October 4, 2000

Barbara: I remarked to Hal earlier that this is the twelfth season that we've been doing this. September of ‘89 was the first year that we had Wednesday nights with Aaron. That's a long time. I remember speaking with a friend who channels back then, when I first channeled and was asking, 'Is it real?' She said, 'Ten years and a couple thousand pages of transcripts down the road, you won't ask that! You couldn't possibly come up with all that material on your own.'

When I start a session, I meditate for half an hour, an hour, beforehand. And then at the very start I always challenge the energy which presents itself as Aaron. I do this because negative energy on the same scale can feel very similar to Aaron, so this challenge is essential.

I want to try something new which is to invite you to join me in offering this challenge. When I say 'challenge,' it's just a statement of my highest values and that nothing will speak through me that isn't harmonious with those values. So I offer the challenge, 'Do you come in the spirit of lovingkindness, and service to all beings?' And I feel Aaron say yes. I make the statement that I will not allow anything to pass through me which is not consistent with the teachings of the great masters such as the Buddha and Jesus. I feel Aaron's accordance with that. Whatever work we do here, it is for the service of all beings on every plane. And again I feel Aaron's agreement with that.

Please join me in silently voicing your own highest values, that the work we do here may be based on loving service, however you want to phrase it. Let's just do it silently for a minute.

Aaron would like to base his opening talk tonight on an e-mail question that came in yesterday. I'm going to read the question.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I have to face how the currents of fear and conditioning have shaped this personality I call me. I get caught in taking it all very personally, feeling bad about myself, even though I know at some level that the teachings on no-self probably apply most helpfully to this situation. I'm seeing how this largely defensive personality I call me is really just the product of innumerable conditions. Not me or mine, really. Here's the place I get confused, though. How do I not take it personally, yet take personal responsibility for addressing it? I'm having trouble balancing the notion of 'It's not my fault,' with 'It isn't my responsibility.' I definitely think those statements are both true, but it seems like there is not supposed to be a self that takes it personally while there is supposed to be a self that takes it on and takes responsibility.

Aaron will start with this as the question for his opening talk. He says, with thanks to whomever posed the question.

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. It is a great joy to be with you again and to experience the loving energy and light that radiates from this room. You all come as seekers, which fact inspires me enormously. We on my plane are so grateful to you because only in this human form can you bring forth the learning at its deepest level. That doesn't mean you cannot learn on the astral plane, but on the human plane you have the opportunity to practice faith in a way that you cannot practice it on my plane.

You have the opportunity to enact that which is your own highest truth, even when you are cut off from the direct experience of yourselves as spirit. It's the difference between following rules that are posted and following the teachings of your own heart. It is the difference between self-discipline which acts out of logic, and love which enacts that love regardless of the experience of fear.

You are spirit. You've heard me call you angels in earthsuits. We cannot discard the earthsuit; it is the tool for human experience. We cannot discard the angel or there is merely this human mind and body going through mechanical motions with no connection to its source.

From the angel's perspective, there is no series of lifetimes, no birth and death, only a coming into intactness and then dissolving from that intactness, but consciousness does not cease. From the angel's perspective it is not too different than what you, the human, experience awakening in the morning, going to sleep at night, coming in and out of a certain level of consciousness. Only, from the angel's perspective the times when you are human are the times when you usually are asleep.

How would that be? What if you had to do your human functioning after you closed your eyes at night, the time from dusk til dawn? What if there was only awareness of the human, not of the spirit? For many of you this is the case, and yet there are bleedthroughs. You begin to know who you are at a deeper level. You become more able to bring this spirit perspective into everyday human life.

One day or one birth, it doesn't matter. When the human goes to sleep at night, sometimes the spirit can emerge more. When the human enters that long sleep you call death, the spirit emerges more.

There is not a self that moves from lifetime to lifetime, but the mental factors of memory and the consciousness itself continue throughout the third density experience. As you grow and understanding deepens, you begin to realize how that consciousness is not a self. It's been likened to one candle lighting another. Is it the same flame? It is, and it's not. Is it the same consciousness that inhabits each successive incarnation? It is, and it's not.

Somewhere in one of your lifetimes you wake up. By that I mean, you suddenly recognize 'I am not just a human, I am spirit, and all of these aggregates of self-of form, material body, the perceptions, the feelings, the thoughts, even the stream of consciousness-they are not me or mine.' You see how form comes into existence and dissolves. You see how thoughts come into existence and dissolve. If the conditions are present, they will arise. When the conditions cease, they will cease.

A friend shared with me today about going very deeply into nada, the sound of silence, and experiencing the physical body literally breaking up on a molecular level. It was as if the resonance of the sound shattered the molecules until the body disintegrated. She had previous experiences of 'no self,' but she had not so acutely experienced the process of dissolution. And yet of course your bodies are constantly dissolving. Scratch a little and cells flake off. New cells grow. Your body restores itself completely every seven years on the cellular level, so there's not any cell in your body that was existent eight years ago. How can you point to anything in the body and say, 'That's me'?

Yet, here is this body, here are the perceptions, the mental forms, volition. If this body picks up a knife and stabs another living being, creating real harm, we need to ask, what or who is responsible? The simple statement, 'Oh, just karma,' is insufficient. On the ultimate level we can see the entire flow of karma, how conditions are created, but there is still volition. While it's not your volition, you exercise that volition. Volition is a kind of energy. When I say 'you exercise it,' this collection of form and feelings and perceptions, consciousness, thoughts, coming together, merging with the karmic stream, exercises volition. The important thing to recognize here is while there is no self, there is still responsibility. You do have a choice. Let me explain this with a little bit more detail.

You are walking down the street in your town. You see approaching you a being whom you know, who is often very angry. The last few times you met this being, he yelled at you abusively, blamed you over seemingly trivial things. His anger built up to the point that he even pushed you, and a lot of anger arose in you. I'm saying 'you' as this mind-body experience we call the self.

Seeing him approaching you now and seeing the scowl on his face, what's really happening? First, the eyes are touching this object, this human. Contact. With contact there is resultant seeing. Seeing the angry face, there is a feeling of threat based on old experience and perceptions. When a face looks like this and the energy exuding from the approaching person feels like this, one comes to expect that what's going to follow will be unpleasant. There's nothing inherently bad about that face. Faces are able to take on all kinds of expressions. This is a learned experience, that an angry face is going to lead to unpleasant experience.

'Uh-oh,' says the mind. Thoughts begin to arise. From unpleasant comes the thought of dislike and a strong desire, 'I want to protect myself against this.' Mind may immediately launch itself into certain stories, such as, 'This person always abuses me. This person takes advantage of me. This person hurts me.' The stories may continue: 'This person is no good. I should stop this person before he gets started. I should tell him how angry I am,' and then further stories. Remembering the way he hurt you. Nurturing your anger. So by the time he reaches you you're ready to punch him in the nose. This simply perpetuates the karmic condition. The story has solidified into a sense of self, of a somebody to whom this is happening.

Before the anger erupts, long before, at that point where the consciousness 'seeing' and the perception 'angry face' had arisen, and there was first a thought of 'unpleasant,' immediately following that there is what we call an 'active moment.' It is the moment of choice, of volition. In that moment, if you are very stuck in the sense that this is a self under attack, then mind will run off with all those stories. If in that moment, out of your spiritual training comes the awareness, 'Aversion is beginning to arise in me,' and there's cognition, 'This is going to become unskillful if I let my mind run with it,' one can note right there that the ground for the stories is human fear. You may see it as feeling anger but there's probably fear beneath the anger. 'I will be hurt. I will be taken advantage of. I will not be heard. I will be abused.'

Fear isn't the perfect word but it's close. There's going to be a contraction in the belly, or maybe the chest or throat. At that moment, the old habitual tendencies can take you deep into the stories, lost in them, or there can be a moment of stopping, noting the fear, noting the way one is withdrawing, and a clear decision, 'Not this time. This time I'm going to stay present with fear and discomfort, both my own and this approaching man's fear and discomfort. Instead of nurturing the qualities that produce anger, I'm going to nurture those qualities which produce kindness, compassion.'

If you don't choose to do that, and you stand up to him with a lot of anger and say, 'Why are you harassing me? I hate you!' and he punches you in the nose, he is responsible for punching you in the nose, not you. No matter what you do to provoke it, that's his responsibility. But you have participated in it.

If instead, you are able to note all of this arising energy-fear, anger, confusion, wanting to be free of this situation-and just bring kindness to it, for yourself and for the one who approaches, then the dialogue may be very different. You do not let him simply harass and abuse you. What says 'no' is not self, because in that moment of coming back to center and recognizing the whole progression of arising-of contact, perceptions, feeling, consciousness, mental forms-in that moment you've slipped out of self. You've recognized all of this anger and fear are coming up because of conditions. There's no self in it. If I punch him or otherwise encourage his anger with more anger, then I push myself back into this place of a self defending against another self. When I see the whole progression of experience, and can offer kindness to that progression, everything changes. Thus, wisdom mind sees the progression, and the open heart offers kindness instead of fear.

