February 2, 2000

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. We have been talking for many months about the relationship between the relative, everyday experience and the ultimate experience, or phrased in a different way, the experience of the human and the experience of the angel. This is the experience of the one who finds itself closed into a body with which it identifies, with thoughts and emotions with which it identifies, and the perspective of the one who sees all of this movement of body and thought from a clarity within which there is no identification with what has arisen.

You can't always be in that clear place. Your experience is like walking in the mist. The sun breaks through and burns the mist away and all is clear for a moment, and then the mist drops again.

You can't cling to that clearer perspective. The best you can do is, when you are a bit lost in the mist , to know you're lost in the mist. When you understand what's happening there's no fear. With mindfulness you understand what is happening. Without mindfulness, you run around in circles, cursing the mist.

When this instrument's youngest son was a little boy, she used to walk him across the schoolyard to a school bus. There's a large open space between her home and the school, and at the far end are a pond and woods. One morning as she walked back alone after leaving him, the mist had grown heavier. She was walking and momentarily she could see the house on the far side of the field. And then the mist closed in. There was snow on the ground. No sure footing, no path visible. Mist so close she couldn't see more than a few feet. She said, "OK, I will just keep walking straight." Now, it only takes five minutes to cross this school yard. After ten minutes she had to acknowledge to herself, "I'm not going in the right direction."

She walked again and another five or ten minutes passed. "Where am I?" For a moment, a sense of fear came up. "What will I do? I'm lost!" And then she had to laugh. How lost could she be, not more than 200 yards from her house? There are identifiable borders to this large schoolyard: if she comes to the pond, she knows where she is; if she comes to the street, she knows where she is. So she just stood there and said, "I am lost in the mist. I don't know where I am." She began to laugh. It was such a clear metaphor for the spiritual path, feeling lost, rushing around like a fool trying to get unlost instead of just knowing, "How can I be lost? I'm in the field behind my house! That's all. I'm Home; that's all!"

She carries a plastic bag with her when she walks in the woods because she likes to stop and sit. So she pulled the plastic bag out of her pocket and she sat. She had on a warm coat and cap. She just sat, looking at being lost, looking at the fear mind, looking at the breath. And of course eventually the mist lifted a bit. She was only twenty feet from her property.

Bring this metaphor into your lives. So many of you are running around thinking, "I want to go home. I want enlightenment. I want clarity. I want to know who I am, what I am. I want to know what God is. I want to know the nature of being. Where do I find it?"

Various experiences that are difficult may come upon you and what little clarity you thought you had, you think you lose. You become afraid. You contract. The contraction is a natural response to fear. The mind starts whirling, "It shouldn't be this way. It should be that way. How do I fix it? What do I do?" and the more you contract, the more lost you feel. But home is not even twenty feet away. It's right in this breath.

Whatever arises in your experience, it is an expression of the divine. It's not other-than the divine, you don't have to bypass it to get to the divine, to get to that sacred center. You are always in that sacred center. Sometimes you have to stop, sit and breathe a bit, just be present in your body and with what may be an uncomfortable experience of being lost, as everything settles. You begin to see again, like the wind or sun blowing away the mist. Mindfulness and presence are your tools to letting the mist settle.

There's a lovely story told by Thich Nhat Hanh that many of you probably have read. A child was staying at Thay's home. She was outside playing and came in, saying, "I'm thirsty" so he poured her some apple juice. This was not the refined apple juice in so many of your stores here in this country but was literally the juice of the apple and the sediment. She looked at it and said, "I don't like that." He said, "Fine, I'll leave it on the counter. If you're thirsty, it's here." She went out to play, came back in half an hour. Remember this is a child who had been raised around people who meditated. She came back and saw the glass, now with all the sediment settled to the bottom. She broke into a smile, "Ah, it's been meditating!" She picked it up and drank it.

So this is another metaphor for this feeling of being lost, shut out of the ultimate in your experience. When you stop, the sediment settles. The more you spin around, the more the sediment is stirred up. When you stop and wait, the sun will break through the mist and shine, burning it away. When that happens, the sediment settles, the mist burns away, you know where you are. When you can relate to what arises in your life, however difficult, with this spaciousness, even if temporarily you seem to lose touch with the sacred, you do come back to it quickly. How lost can you be? You cannot leave your home. You never have left your home. It may seem like a big back yard but it's safe.

How can you relate more kindly to this experience of contraction? There is the initial contraction. It's like being startled. I'm going to ask this instrument to yell, give a shout. Watch how your body startles even though it knows it's coming.

(Pause. Shout!)

Startle. You can feel your energy field contract. But for most of you there was no contraction around the contraction, there was just that momentary contraction and then a coming back to spaciousness and peacefulness. You didn't think, "I should not contract." In a sense I gave you permission to contract by saying this will probably happen. It's like the knee-jerk reflex, you hit your knee in a certain spot and the foot kicks up.

When somebody is angry at you, when you feel betrayed, abandoned, ignored, when you do not feel loved or appreciated, when you're afraid your needs will not be met, there is likely to be a contraction. When mindfulness learns to watch that contraction and just label it "contracted, contracted," then there's no problem. This is like reminding oneself, "How can I be lost, I'm just a few feet from my back yard."

To not be able to see in the mist is just not able to see in the mist, blindfolded. To be lost is something different. If you can't see in the mist, you still know where you are. When the mist of fear, fear that you'll be hurt, fear that your needs won't be met, fear that you'll be lonely or unhappy, or unloved, when the mist of these fears creates a contraction, if you stop and simply notice, "feeling fear; feeling pain; feeling uncertainty; feeling unloved," and watch the contractions of the body without needing to fix them, then you also know, "I am home. I have never left home. I am right here in the center of my being but for now the mist is around me and I do not have clear access to this ultimate space." That's how it is right now. Then you establish the conditions that allow the sun to burn away the mist. When you contract and fight your situation, you bring in the storm clouds and the mist gets thicker. And then you say, "I'm lost. I'm alone. I can't find God. I can't find this sacred center. I am abandoned." This is like a child sitting in a room with its friends and closing its eyes and saying, "Why did everybody leave me?" But nobody left; the child closed its eyes.

Now, the situation is not so simple. I can't simply say, "Open your eyes." You would if you could. Sometimes that reminder, "open your eyes," is sufficient. Sometimes it's not because there is resistance, bred by fear and habit.

What does it mean to open my eyes? If I see that glass of apple juice with sediment spinning around it, I might notice that the clear apple juice is there along with sediment. Now, I can't drink between the sediment drops. If I'm going to drink the clear apple juice I'm also going to have to take in the sediment. If you are going to touch on your own true divine nature, you can't just take in the clarity and say, "This is divine," you're also going to have to acknowledge and take in the shadow, to make peace with the shadow. Learn how not to enact the shadow in the world. Learn how to find space for that shadow and compassion for it. The same is true with your relation with other people. You see your friend who is so clear and now your friend is angry. You can't just take in the clear part of your friend. Can you make space for the angry part? But you don't want to do this so often. There is resistance and old habit.

You are so habituated to living in your own small prison, crying about your isolation from each other and from God but unable to step out of the present. Think of an egg. The egg exists in a shell. Within that shell the egg might have a sense of boundary, it's closed in. It's safe. The shell is designed to protect this maturing chicken. Or in the case of an unfertilized egg, it simply protects and gives form to the egg. It allows the egg a differentiated, individualized expression in the world. But the shell also limits the egg.

We spent some time with a friend this week liberating eggs, that is, just dropping them on the floor, splat. The shell cracks so the egg can emerge. We stirred several of them together. No more isolation. Freedom to be one's truest expression, relative, within the shell, and ultimate, free of the shell. Each egg is unique. If you make scrambled eggs, each egg has a part in that batch of eggs. The eggs are alike in their taste. When you bite into it, you can't say, "This bit came from that egg and that bit came from this egg." It's all stirred together. And yet you do have the recollection they were separate eggs. They seemed to be separate and now here they all are on a plate of scrambled eggs. What's going on? Is anything separate?

And yet, unless you have an enormous bird, you need several eggs to make scrambled eggs. And no matter how enormous the bird, if you're going to make scrambled eggs for twenty people you're going to need more than one egg. Individuated expressions. The ocean with its waves. Individuated expressions. The waves are not separate. The Buddha talks about the sea saying it has one taste. Each drop of the sea, each wave, one taste. And yet, here it may be white and frothy and there it might be calm. Here it may be deep and cold and there shallow and warm.

The wave is not the sea but there is no portion of the egg … please rephrase. This is what I get for mixing metaphors! I've fully confused this instrument! The wave is not the sea but there is no portion of the wave that is other than the sea. The egg, this individuated expression, is not the pan of scrambled eggs but when you break them and cook them, what you have is this collection of individuated expressions, taking on the new identity of omelet.

So we broke eggs, liberated them as I like to put it, and then considered the question, "What is my own personal shell about?" The shell is not identical to the contraction. A contraction is one form of shell, a way of protecting yourself, pulling back. As you experience with a loud noise, sometimes that contraction is the instinctive movement of mind and body. Habituated, yes. And yet, the body is trained to survive, to react to something thrown at it, whether vocal or physical.

It's so hard for you to conceive of being totally open and boundaryless, being the liberated egg. Very hard for you to conceive of letting go of a self that completely, that you willingly become the omelet. The predominant misunderstanding I see here is that you think that each egg has lost its selfhood and therefore has ceased to exist. But of course it exists; here is the omelet. The conditioned ceases. The Unconditioned, by its very nature, is without beginning or end.

The egg is not aware, it is not a sentient being unless it has become a fertilized egg growing into a chicken. The wave is not aware. You as human have this precious pure awareness. This is the divine essence and different religious and spiritual systems name it differently. When I use the term "pure awareness" it is not completely identical to the Christian idea of soul because soul is more often thought of as containing the mental and emotional bodies as well. This pure awareness mind does not even contain the mental body yet it is awareness, awareness aware of itself. Aware of being. Within this awareness is the ability to discriminate. There is the ability for intention. There is the ability for goodness borne on the intention of the loving heart.

A friend pointed out to me today how she had understood that this awareness does not die and is not born. She suddenly saw in her meditation how at the moment of death the awareness simply moves into a different phase of being. The body, the cells are always dying so at the moment of death, more cells die. But the awareness mind does not die. It is not born; it does not die. It Buddhism it is called the deathless.

You learn how to rest in this essence of being. It doesn't matter what you call it, doesn't matter what religious system serves as pathway to discovery of it. You learn to rest in this essence.

You hold on to the shell because you have not realized the essence. You try to maintain a sense of self based on the body, feelings, perceptions ,thoughts and consciousness because you mistakenly think this is who you are. But as soon as you know who you are, know this deathless, this radiant sacred heart, then you don't have to hold onto the shell any more. The shell maintains the form of the egg. If you lose the shell, the egg becomes formless. But this sacred heart is inherently formless. For what does it need form? Certainly the human needs that form because you've got to brush your teeth, feed the dog, call your mother and take out the trash. You want to hug your friends. The body serves a purpose. You've got to plan for what you will do the next day or the next moment. The mind serves a purpose. But don't mistake these for who you are.

You are sitting inside your eggshell and the mist seems thick, the shell seems opaque. You're afraid to let the shell go because you don't yet know what will be left. The dilemma is that the only way you can begin to truly know what is left is to have the faith to let go of that which you see is not the ultimate. I don't mean to harm it; to let go of identity with it. It takes tremendous faith. You have got to explore the conditioning that has led you so deeply into clinging to the body: perceptions, feelings, thoughts, to this whole stream of consciousness as self. You've got to investigate it deeply. And then, drop the egg-splat! There's freedom. No more shell. Liberated.

Begin to investigate this attachment to your shells. Don't bemoan your isolation but ask with courage and honesty, "Where do I get this illusion of separation, of isolation? What really keeps me separate?" The shell will break. The sun will dissolve the mist, and clarity will come. But first you have to understand the nature of the situation and how you have held yourselves into this prison, and that freedom is possible.

I thank you for your attention. After your break I will be very happy to speak to your questions. That is all.


Barbara: May I hear your questions?

M: In Theravada Buddhism, it's said the Buddha never spoke about what happens to a Buddha or an arhat after enlightenment. When I first heard of Aaron it surprised me and made me wonder. The Buddha never spoke on those questions because he said that type of speculation doesn't lead toward the goal. I'm wondering how Aaron's existence fits into that teaching.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Let's pretend, M, that we're neighbors. You live on an estate and it's walled in. There's a high brick wall between us, but there are some small chinks in the bricks so we can easily talk back and forth. You can't see me but you can hear me. You have never been off of your estate. I live on the grounds outside. Your estate has all kinds of wonders: beautiful gardens, trees. But there is no natural water. No stream, no pond. The biggest area of water you've ever seen is your sink, your shower.

You say to me one day, "Looking in my cup this morning, I speculate that there could be a natural container for water, big enough that I could jump in and have to move myself through it many body-lengths to reach the other side."

I say, "Oh yes, you're talking about a lake. I have one out here. I swim in it every day."

It's not in your direct experience. I don't ask you to take it on faith. It's enough that you see from your small cup that there's the possibility of the existence of a large body of water. But I'm not speculating about it, I'm not taking it on faith. It's my direct experience.

You within your human form cannot see beyond the wall. For me, beyond the limits of this human form I experience how things are from a broader perspective. I have no trouble knowing "I" exist and knowing that this "I" is simply a concept, that I hold "Aaron" together like the shell around the egg, inviting the mental body so that I can shape thoughts and transmit them. But there's no self to it. I can see very clearly from where I am. I have a memory of how this karmic stream moved through different experiences, how deeper and deeper reality revealed itself until there was a certainty about the nature of being, the nature of the universe, the nature of karma and so forth. I can remember when I first knew myself to be the wave, but made only of the water of the sea, when that identification shift occurred and "self" dissolved. I can remember how I then learned to use these aggregates as tools with which I could live with skill, still in a body but not identified to body or thoughts. Put in another way, I swim constantly in the lake of pure awareness.

The Buddha was so deeply compassionate he did not make faith a condition for the spiritual path. A useful tool, yes; but he did not ask people to accept things on faith. He was aware that everything you needed to know was available within your own experience. I agree with that. That's why I constantly tell people, "It doesn't matter if I'm real or not; use your own experience to decide if what I say rings true." And yet, I do exist! And I have no apology for that existence. It doesn't matter whether I'm real or not. What does "real" mean? But where would beings go when the body falls away? You understand the truth that everything in the conditioned realm dissolves and that the unconditioned does not dissolve. This pure awareness mind, which is of the nature of the Unconditioned-where would it go? Enlightened being simply continues. It's not self. It may at times utilize the tool of mental body as I do.

The Buddha did not talk about what happens after enlightenment because it is not information which is necessary to that enlightenment. Why burden you with it? I speak of it in part because questions such as yours arise, due to the nature of my being. But I also speak of it because I find it alleviates your fear that within "no self" you will annihilate yourself. Awareness continues. I seem to be-dare I say-"living" proof of that fact. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Barbara: Other questions?

K: Talking about eggs and shell-lessness, is it necessary or important that we first be self-aware or "someone" before we can be shell-less and "no one"?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Yes, it is an essential part of the process. You begin as shell-less, no self-awareness. There is this, what I have called undifferentiated awareness but it is not yet aware of awareness. There is this moment of seeming to come into a separate self, and the increasing sophistication of this self-awareness from the simplicity of the smallest animals, for example, into the increased sophistication of the human.

Having discovered that there is self-awareness and yet that there is no self, you break through that notion of self-awareness as ground for the belief in an independent self, begin to see that "self" was just a concept. It's only then that you can fully realize the ultimate and the relative.

In the beginning there is only resting in the ultimate, no knowledge of the relative. Then one becomes caught up in the relative, the "self." Finally there is understanding of how the relative is expression of the ultimate. You understand this first within the self, and then understand that it holds true for every relative expression of the Unconditioned. Then you are free, able to use every relative expression in service to all, to bless the relative and not fear it, to see the Divine in everything.

We spoke several weeks ago about individuated intention, that this intention arises in what seems to be the self and then is carried further into a place of selflessness and gives much greater power to the intention. The nature of the divine is to expand and express itself. Each unique individuated expression is exquisite. That is the way in which the Eternal and Unlimited expands Itself, on into infinity.

There is a question here; can there be a Limitless and Eternal expanding into infinity if it's already limitless? Does infinity have any meaning?

Think about darkness and light, each as an expression of the other; each gives the other shape and meaning. The earth, the sky, give each other shape and meaning. Each individuated expression of the divine helps to give shape and meaning to every other individuated expression, like painting all your fingernails different colors. If you've got four pink ones and one green one, it gives a different meaning to the four pink ones. And what if they're all five different colors? A garden of many colors and varieties of plants leads to greater awareness of the gift each one offers. One notices and appreciates each uniqueness.

So you've got to come through this process. Ultimately you come back into this place of no self but with enormous compassion, enormous love for the whole process of movement through the relative plane, and a deep wisdom that understands how everything arises and dissolves, how the flow of karma actually works. This wisdom and compassion are not wasted. They feed back into the infinite, expand the infinite.

This is a subject upon which I could speak at great length. Has this been sufficient answer for you?

This question and answer is not to be confused with the sometimes asked question as to whether there must be good self-esteem before one can experience "no-self" with clarity. That is a very different topic, on which I could also speak at length. I pause.

K: Aaron may have addressed this but … so then it is not possible to have incompletely experienced self in this relative reality that we live? There is no minimum requirement of identity or selfness in order to stably, in a stable way, move into the ultimate?

Aaron: I am Aaron. There are cases of beings who literally are enlightened into the full nature of being at the moment of finding self-awareness. They're not Bodhisattvas, though, in the usual sense of that word. They still have to test what they see. It's one thing to have the concept and another to be able to enact it on the relative plane. So even such a being who at the moment of self-awareness has a complete breakthrough of seeing just how things are, how it moved into self-awareness, what its true nature is on the ultimate level, then still has to come into incarnation and test it. It's like learning to swim in a still swimming pool, and on shore, practicing the motion of the strokes. You think you're a good swimmer now. Well you've still got to jump into the river and see if you can do it in the current. What happens when you try that? Does fear come up and push you back into the notion of limitation? Do you see what I mean?

Another aspect of what you have called the "incompletely experienced self," is that that self may experience itself as limited, not whole. Then it seeks the Ultimate as escape from its sense of fragmentation. It may not then be able to use its experience of the ultimate in a stable way, but seeks to hide what it sees as its deformity. It has not yet fully experienced the truth of its being. Such insight shatters the sense of unwholeness. But it may cling to the illusion of no-self, without full experience. This touches on the question of self-esteem I mentioned above. It is a different, although related, topic. I pause.

Barbara: Aaron says the theory is fascinating but let's also talk about how this applies to daily life.

K: There are times when I feel a kind of calm, even an absence or near-absence of thought. But it sometimes has a disconnected or stagnant quality to it. It is a kind of interesting altered state but it does not feel really fully alive. Could Aaron speak about that?

Barbara: He asks if he may have your permission, K, to look in the Akashic records to see for himself the nature of your experience? (Yes.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. K, these glass block windows let in light (pointing to windows in the meditation hall). You've been here in the daytime. You can see through them, you can see the shadows of trees, but you could not recognize them as trees if you did not know what was beyond the window. You can see nuances of color but everything is distorted by the thickness of the block, of the glass.

Here within the room, let us say here within relative reality, everything is sharp and clear. Let us pretend there are no other windows in the room, not this big sliding door or the windows on the other side, just the glass blocks. Let us further pretend that you had never been outdoors nor seen through a window. The room is your world. Everything that you seem to need in your life is there and yet there is not as much light as you would like. The light shines through the window; it fascinates you.

You are drawn to the light and sometimes you sit and face the light. You notice how sometimes brilliant light shines through from some source as yet unknown to you. Sometimes it's dull, gray. There are interesting forms moving beyond the glass block, almost seen. And yet, when you sit and face those glass block windows, there might be a sense of peace and possibility, of joy. But it's limited. You've not moved through the glass, you've not had a direct experience of what is through the glass, only enough of a taste of it to know that it's there.

There are two parts to my response then. One, that what you describe, that peace and calmness, these are the fruits of glimpsing the ultimate. But it feels stagnant because it's still conceptual, because it's not yet a direct experience of the ultimate. The second part of my answer is that you would benefit to reflect deeply that this peace and calm seem to be a way to get a taste of the ultimate without risking what might seem to be annihilation of self. So it seems like a safe but bland taste of the ultimate. Eventually you've got to put that safety aside and break through to directly taste it. Investigate and see what attachment there might be to this calm and peace, even though it does seem bland. In what way does it feel unsafe to break through the windows? This answer is especially to K. Others may find this same experience for related but non-identical reasons, for example, a kind of lethargy state, what we call "sinking mind." Here the antidote is to bring in more precise mindfulness and more energy.

Does this sufficiently answer your question? I pause.

Barbara: Aaron asks, what about this shell? What does it mean to break the shell? He's asking you each to consider, what if I were not in this shell? What might I experience? What wonders might I experience and what fears might I experience? What if you break out?

R: I find that the more my heart opens, there is a kind of a breaking point, and there is a kind of transparency I feel, like all of the energies are entering in, I'm not protected from the sufferings in the world. And I'm keenly aware that all is impermanent and fleeting. And so my feeling about that is really a very tender sadness. I think that there are many levels, I feel many levels of sadness and unhappiness; this is a particular kind of sadness. And it's not necessarily connected with self-protection but rather with ultimate protection. I wonder whether Aaron can comment on that kind of pain.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Think of a being who has a lovely woods behind his house. He does not understand at all the cycle of birth and death, neither in the deepest sense nor in the relative sense that dying trees rot into the soil and feed the soil; no understanding of this. One day a terrible storm comes and blows down all his trees. He grieves, "I have lost my woods." No, he's lost his trees but he hasn't lost his woods. The woods are simply at a different stage of their growth cycle. But he grieves because he loves his trees and he lost his trees. And he grieves also because he thinks he has no more woods. He has a certain expectation of how woods should be and they no longer are that way.

A few years pass. Perhaps just a winter passes. In the spring he goes out to see what used to be his woods. And on this beautiful spring day there are sprouts growing from around the roots of the fallen trees. From places where the trees are beginning to decay into the ground. A rebirth: the woods are coming back. Very tiny as yet, very fragile. So he's gained a bit of deepened insight. He starts to see how things die and are reborn, that things simply move into a different stage in the cycle of their expression of being.

He may not live in his home long enough to see the woods come back into full expression and be tossed to the ground again by a storm and grow back again and die again. But if he could see all that he would start to have a still greater perspective about the eternalness of this process, not just repeated once but repeated over and over and over.

You have a level of clarity. You've come to understand how things are, that things are impermanent. You understand the arising of sorrow and yet you are not overly identified with that arising as self. You allow that experience to move through you. And yet, you do not yet have the ultimate perspective. The relative mind, the opacity of the mist, comes back and confuses you so that you think you have lost what you loved. The body contracts in fear. It repeats the cycle again and again. Today you told me how you were reconnected with a being that you loved. There was joy. And I rejoice with you. But by now you know the cycle. Sometimes there will be experience of deep connection, sometimes you will not deeply experience that connection. When you don't experience it, you despair, just as our landowner despaired when his forest was knocked down by the storm.

The difficulty is that in human experience, living in a human body, it's very difficult to constantly retain the mountaintop perspective, and it's hard to maintain it even for short duration without hiding away there from the difficulties and pains of the relative experience. But to hide away in the ultimate is as unfruitful as to hide in the relative. To hide in the relative leads to despair. To hide in the ultimate leads to an ending to the growth of compassion. You have got to stay connected to both.

Your highest intention, all of you, is not merely to be safe and comfortable but to fully realize the fruit of this human existence, to bring wisdom, compassion, kindness, to bear here on the relative plane. To learn unconditional love, this whole sequence of gain and loss, pleasure and pain. Most of you have grown past the place where you hold attachment to pleasure, gain and comfort. You're happy, you rejoice when you have comfort and gain but you've moved past despair when you don't have it. And yet there is still not full clarity. You do tend to get stuck. There is still somebody who is trying to be skillful, somebody who thinks she is the center of all these experiences.

I think this is most of what this is about, R, finding more spaciousness, kindness, and equanimity with the human who gets stuck. The trees are gone. Grieve. They mowed down a hundred oaks just beyond this yard, big and beautiful trees, and leveled the ground, truly raped the field to create a housing development. This instrument wept. And yet, on the ultimate level, the field is just experiencing a new birth, a different part of its existence where it now bears homes instead of woods, bears humans instead of animals. From the ultimate perspective it's simply movement, impermanence.

May I speak further here, R, to a specific question or is this sufficient? I pause.

R: I guess when Buddhism talks about the cessation of suffering, I feel it talks about certain kinds of suffering. I don't feel that there is a total cessation of suffering. I feel that it just goes to another level of awareness. Maybe more cosmic or more all-inclusive or something.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Not at all. I tell you from my personal experience there is complete freedom from suffering. But there is not complete freedom from sadness. I am sad when I see the horrors that beings enact upon one another. When I see the terrible pain created on the Earth through fear and lack of understanding, it makes me very sad. I weep. But I'm not suffering. Can you understand how that can be so? Instead of suffering because things are not as I envision they could be, my compassion and my wisdom both deepen. I see precisely how beings are stuck. I see that I cannot rescue them. I see the ways that they are learning and feel hope, and the pain caused by the slowness of that learning and feel grief. And I feel enormous compassion for all of us that this is so. And yet, from my perspective I also see that beings are learning and growing, that there is far more light in the universe than there once was.

I'm not suffering. Nor did I suffer as a human at the end of my final lifetime. My wisdom and compassion have deepened since that time, but that human who became fully realized, or in another way of saying it, fully understood how things are right here and right now at every level of being, he wasn't suffering any more. I pause.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron. He says, this is a process. Don't despair, "I'll never understand it." Just keep going.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Imagine you're cooking and your kitchen fills up with smoke because something burns; the whole house is filled with black smoke; the smoke alarms are ringing, and all of your windows are sealed shut for the winter. You have only one small window that opens. You open it and slowly, ever so slowly the air clears. You don't say, "The air will never be clear! I despair!" You note the air is a bit clearer now than it was an hour ago. And two hours later it's still a bit clearer. It will take as long as it takes for the smoke to disperse.

When you are attached and feel the smoke must disperse now, you're going to suffer. If you run around frantically looking for another window that's not sealed and feel anger and frustration that there is none, you suffer. When you look around the house and you see there's just one window and it only opens so much, this is how things are. For awhile there will be smoke; slowly it will pass away. This isn't resignation, this is being present with what is. Certainly if there's another window you can open up, you do it. That's skillful action. If there is no other window, then there is no other window. Not resignation but wisdom.

Your confusion is smoke. Your desire is smoke. Your spiritual practice is the open window. There will be clarity. Right now you suffer, in part, not because of the things that pain you, nor even just because you so badly want them to be different, but also because you so badly want suffering to cease.

This is a natural desire. No one wants to suffer. But do be patient, persevere in your practice, and trust the process. I pause.

Barbara: Others?

K2: My question is about love. Sometimes I feel unlovable and sometimes I feel like a failure at loving. And in those times I despair. I'd like to know more about what love really is and how it works.

Barbara: Aaron says, in twenty-five words or less? (Laughter.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. Love is the movement of the open heart wherein fear dissolves, and with no fear, judgment, anger and condemnation dissolve. With wisdom, with presence, with kindness, one begins to see deeply into how everything arises including negative thought, anger, fear, greed. One realizes that these arose because the conditions were present for them to arise. One ceases to try to attack the results of those conditions and instead brings one's attention to the conditions. If the plant here dies, if the leaves begin to wither, this instrument will not shake the plant and tell it, "You should live!" She will ask, "Does it need more water? Does it need more light? What are the conditions leading to this slow dying of the plant?" and will seek to tend to those conditions. This is the movement of love. It doesn't get caught in fear, "Oh woe is me, my plant is dying," it asks, "What are the conditions that are leading to this?"

To ask that question it must have learned how to relate to its fear, its fear of loss or harm, or that it will not get what it needs. It relates skillfully to the contraction of fear and with mind-training, learns to bring its mind back and look at the roots. When you are that present, to see the roots, this is the movement of love.

You began with a statement that sometimes you do not feel worthy of being loved or capable of loving. This learning is part of the process. One looks at that which seems unlovable in the self and begins to realize, "These are the movements and results of conditions. If I do not feel lovable because sometimes I'm angry or greedy or judgmental, instead of condemning myself that these qualities are present, can I see them as expression of certain conditions and begin to ask after the conditions?"

As soon as you do that, you have said no to fear, no to the voice that says, "I must fix this anger or greed or judgment." No, I will not get caught up in fear's voice. Instead I will turn my attention to the roots of these conditions, to the intensity of my desire to be good and loving in the world, to the illusion that God and I are separate, to the illusion that the goodness and the negative emotion in me are dual. I will turn my attention to these delusions and how they arose, how they became fixated into my mind. I will aspire more deeply to understand this truth of how things are just now, to open my heart. With that simple decision, saying no to fear and turning back to ask, "What gave rise to this anger? What gave rise to this fear?" right there you are practicing love and the practice of love will only take you deeper and deeper into the experience of love, and thus into not being so caught in fear.

Love is the natural condition of your being. Fear obscures it. Attend to the fear and you will again experience love. This is not the grasping mind that sometimes passes as "love," but the fully open heart which is the loving heart. I pause.

Barbara: We have time for one more question, I think.

K: How should we look at our connection with biological evolution on Earth and how our current human form is related to that evolution?

Aaron: I am Aaron. It really is a matter of intention, K. You create a form that gives the illusion of limitations because there's a use to live within that illusion. When you cease to have any need of that illusion, then I think you're going to find yourself expressing your energy here on a physical plane in a much more energetic way and a much less form-contained way. Many of you are already learning this, just aware of and sensitive to the energy of beings around you, human and otherwise. You are aware if you walk into a room in your home and one plant is ailing; it calls out to you. You feel its energy. If your friend is sad, you feel that energy. But you're still holding tight to these human forms because you still think they are necessary, and for most of you they are. This whole move of Earth into fourth density experience is going to be one of letting go of the forms, and it's not going to follow a very slow biological progression, I might suggest, but is going to be what may seem radically fast.

Now, I don't mean you're going to go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning simply being energy and light. I'm talking here of lifetimes, not hours. But a few lifetimes is very fast when you think of millennia. The whole process of evolution will change radically, will seem to speed up radically because the intention is what creates the form, and when you no longer have a need to hold to that form, that intention will create the new form. I pause.

Barbara: He asks, does that seem unbelievable to you? (Laughter) He says you can hang onto the form as long as you like but after awhile will think, "Who needs it?" He says, nevertheless the form is not bad. He has wonderful memories of sipping cognac and watching butterflies!

He says this shift is not a matter of getting rid of anything. It's more like holding a form/thought such as anger and then realizing you don't need that. You naturally release it.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would say this myself. Perhaps somebody seemed to do something harmful to you. Blamed you in a certain way and told others you were to blame, accused you. You felt a lot of pain, a lot of judgment. And then you came to understand how that person had reacted unskillfully to his own pain and confusion and things that he had heard, passing on what he had heard about you. Looking for an outlet for his own frustration and anger, he spoke unskillfully. It doesn't justify what he did. He still is responsible for having lied, misused his anger, done harm. But suddenly with that insight your own judgment and anger at him just dissolves. It dissolves because there is no longer an intention to get even, there is an intention to understand and heal. As soon as the intention to heal is present and insight is present, there's nothing to hold the anger in place and it dissolves.

The physical body is the same, K. Once there is no longer need for the body, it's going to dissolve. The energy and light that you are can experience beauty. It may not have a nose to smell flowers, it may receive that scent through different means. It may not have eyes to see, it may experience visual beauty through different means. It does not mean this essence of being will cease to become responsive to beauty, it will just experience it differently in much the way you experience deeply loving energy when you walk into a room where such energy is present. You don't experience it with a physical sense but you know it's there. You are losing nothing but the eggshell. That is all.

Barbara: He says, but don't look around worrying, "Tomorrow morning am I going to wake up without a body?" That is not going to happen! Not this year, not this decade, probably not this century.

Let us spend just two or three minutes in quiet meditation.

(Joys and sorrows; meditation.)

Aaron: (Short pauses between phrases.) I am Aaron. I would like you to, with your fingertips, to touch the floor if you are sitting on a cushion or to touch the chair or your seat if you're sitting on a chair. Allow your energy to run through your fingers out into the chair or floor. If through the chair then down to the floor. Picture the earth under this room. Let your energy run right down into the earth. Send it down, deep. Feel the stirrings of the earth energy right there in your fingertips, and as you bring in, draw the earth energy back up into yourself. Breathing out, sending your energy down into the earth. Breathing in, drawing the earth's energy up into yourself.

(Long pause.)

Repeat it. Breathing in and out. Drawing in, then releasing; your energy, earth energy. (Pause) Feel yourself to be a living, flowering plant rooted in the earth, drawing up the essence of the earth into your being and drawing sunshine in also. (Pause) Releasing. Releasing this essence back out into the earth. (Pause) Feel the soft breezes sway you, sway a bit with it. (Pause) Feel the warm sunshine. Drink deeply of the water. Feel this deep earth energy. (Pause) Slowly allow your separation to dissolve. You are not a flower on the earth, you are a floral expression of the earth and of the sun and rain and air. (Pause)

Releasing separation. Releasing boundaries. (Pause) You are each of the elements, all of the elements. You are the divine center of everything. You are home. A divine dance of the elements and of the Unconditioned itself. You are no longer a flower, you are the seas, the sky, the sun and the entire earth. You are in ten billion places over the earth, in every form and color. (Pause)

Just be there in the spaciousness for a moment, resting. Getting to know your true being.

(Long pause.)




I thank you for sharing yourselves this evening. I love each of you, as do so many beings on so many planes. My wish for you is that you learn that you are love, not just loved but Love itself. That is all.

(Taping ends.)

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky