161012wC Wednesday with Aaron; Presidential Candidates and the Compassionate No

October 12, 2016 Wednesday with Aaron

Exercises and Practices of Non-Duality; both/and, not either/ or; Presidential Candidates and the Compassionate No; embracing the painful catalyst as teacher.

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. We continue with the topic of last month, non-duality. This month, I offer less an explanation of it than how we live that non-duality. I'm going to do something I have never done before and begin by speaking of your upcoming presidential election. I choose not to involve myself in the real life choices that you make personally or as a nation or a world. You have free will, and these are your choices. But I think there's something important to learn about non-duality by regarding the various personae in this election.

Every human is a mix of positive and negative polarity. You are all growing into positive polarity. No matter how deeply enmeshed in negative polarity, each being is moving into the light. But some beings are still very much in darkness. I would say that all of you have come into incarnation to explore this balance of light and darkness in the self, and to use your free will choice to bring forth the light and release the darkness. If everything was light, there would be no catalyst. You do not need suffering. You do not need negative experiences. They remind you, however, to pay attention. And when you pay attention, you learn. And unfortunately many of you do not pay attention unless something grabs you, shakes you. So this loyal opposition come forth as teachers, as it were; unpleasant teachers, but teachers.

There is a beautiful practice in which we observe that which grabs us with discomfort. You observe the person who is painful to you, the one who you simply dislike, or the situations that you dislike. Often these are in some way either mirrors of yourselves or mirrors of something that you see the potential of in yourself. So if there is a person who is very impatient, and this person really bothers you, you might stop and ask yourself, what is it about this person that disturbs me so much? Well, their impatience. Why can't I just let them be impatient? Perhaps because they reflect the possibility of your own impatience, even if it doesn't come up often or you don't act on it. You see how close you are to experiencing that impatience and acting upon it. You dislike that characteristic. So this person, he or she bothers you because the behavior is threatening your self-image. That could be you.

Everything comes as teacher. Furthermore, we manifest what we need as teacher. So if you have a presidential candidate who brings up a lot of aversion for many of you, why have you as a nation manifested this candidate? What are you learning, individually and nationally?

We see that this man has followers, people who stand before him shouting his name and are in agreement with his words. I'm told recently at a rally he spoke about putting his opposition in prison if he won the election, and the people around him started yelling, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” What kind of negativity are we seeing here? Is there anyone in this audience who at some time in your life has not reacted to something with that kind of anger? Perhaps you felt your beliefs were right and the others are wrong. Perhaps you expressed, or chose not to express, what we could call righteous anger.

This instrument, Barbara, talks about how she came to non-violent action in social arenas—the peace movement, the human rights movement; going on Freedom Rides, committing civil disobedience to block the launching of nuclear submarines. But she understands now, 50 years later, that she did not do it peacefully. Her heart was saying, to some degree, “Lock it up! Lock up those nuclear submarines! Lock up those bigoted people!”

You draw to you what you need to learn. And for those of you whom I am addressing, you are probably very intent on learning compassion, loving kindness, peace in your hearts. But you can't just say, “No, I won't have anger!” When the conditions are present, anger will arise. So you have invited both of these candidates, each of them stirring perhaps some areas of negativity in you. You have invited them because you have something to learn, personally and as a world.

if this candidate did not have a strong following, he would not be a candidate. Therefore, this whole negative movement that he represents, of oppression, of hatred, of lust for power, this has been lying fallow under the surface, waiting for something to bring it forth. And perhaps the only way to heal it is to let it emerge and be seen rather than keeping it buried.

You are free to like or dislike anybody. But instead of raging over him, can we say, “Thank you for what you are bringing forth and teaching us. And no, we will not see you elected.” It doesn't matter which candidate you're for, it's the same question. If you find negativity in the female candidate, it's the same thing. “Thank you for whatever you have come to teach us.” And whichever candidate, “No, I will not support your election.” As we practice in this way, we begin to see those aspects of ourselves, our nation and world that have been buried under the surface, that we have not wanted to allow, to let them emerge, and to attend to them so they no longer have power.

There's a beautiful story that I've shared here before, and you may have read elsewhere, also, about the Tibetan saint Milarepa. He had come back from picking up firewood, and he had a big bundle of firewood next to him. When he reached his home area, he saw demons of fear, of hatred, of greed. He opened his eyes and looked, and they were dancing all around him, taunting him. He didn't know what to do. His first impulse was to take up a stick of firewood and begin to chase them. And the more he chased them, the more they laughed at him. They were delighted, “Ooo, we're really getting to him!” So he saw that chasing them wouldn't work.

So he sat and looked at them for a while, and thought, “Maybe they've always been here and I just never noticed them. All right, I'll just be present with them, watch them.” When he stopped chasing them, most of them got bored and left in time. But there was one big demon with bulging eyes, big fangs, long claws, who followed Milarepa. Wherever Milarepa went, this demon was right behind.

Milarepa pondered this a bit. “What do I do?” And finally he realized there was only one option. He walked up to this demon, put his head in the demon's cavernous mouth, and said, “Eat me.” This is a hard practice. It's saying you are me and I am you, and I end the separation. No more me as the good one, you as the bad one. “Eat me. Let us merge.” Only when we allow ourselves to merge with that which appears negative, without losing that within us which is affirmed to the positive, to love, to compassion, to wisdom, only when we allow that merging can there be any learning, because only in this way can we begin to have compassion for that which has been seen as negative, out there and within, and invite the healing of it. And only then as our own innate compassion emerges can the - I can't use the word “other,” there is no self or other -what is seen as the other, begin to discover its own innate compassion, and begin the journey from darkness into light. As long as we assign it as the dark and we are the light then it must maintain itself as the dark. Can we allow it to emerge into light? Can we invite it through acknowledgment of our own darkness, and the non-duality of darkness in ourselves?

So as you fret over this candidate, please remember the power that his presence gives you to heal yourselves, to heal the world.

I would like to tell a story here which is really Barbara's story to tell. But I don't want to bring her out of a trance, so I will tell it for her. Many years ago, in 1960, she was picketing at a company that built nuclear submarines, a non-violent demonstration. They were picketing there every week. This was the first time she had been there. Many people surrounded the picketers, angry because these picketers were saying, “No, what you are doing as a livelihood, we feel is wrong.”

One man came up to her; he was very belligerent and perhaps a bit intoxicated. He pushed Barbara hard so she fell over on the ground. Following what she had been taught, and remember this is an 18-year-old woman, not very knowledgeable in worldly ways, but she covered her head and just stayed down. He kicked at her with his foot, not hard enough to break ribs. She could tell he was more interested in humiliating her and creating discomfort than doing damage. Finally people pulled him off. Others helped her to stand up. She picked up her sign, she continued her picketing. As they pulled him away, he said, “I'll see you next week, if you're not too scared.”

Well, she was not only scared, she was terrified, as she puts it. But she knew she had to come back. Week after week this scenario played itself out. She has said if she had it to do today, she would probably do it a bit differently, would have confronted him in a non-violent way, rather than just curling up and letting herself be kicked; would have stood up and said, “No, you may not kick me” in a peaceful and loving way. But then, as a youth, she just covered her head and stayed on the ground.

Week after week after week this dance proceeded. Finally, as he pushed her over and she went down, as she lay there on the ground, she thought to herself, “Maybe I'm not so bad. So much anger has come up during these weeks, even hatred, but I have not kicked him. I have not hit him. I have not scolded him.” Somehow that opened a place of compassion for herself, which opened a place of compassion for him. Out of that compassionate energy there was a shift. She looked up at him. It was the first time they really made eye contact. She had not yet covered her head, she was on the ground looking at him. He said to her, “Why do you keep coming back?” And she said, “Why do you keep coming back?” He gave her his hand, helped her stand up. They looked at each other and made the decision, with his comrades and hers, to go off to a local pizza place and talk.

As she tells it, when people have asked her what made the difference, what opened the dialogue, she “Compassion for us both.”

This is the same as putting your head in the demon's mouth. What allows us to do that is our deep commitment to being as loving as we are able to be in each moment. To supporting that which is of love and light in the world, even when there is fear, even when there is anger. How do you learn this? That's the question. So here I want to begin to share some of the, let's just call them exercises and practices of non-duality that can lead you to be present with anger without being self-identified with it, present with fear without being self-identified with it.

Let's start with a simple statement: that which is aware of anger is not angry. That which is aware of fear is not afraid. We are not saying there is no anger or fear, only we will not become lost in it but will remember that which is not angry, not afraid, right there with the fear and anger. Opening the heart.

I would ask you to begin in a simple way. Bring into your thoughts, into your mind and your heart, an incident in the past week which was uncomfortable for you, a situation in which there was fear or anger, greed, jealousy or impatience. Everything in this conditioned world arises out of conditions and ceases when the conditions cease. If this emotion arose, it's because there were certain conditions to support the arising. It's not who you are, but it has arisen in you and you are responsible to it.

Whatever has the nature to arise also has the nature to cease. But that's a, let's call it a movement. It arises and it passes away. This is the mundane realm. In the unconditioned realm there is nothing arising and nothing ceasing.

Imagine, if you will, watching the sun rise and set from your home on the earth. In the morning it seems like the sun rises. It crosses the sky and at night it sets. It's gone. The next day, there it comes again, rising. Yes, here is the sun! Ooo! It's gone!

Now climb in a spaceship with me and let's go out, out and out into space, to a place far enough away that we can see the orb of the earth and the orb of the sun and how the earth is simply moving around the sun and on its own axis. Turning, moving around as the seasons pass. Did anything really arise or cease? Yet this is certainly the illusion.

When a painful physical sensation or emotion arises, we think, here it is! But it really is simply the result of conditions. It has always been theer and the conditions revealed it. Let's use a simple example. Perhaps you were abused in some way as a child. Perhaps the abuser had a certain kind of appearance— maybe heavyset with a grimace and a tense energy. You are taking a walk and somebody approaches you, a heavyset person with a grimace and a contracted energy. Can you see how fear will arise? The seed of the fear was always there; it arose because of conditions. It has nothing to do with the person who's approaching you, it has to do with your conditioning. The prior conditions give rise to an idea: this person is going to be challenging to me, is going to create something painful for me. So you contract. You walk up to him and say, “Why are you angry at me?” He's in such a mood that he pushes you, and you push back.

Now let's go back a step. This man, he just found out that he lost his job. He got to work that morning and was given a slip saying, “You're finished.” He was expected to be gone all day, and when he got home, he found his wife in bed with another man. He's had a tough morning; he lost his job and he's found his wife is cheating on him. He's angry! He's in pain. It has nothing to do with you. You perceived, his anger, then, “Oh, it must be about me.”

What if you had walked up to him and said, “You look like you're in a lot of pain. Can I be of any help to you? I have a thermos of tea with me. Would you like to sit down and have a cup of tea with me and talk about it?” Ahh, suddenly his heart opens. He starts to cry. He says, “Thank you so much.” And suddenly he doesn't look so tough. He doesn't look like the person who would abuse you. He looks like a human who needs your compassion. It changes everything because you have not gotten caught up in the story, “This is a monster!” But, “Can I be of help?” In a sense, you've put your head in the demon's mouth.

It's very hard to do, because some of the stories that come grab us so hard, and are so painful. So we start with the intention, which we need really to hold every morning as we arise: Today my highest intention is to serve with love and the open heart. To be compassionate to myself and others. To do no harm, but only good. And whatever catalyst comes to me, I will welcome it as a teacher. I will watch fear and even hatred arise, and notice them as objects arisen from conditions, knowing this came because of past conditioning, this fear, this anger, this jealousy, this greed. And no matter how many thousands of times this has arisen and I've reacted to it, today I hold the intention not to react, or at least to hold more space around this self who has reacted. So we start with the intention to be increasingly loving in our lives.

Compassion does not mean letting people bulldoze you. Compassion is strong and it knows how to say no. But it says no with kindness, not with hatred. It's something that each of you needs to learn and is capable of learning. And beyond that, each of you is here on earth literally to learn it. You are here to express the innate loving kindness of your true being. It is hard, but it's possible.

There's a beautiful Buddhist sutra on right effort. Some of the words are, Abandon the unwholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. Cultivate the wholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. But it is possible.

He goes on to say, it is possible and you can do it, as you cultivate a special kind of intention and effort, let's call it non-grasping effort. The effort to stay as centered in the loving heart as possible, and to know this deepest essence of your own and all beings.

You'll notice I am not suggesting the anger is unreal, the fear is unreal, the greed is unreal. These are real experiences. You are human; they come to you. The question is not whether these experiences will arise but how you will relate to them. If you relate by judging yourself, feeling shame, it closes you up. When you relate with loving kindness, it helps the heart stay open. And then you can be kind with what has arisen for yourself, and because of that kindness, the one who is stalking you, pointing fingers at you, blaming you, doesn't feel judged. How do we open the door for people like this political candidate, who seems so filled with negativity? Through kindness.

There's one more teaching story I would share. Please don't draw parallels. This is merely a teaching story. There was a murderer. They called him Angulamala. A mala is a necklace and angula in that language was a digit, a finger. He killed people, cut off their fingers, and threaded them on a grisly necklace. He was a murderer filled with much hate. He despised himself, so he despised other people.

The story goes that the Buddha came into a town. Somebody opened a door and said, “Come inside quickly! Angulamala is out there on the streets. He'll kill you!” The Buddha said, “Thank you very much for warning me,” and he just walked on. Somebody else said, “Come inside!” “It's okay,” and he walked on.

Sure enough, as he walked down the street he heard behind him a shout. “You there, stop!” The Buddha kept walking. The voice coming closer. “I told you to stop!” The Buddha kept walking. Finally this person came around and stood in front of him, and the Buddha could see the grisly mala around his neck. “I told you to stop! Do you know who I am? I'll kill you in an instant!” The Buddha looked him in the eyes and simply said, “I have stopped. It's you who have not stopped.” I have stopped, it's you who have not stopped. Powerful words!

Angulamala at that point fell to the ground, sobbing, aware of the truth of these words. This man who prided himself on his power and ability to do everything, he could do everything but stop acting out his hatred and fear. He said to the Buddha, “Will you teach me?” The Buddha said yes. He became a monk. Through many years as a monk, he found ways to release and purify this hatred of himself and others, to allow the innate loving kindness in himself to emerge. He had a lot of practice because he went from town to town with the Buddha and the group of monks, and when people saw him, they screamed, “Angulamala!” and they threw rocks and rotten fruit at him. He was a monk, shaved head, dressed in his monks' robes, and he simply allowed himself to be pummeled, knowing that he had brought this onto himself.

Eventually the power of his presence won the people over, and instead of saying, “It's Angulamala! Kill him!”, they said, “It's Angulamala, the one who has opened his heart, who has learned to love.” And they began to love him. Each of you has this power in yourself. This is part of putting your head in the demon's mouth.

So let's talk now for a few minutes on how to do this in a practical way. I would like one of you out there to go to the freezer and get ice cubes and some paper towels. We will bring some ice cubes and paper towels into the room, so those here may try it and you may try it. Please get your ice cube. I won't talk anymore until you come back…

I want you to take the ice cube and hold it in one hand with the paper towel… I'd like you to take the ice cube and rest it on the back of one hand. Just resting it on your hand. Every physical sensation, every emotion, every thought, is either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. When you first put it on your hand, it probably feels neutral. Cold, but not unpleasant. Lift it off again… Can you feel that neutral sensation? Can you feel your energy field? It stays open. Maybe it's a little closed, “What's he going to ask me to do?” But basically it stays open. Before you put it back, let me talk for a minute.

When you put it back, it's going to be cold and increasingly unpleasant. Which is predominant, the coldness, even a burning sensation, or the aversion? We see “unpleasant,” and the aversion to unpleasant experience? They're two different things. One is direct physical sensation and one is how you relate to it. Aversion: “I don't want this.” As you put it on and hold it, remember it's not going to harm you. I'm not going to have you keep it there long enough to cause damage to the tissue.

As you put it back on— not yet— as you put it on, begin to watch the movement from neutral into unpleasant, into strong aversion. “I don't want this!” When does unpleasant sensation shift to aversion? Watch how your whole energy field contracts with aversion. How does that feel? Try this now, and then we'll take it a step further… Just holding it on the back of your hand, watching the shift from neutral to unpleasant, and then perhaps a predominant feeling of aversion. Watch how the body energy contracts. “I don't want this!”

Then compassion for this human being. Maybe there was a judging thought, “I shouldn't mind this.” Note that you're judging. Feeling shame;” “I should be able to do this without minding it.” Well, I said you were going to dislike it. Nobody suggested it would be comfortable. Life brings us uncomfortable experiences. It happens. The question is how will you relate to it. And you will relate in your habitual pattern. If you always judge yourself and say, “I should not mind it,” that's probably how you relate. If you relate by gritting your teeth, that's probably habitual for you. If you relate by throwing the ice cube across the room after 30 seconds, that's probably habitual for you. Is it starting to get really unpleasant? (Group: Yes.) Can you watch the distinction between the unpleasant sensation and the aversion to the sensation? Can you watch your body energy field contracting around the unpleasant sensation? Your whole body, cellular level, energy level. At this point, say, “breathing in, I am aware of the discomfort. Breathing out, I hold space for the discomfort. Bringing love to this human being who is experiencing discomfort.

As you practice this form of compassion for yourself, loving kindness for yourself, letting the sensation continue, I want you to note if the sensation changes in a subtle way, becomes less uncomfortable, a little more tolerable. There's not so much fear of it. There's not so much contraction around it. It is literally just unpleasant sensation, and it will pass.

At any point, please feel free to remove the ice cube. You can continue, you can put it back on, you can stop. If it's useful to take a minute's break and do it again, you can do that, or just call it enough.

I want to hear if people can really feel the distinction. Unpleasant experience will arise. It's part of being human. Aversion to the unpleasant experience will arise. That's also part of being human. The physical body feels the sensation and it's unpleasant, the mental body feels aversion to the sensation. The emotions arise and mind begins to judge, or whatever else arises.

Right there with all of this happening is your innate compassion and loving kindness, which can never be destroyed. It is not either/ or. Compassion is always accessible to you, no matter how bad things become, how uncomfortable. This innate loving kindness is always there. This really is the heart of non-duality. If there was never discomfort, we couldn't call it non-duality. But because there is discomfort— physical, emotional, mental discomfort— and simultaneously the loving heart, this is the non-duality.

If you feel you're finished with the exercise, you may release your ice cubes…

Whatever arises, you have a choice how you are going to relate to it. You don't always have a choice about what will arise, but you do have a choice how you will relate to it. When you learn to trust the innate radiance of your heart, the innate loving kindness, it fills the world.

What happens to a bully who is treated with firm compassion? Not, “Oh no, don't bully me!” Not punching him back, but just holding space and saying, “No, you may not do that.” You may have to do it twenty times before this bully is ready to step back from his bullying stance a bit. But such a bully always comes to his bullying from a place of insecurity and a dislike of himself. When you hate the bully, it builds up his bullying, builds up the crowd of other bullies around him, gives him power, and draws forth the subtle bully in yourself, because you're not able to put your head in the demon's mouth. You're not able to look at that which has the potential to be a bully in you, if you are afraid enough and angry enough.

How do we relate to what's happening in the world today, the terrorists - not just terrorists, but people who steal and kill and plunder out of greed, the political figures who abuse power— how do we relate to all of these saying a compassionate no? Can we thank them for giving us the opportunity to practice in saying no, yet still offer that clear, “No!”

If we have time, there is one other exercise I would like to try with you. A few of you are alone, you're just going to have to watch the exercise and try it when you have someone with you. I apologize that I am offering an exercise that all of you cannot do. But you can learn it.

This is a tai chi exercise call pushing arms, and we've done it many times. Will the two of you demonstrate it? (Two people demonstrate) So he is going to push hard, and she is going to push back… Shoving match. Now he pushes hard and she collapses, runs away… She gets up and pushes back, he runs away… Enough. This is how life often presents itself.

Now, she is going to push, and he, instead of pushing back, is going to absorb the energy… (Aaron joins them) Push, push again… I'm just letting it run past me, and I'm feeding it back. Push… You're getting angry now! I can stand here forever. I'm feeding the energy back to her…How long can she continue— 20 minutes, an hour? I can stand here and do this for hours because it's effortless for me, but for her it takes a lot of energy… Thank you. If time we will try this later.

At this point I'd like to hear from you. The ice cube exercise, what did you get out of it?

Q: Initially with the ice cube I watched myself being aware that (inaudible) bothered me. I'm not sure if I was reacting to the thought that it would bother me or that it was really bothering me. So I could barely tolerate the ice cube on the back of my hand. And I went through the maneuvers of taking it off and putting it back on. And eventually I reached the state where I didn't feel it. It was not bothering me. And I again was watching my reaction. So it became very clear that the more that I was involved in the thoughts that went with this activity with the ice cube, that I was more resistant. Whereas if I just experienced it as something happening, without being concerned or getting too caught up in the thoughts that went with it, it was much more of a neutral experience.

Aaron: Thank you. We have to be careful not to deny or suppress human experience. The body has sense receptors and if there's pain, there will be pain. The ice cube sensation doesn't suddenly go away, but there's so much more space around it so it's easier to tolerate.

A wonderful place to practice is in the dentist's chair.

Q: I was there today!

Aaron: Unpleasant experience, yes. Tolerable. Made much worse when you're contracted. Thank you. Others?

Q: Thank you for this opportunity to do that, because I had an interesting discovery that came quite quickly for me. It didn't take long for me to want the ice cube off my hand. So I went from neutral to, I would say, extreme discomfort quickly. So what I did was, I felt myself almost automatically disassociate. And I found this interesting because I was able to tie this to my life. So when I get in difficult situations that are painful, I check out. And I had not made that association before so acutely until today, with that wonderful ice cube. So thank you.

Aaron: You're very welcome. Thank you. We watch the habitual patterns that are predominant, each different for each of us. For one it might be anger, another, helplessness, to dissociate, to try to control. To simply be present. And we begin to see just because I've always done it that way doesn't mean I have to do it that way now. It's increasing the suffering. What option do I have? What happens when I am just present? And it's here you discover the power of the loving heart.

Once you start to learn that power, it changes everything because it becomes a firm ground where you may always rest. No matter what's going on around you, you can rest in that spaciousness and clarity. You start to trust: I am that. And that anger, the fear and whatever, arise when certain conditions are present. Then you begin to find that the more compassionate you are with the self that contracts and gets caught in conditions, the less you contract, and the less you get caught.

The ice cube doesn't then begin to feel good, it still hurts. The push doesn't become pleasant. But pushing is just pushing. Coldness is just cold. These experiences are part of being human. It's as simple as that.

Thank you. Others?

Q: I am wondering how the pushing hands can be done with feelings or inner thoughts that are harsh or pushy. Is it just the allowing and observing that would work in the same way as the absorbing energies?

Aaron: Interesting question. I'm aware that I didn't have you stand up and try the pushing arms, so we can do that later. And in response to the question, you might try to look at another person who holds anger. And then, how do you relate to the anger? Somebody is sending angry energy at you; how do you habitually relate? Not pushing back with anger, not falling away or running away, but just present. I am trying this looking into the screen but I can't see you looking at me with anger, though perhaps you can see me looking at you with anger. —It doesn't work because I have to be able to see you. It has to work both ways. But when the other person sees you— look at me with anger, real anger! (addressing one person) How long can you maintain that anger with my heart open and present with you? Look at me with anger… You can't maintain it, can you? So that is my response to her question.

Now if somebody is coming at you with a club or a knife and you simply look at them with kindness, there's no guarantee they're not going to use the club or the knife first, because they're not looking in your eyes. But that loving energy has enormous power.

Again, a story of Barbara's, one that she has told before. This, a sit-in in a small southern town. A violent crowd had gathered. She and a young white man and a middle-aged black couple entered the restaurant. People had attempted to integrate this restaurant for several weeks, and an angry mob had thrown rocks at them, hit them. The people inside, the four of them understood that they could be badly hurt or even killed. But they felt a strong commitment to be there, to speak their truth.

After sitting and meditating for about half an hour they all were ready, and they got up. Barbara could hear then. They could hear the sounds of people yelling nasty things outside. The power of love is so strong. They walked to the door. Yes, they were afraid, but they were not consumed with fear or anger, and they were spacious and compassionate to themselves for the fear.

They walked to the door. Barbara relates how she just walked out and met people's eyes. Some people continued to look angry, some deflated. Many who carried clubs or rocks dropped them. The four of them holding hands just walked out. Not smiling, not grinning at people, just present, acknowledging the pain of the other person and their own pain. But holding that space of love, they walked out, and the crowd just fell apart, separated and let them walk through and into the car, in which they were driven away.

Gandhi's word, Satyagraha means soul force—. The power of the loving soul. And the acknowledgment, “Yes, I could be killed doing this.” But at that point I forgive the one who considers killing me, because I know I'm just pushing them a little further than they're ready to go right now. I am offering the catalyst. I accept that, and I forgive. I love you anyhow.

Let's let the people here try the pushing arms exercise.


So you can try this more in a different situation. When you are pushed to contract, that happens. You're human. Then a story arises, “He/she is trying to push me. I'm being bullied.” I heard from a lot of people that the visual at the last debate, when Mr. Trump walked behind Mrs. Clinton and stood behind her glowering, that it brought up so much pain and fear and anger for them. Bullying.

Somebody come and stand behind me. Who wants to volunteer? See if you can look as angry as he looked. (laughter) He's too sweet, he can't really look angry! (laughter) It's intimidating to experience that kind of bullying. All across the nation, so many people, especially women, but men also, felt real discomfort at that movement.

Turning to the “bully”; thank you, teacher, thank you. The world is full of bullies. How are we going to practice saying no with compassion? Allow their energy and give it back, rather than trying to push back or running away. This is the only way that we can teach the bullies and help them continue their own progression into the light. This is your service, and their service. That doesn't mean we let them win, to control, to dominate. We say no with compassion. In this case, saying no with compassion means going out to vote. You all have that ability.

I don't want to demonize one candidate. Obviously nobody is perfect. I think what's important here is to recognize that wherever you see negativity, it comes as a teacher, and you have the opportunity to decide how you will relate to it. To relate with compassion that knows how to say no, to watch fear and anger arise also as objects, also as bullies. The fear is a bully, the anger is a bully. How do you relate to that in yourself?

So this election is such a profound learning experience for all of you. And also, as with the pushing arms exercise, you don't let the bully push you over. You come back, absorb his energy, absorb the negative candidate's energy and give it back. How do you give back the energy? “No, no. You may not do that.”

I would love to see her, right there on the stage in the debate, turn to him and say, “It's my turn. You may not interrupt .” Wouldn't it be wonderful if she could do that? Maybe we can teach her the pushing arms exercise!

That's enough of the formal talk. I'd like to leave time for questions. In a minute I'll open the floor to all of you here live and on the computer screen.

Let me say one last thing, to tie it up. Non-duality, where we started. Living non-duality. Fully compassionate to the human in whom fear, anger, discomfort, pain, all of these will arise. And also knowing they have arisen from conditions. They do not identify me or any of us. Who I am is not anger. Who I am is a human experiencing fear or anger or pain, a human whose core essence is radiance and love, and I choose to express that and not the negativity. But never with denial of the painful sensation or emotion, only with compassion for it, and holding space for it, like the ice cube, until it stops being a dominating force. Living non-duality. Thank you.

Your questions?

Q: One thing that concerned me on Monday or Tuesday. (Vice presidential candidate) Pence was in Pennsylvania. A woman said that if the female candidate won there would be a revolution. So is our best approach to work on any negativity we might feel in ourselves, so that we are giving off love? Or is the best approach to send light to that person for clarity?

Aaron: Both. Not sending light, offering light. Sending is pushing it, and she may not be ready to accept it. Offering. But also knowing, especially if the female candidate wins, that this is at least a slight majority. I've spoken of this before. Your world is emerging into a higher consciousness. What I call the loyal opposition is terrified, sees how you are emerging into the light, and is saying, “No! No! No! Don't let this happen!” The more light and love you project in the world, the more uncomfortable this loyal opposition becomes.

But we cannot win anyone over by force, only by love, by being the love that you wish to see in the world, as it's often stated. Furthermore, when you are afraid, “What if there's a revolution?” in a sense you're manifesting that revolution. When you say, “Okay, I can't control what anybody will do, but I choose to see peace on this earth, joy, love. And if people move into some kind of revolt, to trust our police and military, those who are loving within these law enforcement agencies, to control any revolution. I trust our process as a free country with free speech.” Otherwise we're simply creating more negativity. So it's hard, but can you really trust the process?

It was pointed out that in the male candidate's threatening the female one, that he'll put her in prison, he's basically taking away the freedoms, overstepping the freedoms that have made this country great. He's saying, “Make America great again.” To make America great again is to trust the greatness of what has been planted here, the heart of loving kindness, the freedom of speech. This is the only country in the world, perhaps, where there has not been violent revolution after a political election. Can we trust that that won't happen? Can we see millions of people saying no to their angry neighbors, the pushing arms, dancing with their neighbors' anger? Helping people to learn. Knowing this is possible.

One more bit, here, and I find this very interesting as I've watched the male candidate. I'd be curious to know if some of you have noticed this. There are two different… there are two of him. One is the human and one is quite literally an entity who incorporates into his body. His whole face changes, his breathing changes, his eyes change. There is a dramatic difference. So he's in a sense being “possessed” by this negative entity. The way to oust the entity is with love. Holding compassion for the male candidate and for the negative entity that is incorporating into his body and control, and saying, “No, not in this country. You can't do that. No. I wish you well. I wish you happiness. When I say, `I wish you well,' not that you win, but I wish you well in terms of happiness and peace. This is what I believe in, and I offer it to you.” And the more love that is projected at this negative entity, the less power he'll have, the more he'll scream and run around and act crazy until he finally stops. So this is offering all of you the opportunity to learn how to say no to such negativity.

Other questions or comments? I find it interesting that many of you have seen that two parts of him.

Q: It's very hard for me to look at.

Aaron: Because in your imagination he is the embodiment of “evil.” But of course there is no such thing as absolute evil. Because he has allowed himself to be so self-serving and so self-centered, a strong negative entity, very strong, can work through him. But if enough people see that, he can't be elected. So we just educate.

And I want to ask forgiveness from anybody out there for whom I'm stepping on toes. I doubt if there's anybody listening to me who supports what I'm calling a negatively polarized candidate. But if there is, you are certainly entitled to your beliefs. Simply, hold your heart open and ask, does this man truly represent the depth of my own heart? Remembering there is no absolute good or evil. We're talking about non-duality here. This man was a baby once who was loved by his parents. This man was a father who held his newborn infant in his arms and cherished the newborn infant. Remember that side of this man.


Q: Is this deep negativity coming about so we can see it and send love to it and release it? Is that part of this process?

Aaron: It's very much a part of the process, and beyond that. So many of you have been in denial about the depth of negativity in yourselves, the depth of your ability to hate. If you saw somebody capture somebody you loved, your child, your spouse, you parent, threaten to slit their throat with a knife, actually do it, could you watch that without hating that person? Yet that hatred does not have to become manifest. Right there with hatred is love. Can you both allow the experience of contracted hate and know this has arisen from conditions. and know, “unlike this murderer, I will not manifest this hate?

There are such beautiful stories of people in dire circumstances, such as in concentration camps, who have learned to forgive their captors. I read one story of woman whose son was killed by a murderer. It took her some time to work with her pain and rage, maybe a year or several years. But eventually, after the man was convicted, she asked permission to go and visit him and she became a weekly visitor. He helped heal her, and she helped heal him. The power of this healing is profound.

So I would say yes to your question, yet it goes beyond that. It's the power of forgiveness and love, and to really know that this is possible. And that that this is what the whole transition of consciousness on earth is about. That as earth moves into a higher vibrational planet with this very high light/love vibration, those of strong negative polarity will not choose to remain here. They won't be destroyed; they'll move to some other negatively polarized planet that is not yet ready for this degree of love and light. But the earth itself is ready. It's moving into this transition. And it needs this kind of catalyst to shake you up enough to make a clear free-will choice: no matter what the catalyst, I will not enact my fear and hatred and do harm to others. Once you hold that commitment, you find ways to practice it. And then the consciousness breaks open. It's happening. The question is not whether it will happen, it's more about how relatively painful or painless that transition can be. And if enough of you learn how to hold love to such negativity, the transition can be relatively painless.

Q: So also part of this is so that we as a nation are looking at our pain that we have created. And this is part of the result of that?

Aaron: It's very much a karmic result. The pain that you've created for so many generations through various types of hatred against people of different races, different religions, different sexual orientations; finally breaking through that hatred, forgiving yourselves, and stepping past it. Loving one another.

It's also part of your preparation, if you can't say no to this negative candidate and his supporters, how can you say no to terrorists who kill babies and mothers and rape young women and so forth? You can't say no to them with hatred. So he's giving you an opportunity to practice saying no to something much less powerful than their destruction. How do we say no with more love, more compassion.

I would ask you to picture this man holding his newborn infant, and wish him and his newborn infant well. I would ask you to picture his mother holding him as a newborn infant, a new innocent baby —yes, with some strongly negative karma, but not yet manifest in this infant. Just practicing loving kindness with him. And I would ask you to watch him perhaps as the school yard bully, because he was bullied. So he's 5 years old now and he's punching other kids. Can you stop him there? Not by hitting him, not by hating him, but by gathering him up and letting him know that you hear his pain, but never diminishing him. If you do that energetically, at some level he's going to pick that up, him and all his supporters. And this is the transformation that you have the ability to put into motion. You have the ability to manifest this.

Other questions?

Q: I feel bullied because I don't support the female candidate. I do not believe she is fit to be president. I'm almost helpless. So the answer is to ask to be eaten by the demon, her?

Aaron: Which demon are you more comfortable with, the male candidate demon or the female? You are within both and them within you. Eat me! Which one do you think will be more receptive after the election to bringing forth the changes that you hope to see in the country and the world? Which one do you think has the greater capacity to listen? Which one do you think has the capacity to learn? I'm not answering this for you; I'm simply asking you to consider this because one of these two is going to win, no matter how much people like to consider the possibility of a third party candidate. It seems extremely unlikely to me that right now in this country that's possible. Maybe in four years, but not now. A third party really has to emerge and gain strength. And if you vote for a third party candidate, basically you're taking a vote away from your preferred candidate. But I return to the question: not which one to vote for, but knowing that you don't trust either, which one do you feel even subtly more inclined to be able to trust to hear you and to act with some degree of dignity and honor? That's for each of you to decide. No one can decide it for you.

Q: My question is about the feelings of being bullied.

Aaron: How does it feel to be bullied? What does it bring up in you? Watch the fear, the pain, the anger that it brings up. Do a lot of loving kindness meditation with yourself, holding yourself very tenderly in your heart. Find that which is clear and strong and loving in you and which cannot be destroyed by bullying. Begin to know the power of that love. And in that way, you are overcoming the bully, within and out there. You are saying no to the bully. He/ she can't bully you if you don't allow yourself to be bullied. Please respond if you wish.

Q2: Please let her know there's a loving kindness meditation on the Deep Spring website.

Aaron: I see that it's past 9 o'clock so as interesting as this conversation is, we'll need to put it to an end. When we next meet, we will have a president elected! We'll see what happens. Meanwhile, talk to your friends. Try to help support your friends to learn how to be pushed and dance with the pushes, to come back into their own strength, the power of love that is their innate power and essence, and know that it cannot be destroyed. Trust. You did not enter into this situation to destroy yourselves individually or as a nation. You have not intended, none of you, including the candidates, to destroy the world. The world is your learning space. If the world is destroyed, none of you can keep learning. So trust that, and ask, how can I live from this place of love? How can I support others living that, without denial of my fear, my confusion, my feelings of powerlessness, my anger. How can I hold it together?

Know that there are many loving beings supporting this transition. And we will not abandon you. We are here to help. But we will never force our help on you. If you seek help, ask for it. My blessings and love to you all.

(session ends)

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal teaches us a five-stage Dzogchen meditation that begins with contemplating our worst enemy and culminates in the discovery that mind is empty, clear and blissful. Vision is mind. Mind is empty. Emptiness is clear light. Clear light is union. Union is great bliss.

part 1 Vision is Mind:

Vision is mind

How do we work with Dawa Gyaltsen's instruction, which begins, "Vision is mind"? Vision includes everything we perceive, but I suggest that you use what bothers you as an entrance to this practice. Do you have a famous person in your life? The famous person is the one who seems to be born to create a problem for you, as if that were his or her number-one mission in life. Sometimes we feel there are people like that. Such people can make trouble for you not only with their presence, but with one single postcard sent to you. When you see the postcard with their handwriting on it, you are immediately disturbed. 

So we begin our meditation practice with this famous person as our starting point. Create a protected environment and sit in a comfortable upright position. Now invite the image of your famous person to come into your awareness. They always come anyway, but this time you are inviting them so that you can look more deeply into this experience. What exactly is this famous person composed of? See the image of the person, the character of this person who bothers you so much. Sense the energetic or emotional presence of this person. When your famous person was born, he or she did not show any physical signs or marks of what you now see. And not all people share your view of this person. What you perceive is your mind, your karmic vision, which is more karma than vision. 

So in this moment, instead of looking out and focusing on that person, look inward. Step back and let the experience come in. Do not step forward but step backwards. Don't go to your office and make phone calls and send emails. Just sit and close your eyes and reflect on this person, and experience what you're experiencing at this very moment. This is your vision. It is very much in you, in your mind. That famous person is now an image or a felt sense. Perhaps you have a sense of being contracted, closed or agitated in the presence of this person; feel this fully, not simply with your intellect. Sit with the image of your famous person, and with the resulting feelings and sensations, until you recognize that this experience is in you, and you conclude, "Vision is mind."