Then, if he's still approaching you and he's shaking a fist in your face, self doesn't say no, compassion says no. Compassion says no to another who would abuse you or any being. It doesn't say no with hatred, it says no with understanding. Nevertheless it says no, and it says no clearly. In practical terms, you might say to this person, 'Do you know every time I see you, you are so angry. I bet you're not always that angry. Instead of yelling at me, come and walk for a few minutes together quietly, and then sit down on a bench and talk. Could you tell me how you're feeling without blaming me for how you're feeling?' That's one way of saying it. If he can't hear you and persists, you can simply say to him, 'No, you may not abuse me in that way. I will not stay here and listen to it. I know you're speaking out of your own fear and anger. I'm willing to hear that if you do not blame me and abuse me, but I'm not willing to hear it in this context.' And then you turn and walk away. This is compassion speaking.

In the situation where strong anger has already arisen in you and taken over, if you grab this person by his shirt and start to shake him, he is not responsible for your reaction no matter how he induced it with his own anger. You have free choice. At that point of active moment there was a choice made.

There is no self that any of this is happening to but there is volitional energy and we each must participate in that energy of volition for this is what creates the whole world. The universe, really. Volition is the story of creation. Where the mind goes, you will follow. If you don't want to go there, you must look where the mind is going and make the decision to bring it back, to bring it back to this deep place of wisdom which sees how the anger or fear or pain arose in you, to know 'Whatever has the nature to arise has the nature to cease and is not me or mine. And yet, whatever karmic formations are there come to me through so many past lives. I am responsible for them now.'

I talked about the candle, one flame lighting another, lighting another. Look back and see a row of 10,000 candles. Each one, before it lit the next candle, also burned a piece of paper, a tree, a house, a living being. Each one in the process of that lighting, trembled a bit, was not in firm control and burned something. Then it lit the next candle. The next candle itself has not yet burned anything. But the nature of a candle is to burn. If it is not attended to it will burn whatever it comes in contact with. In this present persona, the candle is a light, the candle of energy and volition. The candle of awakened mind or sleeping mind. It is up to you to be responsible.

There is one more part to this story. Most of you really don't have any firm idea of what is happening. You see only the surface. So there has got to be trust of human experience. For example, you may come up to a place where two people are fighting with each other. Angry words are flying. You think, 'I have to try to soothe them, get them to quiet down and hear one another.' It may seem like that's what you need to do, and so you try. But they can't hear one another. They are not ready yet to hear one another. And so they come to blows. They severely injure one another. You may think to yourself, 'Where did I fail? I understood the need. It was compassion that said no to them. Where did I fail?' Here we're bringing in the ego again.

Think of this instead as a place where three streams might meet, each flowing down from the hills. Each stream will carry its own energy. In this case we would consider that energy to be the karma, the habitual pattern. One stream will touch the other two but it cannot force the other two in any set direction. Each one has energy. You bring your clarity to the situation and they bring their anger and confusion. Your clarity is a gift regardless of whether they are ready to hear it in that moment. It may be five years more before they hear. Each of them is in a body that is deeply marred by the terrible fight they had, scarred and broken, and somewhere five years later they reflect and suddenly begin to understand how they chose in that moment to participate in the violence, and how you compassionately offered a different opportunity. They may see they were not ready to hear it then. Trust that nothing good that you offer into the universe is ever wasted. No good intention, no amount of compassion or lovingkindness or generosity is ever wasted. Maybe they had to hear you to remember somewhere years later that there is an alternative. And maybe they also had to beat each other up. How many times might they have to beat each other up before they're ready to learn?

There is a line from that lovely song called 'Blowin' in the Wind.' 'How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?' How many times do people have to bat their head against a wall before they wake up to the fact that they're causing pain to themselves and to others that share that wall?

So it takes a lot of trust. All you can do is come back to the clearest space possible. Note the arising emotions of the self which could take you off into a sense of the self, power, control. Within your spiritual practice, just sitting on your meditation cushion, practice this letting go mind, coming back to center, seeing how certain emotions and thoughts arise. See how the stories arise out of them, without getting hooked into them. Letting go of the illusion of self, you come to this place of wisdom and compassion; responsibility arises out of that wisdom and compassion. Being able to respond appropriately in the world, radiantly, with love.

There are many more places we could go with this question. My choice tonight is to leave you a lot of time for questions about my words here and whatever questions you may have brought with you tonight. So I'm going to stop here but will be glad to speak further on this question. That is all.

Barbara: Do you have questions you'd like to ask?

K: Psychological counseling and spiritual practice have similarities and some differences in approach. Could Aaron speak about that and how the two can work together in practice?

Aaron: I am Aaron. We need to consider two aspects of spirituality here. One is a spiritual practice which can be compared to psychological practice, with emphasis on 'practice' as doing. One is spirituality as container for both psychology and spiritual practice, and for the physical too. This spiritual container, this is the angel. This is the divine essence which underlies everything. We recognize that it is the container for everything-your work with your physical bodies in exercise, nutrition; your work with your emotional bodies toward deeper understanding of neurotic tendency through psychology; your work with your mental bodies as it touches all thought. All this work may be done within a spiritual container. So there is a spiritual container which holds all of this, body, mind and spirit.

Within the work of the mind, one works with the habitual tendencies through many different tools, one of which is the tool of psychology, one of which is the tool of vipassana, one of which is the tool of presence, mindfulness, one of which is the tool of developing wisdom, one of which is the tool of pure-heartedness to which you come by nurturing sila (moral awareness). These all come together and interweave.

Putting aside spirit as the container for it all, let us come back to the spiritual practice as tool, psychology as tool. Psychology as tool leads you to reflect on that which is wholesome in the self and that which is unwholesome. It leads you to reflect on the conditioning in this present life out of which those wholesome and unwholesome states arise. It does not necessarily give you the tool to step away from those unwholesome mind states, only to understand their origin. Because there is still a seemingly solid self in whom these so-called neurotic patterns arise, there is not real freedom from them although they may be suppressed with willpower. It's a step forward but it's not true freedom.

Within the spiritual practice-by which I mean mindfulness, precept practice, devotion and meditation-one comes not only to see reality in terms of how these unskillful tendencies arose but one comes to see beyond the unskillful tendencies. I think this is the core of the difference: that psychology is a school of medical practice created to cure that which is seen as distorted or broken. Spiritual practice has the purpose to transcend these unwholesome mind states and come back into your inherent wisdom, goodness, compassion, clarity.

In this way spiritual practice cuts through the neurotic tendencies, which often just completely unravel. There's nothing to hold them in place any more. When you cut through the self, who is there left to be neurotic? The habitual tendency may continue but when it is held in the container of spiritual practice, when mindfulness is brought to this tendency whose roots have been severed, so that one sees that it is just a habit, then with kindness one lets go of the habit and returns to center again and again until the habit releases itself.

There is no 'fixing' here; there is no force. There is only attention and the deep intention to live one's life consistent to the heart's center. When all the forces of presence, intention, sila, kindness and so forth are present, and in balance, the heart's wholeness is revealed.

This is a very brief capsule, K. Do you wish me to go further tonight? I pause.

K: Could Aaron speak about the relationship between a psychological counselor and the person they are working with, as compared to someone giving spiritual direction to someone?

Aaron: I am Aaron. This will of course depend on the individual. For the most part, the psychological counselor is trained to work person-to-person, my ego to your ego. There will have been training on transference and counter-transference, on projections. There will be even great skill. But the psychological counselor is not trained to know the egoless state and rest there. They may speak from a place of real clarity and kindness but they are still addressing the other person in a sense of duality and inviting the other person, the client, to investigate that within the self which is the cause of pain. There is a sense, together we will investigate this pain and I will help you. The psychologist then becomes the one who accompanies the person in their investigation, but there are still two dual relationships, counselor and client, and counselor and client against the pain.

The realized spiritual teacher does not create duality. He or she invites the student to meet him or her in a place of center where one can see the arising of pain and confusion, not take it as my pain or your pain but simply the pain, and investigate together the habitual ways of working with the pain. They may investigate together ways of nurturing that innate clarity, compassion and wisdom which can relate to the pain in more wholesome ways. Because the teacher rests stably in that center, he/she is a spot of clarity, always inviting the others' presence there too. There's no duality. I pause.

