December 8, 1993 Wednesday Night, Aaron's Christmas Stories

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. Every year I share Christmas stories. For those who have not heard these before, I want to make a few opening remarks. First, I was alive-not as Aaron but that incarnation whom I was at that time-at the time that the one you know as Jesus walked the Earth. I had the great blessing to know this man. The one who I was was a simple shepherd. I was not learned nor was I a leading disciple of his, just one who loved him and followed him. I tell these stories not as I, Aaron, interpreting with a deeper wisdom, but the way they were experienced by that shepherd.

I also want to emphasize that I do not consider myself to be a member of any specific religion. I have much love for this one, Jesus, much love for the one who was known as the Buddha, much love for many other teachers: Hindu, Sufi, Hebrew and of religious sects of which you never heard, teachers who taught from their heart.

When you scrape off the traditions and the specific ritual prayers, and seek the essence of most religions that have really touched the world, you find that they have far more in common than they have differences. Their commonalty always grows from the fact that they were heart teachings. They did not come from a man or woman who was trying to impress others, nor from one who was striving for power, riches or control, but always from one who was deeply moved by the suffering that was seen around that one ... always from one who strived to empty the small ego self and allow the God-self to speak through, to allow oneself to hear that divine wisdom and share it.

The Buddha did not call it "God's" wisdom but Dharma. It doesn't matter what you call it, whether the religion is non-theistic or theistic. There is still a recognition in all of these great religions that there is something greater than the small separate self, something of which we are all a part. There is an attempt to live one's life in harmony with that energy, by whatever name it is known.

Those who have followed such great teachers have built up churches and temples around those teachers, have built up whole systems of religious doctrine and belief which often have very little to do with the teacher himself. There is a beautiful medieval legend that I've heard told many times in different ways. The legend is that the one who was known as Jesus, looking down from the spirit plane, saw the fires of the Spanish Inquisition. He looked closer and finally moved into body form to see just what was going on.

Now remember this is a legend. I am not claiming it to be history, only it could have happened. What he saw brought tears to his eyes. He saw men with crosses in their hands lighting fires and burning people at stakes. He asked them, "Why do you do this? By whose will do you do this?" And they referred him to the one who was highest in the hierarchy of the church in that place. So he went to see that man. "Why do you do this?" He was told, "To strengthen the church. For Jesus' sake we do this, to remove heresy from the church."

The legend has it that the one who was known as Jesus said, "I am Jesus and I bid you stop! I never taught hate. I never taught killing." The man to whom he spoke had the wisdom to be afraid. He knew at some level that this really was Jesus; and yet, he said to him, "If you go out and tell them to stop, we will have to burn you, too. We must control because people cannot control themselves. We cannot say 'Love one another' because they don't, so we have to force them."

The story has it that the one who was known as Jesus, when he heard this, began to weep. He wept so hard that it put out all the fires of the Inquisition and a new spirit began to dwell in the land.

Those of you who are members of any specific religious organization, I ask you, if the one who was the founder of your religion came to Earth today, would your church or temple welcome that one or would he or she be an heretic? What are we creating in the name of love? How are we dividing ourselves so that one religion fights against another in the name of righteousness? Perhaps we are coming to a time on your Earth where your labels do more harm than good. I do not mean that it is harmful to follow the disciplines and doctrines of a religion, but it is useful to ask yourself, why do I need to label myself? How does that label separate me and make me feel better than another? Am I part of the solution which pulls all beings together, or am I part of the situation which creates separation and enhances it?

As churches or religious structures grow, they tend to move into what might be called an esoteric or private kind of teaching for the initiated few. They create hierarchies. Some of you who are in Barbara's meditation class will remember last month she read to you from a "bootleg" book, a book that she is entitled to read because she has had the proper Tibetan Buddhist initiations, but which, without a high lama's approval, she is forbidden to read to you. It seemed appropriate to her to share this one page with the class. She trusted her own wisdom. But this is an example of esoteric teaching.

At times there may be a reason for it. For example, what she was reading from relates to the Tibetan dzogchen teachings which lead one to find the space of pure mind and learn to rest in that space. In that space no karma is created. It is a space totally empty of self. One who is not sufficiently mature could distort and misuse those teachings to say, "I don't have to be responsible." So, with a sense of their own responsibility for presenting powerful teachings, those who wrote down the teachings requested that they no be offered to those who are not ready to hear them.

BUT, how can we determine readiness for another? I cannot judge you and what is in your heart, nor can you judge one another. Perhaps those very words are just what one might need to hear to shake something loose and have one suddenly begin to understand who one really is.

Some religious structures have created this hierarchy of esoteric versus exoteric teachings offered to the masses. Through this means they have controlled. This brings me in a round-about way, finally, to my Christmas stories. Each year I have spoken to you about some aspect of this man, Jesus, that most deeply touched my heart. Jesus did not offer exoteric versus esoteric teachings. He spoke very simply, if at all. Much of his teaching was in deed and not in word. When he did speak people would hear his words at the level that they were ready to hear. The same words, but those who were able to take it deeper could do so. For those who took it on a very surface level, that's what they needed at that point.

Never did I hear him lecture. He did not teach by sitting down with people and telling them, "Now you should do this and this and this," and philosophizing about it. He simply acted. Perhaps he had infinite power, but he did not show off that power.

A very simple story to illustrate this: There was a time when the one who I was was walking with him and a group of people. We passed a field where there were sheep and there in the field was a sheep lying on the ground in pain, bleating, making the sounds a sheep makes when it is suffering. No caretaker was present. So he immediately went to look.

This was one who had the healing power of life and death in his hands. He looked at the sheep and it was obviously in great difficulty giving birth. There was a foot sticking out. He could have fixed it in a moment. He didn't do so. He knew that the one I was was a shepherd. He turned to me and said, "Can you help it?" And, of course, I did know what to do, was able to insert my hand and push back one leg, pull forth another leg, twist and turn that tiny body to correct birth position, and draw out the baby lamb. Just that. Nothing special. But I wondered as I did it, why did he ask me when he had such power?

He said nothing then. We dried off the lamb and put it back with its mother and went on our way. That evening he simply said to me, in response to my unasked question, "Always do things in the simplest way. Never show off your power to impress." Just that.

That is how he lived. One would not have known his power, except that he gave off a radiance of energy-this light body that we've been talking about, which is perfectly clear, radiated from him. The emotional, mental and the physical bodies perfectly harmonized with the light body. Except for that radiance you would not have known that he was a great teacher. He did not ask people to bow to him or worship him in any way. He did not ask for special treatment. I have described to you in a past year how, when a roof was leaking, he climbed up there with us in the rain and fixed the roof. That transcript is available; I won't go into that story.

He was simple and direct; he taught by his actions. Once, when I was with him ... When I say "I" here, please understand this is not the "I" who currently addresses you, which is a discarnate energy, but that it's the "I" which was one manifestation of this energy incarnate on the Earth at that time-one slice of this energy that I am.

Once, when I was with him, we came to a town, a small town, with a market place where apparently a man whose children were starving had just stolen a loaf of bread and had been caught. Those who caught him-the man who owned the bread and some others, including the one who, let us say, upheld the laws in that place-they were debating what to do with him. The man whose loaf it was wanted him to have the traditional punishment, right there, to have his hand cut off. The man was weeping, "My children will starve." And they lectured to him, "You should have thought of that." But, of course, he had only stolen because his children were starving. The gathering crowd was of mixed, and vehement, sentiment.

This one whom you know as Jesus watched the scene for a few minutes then asked those with him, what food did we have. We brought out vegetables, bread and other food. He said to the man whose loaf had been stolen, "Will you take this in payment?" They looked at us and said, "But you're a stranger and that will put you without food." He simply said, "Our needs will be met. Will you take this in payment?" "Yes." That was far more than had been stolen. And, of course, the stolen loaf would be returned. Then Jesus said, "No, will you take this in payment and give him the stolen loaf?" Again, "Yes."

Then the bread man asked, "What will you and your group do for food?" Jesus simply said, "Our needs will be met." At which point, five or six people, strangers to us, each approached and invited us, "Will you come to our house to eat?" They started vying with each other , each trying to outdo the other for the privilege of hosting this radiant and generous stranger, until Jesus said to them, "Will you bring your food together and we will all eat together?"

This was not a rich village, but so much had been hoarded out of fear. Suddenly, people were eager to give and they began to open what they had hoarded and bring it out. People who had not contributed because they had nothing to contribute stood at the edge of the circle until the one known as Jesus invited them, "Sit and eat. Have faith. There will be enough food." And, of course, there was.

It was not through a miracle that he created plenty, although yes, he did do that at some other times and for his good reasons. In this place the lesson was different. Open your hearts and trust! The food was there. It had always been there. He simply asked those who were wealthy to open their hearts and share. But he did not do that by shaming them or lecturing to them, but by opening their hearts with his love, then allowing their open hearts to open their eyes to others' needs. A very natural flow. There was no judgment in it, no "you should give."

When we came back through that village again many months later, there was no longer any starvation. People had found adequate work and adequate food so that everybody there was fed. So, it was not just the passing moment, but it continued, because those who had been afraid learned to release their fear.

A similar story occurred with people who were fishermen. I came to a place with him once where somehow the nets had gotten tangled so that one group had far more fish than it needed, and another group had no fish and had lost its nets. The nets were marked; the group with the fish returned the nets, but they were empty. It was clear to all what had happened, but their greed and their fear made them cling to that which they felt fortune had sent their way. "Never mind your hunger." and "Aren't we lucky, we've got all these fish?"

This was not a culture where people took fish to market and sold them. There were only so many fish they could use. Yes, they could salt and preserve them. But they were closing their hearts to the others' hunger.

It was a very similar situation really handled in a similar way. He didn't lecture. He only said, "I see that you have many fish to eat. We have vegetables and bread. Shall we eat together?" And he pulled out such abundance that they said, "Yes." To those who had lost their fish he said quietly, "Wait. Be patient." There were some among that group who knew and trusted him. But there was still anger and fear on both sides.

We sat down to eat. Those who had lost their fish stood behind at some distance. One of the other group made as if to chase them off but Jesus said, "They do no harm." Those with the many fish began to eat, but none of us did. We just sat with our plates in front of us, following his lead. They ate. They ate of their fish. They ate of our vegetables and our bread and our fruit. They looked up and said, "Why aren't you eating?" Jesus simply said, "No hurry."

How much can a man eat when he's surrounded by hungry people without finally becoming aware of his own greed and his own fear? A leader of them leaped up then and said, "You are taunting us!" And Jesus said, "No, it is your own fear that is taunting you." Just that. And that one understood. He looked around, saw all the food and said to the others, "I am sorry. Will you eat with us?" And of course, again, there was plenty.

I'm not suggesting we could not have had more to eat, but it was adequate and all were fed. More important, those who had taken what didn't belong to them were offered the non-judgmental opportunity to look at the roots of their own fear and greed and to allow the natural outpouring of love and generosity. This did not happen because they were lectured into it with some moral doctrine, but because they were offered the opportunity to find that love and generosity in their own hearts. This was his way: to connect each person with their own special beauty, with their own divinity.

He did not talk about prayer. He meditated in silence at times and he prayed with words, but rarely did I see him lead an organized prayer or ritual. Yes, he at times went to a temple where he participated in such ritual prayer because that's what was happening there, but he understood that prayer must come from your heart and that to recite words by rote closes the heart. It allows one to think one is "religious," "moral," "prayerful," and to think one is thereby better than another who is not. It doesn't connect the heart to God.

There was a time when he was recognized in a temple with some disdain by the hierarchy of that temple for they felt he would disrupt their service. When I say the hierarchy, not the rabbi so much as the more wealthy members of that group who felt uncomfortably challenged by his teaching. It was permitted for people to stand and speak in such a temple. They asked him, "How do you pray?" And they handed him a prayer book. He put the book aside, stood with head bowed, and simply was silent. After a few minutes they asked him, "Are you going to pray?" He looked up and said, "Yes, I am praying."

It was accepted practice that one not interrupt the one leading the prayer. They waited a few minutes more and said, "Are you going to lead us in prayer?" He said, "I am leading you in prayer." And again he was silent. Finally, some of them began to catch on. So, they stood there in silence for five or ten minutes and he uttered the proper closing to the prayer-the equivalent of "Amen"-thanked them and left.

I do not know how many times he did that. I was with him that once. I'm sure he did it repeatedly. He challenged people by being where they were, not throwing ideas at them, just "I am praying." He didn't even say "Why do we need words?" just "I am praying."

Always, his heart was filled with love. I think he was able to teach as he did and not lecture because there was no lecture in him. His heart was so deeply filled with compassion, so totally free of judgment that he simply shared where and what he was with those around him, meeting each being exactly where that being was.

If one who was well educated came to him and wanted to talk ideas, philosophy, he could do that. He would indulge in that intellectual banter for some time and then ask a very simple question like, "Well, where is this taking us? Is this entertaining you? What are you after? To see if you can dissuade me from my philosophy?" And such a one would see that there was no such thing as "dissuasion" because he had not come to his philosophy through an intellectual path, but by a deep inward knowing. The power of his inner knowing would shatter the intellectual games of the other and bring him to that same place of purity in his own heart.

He would often choose to sit with the one who was very simple and lacking understanding. I saw him with such a one once, a teenage boy. (Some words are lost as the tape is turned.) ... He was walking with a mule which had a burden that was too heavy for it and it was staggering. The youth was hitting it with a stick. No lecture. He simply walked up to him and said, "Your beast seems to be having difficulty. Are you going to town?" "Yeah." "Let us help you." And he picked up all the bundles and distributed them so that the mule had nothing left to carry.

We all got into a line, carrying the various parcels. The young man watched with some distrust. The one who was Jesus took his parcel after a few steps and handed it to another and turned back to the mule, gently took that animal and, with his arm around it, helped it to walk. And thus, we went into town. And there he washed the beast's cuts, saw that it was fed, all the while speaking to this young man with loving friendship, inquiring about his work. Where was he going? What was his name? Who was his family? What did he enjoy to do? No lecture.

We left the young man with all his parcels together, his mule comfortably fed and bedded, and a much deeper understanding of love. It came not through being lectured about love, but through being loved. Just that. Love one another. Don't talk about it. Do it!

I feel deeply blessed that such a one was my teacher.

May I challenge you a bit before I stop? The next time you are tempted to lecture another-"You didn't wash the dishes," "You are always late," "Why are you so impatient?" ... to a boss, to an employee, to a spouse, to a child, to a friend-stop yourself and ask some questions. "If I am trying to teach them by saying, 'You didn't wash the dishes' or 'You are always late,' is there a more effective way? Where does the voice of correction come from, a space of loving service or a space of fear that their lack will hurt me?" I'm not suggesting you become doormats for others, but can you be more fully to others what you wish they would be to you? Think about it.