February 18, 2004 - On Healing

Aaron: Good evening. My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Barbara has just returned from a journey to a healing center in Brazil. Frequently through her journey, she and others brought up the question, "What is healing?"

What is it that heals? Who heals? If the Ever-Perfect is always there, how can there be anything to heal? At times, during her stay there, she looked deeply at the question, "Is the deafness a distortion that truly needs to be healed, or is the deafness truly perfect, and am I grasping at something totally unnecessary?" And yet, in her heart, she wishes to hear. A friend put it very beautifully, "May you once again hear the spring-song of a red-wing blackbird and the melancholy voice of a loon on a full moon night in August." A beautiful prayer.

There is a difference between aspiring to the manifestation of our wholeness, and grasping out of fear. You each are whole; each of the 4 bodies that you carry--physical, emotional, mental, and spirit bodies, each is whole and perfect. I sometimes speak of the perfect window; the glass is ever-perfect and yet the surface has smudges. These glass windows of your Deep Spring Center are perfect. They don't have any big gouges or scratches. There are not places where the glass ripples in distortion. And yet, they do get dirt on them. Without denying the perfection of the glass, you still can wipe off the dirt. And yet the dirt in no way impairs the perfection of the glass.

Your bodies, physical, emotional and mental, are likewise perfect and yet they accumulate smudges. The physical body, being matter, is subject to decay. The emotional body and the mental body, likewise, pick up the distortions that conditions impose on them. There is difference between the distortions of the physical body and those of the emotional and mental bodies, but not an enormous difference. If the physical body impacts something sharp, the skin will be cut. It will bleed. It may need to be stitched together, and the place where it was stitched will bear a scar. The cellular level of the physical body no longer has its original pattern. That doesn't make it less or worse, only different.

The coming of the physical injury can bring distortions that do not heal well: the broken leg that remains weak, the diseased organ that cannot fulfill its function. At that level we say there is distortion to the cellular tissue of the body. Any distortion that impedes the functioning of the body is akin to cracked glass in the window. The cold wind comes through; the rain comes through. The window no longer functions as it is meant to. Then we want to repair that piece of glass.

Of course, the metaphor ends there because we cannot simply melt the glass back together and repair it. But the physical body can be healed. The physical body is made up of individual cells. When any individual cell experiences a deep trauma, it moves into a contracted state. The water content of that cell moves to a lower vibrational frequency. The water becomes darker and heavier. It looses its structure.

We could say, as a subtle exaggeration, but to give an image to your minds, that the water in that damaged cell contains a sludge. If you had sludge that came out when you turned on your shower, you'd want to leave it running until clear water came. You'd not choose to shower under sludge. The cellular tissue of the body can be helped to a higher vibrational frequency to the point where the sludge releases, and the content of those cells is clear. Healthy tissue is like that: clear and of a high vibration.

The cellular tissue in the body is constantly replacing itself. If it were not for the impact of the mind and emotions, it would replace itself in a healthy way. Your bodies have the ability naturally to heal.

What limits that natural healing, then, are the emotions and mind, the beliefs. Sometimes we say it's karma. We need to understand karma here. If somebody has a back injury on the shoulders and neck from an accident, as the injury heals, the cells, left alone, will regenerate themselves to their original purity. But if that being has the habitual pattern to carry anger in such a way that the back is humped, that there is constant tension in the shoulders, then chronic pain may develop. We may then move to try to treat the physical body while ignoring the real nature of the illness, that is the habitual tendency to store the anger in that way, and perhaps also the belief system that one is defective or bad in some way and must be punished, that this pain is part of such punishment. There are so many different myths and stories that impact the body. I cannot begin to describe them all, only to remind you that it's all so deeply connected.

The distortions are stored in the etheric bodies. There is an etheric level of each of the bodies. When there is trauma that is thus stored, the healing cannot happen easily on the physical level. This storing process is part of the movement of karma. Thus, first there must be healing at the etheric level, tending to the places of old, distorted belief, stored trauma, and fear.

We look at the present physical body. We look at the mental and emotional distortions that prevent the physical body from moving into its own patterns of perfection. We note the old beliefs, which hold in place both the emotional and physical distortions. And finally on the spiritual level, we note that Ever-Perfect spirit body and the distorted one.

You might wonder, what is a distorted spirit body? Is not the spirit body always perfect? This is subtle. There are no firm dividing lines. I would like to use as example a woman we met many years ago on retreat. This woman, now in her mid-70s, had been badly abused as a child. She walked with her body stooped; she sat with her body stooped, a very closed and protecting posture. When Barbara would come along during the sitting and lift her body a bit, straighten her back, she would maintain that for a few seconds and then bend over again. You could see in her stature a need to protect herself, the arms closed around in the front, the body bent over.

This woman had lived both a religious and spiritual life, had been a nun for almost 60 years. She had found forgiveness for those who had abused her. Thus, the emotional distortion was largely healed in that sense. She had moved past any myth that the abuse was punishment. She had lived her life in great service to others, and she could no longer maintain the mental myth of unworthiness. And yet, there was a contraction throughout her whole being, a sense of shame that in some way she had not been in her life as God had wanted her to be. She had been able to forgive her abusers, but did not feel she could fully love them, and she felt shame about that. In this case, I would call that sense of shame a spiritual distortion. I'm not making a blanket statement that shame is a spiritual distortion; for this woman in this situation, it was that. This distortion held the body distortion in place.

Shame, guilt, these are frequent spiritual distortions. The stories may have died away, no more blaming anyone, no more anger. But that subtle anger at the self, that subtle sense of unworthiness and shame still come.

In another situation, a man that we knew was acting in ways that concerned those who cared about him. They were concerned that he had some form of mental illness. They meant him no harm at all, the intentions were completely loving. People saw how he had changed within a year's time, and had concern for those changes, that he had become very distrustful and angry, and that had not been his prior personality.

When these people came together with their concerns for this man, he became furious. He said, "They are ganging up on me, they are abusing me." He made it his mission to denounce them, to tell people how bad they were. One could say this was the effect of mental illness, but it went deeper. There was literally a spiritual illness there. My supposition is that this man came into the incarnation with the intention to learn compassion for himself and others, and that his fear held him into his anger to such a point that he proclaimed his "righteous anger" to the world. The distortion was that he truly believed that that he must denounce those whom he felt had hurt him, that the way to love and forgiveness, to healing, was to assert his righteous anger. So this is what I would call a spiritual distortion.

Unworthiness can be an emotional or mental or spiritual distortion, usually it partakes of all three. Despair is a spiritual distortion. You get the idea. I can't name them all.

The four bodies are interconnected. When there is a physical body distortion and literally nothing on the emotional, mental, or spiritual level to hold that distortion in place, it will heal itself quickly. All of you have had scratches or splinters, burns or abrasions that healed quickly. All of you have had those small injuries that healed slowly.

When the healing on the physical level is slow, it is almost always because there is still a needed healing in the other bodies. And yet, interestingly, sometimes the physical body healing is fast in a person whom you know has much distortion in the other bodies. Why?

The overall guideline here is not that the spirit, mental, and emotional body distortions will always impact the physical body. Rather, the guideline is that our intention is the foremost factor.

For what I would call an older soul, a being who has more spiritual maturity, often there is more space given around the physical distortion. For example, when Barbara became deaf, at first she desperately wanted to hear again. But she quickly understood that the issues of isolation and separation brought forth so powerfully by her deafness were deep spiritual issues that needed to be healed. It's not that she wanted the healing of the deafness any the less, but rather, that she stated inwardly and outwardly that her primary intention was to heal that which needed to be healed, and to trust the entire process of her life. The intention then was less directly to heal the deafness but to heal the deeper issues. The focus on healing just the deafness declined.

This does not mean that it can't all be healed, but for a more spiritually mature being, the primary intention is toward complete healing, spiritual, mental, emotional and finally physical, and understanding that the bodies do heal in that order. For the younger soul, there may simply be a physical distortion and the intention to heal it. They may not wish to look deeper into it than that. All the energy and intention is brought toward the physical healing.

The difference that I see with the cut of that person with primary intention to physically heal, when that cut heals, the tissue where the healing occurred will be dense. The cells will carry that lower frequency vibration. Healing has not occurred on the etheric level and any trauma may still be stored there, needing attention later in this life or another. For such a person, as they age, the whole body begins to carry a lower and lower vibrational frequency because of the various unattended distortions.

For the person who comes to the physical healing after etheric healing, when the physical healing occurs, it's more thorough, deeper. Often the tissue had carried the karma of that lower density for many lifetimes. Again, using Barbara as an example, we may regard a lifetime in which the being that she was, was a Christian nun. She was declared a heretic, captured, and dragged back for trial for witchcraft, merely because that woman believed and spoke out her belief that the divine was directly available to us and did not need to come through the priesthood. In that long-ago time that was not accepted church doctrine.

That woman had a metal band around her ankle. Her captors were on horseback and she was sometimes dragged by this band and chain. She knew she was being dragged back to be tortured and burned at the stake. In the night she found access to a very sharp rock, and made the decision to literally saw off the foot so as to be able to remove the band, crawl off into the brush, and die. With pain, yes. But at least it was the pain of her choice, rather than be tortured, raped, and burned. She would die free.

How do you cut off a foot with love? She was a deeply loving woman, and yet experiencing the agony of cutting off this foot, she separated from the foot. She tied a tourniquet around the leg and then did cut off the foot. She escaped as she planned, but they found her. Her escape took longer than she hoped. So the leg was bound, she was thrown over the back of a horse and carried back to the fate that she hoped not to meet.

All of this is long past. That nun found forgiveness for her captors. What she could not heal was the separation from herself, her judgment of herself for having experienced anger and hatred of the pain. Her judgment for herself for the antipathy to the pain of cutting off the foot. How little compassion she had for herself.

In this lifetime, this leg was crushed in an accident at age 20. The circulation in this leg has not been as good since that time. Some of you might think, "Ah, an interesting coincidence, that that's the leg that was crushed." And yet at some level, there was co-creation of this accident. The cellular tissue in this leg was already very dense, inherited that way through many lives. Perhaps a leg with a higher vibration in the etheric body might not have suffered such severe loss of circulation ability through the accident.

Then came the time, just over 5 years ago, when Barbara developed a severe infection in the leg, right at the place where the cutting had occurred. Through three weeks in the hospital, she had to learn to embrace that leg. The emotional and mental work had been done in the past, but the spiritual work needed to be done, to bring the leg back into her being, to bring her heart back into her being. To find the divinity in the leg, in the wound, in the self. To rest in that divinity.[1] 

Finally the leg began to heal. Now, here is something very interesting. The circulation in the leg is still very poor. There is damage that is not easily repaired. And yet, on a cellular tissue level, the individual cells have a very high vibration. The water content of the cells is very pure. Perhaps the leg could have healed sooner had there not been the intention to complete healing. And yet, the leg would have always carried that heavy metal band around it. Now it's free from that band. While there is still possible deeper healing on the physical level, it is healed on the etheric level.

I'm not suggesting that one level of healing is better than another, only to be aware when you seek physical healing, know what it is you really want. Is it just the physical healing? Barbara, for example, has repeatedly said she does not want to hear at all costs, only if it's for the highest good. That intention means not only for the highest good in the world, but for the highest good for this being she is, at all levels and in all the bosies. I know many of you have offered similar intentions in your life. It takes a lot of courage to do that. And yet it leads you into the healing for which you took birth. Not just physical healing, and not just the healing of emotional wounds, but a much deeper level of healing - let us call it spiritual healing. This is the healing of the etheric bodies.

We must remember as we talk about spiritual healing that we are not talking about irreparably shattered glass but the glass that has small streaks on it. This spirit is always perfect and it picks up streaks. The streaks then express themselves outward into the mental and emotional and physical bodies. Karmically, we draw forth the desired distortions, requested as teachers. Through a very complex interweaving of events, we take the spiritual and mental distortions and co-create them into the physical body. It is not bad that you do this, although it certainly is uncomfortable. Those physical body ailments then direct you back to the higher level healing that you seek.

In Brazil, I was occasionally asked, "Why is that some people heal physical so quickly and others so slowly, and that often the ones that seem to heal most slowly are the ones that seem most wise, stable, and spiritually mature?" It is for this very reason, that those who have healed quickly offered a specific intention toward that physically level healing. Sometimes, that's a wise and necessary thing to do. Sometimes it is the voice of fear rejecting the course of study that was offered. Sometimes it is the voice of love giving that rejection.

I recall many years ago the story of a friend who fell out of a tree. He said he lay there on the ground in severe pain. Everything had gone numb; he could not feel his body. Two futures flashed through his mind: a future as a quadriplegic, or a future as an able-bodied person. Almost instantly, as he lay there and had that vision of the two possible futures, what flashed through his mind seemed like the image of a past life, which possibility (of past incarnations) he had not deeply considered before. There was a strong sense of knowing that this was someplace he had been before, knowing the experience of being unable to move the limbs, unable to care for the self. He felt the helplessness, the rage, the feelings of betrayal, and also, he said, a feeling of safety. For in that helplessness, he could no longer act out his anger. He could not use his limbs to harm another. He said he saw in that moment, "I don't need to do that again. I can trust myself." He told me that up until then he had a hard time with his anger in this life. He was often physically abusive to others, got into fights and so forth. But as he lay there on the ground, there was a moment of awakening. "I do not choose that future again. I do not need to recreate it. I choose health." And with that, slowly feeling came back into his limbs, and he was fine. Not only was he fine, but he trusted himself from then on. His personality changed. He ceased to act out his anger. He took responsibility for it.

Was there really a choice in that moment? I think so. The power of the mind is such that in that moment, perhaps he could have literally created the tear in the spinal cord, could have brought forth that future, or chosen health as he did choose.

I want to be very careful here. I am not suggesting that anybody in an accident who suffers a severed spinal cord and becomes paralyzed has created that in an unwholesome way, or in any conscious way. We participate. There are many different factors: environmental, genetic, mental, physical, many different kinds of factors. But at some level there has been a choice.

Let us come full circle to the original question I asked. What is healing? The Ever-Perfect of all of the bodies is here and accessible. You did not come into the incarnation to experience the comfort of the Ever-Perfect of all of the bodies. You came with full acceptance of these bodies as teachers, and that there would be distortion in the bodies. That distortion would be part of the learning experience as human.

You came with the knowledge that this body is not meant to last forever. I have lived in cultures in which the practice of cellular regeneration was well-understood. There was a lifetime in which the being I was loved over 500 years. He knew how to use light and energy literally to regenerate the body at the cellular level.

We heal the body when that is the course of love. We abide by the distortions of the body when that is the course of love. You are here to practice love. That man that I was, somewhere in his 300th year, through an accident, his leg was nearly severed. He was out walking and was attacked by a wild animal. He had a vow of non-harm to any living thing. It was acceptable to his values to defend himself but not to the point that he killed the animal, or did any terrible harm to the animal. Employing that form of defense, the leg was almost severed.

Because he knew these techniques of cellular regeneration, he could have moved into a deep healing state, regenerated the tissue, and brought the leg back to its original perfection. He chose to do something quite interesting. He healed the nerves and blood vessels to the point where the leg would not be lost. He worked with the infection that developed, healing the tissue, and yet he made the decision to allow the leg to remain seriously deformed, not to the point that prevented his walking, but simply as a reminder that was useful to him, a reminder of the power of love. For it was literally love that had sent this beast on its way. He lay there on the ground with the beast chomping away on him, and he literally was able to relax himself enough to say that he would not harm the beast or fight with the beast, but if the beast needed his leg, he could take it. For him, it was a final surrender of fear.

Again, I need to be careful here. This is not the correct approach for everybody or in every situation. Sharon Salzberg, the dhamma teacher, tells the story of being attacked while riding a rickshaw in India.When she returned back to the meditation center, the teacher told her, "You should have taken your umbrella and with all the compassion in your heart, you should have hit him over the head with it!" It's not kind to let somebody attack you.

There are no absolutes here. One person is learning the power of compassion, that one can use compassion to say no with love, and another is learning surrender. They're different lessons. They'll have different results. One is not better than the other.

Who heals? What heals? For each of you, there is this healing for which you took birth. I don't want to give the impression it's just one healing and then you're finished. When the first is healed, there's always something further to which to come. The physical body will decay. There are practices you can do to bring forth greater healing of the physical vessel. But don't be distracted by the physical vessel to the point that you lose track of the healing for which you really came. Equally do not move into the distorted belief that you must suffer the repeated impairment of the physical being until the healing of the other bodies is perfected.

The friend who fell out of the tree, he said he knew that anger was not fully resolved in him. And at the point when I met him at the meditation retreat he had been practicing vipassana for 20 years, beginning that practice within a year after his fall from the tree. And he said he still had not fully resolved the conditions that brought up anger. He had not fully resolved his relationship with anger. But he understood that he could do that work as a whole and functioning human being. Did not have to do it as a helpless human being, did not have to choose helplessness as a way of separating from anger and protecting others from his experiences of anger. Don't get stuck on either side. Don't believe that you must resolve the physical ailments. Don't believe that you must not resolve them, that you must carry them as a burden. Know how it all fits together. What did you come to heal? In what way can you bring the present factors of the physical, emotional, and mental body together in support of that healing?

Always hold that truth of the innate perfection of all of the bodies in your heart. Don't try to tape shattered glass together; it's not broken. Return to that level of truth. Then lovingly attend to the smudges as they appear. If they won't come off easily, relax and know the window is still perfect, and right now the smudge is perfect. That maybe your work is to learn more acceptance for the smudge. Also to note that with the next rain, the smudge may be washed away and the window will be clear again.

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


Barbara: During the break we were talking about the healing work at the casa. R asked, what do you have to do to reach the level to heal as the entities do? I'm reading from Aaron's talk on "trainings" where he gives a sort of map.

Q: Please talk about a vegetarian diet.

Barbara: He says, what would you like to know about a vegetarian diet?

Q: How does it relate to our connection to the mind/body/spirit/emotional bodies?

Aaron: I am Aaron. The human will eventually reach a level where he or she does not need any solid material nourishment at all, but can be fully nourished by light and energy. Until that level of attainment is reached, the human requires nourishment. This is how the human body is; it needs fuel to keep it going. That fuel may be animal or vegetable or a mix.

Whatever it takes into itself, it is not only taking the physical substance but the energy vibration. Whatever it takes into itself was another living being, whether it was a bean sprout or a chicken.

There is the idea that the bean sprout, carrot, or potato, will not feel a fear vibration as it's harvested. That is erroneous. Carrots can experience just as much fear and distortion of energy at the experience of being plucked from the ground, forcefully and without honoring of their free will and tossed into a pot of boiling water, as can the chicken who is thusly brutally grabbed and decapitated. The loving gardener who goes out into his garden and asks, "Who will come to dinner tonight?" will find many plants very happy to move through that phase of their life cycle, free of attachment to continuing themselves.

The same thing can happen with an animal. There was a lifetime in which the being that Barbara was swore that he would never kill another living being. He had grown up in a violent culture, had been trained to violence. When asked to cold-bloodedly kill a so-called enemy he said no, and realized that he must live consistent with that statement, and could no longer kill any living being. He had left his tribe, was living alone in the wilderness, and his primary way of sustaining himself had been to hunt. He realized he could no longer hunt. He almost starved before he learned to find proper food for himself.

Then there came a time much later in his life where he was in the woods with a young boy who had been badly injured. The child could not be carried any distance; he was too badly injured. There was not adequate growing food in the woods in late winter to feed the child. There was animal life in the woods. He realized he could not just reach out and kill an animal to save the child, but he could ask if there was any animal willing to offer itself to this work. He had the very interesting experience of having a small animal, a rabbit, approach him. It just came to him. He thanked it for its gift, its sacrifice, killed it and cooked it. First fed the child the broth and small minced bits of meat. And as the child became stronger, he was able to eat more of the meat, and it had a very high frequency vibration; it sustained the child enough to heal him.

It is not what you eat but how it is approached. Whatever you eat, hold that food and see if it feels like it has a high frequency vibration. If you eat meat that you have not killed, you can feel the low frequency vibration of the animal that was killed in terror, just as you can feel that low frequency vibration in the carrot or broccoli stalk harvested with greed. Feel the food. Does it have a reasonably high frequency vibration? Then cook it with love. Offer gratitude for the life that has been given. It is your gratitude and your respect for that life, vegetable or animal, which helps keeps that frequency vibration high and makes it something nourishing to eat.

Does that answer your question, or would you wish me to speak further on it? I pause.

Q: I have a question. Given the way that a lot of the food is acquired in this culture, mass farms and slaughterhouses that cause terror, and huge barns that mass cut the vegetables, I would assume that both vegetables and meats are fairly low vibration, and so how do we find suitable food?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I find it interesting, the food at a place like your Whole Food Market, with signs "Organic", is not necessarily of a higher vibration than the food at your supermarket. Side by side, two stalks of broccoli will have very different vibrational frequency.

As much as is possible, it's helpful to grow your own food, or participate in a community farm, where you know the food is grown and harvested with gratitude and mindfulness. If you can't do that, if you must buy that stalk of broccoli or piece of chicken that has a low vibrational frequency, spend a few minutes with it before you prepare it. Apologize to it for the brutality which it has met. Although you are not personally responsible for that brutality, you're part of that food chain and thereby do have responsibility. Offer it your deepest appreciation. Literally draw light into it. This is truly the smudged glass. It's not that the vibrational frequency is low so much as the high vibrational frequency is dimmed by the tension and distortion within the food. Your gratitude, your prayer, can help remove the smudges and help bring forth the higher vibrational frequency, can make it accessible. Always eat your food with gratitude. So choose as wisely as you can, and then cook with love and eat with love. I pause.

Q: Earlier in the talk that Aaron gave, he said our work is to love. In meditation, there are many factors of mind which come together to support it: meditation, mindfulness, clear comprehension, attention, aim, effort. I sense that love is the resting place we relax into from which all of those factors emerge. But I would love to hear Aaron talk about it.

Aaron: I am Aaron. You are right, sister. Where one can rest in mindfulness, being mindfulness rather than doing it, one comes to the uncontracted space, which offers the purest vibration of love. More often there is a doing of mindfulness. There is a doing of right effort, and so forth. The doing stage is not unwholesome, it's simply a relative plane activity done by a self. At that level of love, there is concentration, there is mindfulness,… let's simply use the spiritual faculties in this list: faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom. They all are there. But they are distorted by the fear they are not there, and that doing is needed to create them.

These are as the Ever-Perfect window. When we are certain they exist, there's no doing of them. We know them as our innate Buddha nature. Fear, confusion, doubt - all that which is not yet certain they are one's true nature - strives to make them manifest. As I said, that is not unwholesome, to a point; it is part of the necessary process of growth. But there comes a point where all that doing must be left aside and one simply must rest in Buddha nature, rest in love. Resting there, all of the sought qualities are fully present. I pause.

Barbara: He says, have you further question? He is saying, I'm paraphrasing him, when we think of these 2 teachers, the Buddha and the Christ, Jesus said, "Love one another." The Buddha did not say "Love one another" any the less, he simply spelled it out in a practical approach, because some people said, "Love one another; how do I do that?" Aaron says it's the same teaching but on the one hand, we're given the practical tools, on the other hand, reminded that love is always present. He says one starts with the relative and leads to the ultimate, the other starts with the ultimate and because of our intention to love one another, we come down to the relative. They're going opposite directions, but in the end, there has got to be a balance of both. He says you can't ignore either the relative or the ultimate.

Q: I remember Dipa Ma [2] speaking about her mind. She said that for her, mindfulness and love were the same thing.

Barbara: Which makes perfect sense... do you see that? This is Barbara speaking not Aaron. When we're mindful and fully present, we're in that place of not doing. There's nothing to do, there's no place to go. Love is an odd word because there's only one word for love in the English language. We need to know what we mean by "love". We think of romantic love, parental love, or even devotional love. These are real conditioned sorts of love.

Aaron is saying that by love in this sense, what he means is presence. When there's full presence, there can be nothing but love.

Other questions?

Q: If there is a distortion, how do you know which of the 4 bodies carries the distortion, and how do you know which issue you intended to work on?

Aaron: I am Aaron. This is not so difficult to discern as you might think, my sister. Be present with whatever asks your attention. If there is acute physical or emotional pain, be with it. If the mind is obsessing, restless, agitated, know that.

It doesn't matter where you start because they are all mingled together, and wherever you start, it will lead you to the others. If there's acute emotional pain, as it begins to subside, the attention will be drawn to some other issue. Simply be with what is predominant and trust the process. As to how you know what issue you came to heal, it really is the same answer: to be present and attentive. Learn to observe that voice of fear that wants to fix these distortions of body, mind, and emotion. There's nothing to be fixed, and yet you must still attend to it. Fear tries to fix; love attends.

It can seem like the same motion. For example, if we spill a glass of water on the table, fear is in haste to grab a towel and wipe it up. Mind is spinning. Why did I spill it? Whose fault is it? What will it stain? If the same glass of water spills, love just says, "Here is water on the table. Let us get a towel and wipe it clean." In both cases we wipe the table. It is not what we do but from where the intention arises, fear or love, that largely determines the results at deeper levels.

If the thought comes up in the mind, "Well, it will stain the table," perhaps not water but fruit juice spilling, not on the bare table but on the tablecloth, "it will stain" comes. Watch the contraction of fear. Another voice that says, "Well, it could stain. Let's take the tablecloth off and soak it. That would be skillful." Can you see it's not the action itself but whether it comes from this place of fear or love, and that both will usually be present? You do not have to be paralyzed, afraid to act for concern that fear will intrude. We acknowledge, here is the contraction of fear, and kindness is still present. Kindness can attend to this just as kindness attends to the fear itself.

As you work in this way, a basic trust of your experience develops, that if you are simply watching, your attention will take you to what you need to know.

If you are walking in the woods, you may get turned around and lost, can't remember how to get out. If you rush here and there based on fear, you'll get more and more lost. If you stop, look at the direction of the shadows or the sun, remember where the sun was in relation to you when you entered the woods, look on the ground even in the densest brush for the small deer trails and animal paths, when you're present in that way, the whole situation opens up. You find your way through it. In just the same way, when you are fully present with your experience and continue to offer and even vocalize, the intention, "I ask to come to what I must need to know for the highest good," to voice that intention even if there is fear, you will come to it. You will see what you need to know. I promise you this. I do not make promises lightly! I pause.

Barbara: He says, does that answer your question? Looks like we have time for one more question...

Q: Tomorrow I will be talking with a person who is scared and angry. I welcome your guidance.

Barbara: Is this person angry at you? (Q: Yes.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. I would suggest you spend some time in meditation before your meeting and ask yourself, what do I wish this meeting to bring forth? Look at that in the self that wants to be right, as each of us may have within ourselves, that which wants to be safe, wants to prove something. This is not bad in the self, but is it the highest value that you can bring to this meeting? Look toward that which wishes healing and clarity. Remember, my friend, that compassion is not weak. To allow somebody to come into a meeting with you and vent their anger at you in abusive ways, is not a kindness to yourself or to them. But we must look at what it is that will say no to that abuse. Fear can say no. Insist "You're wrong!" or "I won't tolerate that!" Bringing up one's own fear or anger. Or kindness can say no. When kindness says no, it's firm. It can make the statement, "If you speak to me that way I must leave. It's not wholesome for either of us to have you yelling at me that way." And then if you have to leave, you do leave, without any feeling of guilt about having walked out of a situation, because fear has not pushed you into that choice but love has led you into it.

The more you can stay centered, aware of your own normal feelings of fear, of anger, of irritation, and make space for those fears, the less likelihood that you will enact those feelings. And also the less likelihood you will deny those feelings and turn yourself into some kind of a martyr, feeling that you must tolerate the abuse. Just be present. Hear the angry one and yourself equally, and with as much centeredness and love as is possible.

But I think you'll find it very helpful before the meeting to reflect on, "What is my highest value here? What is it I really most wish to bring forth?" And then you'll find that it's possible. Remember, you can open a door for another but you cannot push them through. If you greet this person from a place of centeredness, kindness, spaciousness, and they are not ready for that and want to yell, you can't stop them from yelling, you can only say, "No, this is not acceptable and I will leave if you continue to yell." Said with kindness. You no longer build stories on their words, so the words do not create fear or guilt in you. Then fear and guilt do not reply. I pause.

Barbara: He says he wishes you well. Let's sit in silence for just a minute or two and then end. silence

May all beings abide in lovingkindness and well-being. (bell)

May we each dedicate ourselves to the advancement of that lovingkindness and well-being upon the earth. (bell)

May each being come to know its innate perfection, and its innate connection with all that is, and yet still cultivate the ability to live spaciously with the delusion that seems to usually be part of the human experience. We remember that such distortion is not a problem but a teacher. Distortion gives us the opportunity to practice, and recognition of the innate provides the ground from which we can do that practice. (bell)

My blessings and love to each of you. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you in this way. My love is with you. That is all.

(taping ends)

[1]  See DSC newsletter, Vol. 7 #1, Jan 1999, for a complete account.

[2] Dipa Ma, a much beloved woman dhamma teacher in India.

Copyright © 2004 by Barbara Brodsky