This is not a statement that counseling is not useful. Often counseling is the first step to care for pain in what eventually becomes a spiritual venture. Increasingly there are counselors who are trained formally also as spiritual guides, or who have come to the psychology training through their own spiritual practice, and who are able to fill both shoes. They cease to create duality, but they are still aware of the psychological processes such as transference, and know how to work skillfully with these issues. They are able to be with the client where that client is, to get the process moving and then skillfully move them both from client's position of 'my pain,' into a position of 'the pain' and us working together to move to the other side of the pain, not to fix the pain but to see through it.

This is where the skillful counselor with a spiritual bias is able to support both at once, the human mundane experience and the spiritual supra-mundane experience. But even the counselor who creates duality still can support the whole journey into investigation up to a certain point. I would ask this instrument to share something.

Barbara: This goes back over forty years. I worked with a very skillful therapist but not a spiritual teacher, a therapist. He was able to support and help me see where my sense of unworthiness came from, to support my investigation into the psychological roots in this lifetime of that sense of unworthiness, to the degree that I no longer needed to enact that sense of unworthiness in my daily life. I was able to just live my life more openly. But, the pain of the sense of unworthiness was still there. I didn't have to act it out constantly. I was no longer hooked into in a mechanical way. I understood, this is old, this is from my childhood. But if I came into a party, for example, there would be a deep sense of shame, 'Nobody wants to talk to me. I'm no good.' And I would be able to consciously remind myself, 'No, that's not so, it's just old conditioning.' But I wasn't past it in terms of a sense of real freedom from pain.

It was only many years later in spiritual practice at a long retreat, that change occurred. Walking down hallways and seeing people following their instructions and averting their gaze, and watching my sense of pain, shame, unworthiness, the thought would come up, 'What did I do wrong?' And it was just so clear, 'It has nothing to do with me. Look how I've been taking it personally.' Then I was able to let go of the story and gain more insight into the mechanism, how I had used the story to escape contact with anger.

Doing this for many weeks, Aaron asked me first, 'Who is unworthy in this moment? Is anybody unworthy?' I just kept bringing in that question and began to understand how unworthiness was a concept in a different way than I had been able to understand psychologically. There was no who, there was nobody there, there was just this collection of aggregates and the thought of unworthy as a concept arising in habitual response to certain painful associations. So I was getting into the story of unworthy as a way of avoiding the direct experience that had been so shattering in childhood, of being the bad one, the angry one.

And suddenly there was insight, 'I don't have to do this any more. I don't need this story any more.' It was seen through completely in a way that all those years of intense analysis had not opened up. It just stopped and it's never come back. It's gone. There was never anybody who was unworthy. Aaron asked me at that point in the retreat, 'Is there somebody who is worthy?' Of course not. It's all concept. It's gone.

Aaron, is that sufficient? He says, yes. Questions?

Q: I have a question that is still sort of forming. If I am working with a psychological counselor who maybe even says the right words about non-duality but in their own heart they really do not believe or live through that, then am I even able to absorb that non-dual understanding?

Barbara: Mostly we can only be with a person as far as we have gone. You can go past them. They're no longer the leader in that case, they just are somebody who is there, a mirror for the dualistic mind. You don't need their guidance for that any more. They can only take you as far as they have gone. So unless they have come to that place of clarity, of direct experience of non-duality themselves, that doesn't mean you can't go there but they can't lead you there.

Q: Will they, even without words, reinforce duality?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Not necessarily. Or let me rephrase-they may reinforce duality and it may be their reinforcement of duality that wakes you up to the truth of non-duality. Perhaps you can benefit by that catalyst, seeing their distortion clearly because they're enforcing it. I pause.

It would depend very much on the relationship with this person and the degree of authority that they assume, and how much you allowed yourself to be controlled by this authority. If they did not assume a position of authority but acknowledged, 'I have not gone to this place of the non-dual, I can only speak from my more conceptual understandings. But I see the habitual pattern of your pain,' their loving effort can support you in doing your own work.

The psychologist performs many different functions. In the most essential sense they are simply a mirror for you. The difficulty is if they have their own strong biases then they're not a clear mirror. This can create confusion for the one who is the client. The clearer the psychologist is, the clearer the mirror. The psychologist must also know what to mirror and what to hold back. Sometimes if the personality is very fragile, the psychologist must also serve as a filter for what it mirrors, picking up on that which feels intuitively to be ready to be accessed by the client, helping them to gain strength to go further and deeper.

The groundwork of this psychological process can then become the foundation for a deeper spiritual process. In telling her own story this instrument neglected to say that in all probability, without that background, she would not have been able to do the later work. It served as an essential foundation. But the work was not the same, one was psychological, one was spiritual. I pause.

Q: The degree to which we see the other as authority is the degree to which we allow the reinforcement of duality. The more I give my power away to another is the degree to which I succumb to their perspective.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would tend to agree with you but not always. My own bias is toward Theravadin Buddhism in which the teacher is seen as the spiritual friend, not the authority. I have authority over my own experience and insight. I state with clarity, 'This is how I experience it. In my own experience, this is how it is.' I'm not afraid to say it, but I don't say to you, 'You must experience it this way.' I invite you to search it out for yourself. Because of my deep faith in dharma, I have become totally convinced that if you search it out yourself, you will find that what I hold as truth, you also will come to as truth. But I don't start by telling you, 'This is it. You have to believe this.' Up to that point I agree with what you have said. If they say, 'This is it,' and you take them as authority, you lose your own course.

But there are spiritual traditions-think of the Tibetan or Zen tradition. The Zen master is the ruler. People come in for an interview, they say two words and he says, 'Go!' In the Tibetan tradition, the lama or rinpoche has much the same position of authority in many traditions. What happens here is a kind of spiritual surrender. This teacher becomes seen as literally the Buddha. And in their own Buddha nature we begin to see the reflection of our own Buddha nature which we had not been able to see because of all the distortions. As there is an increasing surrender of the ego self, the deepest truth of one's being begins to emerge. So initially the surrender is to the guru or master. Then it stops being to an individual, it's simply to awakened nature. We surrender the ego self to the awakened nature. The awakened nature comes into predominance. But for this to work, the authority must display that awakened nature, at least to a good degree.

In my human lifetimes I did not know any psychologists or psychiatrists. Of those whom I have observed in this lifetime, none of them have the clarity, none of them I have observed are enlightened themselves. And for this process to work, it demands that the guru or master be enlightened, otherwise it's just ego surrendering to ego. Eventually the whole thing may crash and the enlightened nature within the self may emerge out of the debris, but the process may be extraordinarily and needlessly painful. To surrender oneself then to any authority that is not fully awake is a dangerous route. I pause.

Q: This is a little change of topic. I'm wondering what Aaron has to say about Tibetan deities. Daikini's and so forth. I read about them and I don't know how that fits with a Theravadin path that has no deities or theology.

Barbara: I'm going to read a related question.

I am particularly interested in what Aaron thinks about the Tibetan perspective. As my own practice deepens, I'm beginning to see why more people are drawn to Tibetan than Theravadan. Theravada was in a sense designed for the Southeast Asian culture. Westerners have hungry hearts and the way Theravada is often presented does not always speak to the heart. The Tibetan version, as sometimes compared to Catholicism, seems to do that better. Back to some theoretical questions. Theravadans have heaven realms, the lower ones involving refined sense pleasures. Tibetans have pure land realms and the realms of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. All of these beings, where do they fit, if at all, in Aaron's density cosmology?

Aaron says he will put these two questions together.

Your question was related. Let's hear it.

K: My question was, how do we look at the heavenly realms? How do we come to reliable information?

Barbara: First, a very brief word here for those who are not familiar with Aaron's cosmology. He talks about eight what he calls densities, using the term density as the term relates to our energy field. First density is gas and mineral. Second is from the very simplest one-celled plants through more complex plants and the simplest animals through more complex animal. Third is human. Fourth, the being that no longer needs to return to human form. What he says is we reach a place where thoughts and emotions continue to arise but we stop identifying with them as self. And so we can experience these without contracting around them and getting caught in the stories around them. Fourth density is a non-material plane where we come together energetically and are able to hear each other's stories, hear each other's pain. It's the first time when we can really learn from other people because there's no judgment of what the other person is saying. We can share ourselves fully because there's no sense of shame about what we're experiencing.

In fifth density we begin to move out from these energetic groups. Emotions and thoughts still may arise subtly, but there's totally no pull toward them. It's just like wind blowing past. We don't get caught in them at all, and by the end of fifth density they cease to arise. In sixth density thoughts will arise but negative thoughts based on fear, greed, and so forth don't arise for the positively polarized being. Emotions don't arise. Since the sixth density being is non-material, physical sensations don't arise.

The mental body that was retained through sixth density so that one could communicate with others drops away in seventh density, just as the physical and emotional body had dropped away earlier. It's like the drop of water dropping back into the ocean. It doesn't cease to exist but it ceases to have any separateness in any way. Aaron says as a sixth density being, he doesn't own his thoughts but still there are thoughts. So, at seventh density there is just reemerging into that which is. It doesn't cease to exist. What Aaron says is that the powerful radiance of that purified energy entering seventh density adds itself to the … I'm paraphrasing Aaron here … he says if the body of water had become very polluted and drop by drop you took water out of it, clarified it back to its essence, dropping off all of the pollution that had attached to it and then it dropped back into the sea, after doing that many billions of times with billions of drops, eventually the sea itself will become totally pure. He said the metaphor fails because the sea has always been pure. But we are adding increased radiance and power to that which is.

He says he is a sixth density being. He can talk about seventh density only conceptually because once one drops off the mental body one can't reclaim it. He can't talk about eighth density at all. He only is told that it exists, but for anybody that would tell him it exists, it's conceptual.

OK, that is background. Let Aaron speak.

Aaron is noting that I am tired and he is right. This is a subject that he would talk about at length. He will offer some introductory comments now for ten or fifteen minutes and then perhaps pick it up next week. He says he wants to be precise and wants me to be more fresh to get into the deeper details of it.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I'm going to begin by asking you to try something very simple here. If a few of you would lift some of these flowering plants off the windowsill, hold them, pass them around. Close your eyes and feel the energy coming from them. Just listen to them, feel them. As you hold them, ask, 'Is there any kind of energy here? Is there any kind of being or essence here?' The small flower deva, for example.

Remember spirit exists in many ways, material and non-material. The human is a form in which spirit may express itself. The flower is a form in which spirit may express itself. Just as there is consciousness within you, there is some form of consciousness within the flower. I am simply presenting these small flower devas as one alternative form of volitional intelligence, not nearly as powerful as the human but certainly present. Nature devas present themselves in a less self-aware way. They are more collective. They are more like a swarm of ants. The devas that you experience in these flowers would not have individual names or personalities, they come as a collective deva of this particular kind of plant. Because they are more collective, they do not experience coming into and out of existence, just expressing themselves in one form or another. They cannot be killed, for example, although their energy cannot be blocked and stifled. We pause for this exercise.

Aaron: I am Aaron. So these small nature devas are-I do not want to call them unpowerful. Collectively they are powerful. But they are a small form of power. If you have a million one-watt bulbs, you still have a million watts of light. It's powerful.

They do not lack intelligence. We can't compare this to that. Their intelligence potential is unlimited. But that which has developed in this nature deva is only that which it needs for its own evolution and work. As a second density energy, it has not yet evolved into self-awareness. So its evolution and work are really about polarizing, about moving into a polarity of expression based more on fear or more on love. Becoming aware of their own radiance as a collective. Not yet self-aware.

There are countless beings on countless planes. They are on realms such as yours, material and non-material. They are in hell and heaven realms. As to these hell realms, nobody stands as a director and says, 'You go there, you go there.' Beings consign themselves to hell realms. The Buddhist image of the hungry ghost comes to mind. This is a being that is consumed by greed. You've probably all had hungry ghost type of experiences in your lifetime. For the hungry ghost, the mouth is tiny and the belly enormous. And it just can't get in enough through that tiny mouth, it's always hungry, always grasping. It's really a hell realm. It would be as if you went to a lavish buffet and you were given a teaspoon size plate. Instead of choosing lovely morsels of food and sitting down to thoroughly enjoy them, you sit down with your plate almost unaware of what the plate contains because you're eyeing the different platters on the table. 'Will there be enough of that left? Oh, I didn't get that.' There's no enjoyment of what you have, only grasping. This is a hell realm. You experience it as a human if the karmic tendency has been perpetuated during your lifetime and you experience it in death on the astral plane. Not forever; until you see your way clear of it.

There are some heavenly realms. Beings who in incarnation have come to real clarity and supported others, let go of greed and aversion, but have not reached profound understanding of the nature of being, on the basis of the good karma of their kindness and generosity, they may experience themselves in some kind of god or heavenly realm.

Even heaven can become boring when you've had enough of it. Eventually it becomes unsatisfying. There's no place to grow. All one's needs are met. There's no stimulation and one knows one is not yet completely free. Eventually one will move back into human incarnation. But meanwhile, it can be a very blissful and joyful heavenly realm.

There are beings who, not so much fourth but fifth and sixth density beings-let me go back a step. Beings in heaven realms between incarnation are still third density beings. Higher density can begin to enter more powerful hell and heaven realms. Beings with a strong negative bias will move into positions of power in hell realms. There are immensely powerful negative beings.

As an aside, for negative bias, sixth density is the end of the route. A negatively biased being cannot enter seventh density. Its negative polarity pulls it into a dead end. If we may use the drop of water metaphor, this drop of water is not purified and radiant, it's heavy, leaden. If it were to drop into the sea it could not merge but would drop to the bottom. It must go back and work its way back through, all the way back to second density, usually. It is in this way that people may take rebirth as animals and plants.

Not only negative beings take rebirth as animals and plants, though. There may be a conscious decision to do this. Let me phrase this carefully. One's karma may draw one back into a specific lifetime perhaps as a-I would use the example of this instrument's recent dog, who in a prior lifetime had been human. He did not come into this canine incarnation based on strong negative karma. We need to understand what negative karma is. It doesn't just mean doing harm to others, but there was a bias in his karmic stream in which another's strong emotion pulled him off center into a need to rescue others, into a need to separate from the other and fix things for the other. There was no equanimity with the arising of emotion in the world around him. Moving into this canine incarnation, there was the opportunity for a very short period of learning, for a dog has a very short life. Those of you who came to speak to this instrument, who came, sat and cried, many of you had the experience of him coming up when you cried and licking your face. Putting a paw in your lap. And yet he learned from this instrument to trust your pain, not to worry so much about your pain. So there was a very specific kind of learning that he was working with. He also lived his life offering service to another being, learning not to put himself first, to let go of the self because of his deep love for Barbara. He learned how to take care of her without being afraid for her, or attempted to learn it. So, coming back as dog was not a negative incarnation, not punishment in any way, just perfect.

But for those highly negatively biased beings who reach sixth density, it's a dead end. They will need to return usually on a plant level. Their karma will draw them back into probably a great multitude of incarnations, as insects, snakes, plants, what we consider generally lower intelligence life forms. Slowly they will begin to evolve in a different direction. Meanwhile, as long as they are still fifth or sixth density negatively polarized entities they have very powerful negativity.

And of course, there is also fifth and sixth density highly positive polarity. Here we have that being we call the bodhisattva. This is a being who has no need to return to incarnation for karmic reasons but who does so out of its intense aspiration to serve others and free others from suffering. The intention is not to 'fix' it for others. There's no fear there, just love. The bodhisattva is not limited to one who returns to incarnation but a being on an upper plane who continues to make itself available to human beings because of its great compassion is also a bodhisattva.

There are so many different names, different labels, different planes of beings. What I think of as daikinis for example, these are often upper fourth and fifth density astral beings with a lot of power. Often very positive but not always; sometimes of mixed polarity. But some of them are very positive. But they still retain a mental body not only as tool but there may be some attachment to that mental body and the notion of self. I will not begin to try to label all of these different beings. What's most useful for you to know is simply that there are all of these beings.

If you of highly positive polarity turn to such beings for assistance and ask for their support, they are there and will support your efforts in whatever ways are most valuable and appropriate for you. And you don't have to believe in them to ask for their help. You don't have to name them to ask for their help, only to say, 'Whatever of light or love there may be in the universe, whatever forces for light or love, I ask their support as I do this difficult work in service to all beings.' And in that aspiration and statement of intention, you will draw this energy to you to support you. In just the same way, a negative being may call on the forces of darkness and pain.

When you enact your anger, you call forth negativity. When you enact kindness, compassion, generosity, you call forth positivity. Know what you are calling forth.

The question was asked, 'Why is there so much interest in Tibetan Buddhism in today's world? Is it more appropriate for westerners? My own bias is no. There is enormous heart-centeredness which is possible in Theravadan Buddhism. The lack of that is a distortion of Theravadin teaching. In those countries in which Theravada has flourished, there is deep faith and a deep emphasis on sila. Deep devotion. That transmission of the teachings from that part of Asia to the West has become sterile because it has dropped off the devotion. People are drawn to Tibetan teachings because they wanted something to hold on to. Because they enjoy the color and flamboyance of it, of the imagery, for example. But the seeming lack of that in Theravadan teaching is simply the fault of poor transmission.

This is a larger and interesting question in itself and I would like to put it off and speak to it next week. Let's revisit this whole question next week. That is all.

Barbara: It's five minutes to 10. Let us just sit silently together for five minutes.

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky