January 26, 2000

Aaron: My greetings and love to you all. I am Aaron. I want to begin by thanking you not only for your presence but for the ongoing spiritual work which that presence implies. Each effort to live your life with love and to understand the true nature of your being is an enormous gift to all beings.

I want to speak tonight about tension and relaxation, contraction and spaciousness, fear and love. I do not speak merely theoretically. If what I say is not useful in your lives, then we're wasting our time here together. I would ask our new friends tonight to hear me without trying to figure out whether I am real. If what I say is useful, don't worry about where it comes from, whether there really is an Aaron or whether it's just this instrument with her eyes closed. And if it's not useful, also don't worry about it, just toss it out. But I do hope it will prove useful.

This instrument last week assigned her meditation class an interesting piece of homework. She asked them to get a dozen eggs, each of them. The assignment was to take a dozen eggs, bring them into a room in the home that has a hard floor without carpet, to perch an egg on something like a cookie sheet or cutting board at just a slight slant, one egg, and let go, watch it roll down the board, over the edge, splat! She asked people to watch and learn to identify what she simply called "contraction." She also asked people to identify what she called "release of contraction."

There was no right or wrong way to experience this exercise. Some said that the minute they let go of the egg, "… my contraction ceased. There was nothing I could do but watch it roll and fall." Others said that the contraction continued until it actually began to fall. One said that as it began to fall he felt impelled to reach out and grab it, catch it, just inches from the floor. And then laughed at himself and put it back on the cutting board and watched it roll again. Some said there was no contraction as it fell and then there was the thought, "Oh! Mess!" and contraction began again.

She asked them to go through as many of these eggs as was useful. For many that was the whole dozen. Their experiences were quite wonderful. They were very alert, very watchful. So she wanted them to get to experientially know the contracted state and the released state; that was the first part. Then she asked them to reflect, "What are the eggs in my life that are about to break and how do I tense around those eggs? What if I just let them fall?" This is not a statement of resignation that ceases to care for that for which you are responsible. Rather it's a statement of trust in the universe and trust in your own innate wisdom and goodness, your own capacity to act skillfully from a place of love rather than a place of fear.

This is the crux of it for me, that so often your actions and speech are informed by fear and you have lost touch with that spaciousness, that innate divinity within you, from which action and speech, which is inherently clear and loving, may flow.

Sometimes people say to me, "But I can't help it. Fear closes in." Yes, of course fear closes in, but you still have a choice how you are going to relate to that fear. Your work is not to get rid of fear but to change your relationship to fear, and you must practice to learn that you can change your relationship to fear.

This instrument's back was rather sore this weekend. Today she had the gift of some bodywork, energy and massage work. As the friend who was performing this service was putting pressure on places that were very tender in her back, she began to notice that each time she felt a touch, her whole body tensed up as if to fight that touch. Lying there on the massage table, she asked herself, "What if I just relax? This friend is a professional. She's highly skilled. She has no intention to do me any harm. What if I just relax, note 'pain, pain,' be aware of the fear coming up with the pain? The fear is about, 'What if it gets worse?' Instead of following these old tendencies to push away that which is painful, what if I just ride with it?"

Well, eventually she fell asleep. That's how relaxed she got. Our friend remarked at the end, "I knew you fell asleep but each time I touched a tender place I could still tell it was tender. Your body jumped a bit. But then it relaxed." This is the way I would ask you to learn to greet fear. You will startle when it first appears, but then know it as "fear," merely fear, and relax. Fear is just fear. Let it be.

Fear is not dual with love. This is perhaps the primary thing that you must understand. Fear is an almost reflexive, habitual response to discomfort, and to old conditioned associations that something may be hurtful or uncomfortable.

It's like the small reflexive movement, if you're standing behind a window and somebody throws a snowball. It's not going to hit you but you still flinch. You do not think, "Flinching is bad." You understand this is just a conditioned response, a knee-jerk. It's imprinted from a multitude of unmindful past experiences. You don't have to go out and yell at the snowball thrower, perhaps a child filled with glee because they made you flinch, thinking it's very funny. They're not doing any harm. When conditions are present for fear to arise, it will arise. Your choice is not in whether it will arise but in how you are going to relate to it.

