October 16, 2013 Wednesday Night with Aaron on life planning , free will, working skillfully with painful catalyst

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Welcome to you all. Several of you know Deep Spring from the Sunday sittings. We call tonight, “Spiritual Inquiry.” I think it's important that we not make a false distinction between dharma, Sunday sitting, formal meditation, and a wider expression of dharma, how we live our lives with love and wisdom and inquire into the grounds for that love and wisdom and the many paths to it. Sometimes just gathering in a circle and talking can be helpful as at other times, silent meditation is most helpful.

I'm going to move tonight directly to a question I received by email, not just to answer the question with yes or no, but really to build a talk around it. This comes from a friend who is somewhat of an authority on karma and how we may do pre-birth planning in our lives, how much free will we have, and so forth. Sometime in the past, maybe a year ago or in the past year, there was a shooting at a children's school in Connecticut and many children were killed. Teachers were killed. He's been asked to speak in that town so he turned to me and asked, “What do you think about this?” I promised him I would talk about it, both in a specific way and in a much larger way, as it applies to the world. If they did make a plan to die in that way, then where is free will? If they did not make a plan to die in that way, then why did it happen? Do we have any control over our lives? What meaning might there be behind such tragedies?

Let me read you his questions.

Did the children and others who died in the Sandy Hook school shooting plan this before they were born, and if so, why?

Did the parents, siblings, and other family members of those who died agree to the children's pre-birth plan, if in fact it was planned, and if so, why?

What was the pre-birth plan of the young man who committed these murders? And why did his soul create that plan?

Let me begin with free will. Imagine yourselves, figuratively, not literally, sitting up on a cloud looking down at Earth with a group of your friends and saying, “I'm ready to take a new birth.” Now, it doesn't work quite that way. You do have some conscious choice, and also,  part of rebirth is just patterns of energy, your karma pulling you into the birth. But there is some conscious choice. So you sit with your friends and make a decision, “This is what I'm going to do in my lifetime.” Your guides are all there to help you, to talk to you and advise you, but you have the final choice.

So you've decided on an intention, you and a group of your friends together, that's based on resolving and balancing your old karma, and bringing light into the world, because you are loving beings. You look down from your cloud and you can see everything laid out clearly: the neighborhood where perhaps you would choose to be born, the people with whom you've had some pre-birth agreement that they serve as parents and others in your life. But the future is not specifically guaranteed because once you begin to move into the incarnation, you can't see anymore. You lose the clarity. And you interweave with others' plans.

I'm going to ask you to do an exercise. Let me explain. (counting people) I'm going to ask half of you to start down where the shoes are and half of you up here. I'm going to ask you to think of an intentional route, where you are going. One of you over there may think, “Well, I'm going to go into the kitchen.” One of you here might think, “I'm going to go into the office.” Some might think, “I'm just going to go where the shoes are.” Open your eyes. Get a clear sense of where you're going. Then I want you to close your eyes, spin around three times, and set off toward your goal. Walk very slowly. I don't want anyone to get hurt. You're going to walk toward your intended destination. You have a very clear plan in mind, of where you're going. You can see it's right there. But then, your eyes are closed, you get twisted around—can you find it? Can you arrive to where you decided to go? What happens? So let's just try that now.

First, form your intention, individually or as a group, because we're talking here about a group of children who died who must have been involved together in some pre-birth planning. Where do you wish to go? Maybe the whole group there is going to go down to the kitchen and get some tea. Where are you going to go? I'll give you a minute to form your intention. Then I want you to look clearly, see the route, how you will walk free of obstacles.


Now I would ask you to close your eyes and turn around three times, and, keeping the eyes closed, begin to travel to your chosen destination. Remember that we have ten people here. Everyone has free will.

Those who are listening via the conference phone, I suggest that you do the same thing in your living room or wherever you are. Choose a destination. Close your eyes. Spin around three times and see what happens. Can you go directly to that destination? What obstacles are there? What blindness is there?

You may begin.

(exercise, over several minutes)

It seemed so clear with the eyes open. It's not so easy, is it?

(exercise continues; people are moving around very slow and careful, sometimes walking into a wall, or each other)

It seemed so clear where you were going to go. How hard can it be to walk across a room? How hard can it be to come into an incarnation and follow a specific plan?

(exercise continues)

Where are the rest of you? (Q: They went in the kitchen.) Eating all the goodies in the kitchen!

(exercise continues)

So what happened to you in there? Could you find your way? The whole group there went into the kitchen. They didn't come out.

Q: We did a group intention.

Aaron: And were you able to find your way?

Q: Yes.

Aaron: We're waiting for the others to come back...

(To L, who has just arrived) They're doing an exercise. I asked them to move into separate places in the room. I asked them to set a clear intention, “I'm going to walk from here to there.” Then to close their eyes, turn around three times, and see that it wasn't so easy to enact the intention with eyes closed. This is to give a model for what we might call pre-birth planning. We can plan it on the astral plane, but once we come into the body it's not so clear anymore. We can't see in the same way.

Did any of you bump into anybody else, at some time? Yes. So this is another parallel. You have a clear path. Somebody else has a clear path. From that level of awareness it's easy to see, if they go this way, I'll go around them. But when you come into the birth, it's as if your eyes are closed. You can't see anymore.

We're talking here about the distinction between Mundane consciousness, everyday consciousness and awareness.. If you did it with your eyes open, it would be easy. Supramundane consciousness, or pure awareness sees the big pictures. So from out there in the astral plane there is pure awareness that sees the whole picture and sees, if this person swerves, I can swerve around them. Sees all the inter-windings. But then you come into the incarnation and whoops! What did I plan? Where was I going? Where were those obstacles?

I'm going to ask you to do one more exercise. I request everybody to gather at that end. I want you to look down to the other end and see where you're going, then turn your back and walk backwards. I want you to try to feel through your body where other people might be, not to bump into anything. Go ahead and try it.

Q: Eyes closed?

Aaron: Eyes open to see where you're going to go, then turn backwards. You can open your eyes or close your eyes. I think you'll be able to concentrate more if you close your eyes. But you can keep your eyes open, that's fine.

(exercise begins)

Again, those on the conference call, simply try walking backwards in whatever room you're in.

Try to feel through your skin, feel the energy fields around you. You are looking with a different part of yourselves, not just your eyes, but using a much broader array of senses.

(exercise continues)

Holding the intention, try to feel how it feels to let go of the small ego and hold the intention from the higher self. Knowing the highest intention, imagine if somebody was drowning down there at the other end of the room and you needed to get them. Not fear, not “I've got to save them,” but love, “I'm going to show up, and I can help them.” Drowning is perhaps too strong a catalyst-- if somebody was crying, just sobbing, and love holds the intention to go to them, to help them, feeling the loving intention and allowing it to guide you.


When you've reached the end of the room, feel free to return to your chairs.

So how was that? (Group: fun, interesting) When we move into the everyday self, we want to look over the shoulders. We don't trust our deeper intuition. But when you realize, “Okay. I'm not in danger. I can do this,” and we start to literally see through our back, feel through our energy fields, based on our deep aspiration to be of service to somebody, to do something loving, then that blindness of coming into the mundane body is not so strong. There's more of a sense of direction.

Returning to the original question,  as you plan what may be in the next incarnation with your guides, yourselves or with a group of people, and the work that you come to do, there may be much clarity. But then you move into the everyday self. You come into the body and you forget, much like the blindness, trying to find your way with the eyes closed. People swerve and bump into you. The unexpected happens because everybody has free will.

If nobody had free will, if we formed a straight line and said, “Put your hands on the next person's shoulders, and you may not swerve from this path,” it would be much easier in some ways, but there would not be free will choice and the enormous opportunity choice offers for growth. You learn in the earth, in human incarnation, through your free will choice. That means that when you're walking blindly and you bump into somebody, if free will choice says, “Oh! This is scary! I'm leaving!” then you can't really fulfill your intention because you've run the other way. If you bump into somebody and say, “Nothing's going to get in my way,” and knock them over, even though you were determined to do no harm, you've done some harm.

The more conscious you become—here, using the example of walking backwards and feeling through your back-- the more conscious you become, the more you break though the veil; you remember what you intended to do in the incarnation; and the more lovingly you can deal with the inevitable obstacles that will come. And they will come.

So let's return now to this group of children. What was their pre-birth plan? Here I am looking in the akashic records, because of my friend's request and because he was requested to speak there. I would not violate people's privacy, but I am looking because he was invited to speak there and I want some insights.

So what I see is these children's pre-birth plan really is to teach love in many ways. You can imagine how much agony a parent or sibling or grandparent would feel upon the murder of a child. The hatred that would come up, wanting to kill the killer. But he's already dead. Wanting vengeance of some sort. And yet, you begin to see hatred and rage do not  create any openheartedness. They don't change anything. These children did not come to teach hatred but to teach love.

They did not know the circumstance specifically in which they would teach love. They all chose to incarnate around the same time and in a small group. When I say around the same time, within 5 or 6 years of each other, and in the same area. Their parents chose to be in that area as part of the plan. The parents, the extended families, trying to be a model for the whole world of how to deal with that kind of violence with compassion. That doesn't mean without sadness. It doesn't mean without regret. It doesn't mean without anger. Anger is a catalyst for compassion, if it's used skillfully. So it's fine that there's anger. It's okay that there's sadness; it's normal. Grief, outrage. Yet there can be compassion?

For the adults involved and the families, not just the children but the teachers who I believe were killed, or all of them, there was an agreement to learn for themselves, because they all needed to learn this kind of compassion and to begin to demonstrate in the world what it would mean to offer forgiveness and lovingkindness, not just to this murderer but to all, all over the world, who commit such violence. Compassion is strong. Compassion doesn't say, “Just go ahead, shoot everybody. I love you anyhow.” Compassion knows how to say, “No, you may not be abusive. You may not destroy.” But it also recognizes that the would-be destroyer is conditioned by his own karma, his own life, to do such destruction.

So there's compassion. Thich Nhat Hanh says this beautifully in a commentary on his poem Please Call Me By My True Names. The poem is about a 12 year old girl, who was taken on a boat by sea pirates and raped; then she threw herself overboard and drowned. He said, hearing that that had happened, before he wrote the poem—it's based on an actual event—he was outraged. It was so easy to blame the sea pirates, to hate the sea pirates. And then he thought about it and realized that if he were raised in that environment with the brutality with which they may have been raised, taking whatever he wanted, believing it was okay to take, no matter what the results, it might be himself who would rape the girl. He might be a sea pirate. It's not so easy to condemn himself. Without saying it's okay to have raped her, can there be compassion for these men who did this, rather than hatred? Because hatred only engenders more hatred.

So, the parents of these children and the children together had a pre-life plan to learn this for themselves and to teach compassion in the world. Could they learn to relate to something so negative with more kindness and compassion, compassion for themselves and the agony of their own loss; Compassion for others? Learning compassion for all, including themselves and the murderer and all the agonized beings around them;  all of this held in that field of compassion.

In some past lives, they and all of you have been murderers. Everyone has been a murderer in some past life. Everyone has been almost a saint in some past life, giving so lovingly, taking such care of others. You come into the human incarnation not to escape catalyst but to learn how to work lovingly with challenging catalyst. The catalyst will come in whatever form it comes. Where do we find compassion?

So the children and the parents at some level agreed to participate in some kind of demonstration, not knowing what it would be. They did not say, “Okay, you're going to come and murder me when I'm 9 years old.” It's not that kind of planning. As you practiced walking up and down here, you bump into people. You don't know what's going to happen. Everybody has free will. It could have been that an airplane dropped on the school, and that there was some negligence involved; maintenance that should have been taken care of, so there was a clear person upon which to direct that anger. It could have been that a tornado swept through the school and that the warning systems didn't work because they were not maintained properly, so the people all should have been alerted and they weren't.

There was no set plan for the outplay of the catalyst, only that this group would encounter it together, whatever it was. There was no detailed plan, this murderer is going to come in on this day and murder people. There was an agreement to deal with whatever catalyst came. Surprise, who knows? You're blindfolded. You don't know what it will be. To do it as consciously as possible. It could have been the parents that were killed and not the children. There was not a specific agreement for the children, “We will die,” only, I find these children did come into incarnation with the agreement, for themselves and their families, that they would leave early if it was necessary Within this larger group of people, some very painful event that would help them all both learn compassion for themselves and teach compassion to the world. People are still looking to them and asking, “How do you deal with that kind of calamity?”

There was a serious tornado somewhere in the Midwest last spring, I believe. It came through and it hit a school where children were killed. The same intention: how do we deal with this kind of calamity? Always looking for the question, how do I do it with love? And if I'm going to do it with love, what do I do with my outrage, with my fear, with my grief? How do I hold space for that, and then model that for others?

There were also private agreements. Remember, these “children” are also old souls, perhaps some of them even older and wiser souls than the parents. So some came with a private agreement to teach the parent how to let go and keep the heart open and free of hatred. It could have happened through illness; here the opportunity for learning was given in a group.

Our questioner has asked me, “Anything that Aaron can say to offer healing and understanding to those who would be at the talk would be much appreciated.”

I have been a parent in many lifetimes, and I have lost many children in different lifetimes. I understand your grief. I understand your outrage. Can you take that anger, which truly is just a form of energy, and direct it into healing for yourselves and for the world? I invite you to meet in groups and talk about your anger and pain, and then begin to envision paths to healing. I'm speaking here to the families of those who died in this tragedy, but I'm also speaking to each of you who is listening to me speak or is reading these words, because each of you has experienced some kind of very painful catalyst in your lives. How can I be a bringer of light, even in this situation?

For the parents and the families of those who died, I would invite you to try to write. Write poetry. Read Thich Nhat Hanh's Please Call Me By My True Names and then write your own poetry. Get it out there in the world. Inspire others. Begin to be a light in the world that can teach others how to deal with such tragedy, and use the energy to bring light, to bring love, rather than to deepen in hatred. Because this was your birth plan; and you can do it. And you will be so much happier if you do it, rather than holding on to the outrage, the resentment, the blame, and so forth.

Learn about the young man who committed these murders. As Thich Nhat Hanh notes, if you had been raised in his circumstances, you yourself might become a murderer. Offer your energy into places where there are groups of children, to prevent bullying, and to be sure no child is abused.

For the young man who committed these murders, this was not in any pre-birth plan. Nobody creates a pre-birth plan to murder--I would say very rarely. Only in very specific circumstances, and usually only a very old soul who is doing it to create a certain catalyst that he's agreed to. We look at someone like Hitler. Hitler had no pre-birth plan to commit these atrocities. He was simply a soul who got misdirected.

Let's go back to our early exercise. You come in. You have a clear idea where you want to go, but you're not such an old soul. You're not clearly dedicated to the highest good of all beings. There's a strong ego that says, “I want to be safe. I want to be loved. I want money, well-being,” and so forth. We spin you around ten times. Then you hear somebody shouting, “Fire! Fire; help me!” Are you going to try to go back to where that person is to help them get out, or are you going to get out the door? What is going to be your choice in that moment? And if you go out the door, are you going to then think about it and say, “Maybe I should go back and see if somebody needs help in the building.”?

Barbara tells a wonderful story about snorkeling somewhere in the Caribbean. On the boat, apparently they were told, “There will be some sharks in the water. They've never attacked anybody in the years we've led snorkeling here. If you see a shark, just back away slowly. They will not hurt you.” There were so many fish in the water, the captain said the shark would rather eat fish. “You're too big. You're too frightening to them. They're well-fed.”

But Barbara, being deaf, didn't hear this. Off she went, snorkeling. She came around the edge of a reef and saw a big shark, perhaps 8 or 9 feet long. She panicked. She turned around and kicked her feet and went as fast as she could, doing just the wrong thing. Get out of here! Then she slowed herself down and said, “I don't want to look like prey to the shark. I'll go slower.” But she kept swimming away.

About 50 yards out she met some young people, teenagers, who were part of the boat group, snorkeling. Twenty or thirty people on the boat but including a few teenagers. She just rushed past them, and the first thought that came into her head was, “Ah, they're between me and the shark.” And then she thought to herself, “What did I say? I can't do that. I can't put them at risk to save myself.” She knew she had to turn around. She swam back to them, 10 or 15 yards, and said, “There's a shark back there.” And they, who had heard the talk, said, “Oh, wonderful! Let's go see it!” She just swam back to the boat. But she felt she had done what she needed to do.

So she did a lot of meditating on this, enacting really an instinctive, primitive  survival mechanism for a moment. Not to be prey to another mammal. And the higher consciousness that knows, “I must take care of everybody because everybody is a part of me. I'm not separate from anybody.”

So this group, the teachers, the parents, the children, the families, all of this group, they did not all know everybody else in the group, but they all came together into this area with this plan, pulled by the energy that somewhere in our lives there's going to be some kind of a group catalyst. And our task that we assign ourselves here, before we incarnate, is to be as loving as we can with this catalyst, and to demonstrate this love and bringing of light into the world while still saying no. Perhaps saying no by helping to outlaw guns; whatever ways there are of saying no. Saying no by setting up committees to avoid the kind of bullying that might turn a young man into a murderer. What creates a murderer in your society? Like Thich Nhat Hanh with his sea pirates, what creates the ability to be a pirate and to rape a 12-year- old girl?  How do you address that in your world and start to shift the situation, so that those who might become murderers are not so inclined to do so? So the ones who would swim away, saying, “Ah, the shark will eat them,” are more moved to say, “No, I can't do that. I can't leave somebody else to be eaten by the shark.”?

The young man came into the incarnation with very different intentions. The way his life formed around him, the different kinds of experiences he had, gave rise to a great deal of rage in him, and he was never taught how to work with that rage. So he activated that rage in this way. There's no one person who is responsible for his rage, or for his getting a gun and using it in this violent way. Your whole society is responsible. There's no one to blame. You are part of this society. How do we begin to envision and create a world in which this violence cannot happen?

I'm going to pause the recording and then start it again. Rob, this may be as far as you want to go with these people. We're going to go on talking about this, but in a different direction. You are free to use any of this material.

So let's go in a different direction, here. How do we deepen in clarity about what our intentions are and what blocks our highest intentions? How do we open our hearts more compassionately to ourselves when strong anger or fear, or some other emotion, blocks the way of moving toward the light?

I'd like you to try something here. Ten minutes. And those who are on the conference phone, I'd like you to just use this time, since you cannot talk to others to reflect to yourselves... (counting) groups of three and one group of four. I'd like you to talk for a few minutes about what is your highest vision of, let's call it heaven on Earth; the highest potential for this Earth. What this Earth could be if everybody were well-fed and housed, safe; if everybody's needs were met. If people did not meet violence from others. What might the world look like? You can use the whole world, or you can use just your community or your family or yourself-- what would it look like if you had that experience, to really have well-being? I want you to envision this. Are you clear what I'm asking?

So in small groups, I want you just to talk about this with each other. Ten minutes...

(group discussion)

May I insert a comment here, please. Seeing your dreams, your visions, I would like you further to inquire into yourselves, what might block the manifestation of that vision? What fears, what old conditioning? What belief in limitations? What might block the expression of that vision? Back to you...

(group discussion continues)

May we hear, then, from each group? Just a brief summary of what you covered. What are your dreams? What blocks the dreams? How do you work with that blockage or resistance, whether it's your own inner resistance or the world's resistance and blockage?

Q:  (different groups reply) We first started talking about a vision that included unconditional love, enough for everyone/abundance, no competition, boundaries and defenses go away, group collaboration, and that that would be extended to the natural world. That there would be transparency, compassion, and openheartedness. And then when Aaron asked us what might the blocks be, we started talking about the scarcity mentality that is so ingrained in this earth plane.

Q: Since we are all in a place of abundance and awash in unconditional love, then we will bring forth some of the old energy modalities to release past karma, stuck energy vortexes, and contractions. Otherwise we will just end up back where we started.

Q: The purpose of this plane is to have love and compassion for all beings, because we are all connected. We need to ask ourselves, what fears and conditioning are blocking that realization?

Q: I don't know if I can speak for the group... We talked about how the world might look. I used the metaphor of the old 18th/19th century painters, who painted the Peaceable Kingdom. I think that's kind of the image that other people have also spoken about, harmony between ourselves and within nature. We also discussed the notion as a manifestation of 4th density, how we may actually be a post-physical world by the end of this process, without having any idea of what that means. We talked about developing a group consciousness as will occur as we move into this. And with a group consciousness would come a clearer balance and harmony between this world, this manifestation, and the other world that we can dwell in, so that we can actually be present in both worlds simultaneously. On the issue of fears, we were dealing with-- again I'm speaking mostly for me, so give the others a chance to speak-- about receiving and dealing with what we perceive to be negative energy. How to take that in, how to release it. How not to hold it and let it shape us. At this point I'll see if anyone else wanted to speak.

Q: There's no such thing as negative energy. It can be negatively polarized but energy is just energy.

Q: (inaudible) ...an environment that's supportive, nurturing, loving, kind, welcoming. And then that sort of evolved and (inaudible). Extended family, if you like. Ultimately to recognize that we are human and there are going to be problems. And we have a strong commitment to problem resolution.

Q: Mine was more an energetic feel of, when you asked the question, I pictured and felt this warmth and light and great kindness, and again, that feeling of oneness: you are me, I am you, and that's who we are. Then Q talked about the social network.

Q: Yes, I thought it brought up visions of social networks that exist today in, for example, Europe, Sweden, came up. And then I thought, there's still a lot of strife (inaudible, at home?), and that's as far as I got (inaudible) because I felt myself getting blocked (inaudible). And then Q spoke to the idea of family that sort of opened up another avenue for me, which was to consider that if it all started small, and we all sort of had the same intention or <agreement>, that we would all sort of work through things within <faith> that we were all part of, then (inaudible).

Q: And we agreed that part of this would be that everyone would have a commitment to work things through. And that's about as far as we got.

Aaron: I thank you all for participating, reflecting deeply. It's a topic we could talk about for many hours, not just a few minutes. Actually, in the upcoming workshop, not this but next weekend, we're going to do just that.

Some people are more clear, more awake, than others. Some people have a higher positive polarity than others. Everybody is moving toward positive polarity but some are much more self-centered, at a certain stage of their lives.

Think of a litter of puppies. They've just been weaned. You have eight puppies. You put out one food dish and they're going to snarl at each other. The biggest one is going to push the others aside. Think of the difference if you put out eight separate dishes in the beginning, hold them all, get seven assistants and lead each one to a dish. When one turns and snaps, trying to push the one at the next dish away, you just gently say no and redirect him. One finishes first and wants to go after the others. You say no. You have him sit down, you pat him.

Gradually these dogs, as they mature, are going to learn to respect others' needs. Not to quarrel. They will overcome the “me” reflex and learn to care about others. To learn that their needs will be met, that they are safe. In a sense, to overcome the mammalian reflex that says, “Mine! Mine!” based on the belly wanting food, and on the fear, “I need to get it for myself. I need to survive.”

For all of you who are of more awakened consciousness, you look at the world around you where there is so much violence, so much fear, and it's a simple fact: if you meet that fear with fear, that violence with violence, you just engender more violence. Those puppies are not going to learn if you barge in there kicking at them, “Get away from there!” They'll never learn kindness and to respect each other.

Those of you who are of a more awakened consciousness have taken onto yourselves in this lifetime the responsibility to teach awakened consciousness to others, to bring more light to the world. This means that you must do the work in yourselves. So you do not come into the incarnation just for service to others but also to resolve and balance your own karma. Perhaps there is a quick reaction if somebody pushes you. We've done that pushing exercise many times here,. Even if you don't push back, there's a contraction. What do you do with that contraction? How do you relate to it?

It comes right back to your vipassana practice. Various catalysts will arise while you are sitting: a pain in the body, agitated mind. Whatever comes, how do you relate to it? Your practice is never to still the mind and body, to force it into some controlled pattern, but rather to know, when conditions are present this or that will arise, and my intention is to relate to it lovingly. Then you become a model of that response for the world.

So each time that you overreact with anger and lash out at somebody, stop, pause. Is this my highest intention? Is this what I want to do? Remember the wonderful practice of clear comprehension. What is my highest purpose in this moment? Is what I am about to do or say suitable to that purpose? Taking it into meditation. Looking at it in the framework of the whole field dharma. Everything is arising from conditions, including this catalyst, including my conditioned reactivity to it, including my old beliefs, and I do not have to be stuck in that collected heritage. I move outside of this small ego self and into the spaciousness of much broader being and interconnection.

This is your challenge. It is not easy, but it really is why you came. What would you learn if life was always easy? If there were never any challenges? Nothing ever pushed you? You say, “Ah, what a blissful life that would be.” But how would you learn compassion? How would you learn to rest in spaciousness?

I don't want to talk about forgiveness here. For something such as this incident in Connecticut, the people there may feel, “I cannot forgive.” That's okay. Can you begin simply with compassion for yourself, and even compassion for the murderer who, through some various experiences in this and past lives, ended up being a man who could pull a trigger and shoot people? What must he have experienced to reach that terrible place where he could do that? Compassion for his parents, who may not have been part of that catalyst. Maybe he was terribly bullied in school. Who knows what happened? We're not trying to blame; we're simply extending compassion. How can there be compassion for all the deeply negative people in the world, and still the ability to say no to their negativity? How do we say no?

Again, we come back to relative versus ultimate. That which is aware of anger is not angry. So, sitting in your car, you've just pulled into a parking space and the person in the adjacent car opens their door and bangs it into your car. You know it must have made a dent or scratch. Anger comes up. Are you going to go out and punch that person in the nose? Are you going to go out and scream at them? Is that going to help them be more careful in the future? Maybe it will. Maybe they'll be afraid, “Somebody may attack me. I better be careful.” But do you want their actions to be based in fear or in kindness?

What happens if you get out of your car, breathing, aware of the anger. I repeat, that which is aware of the anger is not angry. What's going to speak, the anger or the much deeper spacious awareness that can watch this human feeling agitated and angry, “Breathing in, I am aware of the anger. Breathing out, I hold space for the anger.”? Allowing it all to come and to go. This is part of the clear comprehension practice, clear comprehension of the dharma. Whatever has the nature to arise has the nature to cease. This catalyst came. The anger came. It's all the outflow of conditions. And I don't have to get stuck in it. This ego is not the boss, this fear-based mind. But somebody does have to say no. You can't just sit in your car and say, “Eh, too bad he messed up my car.” You need to get out and talk to him. Compassion needs to get out and talk to him. How do we do that?

Compassion needs to address the school yard bullies and the world bullies. How do we do that? This is part of the whole raising of consciousness on Earth, this learning how to speak from loving kindness and all of you came with the intention to support this raising of consciousness.

As you may note, this is a subject about which I am passionate, this movement into a higher consciousness by being conscious, being awake. Learning to walk backwards. Learning to experience the world from that place of connection with everything.

I think that's enough for an opening talk. Let's take a few deep breaths and then open the floor to questions and answers. I invite your questions.

Q: I've talked to you before about my experience of my three children having gone through (long explanation mostly inaudible). My little brother, who also was a <>, took my children to casinos in Las Vegas. Then I'm afraid that...

Aaron: I know that you have a lot of pain to express, but there is a large group here that would like to ask questions. So, I understand the background. Can you come to the question?

Q: I wonder if it would help to have my family apologize to my son. He moved to Chicago. He's (in a job or training?). I'm wondering if he has a gambling problem on the side. (inaudible about gambling)

Aaron: You cannot make people apologize. You have to start it in yourself. It sounds like there's a lot of anger against the mother for certain patterns she picked up or instilled, and probably anger against yourself for not having been able to be more available for your children. Can you begin to forgive yourself, to forgive your mother; to start this whole cycle of heart opening? If you can't come to forgiveness, at least can there be a compassion for all of you, and the dropping of blame. Begin to see the possibility that some good in the long run can come from this, the possibility of healing. The question is not how do you fix what happened, but where do you go from here. And since you cannot force others to open their hearts, it has to start in you, and then you can share what you're doing with your family. Perhaps you'll inspire them. That's your work.

Thank you. Others?

Q: I have a question about bullying. This issue seems to go very deep in our society, our relationships, and so forth. Even in the most recent example of potential government shutdown, there seems to be bullying involved in unilateral or multilateral decision-making that leaves out the person or persons affected. This is a deep issue in our society. It's subtle, and it's not subtle. I wonder if you could talk more to that.

Aaron: The catalyst of these issues and your response to them are part of the shift into higher consciousness. How will you appreciate the light if there's no darkness? If there's no water, how will you appreciate dry land? So we have what seem to be polarities. One polarity is self-centeredness and expresses fear-based behavior. The other polarity knows its interconnection with everything and is deeply open, listening, and connected.

When something of the more, let's call it immature rather than negative polarity, comes along and pushes you, the whole mammalian instinct of thousands of years pops forth to contract, to push back, and all of you are working with a really profound catalyst of all these thousands of years of instinct. But the awakened self is also there. Let's use this example. Given a room that's been dark for thousands of years, one flick of the light switch brings in light. You see the whole layout of the room. If the light goes off again, you know what's where in the room. You know the layout of the room. There's been light in the room. You recognize the nature of the room to be fiulled with light, that it is n ot innately dark.

Then you crack open a window shade a bit. You bring in a bit more light. It's a gradual process. Each of you does this through your meditation process. You sit, and immediately there's the push. Knee hurts. Aversion. Unpleasant. Wanting to fix. Watch the tension in yourself. One doesn't hold onto the knee pain, trying to fix it. One doesn't lock into the aversion. One begins to deepen in the wisdom that it's all arising out of conditions. It's impermanent, it's not self. And your highest intention is to relate to whatever comes to you with kindness. Where is kindness in this moment of knee pain? It may be in stretching out the knee. Maybe that's all that's needed. Or maybe you stretch out the knee and 30 seconds later there's pain again. You hold it in, you stretch it out. Then you realize, I'm trying to fix it. Can I just hold space for it? It arose. It's an unpleasant catalyst. Hold it in spaciousness. It will pass.

As you each learn how to do this and address the bully in yourself, by which I mean the one who is afraid, because that's what bullies are. They're ones who want to get their way, who are afraid, who have not been listened to so they have not learned how to listen. And your political groups are very much bullies, each trying to say, “No, this is right. This is right.” Not hearing each other. This is contrasted to a group that works with a deep consensus and deep listening, where each voice is heard and respected. And because it's done in this way, the group comes to a deeper understanding. Instead of resisting and saying, “No, I can't listen to what he's saying,” they start to listen. What this person and that person are saying all start to blend together, and this is where new thinking emerges, a whole new way of being in the world.

So when groups work with consensus, it's not about hearing seven different points of view and finding a compromise. It's about hearing those seven points of view and seeing it all has come together into a whole new idea, a new way of being in the world.

When bullies are brought into a circle in which this is happening, they will first try to bully. And their bullying will be met with kindness and a compassion that says, “Now wait a minute. You're trying to push your view on me. What I hear you saying is this. This is your concern. Can you tell me what you hear is my concern?” And so you start to teach the other how to listen and how to accept being listened to; how to relax the barriers and fear. And then the bullies start to be able to communicate, to let go of fear and speak and live from a place of love. It's not easy, but it is the work of your current world.

Other questions?

Q: I don't have a question. But I want to make a statement. Today is October 16, and if my mother were still alive, it would be her 100th birthday. I feel so good about that, because it seems that I love my mother more than ever. And I think she comes to me periodically. Sort of like lucid dreaming, she kind of warns me about things, I think. Today the hospital called me about an issue, and as part of that they said, “And your birthday is October 16th.” Which was amazing, I thought. That it would be on her 100th birthday really struck me, today. Thank you.

Aaron: Thank you for sharing that. Are there others here in the circle who have questions or something to share?

Q: Aaron, is the spirit world worried about us?

Aaron: Do you worry about those puppies who are fighting over the food? You know that, treated with love and properly instructed, informed would be a better word, they will turn into loving dogs, because this is their nature. As in your world, there are negatively and positively polarized spirits. And negatively polarized spirits, I can't say they're worried about you, they're egging you on into more fear and more disharmony. But positively polarized spirits just sit and watch, offer help where people are open to it, and trust your ability to evolve as you planned.

Q: It is nice to know that spirit trusts us, even when we don't trust ourselves.

Aaron: The wonderful thing about spirit, not all spirit but one like me who has evolved through the earth plane, is that I've been human. I know all the blunders I made. And I know that eventually I found a deep realization; that I moved past the blunders. You will too. The blunders are not really blunders. Let's just call them acting on misinformation, old conditioning and old beliefs. And eventually it drops off because you see it doesn't work. How many times are you going to hit your head against the wall before you stop? We don't protect you from hitting your head against the wall. We're simply here to catch you when you knock yourself out, and maybe suggest a different direction. But it's your choice. You have free will.

I want to add one more thing here related to what I said before. For thousands of years the Earth has been in a “me” phase. Only in the past hundred years have you been evolving out of that and into the “us” phase. You are moving into that Us phase, which is the essence of 4th density. You're on the threshold. It will take as long as it takes. If it takes a long time, there's probably going to be more pain. The more of you that commit yourself to this shift from me-centeredness to us, to knowing your broader being and your interconnection with everything, the less pain there's going to be. If these fingers begin to wage war with each other,  (holding up a hand) if one of them has a knife and starts to stab at the next one, what good is that going to do for the whole hand? So you're beginning to know the us-ness.

I would urge you all tomorrow or this weekend to go out and hug a tree. Simply spend some time holding a tree. Little tree, big tree, any kind of tree. Feel its energy. Offer it your loving wishes. Look at its beauty, its grace. Feel its strength. Thank it for being so beautiful and strong. Ask how you can serve the tree, and thank it for the way it serves you. Just love it. Just spend a few minutes with it, shifting from me to us.

So, are there questions from those on the phone?

Q: My question is, what is the skillful response to all of this government spying? Like the revelation from Edward Snowden.

Aaron: (unfamiliar with it) I don't watch the daily news... (laughter)

Signer: Can you say more just about your ideas so I can translate it to Aaron?

Q: Of course. The way that government is monitoring everybody's email and all their activities, their <phone> activities.

Aaron: One skillful response, I don't know... I'm understanding your question. Barbara has been feeling some anger that when she researches something on Google, opens one website, and suddenly she gets 20 emails about that topic from different places. How are they getting this information? So it made her ponder the question. Clearly somebody is looking in on what connections, what sites she looks at.

So in answer to your question, let's use a hypothetical situation. You live in a lovely neighborhood. You have one neighbor whose lawn is completely unkempt and there's garbage piled outside the house. He has a loud motorcycle that he drives in and out at 2am and 3am. There are frequent screaming arguments coming from the house. There's a vicious dog that runs at large in the neighborhood. Are you going to move away? What are you going to do?

So what if all of you, ten neighbors who are impacted by this neighbor, all together from a place of as much compassion as possible, not going in there with rage but compassion, come in and say, “We see that it's hard for you to maintain your yard.” Pick one simple area. “We'd love to do this for you because you have a beautiful home. And I know you work hard and have a busy family life. May we come in and mow your lawn for you today?” Why not? Maybe he'll say, “No, you can't do that.” Back down and try to find another way to approach it. But pick just one area, and offer it lovingly.

And while some of you are mowing the lawn, the rest of you sit down, probably with this man not with a Coke but a bottle of beer, just sit down with him. I don't want to stereotype him; maybe he'd prefer the Coke. But sit down with him and talk with him. Hear about his life. Get to know who he is. What fears does he have? What sense of limits does he have? He might tell you he's afraid of losing his job, he's having to work 70 hours a week, and his wife is angry and his children are upset. And he can't get anything done. And he's been trying to train his dog but he doesn't have time. And then one of you who's a dog trainer says, “Gee, I'd be glad to take him out for a walk every day and do some training with him.” And another one says, “I'm taking my kids to play ball on Saturday. I'll take your kids with me.” Slowly you help this man to move past his fears and to feel the power of your love.

Now how does this relate to a government? A government is simply government officials. You go to, I suppose your elected officials-- your mayor, your senator, your representative, and talk about the problem. Not in an irate manner, but a group of you, four or five of you together make an appointment and go in together and talk about how this concerns you and what is he doing about it, what is she doing about it. What ways of overcoming this are there? You meet the problem where it is, not diminishing the problem, not enhancing it with your anger, but simply saying no with compassion, and trying to hear. If you support this kind of policy, why do you support it? I don't understand it; can you explain it to me? After hearing her, maybe she can hear you, why you're upset about the policy. It doesn't matter whether it's about spying or what it's about. This is how we bring forth change in the world, through compassionate communication.

I see that it's 9 o'clock. I know there may be more questions, especially those on the phone who have not had a chance to ask. I hope you will forgive me for cutting you off at this point. If you do have questions, email them in so we may address them next month. (He adds: perhaps we can give the people on the phone the first chance to ask questions next month.)

So thank you all. I love you all. I have trust in you. I am delighted that you are here and pursuing these questions, and asking yourself, how do I do this with more love? And you are learning. Because you are willing to do this, you're going to change the world. It's going to be a gradual change, but it's going to change. There is so much more light coming from the Earth than there was a hundred years ago. There are also places of intense darkness, even more intense than there were a hundred years ago, because negative polarity is contracting with fear and wanting to push back. So you're going to have to be patient with that negative polarity, and yet continue to be clear and firm. Speaking with love, working to release your own fears, limits, angers. Not to get rid of, just to make space for. It arose from conditions, it will pass away. Rest in that spaciousness. When the anger goes, what's left? Rest in that loving heart.

I thank you, and I will say good night.

(session ends)