November 20, 1996

Barbara: Since we have a small group, we're talking about whether Aaron should go ahead with his planned talk or whether people should just ask questions.

Q: What is Aaron to speak on?

Barbara: Aaron's laughing. He says he hasn't quite worked it out yet. He wings it as he goes.

Q: And he wants us to choose when he doesn't have a clue? Thank you, Aaron.

Barbara: Aaron's laughing. He says it's people's responsibility to decide what's most useful to them. He thought to talk to some of the confusions about anger. Also, about strong desire and other heavy energy. I had asked him if he would speak to my question about karma in Mexico as I was experiencing it. The people themselves and group karma. He said that was a second topic he might get to later on.

Q: Anger and desire work for me. (discussion of what to do; group agrees; anger and desire are selected, desire first.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. Good evening, and my love to you all. All of you have worked with me at length with heavy emotion. You know that I asked you to distinguish the emotion itself from your reaction to the emotion. The emotion's just an emotion.

Barbara had an interesting experience just before the channeling session. First, please understand that she has just come back from a very pleasant but still very strenuous trip. She leaves again Friday early in the morning for another trip. When she planned it this way, she thought, “I will have 3 relaxed days in between. A class Tuesday night, this session on Wednesday night, a class on Thursday, but not very full days. I will have plenty of time to attend to my unpacking and repacking, to the state of my home, to mail that's accumulated and so forth.” Out of such illusions are plans made!

Yesterday morning she had to attend with a workman to the fence in her back yard. She was just barely finished with that when a friend unexpectedly came to her door, feeling tremendous pain, having just learned that she's very sick. And so Barbara spent 4 hours just being with her. Not regretting that time. Giving it very lovingly. But nevertheless, she ended up feeling pushed because then she had another to attend to and then a class. And much work this morning, the accumulated business work of Deep Spring Center.

She came downstairs to meditate at 6: 30 this evening. Actually she came down to find candles for the living room and found that she had none. She still needed to make tea, to vacuum, to shower and dress herself for the evening. She found a message on the answering machine which sounded as if the person who had left it was experiencing enormous pain, so rather than put it aside until after 10 she made the decision to answer it. She did not expect to involve herself in conversation but simply to let the caller know he had been heard, and plan a time when she and that individual could talk. Hearing her voice on the other end, out of the depth of his pain he began to talk. Her telephone is not like yours. She can't interrupt and say, Please, I can't talk now. One person talks, says “Go Ahead,” and only then can the other talk. And so he expressed his pain for perhaps ten minutes and she had no way to interrupt to express her own need.

Barbara experienced something very unusual for her, which was that a tremendous rage arose and frustration because she couldn't say, “Hey—hold on! I'll call you back later.” It wasn't rage at just that one thing. In fact, it wasn't rage at that one being. It wasn't directed at that person at all. It was just rage. Probably if I had to connect down, it was rage about the nature of life and the fact that nothing ever goes according to the way it's planned.

You've all heard me say it's easy to keep your equanimity in heaven; can you keep it in hell. To have equanimity does not mean to not have anger or desire. It means merely to understand how to make space for that anger or desire, how not to get involved with it and react from that place.

When Barbara finally had the opportunity to break in, she said with some anger to this other, I cannot handle this now. I have a class tonight, I have things I must do. She let that person know, You have been talking non-stop. I feel impinged upon.

“Is it okay to say that?” she asked me. “If I were truly loving,” she said, “would I not hear that person's pain, and would not my compassion for that person completely quell my anger? Could I not simply have sat and talked to that person for a half hour or 45 minutes and then come upstairs and led a channeling session?”

My answer would have to be yes. If you were a fully enlightened being, absolutely clear of any human ego or need, yes, you could have done that. It would have been the natural response of the compassionate/awakened heat-mind, clear of any fear or ego need. And yes, even not being a fully realized being, if instead of that person feeling pain, that person had been suicidal, for example, so you deemed it truly an emergency that must be handled then, yes, I believe you could have put everything else aside with no anger or fear. But it is okay to have human needs. Your incarnative work is not about eliminating your human needs but about finding ways to live with your human needs, to draw emotion into the compassionate heart and thereby transmute its energy.

Anger is energy. I am stepping aside from this particular situation to use a more clear-cut example. If you see one being doing a grave injustice to another, exhibiting some kind of prejudice for example, belittling, humiliating, even physically abusing another, and using language which is intended to mock that person's sexuality or skin color, great anger may arise. All anger is not a product of fear. Certain anger may be a product of compassion, not of fear. I do not advocate the nurturing of what I call righteous anger, if such anger uses itself to harm another, but anger as pure anger is energy and that energy may lead the compassionate heart to intervene in skillful and loving ways.

There is no term in your language for what I call “love-based anger.” If anger arises, seeing person A humiliate or abuse person B, because there is real injustice being done, the basis for that anger is not fear. Not fear that you will be hurt, not even fear that A or B will be hurt, although that outcome is certainly possible. The basis is a loving compassion that sees A hurting itself as it attacks B, and sees B either receiving that hurt or about to react to it and hurt itself.

If two dogs are in a dogfight and you spray them with water is that an act of kindness or of anger? Yet there may be a form of anger there. If there was no emotion you would not have bothered to get up and turn on the hose. But your motivation is not to seek revenge, even to fix, but just to say, “Wake up! Look what you're doing!” Some may argue with me and say this is only compassion but I do see an element of anger-energy in it sometimes and would call this compassionate anger.

If your anger motivations came on a “this”or “that” switch, so it was either all of this or all of that, it would be so simple for you. What confuses you is that some anger does arise from a very pure love-based place, a place which must speak out against injustice, must use that anger energy toward healing. But you are still human. You discount that. You want so much to be rid of the human so that the very pure energy may speak by itself. But you are still human.

Watching the dogfight, if one was your dog whom you loved, who had been lying in your yard when a strange dog wandered in and attacked him, yes, there would also be that which wants to hurt the strange dog. Because that motivation is present even if it's only 2% of the total motivation, you lose the other 98%. You forget that there is pure, compassion based motivation as well.

The pure anger is not a problem. What confuses you is the ego self. In this situation that I described tonight, this instrument, (I refer to her in that way because when I use her personal name that pulls her out of trance state. Thus, when I am talking about her experience, it is less distracting for her when I speak impersonally) after expressing her anger and finishing the phone call, this instrument's first words to me were, “I really blew that.” I asked her, “Why do you say that? Did you attack the being on the other end of the phone?” She said, “Yes, I felt like I did.” I asked her to review her words. She didn't say, “Look what you're doing you idiot. You are an insensitive clod!” She simply said, “I feel very angry. I just feel overwhelmed.” There was no attempt to fix blame. So I asked her to look carefully at what was pinning the blame, to see that which, because it could not respond with total egolessness and love then needed to attack itself. To attack itself precisely for being human. I asked her to see that it was ego which demanded perfection which was pinning blame.

How can there be compassion for another when there cannot be compassion for the self? There are times when all of you are living your lives under an especial amount of tension. That tension is never an excuse to attack another but if as a result of that tension, different uncomfortable emotions arise, then they arise. If you must say to another, “I have reached my human limits here and I cannot go any further,” can you forgive yourself for that and accept that humanness?

I look for a metaphor. What if you were to accompany a group climbing a very high mountain. Some are more fit than others; some are younger than others and have done much more recent climbing. When you get two-thirds of the way up, you're feeling total exhaustion. Would you have any qualms about saying to the others, “I will sit here and enjoy the view. I have reached my limit.” Can you see that if you did not do that but shamed yourself into walking further, so that each step was agony instead of being a joyful experience, eventually a strong anger might build up in you that said, “These people are insensitive. Why are they not attending to the fact that I cannot keep their pace?”

This fear that you will be hurt, this fear that your needs will not be met, is another cause for anger. It is a self-protective anger. In such a situation, you are responsible, not the others. You must be able to say, I cannot go any further right now. I pointed out to Barbara that in this phone call, she could have said at the very beginning of the call, before the other had any chance to speak, “I must be very very brief, and if you need to talk longer I'll get back to you later.” Instead, she simply said, “I saw your message and I'm answering your call.” Whose responsibility was it then that the other talked for a long time? Out of what fear did she not acknowledge her own limitations? Is there desire in you to be unlimited in your human form? Is there some myth that you should be able literally to be inexhaustible? How much ego is there in the idea that you have to be everything to everybody? That is not usually this instrument's pattern but all beings fall into it now and then. Here there's just an arising of ego along with a true desire to serve.

Another example here. If you are in a place where many people are very sick, perhaps there had been a train accident, people, bodies with grievous wounds lying all over the ground. You are not injured and you begin to help those who are. Four, eight, twelve, twenty hours go by, and there's still work. A part of you is doing that very, very lovingly, and very egolessly, truly offering of your energy in a very pure way. It's so easy to fall into that pureness with the idea, “This is who I am,” to really enjoy that surge of energy and to ignore the human voice that says, “Hey, I'm getting tired. Hey, I haven't had anything to eat for 12 hours. I haven't slept for 20 hours. I'm tired.” It's easy to ignore those voices simply because there's agony around you. When you hear that voice you want to shush it and say, “Look, people are dying here. Forget your hunger. Forget your sleepiness.”

It is precisely because you judge yourself in this way—shut yourself up instead of allowing yourself to hear yourself, that the voice which was unheard starts to scream louder: “I said I'm hungry! I said I'm tired!” and then you attack it back. “You be quiet! People are dying here. They need my help.”

It is this kind of war with yourself that leads you into the enactment of your anger. What if that voice was heard in a very compassionate way when it first came up? Just noting it, “Feeling tired. Feeling hungry. Really wanting to be out of this situation. I've had enough of it. So much pain. So much misery.” When you let yourself into your heart in that way, then the very pure voice can continue to carry the ship. It can say to that tired and angry place, “Yes, I know how you're feeling. And if you need to stop you can stop. It would be very skillful to lie down and take a nap for a half hour and come back revived and able to do more here in this tragedy.” And then the human voice can say, “Well I guess I can keep going for awhile.” or “Yes, I really do need to lie down and stop.”

This is what I mean by honoring your humanness. When you do not honor that humanness, you get yourself into the situations where anger becomes more out of bounds and more uncomfortable and where there's more likely to be reactivity to it. Can you see that this instrument's difficulty began long before she answered that phone call, began with her not attending lovingly to the voices within throughout the day, voices which said, ”Will my needs be met?” Because she replied to those voices with harshness that did not trust her true greatness of spirit, a greatness which you all possess, she did not respond with compassion to her own need or pain. Eventually it just burst out, in this outbreak of anger.

You can learn to channel that anger even when it's a personal anger such as a voice that says, “I'm exhausted, I'm hungry, I want out.” When you connect with that anger in its purest form, it's energy. Here is where anger becomes compassion! Your work is to transmute it so it becomes useful to you, not to stuff it in a trashcan. You can only do that by acknowledging the human, which truly does have limits even though the essence of you is unlimited.

I wish to speak about a related subject here. Let's shift to desire.

Barbara's trip was quite interesting and during the break I'm sure she will share some of it with you. After an evening and 3 more full days of strenuous teaching for 70 people, many voices to hear, many people with deeply heartfelt questions, after all that, Barbara's hostess drove her and Hal on Friday to her mountain home. When this instrument hears the words “country home,” she envisions some kind of small cabin, so she was truly not prepared for what she experienced. They drove for several hours on back roads past pockets of very real poverty and then down a winding mountain road and through a gate which a man opened for them and then closed behind them, into a magnificent compound. Beautifully manicured lawns, groves of orange and banana trees, and in the center a lovely, expansive, I would have to call it a Mexican style mansion, with swimming pool and fountained courtyards and beyond, two ponds joined by a waterfall, truly an exquisite scene. In the distance, range beyond range of mountains.

It wasn't until later that she noticed that all of this wealth and beauty were surrounded by a 10 foot barbed wire fence. She put on her bathing suit and sat by the pool. No sooner has she sat then a servant was at her side with a tray of beverages. Five minutes later another servant with a tray with delectable fruits, pate's, crackers. Everything she could wish! Needless to say, desire arose!

She started thinking to herself, “Well, someday when I retire ... “ She thought, The dollar goes so far in Mexico. I could afford to have a cook. I could afford to have a servant. How nice it would be to have people taking care of me in this way. And strong desire arose.

So she ate and she swam and then she got up to walk around the property. And it was then she saw the barbed wire fence. “Why the fence?” she asked her hostess. “It's dangerous, there are bandits. There are people who would kill us.”

So she went back and sat with that, watching her desire, watching how much she enjoyed this beautiful place and being taken care of. And also feeling the distortion she had felt all the way up of rich and poor. She thought to herself, “But I like it here. Maybe I could spend half my time living in luxury and half my time living in a community with poor people.” She was making bargains with herself.

The fantasy expanded to, “I could live here for weekends and then I could offer it to the poor people in the town, that they might come and swim and enjoy the beauty of it. And I could do some kind of service with it, and I could come back on the weekend and be here.” So she played with that for a few minutes.

When she began to reflect on the intensity of the desire, she could see clearly that it came from two places. One from a place of love, truly from a place of love, that said, “I cherish myself. How lovely it would be to live in this kind of a paradise,” for physically it was indeed a paradise and also the people she had met were all very kind. For this instrument there was no critical voice that said, “You don't deserve.” That's another critical voice that could come up for some people. For this one there was also no self-criticism, and the arising of greed she was able to recognize simply as greed. But there was again the same confusion I talked about before. There was not a full willingness to attend to the voice of the humanness, not full willingness to say, “This is enticing now because I'm exhausted but 3 days from now I think it will lose some of its appeal,” as indeed it did. It was still beautiful but the attachment had fully faded.

When you are exhausted, desire for food or rest is going to arise. If you are not hungry and a platter of delectable food goes by, there might be a sense of, “Mm, that might be nice,” but not a strong energy contraction that says, “I need that!” But if you haven't eaten for hours and the stomach is empty, contracted, and that same delectable platter of food goes by, the smell and sight of it will drive the body into a state of strong desire. Desire is going to arise in certain circumstances.

When you're aware of that then desire does not become a driving force. You're able to note very skillfully, “Look how hungry, or tired, or needy in some other way I am at the moment,” and then to skillfully take care of yourself. The human does have limits. When it's pushed beyond those limits, various mindstates based on the fear that you may be hurt, based on the fear that your needs may not be met, will arise. The question is not whether or not they will arise, the question is, are you present with that arising and able to note the condition of the human in whom that mindstate has arisen. Can you honor the need of that human, not by enacting the fear or desire, but simply by hearing it. When you do that then desire never becomes a driving force, anger never becomes a driving force. Rather, they remind you to have compassion.

Be kind to yourselves. I implore you. Attend to the voices within you with an acute sense of hearing and then you will not be driven by those voices but will be able better to hear the simultaneous voice of love. That is all.

Q: ... the phrase kept running through my mind, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Barbara: Aaron says, Right on! He says that's exactly what he is talking about. He says we can't get rid of the flesh, we have to acknowledge the flesh. But also we don't have to act out from the desires and fears of the flesh, from a fear-place, because once we acknowledge it we give it space to express itself skillfully and that becomes a loving- instead of a fear-based response.

Questions, thoughts? Either responses to Aaron's talk or simply your own questions?

Aaron asks, can you see in your own lives examples of how when you acknowledge the pain or fear or need of the moment, then you realize that you do have access to this place of love and that that pain, fear, or need does not have to drive things. He uses the term “suchness,” being present in this moment, not with the concepts of the moment but the direct experience with all of its joy and pain. He says look for this truth in your own lives.

He continues, look at how when those feelings come up, we want to be rid of them. We think that the only way we can stay tuned in to that clear space is if all this noise goes away, and that's why we attack it. But the clear space is always there. It's just a myth that we've bought into that we have to attack these arisings of fear or pain or need in order to stay attuned to the clear space.

Q: I'm reminded of myself when I want to meditate and I feel that I need to be in a centered space to meditate, that this is not necessarily true, that I can still meditate.

Barbara: Aaron says again, precisely. He says if you're playing a piano in a quiet room, really attending to the music and the sound coming out, and suddenly a whole gang of playful children came in and they aren't being terribly loud, just a lot of emotion, one would tend to think, “The children have to go or I can't focus.” But the children aren't preventing your focus, your “attacking” the children is what's preventing the focus, your relationship to the children and tension over their presence.

Q: It's difficult to do, however.

Aaron: Yes it is difficult. Yes it is also a gift. When in that moment you feel anxiety and tension arising, feel it in your body, you can note, “tension, tension.” You can often smile, see the room full of children or the mind full of thoughts, and ask, “What is all this turmoil here to teach me? What can I learn from this?” As soon as your relationship to it softens from attack to an openness, you're right back in center. Can you see that? I pause.

Q: It's not attacking us, we're attacking it?

Q: When Q said that it's difficult, I thought, “That's why they call it practice.”

Q: When it is no longer difficult, it is something else then.

Aaron: I am Aaron. When it is no longer difficult, it is just phenomena passing through, the form body display of the Divine. There is nothing left to do. Until that time, your entire life is practice. Practice for what? Practice for becoming increasingly loving. Practice for living from the heart center. Practice for fully embracing the human. Your formal meditation practice is simply a place to practice your practice. The more you practice your practice in meditation, the easier that practice becomes. The more ongoing is your mindfulness. I pause.

Barbara: Aaron says he wants to emphasize this, that we tend to separate practice and life instead of thinking life is practice, and we do better with that practice of life when we practice it.

Q: In one book I read, a comparison was made to something like a baseball team taking batting practice. They never stop taking batting practice. Every day. The sitting part of our practice is developing the skills, the tools of our awareness that we use during the rest of the day.

Barbara: Yes, I like that analogy. The whole game is practice but there are times when you practice.

Aaron is saying, and if you play very skillfully, you get to come home!

Q: When I heard you say that our whole life is practice, I feel scared thinking, when do we rest?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear you, Q. Practice can be joyful and come from a place of love or practice can be very fragmented and heavy. If you think you are practicing to fix something and put a judgment on yourself that you've got to get it right, then you long for a place of rest. When you view it instead as the walking of a very long path which will eventually take you home, and that with each footstep you become a bit more clearly attuned, a bit more present, then there's no need to rest. Each footstep has its own wonder and beauty. The practice itself is rest. There is no grasping in true practice. It is beyond anything else a place of pure being. Do you understand? I pause.

Q: I think I do. But somehow the moments when I'm not conscious, those moments feel like rest to me and practice feels like work.

Barbara: Aaron says there is a difference between sleep and rest.

Aaron: I am Aaron. You can only come home awake, and you have spent eons asleep, all of you. Now you are waking up. Sleep was oblivion. I do not mean this in literal terms because when you are asleep at night, those of you who are “awake” are doing much work. But on the figurative sense, sleep is oblivion. We seek oblivion only as solace for great fear. When you begin to see how you are seeking oblivion, right there that can be a pointer that helps you acknowledge the pain, deal lovingly and skillfully with the pain, as I have just spoken. And as you open with compassion to your pain, you move out of this idea that you must fix something, that there must be grasping. You become more content with simply being, with great attentiveness, being in the moment with an open heart. There's the true rest.

I know you do not understand this experientially yet because you're new at meditation and your meditation practice has not taken you yet to that place of real rest and peacefulness. I would request that those who have found at least some degree of that rest and peacefulness share just a bit of their experience with Q to help her have a clearer picture of the path she is now walking. I pause.

(remainder of session is not yet reviewed)