Fear and every movement of the mind and the body are expressions of this divine essence of being. You do not live in a dual world where only love is an expression of that divinity. Fear is a distorted expression but it's still an expression, just as the shadow on the ground is an expression of the sun and the object which cast the shadow. You don't have to be afraid of fear. You don't have to be afraid of anger. Your responsibility is not to enact difficult emotion into the world. But if it arises, it arises.

It would be unworkable if you did not have within you this space of utmost clarity, purity and wisdom, this, what I call "pure awareness mind," the divine essence of being. This is not your divine essence or your divine essence (pointing at people), it's simply the divine essence, and when we are there, we're in the same space. Each thought, each emotion, is a wave rising out of the ocean, and then it sinks back into the ocean. When it sinks back, it's no longer this wave or that wave, it's just ocean. This pure awareness mind is of the nature of the ocean itself and it gives expression in the form of the myriad waves, some little, some big; some gentle and some fierce.

So you are responsible for these waves of fear, and of any difficult emotion that arises within you, responsible to be certain they don't tip over somebody in a boat, that they don't do harm. But they are not bad.

Now, what are you to do with them? I'd like you to try a little guided meditation with me. Let us go for a hike. We're going to do some strenuous walking high above the timberline on a mountain ridge. You have with you a very small backpack, so light that you may forget you have it. In your backpack is some very special gear. You put it on your back. You begin to walk. The sun is warm and there's a cool breeze. It's a very beautiful day. (Pause) Here and there a patch of beautiful wildflowers shows itself amongst the rocks. In the distance there is a lovely blue pond filled with glacier melt, clear and sparkling. (Pause) Smell the freshness of the breeze. The smell of sunshine and earth.

We walk in silence, feeling each other's presence, enjoying the beauty of the day. Can you feel the ease that you might have on such a day? The walk is high up but not too strenuous. Just a pleasant exertion to stimulate the body. As we walk, the weather begins to change a bit, slowly at first. (Pause) Clouds come and block out the sun. The wind grows colder. (Pause) Mist comes and settles around us, hiding all but the nearest section of the path. And then it begins to sleet and hail.

Very uncomfortable, cold, wet, frightening, for you cannot see your way. Can you feel how you might contract. "I don't like this. I want to go home. I want to be safe." (Pause) Suddenly you remember your backpack, which is so easily forgotten. "Ah, but I am safe," for in that backpack you have a very wonderful kind of tent-just pull on the string and it pops open. It's totally impervious to the weather, even has a little heat attachment which fills your space with warm air. There is a transparent window through which you can look out at the storm.

Your first thought might be, "I'm so glad to be out of the storm." But you're not out of the storm. On one level you're safe in a tent, and on the other level, the storm is right there, inches from your body. And yet, this refuge gives you ease. You are no longer uncomfortable even though the rain is but inches away. You are no longer afraid. (Pause) What made the difference was recognizing that you had with you this refuge.

My dear ones, you are not born into the incarnation with a little backpack on your back, with a spring to pull to blow it open. That would not be something you'd want to have to bear all of your life. You are given a much easier tool. No outer backpack, the refuge is inside, right here in the heart. You can't misplace it; you can't lose it. But humans are so forgetful and you forget it's there. You tear from here to there and back again, saying, "How shall I be safe?" You contract in fear and anger. You move into the false belief that you must fix and control everything. You forget this clear space of divinity inside.

Is it not time you began to remember, to remember this truth of who you are?

It is not so hard as it might seem. Forgetfulness is a habit. We begin to recognize that habitual forgetfulness by mindfulness of the state of contraction, of tension. When you experience such tension, you are out in the storm and you have forgotten about the refuge.

