April 18, 2007 - Class Three on Relationship (and Open Aaron Night)

Aaron: Good evening. My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron.

I wish you could see how your light fills this room. It's very beautiful…

We've spent 2 weeks looking at the relationship with self, with the body, with the mind, with the emotions. Now we're going to move a bit further out into the world, but essentially we're not talking about anything different than we have been talking about, because there is nothing out there that is separate from you. And yet of course you experience the idea of separation.

Think of a late spring blizzard, 6 inches of snow on the ground. The ground was warming, softening. Plants were beginning to come up and suddenly everything is covered with snow. Where did the earth go? Five days later, where has the snow gone? Yes, there is a separate earth element and water element on a superficial level, and yet the water element has some earth element in it, and the earth element has some water element in it, they cannot be separated, just as in your bodies where all the elements are at play together.

Feel the fire element in your body, feel the power of it as sun, energy, heat. Feel the water element in your body, which is so much a part of the physical structure of the body, flowing through the body constantly. Feel the earth element in the body, that which feels more solid in the body. Feel the wind element, air as energy, as movement in the body. And also feel the space beyond all of these.

What do I mean by space? Here we have lots of people, cushions and chairs on the floor, tiles on the ceiling. But what is the predominant object in this room? What is it? (Group: Space) So we have objects and we have space.

Now, think of the body. It seems solid and yet you know the skin is permeable. It's just a mixture of cells. Have you ever looked at your skin through a strong microscope? Just a membrane of cells. There's nothing solid there, really.

Your energy field doesn't end at the edge of your body, it extends outward. There is moisture in the air. If the air was completely dry, how would that affect your bodies? Your bodies are moist. They bring in the moisture that's floating around in the space. There's wind element, air element, in this space. Ahhas you breathe in it fills the body. And some of you can feel the energy in the room as fire element. So it's not just part of you, it's a part of everything, all connected, no separation. And yet in your human experience, you think in terms of separate selves. This is part of the human experience and a necessary part.

Long ago in the time of Lemuria, in which some of you existednot all, somethere were not what you are now, carbon-based beings, humans, plants, and so forth, but everything had a crystalline structure. Well, carbon is also a sort of crystalline structure but it's a different base. But in Lemuria everything was crystal.

Crystal has a very high vibrational frequency. Beings in that space recognized other beings as being expressions of the divine, somewhat separate from themselves as the fingers might recognize them selves as separate expressions of the hand. And yet people also recognized there is just one hand with 10 million fingers, all expressions of the One.

Because of the high energy and because there was no forgetting of the true self, everyone was telepathic. There was just thought, pure thought, so that anything that one expression of the One brought to its mind was immediately shared with the group. In One, there can be no conflict, can you see that? It takes 2 for conflict. So when you dwell with 10 million expressions of the One (smiling) I use these numbers loosely! Please do not quote me and say Aaron said there were this many or that many beings! These numbers mean very little to me. When everything was seen as expression of the One, there was no conflict. There was enormous creativity. Life in that space was the expression of the creative love of the Divine through harmony, including harmonics and music, through dance, through visual arts, through poetry.

When I say poetry, there was no need for articulate language so there was no articulate language. Think of the word love. Love is a symbol, a four-letter word. You have a general sense between you of what I mean by love, but each of you when you think and feel the term "love," you have a different experience. If you could share the direct experience of what you mean by love, eventually you would come together on it and truly understand that experience. Then when you had the experience of love, the expression of the one that sat beside you would immediately feel that experience. If you had an experience that was one of some discomfort, those around you would feel that experience. But there's a difference: when there's only One, there's nothing on which to blame and say, "THAT's making me uncomfortable." What could be making you uncomfortable if it's all an aspect of you?

This is similar to a pattern that some of you have, of saying, "It's my father's fault that I didn't grow up to be more successful. He wasn't home enough," or "He didn't pay enough attention to me. I'm angry at him. It's his fault." What are you really saying? Are you saying, really, that it's the father's fault, or at some level are you saying, "It's my discontent and I'm looking for something to blame? I am really angry at my self."?

Here is a discomfort, wanting to be more successful, not being as successful as you'd like, what can you blame? And then the whole focus and all the stories fixate on, "It's because of that." Meanwhile, the father 30 years later may be a totally different person. Back then maybe he drank too much, now he's totally sober. Back then he may have been very busy in his work, now he's retired and loves to hear what you are doing. But you can't see that living father because you're so busy seeing the father that drank too much and wasn't available. So you throw out the anger at that. Blaming. But my experience is that whenever you blame somebody, that mechanism is to protect you from taking responsibility for the discomfort of your own experience.

I'm going to repeat that. Whenever judgment and blame arises in the mind, it's a device that you have perfected to avoid being present with the discomfort of your own experience. Think about this.

When you blame someone, you're blaming certain conditions that certainly may have been uncomfortable and unpleasant, but you are creating a duality and saying, "It's their fault, it's that's fault," rather than saying, "I acknowledge that as a child I did not receive the love I wished I had. What would it mean to have received that love? Do I love myself?" So basically that one we have just spoken of is blaming the father rather than to investigate the fact that he or she cannot love himself/herself.

Now take this one step further. There's nothing separate, everything and everybody is yourself. Can you love this expression of the hand and hate that expression? (holding up fingers) Can you love this expression of the One and blame and hate other expressions? You're simply creating a duality. The pattern is set way back from those days, not in Lemuria but what came later. Moving into the illusion of duality.

I'm coming back to Lemuria. I don't usually talk about such things. It's not necessary to your present life. But it's useful to understand the transition in which you are all involved. In Lemuria, where every awareness understood the perfection of the non-dual and that there was only One in all its beautiful expressions, there was no catalyst for growth. This was the fatal flaw of Lemuria. There was creativity. There was joy. But because there was no illusion of anything separate, there was no conflict. And because there was no conflict, there was a continuous kindergarten, if I might put it that way, a plateau beyond which further learning was impossible until new conditions manifest. It's hard to express this in words. When there is a certainty that there was only One, there is nothing beyond the self. There is full telepathy, there can never be disagreement; everybody is experiencing the same thing. Just think of it. It sounds blissful. And yet, how do you learn? But after awhile, beings found that it was important to pretend the illusion of the other so as to create the illusion of conflict, so as to experience more fully the full range of emotion.

So the shift began as Lemuria transitioned into what you know as Atlantis, the next great civilization, if I may phrase it in that way. Atlantis carried the remembrance of oneness but there was much more self-awareness. If we had to place the Biblical story of Eden somewhere, the knowledge of self and other, the knowledge of, I don't want to say good and evil but the illusion of negativity and separation, I would place it at that transition of Lemuria to Atlantis.

So you began to experience separation for a reason, because what you sought was growth. What you sought was not to experience separation, what you sought was growth, and learning. Learning what? Learning to love more fully. In that place of complete understanding of oneness, it was easy not to dislike or be offended by anything. It's all just me. I love myself. How can I offend myself? I'm perfect! I'm beautiful!

Love is not finite, love is infinite. Compassion is infinite. It was not challenged to grow into its greater expression because there was nothing to challenge it to grow. When somebody has caused you pain, and you're able to forgive that person and truly to love them despite their distortions, can you feel how much growth there is? It's very different. It's easy to love the newborn baby. It's a bit more challenging to love the teenager!

So there was an intention to explore the illusion of separation while still knowing it as illusion. What happened in Atlantis it that some people firmly knew it was just illusion so they didn't learn as much as they hoped to learn. Some people were able, as good actors on stage, to know it as illusion but played their parts skillfully and truly explored the emotions and what it means to love that which is challenging. And some people forgot it was illusion and became ensnared by it. And as soon as that happen, they were caught up in the karmic field. This is the point where karma began on the earth.

Then there was conflict between those who knew it was illusion and those who didn't know, and those who didn't know got carried away, often doing great harm to those who still knew it as illusion and were not willing to kill various expressions of themselves, so to speak. So the high energy that had sustained Lemuria and Atlantis disintegrated into the more mundane energy that we call relative reality consciousness where the delusion of separation is predominant in the mind.

You who are here on the earth plane now are in a time of transition. You are moving out of this relative reality, dualistic consciousness and into non-dual consciousness. You are breaking through the illusion of separation and beginning to know yourselves and everything around you as part of the One. For most of you that knowing remains conceptual at this time. For some of you, there have been deep experiences of what I would call unity consciousness. When you have that experience of the body and ego dissolving, so that you see that nothing is separate, when you come out of that meditation, you really cannot step on an ant. You cannot speak cruelly to another human being. And yet the habit energy persists. The habit energy of carelessness continues so you don't look and you do step on the ant, not to stomp on it with intent but simply careless. You react in anger to other people because the habit energy persists of the self vs. the other. Then you take it into meditation, What was I doing? What was I so angry at? How could I have been so abusive in my speech? But the habit energy persists.

So your work here at this current time, within this transition period, is to challenge the habit energy, as we've been looking at in the past 2 classes and as is the entire work, really, of Deep Spring Center. It is to look at the habit energy that holds the illusion of separation and leads us into attacking that which is separate, thereby attacking the One.

Tonight we are talking not of the self so much as our relationship to the world and everything out there in the world. I began by speaking briefly about the elements. I find the elements a wonderful place to work because that of the earth element in you and you and you and you, is all mingled. That of the air element, you can see it easily in the air. Everybody in unison, breathe in. Breathe out. Now breathe in. Are you breathing in only the air that you exhaled? You're breathing it all in! Whose air are you breathing in? Or is there just one air coming and going?

You drink the liquids that come from the rain and the sky and from the oceans. They support your physical body and then you urinate it out and it flows back into the sewers, into the rivers, and back into the ocean. Is there any water in your body you can look at and say, "This one is mine?" If anybody can find one, please bring it to me, this molecule of water. And if you bring it to me and hand it to me, is it still yours?

A wonderful practice, then, is to experience the elements in a deep way. To experience them through feeling yourself, for example, as a tree or an ocean wave. We did this as an exercise here once several years ago.

I'm going to lead you on a guided meditation. Get yourselves comfortable… you will want to be sitting upright. You may lie down for now and just listen and see how it moves you.

Be a tree. Put your arms out and let them spread in the wind. If the arm touches another tree's branch, well that's what happens in the forest. Sometimes the trees touch each other. Let the body be flexible, swaying. Watch what happens as you interact with another tree. Most of you are within touching distance, so that there will be some interaction. Does the idea of separate come up? Which idea of course doesn't arise for the tree.
(there are many pauses, not noted)

As you touch another tree, can the branches just gently touch each other and perhaps even wind together for a moment? Touching, caressing… Can you feel how that separate goes out of it? That there's then a sense of ease? No sense of conflict in the touching, just the ease.

Those of you who wish may stand up. It's not compulsory, but if you'd like to stand, please stand and let your tree move more freely. But remember, trees don't walk. (laughter) Find yourself firm footing and sway in the breeze. You will have to imagine the breeze tonightI had asked Barbara to bring a fan and she declined. If there is a bit harder impact, does the concept of separation come back for a moment? And then noting, "idea;" it's just a thought, separation. Contraction. Noting it, watch it dissolve.

Swaying, touching, what a beautiful forest you are! Now remember that there are some squirrels and chipmunks and other creatures; birds are landing in your branches. Welcome them with love. See them building a nest. Slowly the wind dies down and the trees begin to still. The branches are still open, they're not swaying so much. The trees know the unity of the forest. They feel the energy of each tree around them throughout the forest and they delight in that energy.

Trees have a wonderful relationship to each other. There are trees that they call nurse trees because they create an environment in which new seedlings can grow in safety without too strong sunlight that would burn them, without the harshness of the elements beating on them. As the seedling grows, it pushes its way up through the nurse tree. There's room for both. Experience that unity consciousness of the forest.

You may sit now, if you wish, and begin to envision yourself as the human walking into the forest. Keep your eyes closed. Be the human sitting amongst these trees. This is why there is so much joy in the still energy of the forest. I did not say there is no conflict in the forest, but there is no conflict from the trees. There is the hawk that dives at the squirrel. There is the lightning that strikes the tree. But the forest also gives you the sense of non-separation.

Take a deep breath. For contrast now, coming out of the forest, I'd like you to envision yourself at a service stop on Interstate 94. Cars and trucks are rushing by, car doors slamming. Use your memory and imagination. Can you feel the shift in energy. Can you feel how you tense up into the small self? If Interstate 94 doesn't work for you, put yourself in the middle of Times Square or a busy subway station in a large city. It's very hard to keep that non-dual awareness in the face of all that frenzied energy. And yet this is precisely what each of you is attempting to do through your own spiritual practice. We do not hold retreats in subway stations because it would be too difficult, but your life gives you all that conflicted energy that you need to practice with.

Come out of the subway now. Walk down the street with me and back into the forest and sit. Ahh! And feel the contraction release, back in the forest environment.


You may open your eyes. I'd like to hear some feedback from you, what you experienced as a tree, as part of the forest, as the human in the forest, and the subway station or service stop by the highway.

Q: It was lovely to feel the connection to adjacent trees. There was connection but softness and oneness. I was aware of the whole room full of trees.

Aaron: Thank you. Others?

Q: I could experience how quickly the body tensed in subtle ways just thinking about subways in large cities.

Aaron: Thank you, my brother. Others?

Q: But why not experience oneness in the subway when we are crushed up against so many people? We're almost being forced into contact.

Aaron: If people would relax in the subway, if people knew it was safe to be in the subway, then you could experience oneness. But what happens is that when the crowd rushes in, you immediately put up energetic and physical barriers. This is the habit energy. The body tenses.

Q: So is fear the big obstacle to oneness?

Aaron: Fear, yes. The trees in the forest are not afraid of each other. They are not afraid of the thunder and lightning. They know that in time they will fall and decay. They will not cease to be part of the forest, it's part of their life cycle. Sometimes you're upright and sometimes you're part of the earth. And then that energy that you are comes into a tiny seed and sprouts and grows and becomes a new tree.

So it doesn't matter to the tree which part of its cycle it's in. It's just part of the cycle. But for you, because you are attached to the self, it matters.

Q: Should we let go of that?

Aaron: You cannot really let go of that entirely in situations in which there may be danger. In the subway, you must hold your purse. You can't just sit and relax or somebody might snatch it. You can let go of fear. You can hold the purse from a place of love and be aware that there are beings who see themselves as separate and who are not yet mature enough to be vowed to non-harm to others. Then there's compassion for those beings, and out of compassion you don't let them harm you. It's bad karma for them if they harm you, so it's very kind not to let them harm you. So you hold the purse, but you don't hold the purse with tension, you hold the purse because it's skillful to hold the purse. When many people on a subway are able to relax in that kind of way, the whole energy on the subway car changes.

When Barbara and several of you (several in this group traveled to Japan with Barbara) were in Japan, and the subways were very crowded, sometimes you saw little children running and playing on the platform, and a little group of school children would get on a subway car. Do you remember how different the energy on the subway car was when there were small children in the car? It became a completely different environment just because of the joy and ease of the children.

You're in a process of transition. You are not here to stop contraction, fear or negative thought but to recognize them when they arise and know, "This is arising in me. And it's creating the sense of separation from the world." And to know that you have a choice, whether to go along with the story of separation, "All these fierce-looking people on the subway train, what are they going to do with me?" Elbowing people to make space for yourself. Thinking strong negative thoughts and sending that energy out. Is that what you want to do? Or to recognize, "Fear is coming up in me and out of that fear, I'm creating an unnecessary sense of separation. I do not wish to do this." Then you have clear comprehension of purpose.

Clear comprehension of purpose: What is my highest purpose? What is it I wish to do, here? Do I wish to further extend this fear and negativity and hold on to the illusion of separation and create the ongoing pain in myself that I experience through belief in separation, or do I wish to let this go and live my life with more non-dual connection, knowing my connection with all that is?

Another meditation. Let's try something else, here.

The ocean has many waves. Is each wave separate or are they part of each other? Picture a rough sea, not near the beach but far out. You can take a picture of a big wave and say, "Oh look! That's a wave. Look how solid it looks." And then in 10 seconds, where did it go? Just like your breath. When I asked you, can you identify your breath from anybody else's, can anybody bring me a drop of water that's yours, from your body. There is only one ocean, and billions of water molecules. We use this as a metaphor.

So now we're going to be the ocean. You are waves, moving, with strong current pushing from underneath and wind pushing you from the top. Blowraise your arms, be the wave. (many pauses, not noted) And then coming back down. Part of the ocean. When you're a wave, really feel yourself as a wave. Feel the seeming solidity of you, the power. And then, with the exhale, just dropping down into unity with the ocean. It doesn't have to be with every breathinhaling, wave, exhaling, back to the ocean, you can inhale the wave and stay with it a few breaths. Hands up, being the wave. And then with the exhale, releasing that form and coming back into the ocean.

As with any sea, waves are forming and relaxing at a varied pace, so some of you are moving up, others of you are moving down. If you feel moved to stand up as a very big wave, stand up and then sit back down as you collapse back into the ocean.

I want you to experience the seeming self of the wave. If the wave was self-aware, it might say, "Oh, look at me!" And then quick realization"Ah, there's nothing here but ocean." Falling back into the ocean.

Rising and falling. Expressing as self, as an object, and dissolving. It's almost like the human experience in very quick motion. You take birth and grow into this 5 to 6 foot wave we call self, and then slowly you disintegrate and with the transition, you're back into the ocean. And then, a new birth. Beginning another wave. Coming and going. The illusion of being something is helpful along the way but it's also necessary to release the illusion and know the oneness.

(Pause while we do this)
Thank you for being a beautiful sea for me.

Your bodies age much more quickly than they need to because they hold the tension of self. Some of you have read in the Bible of beings who lived to 300, 400, 500 years. These were very enlightened beings who did not hold on to any illusion of self, and did not thusly wear out any of the body parts by holding them in contraction.

In the Essene communities of which I was a part in a number of lifetimes, and in Druid communities and other post-Atlantis advanced civilizations, these non-self practices were taught as fundamental skills. Children did the exercises you've just been doing of learning how to express as a self and how to release the self, and how not to get caught up in the illusion of the self.

Of course, this was a minority of the humans, doing these practices. You might ask, why didn't the teachings spread? Because there was not yet the overall maturity of beings around the Earth. Beings still needed to go through the stage of conflict and belief in the self. Not all beings did; those who didn't need it were very happy to be free of it, and to live in peace as much as they could. Skills were developed to not need so much to interact with those who were more violent and enclosed in separation. Where such interaction was inevitable, it was tolerated.

But now you are ready for a new remembering. We look at the issues of your world such as a war in Iraq. People are battling over theoretically the belief that one God is better than another God but more fundamentally over the fact that people want power, that people are hungry, that people see inequality in the world, that people have learned from an early age to hate.

We look at this tragedy in Virginia. How does somebody hate enough to go in and shoot a classroom of his peers? He's got to have been taught since infancy that bigotry and fear, to have experienced abuse. Your culture does not respond skillfully to other beings' fear. But each of you reacts as in the subway, feeling attacked, tensing. And as soon as there's that tension energy, everything contracts. Everything is batting against everything else.

Each of you has a responsibility that increases as you come to know the reality of unity consciousness, to live that consciousness in the world as fully as you can, especially in the face of negativity. I am not saying that you should never protect yourselfeach of you will have to make that decision for yourselves, whatever is appropriate. The question is not what you do but whether your response comes more from a place of love or more from a place of fear. As soon as the reaction comes from a place of fear and separation, you're lost in the illusion, you're the separate wave banging against the other wave, the second tree crashing against another tree. Any possibility for compassion and openheartedness dies.

As soon as you remember to ask, "What is my highest intention here? Is it for harmony and the well-being of all of these expressions of myself?", then your energy field changes and you begin to invite a different response from people.

It's a very hard question, how to live your life, because of course you do not want to be killed. We look at some of what Gandhi did in India. His teaching was that in asking for what he wanted, he was accepting the fact that he would alienate people. So he was accepting their anger. That's like the parent when the 2-year-old says, "I want a cookie! I want a cookie!" and supper is in 20 minutes. If the parent says, "No, you may not have a cookie now," he or she knows the child may have a temper tantrum. You don't hate the child, you accept right there what you knowno cookie now. You accept the consequences that the child may become very angry, and you are willing to hold the child and make space for the child's anger.

This is basically what Gandhi did. He understood, "If I make a statement that I want self-rule in India, it's going to not just anger but enrage some people. And because of their rage, they're going to act out their rage, perhaps by shooting or some terrible massacres." It wasn't all smooth going.

And yet, in inviting - and I'm not asking you all to go out there and stand before people with guns, don't misunderstand me - if you're able to say no to somebody whose request is inappropriate, to state your own truth with love, to hold a space of love for that person, eventually that person may be able to hear you. If you simply conflict against them, you'll never bring communication. There will be more blood and more angry words.

Each of you is responsible for what happened in Virginia, because each of you at some time in your life has created the situation with rage and conflict, that may have further enraged another person who finally became capable of committing such an act, rather than holding that being in your heart, feeling compassion for such a person and saying no with compassion, thereby truly hearing this person. This is about learning to hear one another, not to hold the self separate, but truly to hear and relate and learn to say no with love.

The unity consciousness of which I spoke is your true being, and yet on the relative plane, you are also separate beings, and you do each have your own thoughts and your own inner truth. How do you communicate that to others? How do you communicate it about personal issues? How do you communicate it about world issues like politics, the environment? Are you going to communicate rage or are you going to communicate listening and kindness and an open heart?

I'm going to pause here, give you 5 minutes to stretch yourselves…

(arrange chairs to create an empty floor space for another exercise, and then discussion)

Aaron: I've asked everybody to take one of these pieces of rope. I want you to form in groups of 3, 4, 5, 6 people. You have all played the game as children in the 3-leg race. We're not going to have a race here, rather, you're simply going to form into beings, more than 2, at least 3, probably 3 to 5. Take a cord and tie your leg to another person's leg.

Make sure that there are at least 3 in a group but there can be up to 5. The group should be in a circle. It should go all the way around.

(Laughter, giggling and chattering throughout exercise)

Make a circle. Hands will then go on the shoulders…

Now all I want you to do is become one unit, no talking. You're not racing but gently ease yourself around the room, without verbal communication. Relax into the movement of the group…

Giggling is fine but no verbal communication. See if you can move yourselves gently from one end of the room to the other, around…

Note any tension that comes up, feeling that you can't possibly push the group in any one direction, no one person can push the group. Feel how the unit can move so easily as you all relax into it. The unit cannot move as long as anybody is resisting. It's fine to simply stand in place for awhile and sway together to get the feeling of the group energy. Take the time you need…(pauses)

If the groups bump into each other a bit, just notice that. Is the idea that it is another group or is it simply an extension of your group?

(Janice, I wish I could show you what they're doing here!) Dancing around the room, some of them swaying, some moving. Some groups are resorting to hopping, some are swaying…

I'm going to pause the tape…

(Exercise continues, with pauses)

Aaron: Just stand and sway for a moment, if needed, or for a minute… Lose the self, as the wave loses itself into the ocean…

Then as a strong wind blows, the current comes, the wave may begin to move again…

The wind is blowing more strong, pushing the waves. A strong undersea current is carrying you…

The waves calm down again as the wind dies…

Let each wave be motivated by its own sense of the wind and the current. Without my voice to guide you, feeling energy within the circle, sometimes still and sometimes in movement. Sometimes swaying and sometimes really moving. Feel how quickly the energy of one part of the wave communicates itself to the whole…

How does the wave that you are relate to the big fish, the whale that swims through, the octopus? Feeling it moving through you, past you. Is it separate? Is the fish and the water separate? How do you integrate with the fish? The fish, of course, breathes you into itself and then releases you…

We'll experiment with this for another minute or two silently and then I'll ring the bell to end the exercise.

(recording paused)

I'm now inviting each group to sit for 5 minutes and talk… Just sharing, each of you, how did it feel, what did you experience.

(recording paused)

(Aside: The groups have spent about 20 minutes in this discussion.)
Will you share some of the highlights? (Asking for a spokesperson from each group.)

Impossible to have a spokesperson when you're a unity! This is the nature of unity and its different expressions.

Q: It was difficult when we were trying to move without knowing where we were going, how we were going to move. And for several of us, that was not pleasant.

Aaron: As you relaxed into it, did you find movement easier?

Q: Much more.

Aaron: So as resistance died away and you became more integrated into each other, it (went) more easily…

Q: When we stopped moving and swayed, it was much easier to follow the feeling and the movement. It felt like we were more one. That was nice, that was pleasant!

Next Q: The wave arose in one of us and all moved. No, that's not what I meant to sayit's hard to say it. It flowed through.

Other Q: Harmonics.

Aaron: Did some of you, at some times during the exercise, experience the release of the individuated self? Yes. Was there any awareness as you did the exercise what brought forth that release and what opposed that release?

Q: Feeling supported, physically. I felt like I was floating, sort of like, my <unable to hear remainder clearly> It was wonderful.

Q: In our group, there was taking care of each other that led to a feeling of unity.

Q: In our group there was surprise that we had drifted away as far as we had from being up against another group, and there was no conscious awareness of having moved away from them.

Q: We felt like we were a creature under the sea, like a sea anemone. Not an urchin. Just moving with the sway of the tide or water. It was very soothing for me, personally. I could have fallen asleep, standing up.

Q: It was hard to tell where the movement was originating from, there wasn't a sense of one person dictating a direction, it just was, it just happened. And yet we weren't always moving. At one point we came to a complete stop.

Q: I did that.

Q: You did that? Okay.

Q: You must have said something like, "Change it" or "See if the group responds to one idea," so I thought about stopping, and we all stopped.

Q: But I didn't realize that you werewe just stopped! I wasn't aware that you were the one that initiated it.

Q: I still feel like I'm moving with the group.

Q: The most interesting part for me was forgetting about the boundaries of my human body. I felt a part of the whole, everyone, like it was all me, not us.

Q: It was a wonderful idea. Thank you.

Aaron: You're very welcome. Anybody else?

I'd like you to take this home with you. Be observant in the places in your life in which you feel a move into separation. Stop and note the experience of separating and ask yourself, "What would help me to integrate back into a unity with whatever I'm separating from?" Meditate on the group experience you just had. In other words, don't try to figure it out, just rest in that sense of group energy and reflect on how it feels.

Inevitably through your day, you will experience occasional conflict. It may be a horn honking behind you. It may be somebody who gives you a glum or angry look. It may be a sudden pain in your body, in which case you are relating to your own body. It may be seeing a pain in somebody else. There may be a sudden rain squall. It may be seeing a dead squirrel in the road. It may be walking in the woods and seeing all the trash. When the thought comes up of "Why did they leave trash? Why did they hit the squirrel? Why is he scowling at me? Why is he honking his horn at me?" feel the tension and the sense of separation, stop and breathe, and if you're not driving your car, put your hands out. Hold your arms around the others in the group and take 2 or 3 breaths, feeling yourself coming back into this group energy and then, invite whatever is the seen other in the experience into your circle.

When somebody has just said some angry words to you and you stop, they don't have to actually be there but you pause on your own, you don't have to hold your arms out in the midst of that exchange, but hold them out for just a moment now to invite the experience. Close your eyes, feel the circle energy, and then consciously invite this other into the circle. Dance with the other. Feel the other as a part of yourself and yourself as part of them. Begin to investigate what enhances the dropping away of barriers and separation, number 1. And number 2, when those barriers and separation fall away, ask, "Do I respond in a more skillful way?" It can happen very quickly. When a car behind you honks, you take a breath and invite them in. Release the urge to say something back or whatever finger you might stick out the window. Noting the urge to react, when somebody says something rude to you, stop and invite them in, just one breath. Realize, "I'm just yelling back at myself. This is an unloved part of myself. What am I angry at?" Inviting connection, releasing separation. Do this with other people and with the earth and see where it takes you.

Are there questions?

It is 9:07. I'm going to invite those who are guests here tonight to gather their things and depart and we'll talk with the class group about last class's work and where we're going. For those who are with us tonight and not part of the group, we look forward to seeing you next month.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron. H says last class we did puzzles and moved the ball back and forth. We talked about pulling into the separate self and how we relate to our own self, to thoughts, to the body, and so forth. Did any of you reflect on that in these two weeks, and is there anything you would like to share?

Q: There was an experience from the group time that became more clear after the session and made a very powerful difference in awareness during the 2 weeks. Aaron had said for each person to take 3 or 4 puzzle pieces. P did not take any and was waiting for the group to be more open, but when that happened there were no more puzzle pieces. But the people on either side just were aware and passed pieces over. It was so seamless that it only became clear after the evening and made a profound impression about oneness.

Barbara: P, was it mostly about feeling the connection, feeling that you were seen and heard?

Q: Not separately seen and heard, just part of one.

Barbara: Okay, I see that.

Q: Like the wave tonight.

Barbara: Any others, anything you want to share?

Q: I can't put it all into words now but for me, a profound increase in awareness of my habit energy, especially my habit of pushing away tension, wanting everything perfect. But now I sometimes remember to allow everything. I hope I remember more often.

Barbara: This is what we're learning, just to get a little bit better at remembering. We all move into the experience of separation so often, and the problem is not that we move into the experience, the problem is that we move into it without mindfulness. So once we develop mindfulness and we see ourselves moving into it, we can say, "Ah, here I am moving into this again," and come back.

Q: And compassion comes up more often, for little me.

Barbara: Good to see when it appears most, what's happening at those times. When there's separation, what's happening? When there's connection, what's happening? Asking you to reflect on that. Something for me that I find helpful, is when I'm not feeling connection, to ask myself, where did the feeling of connection go? What's blocking it? What am I getting out of feeling separate in this moment? Because clearly if I'm feeling separate, there's something that's leading me to that. And maybe I'm getting a feeling of power, or what is it. Is there something I'm not paying attention to, and often the answer is fear.

Q: How does Aaron define fear?

Barbara: Aaron, how do you define fear? Aaron is saying, contraction and separation.

Q: But fear can be a form of survival, a way to survive. I'm thinking of a walk in the woods and you know that there are grizzly bears. It's not so much a fear as being mindful.

Barbara: But fear is not necessary; mindfulness is necessary. If I'm walking in the woods where there are grizzly bears, I carry bells and ring them. I sing. I make noise, because I know the bears don't want to meet me and I don't want to meet them.

Q: Right, but isn't that a form of fear?

Barbara: Aaron tells a story about his final lifetime, the enlightenment experience of his final lifetime. He was walking down a path at night in the jungle in a storm, and a tree fell over on him. And it had thorns. The thing really crashed, trapping him. There were scratches but no severe injury, but he was pinned in by it with his face down in the mud. He was lying there trying to figure out, "What do I do?" and he heard a tiger. There were tigers in the jungle. He could hear its breath and hear its footsteps. The rain had stopped, but there was mud.

His fear came up, terror came up. The tiger was trying to get at him and he thought, it's going to eat me, and he realized, if it's going to eat me, it's going to eat medo I want to die terrified or do I want to die at peace with that? And as he relaxed and realized the worst it could do was eat him, the fear left. He saw it was just him eating himself. And when fear left, he stopped smelling like prey, and the tiger left.

I think that's what we encounter.

So Aaron says (I am paraphrasing him now) you can't really define fear. It is the state of contraction and separation. Contraction and separation are its expressions just as non-contraction and knowing of unity is the expression of non-fear. Then the organism tightens up into fear as a defensive process. He's saying if you are looking at a microorganism under a microscope and you bring a tiny pinpoint up to it, it will contract. It moves into its experience of separateness. But survival does not depend upon that reaction. This is conditioned into us, and what we're all learning is to observe that impulse to contract and know, we don't have to separate.

That doesn't mean we don't move to skillfully take care of ourselves. So we ring the bell when we're walking in the woods where there's a grizzly. We put on netting when we're beekeeping. But we don't put on netting because we're afraid of the bees, he's saying, we put on netting because it's a kindness to us and the bees not to let them sting us. He says, in his experience tending bees, if he was protected, there was no fear, and then he moved in a much more gentle and skillful way because he knew he wouldn't be stung, so he didn't alarm the bees. But when he was not protected, he might move in a more abrupt way that alarmed the bees, just creating tension for all of them.

Fear creates tension. We can't really say what fear is, only what it does, how it expresses. It expresses as contraction, it creates tension, it creates separation. And, he's saying, when there's fear, we can always ask, right here in this moment where is love?

He says he would like to take a few minutes to talk about a question that came in by email that he feels is appropriate here.

(Aaron returns to Barbara's body)

Aaron: The question I was asked is, in that final lifetime of which Barbara told a bit of the story, and many of you have heard the longer version of the story, after that enlightenment experience, did fear stop completely? Did I ever feel fear again?

There I was lying on my belly in the mud in the woods, terrified of the tiger, and suddenly realizing the tiger was just an expression of me. And if it eats me, it's just me eating myself. And yes, I like this life, I'm even attached a bit to this life. But it's okay.

There was a profound letting go. There was a profound sense of peace. And then, much later, monks walking along the trail found me pinned there and they were able to lift the thorny branches up from me, helped me wash off the bloody scratches. And I walked with them. I was given something to eat. At that point, realized I no longer had to do the seeking that I had been doing for almost 10 years. I was free.

I don't want to go into the whole story here, but, an incident 10 years earlier had shown me how attached I was to my own preferences and in that attachment, how I had caused harm to loved ones. So I had realized that I really could not continue as the meditation master, that I needed to go off and understand this and release it. And I had spent many years in that process.

I realized that I was now free. Freedom at that point did not mean that there was no more negative emotion, only that there were not stories about the negative emotion. If a breeze blows on you, the body will feel cold, is that correct? If you move close to the fire, the body will feel heat. Certain conditions are present that bring up those physical sensations.

So I was not yet an arahat, there was not complete release. Certain conditions were still present in me so that in certain situations, for example, say, a man beating a dog, anger might come up, just for a moment, and the immediate noting, "Here is anger. Right here with anger, there should be compassion. Can I open to that compassion and then act in whatever way is appropriate to stop the man from beating his dog?" That doesn't mean to hit him, just to step in between and ask, "How can I help? Why are you beating this beast?"

As I practiced in this way for more years, truly present with the arising of any kind of negative thought or fear, contraction, almost immediately with it and able to see any impulse energy that led into a story about it, stopping, knowing it, "my highest intention is liberation," and not to keep producing this habit energystop, find love, find compassionby the end of the lifetime, it had ceased. By the end of the lifetime, negative thought had ceased to arise. But it did take another 10 years after the enlightenment experience.

And it was a profound enlightenment experience. Had I died then immediately following that experience, I would not have needed karmically to come back into incarnation, I could have done my work on the next plane. But because I had 10 more years of life, I was able to fully release it, so that I then did not need to move into 4th or 5th density but, as I transitioned from the lifetime, was a fully 6th density being. No more negative thought arising.

So this is how it works. You just keep practicing. You get better and better at it; you are wherever you are. If you're still acting out your negative impulses, be aware you're acting them out and ask, "Is this what I want to do?" As you cease to act them out so strongly, you're changing the karma. You're creating the increasing possibility of not acting them out. It's really no different than learning any skill.

Watch a toddler taking his first steps, he's wobbly, he grabs at everything. Now, you get up and you walk across the room and you don't think about it. Some of you may have even learned how to balance on a tightrope. If you practice, you'll learn to walk the tightrope. If you simply walk on the ground, you won't learn the balance of the tightrope. If it's useful to learn the balance of the tightrope, learn it. This being a metaphor, of course-I'm not going to be stringing ropes across the room for the next class!

Q: You might!

Aaron: No, you would bring up too much fear! Although I have often dreamed of taking a retreat to one of those high ropes courses, where people are wearing proper safety harnesses and can practice mindfully walking across the high ropes, and such.

Q: Barbara would be willing to do that.

Aaron: As long as she has a harness on. We don't want to lose this body! We have not finished our work.

So it's past 9…My blessings and love to each of you. Please reflect on what I asked just before the group left. What happens when you invite the "other" into the circle, whether the other was a hornet or an angry person or a honking driver. What happens when you invite them inunity, one. Just watch it. Good night.

Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Brodsky