December 11, 2013 Wednesday with Aaron Christmas Stories

December 11, 2013 Wednesday, Aaron's Christmas Stories

Barbara while reviewing the transcript: With several of these stories, I have read and heard similar but not identical stories from Aaron before with slight variations in details. I asked him why the differences. For example, returning to the leper colony, in one telling he is alone, and here Jeshua is with him. He said, “It could have happened either way; I use poetic license to emphasize the focus of a story, which may differ in this or that telling. Please do not become ensnared in the small details but understand the deeper meaning.” I pointed out that at times it may confuse the reader, such as in the story of the rock hitting the bird. He thanked me and clarified this present story, to explain that he accidentally hit a bird with a rock when he was young, and now it was Jeshua who did so. But he says, “These are intended as teaching stories, not to give precise historical accuracy.”

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Welcome to perhaps our 25th telling of “Christmas stories”, an annual event. Many of you remember these stories told around a blazing fire in Barbara and Hal's living room. So I want you to picture yourself gathered in a circle, no fire tonight. But picture the campfire burning, and we're gathered together to hear some campfire stories.

Each year, I try to focus on a different facet of Jeshua and what I learned from him. Tonight I'd like to focus on the whole issue of ego versus non-ego, and especially ego and humility, both as aspects of the ego. When you need to build yourself up and feel important, to boss others around, to manipulate or take control, usually the ego and fear are speaking. But when you diminish yourself, think of yourself as small, that's also the ego.

So, for example, the one who says, “I'm running this show. I'm important,” that's ego, of course. But the one who, when you say thank you, replies, “Oh, it was nothing,” or when you say, “I appreciate your answers. You're so helpful.”—“Oh, it's nothing,” this is also ego. It's the part of you that is afraid of feeling powerful and so diminishes the self.

By contrast, we have Jeshua, who was on the human level a very warm and loving personality. But you could see that the personality was like a suit if outer clothes. He didn't believe that that was him. Behind the outer garments there was such a powerful yet empty spaciousness and love, like being drawn into a sky filled with stars at night, millions of stars glowing in a darkness that seems to go forever and ever. This was the experience that he gave.

Of course there was personal warmth. There was wisdom, there was humor. There was, at times, anger. But none of it was who he was. He reflected this quality of emptiness so powerfully to others that it helped them to see the places in themselves where the ego came in with either, I would not call it a false humility, but an ego-based humility, or an ego-based longing for recognition.

I first saw this quality in him when he was a very young boy. I was 5 years older than him, so this was Jeshua at about age 5 or 6. We were throwing stones at a target, a group of young boys aged maybe 4 to 12. Jeshua had thrown a stone that missed the target, went back into the brush behind the target, and there was a noise. He rushed forward to see what it had hit. A bird lay on the ground.

He was brokenhearted. I've told a similar story before, how I hit a bird with a rock when I was 5 or 6, and how Mary helped me trust my ability to help it revive. That story was about the power of intention. “Mary took this as a teaching opportunity to reawaken in me the power of holding our innate perfection and the perfection of others, and how that deep seeing of what is invites it forth. Of course, it was clear to me that "I" had not healed the bird. Then she said to me, "The soul magnifies the Lord." When you allow the radiance and the clarity of the soul to come forth deeply, then the divine can move through that soul and express itself into the world.“ (040725)

Now it was Jeshua's turn. When he first hit the bird, some of the older boys harangued him a bit, said, “Oh, you killed the bird. Look what you did! You're bad! You hit the bird!” He looked them right in the eye and said, “No, I had no intention to hit the bird. I am not bad. But I am responsible.” This, from a 5 year old. He didn't have to build up an ego or diminish an ego, he simply took responsibility. And then he did what was natural for him and brought the creature to his mother. She held it for a bit and then gave it to him to hold. After an hour or so, the bird really revived, and was ready (pause while latecomers enter and are seated) ...

One moment, please... We are talking about the quality in Jeshua of reflecting emptiness, not ego.

So he held the bird for about an hour. Everybody had assumed it was dead. His mother assured him no, it is not dead. Hold it and love it. When the bird came back to life, he brought it back to the brush and released it, and everybody said, “Oh, you did a miracle!” He said, “No, I did not do it. Our Father did it. The love in the bird did it. It is not my doing.” So he would not take the power that was given him. He would not allow himself to be elevated in that way. He had no ego that needed to be acclaimed. But he was not afraid of acclaim; it simply washed through him. When people put him on a pedestal, he simply handed it to God. “Not my doing.” So he kept hopping off the pedestal.

There was a situation in which we were walking in the countryside early in a morning and we heard some people wailing, crying. Apparently a wolf had come into the sheep flock during the night. The shepherds found the carcasses of these dead sheep, two or three of them, and also several sheep still living but badly injured. This was an older Jeshua. He did not make a show of healing. In your Bible there are only a few stories of miracles; this is because he did not want to consider them “miracles”, and did not want others to consider them miracles. Expressing wholeness and supporting it are the natural flow of events. Every being is whole. When you are reminded of your wholeness, you can further enact that wholeness, or you can forget it.

There were a half dozen of that flock that were slashed and cut, injured to one degree or other. He went from sheep to sheep, just holding them, really sitting down and holding each one in his lap for a few minutes. By the time he had finished with the last sheep, not just the ones that were wounded, but the ones that were traumatized, they were grazing and eating, walking around, the flock all calm. Several shepherds came to him with a kind of adoration, “You saved our flock.” They didn't know who he was. They said, “You must be some kind of divine being. What are you? Are you a god? What are you?” He said, “No, I am only Jeshua ben Joseph. I simply reminded your sheep that they were healthy and safe, and you can do the same.”

There were two or three sheep, the ones that were most badly wounded, that were still struggling. He turned to the first shepherd... (pausing to demonstrate) So the sheep is here, and he put his hand on the shepherd's back, and he took his hand. He said, “Feel my energy coming through your back. Feel it running down your hand. Think of your love for this sheep. Think of the wool it gives you, and the companionship, too. Think of the beauty of this creature. Send it love.” And he let his energy run through the shepherd's hand. I emphasize here the right hand, because energy comes in the left side and comes out the right. When you're sending energy out in that way, you want it to come out as much as possible through the right hand; although, if that's not possible, the left hand will do.

So he sent the energy out. And at first it was his energy. And then he retracted his energy some and left the shepherd sending energy to the lamb. The shepherd saw that he could do it, that the sheep slowly picked himself up. Then He turned to the next sheep, and another shepherd.

In this way he empowered others. Had he been different, he could easily have said, “Oh yes, I'm wonderful. I can do this. I can save things. Call on me any time you have something that needs to be saved.”

We are filming here... ( Aaron mimicking big pride; laughter)

His work was not to take this glory unto himself, but to empower others so that when he left, and if there was another attack from wolves, the shepherds knew what to do, and they knew they had the power to save their sheep.

Each time I was with him, when he did something unusual that displayed the vastness of his power, he never said, “Oh, I didn't do anything.” And he never said, “Yes, I am great.” He just said, “The Father's power flows through me as it flows through you. It is not my power but the power. Not my love but the love. Are you willing to be an instrument for that power and love?” Some people said, “I don't know how to do that.” And that was the false humility. And he would simply respond, “Yes, you do. It's your choice.” So he taught people to consider their fear of holding divine power, and how they could open themselves to be instruments of divine light without being self-identified with it and building ego on it.

There was a situation that I have also described before, where a young man was stoned by others for stealing food. A stone, hitting his temple in a certain way, killed him. Jeshua came to the scene while they were still throwing the stones. He probably knew that he could stop it, because he had that power, but also knew that perhaps this young man karmically was offering his life in this way to teach a lesson. Most of us do not have to make such choices. It's not that he allowed the man to die. It's not that he could have prevented it and allowed it. At that moment, as the stone hit his temple, as he fell to the ground, perhaps Jeshua could have “miraculously” saved him. But he chose not to do that, but to have these rowdies bear the consequences of their choice, of their acts.

I saw an enormous grief in him, then. When do we use our power? What if we do use our power and manipulate others? But others do need to experience the results of their choices or else they will simply keep repeating those unwholesome choices. So he used this as a very powerful teaching experience.

In this situation, the young man who was stoned had stolen some bread and given it to a young child. This young man had very limited mental capacity. He was known around the village. People knew of his limitations. He did not see himself stealing; he simply saw a very young child on the ground crying, knew she was hungry, and took bread that was there and handed it to her. And then people pointed-- “Thief! Thief!” and surrounded him and began to throw stones at him.

So here lay this now dead young man on the ground, the child still crying and stuffing the bread into her mouth. He asked, “Do you know whose child this is?”

“Yes, she is the child of the man who lives out in the fields beyond the edge of the village.”

“Is it not unusual for her to be here all alone?”

“Well, yes.”

“Did none of you people think to ask why this child is sitting here alone and crying?”

“Not my child, not my responsibility.”

And he became, I would not call it angry, but his face was filled with grief, with anguish for the capacity of the human to deny its compassion and responsibility, and move into a self-centered and hardened stance. He said to some of those who had been throwing the stones, “Shall we take the child and go see the father?”

They found the father with a broken leg at the foot of a ladder beside his house. He was half-conscious. He told them he had been there for more than 24 hours. The wife was dead;  he lived alone with his 3 year old. He finally had told the child, “Go to the village, go to the village.” Maybe a 2 year old, just barely capable of speech.

The people were chagrined. They realized what they had done, and he pointed out to them, very clearly and yet without judgment, “You had a choice. You could have paid attention to why this boy was stealing bread, could have seen the child. You could have taken the boy and the child and gone to find the father. Or you could have acted out your anger and killed. You chose. What are you going to do now?”

One of the men who threw the stones, perhaps the one that killed the boy, said, “We will take the child and this man into my home, my wife and I. We will care for him. We will feed him until he is up on his feet again.” Others said, “We will bring him food. We will share the burden of feeding and caring for them.”

So instead of shaming them, he showed them how to redeem themselves, how to make a clear and loving choice. But what's especially interesting to me is, he never said, “Do it my way. I know the answers.” He said, “What's in your heart? What do you feel should be done?” And again, he empowered them.

There was a time when I traveled with him, when a thief came, slept by our fire with a number of other people, and in the middle of the night took some of our food and other belongings. We found him the next day by the side of the road, selling the candlesticks. He had them set up in front of him, and he was talking to people and saying, “These are for sale. These are for sale.” Candlesticks, cloaks-- shoes, even. The things he had stolen from us.

Jeshua said to him, “If you had need, why did you not come to us and ask?” And the man said, “I am not worthy of your kindness, of your love; how could I ask?” Jeshua looked this man in the eyes and said, “No one is unworthy. No one is ever unworthy. Please give back the goods you have stolen. People will come forth here and take what is theirs. And please travel with us. Be with us, eat with us. And if you have needs, let us know your needs so we can meet your needs.”

The man shrunk down. He had so much shame, such a strong feeling of unworthiness. Later that night, sitting by the fire, most of the food was gone. This man and another man reached out for the last piece of meat. The previous night's thief looked with malice at the other. “You can't take my meat.” The first man said, “If you need it, you may have it.” He didn't say thank you; he just grabbed it.

We all went to sleep. We walked another day. This man accompanied us. You could feel the anger pouring out of him, the fear pouring out of him. People watched Jeshua, and whatever Jeshua did, they tried to imitate it. So Jeshua walked up and put his arm around the man. He asked him, “Where are you from? What do you do? Do you have a family?” He tried to talk to him, but the man was quite reticent.

The second night around the fire, a man reached for some meat. It wasn't the end of the food, but this man, seeing him reach out to take this piece of food, turned and hit him. He didn't hit him that hard, but the man fell over, and the way he fell, I would say he sprained the ankle. He just fell in an awkward way, lying there on the ground, moaning. This man again cowered in shame, saying, “Yes, I cannot control my anger. Something is wrong with me. I do not deserve to be here with decent people. I am bad.” And Jeshua put his arm around him again and said, “No, you are not bad. But you have not yet learned to love yourself, so how can you love others?”

The man said, “I will go. I've done harm to you. You showed me courtesy and I've done harm.” And Jeshua said, “No, you may not go. Now you have hurt a man, and he needs you. He will need you to take care of him. To help him by walking with his arm around your shoulder; to carry his possessions; to get him food, or whatever else he needs. He has become your responsibility.”

The man of our party who had the sprained ankle understood just what Jeshua was doing, and was very happy to accept the services of this man. He was a warm-hearted man, and each time this frightened, angry one came and brought him water or food, he said, “Thank you” and looked him in the eyes. He said, “Sit with me.” When we lay down to sleep for the night and the man brought him a robe for cover, he said, “Do you have a blanket?” “No.” “Well, this is big enough for both of us. Lie next to me.”

Jeshua in this way was helping both the angry one and the other man, for it was an opportunity for this one now with the sprained ankle to show his openheartedness, his courage, his awareness of the divine in the one who had hurt him. To try to draw him close in companionship.

We traveled for several days like that. The one whose ankle was sprained, I think it healed faster than he let on. He kept leaning on the other man, and the other man liked being leaned on. It helped him to feel needed. Eventually this injured one said, “Thank you, brother. My leg feels better today. I think I can walk alone.” Let's not call him the angry one; the one who had been angry looked a bit sad. “You don't need me anymore?” “I will always need you, but I don't need to lean on you.”

Jeshua, watching these exchanges for over a week, said to the one who had been angry, “Do you want other jobs to do here? You are strong. We could really use your help.” So he asked him to help carry some of the burdens, which were few. He asked him to find water when we stopped. He kept finding little chores for him. Gradually this man began to feel useful, perhaps for the first time in his life.

Toward the end of the second week, he turned to Jeshua and said, “You have saved my life. This is a miracle you have done. I am such a changed man in just two weeks!” And Jeshua said to him, “No, I have done nothing. You have done it all. I take no credit for this. I have simply pointed you to opportunities that you have been able to avail yourself of. To find out who you are, and to begin to know your true strength.”

An interesting thing happened. As we went into the third week, and this man was gaining more confidence, he started to boss others. He started to feel important. So he would tell others, “You do this with the fire. You do this with the food.” Others were upset. They didn't want to be bossed around, especially by this man who had hurt one of them. But again, we all followed Jeshua's lead. The man even tried to tell Jeshua what to do. Jeshua just smiled at him. This is a very vivid scene for me.

We needed water. The kettle was burning low for boiling the water, so he said to Jeshua, “Go to the creek and refill it.” And Jeshua just looked at him. “Do you really think I should go to the creek and refill it?” The man shrunk. “Oh, I'll go. I'll go.” And Jeshua said, “Do you really think you should go to the creek and refill it?” “Who else?” Jeshua smiled a beaming smile and he said, “Let us go together.” So together they carried the pail down to the creek and filled it with water, carried it back.

The man was trying to take power over Jeshua and over the whole group, and when he was not given power, tried to revert to his old shamed unworthiness. And Jeshua would not permit him to do either.

That night Jeshua spoke to us all, a talk I will never forget. He said to us, to each, looking each in the face, “Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?” People stuttered a bit. They didn't know what to do with his question. They answered at first by, “I'm Joe,” or Fred. “I'm a shepherd.” I'm a this or a that. And he repeated, “Who are you? Who are you?” “I am nobody.” “Who are you?” “I am important.” “Who are you?” He spent almost an hour. Each time somebody offered something, again, looking that person in the eye, “Who are you?”

And finally there was one very young man in the group, perhaps 14 or 15, who seemed to get it first. He said, “I am the consciousness of love.” Jeshua smiled a beaming smile, went and embraced this young man. Sat him beside him. “Yes, you are the consciousness of love. And who are you?” Gradually people got it. And he said, “What does it mean to be the consciousness of love? Not to think about love or to do loving deeds, but to be love? To be grounded in this,” he did not call it Christ Consciousness, this highest consciousness that's interconnected to everything, and through whom the divine can flow?”

This is what he taught. He is quoted in your Bible as saying, “The only way to the Father is through me.” He did not mean me, the personal man, Jeshua, but through the Christ Consciousness which is essential to each of you, through that awakened consciousness. If you're a Buddhist, call it Buddha nature. It doesn't matter what you call it. Awakened consciousness. The only way to know the divine essence of all things is through knowing it in yourself. And when you know it in yourself, you come to the clear place where you don't live through a strong ego that either builds up the self above others, or diminishes the self below others. But you know that everybody is a part of that same essence, and you see it reflected in each being's eyes. There is nobody outside that circle of love and of light. You are that.

Walking, we passed a place where there were lepers and we heard cries. Jeshua headed up the hill, up a steep path. He said, “Come with me or wait here, as you like.” I was moved to follow him, but my son Mark, was with me. I was not afraid for myself so much, but afraid for Mark. But I was determined at least to follow far enough to see what was happening.

Again, I have told this story, some part of it, before, and similar ones. There are only so many stories, but I'm trying to bring out new insights into these stories. There was a whole colony of lepers. These people were considered to be highly contagious, and so they were not permitted to be with others but segregated from society. There was a woman having difficulty giving birth. The woman's mother and another midwife sat beside her. She was straining and crying, and Jeshua immediately understood that the presentation was awkward in some way and the baby could not come forth.

I was hanging back and sheltering Mark behind me, not wanting him to make physical contact with any of these people. Jeshua looked at me. He knew I was a shepherd. He knew I knew how to help a lamb give birth. He said, “Nathaniel, will you help?” If I had said, “No, I cannot,” he would not have thought less of me, or loved me less. It was my decision, but I knew I had to do it.

We had hot water with which I cleansed my hands. I put the hand in and shifted the child. It had a hand over its head so that the head could not come forth, and the hand had to be pushed back in so the head could come forth. It is really a simple procedure, one I had done with lambs many times, where a leg had gotten into an awkward presentation. As soon as the arm was shifted, the birth came, a seemingly healthy child.

Jeshua took the child, looked at me, and handed it to Mark. I was very scared for a moment, and then I knew Jeshua would never willingly do harm to Mark. If taking this child from a leprous mother and holding this child gave my son leprosy, I trusted Jeshua that this is what needed to happen, somehow. I let go of trying to control the situation. I watched Mark sit down and rock the baby, clean it off a bit, as he had helped clean off newborn lambs when the mother was not ready to do that work. He held it until the mother was ready to receive it and nurse it.

Many people came forth in that village after the birth, and Jeshua greeted all of them. They asked us to share their meal. People with maimed hands, leprous hands, handed us food. I was still scared to let Mark eat of the food, but I kept surrendering, letting go. We spent the night there. Then we went on our way.

Two weeks later, coming back on that same trail, returning in the opposite direction, Jeshua said, “Let us go and see what's happened to these people.” When we came into that village, people who had been so sick had much more energy. Their limbs, they had not regrown fingers, but the leprous scabs on the hands and face had disappeared, and the skin looked healthy. The people were much more vibrant. They all came to him and said, “You did a miracle for us!” They wanted to kneel down and worship him. He looked at them and he said, “No, I did nothing. It was you who brought forth this miracle, because you trusted your capacity to open to your wholeness and reflect that wholeness. You are made in the image of the Father and Mother; how can you be less than whole? In the past, you chose to reflect something less than wholeness out of fear, out of misunderstanding. All I did was to remind you of who you are. You did the rest.” People still wanted to put him on a pedestal. He just kept jumping off.

A year later, I had the opportunity, not with Jeshua but on my own, to pass by that village again. And again I climbed up the hill and into the center of the village. Again, missing fingers and such had not grown back, but there was no sign of leprosy except for those digits that had been lost through the disease. The disease was really healed in all of them. They were a group with a mission. Traveling in groups of four or five, they walked through the countryside, sometimes weeks distant, to other leper communities, not to administer to the lepers but to awaken them to the fact that only on the surface were they lepers. And it was their choice to perpetuate that belief in who they were, or to come to know their wholeness.

These communities that they visited, they were not totally transformed as this one had been. I do attribute that to Jeshua's power. Who can say what he did? He did have the ability to heal, but I think it was more his ability to help people remember: you are That. You are God. You are in God's image. How can you be less than whole? And because he knew this-- not believed it, knew it-- so deeply in this own heart, this is what came through to people. He held the mirror of their divinity up for them, reflected in his eyes, reflected in his whole being, so that anybody looking at him could not hold onto any idea of incompleteness or wrongness, and could not perpetuate wrongness in their lives.

Now, I'm not saying everybody he met transformed immediately. You had to be willing to look into his eyes. You had to be willing to take that possibility into yourself and manifest it. Not everybody was ready to do that. So they would look at him and look away. He never forced them. He only held the gaze. So when somebody looked away and then looked back again, he was still right there looking at them, full presence. “This is the divine self. You are this, also. Be this.”

I find Jeshua very much available to us still, today, and his message is the same: “Do not worship me, but be me. Be the divine consciousness in every aspect of your lives. And through this divine consciousness, literally transform the Earth.”

There's one more story that comes to mind. There was a man of great wealth and power. He was used to having his own way, and when somebody defied his wishes, he would usually beat them, even to death. Jeshua did not seek him out. Many had heard of him, heard how powerful he was, and that nobody would dare to defy him. But we were in a larger city where this man lived, and there he was on the street, beating somebody.

Jeshua simply put himself between the man with the stick, a club, really, not just a stick, and the one he was beating, who was now bloody and lying on the ground. The man tried to push him out of the way. Jeshua just held his space. Some of you have done the pushing arms exercise with me or with Barbara. It was almost like that. As the man stepped, Jeshua stepped. The man raised the club. Jeshua, he did not let himself be clubbed, he just raised his arm and diverted the club. (demonstration) He didn't use his power to divert the club; he simply took the energy and gave it back. But you could see the light and power of him.

After a few minutes of this, this man was intimidated. He was both enraged and intimidated. He finally fell to his knees before Jeshua, and said, “You are more powerful than me. Teach me your power.” Jeshua said, “The power comes only from love. I cannot teach it. You must awaken to it. The source of your power has been hatred, fear, and self-service, and true power comes only from love.” The man began to cry, “I cannot love. I do not know how to love.”

Here is a powerful image for me: Jeshua, sitting there on the ground holding this man, who let himself cry in front of this crowd of people before whom he had always been the strong despot. Letting himself be humble. You might think he would humiliate himself. Well, that's very different. Humble and humiliated are very different. Humiliated means ashamed. Humble means letting go of the image of having to be somebody, and surrendering that whole sense of powerful self to the Christ self, the divine Self. He just sat, rocking in Jeshua's arms, for maybe 10 minutes.

Finally, he stopped crying. He asked Jeshua, “What do I do, Lord?” Jeshua said, “Do not call me Lord. Call me Brother. As to what to do, forgive yourself, and ask forgiveness of others.”  The man turned to the one he had been beating, and he said, “Can you forgive me?” This man, who was seated on the ground, still bleeding a bit; others had been helping wash his wounds off and bandaging his wounds, but he was hurt, he looked at Jeshua, bewildered. And Jeshua nodded yes. He put his hands around the man's shoulder, and he said, “Yes.” (Jeshua said:) “From where does forgiveness come?” And he put his hand on the man's heart. And the man looked at the one who had beaten him and said, “Yes, I forgive you.”

The man turned to others, who he had brutalized through the years, tears in his eyes. He was terrified. He was shaking. “Who will I become if I am not the powerful one?” This one, that one, “Can you forgive me?” And each one, looking at Jeshua, coming forth and saying, “Yes, I forgive you.” Someone brought the man a warm beverage to drink. Someone else brought him something to wipe the tears. Several of them sat down beside him. He continued to cry, off and on. He allowed this ego based in fear that had dominated him throughout his life and put him in a position of being the despot, to dissolve, allowed himself to touch the heart of love.

Finally he turned to Jeshua and said, “I have others' forgiveness. How do I forgive myself?” Jeshua just looked him in the eyes and said, “That is the hardest work. You can do it. Please try.” He taught him something akin to the forgiveness meditation that many of you practice here at Deep Spring Center. Forgiving others, asking for forgiveness, receiving forgiveness, and turning the light of forgiveness on oneself.

Whatever I have done, whatever harm I have done others, I ask forgiveness. However others have harmed me, I offer forgiveness. And to myself, I forgive myself for falling prey to these vast human forces of fear, of ego, of confusion, and enacting them. I hereby promise myself to cease to enact this negativity, but to rest in the heart of love.

My last image of that day was people spontaneously bringing forth food and setting it out in the square. There, where the man who had been beaten, and the man who had been doing the beating, were sitting, a spontaneous meal came together, everyone sharing food. So many of these people had suffered under this man, but the love re-awakened by Jeshua that came up in their hearts, led them to offer food and brotherhood.

As the group ate, Jeshua nodded to a small group of followers, and gradually, two at a time, we got up, said thank you, just eased our way out. He did not want people to build him up and say, “Oh, look what you did here, look how you healed us.” Just, “Thank you. We must go.”

I have such joy recalling these memories. He was my friend, my teacher, in many ways my brother. I love him. I try not to put him on a pedestal, because I know he would not want me to do that. But rather, to be that awakened consciousness in myself, and to invite you, all of you to whom I speak, to be that enlightened consciousness. This is the greatest gift we can give him.

Let's open the floor here to your questions.

Q: Please describe what happened to Mary Magdalene and Jeshua after resurrection, where they traveled.

Aaron: They traveled to areas of England and France. They had a lovely family. Jeshua's energy was so high that he held himself apart somewhat from people; lived more an isolated life. His presence was powerful. He learned how to diminish the energy somewhat so people could be around him. But mostly he simply lived quietly with his wife and raised his family. He continued to teach, but not a vocal ministry as much as simply through his being.

Q: How can you empower others without taking their power and still not be immersed in their suffering?

Aaron: Two different questions. Let's start with how not to be immersed in their suffering. A basic Buddhist prayer: All beings are heirs to their karma and inherit its results. Their lives are within this karma, and its results will be their home.

I am born of karma, I am heir to karma, I abide in karma, and I am supported by karma.

When I act with intention, I am the owner of my actions and inherit their results.

My future is born from such actions, and their results will be my home.

All actions with intention, be they skillful or harmful, of such acts will I be the heir.

This is the foundation for upekkha, equanimity. We see the suffering of others. We hold open the door so that others may find release from that suffering, but we understand we cannot push them through that door. It's their free will.

I've talked here at times about the example where you are sitting on the end of a dock, the water deep around you. Somebody walks out on the dock, looks at you, jumps in the water, and then screams, “I can't swim! Help!” You pull them out, of course. You help them back up on the dock. “Are you okay?” You help them dry off. You turn away. They jump back in again. “Help! I can't swim!” How many times are you going to pull them up? At what point do you pull that person out of the water, take them firmly by the hand and lead them off the dock, and then say to them, “I am leaving. If you go back and jump in the water, you may drown;  it's your choice.” You cannot force somebody.

So we must learn to trust others' choices, even when it seems those choices are leading them to harm. But we must always also try to open a door and show them new options. It takes a lot of love, equanimity, and courage to let somebody keep banging their head against the wall until they're ready to stop. No matter how long you hold them from banging their head against the wall, as soon as you release them, they'll keep banging it again.

What option do you offer? “Brother, why do you keep jumping in the water? Why do you keep banging your head against the wall?” The person might say, “Because I'm not good. I'm a thief. I'm a murderer. I have too much hatred in me. Nobody loves me.” All you can say is, “I hear you.” You can't say, “Oh yes, everybody loves you.” Only, “I hear you. I hear how negatively you feel about yourself. But I see in you the divinity that you reflect, as well as the negative. Please consider trying to express some of that divinity, to trust that it's there.” But eventually, if the person jumps back into the lake again, that's their choice.

So we develop a sense of equanimity about suffering, which is always willing to address the root causes of suffering, but is not caught up in trying to fix suffering, only to attend to it with love. To witness it, as it were. To be willing to see the suffering is sometimes the strongest power, that people are seen and heard. So that's part one.

The first part of your question, will you repeat the first part of your question?

Q: How do you not take someone's power and still empower them?

Aaron: You will take someone's power by taking them off the dock with their arms tied, forcing them into a building of some sort, and saying, “I won't let you go until you make the decision not to jump off the dock again.” Eventually they're going to escape and jump off the dock again. You're not empowering them; you're simply taking their power and forcing them.

You empower them by talking to them, by loving them, by true heart-to-heart communication. I don't mean here necessarily psychotherapy, although that can be helpful in your current times, but friendship. Sometimes people just need to feel heard; their distress heard, their fears, their pain, and that others are willing to witness that pain without recoiling from it.

When you see them not just as a being in pain but as a whole and radiant being that is in pain, you communicate that simply in your being. You are not just the anger, not just the inadequacy or the hatred or the cowardice, you are also this, this divine essence. You don't even have to say that. You communicate it simply by being willing to witness the other's distress without recoiling. Just that presence, that's all. That empowers the other.

And of course you help where you can. If the person says, “I literally have no more money. I have no money to buy food to feed my children this week,” you try to set them up with whatever social services there are, to help them find work and food and so forth. But then you step back. You do not take them into your home and feed them and disempower them by communicating the message, “I don't trust that you're going to be able to do it, so I'll take care of you now and for the rest of your life.”

I want to clarify that. If we have somebody who is very ill, perhaps with a disease that has not yet been treated, a physical disease or a mental disease, they may need that kind of care for a while before they are ready to accept the empowerment. So I'm not saying you turn your back on others. But you take care of others while constantly helping them to see their own strength and power and skills and wisdom, to empower them in that way. Ask yourself what within you  might wish to “save” others so as to feel powerful yourself?

Q: Was the crucifixion necessary?

Aaron: You ask tough questions, daughter! If you're asking was there any other recourse, of course every action has its results. If a different action had happened, there would have been different results. He had the power, the core essence of divinity, that perhaps he could have brought forth the needed results in another way. I cannot answer that. I trust his choice. He did not say, “I want to die and become a martyr.” Rather, he was willing to accept the life and death that were given him, the work that was given him.

He did not know through most of his life exactly where it was going to lead. Even the night before the crucifixion, he wondered, “Must I do this?” He saw how the ego said, “No, I don't want to do it.” And the deeper consciousness, the Christ consciousness, said yes, not knowing what would happen. Perhaps he would be freed. How could he know? The crowd freed Barabbas, “Free him! Free him! Crucify the other!” The crowd could have chosen to free Jesus. He did not know how it would go, only that the divine surrender was to say, “Thy will be done. I will trust this process.”

He also knew that at some level the human had to die in order to be reborn and in order to demonstrate the resurrection, and all that that meant. He was willing to do that. He had been trained to do that demonstration. He had incarnated to do it. So if he had not been crucified, he probably would have needed to approach death in some other way in order to do the necessary demonstration of the resurrection. This was his way of saying that we do not end when the body ceases. There is that which lives on, this divine consciousness, and you are that and not this body, with its form, its mind, the rest of the aggregates.

So I would say yes, it had to happen, although not necessarily in that form.

An interesting question. We see Judas as the betrayer. There's a line, I believe in a song by Bob Dylan, a song, With God on Our Side. The words, I believe, are, “I can't say it for you // You'll have to decide // Whether Judas Iscariot // Had God on his side.” Contemplate that. Was he also simply expressing the divine will? We can't know whether it was his ego that said, “Yes, I'll betray him.” or whether at some deep place he knew he needed to do this and it broke his heart. We don't know that. Only, be careful when you look at another and condemn them without fully knowing their motives. Remember, no matter who you are pointing a finger at, that divine essence is within them. Some people may do horrendous deeds of abuse to others. It is never okay to harm others, and yet the beings that inact that abuse are always being led to the point where they have a choice. We might consider that they are simply living out their karma and the opportunity to shift that karma, to release and balance it.  Perhaps the ones who become the “victims” of the abuse are really also clarifying their own karma, balancing their own karma, allowing the abuse in order to allow the other finally to stop and say, “No, I cannot kill anymore.” How many people can you kill before you must say, “I cannot do it anymore?” When does that awaken in you?

We see this in part in places like Gandhi's India, where his opposition had guns. They were able to kill people, and finally they said, “I can't do this anymore,” and threw down the guns. When you are faced by this kind of loving courage that doesn't condemn you, the act empowers you to release the negativity, the dark side of yourself, and to allow the expression of the light that is your essence. Perhaps some people who seem to be the victims of abuse have accepted that role, consciously or unconsciously, in order to help transform the Earth by helping people see the shadow side of themselves and lay it aside. If only one in a thousand lays it aside, is that sufficient? Who can say?

Simply, don't make fast judgments, “This is good, that is evil,” but begin to consider how everything is the result of conditions. And keep your heart open both to the persecutor and the persecuted. This again was always his message.

So let us stop here and give you a chance to taste whatever goodies are there on the library table and to socialize a bit. I love to share this annual evening with you, to share the stories of remembrance of him. As you celebrate his birth, thank him for the gifts he gives you, especially for awakening to your true self as you reflect on him and his message.

Whatever benefits may come from our reflections tonight, may all beings benefit from those reflections. May we all grow into this divine consciousness and the ability to express it fully; to know ourselves as beings of light and our Earth as a planet of light, of the highest vibration of love. May this be our commitment as we walk through this lifetime. May there be more and more clarity of the walk, of knowing who you are.

I love you. Thank you.

(session ends)