January 19, 2000

Aaron: I am Aaron. Good evening and my love to you all. It is a joy to gather here with you to hear your questions, to share your deep intention to live your lives with kindness and with love.

(Pause to turn down lights; someone arrives.)

I thank you. I was about to remark that we had something unique tonight, which was a gathering of women! L, we welcome you into that gathering! We would speak to the feminine side of your nature also, as all of you truly are androgynous and have some balance of masculine and feminine within you.

Each of you is unique. Each of you is searching to understand your own deepest truth and to know how to enact that truth in the world. Each of you reverberates most deeply to different paths, different teachers, but you are all seekers. What do you seek? Some, in the Buddhist tradition, would say they seek enlightenment, but you cannot "get" what is already your own true nature. Rather, you might state your journey's goal as to come to know that true nature, the Buddha nature or Christ Consciousness, and to learn how to enact that nature in the world, even with the arisings of negative emotion-of fear, of anger and desire, even with the myriad pains of the body.

I like to call you angels in earthsuits. Each of you at some time in your life have been in touch with that innermost spirit, that clarity and love I call "the angel." And undeniably there is the earthsuit, sometimes very joyous, sometimes very troublesome. Your path regardless of what specific religious tradition you follow, is about finding a balance between the human experience and divine experience, not hiding in either extreme but bringing them into expression together.

For some of you, it's very easy to get lost in the human experience and you despair of ever being able to manifest this divinity. Others of you tend to space out a bit, to move easily into very high energy states where you rest in a space of clarity and light, and therein find refuge from the human difficulties. Refuge is fine, it's wonderful when you have a refuge. But it must not become a hiding place that denies the experience of the human because it is this experience that teaches you.

You each have your own lessons and different forms which those lessons take. For some of you the issue is relationship. For others it may be an emotion like working with impatience, desire, jealousy, shame or greed, or mental states like unworthiness or helplessness. For some it might be the issue of separation, feeling separate from other humans, separate from God.

These lessons are numberless, so I give you only a few examples. Those learning about separation, may learn it through loneliness or through intense experiences of connection. Even in those intense experiences of connection, there are moments when you seem to pull apart. You may begin to investigate the barricades you create around yourself. To understand that these barricades are not real in any ultimate way but are a created expression of your fear. Relationship may offer various kinds of teachings. Angry relationships, loving relationships, relationships with a partner, a parent, a beloved friend, a child -they are all teachers of who you are and who the other is, the opportunity to find the Divine in all that is.

Each of you has certain hereditary tendencies. When I say hereditary, I don't mean tendencies that your parents passed down to you, although that is also true. I mean your own tendencies that you inherited from yourself, from year to year, from birth to birth if you are comfortable with the idea of rebirth. As a child, perhaps, you had a sibling who teased you. Perhaps you learned that if you ignored the teasing he would stop. Perhaps great anger arose in you at being teased and you learned that the more you enacted that anger, the more you were teased. So you learned to move into a shell, to deny the teasing and to deny your anger. The experience becomes conditioned in you so that when there is a difficult situation in your life, your first reaction is to move into that shell.

Another of you may have learned in that kind of early childhood experience to be the strong and dominant one and speak up for yourself, to refuse to allow yourself to hear another because to hear felt weak, and your intention was to be strong. So that's another kind of pattern you could be living in your life, a habitual tendency.

Some of you are the fixers. You look out at a beautiful scene and think, "If only that tree were three feet over to the right, it would be perfect." Mind starts spinning. "How can I move the tree? Is it too big to transplant?" You're always rearranging, an habitual tendency.

Some of you have learned a kind of withdrawal which sees the beautiful scene and really doesn't see the dead tree or the misplaced tree in the middle. You screen it out totally and if another mentions it to you later, you reply, "What dead tree?" For you, it really did not appear. Some of you have learned a pattern of helplessness. Looking at the same scene, seeing the tree that is disturbing to the view, that cuts right into the middle of the view, you ask another, "Well, what are you going to do about the tree?"

My dear ones, none of these patterns are bad. They are simply habitual patterns, but you get stuck in them and then you begin to identify with them, to use them in ways that are unskillful in your human relationships.

Many of you are working with intensive meditation practice. By intensive-let me put it a different way-daily meditation practice. A type of meditation which allows you more closely to see these kinds of tendencies without the idea, "I have to fix it," without judging the tendency but simply seeing the unskillful patterns that grow up out of these old ways of being, and knowing them as what they are, the product of old conditioning.

The benefit of this kind of work is that you begin to cut the identity with yourself as being the powerful or the helpless one, the good or the unworthy one, the one who has to hide or the one who has to control, you begin to see these states of mind come up and just say, "Oh, here's that again." You stop believing that this is who you are and begin to know these mind movements simply as conditioned movements, like the wave that moves over the surface of the lake because the wind blows. When the wind blows hard from the north, the waves will roll from north to south. You don't stand there and say, "The waves shouldn't be rolling," you simply note, "There are waves. If there's something on the south beach that's fragile, I'd better move it." When the wind stops, the waves will stop. Thus, you act responsibly and attend to the world but without the contractions of fear and judgment. You need neither to stop the waves nor pretend they don't exist. There is full presence and loving response.

