December 12, 2001 - Christmas Stories

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Before I begin to talk, let us do a small exercise together. Often we're very serious in our practice. Not necessarily with grasping energy but very solemn. There's the idea that mindfulness needs to be solemn; we forget it can also be joyful, alive.

For many of you there is real joy in this season but sometimes you lose it in the busy-ness of your days. So I'd like you to sit here with me for a few minutes and bring into your heart and mind something for which you feel great gratitude. There's much to worry about in the world, but surely there is also much to be grateful for.

Draw it into your mind and heart with awareness, "For this I am grateful." Breathe it in, feeling the heart open, and release. And again, breathing in joy, breathing in gratitude.


Take a moment here to open your eyes and look around you. You, this sangha has constructed this room as a home for yourselves. You, many of you come together for retreats and classes, come together to chant and pray. Look at each other. Feel the gratitude for this loving sangha. Be aware of how beautiful you are, how wondrous it is you have all come together like this in mutual support and love.


Come into your body. Whether it is aching or free of pain, still it is to be cherished. It serves you well in this lifetime. Instead of dwelling on the discordances of the body, can you take a moment to be grateful to the body, to praise the body and appreciate it? Thank it, literally. Think of all that works well in the body.


Think of a friend or loved one, one whose presence brings you joy, and hold that presence like a glowing ember in your heart, feeling it radiate. And offer thanks that this person is in your life.


Think now of someone who is difficult in your life, someone with whom there has been closeness but perhaps in some way they are estranged from you, or your relationship with them is often filled with pain. And yet this person also brings you a gift. Can you offer gratitude? From your heart, can you thank this person for his or her presence in your life? It may be a bittersweet joy and yet you can touch on the joy.


And come to your own self, a self you so often judge as imperfect. Not just the body, but in the mind, the heart, the emotions. All of you, can you offer thanks for this person that you are, joy at this beautiful light which is you and which shines in the world?


Whatever else there may be to be joyful for, just bring it into your heart and offer thanks. I'll be quiet now for a few minutes, then will begin to speak.


Aaron: I am Aaron. For those few of you who are new tonight, each year we offer what you have come to call the Christmas stories. Many years ago I shared with you all that I was alive in the world at the time of the birth of the one that you know as Jesus. I was a poor shepherd, not a wise man in terms of intellectual affairs but perhaps wise in my heart, I grew to have great love for this master.

When I say "I", this is not Aaron, this is the being that I was at that time, a karmic ancestor. I was not privileged to spend my days with him but now and then when his own movements brought him near to where I lived with my sheep, I would take a few days to go and follow his path with him and be with him, one of many who did this. And it was always a great blessing just to be in the presence of this great one.

My Christmas stories have been memories that stood out for me of those different times that I spent with him. I've tried to highlight not so much his divinity but his humanness. The human aspect of his being shined forth: his goodness, his kindness, his patience, his forbearance with pain and difficulties. Some could see through the surface into the deepest inner light and others simply grasped what was given on the surface. But either way, to be in his presence was the greatest gift.

We're all divine, we're all sparks of that divine energy, expressions of that great perfection. For him this expression of his clear light stood out more distinctly than it does for many, and because he shined this light forth in his every expression of being, those who came near to him found him reflecting their own divinity back to them. For some it led to a very powerful opening to that divinity, others were frightened by it because they could not yet see that aspect of themselves. Yet to be in his presence was always to encounter that divine mirror, regardless whether it was a pleasant experience or not.

In the past year in our dharma talks, both Barbara and I have emphasized the teaching of resting in awareness. You've heard the statement many times, for example, "That which is aware of anger is not angry. If anger arises, note that it's present without judgment of it, and rest in that which is not angry and can watch the passage of anger without getting caught in its stories. Likewise with fear, greed, jealousy, or any difficult emotion."

Different religions give this pure awareness different names. Sometimes the use of those labels is not completely clear, but for Christians it is often called Christ Consciousness, to be aware of the inner Christ, the inner divinity. This is not different than to be aware of the Buddha nature or simply the awakened heart. It is the place within of utmost clarity and love.

To rest in that space does not mean that no negativity will be present. A sea may have waves churning on the surface, and pieces of driftwood and other flotsam crashing together on the surface, and yet at its depth it is still and steady. The surface movement does not negate the stillness of the depths. The sea doesn't fight its waves, it knows that this is part of its nature, to give rise to waves. The human body will give rise to physical sensations, the mind will give rise to thoughts. Depending on the karmic conditioning, some of those sensations and thoughts may be difficult, unpleasant, contracted, and fear-based. One recognizes the conditioned nature of such thoughts and that they are impermanent. Kindness will diminish their intensity and frequency of recurrence.

What leads one to rest in the deepest place and learn not to get too caught up in these conditioned arisings of the body and mind, to attend to them skillfully, not to believe in them as self?

I told you that the being that I was was a shepherd. Most of the stories I've told you have been of the later years but here is one when he was young. For the first time this man that I was came into the master's presence in a smaller group where he could speak with Jesus. I am going to say this in the first person. Please remember it is this karmic ancestor's story. I don't have personal identity with it now.

I came upon the master and some of his disciples gathered in the evening by a fire. They were often offered the hospitality of a home but sometimes preferred to be outdoors on such a beautiful night as this. The sky was clear and the stars brilliant beyond your imagining for we did not have light and atmospheric pollution in those days.

I asked permission to come and sit by the fire and he granted it very happily. I was too shy to talk at first. Shy and afraid because part of what brought me to seek this master was that he talked of forgiveness and I had something in my own life that I did not know how to forgive.

I had had a beloved brother, very dear to me, who was a craftsman and made very beautiful useful objects fashioned out of wood. He was not quite a carpenter although I'm sure he could have built a structure. But he made wooden vessels without the power tools that you have today, and wooden eating utensils, wooden adornments, cabinets. His hands were like magic. But this is not why I loved him, I loved him because he was so good, so kind and gentle. And yet brave, and would never let another be hurt without standing up for him.

Some months before, my brother had been at the home of another friend when outlaws came. His friend lived at the far outskirts of a village. He lived a very simple life, had very few possessions. Somehow the outlaws had been given the impression that he was a miser and had gold so they barged into his home and said, "We want your gold." The man just opened his hands and said, "I don't have gold." They said to my brother, who sat there with his friend, "You have nothing to do with this. You go." My brother would not leave. His friend was of a slight build. He stepped in front of him. He said, "He has no gold. You leave." So they beat him. Now he lay in a coma, his body barely alive. The one who he had protected told this story.

It seemed to me that my brother would soon die and I was filled with anger. I did not know who the men were but had some idea where they dwelled. My greatest wish was to find others to go with me and kill them, to make them pay for what they had done to my brother and to others whom they had also maltreated. And yet I loved this great teacher and I heard that he taught, "Turn the other cheek. Forgive. Love one another."

This is what led me to him for the first time, Something in his words resonated in my heart, and I felt that I could not simply go and kill these men without first telling Jesus my story and hearing his advice. I said, "This is such a strong case of evil. He's going to tell me, 'Yes, those men do deserve to die.'" I think I really expected that because I had not personally spoken with him before. But when I came into his presence and felt his strength and gentleness, his presence and kindness, I knew that the answer was going to be different than I had expected, and I was afraid of his answer because I didn't think I was big enough to do what he would ask of me.

How do we release hatred? My whole being was wound up in this hatred. He listened to my story. I trembled to tell it because I feared his judgment. Already in that short time I wanted to stay with him more than anything else, and I feared that he would hear my anger and send me away. He just listened, and when I was finished he said to me simply, "I hear how great your anger is. It must be very painful to carry so much anger." And as he said it, he looked at me with the kindest eyes you can imagine, completely free from judgment.

He did not tell me not to be angry. He offered only compassion for my suffering and the intensity of this anger. "I hear how angry you are. It must be very painful to carry so much anger."

And I said, "Yes."

And he said, "What do you want to do?"

I said, "I want to kill them."

He noted, "You are suffering. What will ease that suffering?"

My first response was, "Yes."

He said, "What after you kill them? Will that bring your brother back to life? Will that give you peace?"

And then he looked me in the eyes and spoke again,, "Hatred shrouds the compassionate heart that is able to see their situation free of hatred. But that heart is still here." With those words he gentle touched my chest and I could feel that heart, that possibility of forgiveness.

"Who are they?" he asked. I told him they were a band of poor men who lived in the hills, were lazy and did not work but stole for a living. I told how they were widely feared and hated. But they were strong as a band and people were afraid to go after them.

"Do they have children?", he inquired. I didn't know.

"Do you think they enjoy their life?" I didn't know.

"Have they ever been taught to find what they need without hurting others?" I didn't know.

But his questions awakened a realization in me that these were not monsters, they were men. That without the gentle care of my own parents, I might have been one who hurt others to fulfill my own needs.

A certain spark ignited in my heart, a spark that had always been there. His presence and non-judgment brought it to life. It was the seed of compassion.

Three days passed. For 3 days we walked, sat, talked. Of course, I was not with him alone all day but I had ample opportunity to come to him with discussion when I wished, and he would seek me out and say, "How is the anger today?" For 3 days we walked and talked, and he taught me to take care of my anger, not to hold the anger to use it as a tool to harm others but also not to disrespect it. He led me to see that I did not have to get rid of the anger to find the compassionate heart.

He taught me to find that which was inherently loving and capable of loving in myself and simply to rest there, touching love rather than hatred. At the end of 3 days I had to go back to my sheep, to my work. He asked me as I was ready to depart, "What will you do? Do you still want to kill them?"

I said, "I don't know what I'll do because I can no longer kill them. Yet, they have hurt my brother, who may die soon, and they harm others. I do not know what to do."

He said to me, "Why don't you just pray that an answer will come, that some solution will come, and see what happens? Hold the desire for healing in your heart and talk with your friends about it too, and see what happens."

I returned to my home. It was harder to keep that light available without his presence, but it was there. I found that as long as I practiced with my anger as he had taught me, I could stay in touch with the light as well. I began to talk to people about what he had told me. Others also began to see their own light, to see how anger and even hatred could be present and love and light could also be present.

Perhaps 4 months later I was on a hillside in the night with my sheep. Noise was coming from the village a mile away and I hurried down to see what was the matter. There were many of us. People came down from the hills all around to investigate this disturbance. We saw that these outlaws had again come into the village, swords drawn. We assumed they were looking for objects of value. Villagers armed with staffs and sticks were chasing them away.

One of them, the leader, had seemed to be carrying something in front of him and placed it on the ground as he fled. I came to it first. To my surprise it was a child, a young boy. Why he carried his child with him we did not understand. Why he left the boy was still more of a riddle. Some people simply turned away but several of us picked up the boy and made the decision to follow these bandits out to the place where they lived in the wilderness to return the boy home and see for ourselves what the situation was. You cannot hate a 3-year-old boy.

The boy was emaciated, dirty, but not afraid of us; it was clear he had been raised with kindness. We came up into the hills carrying the boy. Some of their lookouts shouted to us, "Who are you?"

We said, "We are returning a child." We were permitted to pass.

I leave out some details here, you don't need them, but finally we came into the presence of the man who was the leader of this band of outlaws. I call it a village but the dwellings really were just caves, very rudimentary shelters. I held out the boy to him and said, "Is this your son?" and tears filled his eyes. He said, "All our children have died, they have starved. He is the last one. I left him on purpose so he would not die."

These were the fierce beings that I had hated. And they had done wrong, they had killed. Nothing justifies such wrong doing. Yet when we looked up close, we saw some of them were cripples, others of them blind or sickly. It seemed they knew no other way to survive but to steal. And there weren't that many of them, perhaps a dozen men and women. He was right, the spark of love was there in my heart. Seeing these as human beings it was impossible to hate them.

We made the decision to find some ways to help them, to find ways to help them to grow food, to give them some seeds and also sheep, to teach them the skills that they needed. They could not understand why we would do this. They said, "But we have killed." And I was able to look at one and say, "Yes, you killed my brother." And although Jesus was not there to say it, I know his words would have been, "And now you are my brother. I cannot kill you in return. You are my brother."

This was the fruit of my first encounter with the one you know as Jesus. He did not merely preach forgiveness, tolerance and love, but led each being to find that in their own hearts. He opened the way to that discovery by reflecting his own enormous lovingkindness and non-judgment. He was light and drew out that light in all beings.

There is another story. This occurred some years later. The penalty in those days for wrongdoing was severe, literally an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.. Someone who stole and was caught would have his hand cut off which often meant starvation for himself and his family. At times there was not enough food for people and life was very difficult. Often he was stealing because he was starving.

At the time of this story I again had been walking with him for some days, a longer period this time. Entering a village we became aware of a skirmish. A man had been caught stealing a loaf of bread. The equivalent of police, judge and jury was all poured together into one figurehead in some small villages and he was called upon when there was a problem. He looked at the surface, asked, "What happened?" "He stole bread." That was the end of the investigation. The alleged thief's hand would be held out and cut off. He was not given a fair trial. He was not asked if or why he was stealing the bread. This was the crime; this is the penalty.

This man was weeping and crying, "My children, they will starve." Nobody even bothered to answer. It's not that people were evil, they simply had not learned kindness and understanding of others. There was a code of laws behind which they took protection with closed hearts. So we witnessed a tragic ending of this robbery, which was that the man was literally held down and his hand cut off. We saw to our horror that the other hand had been previously cut off and was nothing but a stub. They simply cut the hand off and walked away, left him lying on the ground to cope with this trauma, to live or die.

We came up to him immediately. Jesus himself took off part of his robe and used it as a bandage to wrap the wound. People in those days had certain basic medical skills, knew how to stop the blood spurting out by applying pressure. The man was in physical agony and in terrible emotional pain as he said, "My children, my children; what will I do?"

We carried him off with us a short ways to a place where we settled for the night and built a fire. Through the night he was feverish, in and out of consciousness, but he kept saying, "My children, my children." We finally found someone who knew him and said that he lived a little ways out from the village with 2 young children and that his wife was dead. Someone was sent to fetch the children. They were found alone and frightened in the dark.

So here was the situation. The children now were safe for the moment. The stub would heal over but he now no longer had arms. He had 2 children and there was no social service department to care for them. If he could not provide for them probably they would starve.

He was a very bitter man filled with hatred. As a youth he had made what I can only call a stupid move to steal and lost his right hand. That had left him feeling diminished and helpless, so instead of cultivating what skills he could with his left hand and becoming a capable person, he sunk deeply into his helplessness and began truly to believe that the only thing he could do for a living was the most menial of jobs, and when that was not available, to steal. He knew the consequences if he was caught. He had a choice. His heart was not capable of seeing that choice; he was too consumed with anger and hatred. Undoubtedly he had suffered much as a child and had never come to see his divine potential. However, this man had one very special gift. He had a lovely voice, one of the most clear and beautiful voices I have ever heard. Sometimes in the evening he would sing to us. In the evening by the fire, his pain would soften and he would sing.

So here we were. We stayed there for a few days and as soon as he was strong enough, we began to travel. Often people brought food for the master and those who accompanied him and so the children were fed.

This continued for about 2 weeks. Finally one day he came to the master. The wound was beginning to heal. He could not make eye contact. Head hanging down, talking very quietly, he said, "It's time for me to go. I am a burden on you. It's time for me to go."

"Where will you go?"

"I don't know, but it's time for me to go."

It was his fear and unworthiness speaking. Because he felt so unworthy it was very hard for him to accept the gift of love.

The one who was Jesus looked at him in the eyes, actually tilted his chin up to force his eyes up, and said, "If you go, you will deprive me of your singing. Your music is so beautiful; it so deeply inspires me. Please stay."

The man agreed to stay for a few days. Each evening Jesus would ask him to sing. Sometimes as we walked he would ask him to sing. Again, 5 or 6 days later he said, "Now it's time for me to go." And again Jesus looked at him and said, "But you would deprive us of your singing. You would deprive us of your beautiful music. .Please stay"

It was time for me to leave and I did not come back for about 4 months. I could barely recognize this man when I returned, perhaps only by the stubs of arms. First, with those stubs of arms he had learned how to carry things, to do certain kinds of chores, found out that he was not helpless. There was a light shining from him that had been completely missing. It was the light that glowed because somebody had had faith in him, had seen his divinity and been able to mirror it back to him, and help him believe in that divinity and discover it for himself.

His amputations became gifts, teachers, to him. He would look at the stubs of his arms and call them, "my stubs, my teachers." All it took was one person to look deeply inside of him, see his truth, not need to get rid of the rest of his truth, not to take a partial truth of his divinity and leave out his anger, but to take the whole man. To see his anger, to see his fear, to see his faith, and not get caught in any of it but just go through it and find his truth.

I think Jesus could see this in people because of who he was. That he could do this for himself, could accept the human aspect of himself fully, not dwell on that human aspect in terms of trying to fix it, but just live it and stay centered in his divinity. The power of that divinity shining out in the world was life changing to whoever encountered it.

Each of you have this ability, each of you are learning to touch on your own divinity. This time of year when you give gifts in honor of him, the greatest gift that you can give to each other is to see the true light in others. Do not cast aside the negativity of others. Simply see it for what it is, an expression of fear, and go beyond it. The more you allow your own true nature to shine out into the world, the more you invite that from others. And this is the only way that we will change the hatred in the world. Fear and hatred can only be diminished by love, and each of you has that seed of love within you. Nurture it as your gift to him this season and through this year.

I thank you for hearing me. I'd be happy to speak to your questions. That is all.

Q: Can Aaron talk a little about Jesus now.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I've talked to you about the transition through the densities. Sixth density is perhaps the broadest spectrum. Beings newly come into 6th density have much equanimity with the various lower bodies, not any identification with them as self, and yet there may still be strong emotions. By the end of 6th density, the only real emotions left are joy and sorrow, gratitude and those types of feelings. I'm not sure we can call compassion an emotion. All that remains for the positively polarized high sixth density being are very loving states of mind. And there can be sadness, too, without attachment. There's no sense of self.

A being that has reached that state of realization has a number of options. That being can move into 7th density. This has the effect of expanding the Infinite. If you had an infinite sea and yet poured more cups of water into it, however infinite it still can expand. It has the effect of bringing still more wisdom and compassion back home into the Infinite. Many beings choose that route, truly dissolving completely, the mental body dissolving. The energy continues, the essence continues, but there is no more self of any sort that can be perceived by an outsider in the ways you perceive me because of my mental body.

Other beings may choose to remain in 6th density to be available here as a teacher verbally or simply energetically. Some 6th density beings may also choose to move back into a human incarnation. That's another path.

The one you knew as Jesus has chosen to stay available in 6th density at the very threshold of 7th density, truly a foot on each side, as it were. For those who are open and resonate to this energy, he is very available, and even able to use the mental body to communicate on a verbal level. He is able to use the various energy bodies to communicate the divine energy. Out of his great love, he remains available. This is his path. So if you seek him, he is there. I pause.

Barbara: I experience this energy sometimes. It's beautiful. It's such a powerful, clear, loving energy. I know others of you do too. Some of you talk to me about it. What a blessing that he remains available in this way.. Other questions?

Q: A couple weeks ago at the last Aaron talk, I got the impression that Aaron considered Jesus to be a very special entity. Does that mean that Jesus didn't have to go through all the reincarnations that Aaron did?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Just as the one known as Siddhartha Guatama went through many human incarnations before that incarnation in which he became a fully enlightened being, so the one that you know as Jesus went through many incarnations. He evolved as all energy must evolve. He came to that place of full realization, came into 6th density. Actually, moved through 4th and 5th density, evolved the way many humans evolve, so there was a move/transition from 3rd density but he did not leap from 3rd to 6th density. He moved more slowly. He spent what I can only call an eternity as a 6th density being, dedicated to the work of evolving into an ever more brilliant light and to ever greater capacity for love. He became, truly on the higher planes, the model of love for many non-physical beings.

And then there was the call for one to come forth, to come back to an earth incarnation to teach these lessons of love. He accepted this quest. He was free not to do so, but out of his great love he came back. He did not come back drawn by karma nor did he create any new karma that would draw him back into incarnation, in that lifetime. So he came from 6th density into a 3rd density human incarnation, and at his death returned to a 6th density form, which is where he rests now.

Can you imagine what it means to have worked so hard to finally come home, to finally truly be free of suffering, have your heart filled with love, have all the sense of self and separation diminished so that you know the truth of your own divinity and that wholeness, and then willingly to leave that and come back into this 3rd density realm in service to others?

The generosity and extraordinary love of this gift is that for which I most admire and respect him. He knew before he came that there was going to be suffering. He didn't stop to think twice about it. There was a need and he came to meet that need. I pause.

(remaining Q&A omitted)

Copyright © 2001 by Barbara Brodsky