In order to remember the refuge, you must begin to directly experience how it feels. You can do this in myriad simple ways. Try something with me right here. Sit up straight. Take a deep breath. Now, I want you to make two fists and tense all your muscles. Your shoulders, your fists, your belly, your jaw, as tense as you can. (Pause) And now relax.

Just that. Tension, spaciousness. This is the body's movement. We can do the same thing with the mind. Allow a thought to arise of how somebody betrayed you or hurt you or cheated you. Remember the anger you might have felt. Allow yourself really to experience that emotional and mental tension. (Pause) Now think of that person who hurt you and that person's pain. It doesn't justify the way they abused you but see how their action came out of their own pain and fear and misunderstanding. Can you see just the hint of spaciousness around your own anger as this deeper understanding and compassion is nurtured within you? Tension and spaciousness.

In a way, you feel safer with such presence because, with mindfulness that allows you to see the conditioned nature of arising, you feel more in control. If you stand on the lawn and about twice a minute you are splashed by cold water, you may feel helpless. If you open your eyes and observe the lawn sprinkler, you'll still get wet if you stand there but there is a feeling of understanding. "This is how it is; if I stand by the operating sprinkler, as it comes around it will splash me; this is the nature of the sprinkler." It changes the experience. There will be wetness, even discomfort, but no longer fear or a sense of helplessness. One large area of tension is dissolved.

It is winter; I will not ask you to brave the sprinkler! Try the egg exercise at home. I think you'll find it teaches you quite a lot.

The state of contraction does not exist separate from the space of expansion. Right there in that moment of contraction there is expansion, there is spaciousness. Right in the darkest night is the dawn. Right there in fear, love is to be found. Fear can become a catalyst for hatred, for closing yourself off, or fear can be a reminder to compassion. Instead of thinking you have to get rid of negative mind and body states, use them as path to bring you home. The contraction is the little tap on the shoulder, saying, "Remember your backpack." But it's within. Allow the heart to open, to connect. Allow love and light to shine through.

We talk here often of relative and ultimate experience. Ultimately you are all angels. Ultimately you all exist in simultaneous time, like a great sea where everything is at once both wave and water. But relatively there are all these habitual patterns that continue to arise and bring up certain physical, mental and emotional experience. You cannot hide out in the wisdom which knows that none of it is ultimately real or you do not learn the compassion that you are incarnate to learn. And yet, you cannot treat the relative world as ultimately real or you do not learn wisdom. Your work is to find the balance.

We got into the beginnings of a very fine discussion on linear vs. simultaneous time several weeks ago, not for the first time. I likened simultaneous time to a river. Within that water, from the spring at its source to the sea, there is just one river. When you take a cup of water out, you don't think, "I'm taking a cup out of this piece of the river," you simply take a cup of water. When you take a cup out down near the sea, you are taking a cup of the spring, which is its source. When you splash at the spring, you are splashing at the sea. This is the ultimate experience.

When there is something which provokes you and frightens you as you're floating down the river, you may stop and stand up. The scene where you are is etched deeply in your mind, "This relative reality experience, this, perhaps, alligator who attacked me in the river." It's imprinted on the mind and the body. You cannot forsake the relative and say "It's just a dream," or the alligator's going to eat you. You've got to deal skillfully with the alligator. But you can get stuck fencing with alligators and entirely lose the beauty of the river, lose all memory of that precious pure spring, lose all memory of the sea in its vastness and power. Then you slip into an issue of power and control.

So many of you do this in your lives, fighting the traffic each morning, and then fighting for a parking place, struggling to get through the day. You lose all broader perspective of who you are and your relation to all you encounter.

You did not come into incarnation to deny the truth of your being and simply become skillful fencers with alligators. And you did not come into incarnation to deny any of the relative reality which expresses around you and in which expression you participate. You came for the balance, to bring love where there is fear, not to stop fear but to cut the identity with it, to cut the identity with the one who is afraid, the one who enacts his fear in old patterned ways. This is what you came to learn and to give. To be so spaciously present with all of the catalyst of the conditioned world that you can stay centered in this wise, compassionate heart and deal with the alligators and the falling eggs and whatever else may come your way without contracting into this delusion of "self" and "separate." You're never going to be perfect at it. You did not come to be perfect. You came to learn.

Trust the path. Continue to find beauty and joy on the path. Cultivate this wonderful refuge of the pure awareness mind, the divine essence within. If a year from now you can be in that divine center fifty per cent more than you are now, even if it's just a small gain from here to there (gesturing), it's still a gain. With practice you will find yourself more and more in that space, I promise you.

There are some written questions that have been given to me and there is one special question I would like to dig deeper into from several weeks ago if there is interest. And I would also like to hear whatever questions any of you have come with. Let us pause for you to have your tea and some time to talk, and then we will come back to talk more together. I thank you for your attention. That is all.

(Tape is turned.)

Barbara: I want to start with a question drawn from Aaron's New Year's Day special transcript. I'm going to read two paragraphs here and my question.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I will be very brief. There is a what you sometimes call pure awareness, an undifferentiated awareness. It does not distinguish self from other. It is simply awareness. Such awareness which is centered in the essence of all that is, can serve as channel for the Love-nature of that essence, can know love, can express unconditional love with no subject or object for its love. It is just the movement of Love. Thus, here is no conscious intention as part of it. It is the most simple, clear and direct expression of Love, which is a direct expression of the Divine.

Through the human move into self-awareness and the distinction between self and other, you learn to offer a differentiated love. But that love has its limits. It has limits because it is personal. You aim toward unconditional love but the separate person cannot channel that unconditional love. Only through the notion of the person which is then transcended back into the undifferentiatedness of pure awareness, can that previously personal force of love be transmuted back into a very powerful extension of love.

Barbara: The question: "Speaking of personal differentiated love vs. unconditional love through pure awareness, the personal is linear. The pure awareness is simultaneous. Why do we need to experience the personal to get to the ultimate when at one level we're always at the ultimate? There is the move from pure awareness to self-awareness and back to pure awareness, with the idea of self-awareness as the expression of pure awareness. Is the reason then to lead us to better know the relative as expression of the ultimate? This relates to a prior question about awareness and consciousness. There needs to be consciousness for there to be intention. Does intention ever move fully past self-intention to become a force of pure awareness?"

Aaron says that there are several questions here. I'm paraphrasing Aaron rather than directly channeling him so that I can participate in the formulating of the question, and then will move into a channeling space.

He says we need to look at the experience of intention, that within intention there is a subject and an object, "I intend." And then you think of an object. This is the level of self-intention. As we practice that self-intention we can learn a deeper level of intention. So one piece of the question as he sees it is, what is this higher level of intention? How can we articulate it?

He says there was another question given on the same page, "How does the power of intention create?" So to answer that question one has to distinguish between this self-intention and what might be stated as the intention of pure awareness. He says the other part of the question as he sees it is, "Why do we need to experience the personal to get to the ultimate when at one level we're always at the ultimate?" He says this is not a theoretical question but a very practical question. So he will speak for a few minutes to these two questions. He asks, is there anything anybody wants to add to the question before he speaks?

He says, think of it this way. When one has an intention, who has the intention? An intention to be a loving person: loving from who and to what? Can you see that it's at the personal level and therefore it's limited? How do we bring that out of its limited space so that the power of the intention can really become manifest without there being a self behind it. He says, that's the clearest he can phrase the question. He asks, is there any addition to this before he talks?

J: Yes. If it is appropriate for Aaron to go into depth, would he describe the sensation difference between pure awareness intention and self-intention.

Barbara: In other words, how you know through the physical senses where it is pure awareness or self-awareness?

J: Physical senses or, like for me I also experience the energy itself but that still is a physical sense.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron here. He says, try an experiment. Take an object in your right hand and put it in your left hand. Give it from the right hand and left hand and back. Try this.

Do it several times. In the beginning you think of it as right hand giving to left hand, left hand giving to right hand. Try just to feel the touch, letting go of one hand, receiving with the other. Touching, touching. Letting go. And almost simultaneously as you let go with one hand there is touching. Feel how any sense of contraction drops out of it. There's no giver or receiver any more, there's just letting go and touching. The movement …

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would say this myself. The movement of love, giving and receiving love, the most important aspect of it for J's question is there is no longer any sense of giver or receiver, and there is no longer any sense of contraction as there may have been the first few times that you passed the object. Can you feel that? I pause.

Barbara: He says he would ask people to try it. Take something, there are some pens here … He says, holding the hands almost together so it just tumbles from one hand to the other, free of tension. He says, now turn to a person next to you and pass an object in the same way. Close your eyes, get your hands right next to each other. In the beginning there's a self giving and receiving. As you pass it back and forth rather rhythmically-it doesn't have to be fast, it can rest for a few seconds in one palm or the other palm-can you feel how the tension drops out of it and any sense of giver or receiver?

Aaron: I am Aaron. There is not a difference in physical sensation in that there is still touching, for example, or tasting or smelling; the physical sensations will still be there but there is no longer any contraction which demands holding on or even letting go of. It's an act absolutely free of tension. Can you at least get a hint of how that can be? I pause.

Barbara: He asks, can you feel that? (Yes.) He says, does that answer your question?

Aaron: I am Aaron. This exercise is a good prelude to the answer to the prior question. Undifferentiated awareness must become aware of itself, aware of awareness. And it learns that lesson through differentiated awareness. In the time before any illusion of separation, before any notion of self, there was this pure awareness but it was not yet aware of awareness. There was nothing with which to compare that undifferentiated state. There was the potential for unconditional love but it as yet had no meaning because there was nothing with which to compare unconditional love. What is conditional love? How do you know that it's unconditional until you have experienced conditional love? How do you know that it's unbounded generosity or kindness until you have experienced conditional generosity or kindness, which are expressions of the self?

The nature of the divine is to expand itself and to express itself. Its nature is also love. This is not its purpose, but its nature. The sun does not have the purpose to give heat, for example; this is its nature. You agreed to participate in that divine nature by coming into the illusion of self and coming to know the differentiated self so that you could fully appreciate the energy of the undifferentiated. On the personal level there can only be self-intention. But your work now is to transcend that personal level without any negation of the personal. The personal has been your teacher. The personal is also the tool whereby you navigate the incarnation. We don't want to do away with the personal, only to break through the personal and return to the undifferentiated.

Finally, within that undifferentiated space, of awareness aware of awareness, but wherein self and other are seen clearly, simply as concept, the power of the divine intention can become manifest. Does this sufficiently the question or may I speak further to it? Another option would be to put it aside now for tonight and return to it after you have time to consider this answer. It is not a simple one. I pause.

Barbara: He asks, is there further question along this line? I need to reflect on Aaron's answer so this is sufficient for me, for tonight.

K: Could Aaron say more about how fear is an expression of the divine?

Aaron: I am Aaron. The idea that fear bears a dual relationship with the divine is a long-held illusion of fear itself. So many of you are what I call "old souls" with the deep aspiration to purify your energy and come home. You experience the divine as a brilliance, a great radiance, and you experience what you perceive as shadow of the self based on fear and the voices of fear such as anger, greed, jealousy, pride or impatience, to name only a few. And so you move into the concept that if you are going to be worthy of the divine and purify your energy, you must get rid of this shadow. Then there is a war with the self, contracting around the shadow. You see the shadow as something other than the divine and you think you can only be worthy of God, can only purify your energy entirely, by getting rid of the shadow, which is completely the opposite move from learning to embrace the shadow without enacting the shadow or even contracting around it, simply to know it for what it is.

Anger arises as a mind and body state based on certain conditions, present or based on old associations. The more energy you give to anger thinking, "I have to get rid of anger, to fix anger," the more you empower anger. There's anger at the self because anger has arisen. The more you get to know this process and relate to it with kindness saying, "Certain conditions have aroused anger in me. It's a very unpleasant experience. I wish I could be free of it. I want to be free of anger, to be happy. All beings want to be free of anger, to be happy. May I offer kindness to myself and all beings who experience this tension of anger," and so forth, the less you nourish that anger.