Now, eventually in your spiritual practice you do need to address the wind, or phrased differently, to address the conditions for anger, fear, shame, greed and such. You stop looking at the waves because you know that they are simply the results of conditions. You stop judging these various reactions to the world. But nevertheless, if they continue they can cause a lot of pain. So eventually you do need to look at the conditions which gave rise to these waves. One of the predominant conditions is this entire delusion of being separate, which indeed you are on the relative plane. But you forget your divinity and this essence of being; you forget who you are. So to work skillfully with that condition which gives rise to unskillful or painful experience, you must begin to investigate this whole sense of separation.

Another condition which is as frequent as the delusion of separate self is the condition of fear. Now fear itself is conditioned by this idea of being somebody separate, so that you move into the "me" and "them" way of thinking, but again, in relative life there is a me and a them and you are in a relative human experience. When somebody seems to be pushing you, to be aggressive toward you, it's a pointless rationalization to say, "Well, there's really nobody separate." Maybe there's not, but she's still pushing! It's still painful, and it triggers whatever habitual tendencies you have, to control or to strike back, or to disappear. Then fear arises. The difficulty is not that it did arise. When the conditions are present, the result will arise. The difficulty is in how you relate to that fear. Fear does not have to be a catalyst for anger, withdrawal or other painful states. It can be a catalyst for compassion. This, also, you can learn! But to do so, you must more fully find the foundation of your divinity; you must come to know your whole self, human and divine.

How do you find a bridge between the relative human and this divine and holy spirit? How do you find a bridge between all the various aspects of yourself?

I said I wanted to address tonight, in part, something that we've never talked about before. Each of you is comprised of both masculine and a feminine energy. It may be 50-50, it may be 90-10, it may be 10-90. But all but one of you in this room have incarnated into a female body and there's some reason for that. You may or may not feel that you fit into this body.

Some of those who claim equality of the sexes and no difference between the sexes would have my head if I had one. But there is a difference. Masculine energy, as I see it when I scan a room this is not the energy I see coming out of men, I see it in men and women and it is that portion of the energy field that I think of as masculine-is very direct. Masculine energy picks up a project and stays with that project. It's very powerful because of its staying power, but its weakness is that it doesn't know how to move gently from one spot to another.

What I think of as feminine energy is a kind of nurturing energy that tends to this and tends to that. It stirs the pot on the stove with one hand and finishes typing the paper with the other hand. Dries the child's runny nose and goes with the screwdriver to fix the flapping door. It's constantly moving to whatever is predominant, tending to it. Its strength is its ability to touch everything without fear. Its weakness is its hesitancy to follow through to the end, lest it leave something else undone.

Some of you are wondering why I am calling this masculine vs. feminine energy, rather than simply energy form A and energy form B. I acknowledge that many men will manifest much more this I have called feminine energy and many women, what I have called masculine energy. So why am I giving them these names?

These patterns do not derive only from humans, nor animals with a masculine/feminine sexual side. These patterns are visible in the Earth itself. We call nature "Mother Nature." It's everywhere. We think of the sea as a "she," with waves and tides touching everywhere. Sometimes mountains are seen as masculine: solid, strong, present. I am not attached to calling it masculine or feminine. It will be fine with me to call it energy form A and energy form B and simply to point out that each of you have some balance of these.

But many of you are caught in the questions of masculine/feminine energy, and many of you get into a kind of war with yourself, with this strong direct side of yourself and this moving and nurturing side. This disturbance between these two aspects of your being is one of the predominant habitual tendencies I see in present day humans. I think it's very telling that there has been so much attention given in the past decades to obliterating the ideas of masculine work and feminine work. And certainly I am not stating that there is any such thing as masculine and feminine work. A man can tend children and all sorts of growing things with great tenderness and offer his energy in a nurturing way. A woman can be strong, physically, mentally and emotionally.

The difficulty I see is that so many of you are at war with these different aspects of your personality and have the idea that you have to be one way or the other. Have to justify the way you are or change the way you are. You do not give yourself the opportunity to fully develop both aspects of being.

For many of you, your relationships become a testing ground for these different aspects of your energy. If you have a preconceived idea that you should be one way or the other, either that you should overcome the gentle, nurturing side of your personality and be strong and directed or that you should overcome the one-focused side and be more flexible and soft, often you find yourself in a relationship with somebody who either seems at variance with your plan or very attached to your plan and pushing you in that direction. The real issue is that you don't have the opportunity to discover this wonderful balance in your being, to find the tremendous beauty of your true nature as both masculine and feminine.

For the majority of you in this room today, you have manifest in female bodies. This is an invitation to this kind of nurturing energy to flow. Even if you feel uncomfortable in that female body, it's a wonderful opportunity to observe this sense of really being the mother, the mother earth, giving rise to trees and flowers, grass and butterflies, so much richness to pour out of you. You become afraid of that and you close in and you say, "No! I am going to manifest instead the strong masculine side." You see the masculine strength from those around you who most strongly express that strength. And some of you erroneously believe that that is better, that you should exhibit that strong masculine strength. Or else you believe you must cling to the feminine and caste away all token of the masculine. Many men experience the reverse, either seeking to know the feminine side, or adamantly clinging to only the masculine.

What would the balance feel like?

I began this talk with the discussion of the relative and ultimate being. The ultimate being knows itself to be androgynous. It is not afraid of, nor attached to, the masculine or the feminine in itself. It is not afraid of, nor attached to, its gentleness or its power. But the human becomes so easily disoriented and attached, not only to the form of energy, masculine or feminine, but to the expressions of that energy through anger or kindness, through generosity or self-centeredness.

One of you is asking, am I saying anger or kindness are inherently masculine or feminine? Of course not. Masculine energy has its way of expressing kindness and so does feminine energy. Masculine energy can become distorted into anger and so can feminine energy. That's not what I'm saying.

To rephrase, just as you can become disoriented into an identification of the self as being more masculine or more feminine, stronger or gentle and nurturing, and may either find attachment or aversion to that identity, so you also find attachment or aversion to different kinds of identities as being the powerful one, the humble one, the good one, the controlling one, the one who has nothing to fear because you are so strong, the one who is weak and seeks protection; you get caught in all of these identities. As soon as you're caught, you lose the truth of who you are in this deepest place of being because the divine self is not either/or weak or strong, generous or stingy. These kinds of terms can't apply to that inner essence.

You use your polarity, if I may use that term, clinging to notions of who you think you are, could be, will not be, can not be … and lost in that confusion with polarity, you lose the fullness of the true self.

You go through your life being snatched by this idea and that idea. Something triggers anger or generosity, compassion or greed and then you move out and grab hold of that, "This is who I am, and I like it" or "I don't like it." You keep grabbing hold and letting go, taking on this mask and throwing it away, taking on that mask and throwing it away. When are you going to be done with it? So many of you come to me in sorrow, even despair, saying, "I do not like who I am." Or if you like who you are, "I wish I could be better. I wish I could get rid of my anger, rid of my fear, rid of this and that tendency."

Fine! If you have ants in your kitchen, what you need to do is clean up the spilled food. If there are various tendencies which are uncomfortable for you, don't perpetuate the relationship with those tendencies by thinking, "This is good. I need to hold onto it." Or "This is bad and I need to get rid of it." But look at what gives rise to those tendencies. As you do that you begin to become more in touch with this divine essence.

That which observes fear arising in the self is not fear, it's an innate clarity which is an expression of your divine essence. That which observes anger arising in the self is not anger, it's that same innate clarity. Do you want to nurture your kindness? But how often do you note to yourself after a kind act or words, "Ah, in this moment there was kindness." You note all the time, "I was not kind." You could do twenty small, kind deeds, and just shrug and take it for granted, and then do one slightly selfish deed and chastise yourself for an hour. When do you begin to notice the kindness?

I want to come back to feminine energy here. It doesn't matter whether the listener is male or female. This very kind, nurturing energy is so beautiful. Each of you has it and has the ability to express it. Not only the ability, but you do express it. And then so many of you are dissatisfied with yourselves. I would ask you to try something, just for an experiment in the coming week. When you find yourself moving into this sort of touching-nurturing, moving from flower to flower as a bee does when it pollinates, moving from object to object as the farmer does when he weeds and fertilizes, when you find yourself moving like that in the world, stop and let yourself connect with that of the Mother Earth within you, with this wonderful life-generating, love-generating energy that's pouring out of you.

When you feel strong, very focused and directed, feel yourself like the mountain. The mountain doesn't care if rain falls upon it or if the scorching sun shines for weeks on end. Hail, lightning-it doesn't matter, the mountain just sits there. The equanimity of the mountain is neither masculine nor feminine, but the solid presence of the mountain is a very masculine energy, and this presence is a ground for equanimity. Become aware of that. Begin to appreciate these two wonderful tendencies in yourself. See what you can do to resolve the criticism, "I should be this way; I should be that way," but instead begin to nurture the fullness of yourself.

Strong anger is a kind of masculine energy. I want to emphasize that anger is not bad; anger is only energy. Anger does not have to explode and do harm. Anger does not have to blame others or fling its energy outwards. Anger can be a ground for compassion. When you feel that kind of strong anger arising in you, ask yourself how that anger can be fed back in a nurturing way, like the earth pouring back the dead leaves into the soil. How it can be fed back to become a nurturing element for all beings, so that you cease to fear your anger.

When present with strong focus with a task, look for attachment to that focus. Appreciate the focus and see that to soften at the edges does not destroy the focus but gives it even greater power. When the heart is very open, touching everything with kind attention, feel the true strength in this nurturing heart.

In any strong energy that arises, see the masculine aspect of it and ask, "Where is the balance? Where is the feminine aspect of it?" and vice versa. This is a wonderful practice. It will take you much deeper into the heart of yourself.

You are searching for balance. There are all kinds of extremes that will arise in you from a lethargy to high activity; from very soft, gentle meekness to great strength and anger. Bring awareness in as this wide diversity of ways of being in the world arises in you. That which observes these arising energies without identification to them as self, without needing to own them, this is the centered space. Begin to cut the identity and attachments and aversions to the various energies and simply use them as the gift of being.

Begin to see all these myriad ways of being in the world from this place of center which observes it all with a spaciousness, not caught in an identity with it, but just watching how the various attachments and aversions pull you out of balance. Add what's needed to bring you back into balance. Watch what pulls you out of balance in the other direction and add what's needed to bring you back again. This is a dance which you learn, swaying to the movement of the winds of the world, deeply rooted in your true being. This essence of being knows what is needed. Trust this innate wisdom and goodness in yourself. Trust that which I call the angel.

I will be happy to talk to your questions after your social time. I pause.

Q: In my own life, I have seen a fair amount of gender fluidity. Some sliding back and forth between different gender expressions, and always felt that to be fine. But some people have a lot of problems with that … People seem to think that everyone needs to do it in the same way. But I have always allowed for movement.

Barbara: Aaron asks, does their expectation, or their anger if you don't meet their expectation, disturb you?

Q: The anger is difficult, especially when it is the expression of society as a whole.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Society as a whole can only learn through the individuated parts. If you burn a finger, the whole hand learns to be careful with the fire. But one finger must first experience the burning. For burning there must be a fire. Some beings seem to have offered themselves as that fire, in service-to-others learning. In return they have the opportunity to experience acceptance/non-acceptance.

This issue seems to me as much directed toward your own desire not to disappoint people as toward any questions of gender or gender-energy. But of course you cannot live your life simply trying not to disappoint people because if you disappoint one to please another, if you then seek to please the one you disappointed, you'll disappoint the first. Acceptance and rejection, praise and blame, just keep bringing you back to being true to yourself. You are, in my opinion, doing very well with that being true to yourself. What about this need to please people? What can be learned from that? Can there be more compassion for this human that you are that, try as hard as you will, cannot please everybody? Can you finally give up living in any way to try to be the good one who pleases people so you can make them happy, and realize that nobody can make anybody else happy, but that if you live your life with kindness and goodness, this is the greatest give you can give others, even if they don't seem to appreciate it at the moment.

You have all experienced those who tell you of their anger at another and want you to join in, to criticize and blame the other, even hate the other. Which is the greater gift, your willingness to do as they ask or your willingness to stay true to the movement of kindness and compassion of your own heart and not join them in their anger? At first they will not appreciate this, will then blame you. It is difficult; but which is the greatest gift? People want you to be who they want you to be in this moment, but five minutes later they want you to be the opposite! I pause.

Barbara: He says, can you see the distinction between your simply being who you are, trying to be honest with who you are, and other people's view of who you should be? Who you are certainly changes from time to time and each time it changes, other people get upset; how do you relate to their upset? Can you relate to that from that center place of who you are?

Q: I reserve the right to change. And other people's reaction to that is much more disturbing than the shift itself.

Aaron: I am Aaron. People seek safety and they believe that safety is in stability and no change. You return to a place you visited and you want it to be just like it was when you left. You come back to a beloved friend and you want them to be just as they were when you last saw them. But of course, such grasping after what would seem to be a stable or safe experience is a part of the voice of fear that believes that it will not be safe unless it has some kind of permanence. And in that belief there is enormous suffering, because try as hard as you will, you cannot hold the world from changing. You cannot hold people from changing. To try to do that within yourself so as to please another is both an unkindness to yourself, asking yourself not to be true to yourself and your experience, and it's also an unkindness to another because it gives them a false hope that there is something permanent.

Now, when I say there is nothing permanent, that's not quite so. There's nothing in this conditioned world, no kind of thought or physical object which is permanent. But there are certain things like kindness, generosity, caring, unconditional love, which really are permanent, and in which we can take refuge. This is the greatest gift you can give, the willingness to have enough kindness to another not to need to live your life around their fear. Here are permanence and refuge, the centered and loving heart, the wisdom and compassion heart! Do you understand? I pause.

Q: Yes, I think I understand. To protect someone else would be to deny them the opportunity to grow and find their own peace.

Aaron: More than that; to protect someone by shifting moment to moment to try to be who they want you to be, to try to reflect their moods and emotions, is to be the changing element that they most fear. To stay centered asks them to look at their grasping for support, which is a gift, but also reflects to them this "true nature" of lovingkindness which is the refuge. It reminds them that they can open to this nature in themselves.

Barbara: My boys are all grown. They have certain images of Momma, who I am. They were shocked when they all got home on December 22 and there wasn't a great big cookie jar of chocolate chip cookies. They thought, "What? You didn't make cookies?"

And I said, "I haven't had time."

"But you always make cookies!"

"Well, I didn't this year. I didn't have time." I had thought about it the week before they came home, that they were all going to be disappointed. But that's not where I am right now. Now, it's fine for me to bake cookies for them if I want to bake cookies for them, and there is time to do it and there's joy in doing it. But it's not fine for me to bake cookies because I should bake cookies. It deprives them of an important lesson of seeing I'm free to be who I am. I don't have to do anything just because it's an old pattern. This is a very simple example of all kinds of really abusive, unhealthy co-dependent situations, where we do things for people because we think we should do them, but there's no love in it. We don't give people truth and our authenticity but give them our fear and need to please.

And then, what I think Aaron is saying-I don't catch everything he says as I channel, so I may be off a little-he was saying your kindness sometimes has to say no. But what you're giving them is the permanency of kindness rather than the false permanency of acting the way they feel you should act.


Q: How does a person know when they are on a spiritual path?

Aaron: I am Aaron. My friend, life is a spiritual path. You can't get off of the spiritual path! When life ceases and you're in that place between births, that's also a spiritual path. You are what I call a spiritual being. I see four bodies, the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body which gives rise to thoughts, and the spirit body. The spirit body continues throughout, from one birth to another. You have a different form, you have different kinds of thoughts, but the spirit body continues. When I use the term "spiritual path" I use it in the sense, to come to know this eternal spirit body. It is not your spirit body. When you're in that place and I'm in that place, we're in the same place. It is simply resting in the divine, within and without. So you're always on a spiritual path.

The experience is much like looking out a very dirty window. In the daytime the sun is always shining. It may be behind clouds and further filtered by a window that is so dirty as to be almost opaque, so you say, "There's no sun. It must be night." The dark night of the soul. But if you take a rag and polish the window a bit, and if in that moment the wind blows the cloud away, you see a bit of sunshine. It takes a lot of faith to remember that the sun exists behind the clouds and the dirty window. You cannot do a lot about the clouds. Eventually they'll disperse. You can do a lot about the dirty windows. This is what we call spiritual work, getting to know the nature of the dirt so it becomes transparent, getting to know who you are, the deepest truth of your being. Does this sufficiently answer your question, or may I offer you further thoughts about it? I pause.

Barbara: Aaron is asking, why do you doubt? What leads you to doubt, "Is this spiritual path; is this not spiritual path"?

Q: Not so much that I doubt but that I am unsure because it seems that it should be more.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I wonder if one of the grounds for your doubting is the fact that there is pain and confusion in your life, that heavy emotions come up at times. And then this judging mind says, "This is not spiritual path. If I were truly on a spiritual path I would be happy and those around me would be happy. So I must have lost the path." I don't know if this is your experience, so I ask. I pause.

Barbara: He asks, do you feel further from the path when you are experiencing pain or negative emotion? (No.) He says good.

Q: It's the juxtaposition of what seems like a spiritual path and life itself that confuses me.

Aaron: I am Aaron. So often beings have a limited view of spiritual life which creates a duality in themselves so that they only see themselves as "being spiritual" when they're being kind and loving. When painful emotions arise, then they think, "I am no longer being spiritual. I should fix or get rid of these emotions and come back to kindness and then I will be spiritual." But this kind of duality only enhances the fragmentation of the self. The spiritual path, if I use that term, and I am somewhat hesitate to use it-let us say the fullest expression of one's spiritual nature-is non-judgment. It doesn't create a duality between good thoughts and bad thoughts but seeks to express compassion and unconditional love, acknowledging that different kinds of thoughts will arise out of different conditions, that the self is habituated into different kinds of thoughts, but that doesn't mean that the self is inherently bad. Non-judgment does not call the thought "good" or "bad," although it knows the reactions to that thought as skillful or not skillful. The thought itself is just an angry thought or a greedy thought or a selfish thought. One is not seeking to stop the arising of these thoughts so much as to get out of the old habitual relationships with thoughts which extend duality rather than cutting through duality. I pause.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing him, he's saying, if we're seeking unconditional love and the expression of kindness in the world, we need to begin with ourselves and our own sometimes negative thoughts or tendencies. He says this does not mean that one enacts those negative thoughts in the world; you're responsible for what arises in you. But there's a real difference between the tendency so many beings have to meet such negative thought with judgment, "I shouldn't think this; I'm bad to have this thought," and self-responsibility. Meet it with a kindness that says, "Ah, anger is present in me. There must be certain conditions present for anger, certain conditions that have triggered anger. Right now I'm feeling pain. Can there be kindness to this being who is feeling pain? And can I be very careful not to use that pain as a reason to harm others?"

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would continue this myself. Then you don't carry out the anger further, you just give it a space in which it can dissolve. This is the work of the spiritual path. I pause.

Barbara: He asks, do you see the distinction he is making, that the erroneous thought is, "I have got to get rid of the negative tendencies in order to be on a spiritual path," but what we're really doing is making space for those negative tendencies and not getting identified with them as self and not needing to perpetuate them in any way or give them energy, but to treat the human that's experiencing such pain with kindness. That is the "spiritual work." He says, just offering kindness, offering love.

Q: When Aaron was speaking about the heavy emotions being masculine energy and I'm experiencing in my life as I practice this very thing of trying to get rid of heavy emotions like anger, resentment, fear, it seems to have made me more feminine in a way, but I notice it also coincides with a feeling of helplessness. As I continue to practice, I feel more helplessness. I'm not sure of the connection. I ask him to speak to that.

Aaron: I am Aaron. First, let me correct a misunderstanding. I am not saying that the heavy emotions are more masculine. I am saying the ability to make a direct statement, to be with a direct energy, be it anger or compassion, to stay focused and present with that energy, that that is a masculine energy attribute, while the feminine energy is more likely to touch here and there, whatever is calling most for help.

Each of these kinds of predominant energy have aspects that are wholesome and aspects that are difficult. The hand has a back and a palm. It's one hand. If you are deeply focused, strong and fully present, then you may not be attuned to the little things that whisper around you. If you are deeply attuned to those little things that whisper and call to you then you may not be in touch with this core of strength inside you and one-focusedness, and so you may feel weak and helpless.

This is why it's so important to find a balance of both, to begin to understand the gifts and the difficulties of both of these forms of energies. Some of you have worked with me a lot with the basic elements of earth, air, fire and water. Sometimes we talk about burning with anger. When somebody is feeling that kind of anger, one of the things that works is to bring in the visualization of sitting in a pool of water, or a waterfall pouring over your head, cooling you, soothing you, and air, a soft cool breeze. It literally helps to balance the elements and to balance the emotion.

If you are experiencing yourself in a very cold, cut-off, desolate space, literally freezing in ice, it helps to visualize a fire burning, or to put your hands into soft, warm earth. The work with masculine and feminine energy has a lot of analogies to this element practice. It's a question of balance but in order to balance you've got to investigate and not be stuck in any one energy pattern, but to be open to all of this masculine and feminine energy, the full range of it in yourself.

If you look at anger as something bad that you need to defeat, and if you feel and fear the power in anger, then you begin to pull away from all power. Then you cease to permit yourself the experience of your extraordinary strength and power. Then of course you are going to feel helpless. When you can investigate anger, not need to fix or get rid of anger, but instead allow anger as an energy and as a ground for compassion, then you can be in touch with this tower of strength within you and also with the feminine side which doesn't need to stay fixed and strong at all costs but can yield and open and be soft. I pause.

Barbara: He asks, do you understand? (Yes.) Other questions? He says, what's happening in your lives right now? He would like some every-day, real-life questions.

D: I have a question. In my meditation, often I chat with, I call them my grandmothers. This morning I chatted with them. I had not been in contact for awhile. They seemed rather impatient. I also saw for the first time that there were at least two masculine energy beings as well as five or six feminine energy beings. But my question is, they said or I got the impression that they were waiting for me to get in gear, that there was work to do. And it seemed to be on a timeline. What does Aaron have to say?

Barbara: Do you experience these as beings separate from yourself?

D: Yeah, maybe fourth density in my circle or third density beings that are not incarnate now.

Aaron: I am Aaron. D, when work is difficult, all beings tend to procrastinate a bit. Perhaps one has decided to climb the mountain behind one's house, but there's a very hard path to the top. It's easy to notice that the garden could use weeding. "I'll climb tomorrow. Today I'll weed the garden." And tomorrow comes and the garden needs water. "I'll climb another day."

Somewhere there is the intention to walk this path, whatever the path means to you at that moment. It may be to resolve some personal kind of issue, to find forgiveness for someone who has been difficult in your life, to find more spaciousness with your fear and not to enact that fear so much in the world, to be more patient with people who irritate you. These are different kinds of mountains you might have in your back yard.

What comes to me when you talk about these guides or guardian angels, gathered and waiting for you to do your work, is they are simply gathered and reflecting your intention back to you. At some level you have invited their presence. You've asked for a mirror of your highest intention. Such beings always respect free will. They are not here to force you; you've invited them. They are simply gathered to remind you, "D, the mountain is waiting. You don't have to climb it today. But if you choose to, we'll go with you." I pause.

D: So is everything in our lives only a mirror for our highest intention?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would say that that's almost correct. A mirror "for" intention, that is, a reminder for intention to use, with purpose to refocus, or a mirror "of" intention, that is reflecting that intention to conscious mind. This instrument first became consciously aware of me when there was the conscious intention to move beyond the rage and pain of her deafness, which had seemed to impose itself upon her and in which she felt stuck. Until that intention became predominant, she was not able to ask for help, because there was a seemingly contradictory intention, to stay safe, which seemed primary. But "to stay safe" by hiding from what was, only heightened pain.

My work was not merely to mirror the intention back to her, but also to offer her guidance but only because she was able to ask for it. Because these guides feel present to you, and that they're waiting for something, that's a statement to me that you are coming closer and closer to the intention to manifest something. Ask them, "What do you have to teach me?" You may not hear them in so many words, but your life may bring you certain situations which reflect that learning which is offered. I pause.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing him, he says you all know the experience of synchronicity. And how no sooner do you say, "I think I'm ready to try to understand why I've had such a difficult relationship with so-and-so and how I could forgive her" and suddenly in a synchronistic way, you're thrown into an experience with that person or something related to that which calls forth these lessons of forgiveness which you have just requested, as, "Maybe I'm ready to look at this." So he says your guides may not teach you vocally as he teaches, they may simply help you draw to you these kinds of synchronistic experiences which you're seeking, which offer you the lessons you are seeking. He's saying life is simply a series of such lessons. But often our back is turned to them. So the guides are tugging on your shoulder and saying, "Turn around."

Q: M has laryngitis so she is finger-spelling just fine but we can't hear her, only you can hear her! (Laughter) Maybe you can say it out loud for us.

Barbara: Okay. (Repeating the question.) "I am confused. Is Aaron saying that we get stuck at intention until we can figure out how to get past our own procrastination?"

Aaron: I am Aaron. Not quite, M. You have various intentions. On the one level, there may be an intention to be safe and comfortable. These are very real, honorable human desires. Everybody wants to be safe, happy and comfortable. But the desire to be safe may lead you to a place where you barricade yourself and don't let yourself be intimate with life. There may be another intention, to live life with more passion, more intimacy and connection, to move past the alienation you feel.

Now, there are two aspirations. One, to be safe, and the old safety you have learned comes from building a barrier; one, to learn connection and intimacy. You procrastinate in exploring the possibilities for intimacy because it doesn't feel safe. Eventually one of several things will happen. You begin to feel so cut off and so pained in that place of alienation that you will decide, "My highest intention here is to learn the ways in which I am not separate, and to experience intimacy. I'm willing to take the risk. I'm willing to let go of some of the barriers I've created." Another possibility will be that you begin to deny the sense of alienation and keep the barriers intact, and move more and more into a place of isolation and darkness. Another possibility will be that wisdom will begin to arise about how you are playing off one against another. And that rather than trying to fix the isolation or to create non-separation, your highest stated intention simply becomes to learn about this in whatever ways are wholesome and good and lead to happiness for me and all beings.

So different kinds of intentions arise. Life is experienced and wisdom develops, and then different intentions arise out of that life and wisdom. It's a constantly evolving process. The thing is, you cannot open to these possibilities unless you are awake and present. So it's very important to meditate or do whatever form of spiritual practice you may do which brings you into contact with the present moment, awake and aware in this present moment, of the terribleness of your isolation, of the intensity of grasping for connection, and of all of the various forces which are at play. It is only then that you can begin to let go of any opinions or any expectations and simply make the commitment, "I will open to whatever is; I do this for the good of all beings, opening myself without controlling the path, not trying to get from here to there, not knowing where I'm going, only to learn to love, to learn to live my life in truth." So the fear-based kind of expectations, to stay safe, or to escape the isolation and find connection, which can in part derive from fear-based motivation, they start to fall away, and increasingly you get in touch with the higher motivations which are less specific, just to open to love. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Q: Yes and no. I think I understand most of what Aaron is saying but if the procrastination is getting in the way of practice, we are in a "Catch-22."

Aaron: I am Aaron. But the root of this Catch-22 is that you are thinking of it as procrastination, thinking that there should be a strength of will to overcome procrastination, trying to crash through procrastination, so there's no kindness there. Don't think of it as procrastination. Procrastination is merely a statement of fear. Where there is judgment about procrastination, can there be compassion about fear? When you begin to relate to that fear with kindness, not trying to break it down, not saying, "It doesn't matter if I'm afraid, I should be able to do this or that," to go off and climb the mountain, nor denying the fear, when instead you simply note, "I would like to but there's too much fear right now," then so many possibilities open to you based on that kindness. So I would request you, M, to take this word procrastination and dump it in the trash, and begin to think instead simply in terms of fear met with kindness. I pause.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing him, he said some words are emotionally loaded. He says, for most of us when we hear the word procrastination, we think, "Ah, I'm bad. I'm procrastinating." There are a lot of reasons why we might "procrastinate." Sometimes there is a fear that we'll do harm. But we still think the procrastination is "bad." We don't think of it as patient waiting, but negative stalling. He says what if you just acknowledge, "There's a lot of fear here. I'm really afraid this will be difficult. I'm afraid I'm going to be unskillful. I'm afraid others will be angry or disappointed. There's a lot of fear here." And instead of judging yourself, he says see if you can just sit with this. Thich Nhat Hanh's simply and lovely practice can help; "Breathing in I am aware of my fear, breathing out I smile to my fear," just sitting and making space for fear …

Aaron: I am Aaron. I will say this. At that point it ceases to be my fear, it just becomes this fear that we all share. It's not specifically an ego-based fear. In part it's just a fear of doing harm to another person, not fully trusting oneself to do this skillfully. It's just fear.

Upon the strength of the intention to resolve this situation in a way that is skillful and loving, and compassionate for both of you, the fear begins to dissolve and the resistance to action begins to resolve, and procrastination falls away. There still may be some trepidation about the action or speech that's necessary, or fear, "Can I do it well?" But the highest intention has been formalized to do this for the good of all beings, so you're not so hooked in to the possibility, "What if I act out of my anger? What if I act out of my ego need to please the other?" You've acknowledged that those possibilities are both present and you've come to a higher place that knows, "Although these are present, my highest aspiration here is to act for the good of all beings and to deepen in wisdom and compassion." Having stated that as an affirmation, and as a very formal intention, it's fruition becomes much more accessible. I pause.

Q: I loved Aaron's new year's remarks, especially when he talked about all the prayers all over the world that were heard, and the shift which he feels is coming. I loved the vision of all of those prayers as a symphony. I make my prayers but never think of them being heard by anyone. I recently read a Tibetan teaching about setting up a field of refuge, seeing the Buddha or another spiritual teacher above your head and being pleased with your effort. Again, I never thought of that. I loved the idea of it. Is it okay to think of or to take personally the idea that someone might notice or hear prayers?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Of course it's okay. How could it not be okay to follow the movements of the heart? It's not necessary. You don't have to visualize beings hearing the prayers in order for them to be heard. There are always going to be beings, those who are alive and beings who are past, whose energy may still be available to you, who inspire you and give you a sense of refuge, joy, possibility. If it is helpful to visualize that hearing, do it. This instrument loves the Buddha's words, "If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it." The sutra states, " Abandon the unskillful. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it … Cultivate the good. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it." She finds tremendous joy and hope in those words. She visualizes him saying them. Sometimes she feels she wants to answer.

And yet, here we come to a place of the balance between the ultimate and the relative. The relative being, this human who experiences itself sometimes as weak and fragile, it may reach out to what it perceives of as higher beings and ask for help. But there is also the divine essence in you, this very Christ Consciousness or Buddha nature, which is the Divine itself.

So when you reach out for such loving spirit as support and refuge, do try to keep the balance in mind, that while on one level you really are reaching out to this very specific loving spirit, on another level what you are doing is reaching out to this divinity in the self and opening yourself to the direct experience of this divinity, that this voice of truth and love within you may speak out more fully into the world. And that this voice, this core of divinity is within you, is the greatest refuge. When this instrument gets into a dialogue with an external Buddha, there is duality. When she allows the sutra's words, and the sense of his presence, to lead her to her own Buddha nature, then duality dissolves. I pause.

Barbara: We have just a few more minutes. I want to see if either of the two of you who are new tonight and have not asked questions would like to?

C: Tonight has been five years exactly since my brother died, so I'm feeling some sadness tonight about that. And maybe because of that I'd like to ask for any guidance on how human beings cope with death.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear your question, C. This is another of those situations where there must be a balance between the relative human and the angel. The relative human experiences life as a series of gains and losses. You learn that you cannot hold onto anything, that the world is impermanent. While the wisdom mind may understand this deeply and even come to understand that clinging to that which is impermanent is a root source of suffering, nevertheless the human is conditioned to do it this way. But even if you stop clinging to the impermanent, there is still going to be sadness when you lose what you love.

In the Buddha's teachings about liberation, he did not distinguish happiness and grief as mutually exclusive. Part of the human experience is to grieve. If we erroneously believe that we should be past that, that we should understand there's birth and death and I cannot control any of it, if we cling to that idea of detachment and forbid ourselves grief, then in some ways we close our hearts. We also increase our suffering.

There is a lovely story of a Zen master, a very wise and enlightened being. His only son had died and he was weeping. His disciple found him thus weeping and said, "But Master, you said it's all an illusion." And this wise man said, "Yes, and the loss of a child is the most painful illusion of all." Wisdom does not protect you from pain. This I think is the core of it, C. Beings want to be free of pain. They may choose paths to separate themselves from pain, to deny their love, to cut themselves off. Or they may also try to find a wisdom path, thinking that if finally they become enlightened and really understand the full nature of birth and death, they will cease to feel pain. That's not how it is.

The difference is not that you cease to feel pain but that pain does not serve as a catalyst for further negative thought, for blaming another, or for separating yourself out of the separation, for denial. Rather, the pain becomes a catalyst for compassion. Now, this is the gift you have within your reach, to reflect on this pain that you feel with a deeply open heart, to reflect how all over the world there are beings who have lost loved ones, their parents, their children, their siblings, their beloved. How universal this experience of death is. Can this fill you with a deep compassion for the human condition, a deep desire to serve beings in ways that lead to more harmony in life, to less deaths for reasons of violence, for example? Can it lead you to love more deeply, to keep your heart open to the beauty and love that surrounds you, so that although there may be grief when you lose that being, you will not have lost any opportunity to fully love that being and be loved by him or her?

This is the human side of it, to allow yourself to become intimate even with grief and not be afraid of the experience of grief, not judging grief either. The ultimate side of it is to begin to reflect upon the whole nature of birth and death. You cannot use this wisdom as a hiding place from grief, but when you have done your work with grief, you can also find much spaciousness and peace, in the understanding that nothing is born and nothing dies.

I take this flower petal that fell off the flower. One might say it's dead. We tuck it back into the pot where it can decay. It will lend its energy into the soil. Will the coming flowers not be a continuation of that dead leaf? How could anything really be born or die? It just moves through a transition.

Your loved one is not dead, only he has left his human form. He is now expressing himself through you, through your growing open heart that can allow itself the experience of grief and allow that grief to become a catalyst for compassion. He is expressing himself through you in all the ways he spoke to you in your life, the joys and the sorrows. He is expressing himself through every human that he touched in this lifetime. And he is in the soil and the stars and the rain and the sun. You cannot lose him.

So there must be this balance, to understand on the ultimate level that nothing is ever lost and to understand the great ache of grief at the sadness of not having the direct human presence of that which you loved. This is the balance of wisdom and compassion which is truly the highest fruit of the realized mind. It is your brother's gift to you, that he inspires both the learning of wisdom and compassion. I hope these thoughts are of some help to you. I pause.

Barbara: It's five of 10, we need to stop …

(Joys and sorrows.)

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky