May 20, 2009 Wednesday Evening with Aaron

Aaron: My blessings and love to you. I am Aaron.  I'm happy to meet those who are new here tonight and happy to see old friends.

Barbara and I are beginning a 2 year program in August. While the participation will be quite limited because of the space and time we have available, I'm hoping that many people will be able to participate from a distance, not with direct contact from us but by reading transcripts and class assignments, and doing the practice in your own home.

This program is the outflow of many years of Barbara and my work together. It seems to me to be a culmination of everything we've taught in these 20 years. So I want to share a bit about it with you tonight.

You know you're at Deep Spring Meditation Center for Spiritual Inquiry. We teach meditation, in fact, specifically vipassana meditation. And we have these evenings and other occasions for what we might call spiritual inquiry. The original plan for this 2 year session was to bring these together. People say, “Why isn't meditation enough?” In one way, yes, it's enough. Vipassana practice offers a viable path to freedom.

If you were headed over wilderness territory, a rugged path, and you had the opportunity to develop some skill at cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and some skill at canoeing to help you get across rivers, certainly you could just forge ahead on the path and force your way through deep snow. But yes, if you had the ability to ski it would be easier to glide on top of the snow and not sink in. If you knew how to paddle a kayak, that would be easier than trying to pick your way across the stream, fording waist-deep water. So the basic path is a viable path but it's always helpful to have extra skills that help to support the path. And this is why we bring in these “spiritual inquiry” areas.

What is vipassana? In the Pali language in which these teachings were first expressed, passana means “seeing”,  and vipassana means deeper, clearer seeing. In vipassana meditation we watch body and mind objects arise and pass away. As we watch we discern and understand that everything will arise when the conditions are present and cease when the conditions cease. There is no “self” in it, just the arising and passing away of conditions.

Sometimes there's a sound. (bell) “Hearing, hearing, hearing.” It may be a pleasant sound or (knocking) an unpleasant sound.

When it's a pleasant sound, there's a certain emotion, an openness, that accompanies hearing. (bell) Pleasant, pleasant. When it's an unpleasant sound, I don't know how unpleasant this is (knocking, slower to faster), it starts to get irritating. Can you start to feel the tension that comes up? Sometimes the object is pleasant, sometimes it's unpleasant, sometimes it's neutral.

When objects are pleasant, grasping can come. When objects are unpleasant, aversion can come. When there is grasping or aversion, those become a new object. What is the direct experience of grasping with no stories to accompany it? What is the direct experience of aversion?

Things happen in your lives that are beyond your control. Sometimes they're pleasant and you want more of them. Sometimes they're unpleasant and you desperately want to be rid of that experience, want it to be otherwise.  When there's strong grasping and aversion that is not recognized simply as another mind state, you create a solid self around that experience, “Me, I want this, I need this, I must have it,” “Me, I don't want that, I must overcome it, I must get rid of it.” Then you suffer.

When I first came to Barbara, into her conscious experience, she was suffering. She had lost her hearing, gone from a fully hearing person with normal balance to a totally profoundly deaf person with no balance. She was angry. She was frightened. She was looking for a way out. She felt, “If only I could hear again I'd be fine, but the doctors say I will never hear again.” What is the solution?

When she prayed for help, she opened her energy field enough to be able to hear me. I had always been with her; I've been her guide for her whole life, but she had not been able to hear me before. Now she could hear me and I was able to help her look at the experience of deafness and see that to be deaf is just to be deaf. Sometimes it is unpleasant, and actually sometimes it is pleasant, when there are loud, raucous noises. It's pleasant not to have to hear them.

So she gained the ability to differentiate between the direct physical body experience, not hearing, no ear making contact with a sound, no hearing consciousness, the expectation, “There should be hearing,” and the grieving, “I need to hear,” the grasping, and to see that not hearing was just not hearing, and the craving itself was the source of the suffering.

A few months into our work together she received a flyer for a workshop to which I recommended she go, a workshop given in North Carolina by a man whose books some of you may have read, Stephen Levine. She wrote to Stephen before the workshop and said, “I am deaf; I am not coming to hear your workshop but to not hear it.” And Stephen understood exactly what she meant. He said, “Come and sit in the front row and watch and not hear, and practice being present with not hearing.”

The first day so much grasping came up, even though she had read many of his books and he had told her in a letter before the workshop, this was in the days before email, but he had told her in a letter what meditations and instructions he would give. She knew what he was talking about. But so much craving came up, “I'm missing something, I'm missing something. It might be just what I need finally to feel better.” As she was able to simply be there with this experience of craving, of wanting, a space opened up. A kindness to herself, recognizing the pain of that wanting and able to just sit and watch, to feel the energy of that room, to enjoy that energy. Craving just as craving, not hearing just as not hearing.

The miracle after 3 days of that workshop was not that she could hear but that there was nobody suffering anymore, there was just Barbara sitting there deaf, watching the proceedings, feeling very open, with no fear, no grasping.

I offer this as an example. Each of you in your lives have areas of suffering, places of great craving, places of strong aversion. When we speak of freedom in these teachings, what we mean quite literally is not freedom from the experience of grasping or aversion but freedom from getting caught up from being a self that has to have what it seeks, has to push away what it doesn't want. So there's more spaciousness. There's the realization, if the conditions are present for something to arise, it will arise. When the conditions cease, what has arisen will cease.

Certain atmospheric conditions come, and clouds, and it's going to rain. The rain is not coming to hurt you and your plans for your picnic; the rain is simply the result of atmospheric conditions. You don't take it personally. If it doesn't rain, your gardens will not grow. If it rains too much and there's no sun, your gardens will not grow. If it rains you don't take it personally, you simply note that certain atmospheric conditions are present. You may notice disappointment if your picnic is cancelled but that is also just an object arisen from conditions, inner atmosphere.

You begin to understand when suffering arises and when there is pure presence, able to be present with the object and free of suffering. When there is no grasping or aversion, no taking the arising and passing objects personally, in other wards, as I phrase it, no “self-story,” there is no suffering. There is peacefulness and ease. When grasping or aversion arise, they are known as just another conditioned object and met with kindness to the human that is thusly conditioned. In this way, you nurture loving-kindness and choose not to get caught up in negative thoughts.  

These states of lovingkindness, openheartedness, presence, compassion, these are all seeds within you. By fostering the ability to be present with things as they are, and nurturing your innate goodness, recognizing and nurturing it, you invite the seeds of these loving expressions to grow. And yes, there are seeds of anger, seeds of greed, seeds of impatience, seeds of judgment. You watch to learn what limits the growth of the painful seeds.

You're not trying to fix yourselves. You're simply aware, “If anger arises and I act it out, I'm going to cause pain to myself and others. I will experience the results of that anger directly. If I speak cruelly to another person, it not only hurts them but it will hurt me and others. Therefore I will refrain from speaking those words of anger.” But you don't have to do that by saying, “No. No anger permitted.”

Instead you note, “Here is anger. Here is deafness. Here is sadness. Here is fear.” You note what has arisen and hold spaciousness around it. Whatever has the nature to arise has the nature to cease. When anger dissolves, what's left?

Q: Space.

Q: Peace.

Aaron: Yes, peace, space. There is one more. When anger dissolves, what else is there? (Q: Kindness.) Kindness is the one I'm after. You are innately kind. You may disagree with me. You may want to say, “No, Aaron, you've got me wrong, I'm just an angry person.” But I know better. You are innately goodhearted, kind, loving people, and there is anger. You are innately courageous and there is fear. You are innately filled with equanimity and there is grasping. When you watch these challenging mind  states, you find that eventually they dissolve and you start to touch in on your deeper truth.

This is the fruit of vipassana practice. We watch it through watching arising mind states and emotions, watching body sensations. It's a beautiful practice. This is the practice through which I gained liberation from this cycle of birth and death over 500 years ago in Thailand.

I am not a Thai Buddhist teacher; in fact I am not even a Buddhist teacher. But the practice itself is a clear and beautiful practice and a direct path to liberation.

So then, the next step, why teach anything else?

We come back to the supports, learning how to use your cross-country skis, learning how to strap these wings on and fly. You are here in human bodies that sometimes are very painful, with human emotions that sometimes are very painful, with a lot of fear, a lot of confusion. You need as much help as you can get to connect to the deeper truth. Yes, it will come through the vipassana practice but there are also many supports that are available so we teach the supports.

Here at Deep Spring we have merged those supports with the ongoing vipassana instruction, and I see a great use to doing that. So as I conceived of this 2 year program, I felt that one piece of it would be the deepening of vipassana practice and one piece of it would be the deepening of the supports.

We do practices that support the move into what we would call non-ordinary consciousness. You understand everyday consciousness, the consciousness in which you live your lives. In meditation you are often still in ordinary consciousness, the mind noting the in-breath and the out-breath, the itch, the arising thought. There's presence, but it's ordinary consciousness. It's very helpful to directly experience the presence of this non-ordinary consciousness right there with ordinary consciousness. It's not something far away; it's not something special.

We talk about resting in Awareness through dzogchen meditation. Some of you have practiced that with me and Barbara at retreats. It's another area we will work with in this 2 year program, resting in awareness. Resting in Awareness is a way of resting in a different level of consciousness.

The Tibetans use labels that I think are helpful just because they bring out the fact that there are these 2 areas of mind. Sem is the everyday mind, a Tibetan language word, and rigpa is the pure awareness mind. They are not at opposite ends of a spectrum but more vertical. The experience is like that of a lake that's covered with ripples. You can't see the bottom; you know the bottom is there but you can't see it because the lake is covered with ripples and the water is stirred with the sediment.

As the ripples quiet, and suddenly you can see through. The sediment settles, the ripples settle, and suddenly you can see through. The bottom has always been there but you couldn't tell that it was there, you had to take it on faith. Now you have a direct experience of the bottom. When the ripples come again you know what the bottom is like, whether it's mossy or covered with twigs or pebbles; you know it's there.

Imagine if you were not able to swim, you would be afraid to take a step if you did not feel assurance that the bottom was there. What if there is a sudden drop off? But when the water clears and you see the bottom, you feel assured, able to trust and walk, even if ripples come again. You no longer take the presence of the bottom on blind faith. You have seen it for yourself.

In the same way, everyday mind is where you spend most of your time, but as those of you who have worked with pure awareness practice have learned, there's just the subtlest shift and suddenly something opens. Resting in awareness. You step outside the perspective of the everyday self and start to live from a deeper place.

So we find this to be a wonderful support because in vipassana practice you can become very caught up in the arisings of mind and body and get onto a track where you are trying to fix things and control things, all of which is coming from the personal self, the ego, rather than resting in the spirit that you are, the divine, radiant spirit.

When you rest in that spirit, you're unafraid, you're open. Judgment dissolves. Negative emotions dissolve. And then you come back to the personal self and the old stories come back. “But he betrayed me!”, “But she shouldn't have done that!” “She doesn't love me.” Etc., etc. These are just the personal ego's stories.

So we're talking about a shift in self-identification from the small self to the deeper self. If you have no experience of that deeper self, you can only follow me conceptually. I can promise you that it's there but you're right not to believe me. You have to find it to taste it for yourself.

And yet so many spiritual paths speak about this deeper self. You start to get some sense, “Maybe this Awareness is real. They're all talking about it; Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, native cultures, they're all talking about it. Maybe it's real. Maybe I could just look to see what this experience is that they're talking about.” Not to take it on faith but to do the practices that will help to experience it for oneself.

So we do pure awareness practice. In the 2-year program we will do shamanic journeying as a path to deeper recognition of Awareness.  Such journeying has other uses too. We connect with our guides and our power animals. They help you to have a sense of your own strength and power. As a young child Barbara met a power animal that has been with her consistently through her lifetime. She used to go to a small island in a pond near her home and meditate. She didn't call it meditation, she didn't know what meditation was, she just sat there and, eyes open, watched the pond and the reflection of light on the water, watched the trees blowing, rested in awareness. In that way she opened into a non-ordinary consciousness. Many of you probably did something similar, just lying on a hillside watching clouds float pat, not spaced out or sleepy but fully present and awake,

At a time when she was feeling fearful and stressed, within that non-ordinary consciousness came a beautiful, glowing, silver animal. It began to speak to her, not in words like I'm speaking to you, but to speak to her heart. At some level she felt herself merge with this creature. She felt that its strength and her strength were one, that she was no longer a vulnerable little girl. She was still a little girl but she was also this strong and beautiful creature. Through this creature she began to understand her own radiance because she could see the radiance of this animal, she could feel the love of this animal.

So it became, I would say her first guide. Of course I was there with her but she could not hear me, but because she loved animals she was able to connect with this animal. And through this animal she found that within herself that she had disowned from herself, knowing her fuller richness and power. She saw that this animal, powerful though he was, did not misuse his power, and she began to understand she could own her own power and not misuse it. This is one way that getting to know your power animals can help you.

Shamanic journeying is a spiritual path through cultures all over the world. So we have to at least assume that there's something to it. Sometimes it's done with hallucinatory drugs but more often it's done simply with chanting, with drumming, inviting people to enter this non-ordinary consciousness. Some cultures call it dreamtime. People have different names for it.

I spent a number of earlier lifetimes in what you would consider the Aboriginal people of Australia. You look at such people now and think of them as primitive but these people had healing skills beyond your wildest expectations. If we were traveling and somebody fell and broke his leg, the whole group that was traveling would gather around that person. If the leg was askew, yes, we'd need to physically pull it into place. Then everyone would sing to it. The whole group would sing in harmony for half an hour, an hour, seldom more than two hours.

In that period of time, holding the image of the perfect leg that was right there with the broken leg, no denial of the broken leg--we didn't say to the person, “Ah, it's not really broken—get up and walk,” on one level it's broken and on another level it's not broken. On one level nothing needs to be healed, on another level, it needs to be healed. So we sang to it. The harmonics literally invited the growth of the bone and reconnection of the bone. If necessary, that person could get up and walk in an hour or two. More often we would stay overnight, let the person rest where possible. But by the next day, certainly they could run on it.

I use your word shaman, although that might not be what this person would be called in that culture--when people needed food or water, they might come to this spiritual leader, who knew how to tune into the elements everywhere. They could be out on a desert, parched, with a long day's walk ahead of them and he would say, “Yes, we can find water.” It wasn't because he had been led to a water hole before and could remember where it was; rather it was because he was attuned to all of the elements. He became part of the elements in the same way that Barbara merged with her power animal. He understood exactly where the water was. Or if the people needed to hunt, he knew where the animals were. In foreign territory where he had not traveled before, he could envision the lay of the land and could tell people where the animals were. The life of the tribe depended on his ability. He was tuned in, in that way.

All of you have the capacity to learn at least some of this, to find yourselves connected, deeply connected, to the earth and the earth spirits, to all of the elements. I hope that those of you who are reading this transcript and are interested will read a bit about shamanic journeying. Try some of the practice on your own with tapes or join a one-day workshop on it. I'm sure that they're available locally. (Locally being wherever the reader lives, in whatever part of the world.)

At a recent retreat we sat people by the ocean where the waves were coming in, sometimes just washing over the feet, sometimes coming up to their waist, washing out again. We asked people just to sit, eyes open, feeling the water elements certainly, but the sand also contains water. The water element is right there with the sand. The moist air and breeze contain water. Feel the fire in the hot sun, but also observe how the breeze contains fire, the heat of the sun blowing the breeze. The sand contains fire as it radiates the sun's warmth. The elements are not separate. The element you might call ether, energy, it's all there together. You feel those elements in the external world and you feel them within the self. You experience them deeply within the self and how you are not separate from anything.

One of the areas of struggle for people in the vipassana practice is that phase of practice where the body starts to dissolve, the ego starts to dissolve, and fear comes up. “Will I annihilate myself?” If you think you are only this small self then yes, you might annihilate the self. But when you know that you're connected to everything, how could you annihilate yourself? You are literally these elements. You are interconnected with everything.

We think of the tree that falls in a storm in a forest. Some of the seeds that were on its branches fall to the ground. As the years go by the tree rots and decays and becomes rich ground that feeds these seeds. New trees grow. Are they the same tree or a different tree? The seed came from the parent tree. We would say it looks like different tree, and yet there's nothing there that's not part of the parent tree.

In the same way, you cannot annihilate yourself. So doing practices like this help you to learn that and to trust your unlimitedness, and not to be so afraid as you come back into the vipassana practice and work with the emptiness of the personal self.

There are other practices that take us to non-ordinary mind such as breathwork, which we also will do in one of the intensives. Breathing (breathes faster), a deep, slightly faster breathing, it shifts the consciousness. It takes you out of the small self. Again, millions of people have experienced this; they can't all be imagining it. Some people will try one or another of these practices and this one won't work for them, that one will. This is why there are different paths. You each have different karma, different tendencies, and different kinds of practice will work for one or for another.

Dream practice, lucid dreaming and working within the dream, that's another way of accessing non-ordinary consciousness. We work with the body energy, with the chakras, the whole energy system of the body. You have 12 organ meridians in the body and 7 basic chakras: base, spleen, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. The energy flows through when they're all spinning and open.

On the back,... K would you come and sit here for a moment (pointing it out on K's back)...we have the crown chakra. We have the half chakra right here. Third eye chakra and there's a back half chakra here. Throat, this is the half chakra between the throat and the third eye, throat. Heart, there's a back chakra here between the throat and the heart. Solar plexus, there's a back chakra. Spleen, and there's a back chakra. Base, and there's a back chakra. And then at the base of the spine there's another. The half chakras. Thank you, K.

We learn to understand this energy system that flows through the body and maintains the body. One use of this of course is simply to maintain health and vitality, but another important aspect of it is that each chakra is governs certain mental and emotional areas. For example, the base chakra is related to survival. If there's not a lot of energy in the base chakra, there's little survival force.

The spleen chakra is related to personal relationship. The solar plexus more to societal relationship. So one chakra relates to personal relationships with groups, one more to other people. The heart chakra is related to the capacity to love. The throat, the capacity to speak one's truth. The third eye, the ability to see deeply into things beyond the physical senses, a deeper inner seeing. The crown chakra relates to your connection with all that is. I will ask Barbara to paste here a chart I dictated many years ago.

Base:  (at base of spine)  Red. Personal survival; fear; taking care of the self; sexuality

spleen:  (near navel)  Orange. Sexuality/creativity/ personal relationships. Personal emotions, sorrow, weakness.  Reaching out to others. Energy and relationship. Embracing life.

solar plexus:  (just below rib cage)  Yellow.  Societal relationships. Power issues (also base) . Anger/ fear/tension. Discipline/ commitment/will.

Heart: Green. Transpersonal love. Ego no longer center. How best to serve. Compassion; openheartedness; love; happiness.

Throat:  blue. Communication (communication with others, with higher self, with God.)  Revelation of spirit.

Third Eye:  (forehead, between brows)   Indigo. Unity with spirit. Pure light. Deep insight.

Crown:  (top of head)  Violet. Pure being, empty of self.

When one chakra is closed, for example, when the throat chakra is not spinning, we find people who find it very difficult to speak their truth, who close up, who feel shame, who feel doubt about whether their truth is appropriate or valid. People who cannot speak for themselves cannot speak in support of others, closing the throat chakra.

When the heart chakra is closed, the lower power chakras and the upper spirit chakras are not connected. People tend to be more out of their bodies into the higher chakras or stuck in the lower chakras, and they lose the connection. You are human and you are angels. I call you “angels in earthsuits.” The earthsuit is the lower chakras. The angel is up here. The heart connects it.

By skillful work with the chakras, ...and here of course I'm only capsulizing, not giving you any deep sense of what the work is, but I hope the transcripts will be available as we do these workshops and those who wish to read along and practice with some of what we've taught at some of the workshops will be able to do so... With skillful work, when the chakras are open, you experience the groundedness of the human and your head is in the heavens connecting with all that is, and there's no disparity between the two. You know yourself to be a human, physical, mental, emotional being, and a divine spirit, and you have no problem with being both simultaneously.

So we work with the chakras for many reasons. Ordinarily in our meditation practice we don't talk about the chakras. We're going to be going over some uneven country, demonstrating how you use snowshoes or skis. It will help you stay up on top of the snow and not sink down 3 feet. It will make it easier.

There's a beautiful teaching from the Buddha. Somebody asked him, “Do you teach us everything you know?” He was in a forest at the time and he picked up a handful of leaves. He held them up. He said, “This is what I teach, just this handful of leaves.” And he pointed to the forest around him, “This is what I know, but this handful of leaves, this is all you need for liberation.”

Yes, it's true, you have the ability to plod through 3-foot-deep drifts. You don't have to learn how to ski. You don't have to learn how to connect with your guides, your power animals, to learn about energy, and so forth, but these skills are helpful. It's okay to learn about them.

Some people ask me, am I not being untrue to the Buddha's path if I learn these things because he's said this handful was all I needed. Well, first of all, he was teaching 2500 years ago and you're in a new place in your world right now. You have matured, those of you who were here 2500 years ago. Your handful of leaves has expanded a bit. You're ready to handle more leaves.

I do not in any way want to refute this teaching of the Buddha. Please consider though, that the immature person can misuse certain power and skills. In other words, the person who has fully opened their chakras, opened their third eye, has deep ability to see, and is still very invested in the ego and personal desires can misuse this open energy. They can misuse their guides or invite in negatively polarized guides that support their own personal power and gain. So it's dangerous to teach these things to somebody who is not deeply committed to the good of all beings and to non-harm. You don't teach a three year old child to light a match.

But now, 2500 years later, those who come to this kind of spiritual teaching, you are committed to non-harm. You are committed to the highest good of all. Yes, there's still selfishness and ego that says, “Will I be safe?” And that's okay. But there's a deep intention to non-harm.

Our world today is undergoing rapid transition, especially a transition into a higher consciousness. You have been what I call third density earth. In describing these densities, the first density is lowest vibration—mineral, gas. The second density is a little bit higher vibration, simple plants, simple animals. Third density is human and some of the more evolved animals like your pets. Some of them are third density.

You're moving into 4th density. Now, I don't want to push what some people call New Age mumbo-jumbo on you. All I can give you is what I see happening in the world. You're evolving into higher consciousness. You have been moving from the magical consciousness of the young child and through the rational consciousness and into non-dual consciousness. You are beginning to learn your interconnection with everything.

The world is forcing this upon you. What happens in one country is felt directly in another country, there is no longer an other side of the world. Everything inter-is. If one country pollutes, others experience it. If one country experiments with nuclear energy, others experience the radiation. The holes in your ozone layer are worldwide. Acid rain is a worldwide concern. The Earth itself is pushing you into the experience of non-duality and the ability to live that non-duality.

There's a lot of talk about this transition. People ask me questions about what's going to happen in 2012. Nothing special, it's just another year. But it marks an important part of the transition: the earth is moving through this shift of consciousness.

So those of you who are deeply concerned about where the world is going and how you can help, will want to do all these different kinds of work on the self; to ground yourself more deeply in your innate lovingkindness, in your innate radiance and goodness; to release self-identification with your negativity; to commit yourself more deeply to live with love, with compassion, and wisdom; to support those in the world; and to find all the sources of help that are available to help you to do that. The more support, the better.

Some of you will find yourselves as leaders in this new world, 5, 10, 20 years hence. We look back at beings like Gandhi. Certainly there was nonviolence before Gandhi. I think here of Thoreau's writings, for example. Thoreau's writings were well-read and honored, but they didn't inspire people. Gandhi lived it, he walked his talk, as you put it. He was not afraid to die for what he knew to be true. So he was willing to go on a hunger strike, for example. He would not kill another but he would risk himself. He understood the power of the soul, satyagraha, soul force.

Now you live in a different world where this is familiar material to you. What are you all going to do in this next 10 years that's going to be familiar guidance material for those who come in 30 years? What are they going to look back on as you look back on Gandhi? How are you going to learn to live your unlimitedness, your power, your love, and not be afraid of these but truly bring them forth in the world?

This is the challenge. When enough of you are ready to do it you will have a world of peace in which beings are not struggling to survive, in which beings are not starving, not dying from illnesses that could be cured if money could go into research for them. Not caught in limitations.

Your medicine right now is primitive. So many things you do not understand. There is unfortunately a power struggle over who directs medicine and medical research so that much of what could be helpful to many beings is pushed aside because certain people feel they know better.

As you expand yourselves to see the divine in each person, you begin to trust other people's vision and open your hearts to that vision. Barbara has gone to Brazil each year for the past 6 years to the center run by John of God. I am so deeply heartened by the physicians who come there who watch some of this medical work and say, “But that's impossible, and yet he's doing it.” And then they conclude, “If he's doing it, it's not impossible; it's only my belief in limitation that makes it impossible.” They return to the U.S. and other more cosmopolitan and “medically advanced” technologies, ready to question the limitations and the limiting beliefs. It's very powerful.

Each of you will find your own path to bringing the power of the soul into your daily life in ways that it can positively impact the world. That is your work. It's impossible to reduce this program  to a one hour presentation. A large part of the program will simply be meditation practice. Looking at the character traits. Looking at anger and lovingkindness, at stinginess and generosity, and so forth. And understanding what gives rise to generosity, what gives rise to kindness, what blocks it.

So my intention is that this work be put on the web in as full a way as is possible so that as many of you as possible who wish to follow along will do so, and I hope you'll find it very supporting to your own spiritual paths.

There is one more area to which I would speak. Some people ask me why we practice. Why not just rest in Awareness, since the noting of vipassana can enhance the illusion of a self. Why not just rest in emptiness? Fine, if you are there, stably there, able to never fixate on objects that arise, never to experience any contracting emotions. I personally do not know a single human who has arrived at that level of pure being, pure presence. For the rest of you, you practice.  This is not a denial of the perfection of your true nature but a reminder that that nature still needs to be revealed. There is a beautiful stanza in the Tibetan teaching song, “Flight of the Garuda,” that reads:

Just as the nature of the sky transcends the limits of color and shape

And is never stained by storm or light clouds,

The nature of mind also transcends the limits of color and shape

And is never veiled by the heavy or light phenomena of virtue and evil deeds.

But, the text goes on to say:

Butter is made of the essence of milk,

But if the milk isn't churned, the butter won't form.

Sentient beings are made of the essence of perfection

But if they don't practice, they won't be enlightened.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you. I'm going to pause here, let you stretch for a few minutes, and then let you ask whatever questions you have. I'm going to stay in the body.


Aaron: I would welcome your questions. They may be personal or universal. They may pertain to what I have just spoken about or about anything.

Q: What are your feelings about the yogic traditions? In practicing yoga?

Aaron: My feelings about any tradition are not centered in the tradition itself but in the purest aspects of that tradition. Every spiritual tradition has great strengths and great power and can lead you along on the path to liberation, be a good support. And every spiritual practice has places where you can get stuck.

For example, one can practice yoga with a sense of pride, being somebody who's going to master these poses; for example, using a force of willpower, separating oneself from the flow of energy. This is not true practice and yet it tries to imitate practice. One can do this with vipassana practice. One can do this with just about anything.

In its essence, the yoga tradition is very beautiful. It's a very powerful incorporation of mind, body, and energy, and has the ability to transcend any schism between mind, body, and energy.

Q: Is there a book that she's using for the class?

Aaron: I'm writing it now. It will be available.

Q: When?

Aaron: It will be more a class book, not a formally bound book, but just with a spiral binding. Going through the steps of the class, so I'm in the process of writing it.

Q: Can we get it?

Aaron: That will depend on the Deep Spring Board and whether they decide to print it or whether they make just enough copies for the class, but it certainly will be available online for people to download if they wish.

Q: It seems like I have guardian angels.

Aaron: Everybody has guardian angels—guides, guardian angels, we can use the terms synonymously. Everybody has these. It's very helpful when you open to them. ... I'm very glad you're connecting with them. Remember that they cannot speak through closed doors. They are there; it's up to you to open the door. You open the door through your intention, your loving heart, your humility that's willing to ask for help rather than believing you know it all. Through releasing whatever degree of doubt and skepticism there may be at least into a “don't know” attitude that's willing to consider the possibility that there are such beings.

When the cup is full you cannot pour anything more into it. You have to empty the cup in order for material to be poured in. Each of you look to make sure your cups are at least no more than half full so that there's room for your guides, your guardian angels, however you wish to name them, to pour some love and wisdom into those cups.

Q: What is the relationship of ley lines and the grid that surrounds Earth?

Aaron: There are two uses of the term, “grid.” One uses it as almost synonymous with “ley lines.” That is not the meaning I ascribe to the term. I speak of an energetic grid beyond the earth. The grid of course came first and the energy expressed itself as the ley lines on the earth, so the ley lines are the earth plane expression of that outer grid.

Q: What will be the effect of 4th density on the ley lines?

Aaron: They will become more apparent to people. Hopefully you will move quickly through any ego phase that wants to claim ownership to special sacred energy sites and understand that these are universal and must be shared, and that they will be respected as sacred and open to all.

Q: What would be their purpose?

Aaron: No different than it is now. They are place where one can more easily transcend the sense of separation and reconnect into All That Is. One does not need to go to those sites to do that, but when you're there it's helpful. You have been to the Casa (John of God's center in Brazil). You've felt how deep the energy was there and how easy it was to feel that All That Is. It's harder in downtown Manhattan.

So my hope will be that as people grow to understand the use of these ley lines and the sacred sites, the power spots, let's call them, that lay along these ley lines, places where the ley lines interconnect and where they are deeply grounded into the earth energy, that these will be respected as universal sacred sites where every traveler is welcome regardless of their spiritual path.

We find this in some places like Mt. Shasta, for example, or Sedona. These are two places known in your country where ley lines go through and where there's a strong spiritual energy, and where there is a willingness to greet fellow travelers of any tradition and welcome them. But I hope there will eventually be temples of some sort run by a brother/sisterhood of individuals with different paths who open the doors to people who simply want to come in and pray and connect, for some kind of spiritual retreat. That would be my hope.

Q: Thank you.

Aaron: You're welcome.

Q: You mentioned that the grid was there first. How does continental drift or polar shift affect the grid? Will it still stay there and everything else (move) around it?

Aaron: It does not affect the grid. The grid holds the ley lines in place regardless of continental drift. It's not ‘this' grid line over ‘that' ley line. Rather, the grid lines are like a magnetic energy that spreads out, and what's below can move back and forth a bit. The energy comes this way or this way or this way (using hands); it stays centered on it. There is almost a connecting link so it swings together. The connection remains.

This is why even though it is no longer visible, Atlantis is still powerful. Underwater but still powerful.

Q: Is that true for Lemuria energy as well?

Aaron: Yes, yes.

Q: Where is Atlantis? (laughter)

Aaron: You'll be able to find it eventually. When you are ready, you will find it.

Q: I have a personal question. I had an emotional experience on Monday, very emotional. I went to my old house in Ann Arbor that I moved from 13 years ago. In the back yard as well as walking around the house, I felt this tremendous surge of energy everyplace I went. Then I left, crying, and went to a friend's house to talk, and felt that I had had this tremendous healing and release experience.

Aaron: Yes... In shamanic terms we'd call this soul retrieval. Literally portions of the soul were left behind due to pain and trauma at the time you were living there. Parts of yourself that splintered off, to which you energetically connected in order to bring yourself back to a new realization of your wholeness. You were not ready to do it at the time you left; you could not take those fragments of yourself when you left.

Now, if you had not been able to go back, if you lived half-way across the world, you still could have retrieved those fragments of the self through shamanic journeying. This is the power of shamanic journeying. Perhaps on your own, perhaps with the aid of someone who is an experienced guide. But in this way, because you were able to go back to the house, and because of the intention and your readiness, you were able to bring forth this healing yourself.

Q: Thank you.

Aaron: You're welcome. May we hear from some who have not had a chance to speak?

Q: I take it from the previous discussion, it was about Lemuria and Atlantis... were there grid lines in Atlantis?

Aaron: Grid lines are more on the astral plane and beyond the earth plane. They're something that are held in place by strong entities including those who founded the earth. I think you've heard me speak of earth history and the guardian angels that founded the earth originally. Those that you think of as the archangels—Ariel, Michael, Gabriel, Rafael, and the one you think of as the “fallen angel.” These beings are the ones that established these grid lines. It's as if strong beings connected their arms and sent energy around to place a force field around the earth.

Then as earth became a more solid substance and life began to form on the earth, the ley lines of the earth -- I don't want to call them shadow of the grid lines because shadow is too ephemeral -- became heavier vibration expressions of the grid lines. They are of a high vibration but they are still expressions of the grid lines brought down to the etheric level, to the earth plane.

Think about it in terms of your dear wife's painting. If she went to a museum and found a beautiful Van Gogh painting of sunflowers and began to copy it on her canvas, deeply inspired, filled with energy and light from this original painting, she might create a very real and highly energized replica, and yet it's still not the original sunflowers, it's an expression of the sunflowers. Grid lines and ley lines. Okay?

Q: If the earth's magnetic field is weakening, how does that affect the grid?

Aaron: It will not affect the grid in any way. It would eventually affect the ley lines if it became that weak, but I don't see that happening.

Q: And, the ley lines have a higher vibration?

Aaron: The grid lines have a higher vibration. The grid lines help to support the magnetic field. If the magnetic field shifts, that will invite some shift of the ley lines but they will still be expressions of the grid lines.

In other words, the earth is an intact unit. You have your chakras, personal chakras. There is energy. When you feel the Earth energy coming in through the crown chakra, when you feel the energy of the whole group around you, these energy fields just keep expanding outward and connecting more and more and more. The beings that helped to ground the original energy of the Earth as the potential of a highly positively polarized plane, laid down these grid lines to support their highest expression of positive polarity. The only way that you can truly damage that is if the whole Earth became a deeply negatively polarized planet. There then might come a point where the grid lines were no longer able to be sustained in the same way, as powerful positively polarized energy.

I would like to go on and see if there are other people that have questions. I do understand your question but it's something that would take much more explanation than we have time for here.

Q: I have a question about lucid dreaming. I once had a lucid dream and I felt that I traveled someplace else and could see what was happening there. Is lucid dreaming a special kind of consciousness?

Aaron: Yes, but let us differentiate here between astral travel and lucid dreaming. When you astral travel in your dreams, those dreams sometimes are lucid and sometimes not. You can also astrally travel in the waking state. You're in meditation in an altered state of consciousness. To astrally travel you literally leave the physical body, move into the astral plane, and travel there. Some people develop the ability to direct astral travel precisely, really to go wherever they want to go.

Astral projection is a skill that can be learned. Most of you, when you dream, are involved in astral travel in the dream. That is, you leave the physical body, awareness leaves the physical body behind on the bed and travels into another place, another realm of consciousness. When there's lucidity, you are able to direct that astral travel. When there's no lucidity you simply dream.

So you have experience when you are just awakening from the dream of feeling like you're falling. Has anybody experienced that, as sense of falling? This is literally falling back into the body from the astral travel.

Most dreaming involves astral projection. Lucid dreaming is the ability to be aware that you are dreaming when you are dreaming and to direct the dream. It's the place where when the bear is chasing you and you're aware that he's about to catch you and fear has come up, something says, “This is a dream and I don't have to let this happen.” And so you say to the bear, “That's enough. I'm not going to get caught tonight. I don't need that. You go home now.”

This is lucid dreaming. In lucid dreaming, anger might arise, rage at the bear, and the awareness, “This is rage. Instead I can be loving but clear to the bear, ‘You may not harm me, and yet I project love to you.'” This is lucid dreaming.

It can be a very powerful practice because in the dream state when you're aware that you're dreaming, you know that ultimately you're safe and that it's all a matter of the mind, the mind stories, that there is no real bear there and nothing is going to tear you apart. So it's easier to look at your rage and step back from it and offer lovingkindness to the bear. That may be easier than when you're being chased through the forest by a real bear. This benefit then extends to everyday life. When anger arises and the impulse to enact the anger, a deeper wisdom reminds you that the “self” projecting the anger is an illusion. You can step aside from that self and say ‘no' in a compassionate yet firm way. There is no need to get lost in the experience of fear and the small self.

Let us take one or two more questions.

Q: Many years ago I had a near-death experience. Several times since then I've been told to share this with people who are experiencing death. When I do this it appears it makes it worse. I feel like I'm missing something.

Aaron: What do you feel like you're missing?

Q: I feel like I'm doing it wrong.

Aaron: Telling them the story wrong? Can you speak further on it, in what way does it feel wrong?

Q: I think the sharing is to help and it appears that it hurts.

Aaron: Daughter, may I look in the Akashic records—do you know the term Akashic record? This is like a filing cabinet in which I can access all of your present and past life experiences. I will not look there without permission because I would not violate your privacy. But I would like to look both at the near death experience and the retelling of it.


The experience cannot be told. There are only words and they only go so far. I don't think it hurts other people so much as it feels incomplete to people because there is no way you can make it complete.

When inner guidance suggests that it's appropriate to share it, I would share it from as openhearted a place as you can and with no special expectation to fix something for somebody. You are not setting yourself up here as a teacher but simply sharing something that was meaningful to you in the limited way that the human can share it. And trusting that you have planted some seeds that will help the other person when they are ready.

As I look in the Akashic records it does not feel to me like it is the ego that is sharing. You're not looking for praise or to be put on a pedestal, so I would trust that you're sharing from your heart and this is simply the impossibility of sharing the full experience. No words can express that luminosity and love.

Q: I have been looking to connect more with my guides and all the helpers I have. During the break I felt very compelled to speak to you and I was frustrated because I couldn't remember the sign language (smiling) so I wrote a note but I didn't have time to give it to you. So I'll just read it. It says:


I'm sorry I have not practiced my sign language. I'm glad of even a little communication with you and I wish I had more.


Sometimes on my own time I try to speak to you, I'm open to you. Do you speak to me? Or will you?

Aaron: Of course I speak to you. I speak to any of you who ask for me. I am with you. You will not hear me in the way Barbara hears me, to speak me out loud for others, but sometimes I come as part of the love in your heart and sometimes even as a small voice within.

Q: Thank you.

Aaron: You each have your own personal guides and I'm happy to be of service to any of you, to all of you, but I also urge your connection to your own guides.

Q: I am planning to learn the shamanic journeying to do that. I would like to see my guides.

Aaron: There is a specific practice that I teach for people to find their guidance. I don't want to spend time going through the steps in great detail now but I'd be happy to share that with you at a future time. Basically taking a notepad, stating your highest intention and stating a question to which you seek an answer. Aligning yourself with light and then you hold the notepad on your lap with your question written down in pencil. You ask for help and you make the very clear statement that you expect that help to be aligned to your highest values, in love for all beings, for the highest good.

When you feel moved to write, you just begin to write. It may be a few sentences, it may only be 2 or 3 words. It may be several paragraphs. When the flow stops, then stop and read it. You're not thinking of what you write, you're allowing it to pour out. After you've done this for a few times, and have a sense that the thoughts are coming from a being, then ask, “May I have a name for the one who is speaking? Are you one of my guides? How can I reach you again? Do you have a name? ‘Hey, you' doesn't work well. How do I find you?” Gradually you'll start to feel the presence of your guide and trust that presence.

Q: My question has to do with lucid dreaming. When I was a monk, my spiritual advisor, I chose him because he was like John Wayne, very manly. He was very rigid and like John Wayne, very <>. Long after I left the monastery, I had a dream about him. And in that dream I put an axe in his head and felt that I had killed him—really. And for a long time I believed that I had killed someone. Was actually in doubt about whether it was a dream or not. I don't know where to go from here with it, it just struck me...

Aaron: Just in forgiving the self for the feelings of anger, perhaps humiliation, powerlessness, that you felt in his presence, and how much that scared you. Forgiving him, for he was just playing a role to help you see those parts of yourself and heal them. No, you did not kill him. Rather, the dream brought the anger and the fear into a more conscious place. Even the anger at the feeling that who he was, was part of what caused you to leave the monastery. You could not co-exist with him in that way. Feeling powerless. The sense of surrender but in a negative way, not surrendering to love and to connection but to surrendering to the external force and power, and diminishing the self.

So in that way he is now able, as you bring it more into consciousness, to serve as a teacher for you to bring back the integrity of the self, to trust your power and wholeness. So if I were you I would work with forgiveness, for you and for him, and compassion. With forgiveness and compassion for both of you.

It's almost 9:30, let us stop there. Thank you to all of you who have come tonight and shared the evening with us. My blessings and love to each of you. May you be well. May you have peace.

(session ends)