April 4, 2007 - On Relationship

Barbara: I just noted to the class that before coming to class, before meditating, I checked my email, and saw a message from my son Mike, who is living in Kiev with his wife and 1-year-old son. It said, “Hey Mom and Dad, there's a revolution that started yesterday, but don't worry, we're safe.”

I watched how quickly emotions come up. As I sat, I asked myself, “What is my relationship with these emotions?” My first habit energy was to say, “Now, stop worrying. You shouldn't worry.” But the fact is, the tension came up. How am I going to relate to that tension? Can I relate with kindness? How does one relate to inner tension or to revolution in the world? Can we relate with kindness?

So this has been my practice tonight, and I'm watching the question. When Aaron comes into my body, he's going to ask this of all of you. Have you been watching this, this week? What arises in the mind, what arises in the body, and what habit energies you have with it. When something arises and is strong in the mind or body, physical pain, anxiety, sadness, joy, pleasant or unpleasant feelings in the body, whatever it is, how do you relate to it?

I would like to be quiet here just for another minute and ask for prayers for all the people of Kiev and that whole area of the Ukraine, that they may settle this peacefully.

Aaron: Good evening. I am Aaron. My blessings and love to you all. A small group tonight... We've had messages that many are sick, and I send them my prayers for a quick recovery.

The question I left you with last class: objects arise in the mind and body as sensation, or as thought, sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant. They serve as a trigger. When the object arises, then a reaction to the object comes as a mental formation or emotion. So we have two different objects, the first that came as sensation or thought, and then the sensation or thought that comes in response to the first object. My frequent example is the itch and the aversion to it. The sensation and aversion are different. And then there is the response to the aversion.

Sometimes you're able to relate to the first object with some degree of kindness, but then there's not kindness to yourself, that you are experiencing it and it's unpleasant. More often the second response parallels the first, so if something arises that's unpleasant and there's aversion to it, then you judge the aversion. If something arises that's unpleasant and you're able to feel kindness and compassion for the human in which this has arisen, then if anger arises about the sensation or thought, you're more able to have kindness to the anger.

So I asked you to watch this at home, to see what patterns you have. Second, I asked you to watch and see if your secondary reaction, the contraction around the contraction is what I called it, if that secondary contraction is filled with tension or negativity, and if you bring the tension or negativity into awareness, what happens?. Just noting it, that it's uncomfortable, that you don't really want it, then what happens to it? Does it get larger? Does it get smaller? Stay the same?

An example here would be the story that Barbara just related. First, simply looking at her computer. Reading her son's email. Simply seeing. Mind taking in the information, and tension arises. “Oh my god! They're in the middle of a revolution!” Fear, tension.

Reading his words and reading that he said everything's fine, don't worry. And how her own worry is based on her concept of revolution. Not on the actuality of what was going on in Kiev, then, but all the hundreds of news broadcasts that she's seen and heard about revolution.

So she sat to meditate. There was aversion. How can one relate kindly to that aversion? Now, because she has a deep practice, she was able to sit and simply do metta for herself, for her children, for the people of Kiev with their strongly polarized feelings. As she worked with metta, only for about 20 minutes because she had to leave for class, but as she worked with metta for that 20 minutes, she found a spaciousness. Interestingly, her worry about her children did not lessen but she was able to hold the whole picture with much more spaciousness and lovingkindness, rather than with tension, wanting to take a rocket ship over to Kiev and drag them out! Just to relax and hold the whole picture with spaciousness.

If you have pain in the body and there's strong aversion to the pain, making space for the aversion will not necessarily release the pain. It will give you more ability to make space for the pain. You perceive the pain in a different way. It's true whether it's body pain or mind pain.

What I'd like to do first is hear from each of you. If you looked at this, this week, what insights did you have? What observations did you make? ...

Q: I can think of 2 experiences. Last weekend we were coming home from Wisconsin and went through Chicago on a very cloudy, windy day. And I noticed something bubbling up and I didn't want to look at it. I knew it was an emotional pain. The weather helped it to come up. And sure enough, it was a real deep loneliness. I don't know how long I had pushed it under, but because of this class, it came to my awareness to allow it. And so up it came. It was very large and gloomy. And it stayed with me probably at least 20 minutes or a half hour. My family noticed it, “What's wrong, Mommy?” And my husband asked me what's wrong.

Because maybe for the first time I wasn't doing anything with it. I wasn't pushing it away, if anything I was going into it so deeply, it grew maybe too much, so that it almost, I felt out of control with it, but not really. It didn't frighten me too much. But by going through that, I understood something about myself. And in looking back, it was a good experience, because now I'm not so afraid of feeling that loneliness. I'm no longer judging it, it was just a surprise that it was there. And so if it comes up again, I know it won't overwhelm me. Maybe I built a little trust in it... Maybe for the first time I didn't try to fix one of my emotions because that's my tendency, to judge it, push it away, fix it. I know I have this image of myself that I should be always optimistic, strong, all the good things. And there's so much of me that judges me because obviously I'm not that way all the time. But I don't want anybody to know, and so my family was seeing me in my loneliness, and they knew, and I just allowed them to know. But they all gave me support and sympathy, so it was good. Then it went away. I don't know where it went, but it went.

Aaron: Thank you for sharing that. I'm glad you were able to do that. And it was a very important modeling for your children, that they were able to see you with difficult feelings and not be needing to fix the difficult feelings. It gives them a very different message that uncomfortable feelings are allowed and are not terrible. Very important. Thank you.

You had said 2 different things, at the beginning. Is there something else?

Q: Yes, maybe for a future class I'll ask you. I was eating a salad a few days after last class, and I asked myself what was with this salad. Do you want me to wait to talk about that?

Aaron: Talk about it now, we have time.

Q: It was beautiful. It was all colorful, just the way I like it. But when I sat down to eat it, again because of the class discussion I said, Okay, what is my relationship to this salad? Because it occurred to me I was rushing through it, I wasn't appreciating it, and I know at a deep level I loved this salad. I love to eat, I love colorful food, I enjoy the sensation of this good food. But here I was, rushing through it, not paying any attention to it, and thinking about all the things I was going to do after this eating. Almost like it was a bother, all of a sudden. And I had purposely made this great salad so I could rest and enjoy it.

And so I asked myself, is this how I relate to my family and the people I love, who I know I love at a deep level? And sure enough, I looked back. I had noticed it before, I tend to get in the rush of things, get the kids off to school, and it's true, once I'm with the people I love, I almost rush through that and I'm thinking of something else. I had such grief about that, a real sharp grief, like I can't believe I'm treating my loved ones that way.

So I have a great intention to see if I could work that differently. And I was able to start being with my family and other people without the rush, and just notice them, like I tried to learn to notice that salad that I worked hard to prepare. I wanted to feel the deep love I knew was there, that I was ignoring... I don't want to miss the love in my life...

Aaron: Thank you. And the point here is not to fix or change anything, simply to gain insight into how the habit energies overwhelm the intentions and how if you bring mindfulness to it, you can more fully enact your intention by watching the habit energy and not being caught in it. I believe I used the example, maybe not with this class... of a wagon on top of a hill, and it picks up momentum as it starts to move. No, it was a dharma talk in North Carolina this weekend.

We have the wagon sitting on top of the hill and it's stopped, it's not in motion. It's easy to climb in and out. You push it just a little and it starts to roll, but you still can climb out. Then it picks up momentum and starts to go down the hill. It's very hard to get out, then. Somewhere at that point where it starts to go over the slope and begins to roll, you might look down the hill and see hundreds of people down there in wagons all crashed into the trees, and think, “Do I want to do that?” But you pick up the momentum from your habit energy; you're on the hill, you're rolling, and it's very hard to get out. But when you catch it at the top, there can be consciousness that asks, “Do I really want to roll with this? Perhaps I don't.” Just breathe and be present in this moment. You don't have to roll with the habit energy. Thank you.

New Q: I had two experiences, one pleasant and one unpleasant. Last week I received 2 (pieces of) news that were unpleasant and were a sign of impermanence. My first reaction was, suddenness more in the sense of fear, like how am I going to resolve these 2 problems. My body got tired, suddenly, very, very tired, and I had to leave work and go home for a nap.

What I noticed is that I couldn't relate a feeling to that, it was more the responsibility of how to solve them than to allow to feel the emotion. That showed me that in many instances in my life, I don't allow myself to feel because of the rollercoaster it will trigger. But I gave this space to be with this, with fear, with the <numb> feeling that is still with me.

On the pleasant side, I recently sent 2 gifts to people that I love, and I heard back that they were very pleased and grateful for that. And again, this time I allowed that happiness as being connected to these people, being present with me. And I realized that I need this reassurance in my relationship, to be able to accept the gift of our relationship.

Aaron: I appreciate your insight, my sister.

Q: I have a teenage daughter who made a commitment that required a great deal of effort on her part. And I knew that was going to be difficult for her and I worked hard to support her in every way that I could. She kept putting things off and is coming down to the wire with having to have her work done. And I have been feeling the tension growing inside of me as thought it's my problem and my project.

Last night, I was talking on the phone about it and she overheard me. So we had words about it. Then I just tried to go and sit with it, because I knew I needed to sit with it, but my mind was out of control. My mind was taking me to all sorts of other similar situations where I've felt frustrated and out of control. Finally I couldn't sit, I was chasing my mind, and I finally just prayed, “Help me, help me,” because I didn't know what to do.

Then I got the message that I should see if my heart is open. And so I sat and just tried to pay attention to my heart. When I would start to have angry thoughts and feelings, I would just go back to, “Is my heart open? My intention is to open my heart.” So much sadness came up. It was really difficult, I cried and cried. But I think that what I do is I close my heart, I snap it shut. And I don't give myself any kindness. So it was really a change to try to give myself some kindness.

But when you talked about the contraction around the contraction, I can definitely identify the contraction but it just seems like... particularly yesterday, on and on and on and on, it's really hard to bring it down to a manageable level.

Aaron: Thank you for sharing that. So many humans with children, there's so much self-identification with the children. Of course, it's not wholesome when you take responsibility for the children, in an extreme way. If the child takes on something and can't do it, that's her responsibility. But we love the children so much and we want them to be praised and appreciated, we want others to see their beauty. We want them to do well, we want them to be happy. And it breaks your heart because you cannot hold on to happiness and success for your children, your children must create that for themselves.

This is an ultimate place of being out of control. You can't control it. But the more you can trust her to make choices and know that she must bear responsibility for those choices if she makes poor choices, this is the only way she can learn. It's very hard to sit back and let your child fail.

Thank you.

Q: I was watching the contractions that arose within me these last 2 weeks. There were a lot of them that would come up, many times a day. The majority of them, I could take a deep breath and open up a space and relax and take a step back and observe the feelings and not identify with them. And they would dissolve pretty quickly.

But, there were some that came up that would just <rip> me. And I would hold on to the feeling of anger, primarily, and feel justified in holding on to that anger. Because I felt so justified, it was really hard to relax and let go. Although they did end up passing, but I'm not sure how.

Aaron: It's very helpful to ask oneself the question, “Am I enjoying my anger?” What am I getting by holding on to it?

All of you who are speaking here, our goal here is not to stop emotions from arising but to learn the choices you have as you relate to them, and not to be so caught in the habit energies with which you have traditionally related, through various kinds of pain and discomfort.

Thank you.

Q: I learned many things. Just yesterday I was with a friend who has had something very difficult happen. She was on the phone when I got to her house and I could hear the other person talking, and the other person just kept talking and talking about themselves. I noticed that I had thought that they were not being very sensitive to this person who was suffering so. So I was looking at that thought, and when the woman hung up, I found it was her daughter. And suddenly I was aware of how it was purely my judgment and not any negative experience for my friend.

Q: I have been feeling sort of numb, so I find myself things to get angry about so I can feel some energy moving. And I've been observing that. That's where I'm at with that.

Aaron: Thank you.

Q: I found it easier to work with it if it's a body sensation, so I can note a sore knee and just be with that, and note it. But if it's something like, I didn't get a job I really wanted, I just sit with being sad and judging on it, and don't catch myself at all, I just go with it.

Aaron: The important thing is to be as present as you can with each object. Some objects are easier than others. You don't fault yourself when you can't be with it fully, you just keep practicing. And as you practice, you build up the muscles, in a sense, the spiritual muscles, that allow you to do it with increasingly difficult objects with a spaciousness, kindness, and wisdom.

Q: I have had a very busy couple of weeks and have not spent much time observing myself or anything else. But I did notice, it was interesting, I often wake up in the middle of the night, at least for a little while. Several nights in a row last week, I woke up and realized that the narrative in my head as I was waking up was very negative. It was just this voice carping at me. It was startling to realize just how routine this negative voice, this fault-finding voice, was.

I just noted it, really. I noticed it and I thought, “Isn't that interesting, that that's going on at that level, and that I haven't realized it?” And then I went back to sleep. Which was actually quite positive because often when I wake up, I'm awake for hours. That was my experience.

Aaron: Good. It's helpful at that point when you wake up with that kind of voice in the night or in the morning, first to say, “Oh, hello habit energy.” And if you note that it's negative, to give that little, “How is that so?” It helps to separate the mundane consciousness that's caught up in this story from awareness that's seeing it from a bigger perspective, from the soul's perspective and not really caught up in the story. Just, hello habit energy, here's the story, is that so? Just a story.

Q: I think that's what I did, those nights.

Aaron: I think that's what you did, too. I'm spelling it out more clearly for others. I'd like to challenge all of you to note your dreams. Take a notebook, put a notebook on your table beside your bed, and when you wake up during the night, just note, if there was a strong dream before awaking, the gist of the dream, whether it was a tense dream or a relaxed dream. Note the distinction between the consciousness that was caught up in the story of the dream and that waking awareness that can look at the dream and know, “No monsters are after me. The house is not burning down. Everything is okay.” Just, it's a dream.

I'm not so concerned here with your analyzing the content of the dream as becoming more conscious of the arising of dream material into consciousness, and that there is a broader awareness that can watch the dream and not get caught up in it, not believe the story of it. Most of you, if you have an uncomfortable dream don't wake up and feel fear that somebody is in the house about to assault you or that the house is in flames or that an enemy is about to drop bombs on you or whatever horrible thing might be happening in the dream, you just recognize, “Oh, it was a dream.”

So my intent here, when I ask you to write it down, it's not so you can analyze it, it's simply to bring it a little more into consciousness so that the broader perspective, the spirit, the awareness, can note it and say, “Okay, that was an illusion, and I am not caught in it any more.”

Then, during the day, to begin to do the same thing. When these stories come up that are simply dreams, like Barbara was relating, “Oh, they're going to be dropping bombs and horrible things happening there, where my children are!” No, it may be entirely peaceful. It's just a story. It's built on old conditioning and fear.

When somebody is speaking to you in your everyday life in a way that feels unpleasant, and you react because you're feeling attacked, in this moment all that is happening is somebody is angry. Let them be angry. Not a problem.

If you are able to smile with somebody, or just hold space for somebody else's anger, it gives them an entirely different catalyst. They're used to having you pick up their anger and return it. If you don't do that, what am I going to do? You're not playing by the same rule any more. Then they are responsible for their anger. You're not picking up responsibility for it, you're just holding space. You're not negating their anger, you're not saying, “Don't be angry,” you're just holding space. But you're not involving yourself in their anger.

If the anger relates directly to something you have done, or said to that person, it's fine to say, “I'm sorry. I hear you are hurt. I'm sorry.” That response simply holds space for their anger.  It doesn't create 2 people in opposition. So you begin to practice this with yourself, seeing how you react to the dream at night, how often you react in the same way in the daytime, creating all of these stories. And how you can bring yourself into a more centered space, just holding space for whatever has arisen, no separation.

I'm going to offer one more suggestion, here. After awhile, if you become comfortable with waking up at night and noting the texture of the dream and that there's tension, and being able to note, “This was a dream. I can just hold space for it. The experience of the dream brought up fear and tension and I can just hold space for it.” and in the daytime in your awake dreams you start to do the same thing, then I would like you to start practicing with gratitude as well.

When the dream brings up tension at night and you wake up feeling that tension, breathing in, note, “This is just a dream. In this moment I am safe.” And note, consciously, gratitude for the dream experience that is showing you the places where you are afraid and the places where you move into patterns of separation, because this is your teacher. You're not offering gratitude for the fact that you're lying in bed safe and no tiger is stalking you in your bedroom. You can offer gratitude for that as well. But you're offering gratitude for the fact that the dream is bringing up tension, and it's giving you the opportunity to offer kindness to myself. The tension reflects something in my daily life. The tiger is a symbol for something in my daily life. At this point, not trying to analyze the dream, just knowing the dream is about tension. I can relate kindly to tension, and I offer gratitude to the dream for showing me there is tension, and gratitude to myself and my practice that I now can hold a bigger space for tension and be kind with it. First do that with the dream, and then gradually extend that into the daily life, so that when something brings up tension in the daily life and you stop, breathe, and note, “This is simply tension, body pain or something else that is unpleasant. I don't have to get caught up in a war with it.” And then offer gratitude to whatever stirred up the tension, because it came as a teacher to remind you of the possibility of compassion. Have you got it?

Any questions? I'm not asking you, can you do it? I'm just asking you, do you understand what I want you to do. Try it.

Is there anything else that anybody would like to share, here, before we move on?

We're going to move into the second part of the class. The two focuses that we have are relationship, how we relate to mind and body experience, what habit energies are, and also getting to know that within you that is truly connected to everything, because this is one of the most profound ways to resolve relationship difficulty. To begin to truly know and live your interconnection with everything.

Last class, we did an exercise with painting. You remember how it felt as you got into the exercise, you began to move as 12 hands with one body, unified in your creating.

Tonight we have a different exercise. Similar experience, I would hope. We have here two jigsaw puzzles... I had Barbara raid her attic for puzzles that were her children's long ago.

(Instructions for exercise, 2 groups, no talking. Taking turns putting down their pieces.)

What I want each group to do is, as you see where a piece goes, hold the energy. We're not going to try to communicate telepathy. That would be different people communicating something; rather, imagine you're one organism. So you're going to attempt really to hold the space as if you're one person with one puzzle. Thinking together, much like the experience of the drawings. We'll see how it goes. Then I think we'll break up the puzzles again and combine them into 48 pieces mixed into 2 puzzles, shuffle them out and try it again with the whole group. Let's try the small group first. Questions?

(Taking 5 minutes stretch, and set up; Aaron releases the body to Barbara)

Groups do a puzzle then exchange them and do the second puzzle.

Barbara: Aaron is asking you all to sit quietly and meditate ...and reflect on, each of you personally, did any tension come up, such as feeling I'm not as good as seeing where it goes as somebody else, or competition feelings. Places where the ego came forth. And if so, what served to dissolve that and bring you back into a sense of unity with the group. One organism functioning together. What helped to dissolve any uncomfortable feelings and thoughts. Just spend a few minutes in silence here...

Aaron: I am Aaron. The direct question is, where do you get caught up in an illusion of self, seeing that that separate self is both a reality on the mundane level and is an illusion on the deeper level? How can you release yourself from the illusion so as to work as cooperatively and in a unified way with others? What you're doing here is a game, a puzzle, so there's nothing threatening about it. We're not working together to try to save somebody's life, for example, there's no tension. And yet, still, little bits of tension come up. The more you can relate in the world from this place of deepest connection and knowing that connection, the smoother your actions are, the more harmonious your actions are, and skillful, in relationship to the world.

With this in mind, let us now jumble the pieces of both puzzles together and form one large circle, here. Each of you will probably have pieces of each puzzle. Mix them all together... so each of you get 4 or 5 pieces.

Your object here is not to finish the puzzle, although assuredly that will happen. Your object here is to go very slowly and mindfully, watch any tension that comes up—I don't know what puzzle this goes to. Are people waiting for me? Are people watching me? Are people judging me? Am I judging myself? Watch those kinds of tensions. Stop and try to relax. Try to flow together so that you are literally 20 hands, one organism. No prompting. If you see a piece that belongs somewhere and the person is not putting it there, just sit, and focus inwardly, supporting that person and helping them to see where it goes by your inner energy. Kindness and patience. Okay, form a full circle, here...


Think of what you can accomplish if your energy always flowed harmoniously in that way.


Are there any comments on the experience? How did it feel?

Q: The first puzzle experience, I gave away all the pieces I had to others who had like colors. The second puzzle, I took pieces from others who had pieces where I knew they would fit. The first experience felt very separate, even though I gave away everything. The second experience felt like the group was working more together.

Aaron: Others?

Q: I noticed I have a pattern of reacting like this in other aspects of my life in the same way. I'm really focusing on the job without considering others. So I am told to do something and I follow it as closely as I could, and fail to consider the input of others...

Aaron: Could others find this metaphor for the habit energies in your life?

Q: When we were doing the first puzzle, the other group was laughing, and I thought, why aren't we laughing? Why aren't we having a good time like them? But I WAS having a good time.

Aaron: Others?

Q: In particular with the last group, I could feel a sense of tremendous trust, that all the pieces will be put together and that it would be completed. Just a sense of trust.

Aaron: How would it be to live your life like that trust, instead of needing to push and pull, with your husband and children, with your clients, with your family, extended family, and friends?

Q: (paraphrased) The first puzzle was very pleasant. I always thought I was so bad at puzzles and it went really easily. I put them right in there and thought wow, I can do this! The second puzzle, I couldn't do anything, it was like it was upside down... I had all the negative stuff coming up. And then the last group,...I was amused watching myself, positive and negative stuff coming up. And the more I relaxed and laughed at it all, I'm just like a kid, this is really funny, funny to be a human.

Aaron: You can see your habit energies in the simplest experiences. Sometimes with a simple mindful experience there's more opportunity to see the habit energies, and not to get so caught up in them, to let them go. Are there others who would like to share?

Please take this experience home with you and apply it in your daily life. Throughout the day, take periods of time when you slow down with mindfulness. Watch the habit energies that come forth even as something so simple as washing the dishes. Is there fix-it energy? Most of you probably have dishwashers so I assume you rinse the dishes to put them in the dishwasher, but is there a habit energy, “Get it done, get it done.” How about when you take a shower, is there a right way to take a shower? Watch yourself and the expectations you have of yourself. Can you truly be present and enjoy the shower?

Observe small encounters with other people, a minor negotiation such as at work organizing who is going to do what or at what time. Watch tension that comes up and the way it creates two separate selves that are going to conflict with each other. See what allows for this smooth movement, one organism with 4 hands and 2 brains, working cooperatively. What changes can you make in yourself that invite this, even if the other person is totally unaware of what you're doing? You'll find that as you make changes in yourself, the other person joins in unconsciously. As soon as you stop competing, pushing and pulling and so forth, the other person feels that energy shift in you. If the other person is a very grasping person and you relax, that person may try to grasp. You hold the space and note their grasping; you don't have to let them grasp. I'm assuming here that you may be talking, negotiating something, so you relax and stop creating a “me against them” conflict. But you are still able to say, “I really don't see it that way. Can you hear what I'm saying? I think it should be this. Can you hear me?”

You state your truths, but it's not with a fighting energy, it's with a relaxed and spacious energy. Sometimes the other person may simply not be able to work with that, but most of the time it will invite the other person to relax with you, and create a much cleaner and more harmonious movement. Think of it as choreographing your life, or co-choreographing you life, together. One person cannot choreograph a dance alone; it must be choreographed with everyone involved so everyone moves harmoniously.

Are there any further comments, here?

Q: Have you watched others do puzzles like this. We put one together, then the second. Is that usual?

Aaron: Watching Barbara's children when they were young, they did not think linearly, so they just put the puzzles together in any order, as the pieces were recognized.

Q: What is your observation about the energy in the two different ways of doing it?

Aaron: Many children at that age, and especially those specific children, do not think linearly. They're totally in the moment. There's no linear thinking. So they simply take the pieces and put them where they go.

Q: So this group was using thinking skills when working together, not just pure energy.

Aaron: That's correct. For this group, there was seeing, thinking, placing, as opposed to just perception with no thinking. With the children, no conscious thought. And there were sometimes, one boy had one best friend and they must have put these 2 puzzles together a hundred times, and they would just throw all the pieces in the center of the room and put them together. Sometimes they would do that with 100-piece puzzles, 2 or 3 one-hundred-piece puzzles. Throw all the pieces in the middle of the room and then put them together. No thinking.

As adults you are in a much more linear plane. That's not bad, it's just a part of your learned experience as adults. You're not as spontaneous. But I don't think you're having as much fun as the boy and his friend had. You take yourselves a bit seriously.

With that in mind, let's try something new.

(Aaron pulls out a large bag of balls, containing some bright colored light weight plastic and some tennis balls.)

No special rules here, just mindful. Keep them going. Keep them moving. Be aware of any tension that comes up as a ball comes to you. (playful laughter) Any tendency to hoard, any tendency to avoid; there's the hoarder over here. I'm stealing his balls!  (laughter) At a certain point I'm going to ring the bell and I want everybody to pause. When I ring the bell I want you to simply pause and see what your energy field is like.




Notice if there's any tension in you. Here there's not room for linear thought, it's a spontaneous exercise. Is there joy or tension when a ball comes towards you? Is there joy or tension as you throw it back out? When I ring the bell, simply resume the exercise, and again I will ring it again in a few minutes to stop it, for reflection.

(Bell, exercise resumes)

bell; stopping

Aaron: There was a large shift in the energy of the group, here. Slowly you're relaxing into the understanding that it doesn't matter who has the balls. Sometimes I have some, sometimes I don't. Complete lack of grasping. It's shifting into a whole group organism, simply moving them around, not a group of individuals. Can you feel that shift at all? Let's try it one more time.

(Bell, exercise resumes)

bell; stopping

What are you experiencing?

Q: Sometimes whenever there's a lot of activity and you're doing something and there's no thinking, although you're more in the moment, I'm not necessarily sure that you feel like you're more aware. In a way it feels like you're less aware. You're not paying attention, you're just reacting.

Aaron: Thank you. Others?

Q: Two times ago, two times before the last bell, I set the intention for attracting tennis balls only. And I found that tennis balls were coming to me and I was sending them away and there was a contraction, “Oh no, I got them and now I'm sending them away!” Then I changed to “I have intention for yellow balls,” and I have 2 yellow balls, but there was a bit of guilt, contraction, uncomfortable, because I was taking away, it felt like I was taking away from the entire group with setting an intention for only self.

Aaron: Interesting.

Q: When all the balls were in place and it was constant, going back and forth all around, I loved it. It felt like there was one big flowing oneness. But when M had a bunch of the balls, I felt like he was intentionally disrupting that flow.

Aaron: I found it interesting that you as his wife were the one who came across and grabbed the balls! The two of you might want to think about what that says and the way you relate to one another!

Q: I have a question for M. You said you felt the group was not happy with you participating slowly. Were you intentionally participating but so slowly that others did not notice?

M: Yes.

Q: How did it feel for you?

M: Fun.

Aaron: It's interesting because you, P, felt a separation from the group when you started to collect just the yellow balls, when you set your intention, but M felt very at ease when he set his intention. Not right or wrong, just different processes. Others?

Q: The last time we did it, M's legs were right in front of me and I felt that prevented me from getting balls, so I started taking them from R!

Q: R, how did YOU feel?

R: I didn't even notice!

Q: I noticed that M's legs were blocking, and I tried to throw balls over M's legs.

Q: And I should say that I was aware of my own irritation with M but it was based more on my perception that he was hogging half the balls and blocking J, more than that he was not participating, which I don't think would have bothered me.

Aaron: So it's interesting to see the kinds of thoughts that come up, and how those thoughts break into the connected energy of the group. Others?

Q: I was having fun and then I got hit in the head and it hurt a lot. So after that, I was afraid to play with the balls. And then I thought, “No, that's silly, I'm going to play and have fun.” And then that was the last time and I got hit in the leg really hard and it hurt...

(There is one ball that's heavy and hurts when it hits, a rubber dog ball)

Aaron: Anyone else?

Aaron: We have just a few minutes left. Let's try a short experiment here. P's statement inspires this. We have purple and pink and orange and blue and green, 5 colors, tennis balls and rubber balls, 7 different kinds of balls. I see a pink one...

7 different kinds of balls. Keeping the dog ball out of it that's too heavy...

Hold your intention to draw a specific ball to you.

Hold the intention, just quietly formulate the intention what you want to draw to you. Then when you begin to play, begin to move a bit slower and more thoughtfully. Hold the ball and think, where does this need to go? Now there may be 3 or 4 people with the intention for that ball. Each of you, I don't want to say keep score, but are you getting an unusual number of balls of your choice of type or color? To what degree are you communicating your intention? So let's move a bit more slowly here, not just random but holding the ball and asking, where does this one need to go?

When you get one that is your color or not your color, hold it, throw it back out. So you're not going to try to hold onto the ones that come to you that are your color, they go back out and then it comes back to you again. Are you able to invite the specific color or ball that you request?

Okay, let's try that.


(tape paused)

Q: ...which was not what she chose.

Aaron: Some degree of communication but not so clear.

Q: Can you speak to the difference between grasping for a color and having intention to get that color?

Aaron: Just that grasping will shut off the flow of it to you.

Q: I was experimenting with that. I realize I was grasping for yellow and not getting it, and I relaxed and suddenly got both of them.

Q: There was a time when I got 4 of the ugly orphan balls in a row. And then after that, I only got 3 in total.

Aaron: Other comments? Your receiving what you intend has 2 parts: one is you're sending out the message clearly and the other is other people's receiving the message clearly and trusting that they're hearing it and responding. It would be an interesting experiment to try it another night with pairs, each pair with a number of colors, and one person sending the impression of the color they want to receive. And the person sending out what they think is correct. Seeing how well you can hear each other in that way. I think there was so much energy flowing back and forth; it was hard to hear just one person. Even I could not. Let me put it differently. I chose not to rely on my telepathic abilities here, but to release those, not to enter your mind in any way but just to pick it up from your energy field. And I found that if I stayed focused on the whole group, I received nothing. But if I just focused on one person, I began to feel their energy. But most of you were focusing on a lot of different people and that was too difficult.

Okay. We'll end here. I will see you... in 2 weeks.


In 2 weeks I will give a longer talk; we'll do some exercises but we'll be more focused on new instruction. Then the class after that, again, more discussion. This is how I plan to run my class. I believe the next class is also open so we'll have more people. We will send them home at 9 and have our discussion from 9 to 9:30.

Thank you. Please bring your attention to these things for these 2 weeks. Work with the dreams as I suggested. Watch the illusion, separation, what happens as you open to the illusion. Watch it in your daily life. Practice with gratitude and the same mindfulness practices that I invited you to do for this class, these last 2 weeks. Are there any questions?

My blessings and love to you all...