it through at that point. Now I have, and have changed the way I want to label.

Barbara has been working on the final manuscript for the book and it's been interesting to her to see within the first months of knowing me I was already teaching her, not with the label dzogchen, but I was already teaching her pure awareness practice from the very beginning.

Then I thought it would be helpful for her to go to a dzogchen retreat, to learn it from a teacher. Everything fell together, of course, and within a few weeks of our first discussing it, she was going to a retreat with a good friend who would take notes for her and sign things for her, and with a teacher who was very comfortable with me as Barbara's teacher.

So at that point my policy with Barbara was that I will not anything through her that she can teach herself. It still is. She was more comfortable teaching it as dzogchen 18 years ago because she had attended two month-long retreats before she started teaching it, and had worked with me 3 years on it. But she was clinging to the books a bit, and asking, "How do I teach this?" She was not yet fully confident to teach it just from her own experience and without any special terminology. So in part it was Barbara who was teaching it as dzogchen; it wasn't me. I'm not apologizing for it here, I just want us to be deeply respectful of the Tibetan masters and the Tibetan teachings, which are so profound. And since we're not teaching from that base of practice and knowledge but approaching it in a different way, not to tread on toes, not to take something that doesn't belong to me, but to be deeply respectful of teaching it in a way that feels suitable to me.

I thank J for pointing that out to us.

Q: In reading <author's> book, The Wonders of the Natural Mind...

Aaron: I don't know that book...

Q: In the Preface he notes that the Bon tradition goes back 17,000 years and that these traditions were disseminated on other planets throughout the universe and galaxy. Is this a transmission through the Lemurians and Atlanteans?

Aaron: Yes, in part, yes. And then later the Bon tradition merged with Buddhism and Buddhism gave it a different form. I actually never practiced it as a Buddhist Tibetan master but practiced it within the Bon tradition. So, much of what I'm teaching you precedes the merging with Buddhism and is more directly from the Lemurian and other interplanetary sources that brought it into the Bon tradition. This is much of what I'm teaching you here in using the chakras and elements and so forth. I'm not teaching you the whole Buddhist package.

Q: Were you a Bon master?

Aaron: In a previous life, yes, long before Aaron. I would not want to call myself a master, but a practitioner.

Q: I thought you were a practitioner in the Theravadan tradition.

Aaron: I was. That was later. I have lived in many different cultures and places. A lifetime in which I found profound learning was as an Australian aborigine. And you've heard me talk about this, singing into the broken leg and healing it, for example. Living in close connection with the earth and speaking to the earth. Living in close connection to the elements. Here was another deep practice of Awareness.

The wonderful thing when you have recall of all your past lives is you can draw this material together and see how it all integrates. There's not just this wisdom tradition or that one or that one but they have common threads. So we start to pull it together and then I look at you in your culture and where you are in your evolution and ask myself, which of these threads are most supportive to your learning? And let's not call it anything. And that's where Deep Spring comes in because we're not a Buddhist center, we're just a center for deepening wisdom and opening the heart.

Q: I would like to share something. (a loud buzz begins on the recording, hard to hear over it for rest of tape) (about his team, Duke, in the basketball finals - laughter, topic inaudible) So this was part of my practice... And I got some help from guidance about it, I thought I'd share this. (laughter)

Aaron: I find J's guide to be very wise and loving and I thank you for sharing. (chit chat and laughter)

Q: I was asked to look at (can't hear over buzz), ...the elegance of the sport (basketball), it's a beautiful game to watch, how a team when working well together becomes greater than the players, become bigger and better <> and several other things. <> My guidance asked me to look at the way I felt about <> and how I was very nervous and how I hoped they would win, and how if they lost tonight the season was over. And he asked me to look at the traditions and that feeling, the grasping, pushing away, not wanting to lose, wanting to win. And then asked me to look at what I love about it. And then he said, <ask> tonight what you love about the basketball <> and what you're afraid of <>. And it was, wow! I'll be okay tomorrow no matter what! (laughter) <> You weren't supposed to laugh at that!

Aaron: That can be taken to a larger picture, too. What one loves about life, the fears one might have, what will happen if, if, if? But that's a story that has nothing to do with ultimate reality, it's just what might happen, and anything might happen. But in this moment, what one cherishes is right there and is always there. Thank you for sharing that.

Q: I have a question about pure awareness or access concentration. The marker I use to identify that state, either state, is not luminosity or nada. I got the experience of both sometimes but I know I'm there when thoughts stop and when the hindrances are in the background. Should I be looking for a direct expression of the Unconditioned instead of this marker?

Aaron: No, not looking for it in terms of "Where is it? Where is it?" Simply noting the stopping of thought. This is not with a thought, as "no thoughts," but just a level of awareness that you state is already there. Who knows the thoughts have stopped? Is there any 'somebody' who knows, or just awareness? When the hindrances cease, for some the main marker may be non-contraction in the body and the mind, resting in the uncontracted state. Let awareness know that state. It's not so much "looking for," then, as beginning the practice period, and beginning every day, with the intention that when you are resting in the uncontracted state you have the intention to move ever-deeper into the experience of the Unconditioned, to invite it to reveal itself more fully to me, and then trusting that process will develop. Any grasping at those expressions simply brings back the ego.

Resting in the uncontracted state – resting in that experience of temporary cessation of hindrances and of no illusion of self – resting there, what needs to come next will arise naturally when you are ready, but it's also helpful to regularly note the intention, the aspiration, let's call it, to move ever deeper for the highest good for all beings. The more you know the Unconditioned the freer you become of any further arising of the defilements and the more it serves all beings. Just follow that. Then if nada or luminosity become very predominant, bring attention there. If space is predominant bring attention there, stillness, peace. . . whatever has come.

Let me say something here. We're talking about my background. My own liberation was as a Theravada Buddhist meditation master so I know that very well as a viable path to liberation. It's really all you need, but then because I have the ability to look at other past lives and many different kinds of practices that I've done, I can see the ways that it could have been easier in that lifetime if I had known these things. So my intention is to bring it all together for you and help you without giving you so much that it's bewildering. To bring it together for you so you don't have to do all the trial and error that I had to do in that lifetime.

So the whole practice comes together in these different ways using all these various supports. For instance in that lifetime, I had no concept of spirit guides, it simply was not part of my background and conditioning. And if somebody had said to me, "Why don't you ask your guide?" I would have thought they were crazy. Spirit was considered dangerous to me at that point. So it was something to be avoided, not approached. And yet now as Barbara's guide I recognize the value of being able to consult with your guides. So I've tried to teach you how to connect with your guidance. If you had talked to me about the elements in that lifetime I would have thought you were crazy. It was just not something I worked with. I would have listened to you politely and I would have disregarded it because it was simply not part of my background and practice. But I see the value in it.

Q: Where did you get it?

Aaron: The elements, where did I get the elements from? I practiced this in many lifetimes, I have lived many lifetimes where work with the elements was a central practice.

Q: Did somebody know it and you borrow it from him?

Aaron: I did not borrow it from anybody; it's a basic part of the Lemurian trainings, and a basic part of the trainings I received in the lifetime that I lived as an Essene master. A basic part of the training that I received in the lifetime as Aaron where I lived over 500 years, in a large part through these regeneration practices and work with the elements and energy. Those practices are derived from, I would not say derived from but parallel to and go together with the Bon trainings. It all comes together.

Now I am not trying to get you to live for 500 years. For most of you, 90 or 100 years of this incarnation is probably going to be sufficient. But one can live for an extended period of time if one works with these practices. However, the goal is not to live a long time, but to live wisely and well; the goal is to transcend mind and matter, not to be a slave to mind and matter.

Q: Sometimes in meditation and in meditation today I feel a dense kind of energy. It feels like my body is heavy.

Aaron: It's all that good food! (laughter) I'm teasing you; please go ahead.

Q: Is that something to just be observed or is that something I can work with either through the elements or other means?

Aaron: Just note it. If it's pleasant, know it's pleasant. If it's unpleasant, know it's unpleasant. If it's neutral, know it's neutral. If there's aversion to it, know the aversion. There's nothing to fix, there's nothing to change.

Q: But is there something to have < > with?

Aaron: Right there with the heavy body energy is very light energy. You are more aware of the heavy body energy because you're more aware. It's not that the body energy is heavier but that there's more contrast now with the higher vibration that you sometimes experience so that when you're more into the human body it feels heavier because you feel the heavier vibration of the physical body. Just thank the body for being a human body and invite it into the highest vibration it can stably hold. Love it just as it is.

Q: Is that the vibration of the physical body or the etheric body?

Aaron: Both. The physical mirrors the etheric.

The vibration of the physical body, which is feeling heavier because as you meditate, the lighter bodies have increased in vibration at a faster speed than the heavier physical body. As the mental emotional bodies refine themselves, they raise in vibration faster than the material body. The spiritual body also has raised into an exceedingly high vibration compared to where it was 20 years ago.

The vibrations need to be kept in harmony with each other. Think of tuning a violin or guitar, a 4-stringed instrument. The 4 strings each have their own tone but they must be harmonious with each other. The instrument must be tuned to itself. So if one string is playing an octave low, it's going to feel out of sorts with the higher strings that are tuned to a different octave. If the physical body, the material body, feels like it's at a low octave, then yes, you can inquire what's holding this at this lower vibration. Perhaps a change in diet or more exercise, or simply more love to the physical body will help it increase in vibration.

Q: Thank you.

Aaron: You're welcome.

Q: Are you the only one who is teaching this sort of interfaith spirituality?

Aaron: Not at all but each being teaches from his own background. Each of you, although you cannot remember past lives, or most of you can't, or not many past lives, each of you has had different experiences in this life. We find with the Deep Spring teacher training program that we help each emerging teacher find his or her own articulation of the dhamma based on his or her own background and experience. So yes, there are many beings teaching this and each teaches in its unique way.

Q: So there are entities teaching in England and Africa and China, all different places around the world?

Aaron: Barbara had a wonderful experience many years ago. A student who had been in the Peace Corps in Sri Lanka began to study vipassana there with a meditation master, Ratna, a lay master, who channeled a spirit guide. She didn't know that this was unusual for the Theravadan/vipassana tradition; she just assumed it was part of the way it was taught. She came home and mentioned it to some friends;she was moving to Michigan and they said, "Oh, you have to look up Barbara." So she looked up Barbara. She settled here and Barbara became her teacher.

Her Sri Lankan teacher, who had a sangha in Portland OR, was coming to the U.S. to work with the sangha there. The student arranged for him to come to Michigan and meet Barbara. The two of them spent a week together out at the lake. He and his wife came and they lived in another cabin. They had a wonderful visit together. We had a number of talks with me and Sarisvathi, who channeled through Ratna, and also just Barbara and Ratna talking. What they were teaching – two teachers from across the world – was so similar. And what they were channeling was so similar. It was very beautiful.

On her trip to Japan, her Japanese host brought her to a town several hours north of Hiroshima, which had been his childhood home and to his Shinto teacher. They spent a wonderful afternoon, needing a translator because he did not speak English and Barbara doesn't speak Japanese. But he also channels spirit. So I spoke, he spoke, his guide spoke, and what we were teaching, what they were teaching, again was very, very parallel.

Of course, what Ratna was teaching and his guide, what--I can't remember the man's name, but the Japanese man and his guide, his teacher, what they were teaching, was all a bit different. For example, where Ratna's guide had experience with what might be called pure awareness traditions, the Shinto teacher's guide did not have that experience. So he was very open to what I said about it but it was not a part of that being's direct experience.

What I find is that you as the seeker find what you need. There is infinite material out there. You're drawn somewhere for a reason. Karmically, probably all of you have certainly worked with me some time before in a prior incarnation. This is not the first time we've known each other. All of you have practiced in these various traditions, not merging them but practiced in them. And so somehow at a deep level you're drawn to this place where we're bringing them together. And if at some point that ceases to be a clear vehicle for you then you'll be drawn in a different direction and you'll move there.

Q: I have had a very interesting phenomenon happen to me at every intensive. My guides have told me why. What has happened is the first morning I get extremely nauseated. The first two intensives I vomited. This time I didn't but I was very sick for quite awhile.

Aaron: This relates to a past life and we'll talk about it privately. It's not that the whole group cannot hear it, simply we don't need to take the group's time with it. It can be interesting to them to know that it comes from a past life, but we'll talk in depth about it.

It was a past life in which teachings were forced upon you in a way that was very unwholesome for you. Picture yourself figuratively being force-fed. We can talk more about it.

Q: Today I had an interesting experience after meditating. I stood up and looked out this front window and the tree in front was glistening, shimmering. It seems like it had a strobe light on it. It was very intense. Later <> I cried because it was so beautiful. Then I went to try to figure out why, so I walked around the tree and (laughter) <> I couldn't find it. <>

Aaron: My dear ones, your human vision is so veiled and you have lost so much, and we are hoping to restore it to you. It's partly through the DNA changes that you'll find more ability to see in this way, to see the light and life in everything. The veils will fall away and you'll see in this way increasingly. Weep for the human who can never see this because he is so locked into his own darkness and obscurations.

Q: In the 5 element practice, you led us in a meditation so that we could experience different elements. What is the best meditation to access space? I understand the other 4, water, fire, earth and air.

Aaron: The best way to get to know space, actually, is through your vipassana practice. Well, not the best, but one very clear way to get to know space, because when you let go of that which has arisen, it dissolves, and instead of going back to an object, you rest in space, you start to know that space and to get to know the characteristics of space. You begin to know the energy of it and to see the light within it.

Then you can transfer that back into the elements practice and into your pure awareness practice. If you start with it too early in pure awareness it becomes a concept of space rather than the experience of space, or else a pow! experience of space but no way to integrate it or understand it.

Q: When I was working with the elements today I was connected with one of the elements, like the sun and the sparkling light on the water. And then I would lovingly tend to my < > and invite the balance, the balancing <>. And I would experience something and a balancing would happen. When it came to inviting in space, I pulled out the pebble and expanded the molecules and visualized the space between the molecules, and then lovingly tended my < >.

What do you recommend as the best way for me to work with space in the 5 element practice?

Aaron: I am going to repeat myself, Q. Instead of trying to work with space in the 5 element practice, work with the balance of the elements and separately work with space in the vipassana practice until there is a clear sense of resting in that spaciousness and knowing the nature of space. And only then take it into the element practice. Once you know it, then as you feel the other elements present you begin to see how as the other elements dissolve, space is there. It's always there. But it's conceptual until you know it, until you've met it. And the best introduction to it is through watching the dissolution of objects and the space that remains. Then it's not so much within the self, within the mind or body, but hearing the bird's sound and then it fades away, space. Going deep into that experience of space until you can recognize both the nature of space and the essence of it. Then it will come together.

At Emerald Isle, watch the waves and that they are not solid. You see the form of the waves and you see the air within them, but you also see the space within them. So that's a good place to ground yourself in the elements. You can see the fire on it, you can see the water, it's all there together, and space is very visible, watching big waves.

Q: <mostly inaudible>

Aaron: You're right, it's a subtle shift. Don't worry about trying to distinguish for now, just come to it through the vipassana path and gradually you'll be able to distinguish what is access concentration and what is awareness. Don't start off trying to distinguish, just start off doing the vipassana practice into that point where it's very clear that objects are arising and passing away and there's no contraction at all about it. A sense of self dies away. It feels like awareness. Don't try to name what it is, just rest in that space.

Gradually the subtleties will separate themselves and you'll be able to say, this is access concentration and here is awareness coming in lighting up the access concentration.

Q: <mostly inaudible>

Aaron: What seems to be flowing in and out of both? Because your practice has been so strongly awareness, you're wandering in and out and that's why the access concentration doesn't yet seem stable. If you keep practicing with it, it will become stable just as awareness has become stable, and then you'll have these 2 tools and be able to use them as you wish. Or let me phrase that differently, lovingkindness will be able to able to use the 2 tools as it wishes toward liberation.

Q: <mostly inaudible> This was a different experience than what I think of luminosity, the light gets brighter. <Are these 2 both expressions of luminosity?>

Aaron: Nothing is separate but we could call them sibling experiences. Luminosity is that radiance that is the expression of the Unconditioned shining through everything. The mind is part of that everything but the mind has its own special luminosity that we could call clear cognizance, clarity. It's seeing the naked mind as the Unconditioned, seeing that the mind itself is dharmakaya, and is seeing, experiencing the direct radiance of that dharmakaya. It's no longer your mind, it's just mind. So it has a different quality than it does when you see it expressing out of the tree, for example.

Q: I sent Barbara an email this week regarding an experience I had with what seemed like a past life as White Feather. I also included information about for the last couple of weeks seeing a lot of purple and eyes, like the third eye, in my visual (field), when I'm visualizing and my eyes are closed... But when I saw White Feather I had been meditating with a lot of antsy static and then it shifted and there he was. This was in the group at Deep Spring on Tuesday morning when that happened.

Today when we were meditating this morning, I was having all that scattering going on again, restlessness, so I just set my intention to experience or to be what was for the good of all beings and harm to none, and it immediately shifted into, just like Tuesday morning's shift, it immediately shifted into this visual image where with my eyes closed, with the purple and the eyes again. And it stayed with me except for everything would become completely white and then it would become purple and I could see the eyes.

So I was going back and forth with that this morning. This afternoon, the restlessness was going on and I tried to shift. I didn't try the other two times, the shift just happened. So I tried to shift and as usual, nothing happened, when I try to do something.

Aaron: There are certain images which have developed from past lifetimes in the body, human lifetimes, images that have developed from non-human lifetimes. Some are universal images, such as something within the third eye, and some are personal images. They will come. What you're describing is partially universal, partially personal, and relates to past life. All you need to know here is when you set the intention for the highest good of all beings, that helps to open your energy field and you begin to receive images or information that are helpful to you.

If there's just a scattering of images one simply notes it as "seeing" and does not attach to it. One wants to go beyond that scattering of different images. When there is one steady, strong image and it seems centering and helpful, then just be there with it, use it as an object of awareness. Rest in awareness, present with that image and just rest there. There's no need to figure it out, just rest with it.

This was leading you into much deeper stability of pure awareness. Just rest there. We'll talk more about White Feather and all of it personally, okay?

Q: An observation, (not) a question. When I did the sky gazers meditation with eyes open, really for the first time I experienced what Barbara had kept telling me (about), which is space. My question was, after the first guided meditation this morning Barbara suggested that I sit with the yellow flowers <> and I was wondering why she suggested that.

Aaron: She suggested it at my prompting because you've been withdrawing from all that space, resistant to all that space, so we felt that instead of all that hugeness, simply being present and exchanging energy with this small simple radiant and beautiful flower would be an easier opening for you into releasing the boundaries. Having experienced it through the sky gazing, did you work with the yellow flower first or just the sky gazing?

Q: Well the guided meditation was first <> looking across the lake. Then I followed that flower in the next sitting.

Aaron: So working with the flower may have helped you take that next step, so that with the sky gazing you were able to be more open. I can't say that; that's only my supposition. But now that it's opened, I think you'll find the gazing across the lake is open too. If it starts to close up again, if there's a feeling of too much space, resistance, come back to something small again.

Enough. Let us give you a chance to stretch and then sit; we'll end at 9 o'clock.

(session ends)