As you offer this kind of kindness to yourself instead of hating your anger, you disempower the anger. You begin to dissolve the conditions that gave rise to anger, which were fear and the illusion of separate being. On the relative plane, of course you're separate, but you come home to that place of connection.

As you work in this way, you begin to see fear for what it is, just like anger or desire. It is based on certain conditions. When you feel threatened in some way, that you will be hurt, that your needs won't be met, that your loved ones will be hurt or their needs won't be met, a certain mind/body contraction that we call fear arises. It is ancient, the fruit of a million old imprints on the karmic stream. Fear enhances the illusion of separation.

How could anything be separate from the divine? We see that the fear arises because we love. We love our loved ones; we love ourself. This love is one of the conditions out of which the fear arises. Love and the illusion that there are separate things which are threatening to us. Do you experience fear for a bit of litter run over by a car's wheels? There is no love for that paper scrap. But if your photo of a loved one falls to the road and a car approaches, tension arises. In part it is fueled by attachment, in part, love. Attachment is a voice of fear and arises from love, so where there is attachment there is also love, and delusion.

As we open our hearts and begin to relate more clearly and kindly-both to the whole relative reality illusion of the separate self, this tool of the incarnation, and to the love which wants to control, wants to hold safe-as we realize that all beings want this safety and make space around our contraction, we start to see directly into the nature of fear, to know fear is just fear. It grew out of these roots, one of which is my great love. It really is simple. If there's no love, you're not afraid.

This instrument has a sheet of paper. She does not love this sheet of paper. It's a useful tool. She has no fear to tear it in little pieces. (Barbara tears the sheet of paper into little pieces.) It doesn't worry her at all. But if you ask her to take her hand and with a knife cut it in little pieces, she would certainly not choose to do that. She loves her hand. If you ask her to take her friend and even without physically paining her friend, cut her friend's hair in little pieces, she would not do that. There would be a contraction of fear, "No, I would do harm." The fear is there because the love is there. Can you see that? I pause.

J: It seems to me, though, that a choice for not harming vs. a choice from fear is different.

Aaron: I am Aaron. The choice for not causing harm can come from a place of love. I did not say it must come from fear. I said when it does come from fear, we remember that fear is simply an expression of love. Does that clarify it? I pause.

J: Better.

Q: What about in the case of, say, facing a grizzly bear? There is no love necessarily but lots of fear.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron. He says, we assume the one who is facing the grizzly bear loves himself and does not want to be dismembered by the bear! Therefore, fear is present.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would add something here. To act skillfully before the grizzly bear, or as you are more likely to encounter in your culture, four lanes of traffic which you need to get across, fear is not necessary. This is the illusion. Through so many births you have come to use fear as a source for energy and have forgotten how to act without fear. You plant the image in little children's minds, "Don't stick something into the light socket, you'll be electrocuted. Don't touch the stove, you'll be burned." And sometimes you accompany those lessons with images. Some of you might take something and burn it so the child can see how the flames devour it and warn the child, "This will happen to you if you play with the fire or the stove." Your intention is to protect the child but you are simply teaching the child to use fear as a catalyst for action.

What if you instead held and rocked the child and smoothed its hand, rubbed some lotion on its hand and said, "Do you see how wonderful that feels? These hands are precious and you want to protect them. The fire, the stove, they're hot. I want you to take care of these precious hands." Here you teach the child to respect the stove and the fire, not with an image of how terribly it will be mutilated but a reminder when it sees the fire, to cherish its own flesh. This does not enhance self because ultimately the child learns that its flesh is an expression of the divine, and what it is cherishing is the divinity within and without.

So you don't have to be afraid of the traffic to cross the street carefully, you simply have to be aware. "The cars are big and they go fast. I need to be careful because I respect myself and respect life. I will be careful." You don't have to be afraid of the grizzly bear. In fact, if you're afraid you're more likely to react in a way that will further provoke the bear rather than to allow your deepest wisdom to respond in a way that perhaps will have some more likelihood of providing safety. I pause.

Barbara: Other questions?

R: When one experiences the holograms, which means the timeless moment of now, and also vertically and horizontally, and there are no boundaries, or the boundaries are very loose, what happens? I mean it seems like that might create some fear or at least no identity. For me, I lose my identity … Experiencing everything, all of life, in one moment.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear your question, R, and it seems to have two parts. The person who has learned to swim in calm and shallow water, built up his strength and swimming skills and his confidence, can go out and jump in the midst of the rapids and ride the current without fear. But if he did not develop the necessary skills first, then there would be fear. One leaps into the river of "now," of "no-self," by first knowing the relative and the ultimate. One must begin and deepen the investigation of this balance, always keeping in mind that both the relative and the ultimate exist, never negating either or choosing one above the other but respecting both.

When there is no respect for the relative, the ultimate becomes either a hiding place or a place of fear where one is afraid the relative will be annihilated. One both hopes and fears that it will be. When there is clinging to the relative because there is no ongoing investigation of the ultimate, it's the same thing. It would be very terrifying to drop into the ultimate that one had not investigated, just like dropping into the rapids. But when in your spiritual work you honor and investigate both, then gradually fear dies away. You cease to imagine them as dual or in any way separate. That entry into the ultimate is simply coming home. You rest there. And then, as is necessary, you come back into the relative because you are incarnate and must honor the incarnation. But that plunge into the ultimate cuts through the total identification with the relative.

Now, this is another place of fear. Most of you are attached to your bodies and your thoughts and you have not yet done all the groundwork necessary to understand that attachment. And so you give that a kind of ultimate reality. But when you see how the mind and body are constantly changing, both within the incarnation and from incarnation to incarnation, and when you see that the whole move of attachment is also simply a conditioned arising, then if attachment arises to the mind and body, you watch it. If there is a thought, "I do or don't have a body," you just know it as a thought. "I do or do not have a self, an independent and separate self." You watch that as a thought. The awareness mind which watches all of these thoughts is not the thoughts themselves and is not invested in the thoughts. It's clear. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Barbara: Where else would you like to go tonight, what other kinds of questions?

L: I think I need a little clarification of what it is that is aware of thought.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Let's try another brief experiment here. I'm going to introduce this idea, then this instrument will make a sudden noise. Some of you have worked with me with the space or aperture between the breath. Breathing in, space. Breathing out. There's a moment we've called "now," just pure presence. It is said that one can experience this space well in a sneeze but we won't pass around the pepper and make you sneeze. Just a sudden noise. And I want you to watch the contraction and then the release of this contraction and the moment of presence which knows "It was just the noise that Aaron promised." There's a very real spaciousness, just pure presence aware of the whole scene and not invested in it as self. So try it and see what you experience. (Pause)

Hey! (Barbara shouts and claps her hands.)

Could you see at that moment of hearing there was both contraction and also something aware of the contraction, a pure presence that was not upset by the contraction. I pause.

Barbara: He asks, did you feel that, the difference, L? (Yes.)

L: What is it that's aware of that contraction or thought?

Aaron: I am Aaron. We try to put it into words but there are not adequate words, especially in the English language. I simply call it Awareness, with a capital "A." It is this divine clear center, radiant, infinitely spacious and peaceful. Think of the eye of the hurricane. Think of a sea and if it were possible, right in the middle of the movement and current, one object that is immovable, the ground of being. Let us use for example simply the floor of the sea. Waves rise on the top and crash. Swift currents move. Large killer sharks and whales swim back and forth and all nature of beings devouring others, but the ground of the sea just sits there. It doesn't concern itself with whether there are waves or sharks, it is just the ground.

This of course is a metaphor because of course the ground of the sea is changeable. The currents do shift those sands. But this ground of being is unchangeable. And yet it is ever-expanding. Now there is a seeming paradox for you! I pause.

(Note from Barbara while reviewing the transcript. Tibetans use the word "Rigpa" for this pure awareness mind, differentiated from "sem" or everyday, discursive mind. Aaron has talked at length on the nature of Rigpa. Some of the transcripts in Project Expand would apply. I'll see if I can find an appropriate one that you can look at.)

Barbara: Other questions? He says, personal questions are welcome also.

K: Just a comment. I have the sense that Aaron takes me by the hand to where I have always been.

Aaron: I am Aaron. How can anything take you back to where you have always been when you have never left! I pause.

K: I just didn't quite realize that!

Barbara: He says it's like dreaming at night that you're out walking the streets, but when you wake up you find yourself in bed and you've never left. It's all been a dream. He says what he does, perhaps, is to invite you to wake up.

We have time for one or two more questions.

Q: I'm curious whether Aaron is a separate self similar to the way an incarnate being seems to be a separate self.

Aaron: I am Aaron. It would take me awhile to explain this. The book Aaron contains a chapter, "The Universe According to Aaron." It is available in hardcopy in the bookstore and also can be found on the Deep Spring website. This explains it more fully.

I have been incarnate in the past. My final incarnation was about 500 years ago and at that time I moved past any karmic need to move back into a body. As part of that process I dropped any identification with the physical, mental and emotional bodies. The physical body did not cease to exist immediately, I lived out the incarnation. But there was no longer identification with it as me. Nevertheless I respected it. I fed it, I gave it proper rest and shelter. There was still the uprising of emotion but I was no longer reactive to that emotion. In short, I learned to rest in the spirit body and see how these other bodies seemed to arise and cease, arise and cease. How thoughts arose and sensations arose and passed away.

I have chosen to retain the mental body as a tool because without that tool I have no way of communicating with you. But I have no identification with the mental body. Sometimes I take a short vacation. I tell this instrument what I am going to do and that I am available if she needs me, not to call on me unless there is need, and I simply go and rest in the pure spirit body for awhile, without needing to utilize the tool of mental body. It's a very peaceful place. Does this answer your question? I pause.

Q: I think so.

(Barbara asks why the paper is torn up! K replies, "One of Aaron's demonstrations!")

Barbara: "Is becoming love the same as becoming enlightened?" This was an emailed question.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Almost but not fully the same. Becoming enlightened is becoming clear about your true nature, which is love. One could say your true nature is also enlightenment or clarity but by the word "enlightened" or "realized," what I take that phrase to mean is you realize the true nature of all that is, as expression of the divine. When that realization is present then the love and radiance which are within you shine out into the world. You have not become love but you have allowed love to become manifest in you. I pause.

Barbara: Is there a last question? If not, we'll have a short meditation.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would like to try something here for several minutes. Please move yourselves as necessary to join hands and form a circle.

Since some of you are facing in and some out, we cannot talk of right and left hands. Let us pass the energy around the circle in a counterclockwise pattern. Feel the energy coming into one hand and then release it on to the next.

At the beginning you will experience this as a giving and taking, the self experiencing energy and then sending energy. Begin to feel the movement of this energy through you. Once you release it, it hasn't gone anywhere. Rather, it is like the river which exists at every place along its path. Feel the shift, no longer "my energy" passed to the next person but "the energy," touching everywhere. Allow yourself to rest in this spaciousness. This is divine abundance. As you connect in this way, you connect into that limitless energy which can never cease because it does not depend on anything for its being. It simply is. I'm going to be quiet for a moment. See if you can feel this movement of energy.


You are the riverbed and you are the river, both. Feel the infinite power and joy of the river.


May all beings everywhere come to know their true being as infinite radiance and love, as divine.


May this knowing become your reference so that whenever contraction arises in any form, without denying that contraction you can come home to the ground of being as refuge and place of peace.


May all beings everywhere be happy and find perfect peace.


My love to each of you. I thank you very much for sharing yourselves with me this evening. I wish you could each know how deeply you are loved. That is all.

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky