Wednesday Evening with Aaron
September 16, 2009

Keywords: Venture Fourth program, vipassana, densities, vibrational healing, higher guidance, power animals, elementals

Aaron: My blessings and love to all of you. I am Aaron. Those of you who had your eyes open saw the body shaking as I came in. I have very high vibration energy. Barbara as a human has a lower vibration body, so we're putting a high vibration into a lower vibration, shaking the way into it.

Usually I don't plan what I will speak about until the group arrives and I see what will be useful. Today I told Barbara I did have a plan, and I'm going to go ahead with that plan although it may seem a bit of an odd fit, speaking to half of you who are very experienced with my topic and half of you who are totally new to such inquiry. But let us trust that it's just what you all need to hear.

Two years ago, I proposed to Barbara a 2-year program that we would call Venture Fourth. I'll explain the title in a few minutes. I wanted to do a program,

1. with our most senior meditation students around the country, some of whom have worked with us 15 or 20 years,

2. a program that integrated meditation and what we call spiritual inquiry,

3. a program that would support people with the deep intention to service in the world, to learn how that service can flow from an egoless place rather than from a place of strong self-centeredness.

Barbara was a bit resistant at first, saying that while she had been working with me all these years with some of what I proposed to cover in the program, she had never taught it. She had somewhat of a preference to stay on the safe ground of teaching that which she knew she had taught before and could teach well.

I nudged her a bit and reminded her that she has said to me in the past few years that she felt like she had hit a plateau, feeling stagnant a bit and that perhaps she needed to venture off on a new track. Actually, none of what we're teaching in the program is new. Actually it's what I have taught Barbara for the past 20 years. Barbara has created a strong meditation program here at Deep Spring but so much else of what I've taught her about body energy and chakras, about working with your guides, working with negative energy, and so forth, these are all things that she passed on to this or that individual but never in a class. So the intention was to pull the whole thing together.

Tonight I want to speak not only to the smaller group of you gathered here but also to a larger number of people around the country who have stated their interest to follow this course on their own, since we were limited in the number of people that we could include in the actual program. Consider this an invitation to work beside us.

I want to outline some of the reasons for the course, list the primary aspects of it, and give you some areas in which you each can practice. I hope that what I say here will help to give a clear plan for practice for those who are in the class, as a few of you are, and also to those who are not in the class, even those with no meditation experience as are some of you gathered here this evening.

You are all what I call angels in earthsuits. You have an angel aspect, a divine aspect to your being, and you wear this earthsuit of the physical, mental and emotional bodies, the human experience, which together has a lower vibration than the spirit body. Some of you tend to self-identify with these heavier bodies. Some of you tend to deny the heavier bodies and only want to hold an identity with the pure spirit body. But you are all of these, and you can not exclude any aspect of yourself.

If you were only going to experience and identify with the spirit body, you would not have come into incarnation. You are here precisely because you chose to live with the catalyst of these heavier bodies, and they do provide catalyst. Is there anybody whose body has not felt some pain in the past week? Is there anybody who has not felt anger, disappointment or fear in the past week? Is there anybody whose mind sometimes has not been agitated in the past week? Your human experience is not meant to control these aspects of your being, in other words, not meant to subdue and stop them, so much as to lead you into compassion for the human experience, one of being so caught up in the self-identity of the self as just these heavier bodies. You are the angel and the earthsuit.

We start with meditation practice, specifically Vipassana meditation, derived from the Buddhist tradition. It's a mindfulness meditation practice. One does not need to be a Buddhist to practice it; it's accessible to anybody because there is no special belief required, or any specific religious forms. One starts with a primary object, usually the breath, just watching the breath come in and flow out, come in and flow out. Of course attention shifts away within a few seconds. Maybe there's a loud noise–hearing, hearing. Or there's a fly walking on your forehead–tickling, tickling. Or planning mind comes in, figuring out what you're going to do tomorrow.

We don't say, "No, I'm meditating. I will ignore the fly. I will ignore the sound. I won't plan." When there's a fly tickling, you simply note, "tickling, tickling." When there's sadness, you note "sadness." When there's a loud sound that startles you, you note, "hearing, hearing." When there is planning, you note, "planning."

Depending on what object has arisen, what comes next will differ. If you note, "hearing, hearing, people working with jackhammers in the street," you note there's hearing happening. The sound doesn't stop. As long as the sound is there and you have an organ of hearing, there will be contact of ear and sound object and hearing consciousness will result.

If you don't want that hearing, then you suffer. You note, "this has arisen out of conditions, and in this situation it feels unpleasant because it's a loud jarring noise, and I want quiet." Yes, it might be a very loud noise that jars the body, and there's also the grasping. "I don't want this, I want that. I want quiet." The sound is an object; the unpleasant feelings are a second object. The grasping, wanting it to be different, is a third object. Each comes in turn and each can be experienced directly.

We watch each object. We watch hearing. If it's a sound or experience that seems unpleasant, we note the unpleasant quality of it. If the body tenses up, saying, "No, stop that. Take it away," we note tension or aversion, as is predominant. The fly comes and he tickles. There's nothing really unpleasant about tickling on the forehead but if you're not expecting that then there's a sense of, "I don't want that. Note," Tension, tension," or perhaps, "Aversion, aversion." When we watch aversion, it is often directly experienced as tension.

So different physical, emotional, and mental objects will arise. When it's the mind planning and you note "planning," for example, in the moment you are no longer planning. Can you see that? It's not like the jackhammer; there hearing continues but here, the planning has stopped. We come back to the breath. If mind starts planning again, we note "planning."

As you settle into the meditation practice, you note that the impulse to plan precedes the planning. Wanting to plan, ah, that's different than planning. There's a tension that comes up. Tension, tension, contracting, grasping, wanting. "I want to go someplace else."

Basically you begin to see your experience, physical, emotional, and mental, arising and passing away, and you begin to understand your relationship with the experience. When something is unpleasant, can we relate to it with kindness? When you stop giving it energy, whatever has arisen will fade away. Now, the jackhammer sound may not fade away but your involvement with it may fade away. It's just sound. One simply notes it, holds space around it, and holds space for the human that thought they were going to have quiet.

This is the work for which you took birth. You are not incarnate to stop mind and body experience, you are incarnate to learn how to be loving with what arises in your experience, how not to hate it, but if hatred of it comes up, how to find space with that experience too. You are incarnate to become more loving and compassionate beings; it's as simple as that. You are incarnate to discover the angel that lives at the core of these earthsuits, and to learn how to honor the angel without disrespect for the human that has these sometimes pleasant or unpleasant physical, mental, or emotional experiences.

In this way you learn a deep equanimity, a peacefulness with the world as it is, which does not mean that you cease to work to change the world. Where there is disharmony in the world, injustice, you don't just say with resignation, "Well that's how it is. Aaron said to have equanimity with it." Instead you work to change the world from that place of spaciousness and equanimity.

However, many people have not learned this so they're trying to fix and change the world from the ego, and that just creates more friction. The harder you try to fix something, the more waves you create.

Think of it this way. Imagine I had a large bowl like an aquarium filled to the top with water, sitting on the table. Somebody's footsteps across the room shook it a little bit so water began to slosh out over the side. What if I put a hand on the top to try to still the water? It's not going to work, it just creates more waves. But if you just hold that space and breathe, the waves will settle down naturally, and so do for the inner waves of fear, of agitation, of doubt, of grasping, and so forth. It will all settle.

As you experience this spaciousness and release of tension, you begin to know the innate radiance of the being, the innate beauty and goodness, the clarity, that you are, and to trust it. Some of you have had glances of it but you don't yet fully trust it.

At first you have those rare moments of deep clarity, of joy; then you say, "I was imagining that." So part of the practice is to settle in to what you truly are with no denial of the outer framework that we would call the human. Ultimate reality and relative reality; we begin to know that they are not separate in any way. Here is the angel in the earthsuit!

You are souls evolving into a greater maturity, and yet at another level there's no place to go, you're already there. From the relative perspective there is a passage. From the ultimate level, you are all awakened, divine beings. Yet you must invite that awakened nature to express. There's a favorite quote of mine in a book of pure awareness teachings called Flight of the Garuda:

"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."

Venture Fourth gives us the opportunity to practice within the relative plane where we have weekly assignments with different, let's call them character traits, where we can watch patience and impatience, for example, gratitude, humility, or arrogance or low self-esteem. We begin to see how these different qualities are experienced, what nurtures or weakens them. I'm mentioning just a few of the ones we've already worked with. We're taking one quality a week and we begin to see that these wholesome qualities are innate to us. You are truly innately patient, humble, filled with gratitude and lovingkindness, but also when ingratitude arises, when arrogance or low self-esteem arise, when impatience arises, we attend to them.

How does one attend to what we might call the less wholesome side without trying to fix it? Just give it love and at the same time, hold the intention not to enact that quality.. I'm reminded here of the image of training the puppy. If the puppy has an accident, you don't smack the puppy, you just say "No" and you take it outside. If you tell the puppy to sit and stay and push his rump down, and he sits for 5 seconds and gets up, you don't smack him and scream at him, you just say, "No, sit. Stay." You trust the puppy's innate capacity to learn to relieve himself outdoors, to sit and stay and follow what he's asked to do. You treat the puppy with loving respect.

But so many of you do not treat yourself with that kind of loving respect. You order yourself around. You judge and condemn yourself when you don't meet up to the standards that you have aspired to for the self. We must have standards. We must aspire. We just keep coming back and saying, "Sit, stay," again, or "breathe, patience, patience," again. We work with compassion, seeing how quickly judgment arises of the self and of others.

So as part of our work of Venture Fourth we are working with one character trait a week for 26 weeks. We are trying to find a place of center, the egoless place, in each character trait. For example, the first week we worked with humility. I pointed out to the group that while one might immediately presume that humility is contrasted with arrogance, but really humility sits in the center with arrogance on one side and what could be called a false humility or low self-esteem on the other side. Humility is egoless, it sits right in the middle, whereas arrogance says, "Me, I'm important" and low self-esteem says, "I'm nothing." That's not humility.

After practicing with humility and finding that center, we can move on to another trait, let's say patience. On the one hand we see impatience, then we see patience in the middle, and then we see somebody who is stoic, gritting their teeth saying with great tension, "Yes, I'm patient. Yes, I'm patient." That's not patience.

So we try to find that place of true egolessness where we start to know our true nature as compassionate, humble, patient, filled with joy and gratitude. As you work with such a practice over weeks and months, it cannot help but shift the way you view yourself and bring you into a more accurate picture which doesn't get so caught up in the stories of "I'm bad," or "I'm good." It drops the self out of it and finds the loving heart and mind that can shine forth.

So this work, grounded in our meditation practice, is one major aspect of Venture Fourth and will carry through for the 2 years. We are working deeply to understand that everything arises out of conditions and passes away, not to build a self around it, to watch the stories that come and not be so self-identified with them, but to begin to ground in innate radiance and divinity.

Now we come to the name Venture Fourth. Many of you have been doing the kind of work I just described through many lifetimes. You've wondered, "Why am I doing this work? Yes, I want to be a more loving person but I also want to be of service in the world. How does this connect?"

There may be a desire to be of service and no understanding of how to do that because you see that when you do act from a place of ego, harm can come out of it. Then one comes back to the habitual pattern and chastises and judges oneself. So you swing from high to low. "Oh, I'm good. I'm so good." "I'm no good at all. Look what came up, anger, greed." You swing back and forth, there's no stability.

And for many of you in this incarnation there is such a strong intention to do no harm that you're afraid to become very active in the world because you're afraid that you will do harm inadvertently. You don't yet trust yourselves.

We come back to the fact you are angels in earthsuits and you are here on Earth at this time for a purpose. For many of you the primary purpose is simply to learn to love more fully, not to get so caught in fear and negativity. But for many of you there is a deeper intention to create this climate of love not only in the self but throughout the world. Your world is maturing just as you are. Now we move into a phase of this talk that may seem bizarre to some of you. I'm simply sharing my own experience. Feel free to release what I say if it doesn't connect for you.

The Earth is moving into a new vibration, a higher vibration. You as human are what we call 3rd density. First density is rock and mineral with a very slow vibration, gas also. 2nd density is animal and vegetable. The lowest end of 3rd density are your highest vibrational animals, the pets and animals that are beginning to experience a sense of self-awareness. And through the human aspect, you are 3rd density beings.

At the end of 3rd density there is equanimity with what arises in your experiences so there's the ability to watch anger, impatience or fear arise, not self-identify with it, attend to it in a skillful way, and release it with compassion for the human in whom it has arisen. There is simultaneously the ability to watch such movement in others with compassion rather than judgment. The 4th density being is telepathic. If you've thoughts of which you are ashamed, you don't want others around you to be telepathic. If you are still uncomfortable with others' negativity, you don't want to be telepathic.

What if somebody in the room is thinking, "Oh, I don't like her shirt," or haircut or whatever it might be. Maybe you don't want to hear that. If I were to ask now, with how many of you would be perfectly fine if everybody in this room was fully telepathic, is that okay with you? Does that idea bring a little discomfort?

As you learn deeper equanimity with the human experience while still taking responsibility for that experience, you become ready to say, "Yes, it's fine. It's fine if people hear my thoughts because they do not come from a central self, they're just the habit energies expressing themselves, and I am not afraid to reveal what's under there. And I am not afraid of that in others."

Your Earth is becoming a 4th density planet. This is why we spell the program's name not "Forth" but "Fourth", a Venture into 4th density. You are all part of this movement, consciously or unconsciously, simply by choosing to be incarnate on the Earth at this time. Your Earth has the potential to become that Eden for which you so yearn, to be a place where nobody is starving, a place free of war, a place of kindness. And it has the potential to be a nightmare. Which are you going to make it? Each of you is co-creating this Earth.

Your work begins with yourself, with taking responsibility for your own negative energies, not to grind them under your heel but to say no to them in a compassionate way while holding with love the human who is experiencing this feeling.

So Venture Fourth is a way of guiding people into taking this kind of responsibility. To take such responsibility, one needs to acknowledge one's fullest power. All of you believe in limits. You're afraid to trust the enormity of yourself. The belief in limits must go. The limits are based on fear; they're based on the old habit of acting out negativity. As you become more comfortable with the fact that you do not need to act out negativity, you begin to drop the sense of limits.

As part of moving beyond limits, we must connect with that with which we are inherently connected–with the earth itself, with your spirit guides, with the elements. This is another part of Venture Fourth, in which we remind you of these connections.

For example, the earth is an energy system. Actually the whole universe is such a system. And the body is an energy system. When you get to know the energy system of the body, you see how it corresponds to the whole universe. We may begin to know the body energy and the chakras by toning. Are you familiar with the term chakra? Each chakra has a tone(pointing to chakras, beginning with the base)–C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. When we experience the chakras as closed –– they're never really closed but sometimes we experience them as closed –– we can invite reopening by attending to them. Each chakra relates to certain basic issues. So, for example, the 5th chakra relates to speaking one's own truth, and sometimes for people who find it difficult to speak their truth, the throat chakra ceases to spin; it has a stagnancy. We call that closed.

You can't just say, "Now I'm going to open the throat chakra." You invite, you co-create. One of the best ways I know to co-create the opening of any chakra is to sing to it. One can sing the tone of that chakra or even better, for the throat one can sing the heart tone and the third eye tone. When they both are spinning fully the energy comes down from the third eye and up from the heart into the throat and helps to free the throat. Then in meditation you may find certain issues about expressing your own truth are revealed to you. And as there is that clarity, sometimes psychological or emotional clarity, sometimes just an "Aha, so that's how it is," you realize, "I don't have to close this anymore. I'm free to speak my own truth." So in this way you begin to expand beyond who you believed you were and more fully into who you are. You release limits.

[from transcriber, who knows Aaron's teaching very well: this sounds like the mission or purpose statement of Venture Fourth. I was tempted to put it in bold. :) We have done so. Thank you.]

My intention with Venture Fourth is to help each person open into the greatest fullness possible of their being, to move as much as possible beyond limits while taking clear responsibility for the energies that move through them. And to trust their capacity to do that, and to give them the tools to support such intention.

That is by way of background.

Meditation often seems like a linear practice where you practice a choiceless awareness practice, watching what arises, watching how you relate to it, always with the idea that as you watch tension and negativity arise, at some point in the future, something is going to shift so such arising ceases. And it will. But it's so important that you have the direct experience of spaciousness, of joy, of love, right here in this moment and begin to realize that while on the relative level there is tension, the tensionless is also here. On one level you're on a journey, but on the ultimate level there's never been a journey. Where would you go? You are already divine and radiant beings. As the Flight of the Garuda poem says, you need to churn the cream. You needed to realize your divinity.

One simple way to realize it is, as Barbara would phrase it, simply to hang out with a loving energy. In the first Intensive we did some shamanic journeying with drumming and some people had very profound experiences of their guides and power animals and so forth. Some simply saw spinning light or vegetable matter. Different guides come in different forms. We don't start with an idea, "This is what my guidance should look like," only, "Let me be open," state my highest intention of service to all beings for the highest good, and invite in the guidance that comes in response to that request.

When you begin to connect with that guidance, at first you are still working with what seems like an external guide, but through using the guide as a reflector, so to speak, you begin to see not only the guide's divinity but your own. You begin to connect with what we call the higher self, your own deepest wisdom and love. What we're doing in a sense is shifting the self-identity from that of the limited, impaired being to that of the divine being but still with acknowledgment, there's still a human here.

For the divine being, there is no limit to your capacity. We can use the physical healing of the body as an example. It's something I spoke of at the Intensive, that in one lifetime I lived in what would be considered among the aborigines of Australia. You would consider them primitive. But if as we, really ran –– not walked, it was what to you would seem like a run –– through the countryside, somebody stepped into a hole and broke their leg, that did not mean 6 weeks in a cast.

We would pick that person up and carry them to a comfortable place. If the skin was torn or the bone was mal-aligned we'd pull it back in place. Once aligned, we would literally sing to it, using vibration and each member of the circle holding the image of the ever-perfect bone. There was no denying the bone was broken on one level. We didn't say to the person, "Ah, don't be a malingerer, get up." The bone was broken. It only happened 10 minutes ago. But on another level, nothing is broken.

So you hold the image of that ever-perfect AND you relate with compassion to the broken bone and whatever body pain or trauma there may be. Through vibration we would sing to it and within half an hour the bone would knit. Within an hour the person could be up and walking on it without pain. Often we would leave the person to rest for the night just because it is a big trauma to the lower vibration physical body to experience the break. The break is real. I'm not saying the break is not real, but if you believe, "If I break my bone, it's going to take this long to heal," then it will.

The woman teaching the shamanic journeying at the Intensive, our dear friend Heather Cumming, spoke of a situation in which she knew of, somebody who for some reason something was happening to destroy the spleen, and there was some fear, "I will be without the spleen." But when they did the MRI pictures, they saw a new spleen was growing.

Now this doesn't happen in your common relative reality, but that's no reason to assume that it's impossible. Most of you know that for over 30 years Barbara was totally deaf and then she began to challenge the idea that she would never hear again. On the one hand knowing yes, she is deaf, and on the other, she is now knowing the wholeness, knowing she can hear and indeed is beginning to experience hearing.

May I ask you to tell that wonderful story? It's better coming form you firsthand. From the posada. Let me precede this telling...

For a number of years Barbara has been going to a healing center in Brazil run by a man they affectionately call John of God. A number here have been down there with her. So the story happened in the pousada (Inn), while eating a meal.

Q: I went with Barbara and the rest of the group in January 2008. I think this was the 3rd week, 2nd or 3rd week, and some of us had noticed that occasionally Barbara would react to a sound. I paid really close attention to what was going on and I noticed that she seemed to react to a sound that occurred behind her. She had told us that the guides said that she was going to hear and that everything was moving as it was supposed to be.

So this one Friday evening, a lady had come to our pousada to see Barbara. We had had dinner, some of us were sitting out on the veranda, and the woman was telling her story and talking about different things. She came to Barbara to get a copy of Aaron's book, Presence, Kindness and Freedom, because someone had told her that she really needed to get that book. She didn't even know where it was but she kind of found her way there, to the lady who had the book.

So anyway they were telling something funny, and Barbara had her back to me, she was in front of me, back to me; I was kind of in alignment back this way. The woman was in front of Barbara and someone was signing. So they were in a group. And something was said, and I have this laugh where I just laugh out loud sometimes, and I can't do it, but–"Ha, ha, ha!" It was really funny, it struck me as funny. Barbara turned around completely, looked straight at me, smiled kind of a smiling laugh, and went back to the conversation and the signing, without even awareness that she had heard me, but I knew that she had heard me.

And since that time there have also been some other instances where a sound coming from behind her, she hears it, she reacts to it. So it's just a beautiful experience that's going on. It's so inspiring.

Aaron: Thank you, daughter. So there's no denying that the ears are deaf at one level but to say, "Well, I'm deaf. I'll never hear because I'm deaf," as the doctors here have said, "You'll never hear," that denies any possibility. There is also that which can hear, just as the whole bone is there right with the break. Just as that which is not angry is there with anger.

When anger arises, one doesn't have to combat that anger but just to ask, "Where is kindness right here in this moment with anger?" The anger will dissolve when it's ready. That which is not angry is present. That which is patient is present right there with impatience. That which is generous is present right there with greed. That which is whole is present right there with whatever feels broken.

In this way we learn to move past the idea that we are limited through direct experience. It's very powerful when there's strong anger and you attend to that anger in a caring way and literally find that which is not angry. "Wow, it's here, it really is here." Then we're more able to just let the anger be a little yapping dog until it's ready to leave. It's just anger. You just say, "Shhh!" and not act it out. It will leave when it's ready.

We focus on the wholeness, the unlimitedness, the beautiful qualities, rather than trying to fix the unwholesome qualities. We attend responsibly to the unwholesome qualities so they do not do damage. But we don't have to be upset about them. They are simply the result of conditions and they'll go when they're ready.

So within Venture Fourth we are working in various ways, the ways I have taught Barbara through all these years. Working with vipassana, working with me and her other guides, working with shamanic journeying and her power animals, working with breathwork, and other means of entering into alternative states of consciousness and finding different realities in those states of consciousness so that one begins to be able to ground in those broader realities but always without denial of relative reality.

This is the pivot. It's so easy to, I don't want to pin a name on people who do this, but sometimes people who are newer to spiritual work get caught up in some of these techniques, and move into a denial of relative reality so that they do certain kinds of practices and suppress the actuality that there is anger, that there is fear, that there is pain, that there is the broken leg.

What we're learning is the integration of relative and ultimate reality, always holding the 2 together so that there is a respect for relative reality but not a belief in the limitations that suggests. Most of you know relative reality quite well but have not entered as deeply into the experience of ultimate reality. Of course the meditation practice takes you into ultimate reality. That is our primary path. At times during the vipassana practice it's as if one has stepped outside the whole movement of objects arising and passing away. The example I sometimes use is, one sees sunrise and sunset from the Earth and it seems like the sun rises and sets. But if you go off to outer space far enough, you see the Earth is just turning and moving, nothing is rising and setting, it's just the perspective. So we shift to the outer space perspective, seeing further and deeper into the nature of reality.

One stops believing in that relative perspective as the only perspective, and yet one still needs to live within it. This is the hardest place of balance for people. People get pulled one way or the other way. As you learn to open yourself to this broader consciousness, you ground yourself more in a new perspective, and this broader perspective can help you know your unlimitedness and also help you know that there's nobody there. By that I mean you are not a self in the way you've always conceived yourself to be. Then the fix-it energy dies away and what takes its place is a kind attendance on yourself and on the world. And it's from that place that you can best be of service in the world and of supporting the whole world's move into 4th density.

Getting to know your guides, working with energy practices, toning, chakras, all of these different powerful tools, can also help introduce you to ultimate reality. Your guides remind you not to get caught in the narrow perspective; work with energy connects you to universal energy and a broader perspective. So we use these tools to remember who we are. Remember that toning, work with chakras, journeying are tools, paths to a broader perspective and knowing, and not ends in themselves. A non-ordinary state of consciousness simply reminds you not to hold to the limited view of ordinary consciousness.

There's much more that I could say, here. This is by way of background. I'd like to pause my formal talk here and just open the floor to questions.

Q: I'm having the experience of what appears to be or seems like going backwards, except that I know that that is not true.

Aaron: When you say going backwards, can you say a bit what you mean by that?

Q: It seemed like I had more equanimity before and now I have more challenges. But I think that I simply hid them from myself because I was trying to be perfect?

Aaron: As you gain confidence, daughter, you are allowing what you've suppressed to emerge because you know you're ready to attend to it and to resolve it. So you don't need to suppress it anymore, therefore it will cease to influence you in subterranean ways.

Q: Yes, that was my question. You answered it.

Aaron: You also spoke in an email about hearing that wise voice and also hearing a second voice. It's important that you're allowing yourself to hear both these voices because what you're learning is discernment. If you try to suppress that second voice that's more ego's voice or fear's voice, and say, "No, only the loving voice," that contraction that suppresses one also pushes away the other, and then you can't hear love's voice.

When you open yourself you're going to hear both voices and then you learn discernment. You are able to say, "Ah, I know you, I know you, ego, I know you, fear." And, "No, I'm going to listen to love." At first doubt will come up, and it's okay that it does so. You just work with it as you do in your vipassana practice.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Would you elaborate on the relationship between working with guides and listening to one's higher self?

Aaron: Both can be very clear. For each person it's a unique situation. Using Barbara as example, Barbara and I are soul mates. We might say that the highest essence of me and Barbara's higher self are soul mates, but in many lifetimes I have been the elder, to a degree, and teacher.

Barbara finds it easier to hear my energy and thoughts and connect with me as the soul-mate higher self, than to her own higher self. More doubt arises with her higher self, so that when the higher self speaks there's sometimes questioning, "Is this real? Am I imagining it?" But with my energy, because she knows she is not thinking the thought, it seems to easier to hear it and use discrimination to decide, "Is this helpful for me? Does this ring true to me?"

Some people find themselves in the opposite situation. Their relationship with their higher self is very clear, and they're a bit cautious hearing a guide. There's no one right way, one just looks in/at oneself and one's experience and asks, "What form of guidance is most helpful here?"

It's helpful to develop one's relationship with many kinds of guides. For example, in the journeying at the Venture Fourth intensive #1, people worked with power animals. For most of Barbara's life there's been a very beautiful silver stag that came frequently to remind her of unlimitedness, of joy, of fearlessness. In times when she felt diminished in some way, incapable or afraid, that stag would appear to her. He came in a wordless way; he didn't speak to her with words of guidance as I do. Instead he just shared his energy with her and she was able to see herself as him, to see where they merged, to know, "I am that. The beautiful qualities I see in this being, I have those qualities too." So he inspired her to move past her sense of limitation. She also has a lifelong and profound connection with her guru, Neem Karoli Baba, that is based more on energy and direct transmission of "seeing" than on verbal communication. He imparts an insight wordlessly, and through his energy. He transmits profound love and helps her shake loose of any negating of the self.

So there are many kinds of guides. It's important to explore and nurture and see what guidance is most useful for you, but never to limit yourself to that but also continue to explore those which have not seemed so accessible.

Q: Thank you.

Aaron: You're welcome. I think it's more common for one to be able to hear one's guides than one's higher self, in a more articulate way, sharing thoughts, because it's so clear when the thought is not coming from your own mind. You know, "I didn't think that. Where is this coming from?" And so it's easier to listen and evaluate it. But when it comes from the higher self, there's more doubt.

Q: Somehow I am the reverse case.

Aaron: That's fine, that's not a problem. We have both, it's not a problem. But for those who do have difficulty hearing their higher self, I would urge them to work more in that direction. And for those who have more difficulty hearing their guides, to nurture that relationship, so that you have both.

Q: How often are there karmic issues with one's higher self which affect the relationship?

Aaron: The relative human never has karmic issues with the higher self but has karmic issues, period. The higher self is not involved in those issues but the human is still caught up in those issues. The human then does not want to listen to the higher self because the higher self is not caught up and is trying to nudge the human to release those issues. Those issues exist for a reason. They've been part of your learning. And yet eventually they need to go.

One of the things I love about the Mussar practice is that it keeps spiraling back, tying in these different character traits, and taking you deeper and deeper. When there is a strong intention to maturation and therefore an intention to honesty, sometimes it's very hard to be that honest with oneself. But as one is deeply honest, great change takes place.

Barbara had a powerful experience last week, perhaps I should let her speak it to you, but I think she will not mind if I share it and I don't want to pull her out of this medium's space to speak and then go back in.

She was in Florida attending to her mother who injured the self in a fall. The mother is in a rehab center now. They are going to move the mother to an assisted living situation. The mother is doing well, learning to walk again as the body heals, but still cannot live independently.

So at the end of the first day Barbara went to her mother's home, and when she came in, she looked around. It's a very lovely home. Her mother is a fine artist and has many of her paintings on the walls. She has beautiful antique furniture. She always took great pride in her home and took good care of it. It's a lovely home.

Barbara looked around and suddenly had the realization, "My mother will never live here again." Her father died 15 years ago; her father will never live there again. She was feeling sadness and she walked around touching things that she remembers from 60 years ago when she was a child, some of the antiques, chairs and tables, and beautiful pictures and such things. She was very tired and it was late. She decided instead of pulling out the sofa bed where she usually sleeps, simply to go and sleep in her mother's bed since her mother was not there. It would be more comfortable bed and with no need to move furniture to open the sofa bed.

So she climbed into her mother's bed. Throughout that first day her back was already seizing up. She had pain in the back, which is not unheard of for her–it's not frequent but sometimes back pain comes. She had so many images of her mother, even at the same age Barbara is now, of entering her mother's bedroom and seeing her mother lying in bed saying, "I'm tired, my back hurts," and lying on her bed with the heating pad on her back. So Barbara was lying on the bed and she looked over at what had been her father's bed and there was the heating pad. She turned it on; she put it on her back. And suddenly there was a realization, "I am my mother."

Now, she's not entirely her mother, they're 2 very different people. But she could see all the ways she was her mother, and as the days went on, she could see-- her mother has a bad back, she could see the way that she was holding energy, in a way that caused contraction in the lower back and, I would not say caused the sacrum to go out of alignment but enhanced the out-of-alignment quality of the sacrum, which misalignment was the result of travel and sitting in uncomfortable chairs, and so forth.

Some part of her just did not want to see this. As she began to meditate the second morning before she went off to the nursing home, in her meditation she was aware of the presence of her higher self. She had asked the question, "What is this back pain about?" because she woke up that morning in a lot of pain. "What is this about?"

And her higher self began to speak to her about it, just tuning into that deep level of inner knowing, but at some level she didn't want to know and she pushed it away. She was willing to let me come and say to her, "You're not being fully honest with yourself." She could hear me in a way that she could not fully hear her higher self.

She cried a bit and she released some of the old tension and fears. She saw the child who always had to be good and always strived to please the mother, saw how she held that energy in her body, and how that was enhancing back distortion. And she recognized, "I do have a choice about this, to perpetuate this, which is not wholesome for anybody, or to release it."

At that point, as there was some energetic release and emotional release and opening to greater possibilities, then in meditation she was more able to move into a direct experience of her higher self. For Barbara the higher self does not speak to her so much as simply is. It's like the image of the broken leg and holding the vision of wholeness. The higher self is the vision of wholeness. When she sees and is present with the higher self, she sees all that she is and can be.

There's some challenge to that because she realizes she can't always manifest that perfection, so sometimes she pushes away the higher self. The best experience for her of the higher self is how it embraces her with love and reminds her, "You are this. Be it." And then the guide can come in and say, "Okay, these are some practices you can use to more easily be it." But this is what is true for Barbara and not necessarily for you. So you work with what works for you.

Q: I trust the pure energy more than anybody's words.

Aaron: This is not uncommon. Each being is unique and there's no right way it should be. Some people trust the pure energy and seek it out and some people feel overwhelmed by the pure energy so they want to turn away from it. Some people trust the guides, and some people say, "Who's this guy talking to me? Who does he think he is?"

For Barbara the experience of the power animals has always been a non-articulate energetic experience where she sees that she is an extension of them and them of her, that she is them and they are her. She sees that each of the three predominant power animals in her experience reveal a different aspect of her, such as the stag as fearlessness and love; fearlessness from a place of love. Each animal expresses something different. When that quality is needed, she doesn't invite the animal specifically, she invites the need for fearlessness, and the stag just comes and is with her with its sweet breath blowing in her face, reminding her, "You are this." And she sees his stature and radiance and feels his energy, and it helps her re-align her knowing of herself into a more true representation.

Back to karma; each of these guides and practices can help in the release and balancing of karma. The more clear the intention to release and balance, and the more skilled one becomes in the use of these tools, the more one can simply state the intention to release blockage to love, to clarity, to kindness or to wholesome action , and then the appropriate tool presents itself. It is not planned, in a sense of, "I am stuck so I will pull out this or that tool," but more, "Here is my intention and I invite whatever tool will best serve to support manifestation of the intention." Then you just move out of the way and allow intention to flow with its own energy.

Q: In the shamanic book they talk about being able to have guides that were from other realms. My question is, I think one of my "power animals" is a mythic creature, Pan.

Aaron: Just because it's a mythical creature doesn't mean that it doesn't exist! Elves! Dragons, nymphs: there are all kinds of wonderful creatures that exist.

Q: That's okay?

Aaron: Of course. Don't limit it to "reality." When you state your highest intention for the highest good of all beings, with harm to none, from a place of love, then hold the door open, "Whoever can best teach me what I need to know," without saying it should look like this or that or speak this or that, whatever will come will come.

So different kinds of beings will come. And none are right or wrong. Barbara some years ago spent a week in Sedona. Each morning she arose before dawn and climbed to the top of a local small mountain, a half hour walk up, and sitting on the top had a vast view of the countryside and the approaching dawn.

She sat there the first few days very quietly, yet opening herself, inviting the energy and the elements and asking, "What do I need to know to be of loving support to the earth here and the elements?" Slowly different kinds of creatures began to come out and talk to her. Her first reaction was incredulity, "My imagination has gotten to me..." And I said, "Why do you assume it's your imagination? Just hear what these beings have to say and if it's useful, then use it. And if it's not useful, say "No thank you.""

As she began to trust her experience, some very ancient earth spirits came forth, both in the form of mythical creatures and of simply elementals, and began to speak to her about the healing of the earth. It was very powerful because she kept saying, "I don't believe in these things." If you don't believe in them, they won't talk to you! You'll lose something.

Q: What is an elemental?

Aaron: An elemental is basically an energy that is a direct expression of one or a combination of elements. Earth energy itself, or water energy, fire energy. These can speak to you. More often then come as a combination, but they don't seem to have any specific outer form, they are simply a combination of the energy of the elements.

Ten years ago, Barbara was sitting high on a mountain peak on an island in Greece. It had been a mountain and the eruption of a volcano a long, long time ago had blown away a large crater so that the island now exists with a sheer cliff on one side going down quite a distance to the sea. Across the bay you can see the other side of the original mountain, with the actual volcano over there. You can take a boat over and walk up to what is an active volcano, just smoking a bit.

So she spent many hours sitting in meditation atop this rock cliff with a vast view of the sea and huge sky and hot Grecian sun, and wind blowing. There was a very deep connection of the elements, awareness of finding each of the elements. Some of you have read the transcripts from that week. She wrote in her journal, taking notes from what I told her. Finding each of the elements in herself and finding the merging of the elements. But they were not seen as spirit yet. They were simply seen as the elements.

Gradually she became aware that they had a consciousness. In that expression of the conscious elements one is experiencing the elementals. You may look on the Deep Spring archives under "elements;" "Santorini" might also be a good keyword to look up to find those specific transcripts.

The whole side of the cliff is pockmarked with caves and the caves have been polished a bit so they have beds and a kitchen and bathroom and electrical light, but when you go inside it's still clearly a cave; it's just a dressed up cave. They spent a week living in this wonderful cave with a plateau in front of it, a space with a guard wall so you wouldn't fall off. Just living in this cave on the edge of the island. It was a very, very powerful place to experience the elements at first, and then the elementals. Let's call the elementals the sentient expression of the elements without further dressing them up.

We'll stop in a few minutes. Are they any other questions?

Q: Do Barbara's crystals talk to her?

Aaron: Yes. Does your crystal talk to you?

Q: I get feelings from them. I do not get words.

Aaron: That's okay. Tune into the energy. Everybody doesn't hear crystals just as everybody doesn't hear their higher self or their guides or their power animals. This is why we do different practices. The crystal, if it simply supports you energetically, that's fine. If you ask a question and the answer comes from a guide or some other thing, some other place, don't think, "Ah, I'm a failure because it's not coming from my crystal." Just respect and honor the crystal, love the crystal. And express gratitude toward it for the support it gives you energetically.

You are all so geared into what is right and what is wrong, and there is really no right or wrong in those terms. Whatever works, that's fine.

Q: J says, "We are so good at it!"

Aaron: So good at saying, "It should be this way!" So now I have a question for you. It's not a question that I'm asking for me and needing an answer but because I want to provoke some reflection in you. Why were those 5 people here? [new people who left just before the break]

Q: Exposure to possibilities?

Aaron: Any other thoughts?

Q: Perhaps they unconsciously needed to be in this energy vibration to support some unfolding.

Aaron: You were probably all aware of the higher energy on this side of the human, the lower energy on that side of the room. And how this energy, we kept sending it over to them and wrapping it around them and they kept saying, "(sound effect) No."

Q: Possibilities...

Aaron: In 20 years I don't think I've ever stopped a session in the middle before, with the awareness, people really need to leave.

I always trust that people are where they need to be and when people come in who are clearly not finding what they thought they wanted, I find it important not to be distressed by that but simply to go on and present what I had planned to present. I did simplify a bit in the beginning and explain things that you certainly all know, to try to make it easier for them to follow, to try to make it accessible to them. But it was very clear, very quickly, that this was not something they were able to open to at this point.

Q: It may be that they were looking for more of a fortune-telling psychic experience rather than teaching.

Aaron: Probably. But hopefully it opened them more to the idea there is this possibility that spirit can come through and talk to us. And each of them, all but one, did hear things that they did consider, that they had not considered before. So hopefully it will open some doors. I think the statement is accurate that unconsciously they were led to needing to be in this energy, that they do want to learn.

Part of the reason I'm speaking about them and asking is that each of you have people in your life who reject what you're learning and doing. And so it's so important to trust that you are connected with them for a reason. And it's okay to share, never to force it on people, but to share as feels appropriate. To share with joy and with love and to know, regardless of whether they say, "That's absurd," or how they react, at some level both you are opening a door and you are literally exposing them to a higher vibration, as long as there's no sense of, "I have to fix this or force it on them." As soon as you feel that you lower your vibration.

But when you can hold that high vibration, gradually people will open more and will learn. Maybe not in this lifetime. Who knows.

Let us end here. My blessings to you all. It's my intention on the Wednesday nights through this autumn, as much as possible, to direct these Wednesday night discussions toward the Venture Fourth work. In future meetings we will hopefully go more in depth. I'd like to see a discussion happen, for example, on what's been happening to each of you as you work with the qualities you've been working with. There will be people attending who are not part of the group and who have not been following the material, and perhaps they will be encouraged to look at the material. But if not, I hope to be able to present it in such a way that we can talk about a quality like patience or compassion and the overlap of patience and compassion, in ways that are useful to people even if they don't have the greater scope of the material. So that's my plan, not only for the fall but for the fall and spring.

My blessings. Good night.

(session ends)