April 23, 1997 Awakened Heart, Interlude 2, Effort and Energy

97.04.23 WC.doc

April 23, 1997

Wednesday Night Group

Awakened Heart, Interlude 2

This is not a new part of the teaching, but is more of a “how-to,” offering real life situations and how these teachings may apply. This interlude is drawn from two transcripts, two sequential weeks of talks.

Barbara: We've been working with the Awakened Heart transcripts. The first section was opening to awareness of the Awakened Heart. The second was stabilizing it. And the third are the different tools we can use to really bring this awakened heart into our lives and enact it in the world. The last talk Aaron gave was on effort, is the first part of the last section.

Aaron says effort and the energy go together. He wants to talk more about energy. He says many of questions have been coming in from people in the last two weeks about energy, and it relates to effort. It also stands on its own. Since energy is not included in Shantideva's work, this will be in the final transcript as another interlude.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Good evening and my love to you all. I wish to talk about energy in a number of its aspects. We will begin with a short guided meditation.

Please bring into your heart and mind the image of a being who represents for you a personification of love and of truth. It may be a living being or a great master of the past. If no such being at all presents itself to you, but the image of a flower or brilliant light presents itself, use that.

It is fine to use your imagination. The imagination bridges the gap. Bridges more specifically that gap of fear or doubt, resistance, which builds barriers. The spirit world is all around. It is only these barriers of fear or confusion which keep you from the direct experience of spirit. So use your imagination if it's helpful.

Allow yourself to come as fully as is possible into the presence of this energy. See this being turn its attention to you in a very loving way. Allow yourself to feel his or her love and blessings. See how this being radiates light. (I'm going to use the pronoun “his” rather than constantly saying “his” or “her” but please be aware it can be of either sex or of no sexual bias at all.) Feel his radiance. You can almost see light coming into it through the crown chakra and then radiating out through the aura into the hands.

After you embrace this being, I would ask you to sit at his feet, or kneel if you prefer. You also have a crown chakra into which universal energy flows. Again, using your imagination if that helps, as best you can allow yourself to experience this being's light gentle touch on the crown chakra and also on the third eye. Feel yourself open. In this being's presence, offer silently your own deepest truth. An example might be the offering of your energy in service to the light, in service to all beings, or a statement of aspiration to ever more fully purify your energy for the service of love and light. These are just 2 examples. Please offer your own truth. I'll be quiet for a minute.


Now thank this being for his presence and ask of him that he continues to be available to you to teach you. Offer your deep wish to be taught, to be guided, inspired by such a powerful personification of truth and of love.

You may note that what we've just done is an abbreviated variant of the seven-step prayer with a special bias toward allowing yourself to feel positive energy within the self.

Now we're going to take a slightly different step. Before we take it I simply want to say that every being contains some balance of positivity and negativity. Think of an iron filing on a sheet of paper. If you hold a magnet with its positive pole at one end of the paper and one with its negative pole at the other end, the filings on the sheet will all align themselves. When we think of positive and negative polarity in that way, we do not think of it as good or bad. Very simply, two different biases, positive and negative.

Somewhere in the middle of the magnet it is neutral. The brief meditation we just did was an opportunity to connect more deeply with the experience of your positive pole. Remember that these poles are part of the same magnet. The magnet cannot be entirely of one pole. It has to have 2 ends.

Here the metaphor breaks down because the magnet is not inherently biased towards positivity or negativity, but you as third density human ARE thus biased. Those of you here in this room are all positively biased. You still have a negative pole. Beings who we think of as negatively polarized, very angry beings filled with fear and greed, still have a positive pole. Not only that, but in all beings, even those who evolve into sixth density as negative polarity, the inherent bias is positive. Eventually that positive bias will shape the whole. Certainly there is very powerful negative higher energy, fifth and sixth density energy. I do not argue that it does not exist. But even that energy has inherent light as core. As example, no matter what changes you make in water, adding salt for example, it still had the elements of hydrogen and oxygen, in particular balance, as core. Eventually that positivity will embrace and draw negativity into itself, transmute it, until all that is left is the smallest tinges of negativity which remain to remind you to have compassion.

Your work is not to cut the magnet in half and get rid of the negative but to allow the positive end to work its way down, transforming negativity, drawing negativity into the beloved heart.

As the second step in this exercise. I would request of you to draw into your mind and heart the memory of something which frightened or angered or discomforted you, ideally something that happened in the past week. You may let it come in and reflect upon how you felt. As we did the earlier exercise, your energy field was so open, powerful, clear. As you recall this anger or fear, I ask you to recall the contraction. Let your body really feel that contraction you felt then. I want you to be aware of the actual sensation of the energy field shutting down. The way that I see it is as if there was a very open circle made up of hundreds of small flat panels, each one approaching the circle at a slightly different angle, like sheets of paper, spaced out, each one 1 degree off from the next, 360 of them around the circle. With contraction they begin to close in, that open circle closes. Like a mouth open and shutting. This closure is especially visible to me on the energy cord that comes down to the crown chakra. It's as if it were being squeezed. I'm going to be quiet for a minute now. Please really bring in this memory and allow yourself to experience contraction. I pause.

Feeling some contraction, even if subtle. I request you to turn again to this beloved teacher or master, this personification of light and love. Without shame at the thought of anger, greed or fear, come before this being again. Sit at his feet. (Let us switch to female here, just for balance.) Take her hands. Offer even this fear and negativity to love, to the personification of love. There is no need for shame, but if shame arises in you at the presence of this negativity, offer that shame also. Accept this great master's help. She does not do it for you, she helps connect you to your own inherent positivity. It is your positivity which embraces the negativity. It's almost like an infinite sponge. No matter how much negativity there is, love is greater and can absorb that negativity. It doesn't have to be wrung out like a sponge, it just evaporates. But there must be intention to let it do so. There must be willingness to enter the process.

This is not getting rid of negativity, it's simply working skillfully with it. You are choosing to allow yourself to come back to your innate perfection, your wholeness, your truth, so that the negativity is disempowered. If it wishes to just sit there beside you, let it sit. As with the water, it will evaporate when it is ready to. The greater the sun, the faster water evaporates.

Once again, feel yourself returning to spaciousness, to light. I said earlier that the small bit of negativity that is left in a very open and positively polarized being is powerless but remains as reminder for compassion. You could think of it as a scar, evidence of the hard work you have done to disempower darkness. I pause.

Let us bring this meditation now into some practical use in your lives. I want to talk about two types of negativity that you encounter. One is energy negativity and one is a more physical activity such as somebody's anger or even their slap or punch. We could call it the negativity and the material expressions of negativity. I am speaking here in part in answer to several very specific questions that have arrived in person, by e-mail and by letter.

What do you do if you feel yourself invaded by negative energy that seems external to you, something that seems to want to grab hold of you? What do you do if somebody transgresses against you in a very real physical way? Builds their dock in your front yard, yells at you, yells at ones that you love. Sometimes in the presence of negativity, we feel ourselves becoming absorbed into that negativity so that we become more and more angry. The orifice that connects you to this eternal source of love seems to shrink and you feel really dominated by the negativity.

One important thing to remember, when you feel yourself contracting with such negative energy, is that you don't have to be afraid of this. Realize it is quite literally a gift. The only way that negative energy can begin to work changes in you is when it is building upon your own untended negativity. If somebody else is angry and a sense of real negative energy surrounds you, it's not only very discomforting but gives rise within you to your own fear and anger, in increasing ratio. This must point out your own untended negativity and the need to attend lovingly to it. Instead of closing up further and putting up barriers, how wonderful to be able to turn to that negativity and actually say “Thank you!” It is your teacher.

If you are painting a wall white, step back to see the results and see several places where dark old paint showed through, you don't hate that darkness, you simply use it as reminder, “Here's a place that I missed. Here's a place that needs to be attended.” Whenever you feel yourself contracting with negativity in reaction to some external force, material or non-material, a first step then is to remind yourself, “This also is a teacher.” Literally thank it. Offer your loving gratitude.

This great master can help you open your heart, open your energy. This is not because she is all-powerful but because given the invitation, the energy field opens back into its positivity because that is its inherent nature. Negativity cannot control unless you invite it in. As soon as you allow this closure, which I hope you experienced at least subtly in the exercise, re-open, and remember positivity. And then allow yourself to thank the negativity that has opposed you for pointing out to you your own places of confusion, fear and distortion. As soon as you do that, you offer the strongest answer possible to that negativity. You issue it an invitation also to find its own positive heart.. If it chooses to do so, fine. If it does not choose to do so, that is its own choice.

You do not thank it, go through this process as blackmail, knowing that it's uncomfortable with love and light and offering these to make it leave. You must do it with sincerity.

In the process of offering this silent thank you the negative catalyst such as to your boss standing there stomping his feet and saying, “This report stinks!,” you offer the same gratitude to your own hidden negativity. Can you see how that thank you transforms the situation? “Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for reminding me.”

If the negative energy feels very powerful to you, and you're very uncomfortable with it, you can literally ask for protection. Here you again restate your deepest truth and say it to this negativity, “I will not be pulled in. I will not get involved in a relationship with you. I offer you love and invite the support of the forces of Light.” You may call upon the forces of light and ask for help in many ways. This instrument, when she channels, sets herself within a circle of protection. She envisions the 4 archangels: Ariel, who is my teacher, in front of her; Michael and Gabriel on either side and Raphael behind her. When I say she envisions, she does not actually see them so much as call upon and feel their powerful energy. At other times she may call upon a circle of elders, very high and loving beings, some of which she can name and others of which are nameless. But they simply feel like a loving support shield to her.

You have to practice with this independently and see what works. Please know that it is not imagination, that such support IS available to you. This is why it can be very healing and powerful to meditate and have the experience of anger or fear arise, because it gives you such a wonderful opportunity to work with it in a positive way.

When it arises outside of meditation in a real-life situation where somebody is treating you shabbily or cruelly, it's harder to use it right then because you must deal with the situation. But you will find that if you regard their anger as teacher, there will be opening. There must be no self-righteousness here, there must be real compassion for their anger. But with that compassion, if you can say silently to them, “Thank you. Thank you for reflecting my own anger back to me so I can look into it. Thank you for reminding me that this anger needs to be drawn into the loving heart.” When you do that, you will find that you really can change the situation.

Two different questions that came to this instrument this week were about possession by evil or by negativity. I do not suggest that you cannot be possessed by negativity, but I am not comfortable with the word possession, because possession seems to mean that you are acting against your will. Any being that allows itself to be grabbed by negativity has in some way allowed that situation, either because they do wish to explore their own negative polarity or because they wish this opportunity of reflection, the opportunity to note the places where there is still weakness, where there is still that which is untended.

I repeat, nothing can possess you against your will. As soon as you are able to re-open into your own positivity and are able to say thank you to this teacher, draw in positive energy again, it can't hold onto you any more. It's as if you had suddenly become slick, with no surface for it to grab. There's nothing for it to hold. Your anger gives off little spikes, like Velcro, something to stick to. When the anger resolves, your energy field feels very smooth. There's nothing left for negativity to hold onto.

Part of what we're talking about here comes back to this, I quote myself, “contraction around the contraction.” Fear, anger, greed, jealousy, confusion, lead to a contraction of the energy field. They're going to arise. When you contract around that initial contraction with stories about how it should or should not be, rather than just being present with “contraction,” you close your energy field, close that orifice coming into the crown chakra.

I want to rephrase that. This orifice can never really close. You move into the delusion that it's closed. It's as if somebody said to you as you walked into a room, “the oxygen is very low in there,” and you saw beings inside the room through a window gasping for breath. As you walked through the doorway, you might start to gasp also and feel, “I can't breathe.” The more frightened you became, the more you shut yourself off from breath. But the whole thing is really an illusion, the oxygen level in the room is just fine. Fear closes the orifice. This energy channel into the crown chakra does not actually shut off,. You move into the delusion that it is shutting off because of your fear, because of your darkness.

When you do this, you also bring upon yourself distortions in the health of your physical body, distortions in your sleep pattern, distortions which lead you further into confusion, fear, and doubt. In short, you bathe yourself in negativity. I repeat, it is not a problem. Retain the clarity, “I have invited this in for some reason. It is my teacher.” Ask for the help you need from your own positive polarity, your own positive nature, and the loving nature that surrounds you. As soon as you soften like that, you, in metaphor, start to believe there is oxygen in the room. “I CAN breathe.” Your fear subsides a bit, you take a few deep breaths. You open further. And then you may begin to ask, what is it here to teach me, and to do some of this more difficult inner work of learning about the long-held old opinions and beliefs and fears, so that they may be released.

When we use the term “purify” or clarify one's energy, this release is what we really mean. The energy field is always clear, pure and open but the contractions of fear make it seem closed. Negativity is not an enemy to be conquered. It is a gift to bring you back into the light, to remind you of your work, to remind you of compassion.

A number of you have quite concrete questions about how what I have just spoken of would work in a very specific situation. If you wish to ask these questions aloud, either as they truly exist or changing them subtly if you do not wish to offer the exact situation, I would be glad to speak to them.

In our last meeting I spoke of right effort. Energy is part of effort. In order to offer the effort which is necessary to do this work, you must come back into connection with this stream of light within you. So working with very specific energy practices can be very helpful. Then, when you are in a difficult situation, you remember how it feels to have this open energy field and you know, “This is available to me.” It is a very real support in the face of fear and darkness. That is all.

Barbara: Before we begin our questions, Aaron would like to point out that V's mother died a week ago. And he is inviting us all to just sit for a minute or two and send loving energy to V to her family, to her mother.

Aaron: I am Aaron. We wish this woman a very joyous journey into the light. Please remember, V that she has not gone anywhere where she would be inaccessible to you. She has simply moved on to a new phase of an ongoing process of growth. That is all.

Barbara: He wonders if there's anything you want to share about this.

Q: I was just telling Q a little about the last morning I was with my mother when she died, and how the night before, I had been doing tonglen practice, and had felt that I was working with the black clouds of her fear and negativity. That morning at the hospital she was clearly much closer to death. I sat with her and tried to do that again, but I couldn't find the black clouds. All I could visualize was a faint gray haze. Suddenly I realized that I was not doing it wrong, that's what was there and she had worked through all that and was ready to go. About an hour after that she died very peacefully with all of us around. It was very peaceful and loving.

Barbara: Thank you for sharing that, V. Two people have questions.

Q: I am wondering about when a person has an addiction like a drug addiction, how is it in terms of negative energy. Can they be possessed in the way Aaron talked about?

Barbara: Are you asking when they are high on drugs can they still work in a conscious process with negativity that Aaron just described?

Q: No. The fact that they have an addiction, does that show that they are used over and over by negative energy?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I want to make it clear that external negativity cannot “use” you or possess you without your permission. For the addicts, their own inner negativity which has been unconscious and unattended is what invites in the use of the drug, because there's too much fear to really confront the negative emotions or other negatively polarized aspects of the self. Fear leads to use of drug really as an escape. That's what drug use or any addiction is. It is really a very strong form of resistance. Unconscious fear breeds greater fear. Then the body becomes habituated to the drug and it builds up a physical addiction, yes. But the being that moves into addiction, that begins addictive behavior, is doing so because of fear. External negativity is not twisting it into that fear. Negativity is internal and abetting the fear. It's very difficult to work with, though, in a person who is addicted, because when they are under the power of that chemical or mind-altering substance, they really cannot have clarity. So, first you've got to separate the person from the drug and tend to the physical addiction. Then they are able to begin to work with their own negativity and use whatever is “possessing” them as teacher. Does that answer your question? I pause.

Q: I have been doing metta quite a bit and find real opening. Sometimes I use the very simple meditation of “Breathing in, I am aware of my fear, Breathing out, I smile to my fear.” My question is, could smiling to a feeling be a subtle form of trying to get rid of something.

Barbara: Aaron says, yes it can, anything can.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would say this myself. But when you genuinely smile to it, it involves a certain softening of the barrier around the heart, a certain softening of the belly, which leads you into the ability more deeply to be present with the fear or discomfort. If there is fear of the fear, fear of the discomfort or emotion, and the smiling to it was offered as a way of not separating from it, the smiling does bring you back. There's simply an awareness, “Here is resistance.” If the smile and process was offered as escape and you note that escape, that resistance to presence with discomfort, and then you smile to the resistance, again, it softens and brings you back. It's very subtle but it's very possible to catch it if you are able to be honest with yourself. Does this answer your question?

Q: Why wouldn't one say, “I see my fear, I accept my fear,” instead of smiling to my fear?

Aaron: I am Aaron. “Accepting” can be just as much a way of avoiding the direct experience of your fear as smiling to it. You simply have got to know, “part of me really doesn't want to be touched by this fear so it's using devices like accepting it or smiling to it.” Here is the concept of accepting it. When you say “I accept my fear,” that's a concept. Any concept can separate you from experience. If you think and say “I smile to it,” that's a concept. No different.

But if you literally smile to it, it softens the body. If you accept it in the sense of really allowing yourself to be touched by it, asking for whatever support you need, and then opening yourself and letting this fear really touch you, then it ceases to be a concept. And that begins to heal. Acceptance or smiling: no concept! Because smiling is a physical act it is easier to be non conceptual. I pause.

Q: How about surrender?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Surrendering can still be a concept. The value of these practices such as the Seven-Branch Prayer is that it leads you into a direct experience of offering, which is a kind of surrender. When you're at this place where all the barriers are released, then you are just there with fear. It ceases to be your fear, it's just fear. You know then the negative and positive poles of the self, of all selves, and the heart fills with compassion for beings who are engulfed by their negative pole. Then you begin to feel your own strength and come to that place that absolutely knows and understands, “I have a choice. My old habit is to get into relationship with fear by doing something conceptual with it. To smile to it, to argue with it, fix it ... ,” and they're useful to a degree. But when you come back and you're just there naked, with no concept, with the fear, it is then that you discover the infinite depth of positive polarity, of strength, of love within the self, which no longer needs to use any old habitual patterns to cope with or control fear. I pause.

Barbara: Aaron says this is a process, please remember. I'm paraphrasing Aaron. First we learn to smile to it, to accept it, to make space for it. Then we start to investigate the self who is doing all of this and begin to understand that this has been a coping strategy, albeit a skillful and useful coping strategy. Then we are willing to take it one step further and begin to let go of the one who has to cope and come back to our wholeness and strength. He says this is where it shifts and it's a very dramatic shift, where we really understand this has been an old habit, to tame fear or anger in some way, and we don't have to do it that way any more. We suddenly know “self” as an artificial construct and shift into “no self.” It's this first realization of wholeness, he says, which is really a part of what the enlightenment experience is about. He pauses.

Q: It really works nicely. I'm amazed. I find myself having sighs of relief as it releases.

Barbara: There's such a difference between somebody who needs to release it and somebody who can just let it be entirely because you're resting in all the spaciousness of the whole self, who knows this is just like a bit of lint stuck to me. It's nothing. Then it releases also, but there's no one releasing!

Q: Yes. I'm making some progress with my neighbor too.

Barbara: Will you tell us a little about that?

Q: I haven't talked to him yet but I've been having dreams that are kind of positive. So, that's good.

Barbara: I expect to see a picture by the end of the summer of you lounging in his hot tub! Others?

Q: I saw a film the other night on Bravo! TV. It's about India. I knew there was poverty there. But the cruelty and the horror of the sadism really overwhelmed me. And then I started thinking about all the horrors that had been going on in, like, Yugoslavia. I don't know where to put it. I mean, it's beyond negativity. I would like Aaron to comment on it.

Barbara: Aaron says he will talk directly but he would like to ask you, have you ever seen people cooking little bits of meat on a fire, like hot dogs or something, on a low level charcoal grill, and a dog is smelling this and he keeps approaching, and he gets close enough to grab it and gets his nose burnt, and yip! backs off and then he does it again and again and again. There's so much desire, he just keeps getting burned. How many times will it take him before he learns, I can't get at this. How long will he then sit there silently before he decides, I don't even need this. He says the dog isn't going to have the same kind of human insight about suffering and its roots. The point Aaron is making is, we keep burning ourselves literally and figuratively until we're ready to learn lessons.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I will continue myself. I am not suggesting that everybody in these situations is there because they're stuck in some karmic place. Some of them have quite literally offered to be there as teachers to others. If there is one who does not grab the meat from the grill and burn himself, if there is one who does not sit there staring, panting, salivating, saying, “I want, I want” it's a very powerful force for others. It's inspired. It helps them to see there is another way.

Beings who grow up in a situation of extreme poverty, war, or disease are there to learn something. This does not mean we don't tend to the war, poverty, or disease. If that dog has not eaten in 5 days, he's going to simply get burned and steal the food. He'll keep stealing it, he'll simply suffer being burned. You need to be sure to feed the dog if you hope to teach it that it's not necessary to burn itself and steal from the grill. So what we can do is to attend to the situations that create the poverty and war and disease. Your work is to tend to it from a place that trusts it, so that you're not telling that person that they're broken, sending that message. Not telling them they need to be fixed. Simply offering that love and whatever skillful changes in condition are within your means to offer. If you live some distance away and do not have the financial means to help, it may be that simply doing tonglen or metta is all you can do, and living your own life here with as much clarity as you can.

An interesting side to the question R has raised is, why do you live relatively free of famine, disease, war? I find it interesting that in your Western culture, there are kinds of violence which are almost, I would not say accepted, they're abhorred by many, but they are standard, which you don't find in those kinds of cultures. In a society where there is much famine, people might steal for food and that is cruel, for to steal the other's food can really mean to kill the other person. If there is some kind of addiction of drugs, of course, that will invariable lead people to harm others to get what they need. But generally in those cultures there's a certain level of kindness to the other which is somewhat lacking in your culture.

If you drive down a busy street in a place like New York City, cars are honking, and a pedestrian is really at risk for his life if he cuts across. Everybody is for himself. There's an intensity to it. Whereas in many places such as India, in towns where people have very little food, they're still very generous and very kind with what they have. There's a personal violence that's lacking. It's just a different karma, a different lesson that needs to be learned, and a different place to which one has been drawn to learn a lesson.

You have asked me questions like this many times before. I would ask you to consider if some of your very deep pain in seeing others who are starving, who are wounded, and so forth, and live in such cruel conditions, relates to some degree of non-acceptance of your own tendencies to greed. I'm not singling you out and saying you're greedy, everybody has tendencies to greed. When we accept those tendencies with kindness in ourselves, then there's much more space for them. But when we attack them as “bad” in ourselves, judge them in some way, then one may see a situation where others are dying because of greed and fear and it's much more painful because we personalize it. There is a sense, “I could do that,” a sense of horror with the situation. “I could do that, and I hate the possibility in myself that I could do that.” When you say, “I could do that” and really offer compassion to the place has such fear in you that it's honest enough to say, “I could do that,” then it becomes easier to trust the situations that others find themselves in, while at the same time, helping in whatever ways are possible. I pause.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron, at his request, because he sees confusion. He says certainly this is very sad, to see starving children, young men and women maimed by bombs and such, it's all very sad. Part of one wants to ask, why should such a world that's so cruel and awful exist? But there it is. He says it's simply karma. God has not created the horror. It's simply, we reap what we sow. These people are not being punished for something they did in a past life, not at all, he says. But they are encountering the seeds they sowed and have an opportunity to learn.

His point is that you are so deeply affected by this and it challenges you so much, it's so painful to you, and so in relation to his earlier talk this evening, he would like you to look at the place in yourself that knows if you were in a place of such deprivation, you might act in very unskillful ways, and instead of being able to be compassionate with yourself, much judgment arises. Then your judgment of the situation is a reflection of your self-judgment, at the bits of negativity in you. He says, do you see what he means? He pauses.

Q: Well, I can see it up to a point. I mean, when I think about the raping and the ugliness, that doesn't really have anything to do with starvation. The extremes of it, the cruelty that's inflicted.

Aaron: Wherever fear becomes dominant and leads to reactivity which harms another, it's cruel. How many times do people need to bang their heads against a wall before they learn it hurts? You reap what you sow. I cannot deny that it may seem a cruel process to have to go through. You really are forged and purified by the fire. And the fire burns intensely so that you shriek and scream.

And yet, beings must go through the process. You keep incarnating. I'm not saying that you have a choice. Once you're within this karmic field, you've invited the cycle of birth and death. But it is a healing process and a growth process. And please remember how many beings there are who are not engulfed in this kind of cruelty. Those who are, are either old souls who have taken a more negatively polarized path or they are young souls. As you mature and work with a more highly positively polarized path, the need to enact the heavy emotions declines considerably, and you do find yourself in much more peaceful situations.

I sometimes think that what you are trying to say, R, in your frequent bringing up of this kind of pain, is that there is some kind of anger at what you perceive as a whole divine plan which created a situation where learning is so very painful, where people literally seem to suffer the torments of hell here in incarnation. Who dreamed up this scheme anyhow?

But my dear one, my God did not dream up this scheme with a sense of desire to punish. Rather, an incarnate path to maturity offered itself and those beings who wished to move through to maturity in the material world were given that option. From then on you have free will. If there is a path, a clearly marked path, through a swamp filled with poisonous snakes and quicksand, and as long as you stay on the path you are safe, if there is some gold over there, and delicious-looking vine fruit over there, and these entice you to wander off the path and then you find yourself in quicksand, who put you there? Did God put you there? How else are you going to learn about your greed and fear and that they have results? That's the partial purpose of the incarnative process.

I've said to you before that there are other non-material paths to learn and they are viable paths. Those of you who have chosen the material plane in large part have chosen it because you are aware that the power of the catalyst that you allow yourself to enter teaches you a compassion far beyond what can be learned anywhere else. It's still not the primary lesson of the earth plane. But by the time you reach the higher densities, your ability for compassion is so heightened that you go far beyond what had been thought possible. It's no that there's a conclusion of compassion and one cannot exceed that. One simply moves deeper and deeper into this ever-pure, ever-loving heart. So in effect, all of these beings that are struggling around you, they're all heroes. They're all beings who have agreed, “I'm going to do this and teach it to the whole universe, not for my own glory but out of love. And I am willing to endure whatever it takes, because I so deeply aspire to learn this wisdom and compassion as my own gift, the expression of my own truth. I will allow myself to be forged by the fire.” Thank them and offer whatever help you can. I pause.

Barbara: We have time for one more question.

Q: In our Project Light work (energy/ body-work class taught by Aaron), we are working with chakras and other energy centers. What is it we sense when we are describing these as closed?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I will speak briefly to this and turn to it in depth tomorrow in class. Nothing was ever closed. You have 7 basic chakras. If you think of how something reacts when it spins, if it was not a fixed form, as it spins its axes would extend. The harder it's spinning, the more it extends. Can you visualize that? I pause.

Q: I understand.

Aaron: I am Aaron. When it's spinning just as it should, then it's extended. This extension (using index fingers of two hands) touches that extension and literally makes a connection. That energy can usually flow through it. But if it's wobbling, if it's unstable, if it's not spinning, if it's lacking energy, if it's shut off from its own natural energy source, then it doesn't extend enough. It's not quite so much a blockage as a break, like Christmas lights—if one bulb burns out, the current can't go through. Do you understand? I pause.

Q: Yes. Thank you.