February 16, 2000

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all. Those who are here tonight for the first time, I would ask you to put aside the question, "Am I real?" If what I say is of use to you, please take it home and make use of it. If it's not of use to you, discard it. The thoughts come from somewhere. In that sense they are real thoughts. Don't worry about the source.

I spoke with a friend this week who came to me in tears. She is a single mother with two school-age children. Her own mother has been sick and lives a thousand miles away. She has a demanding job through which she supports herself and her children. She was feeling frantic because she had the job, the children to care for, the sick mother who needed her, and she couldn't do it all.

Your situation may not be identical but you can never do it all. Her concerned feelings were not a matter of wanting the applause or approval of others. She just felt that she so badly wanted to take care of every aspect of her life. In her professional life she works in an interpersonal way with others so she supports the clients she works with, she supports her children, she supports her mother emotionally. There was no compassion for herself and the difficulty of her situation, just anger at herself, "I can't do it all and …" I quote her, "… I should be able to do it all."

"Why should you?" I asked her.

"Well, because they need me."

"That's not logical," I told her. "Just because they need you, you should be able to fulfill their needs?"

Slowly she started to see where she was stuck, how hard she was being on herself, but there was such a driving aspiration to serve all of these beings lovingly. And there was no sense of how she might be kind and support herself. There was such a sense of failure because she could not be everything for everybody.

Many religions offer the guidance, "Love one another." What does it mean to love one another? You have got to begin with yourself. With all of the seemingly complex spiritual things you may learn, it all comes down to this simple teaching: how to offer yourself kindness. It is not selfish to do this. Rather, you must learn to be kind to yourself or you cannot be kind to anyone else.

So often I get the response, "But it's selfish, but I need to put others first." The practice of lovingkindness doesn't make a distinction between self and other. An acquaintance who is a dharma teacher talks about being at a long-term meditation retreat in Burma with a famous Burmese meditation master. She was doing the ongoing practice of lovingkindness. Some weeks into the practice he called her to him and asked her a question. "You're on a boat," he said. "The boat is riding too low on the water and there are waves. You've got to toss one person out. In the boat are a loved one and a person about whom you feel neutral, a person who is a difficult person, and yourself. You're the one to decide: which one are you going to cast into the water?"

She thought about it awhile and said, "There's no grounds for decision." He just smiled and bowed and indicated that the interview was over. "Did I get it right?" she wondered. But of course, when you get to that place where you understand your interrelationship with all beings, there are no grounds for decision. You do not cast yourself into the shark infested sea to save others nor can you throw others in to save yourself.

In the situation with the boat, perhaps there was no alternative, somebody had to just jump in. But in your lives there is always an alternative. Why are you all so busy tossing yourself into shark infested seas thinking, "I should do this for the good of others"? Or getting ready to toss others in, then feeling guilty about it?

How do we work with these dilemmas in everyday life? It may be your friend who needs you rather than your mother. It may be your house you have to take care of rather than your children. You all are assaulted in your daily life by an ongoing chain of needs.

There's a beautiful Buddhist sutra, the metta sutra (the word metta simply means lovingkindness). The Buddha begins it by describing the wise being. He says-I'll recite the beginning of it to you: "This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness and who knows the path of peace. Let them be able and upright, straightforward and gentle in speech, humble and not conceited," and so forth. Then he comes to "unburdened with duties." That's a funny qualification. What does it mean to be unburdened with duties? Was the Buddha saying that this was somebody who should have no responsibilities? Or even further, is irresponsible? One who just tosses everything away and walks out? I don't find that to be so. Unburdened with duties means that he has duties and they are not a burden.

When you are deeply caught in the small ego self, "Me. I've got to do this. I've got to take care of the work and the clients and the children and the house and the marketing and the care and my mother," the human feels overwhelmed and all the more so because she or he has not acknowledged the pain with kindness. When there's a pain voiced, this controlling aspect of the self just says willfully, "Shut up! Be stoic!" Many of you learn how to be stoic. You learn how to cope with your life, but there's no love and no joy in it. And the love and joy that could be there are buried under this stoicism which separates you from yourself. If you cannot feel your pain, you cannot feel your joy.

"Unburdened by duties." Let me give you a metaphor. You live in a city some one hundred miles from where there were people at war. You know that refugees will be coming to your city. You are the one in charge of the refugee camps. There are tents; there is food. You sit down and think of the thirty thousand people that are going to appear in your town in your next month and you feel overwhelmed. You try to think and plan ahead-where will we put them? How will we do it? But if each day you know you must greet, shelter and feed a thousand people, and what you do that day is just to take care of the needs of that thousand people, forty-two an hour, less than one a minute, that's workable. Don't worry about tomorrow, don't dwell on yesterday, just right here, these people can be cared for.

Much of the burden you carry comes because you do not dwell in the present. Instead of seeing the fear self, the fear mind let us call it, and how it arises and begins to obsess over what will happen here or what will happen there, you become a slave to it. It's an incessant voice: "What if my mother gets sick and I need to go and see her? What will I do with my children? What will I do with my job? Will I put her in a nursing home? Where will I put her?" you're never going to get it all worked out. I'm not saying there's no use to planning, but planning is creating a plan, planning is not obsessing. If you need to plan, sit down and plan. Make a few phone calls. The children can go and stay with Aunt Sally. Make another phone call. Find somebody who can stay with the mother until you arrive. And then let it go. Maybe she'll never be that sick. Maybe you won't have to go down there at all. The fear mind has her sick and the children sick and an emergency at work while in actuality everything is fine.

Get to know this obsessive mind. It is the voice of that within you which wants to be safe. Everybody wants to be safe and comfortable. Your habitual pattern around being safe and comfortable is to move into a kind of control mode, most of you. And so you try to think it out and plan it out and get it perfect and then rehash the plans and see if they can be better. You don't know how to let go. You can't let go because you cannot yet recognize, "This is simply fear." But it is recognizable if you pay attention. As soon as there's this contraction and the mind starts spinning out the plans, please just note, "Ah, fear is here."

How are you going to respond to fear? Do you scold fear? Many of you do. But kindness works so much better. What if in that moment you just sit down with a cup of tea and note, "I am afraid. I feel vulnerable, tossed by the winds of fortune. I really feel helpless and out of control. It's an unpleasant feeling. I want to feel in control and I can't do it because I don't know what will happen tomorrow."

Knowing the fear, knowing the helplessness, the obsessive mind quiets if you remember to offer kindness to this self that feels afraid. You also have to use some self-discipline. Each time fear-mind begins to obsess again say, "Shh! No. I'm not getting into that story again. I don't need to do that to myself." It's partially a punishment for the shame of your perceived imperfection. It's also a way of avoiding the real sadness that you cannot protect yourself and your loved ones. The human condition is difficult. You cannot keep yourself or your loved ones from sickness, old age or death. It's very hard for people to accept that.

Many of you grew up watching your parents take control and then you learned to do it. Some of you learned something different from your parents, perhaps parents who were alcoholics or in some other way did not take control so much as run from pain. That's another thing that people do. The idea is not to criticize the self that wants to run away or to be in control but to catch on to how these are habitual replies to fear and learn that you can say no. If you had a small child who was afraid, did not want to go to bed, said, "There's a monster under my bed," you would not scold the child. You would not slam the child's door and walk out. You would also not get a gun to shoot the monster. You would tell the child very clearly, "There is no monster under you bed but I hear your fear and I will sit here with you for awhile. But you must stay in bed and close your eyes and go to sleep." The obsessive mind is a child. You've got to say no to it lovingly and skillfully. Please observe how conditioned you are to slam the door, or to pull out the big guns!

So if the obsessive mind is not running the show, who is? There is an essence of clarity in all of you, the one who is literally "unburdened with duties." This is the one who is unburdened because it is fully present, loving, willing to be present with fear, pain, discomfort, without compounding these, without trying to fix them or try to control them or run away from them. So there are two parts to this work: to get to know the one who is afraid, to acknowledge that fear with kindness, and to get to know the one who is not afraid.

It's not always fear, sometimes it's greed, or anger which are voices of fear. You get to know the different arising emotions in the mind which serve as conditions for the obsessive mind that wants to run away or to control.

The first part is to be present and see the obsessive, fear mind arise and simply know, "I'm not going to do this any more." But you say no with kindness, truly embracing the self who is feeling pain. And the second and equally important part of this work is to get to know that strong, clear, loving aspect of your being which most of you have not given yourself chance to know.

When the mind is obsessing, you don't know what to do because the obsessive mind is so locked into its confusion. A difficulty for many of you is that these states of confusion seem to arise pow! Like a sudden storm cloud, and you become lost in them. This is where your meditation practice is important, that you begin to recognize the approach of stormy weather before the downpour begins. Once it begins, you're soaked. But if you recognize it you can put up your umbrella. When you lay fear aside a bit, you do know what to do.

I'd like you to try an exercise with me. I would ask you here to close your eyes and envision these scenes with me.

Let us come to the top of a mountain. It is a beautiful day and you are well above the timberline. As you walk the path upward there are small patches of wildflowers mixed among the rocks. The sun is hot on your back but there is a cool breeze. On the rock to your right, a marmot stretches out in the sun. To your left, the mountain rises higher and there is a small runoff waterfall and stream from the snow melting at the top.

Leave your pack at the path and climb up this nearby rock with me. It's about ten feet high, but not too sheer so it presents footholds. Find yourself a good spot to sit down. Enjoy the view. You can see for miles, many, many miles. Range after range of mountains. Enjoy the sun. (Pause) Looking at the sky, it's clear and blue except for one big cloud in the distance. You come back to looking out at the view. (Pause) Not paying much attention to your immediate surroundings, just lost in the sunshine and the breeze and the beauty of these purple, hazy ranges of mountains before you.

All of a sudden the sky seems to grow dark. You're enveloped in a dense cloud of mist so thick you cannot even see your backpack where you left it by the trail. You can't even see the bottom of the rock. (Pause) How long will the cloud be here? Will I be safe? What should I do? Can you feel how tension would arise in you? You do not know what to do. As soon as fear closes in and is met with a closed heart, clarity goes.

It's getting cold, very damp, the wind has picked up. There's a heavy mist in the air that's soaking your shirt. What should you do? Feel the tension in the situation. (Long pause.)

Now let's play it again. Come back to the trail, let's climb together. Here are the same wildflowers, our friend the marmot, bright sun. Leave your pack and climb up on this rock to sit and enjoy the view. Look at the sky, see that one cloud. "There's a cloud in the distance. I'll watch it to see which way it's going." (Pause) After ten minutes you look around again and see that the cloud is moving right toward you and it's a big black storm cloud. You make a decision, "Shall I go and get my pack? Shall I begin my way down? No, I'm not going to be chased away by a solitary storm cloud. It's a funny kind of cloud, there's just one and it's not so big. It's low, not any higher than I am at the mountaintop. If it comes directly toward me, it's going to come right here and envelope me."

So you decide to go get your pack with sweater and poncho and climb back on the rock. The cloud is almost in front of the sun. How big is it? Judging by the speed it's been moving, maybe it will sit here on the mountaintop for ten or fifteen minutes. Suddenly, here it comes. It's damp, it's cold, you can't even see your hand in front of your face. It's just as uncomfortable as it was before but there's a difference. You know this cloud, you have watched this cloud, not with fear, just with mindfulness. Acknowledge to yourself, "This is very uncomfortable. I made the decision to stay here, I have my sweater and raingear, but still it's damp and cold. But it will be gone in about fifteen minutes. I'll just sit and meditate."

Then you can stay present, aware of the discomfort with kindness to yourself that you are experiencing such cold and damp. But there's not any fear. You saw the cloud, you understood the cloud, you knew it was impermanent, you made the decision to just wait it out. No fear.

Do you see where this is going? There are going to be clouds in your life, it's guaranteed. The sick mother, the leaky roof, the angry boss, there are going to be clouds in your life. There are also the internal clouds, your own desire, anger, impatience, jealousy and so forth. When conditions are present these clouds will arise. There is an enormous difference between the experience of the cloud as bare experience and your reactivity to the cloud. When you do not understand how it arose, and fear and discomfort arise around the presence of that cloud, the fear and discomfort are not only because the clouds of anger or illness or whatever have blown in. Anger is just anger; illness is just illness. Unpleasant, but workable. The secondary fear has arisen in relation to this illness, discomfort or whatever. Feeling unsafe, feeling out of control, helpless, vulnerable, feeling fear. Then the mind begins to obsess and the more it obsesses the denser the cloud gets.

The difficulty is not the mother's illness or your own anger, the difficulty is simply in how you are relating to these. If you know them for what they are, "The illness is just an illness. I cannot fix it for her. I can support her as best I can, do whatever I can. My anger or some other emotion is just that. It arose because of conditions. It's impermanent. It will pass," then this contraction around the experience does not arise. There's just the bare experience. Anger, even rage, sadness, grief, helplessness, illness and physical discomfort, everything just as it is without all the embellishments that mind tends to put on it. This awareness of what has arisen, this is very different than the discursive mind that sees what arises and gets caught in all the old myths about it.

So through mindfulness-seeing what has arisen, seeing how it passes away, seeing that it's not your own identity, not self; anger arose but it's not self, it's just anger; illness arose but the illness is not who you are-here you begin to rest in a much clearer and more spacious place. Here we begin to understand what "unburdened with duties" means and how it's possible. The duties don't change, your relationship to them changes. Or more specifically, you stop relating to them from this fear mind, this habitual space of fear and control or avoidance. You stop relating to them with a sense of shame and inadequacy. You begin to relate with kindness, with spaciousness, with awareness. No burden. The duties may still feel onerous. They may be very hard. One simply does what is before one, not thinking about next week or next month or next year, just right here, "What am I going to do?"

This is what I said to the friend who came to me crying about her inability to handle her situation perfectly. I asked her very simply, "Who needs to be perfect?"

"I need to be perfect."

"Do you?"

"If I don't, people will suffer."

"Will they?"

What does perfect mean?

We've given an exercise to some of you at different times, juggling eggs. You pick up one egg and you toss it from one hand to the next and back again, just tossing it easily back and forth. Once you're comfortable with it, you pick up a second egg and toss it. Tossing two eggs, letting go of both and catching them with opposite hands. Then you pick up a third egg. If you're a skilled juggler you might go as far as four or five. Eventually you can't control them any more and they're going to drop. The letting go mind is the mind that can let the egg drop. It can be responsible for any mess that's made when any egg drops, simply noting, "I'll need to clean that up." But it greets the whole thing with spacious kindness, not with fear.

I like the word contraction. It's a very neutral word. Make a fist. There's a contraction. The muscles in the hand are contracted. Release it. Get to know the state of contraction in yourself with the same mindful presence we applied to the cloud in the visualization exercise. When there's contraction, know there's contraction before it closes in on you so you can't see, so mind starts to spin. When you catch it early and note, "Here is contraction. I'm feeling sad, afraid, lonely, confused. It's unpleasant. I'm about to shift off into my old pattern of trying to obsessively control or trying to run away. Maybe I won't do that today, maybe instead I will just stay present and watch what's here, watch this sadness or shame or sense of helplessness, just watch it."

If it has the nature to arise it has the nature to cease. What will be there when it's gone? What comes when shame, helplessness and fear are gone? Here you begin to connect to this deeply loving center of being. You begin to know that part of yourself as truth and to have an increasingly sure sense that it's available to you. This is the part of self that is already unburdened with duties. It is the greatest gift you can give yourself, to begin to know that truth in yourself, that you have a choice and do not have to run into the obsessive mind, but with the aid of mindfulness can stay present with this clarity that does know what to do.

I thank you for hearing me and letting me share my thoughts with you. I will be happy to answer your questions after the break. That is all.


Barbara: (Reading note.) "At the end of the evening last Wednesday, Aaron had told us about a village he once lived in where the people had to be able to find their way across a large marsh on a trail that was covered in water. He said no one in the village ever got lost, drowned or even seriously wet, crossing the marsh. I wanted to know more about the village. Most villages have their fair share of people who are not at all clear or centered, even in cultures that value and nurture such concepts. So where was this place and why was it like that?"

Aaron: I am Aaron. Everybody in the village was not clear, in the general sense of that word. There were people who were selfish, people who were angry, people who were stubborn, and so forth.

In your culture, people are taught to cross a street. You teach your children to stop and look both ways, to treat these large, fast vehicles with respect and be careful. People from the village I spoke of, if you brought them here, they would not know how to get across the street, but you take this skill for granted. You (some of you at least!) know how to program your VCRs, how to send an email, how to dial a telephone or tune a radio. These are simple living skills. The living skill that people needed to learn in that culture was how to tune in to a certain knowingness of where the path lay and where the deep mire was found. They had to learn both to be sensitive to it and to trust their intuition about it. Because if you stop and say, "Have I got it right? Have I got it right?" then you're lost.

That is half of my answer. The other half of my answer: this was a very long time ago. Pre-history. You know there were civilizations like Atlantis and Lemuria, where to put it simply, beings were telepathic. The veil was not yet created, really. They were humans but they were not third density humans. They had not forgotten how to use their energy fields to shape the world around them. That does not mean that none were negatively polarized or had become lost in fear, but they simply had these skills.

It was necessary that you lose these skills in order to fully value the catalysts that Earth life offers you. But now it becomes imperative that you regain the skills. For somebody to learn to swim, they've got to get in the water. They practice in the shallows. When they first get out over their head, no matter how confident they are, there's a moment of fear. No matter how long they've been practicing there will be a bit of fear. They can't stay in the shallows forever, they've got to get out over their heads. You have all learned to swim in various ways by living on this third density planet. Now you have to leave the safe shore. But to get out over your head doesn't mean to drown. That's not your intention; your intention is to become a good swimmer. Thus, you allow the intuitive, the clear mind to develop. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Barbara: Is there anybody who wants to know more about that? May we hear whatever questions you have from Aaron's talk or just from your daily life?

Q: How do we support rather than hinder our companion animals in their journey?

Aaron: I am Aaron. These animals are second density beings. They're not yet learning the faith and love that you humans are learning so much as they are learning self-awareness. One can learn self-awareness through fear or through love. When you teach them self-awareness through love, it brings them to a readiness to move into third density and to approach that from a positively polarized platform, rather than negatively polarized, which basically means the entire third density experience is going to be a much happier and more comfortable one.

When you enact your fear on your animals, you teach them fear. When you are present with your own fear and able to be kind with it, your animals will sense this kind reaction to fear. As they grow in self-awareness, they will also grow in the ability not to be negatively reactive to fear.

This instrument once had a friend who was a horse. She was a very gentle creature. Sometimes the kittens would get into her stall and play around her feet. If she lifted a foot for some reason and then sensed that the kittens were near or saw them, she would stand there with her hoof up in the air, careful not to put it down lest she harm a kitten. One day this instrument saw her standing in her stall-it was a box stall with an open front, just a chain across so the horse could not walk out-and a neighbor's dog chased the kittens into the stall. The dog was barking and growling. The horse of course became alarmed, started to pull back and then realized the kittens were under her feet. What she did was quite beautiful. She just froze, unwilling to risk stepping on a kitten. She was afraid of the dog but she was aware enough to stay within her own harmless nature. Of course, just her size scared the dog off, so the dog simply stood at the edge of her stall and barked and snarled. The kittens hid behind her. I don't know what she would have done if the dog had actually entered the stall, but it was within a foot of her, certainly threatening. But she did not put her hoof down.

This is the kind of love-based self-awareness that your animals can learn from you. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Barbara: She was a very sweet horse. Questions? Any questions?

K: There is a theory that the first planet in our galaxy on which life has developed to the point of space travel will colonize the entire galaxy. Or have major influence on life in the whole galaxy. That is one theory of what is going on with UFOs.

Aaron: I am Aaron. If you lived by a lake, K, and told me there was a theory that if people went out on the water the boats would develop holes and they would drown, and as we talked there were people out there fishing and sailing and simply rowing and paddling their boats, what could one say to that theory? It's already been disproved. I can speak further on this if you wish. But in relation to the basic question, it is an idle theory from those who have not experienced the way things are in the galaxy. I pause.

Barbara: He says that there are negatively polarized beings who are influencing the galaxy. This is part of all of our catalyst. Without negativity, how does one practice sending love to negativity? He says the first beings to develop space travel in the galaxy did not influence in negative ways, but others came along, picked up the technology and misused it. He says, for example, the invention of nuclear power was not meant to kill people, but people came along and used it in a different way. There will always be negative beings. But there are also positive beings.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I will speak just a bit on this. You know that this is not the kind of topic that I usually address. But you are citizens of the galaxy whether you know it or not. You raise your children to be good citizens. You teach them about how your government works, about taking care of others and giving in real ways vs. grasping power and control. You teach them about the difficulties they will face. You teach them about the strengths they have to counter those difficulties. You assume that by the time they have reached an age where they can vote and participate in your government, they will have developed the wisdom to do it skillfully.

You are all reaching that age as you come to this so-called fourth density. You are reaching a real readiness to relate to the world as adults and not as children, to become full first-class citizens of the galaxy, not that you have not been first-class but that you have not had voting rights yet, so to speak. There is negativity out there, there is enormous negativity. There is also enormous love. The whole galaxy is learning the same lessons you are learning: how to bring love where there is fear, kindness where there is hatred. My own strong belief is that negativity will not win here in the long run because negativity is simply an expression of love: fear. We've talked about this before. Fear arises where there is love and a sense of self and other, a sense of separation, and somebody to protect. Something to be protected from. Then you carry that negativity further and further, trying more and more to be powerful and controlling, sometimes stating as reason, "To keep beings safe." But nevertheless willing to enact harm on others in order to keep beings safe, which is ludicrous. So eventually negativity will need to turn around and reenter its positive self as it matures. This is precisely what happens to sixth density negatively polarized beings. But meanwhile, negativity does do enormous damage in the world, creates terrible suffering.

Each being has free will. You cannot fight negativity with more negativity, only with kindness. But it is not a kindness that lets itself be bulldozed by negativity. It is fear that either tries to conquer or bows to negativity. To say no to negativity is often the most skillful choice. The question is how you say no: with fear or with kindness? It is not kind to allow negativity to roll over beings, to cause suffering. It creates negative karma for that negative energy. It creates pain for beings. As you know your true power, you develop the ability to say no in skillful ways. As you learn that here on Earth, eventually you will take your place literally in this inter-galactic council of government. It's not something you have to think about now. You're not there. Do your work here. A five year old learning to read and write doesn't have to think about what it's going to do with its life, it just needs to begin to recognize these letters and how they go together to form words. Right here and now, that's all you need to attend to. Everything you need to know is here with you now. But briefly giving you the bigger picture, yes there's a big galaxy out there with many beings of many sorts. There is difference of opinion even amongst loving beings, which sometimes disagree about how best to protect that which may be vulnerable to negativity, whether to protect it at all. So this is all something you will grow into as you mature. I pause.

Barbara: He is saying, I'm paraphrasing him, that it's useful for us to have this bigger picture because as we mature, we're like the older teenager who really has to start taking a look at the world around him, not just playing in his back yard but starting to see what's happening in the world and how his choices affect the world so that he can make more skillful choices. But, he says, the teenager doesn't learn by simply contemplating the nature of the world, the teenager learns by knowing what to do in school when somebody is abusive to him, how to respond to that in an appropriate way, right here and now.

K: I think there are many misconceptions about such matters and I am glad I was able to bring that one up.

Aaron: I am Aaron. There are indeed misconceptions, K. There is what I call mischievous spirit. This is the rumormonger, the one who likes to spread his gossip so as to stir people up and create fear and distortion. It's not so much a highly negative energy as mischievous, immature, bored. But beings who honor free will cannot control others. This is a hard one. It's one that you have not yet dealt with on your planet. You can't leave thieves and murderers wandering around. You put them in jail. One can argue that being in jail is their free will choice because they knew the law and they chose to break the law, therefore indirectly they chose to be in jail. That's fine. But then you create jail not as place for teaching, which is what they chose, but as punishment. You don't give them the opportunity to learn the lessons of love while they're in jail; the anger of the community wants to punish. Increasingly you are learning a more mature way of being with those who deviate from a kind path. But there are so many of your community who are working in serious negativity, acting in ways that are of great harm to beings and doing it legally.

I am a very old being. What I have learned in all these millennia of being is that whatever arises will pass. I must work with it directly, clearly, responsibly, but I cannot fix anything for anybody. My job is very simple: to offer love where there is fear, hatred and confusion. If beings need to continue to enact that fear and hatred, they'll continue it. I cannot stop them. I don't have to allow myself to be a victim of it, though. And I can choose lovingly to place myself between the one who would enact violence and the one who does not yet know enough to refuse to be victim. If I do that, I may experience hurt. I have already really offered forgiveness for that hurt. But in this way I use the teachings of my own highest truth as a way of saying no to violence and to negativity in the world. This is all I can do and still be true to myself because if I oppose that negativity with anger, I simply become part of the negativity. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about interpersonal relations, national relations, or galactic relationships. The same thing is true. I pause.

Barbara: I find this a fascinating topic. It's something that Aaron will sometimes talk to me about. Often he says, "You don't need to know, you're getting too technical." But I recognize what he just said. I only got a glimpse of what he said, but the idea what we practice here in our interpersonal relationships, one to another, is exactly what we're learning to practice on a galactic level, just the same way that little children learn to practice sharing a toy or taking turns. Then after they learn it with their best friend, they apply what they've learned in school and eventually they practice it as adults. We're bringing all these skills that we're learning back not just into the world but the universe.

But he keeps saying that you don't need to go that far for now because that's not where you are; just learn to do it in your own life.

R: I often think about situations in the past when I wasn't particularly kind, usually to people I've loved. And I find that I carry a great deal of pain and guilt about it. I wonder what Aaron would feel about that.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Certainly guilt is not useful. But if there's guilt, there's guilt. Like anything else, it arises from conditions. Just get to know it. What is this guilt? The question I always like to ask is, "If I were not feeling guilt, what might I be feeling?" For many people the answer to that question is fear. Not for all, but for many. Get to know these emotions and see what lies behind them. Use this line of questioning, "If I were not feeling guilt or anger or shame or whatever you might be feeling, what might I be feeling? Is there something that this emotion and my sometimes obsessive focus on it relieves me of having to see and experience?" Do you see what I'm getting at?

The second part of this is to learn the wisdom to see how even strong emotion like guilt will arise, and pass. The conditions are old. You don't have to examine them all. Much of it is habit. When guilt or shame arise, don't take it so personally; just know this as the result of certain conditions and let it go. If a skunk enters your yard and is frightened by a noise, he'll release his special scent as protection. You note the scent, know the skunk was frightened. You can't go outside and try to sweep the scent away. You know it will pass. Don't get so involved with these little "stinks" in your life.

You may find it helpful to reread some of the teachings on rooted and rootless habitual tendencies and their outflows. I pause.

R: I often feel the pain of the people that I have hurt. I feel their pain very deeply, like if I wasn't kind to my mother, for instance, I feel her pain.

Aaron: I am Aaron. That you feel her pain does not then mean you must feel guilt. Of course, if you do feel guilt, then just know you're feeling guilt and be with it. Watch how it arose and that it will pass and don't be so identified with it. Because you feel guilt does not mean that you did something bad or are a bad person. But the experience of guilt is simply a conditioned reaction.

When you feel their pain, what else might be coming up? Perhaps anger at yourself, perhaps anger at the universe. For many of you, feeling such guilt is just an old habit and it really has no more roots. A helpful thing to do when you're feeling guilt is just to ask forgiveness. "In some way, intentionally or unintentionally, I hurt you. Can you forgive me?" It doesn't matter whether that being is present or not, is incarnate or not. Just do it in your meditation. Learn to say these words with the greatest intentions of kindness. Sentient beings do get off track and do and say things that cause pain for others. I'm not saying simply shrug and say, "Well, so what?" which is not being present with the pain. But when you see how beings experience pain, and sometimes that you were one of the devices that contributed to that pain, just stop and ask forgiveness. When the mind begins to dwell on the ways others have abused you or caused you pain, stop and offer them forgiveness. Don't take it all so personally. See with a bigger mind how beings do this to one another. Then it is no longer "her pain" or "my pain," but our pain, the pain of sentient experience. Let it teach you compassion. I pause.

Barbara: He says, can you see how the trap works; pain is seen, guilt arises, and then you get caught in the guilt because the pain is so uncomfortable. If you can feel guilty then you don't have to feel the pain so deeply. But if you go into the pain and see, "This is how it is," and allow your heart to be open to it, there may be enormous sadness, but guilt will dissolve and there will be a deep sense of openhearted connection and forgiveness.


V: Maybe Aaron can tell us a little more about the second density experience. I am thinking about my cat Eleanor who seems to have a strong sense of self! So I am wondering if she is typical or if maybe I am not really understanding what she is here for.

Barbara: He is saying that our household pets are at the top of second density. This is a second density being. Plants and animals are second density and there are all those animals who are not so self-aware before you come to the more self-aware ones. These are the beings who are getting ready for a move into third density. In some cases they have already been third density and simply chosen to come back to second density to learn some special lesson.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I don't want to overgeneralize, let me simply say that such refined self-awareness, tempered with love, is one common path for these very much loved household pets. There are two ways of coming into third density. One is simply to become self-aware and then shift into third density without having any grounding in sila, in moral awareness, nor grounding in kindness. The being that stumbles into third density that way may enact a lot of negativity.

Many beings have determined not to come into third density in that unaware way but to more deeply learn some of the third density lessons of positive polarity while in second density, to learn a sense of loyalty, kindness, presence, to deepen in love, really attaching themselves to beloved humans. Many of them are learning not to enact their fear with negative action in the world. We see this in such a simple thing as the animal who is brought to the vet for an examination. He has learned to trust humans enough that although he's terrified he doesn't bite. When this being moves into third density, he is far less likely to be reactive to difficult catalyst in ways that cause harm. He doesn't bite because he loves and trust the owner, and from the owner he is learning a certain amount of self-restraint, to be present with what is even when it's uncomfortable, without needing to strike out against it. So the more that animals learn this in second density, the more they can come into third density with a wisdom and kindness that is not possible for the animal that comes into third density without this intermediary step of beloved household pet. I pause.

Barbara: He says this is why we train our animals with kindness, not beat our animals into submission. But by training them with kindness, the animals learn to respond to their own discomfort with kindness.

V: Now if I can just get her to stop torturing spiders! It's a weakness of hers.

Barbara: Aaron says, you may never be able to do that. This is simply part of her nature.

V: I just remove her from the room.

Barbara: He says just pick up the spider and escort it outside.

V: But usually I have to move Eleanor to get to the spider.

Barbara: My cat used to bring me mice as gifts. Whenever possible she would carry them inside, coming through the dog door, and leave them on my bed! And she was so proud and happy. She thought she was bringing such a nice gift. This is their nature.

K: I have been surprised to watch our one year old kitten develop a sense of self identity and also become more open to affection. It has been a slow and wonderful development to watch.

Barbara: We can learn so much from our animals. They're wonderful teachers. My last collie, Beau, developed a very bad abscess on his side. The vet shaved the hair off and had to make a second hole so the wound could drain. Every day I had to take peroxide in a dropper and literally stick it in the hole and try to flush it through. I would call Beau over to do this and he would walk to me with his head down knowing what was coming. I had to do it three times a day for months. It was very slow to heal. And he would whimper, it was painful. But he would just stand there and let me do it.

I could not have been that patient with that kind of care, knowing how painful it was. He just trusted me. He knew that I meant to help him, and he didn't understand the process, he would come over and let me do it. He would see me get the dropper out and the medicine, and the head would go down and the tail would go down, but he would come to me.

Q: Do we make them sick and shorten their lives?

Barbara: Aaron says we can. Simply put, neurotic people have neurotic pets!

Aaron: I am Aaron. If you approach your animals by taking out your moods on your animals, instead of learning trust and kindness they learn defendedness and just as you may take your anger on another, they may take their anger out on someone weaker than them. To move into that kind of pattern can only make the animal sick, just as it does for the human. I pause.

K: When I see the total attention our kitten has when we play with her, I wonder what kind of awareness she has. Is this at all like pure awareness?

Aaron: I am Aaron. This brings us into the question this instrument printed out but I do not think we have time to get into it in depth. What is pure awareness? If it is the direct expression of the Unconditioned, no special conditions are necessary for it to arise, but certain conditions may be necessary for it to be manifested in the world. It's inherently there. Is it only there in the mature being? If that were so then you would need certain conditions for it. So yes, the kitten has the ability to experience pure awareness because just as with you, this is its inherent nature. This pure awareness mind, this is its deepest essence. The difference for you is that you have the ability to reflect on the distinction between the pure awareness mind and the discursive mind. The kitten can experience the pure awareness mind but it cannot distinguish between the different modes of mind in which it may find itself. I pause.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Have I ever told you about my kitten? It has been with me for many hundreds of years. To you it would not be a kitten. It's a small second density energy. It reminds me of a kitten in the way its energy field relates to mine. It's not like a puppy; it doesn't follow me everywhere. Sometimes it goes its own way for quite a long time. But it always returns and when it does I feel it rub its energy field against mine. It radiates a sense of joy, almost like purring. There's a deep affection between us. It likes to be close to me. When it's quiet, sometimes it seems to almost literally curl up and sleep in my lap, its energy field brought in as close to mine as it can get. But it's very independent and will go off on its own quite readily.

It occasionally moves into second density form, and after its time in incarnation it comes back and in its energy body it curls up against me again. As for me I simply give it love, let it know that I enjoy its presence, let it feel safe with me, let it be free to make its own choices. I look forward to seeing the evolution of my kitten into a third density being. It has a very beautiful yellow aura, green at the center and then shades of yellow. That is all.

V: Does the being incarnate as a cat?

Barbara: Aaron says usually but not always. He says he just thinks of it as a cat because its behavior is so similar to that of the incarnate cat. But it's not by any means stuck in that mode and incarnates in different second density forms.

V: And is evolving?

Barbara: It's evolving, yes. Aaron says when it first came to him it was not self-aware and now it's self-aware.

Why don't we end with the questions here and end with a short meditation …

Aaron: I am Aaron. I've spoken in the beginning tonight about not becoming so lost in fear and negative emotion, and so accusatory to the self when that happens. Often your reaction comes from a place of wanting to be safe so you seem to pull a shell, a barricade around yourself. I'd like to try a guided meditation with you that I've done often before.

There's a story line to it which I will give you to take home, and then based on that story line you practice the meditation. This of course is not vipassana and is not meant to replace your vipassana practice. But rather to support your vipassana practice. Do it at a different time than that practice.

Visualize yourself in a beautiful, sunny meadow. It's filled with wildflowers. There's a sweet scent. Here and there, there are rabbits and other small creatures. Behind you at the far edge of the meadow, the mountain rises in an almost sheer cliff. So there's the big hill, the meadow, and then, at the far edge of the meadow a stream, a cool clear, lovely stream. Across the stream are woods. In the hill behind the meadow are caves. You know that they exist although you have not explored them deeply.

Sit in your meadow and enjoy the sunshine. (Pause) Dangle your feet in the cool water. (Pause) Watch the ripples of small waterfalls and rapids. See the fish darting to and fro. (Pause) Smell the sweetness of the day. (Pause) As you sit there with this joy, suddenly you feel a piercing, sharp pain on your shoulder. You look and see that a rock hit you and fell off onto the ground. No sooner have you seen the first rock than another one follows hitting you in the chest. You can't see people in the woods across the river, but you hear people shouting and yelling. More rocks. That hurt, they're getting more and more forceful. And so, you retreat across the meadow and seek one of the caves.

Now, these caves have a special quality. They are magic caves. When you enter one, there's an opening through which you can climb but then it has a magic quality that if you touch the walls on either side of the opening, an impenetrable door will close across. To open the doorway again, all you have to do is touch it. This cave has another kind of magic in that almost whatever you can think of that you want, it provides. Within it doesn't look like a damp, dark, rocky cave. For one thing, there's a soft floor, carpeted. There's a gentle luminescence on the walls. If you are thirsty and think of water, water comes to you. If you are hungry, whatever food you envision suddenly is laid before you. The only thing you can't manifest in this cave is companionship.

So you seek refuge in the cave, close the doors. You hear the shouting. You hear the thud of rocks against the outside walls. You're very grateful to be safe here. You seek food and then sleep. When awaken the next day, it's quiet. But you don't dare to peek out. You stay there protected.

A second, a third, and a tenth day pass. You have not ventured outside. You start to think about how sweet the grass smelled and the beautiful colors of the flowers, about watching the rabbits at play. About the depth of blue of the sky, the brilliance of butterflies. You start to think about your friends who live nearby, who sometimes come to your meadow . A sense of longing develops. Not a grasping of desire, but a sense of remembering the deep joys and that now that you have put yourself into this walled place, you no longer can experience those joys.

I told you the door of the cave is magic. You can open it just a little and peer out. When you do, you see the meadow really hasn't changed. You listen and there's nobody there. You look and there are no enemy there to throw more rocks at you. The sun is so beautiful and the grass even greener than you remembered. What a joy it is to feel the sun's warmth again after all these days. The cave is lighted but it's not the intense warmth and light of the sun. How good to smell the fresh air. Look! There are deer and a fawn playing. You've only opened the door an inch, you're just peering out.

Now here is the meditation. Up to here is background. When you sit, pick it up at this point. Remember what it is that you miss when you live behind a wall. Gently touch the doors to spacious experience. Allow them to open just enough that you can come out, just sit in the doorway and extend your legs out if you like. Know that you can jump back inside in an instant. But just for experiment sake you agree to come out. Come out as slowly as you wish or as fast as you wish. Begin to note and appreciate all the beauty that you can touch when you emerge from this cave. Begin to note also the places that feel difficult. Fear that you'll be hurt, fear that your needs won't be met. Worry that you're not appreciated. Worry that you're not good enough. Watch the various kinds of walls that you create: judging, opinions, fear.

But beyond all, carry the intention with you to reenter the world of light, of beauty, of connection. With this aspiration in mind, simply open the door of the cave as much as feels safe. You are in control. You can open it a lot and sit in the threshold. You can open it a bit and sit within the cave just looking out and smelling the fresh air and seeing a little bit of sunshine. You control the pace. Ask yourself, "What keeps me in this cave? What lets me out?"

(Long pause.)

We will not sit with this longer now, but I would ask you to try this practice at home even a few times if possible. Begin to see how possible it is to make the decision to come out of the cave. Learn what in your life supports that emergence and what keeps you stuck. I would hope that we could discuss this exercise in a future week.

I thank you all for sharing yourselves with me tonight. My deepest love to you. That is all.

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky