November 17, 2004

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. I greet you in love and in light. It is a joy to be with you tonight and hope that you will find some joy also in our presence here together.

Here in the human plane, you spend much of your life with the experience of contraction of the physical body and of the mind. There is a lot of fear; there is physical pain and hardship. Life brings you that which you do not wish it to bring, and you cannot hold onto that which is pleasant and comfortable. So the human experience is often one of contraction.

Think you now of something difficult that happened, some discomfort or something that angered you. I would ask you just to bring it to mind, and allow yourself to feel the body tension that comes with that thought or memory. I do not ask you to remember something horrible, only the unpleasant. I t is just a memory so the tension may be subtle. See if you can feel it, noting it simply as contraction, tension.

Now take a deep breath and consciously release the memory and the tension. Think you now of something very pleasant that happened in the days just past. Allow that memory to arise. Allow yourself to feel joy with this memory. Can you feel the body energy opening, the increased spaciousness, even if slight? Again, it's just a memory, so the sensation of opening may be subtle. What I ask of you here is simply to be consciously aware of the distinction between the contracted state of the physical, emotional, and mental bodies, and the uncontracted state.

Here is another exercise to bring forth the same experience. The participation in this one is optional, but if you wish, turn to the person next to you, designating and A and a B. If there are an odd number of people, 3 can participate. Let the B's close their eyes and the A's give a definitive push, but not too hard, against B's shoulder, forehead or chest. If contraction arises, know it as contraction. As you are pushed, can you feel that contraction? If you have a threesome, A please turn to the remaining B and offer that same push.

It's a very common experience. Life offers a multitude of small pushes, and with each one, the habitual response is to contract. Now I would ask the B people to hold out a hand, palm down. I would ask the A's to very gently stroke the back of the hand. Does it elicit a different response in you? A feeling of opening, of ease? 


Switch positions now so that the one who was pushed is the pusher. 


First, the push, and watching any contraction that comes. No judgment around the contraction, just noting it. This is a mechanism to which the body is deeply habituated. And then the gentle stroking of the back of the hand, and perhaps a sense of ease and spaciousness. My intention here is simply to help you bring conscious attention to these movements of contraction and release, not to change them.

Lay all of this in the background for a moment. You are, each of you, spirit here in this human form, here in a heavy body and with a heavier vibration of the emotional body, and even of the mental body. So it is as a 4-stringed instrument: the spirit body with its high vibration, then the mental, the emotional, and then the heaviest, physical bodies all carrying a lower vibration.

Together these 3 heavier bodies bring forth a certain overall level of vibration which is the vibration which you normally hold. The more fear, the more contraction, the more negativity, the heavier is the vibration. The more openness and ease, the higher is the vibration. But even if fear and discomfort exist, if there is a basic openness to them, the experiences will not lower the vibration in a long term way.

A major part of the work of the human is to literally elevate consciousness. There is a progression of consciousness that is normal in all sentient beings from the lowest to the highest. These levels of consciousness are not like plateaus, however, but more like intersecting planes, so that at any moment, any given human being may simultaneously experience 3 or 4 or even more levels of consciousness. Only one is predominant, however, as the highest stable level.

There are many studies of levels of consciousness. The work by Ken Wilbur on consciousness comes to mind as a basic text, giving good explanation of each level. The entire Buddhist thought system addresses levels of consciousness quite precisely, especially in the Abhidhamma, the Buddhist text on consciousness. Some of the Christian mystics like John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila do not so much name the levels as describe their experiences in these levels. The Jewish Kabala tradition defines it using its own terminology but with a very direct correlation to that in other traditions.

In a very brief capsule, we first find the magical consciousness, the young child. The young child doesn't have too much sense of reasoning. If he cries and a bottle appears, he doesn't see the whole chain of events, only feels that by some magic his cry brought forth what he needed. The older child advances into mythic consciousness with a deep set of beliefs, often based on the magic of which he has dreamed. Within mythic consciousness there is a strong sense of good and evil. Everything is in terms of black and white, no grays. The fundamentalists of any religion are often deep in mythic consciousness, unwilling to release belief systems even though experiential understanding brings new information.

The next level is the rational consciousness level. Here we begin to use the physical senses and mind to understand the universe. Rational consciousness is totally empirical, only what the senses can see and tell.

Vision logic consciousness is still based in the rational, the logical, but it climbs a step up the mountain to a bigger perspective, begins to see with a clearer vision, touches more on intuition. It is not yet ready to open to the subtle energies but it allows the possibility of data beyond the empirical, both from the outer world and from the self as intuition.

Then we move into psychic consciousness where the various non-physical senses open: clairvoyance, clairaudience, and so forth. As this level deepens, we open to the subtle level of consciousness in which energy is experienced and exchanged. People may begin to see auras. When you walk into a room, you feel the energy in the room and you trust what you feel. Or when simply talking to another individual, you pick up the verbal cues, as what is said, but the non-verbal cues, including the energetic level of cues, is more important than the verbal.

Subtle consciousness ends in what the Christian mystics call the dark night of the soul wherein the perceiver begins to see how much all of this observation has come from a personal self as a center of the experience. Within this dark night, or in the Buddhist tradition, the experience of ego dissolution, the experience of no self, we shift completely out of what has been a mundane level of consciousness, the etheric and astral levels, and into what is technically called a causal level of consciousness. Here we have what is sometimes called Christ consciousness or Buddha nature, the level of living from a place literally of no self, knowing one's deepest connection with all that is.

Even this is not the end, because in the causal level there is still a self no matter how subtle, as perceiver, as observer, but with the disintegration even of that sense of self, the full understanding that this which we have called self is really a collection of body experience, thoughts, and so forth, there is the breakthrough into non-dual consciousness. This is the highest level of consciousness.

This has been just a very brief map. The reason I wanted to offer it to you is to help you understand that much of that purpose for which you have taken incarnation is to raise the consciousness. As you raise the consciousness, you move out of the personal self and toward the non-dual self, and thereupon begin to be able to relate to the world around you with more lovingkindness, much more wisdom and compassion. Fear falls away. There's really no longer fear of anything, because with the opening of causal consciousness you know that the deepest core of being is indestructible. You still will not stand in the middle of a highway inviting the truck to smash into you. In fact, there may be even greater respect for the body because the body is seen as the vehicle for growth in this incarnation. But there is respect based on love, not on fear.

So there is this basic work of consciousness-raising. And then we must ask, what helps us to raise our consciousness and what gets in the way and keeps us stuck in lower consciousness?

Here at Deep Spring and at my urging, we teach vipassana meditation drawn from the Buddhist tradition. This is a form of meditation that emphasizes presence in every moment, deep mindfulness, and it emphasizes kindness, to be fully present with whatever is predominant in the experience but with a basic attitude of kindness and spaciousness.

How do we learn to be spacious with that which is very painful, very unpleasant, very frightening? One cannot just say, "I will have kindness." You can't force it. Slowly we begin to see the expressions, such as compassion, lovingkindness, generosity, peacefulness, and equanimity, as the basic nature of the human. These expressions never are obliterated, but we may not be able to touch them because the clouds blocking them from our experience are so thick, just as the sun is blocked from our experience on a stormy day.

You do not doubt that the sun is there, but you know clouds are present. However, you doubt the presence of these beautiful qualities of the heart. You do not have the experience in the physical world to blow the clouds away and open up the clear sky, but you do have the aptitude to do that within the self. So there are certain tools that are very helpful to bring forth to address the figurative clouds, to cause the sun to break through the clouds so that you may come more fully to rest in this true nature of goodness, joy, and peace. Gratitude is a predominant one of these tools.

All of which has been a roundabout way of coming to my central theme tonight, the theme of gratitude in honor of the coming holiday of Thanksgiving. Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces for dissipating the cloud of fear and bringing us through to that true place of joy, of joyful radiance and peace which is your birthright.

I said you cannot force the clouds away, you cannot say, "I won't be afraid." The wonderful thing is, right here with fear, with anger, with greed, with despair, is ease and well-being, only it's so hidden that it's hard to connect with it. By a conscious practice of gratitude, the heart opens. Not only is that a benefit of such practice but with the practice of gratitude, we literally raise the vibrational frequency of all the bodies; with that raised frequency, the shift in consciousness to a higher level becomes possible.

While I am speaking here just about gratitude, of course we can equally use practices of patience, of generosity, of equanimity, and of joy, especially sympathetic joy, joy for others' good fortune.

You are very blessed to live in a country in which there is a special day set aside for gratitude. I would like to share a story with you, a personal story from a long distant lifetime.

The being I was, was a boy of 12 years and of the Untouchable caste on the continent of India. I had a twin brother and 4 younger siblings, ages 10, 8, 6 and 4: a 10-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy, and then the two younger ones. Our parents died separately, one of disease and one by accident. There was no social welfare system in India of those days; either my brother and I took care of my siblings or they would die, especially the babies. At the time of my parents' death, we were not yet 11 and the babies were just 2 and 4. The father had died before the birth of the youngest child. The mother died into that infant's first year, never healing of the hardship of starvation during child bearing. What do two 10 year old boys do to earn a living for their family, especially boys of such a lower caste held in contempt by all, with no education and no skills, and in a country wracked with poverty?

But we were creative and found ways to bring in just barely enough to keep our dear siblings alive. One job we had was to get neighbors' water buffaloes at the end of the day of work and take them out to the field to graze. Then we would pick enough grass to feed them overnight and bring them back at dusk. For this small service, we were offered not so much the coin but food: milk from the buffalo, vegetables, and other food to sustain the family.

It was a very hard life for two young boys. Neither of us were large in stature and sometimes we would set out with several water buffaloes, gentle beasts but large, often with a will to go and graze where they were not permitted. So it was hard.

I looked ahead with despair to a life of such literal slavery and hardship. I could see little hint of joy. All around me was suffering, and my own dear family was really better off than many.

I was very closed down, defiant and angry. I think if things had gone on as they were, I would have become a brigand of some sort, begin to steal, even though I understood the penalty for that could be the cutting off of the hands or even death, which would deeply impact my loved ones. That's all that stopped me from that action. I was angry.

My brother was a bit calmer but angry too. One day as we led the buffalo out of the village to the fields by the river so they might graze, we saw a monk sitting by the river under a tree. There was a radiance about him. His back was to me but I could see in his posture the sense of joy and ease. We both stopped, really riveted. Holy men were not unfamiliar to us but such practice seemed totally out of our reach as something forbidden, open only to the Brahmans. But here was a monk clothed in simple robes sitting with such ease. I watched for a few minutes and then led the buffalo on.

We talked about it, and the next day, before it was time to go for the buffalo, we came to the same place and looked, and he was still there. We watched him for a few minutes. We thought we were very quiet, but eventually he said, "Don't stand there hiding; come out." Rather sheepishly we came forth. "Sit down," he said. We kept a distance from him. Remember, we were trained in the thinking that as Untouchables, we were truly poisonous to others.

"What are you doing, sir?" "I'm meditating. Would you like me to teach you?" "Yes," we nodded, rather shyly. We had gathered some grass for the buffaloes and were holding it so he said put it down on the ground and sit on it. We did so, and he began to explain his practice to us.

Part way through, my brother began to cough, and this monk did something absolutely wonderful and terrifying. He brought forth his small basin of water, held it out to my brother and said, "Drink." As he held it out, my brother held back. He could be beaten or even killed for allowing himself to be touched by someone not of the Untouchable caste. "Don't be afraid," the monk said. "But we will poison you if we touch it." "No, not at all," he said, "That is just belief created to keep people in their places, to create a system of control. Drink!"

We drank, both of us, and then he drank, and he did not seem harmed by it. We meditated some more. And then he said, "I will eat now. Have you eaten yet?" "No, we have no food with us." He said, "I have plenty." He opened some fragrant leaves containing rice and held them out to each of us, again, touching us, sharing his food with us. He told us that day, "You may have to act in self-preservation according to the belief systems that are imposed on you, or others could beat and harm you, but you do not have to believe in those belief systems."

Each day for two weeks we found some time to be with this monk. He shared the dharma with us, explained so many things that we were ripe to hear, and taught us to be present in our bodies and with our breath. And then he promised us that although he had to leave the next day, he would be back. "Look for me in the spring," he said. Meanwhile, he asked us to practice every day as he had shown us.

In 6 months, sure again, there he was. For another two weeks he taught us, and every 6 months like clockwork, very dependably, he was there, this monk who must have had so many things to attend to. He had the time to give to two small low caste boys. As the seasons passed, we brought our family. All the children got to know him and benefited by his kindness and wisdom. And he promised us that when we were of the right age we could come with him and become monks. We did this, my brother and I. The next youngest brother was ready to take over the work of supporting the family, and the sister able to prepare the food and make clothing and so forth. And as the family grew up, most of them became monks or a nun, in the case of the sister.

For that boy so deep in despair, so filled with anger, this generosity and kindness touched my heart. It was the first thing in my entire life for which I felt gratitude. Certainly there was much for which to feel gratitude as I had a healthy body and my siblings also, and we two boys had the ability to provide for all of us, but this was the first thing that opened my heart to the possibility of gratitude because the heart was so clenched in fear and anger. So what he gave me more than the teachings themselves was the possibility to open the heart. He taught me more directly about gratitude, as well. He would stop as we walked and just look at a flower or small insect, help me to see how wondrous it was. And he would express his gratitude for the existence of this small being.

It took 6 years from the time I first met him until the time I went off with him. In those years I would have probably become a terror to others, a thief or even a murderer. My rage would have been broadcast everywhere. But through the simplicity of the experience of gratitude, he truly opened my heart and allowed that inner radiance to come forth, allowed me to feel my own divinity, my own goodness of intention, my own capability of love.

He taught me to use the loving heart to release negative thought. By release, I do not mean turn my back on it but truly to transcend it. Anger still came but there was not so much self-identity with it. I saw it simply had arisen out of conditions and was not who I was, so I could watch it arise and watch it slowly pass away. Despair still came on occasion, feelings of helplessness, sadness, grief for my lost parents. All of these emotions came. The experience of gratitude gave me something to open the heart and literally to shine the bright light of the sun on those heavy clouds of negativity as they dissipated.

I would ask each of you in the coming week to reflect on what you have in your life to feel grateful for. Some of you may say, not much. No matter how small, find something that you are truly grateful for and repeatedly, through the day, bring it to mind and give thanks for it. The love of a friend, enough to eat, work that you enjoy, even just legs that can walk, ears that can hear, eyes that can see.

Watch how this conscious remembrance of gratitude can release the constriction of fear. Bring it in as a conscious practice when there is fear or negative emotion. In this moment of fear that something will go wrong, in this moment of anger, even of rage, what can you remember to be thankful for? Consciously watch how it affects the constricted energy of negative emotion and allows a shift into more spaciousness.

I said that the levels of consciousness are intersecting planes. When there is a lot of anger, you are generally in the mythic level of consciousness. There is a belief that something is bad, with thoughts such as, "I have been betrayed," and a belief that wants something to blame, and so forth. It's not really rational consciousness, even. That doesn't mean that that is your permanent abiding place. That resting in mythical consciousness is temporary, there with the anger. As soon as you bring forth gratitude, you bring in the higher levels of consciousness. The lower levels of consciousness always will yield to the higher levels, but it's up to you whether you're going to sink into the lower levels by intent or just as habit energy, or whether you're going to notice yourself moving into that low vibration and make a conscious choice to step out of it.

Again, you cannot step out of it by saying, "I won't feel this." That's just more contraction, more negativity. But the conscious practice of gratitude or any of these other practices of high loving energy serve the way sunshine serves upon the mist and clouds, burning it away so that clear sky is present.

Please watch this in your experience and find out how powerful you are to make this choice, to choose love over fear, to choose movement toward higher consciousness rather than the sinking into low consciousness. I thank you all for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I will pause now while you stretch and have some tea, and then I'll be happy to answer your questions. That is all.

Q: It's very important, then, to focus on what to give thanks for and having an attitude of gratitude. Is that correct?

Barbara: Aaron says Yes. (Thank you) Aaron says, I'm paraphrasing him: It needs not to be forced but rather you go deeply into your heart and ask, what am I thankful for? See what comes. Not, "I should be thankful for this or that", because that's not real gratitude, that's forced. He says, sometimes we think we should be thankful for this or that, and what comes into the heart is something very simple.

Q: I have 2 questions. How do I get rid of the mice in my house without killing them? I tried talking to them. Nothing works.

Barbara: This is an annual fall question! Sometime around October we should hang the transcript somewhere where everybody can read it. I'm going to speak to this as a human. I have found it important first of all to do my part in sealing up the places where the mice get in, to make it less likely that they will get in. I've bought those electronic devices that plug in and emit a sound to repel mice. They don't help completely but they help some. Finally, compassion is not weak. We don't let ourselves be run over by other beings any more than we run over other beings. It's very important to tell the mice, "this is not acceptable, you're destroying my food, you're creating a health hazard for me and my family, and I do not want to kill you but I'm going to have to set a trap if you're not going to stay out."

My experience has been, when I do that, they know I mean business and they disappear. If they don't disappear, you may have to trap one or two. If you trap it, it's important just to hold it with love. I don't mean necessarily literally to hold the dead mouse in your hands, but to be present with it with love. Wish it well-being, wish it a wholesome new birth. Release it outdoors in an appropriate and respectful way, or just bury it in the garden. As you do that, make the statement again, "Mice, I really do not want to have to do this to you. Please go elsewhere."

One of the things I did when I had a garage is I put out a plate in the corner of the garage where mice came in under the garage door and where there was some kind of pellets. I said, "If you're hungry, you can find refuge there." You can just use a cardboard box or something in your backyard. Literally feed them outdoors. Tell the mice in your house, "You can't stay in my house but here is a place where there's some shelter and a box with some straw in it, and some food. Out!"

So this is what I've done. It's my intention not to do harm to any living being, but it's also my intention for my family not to pick up disease from mice eating their food.0

Q: Thank you. I have another question. What can we do to get these maniacs out of the White House, these hateful horrible people out of power?

Barbara: This is a harder one than mice in the pantry, but not too different. We say "no" firmly and with love. I just cleaned up today Aaron's transcript from last Wednesday, which is really just about this, and it should be on the website tomorrow. I sent it to the office this afternoon. So we're not going to repeat the answer. Read the transcript, and then if you still have questions, he'll be glad to speak to them. But he spent over an hour talking about it last Wednesday. He'll speak now.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I have two things to say here. First, I did not speak specifically to the issue, "how do we get this maniac out of the White House" for within the question here is the polarity that creates lack of communication. I spoke to the situation that many of you are unhappy with the result of the election, and what opportunities this result offers in spiritual terms, how to co-create a future, not creating polarity but moving beyond polarity. Please read the transcript, it will give you more information.

I would also like to say a word about the mice. There is the intention to do no harm to any sentient being. And here you are with a very difficult situation. Certainly one answer is just to let the mice come. And as some of you have experienced, they'll simply take over. Even if you put all of your food in tight storage containers, they'll find something to gnaw.

It's a dilemma. If you choose to kill the mice, treat the situation the same way you would if you choose to eat meat. I remind people simply to give gratitude to that life for the way it is nourishing you. It doesn't really even matter if it's meat or a carrot, it's some form of life, and it has given its life to support your life. In the case of the mouse, of course, you are not ingesting the creature, but it's still a teacher of compassion. Hold that small corpse and respectfully offer thanks for this moment in which compassion deepens. In this way, share, you and the mouse, the benefits of that creature's life and death. I pause.

Barbara: He says he wants to be clear he is not advocating we kill the mice, this is our decision, but if we so decide, then do it with love.

Q: I've had some major changes in my life. I feel that my career is over in Michigan and relocation possibly to Florida. Can you give me some advice, please?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear your question, Q. I cannot tell you where to move, only how to move. Let your choice come from a place of love. Be sure you are moving toward something, not running away from something. The rational mind will suggest certain choices, and the voice of intuition may differ. Something that resonates in the heart may not seem logical. Get to know the difference between that which truly resonates in the heart, logical or not, and that which pretends to resonate in the heart that is more the voice of fear running from something and saying, "I hate this, I'll go there." The movement comes from a place of contraction. The movement of love comes from a place of openness and ease.

Part of this answer has to do with the whole process of manifestation. It is very important to deeply envision what it is that you are moving toward, even the smallest details of it. Some years ago a friend who had been looking for a new office kept hitting dead ends. She kept saying, "I don't want a place that's dark. I don't want a place on a busy street." I asked her to shift this and state not what don't you want, but literally envision what you do want. Picture yourself sitting there, even the windows and the furniture arrangement and the view out the windows, and know that it exists.

So as she somewhat hesitantly said, "Okay, I'm not so good at such visualization but I'll try." Three days later she called and said, "I found the perfect office! And it looks exactly like I envisioned it. There are even woods!" It's not always going to work so easily and quickly. But you must literally hold the vision, and then you work energetically to co-create the vision. What deters that opening into the vision is when there is some level of fear, hesitation, maybe the thought, "I don't deserve this," or disbelief that it can actually happen. Whatever old belief systems we hold, we keep recreating, literally, karmically. So if there's a belief system, "I do not deserve this," or "it will not be what I imagine.," or "People won't be kind", or "There won't be enough of a livelihood," then that's what you create.

When you examine those negative beliefs and know them simply as beliefs conditioned by your karma and past experience, you can allow yourself to envision a place where people are kind, where your needs are met. Each time the old limiting belief comes up, you have to know it, simply, "Here is a limiting belief. It is simply a conditioned idea, not a true fact. How I will act in the next moments is what will determine whether it becomes fact or not. I release it. I don't choose to go there any more."

Does this sufficiently answer your question, and if not, if you can be more specific about what you'd like to know, I'll see if I can help. I pause.

Q: Thank you. Many seers have said I need to be where the flowers bloom all year. And that's why Florida seemed correct.

Barbara: Does that resonate as truth to you? (Yes)

Aaron: I am Aaron. Let me answer this carefully. There may be a belief that you need to be where the flowers bloom all year. Making a choice to live in such a place may bring joy. And yet, if there is some negativity, someplace where the flowers are not blooming within, you can carry that with you and the external flowers will not be sufficient to overcome the internal darkness. On the other hand, if you investigate that which does not seem alive and blooming within, and bring that blossoming forth, you may still find great joy in being where the flowers bloom all year, but it is no longer a necessity. So you can choose to live in a place that has a winter climate and find enormous joy in the cardinal on the snowy branch, the small red berries on the tree, and the tracks of small animals on the fresh snow. And your heart will be alive and singing, for this is also a kind of blossoming.

Basically what I am saying here is to recognize the importance not to seek happiness in external surroundings, and believe that that will change the interior atmosphere. But you must start within, and then you may still choose to go where flowers bloom all year, but it will not be from a place of need, of grasping. This is what I meant when I said move from a place of love, and towards something. Now, it would seem you could say, "I am moving towards where the flowers are blooming," but truly you are moving away from the place where no flowers are blooming, and as long as there's a place where no flowers bloom in the heart, you'll take it with you. Do you understand? I pause.

Q: Yes, thank you.

Q: First I want to say, Hello Aaron. Barbara: He says, Namaste! Q: You have been a guiding teacher here at Deep Spring, and I thank you for the teaching. Barbara: He says, you are most welcome, always. Q: Your last answer brought up a question for me