Barbara's Dharma Talk
June 23, 2008
Emrich Retreat

Keywords: Habit energy, unworthiness, true nature, wholeness, innate perfection, nonduality.

Barbara: Good evening… Impermanence. I came out of my building, ready to walk over here and found to my surprise that a big squall of rain was passing through. I had no idea it was pouring. So I went back in. I changed my shoes. I got a raincoat. I came back out and the sun was out! (laughter)

Today in the small groups we were talking a lot about the stories that mind creates. So many different stories we carry. The one who has to be good and take care of everything. The one who is unworthy. The one who is abandoned or who will be abandoned. The one who can’t do it right. The one who has to be perfect. The one who is fat, thin, too tall, too short, too old, too young. They’re all stories.

There’s a beautiful collection of sutras, that Dhammapada, that begins with the words, “We are what we think. With our minds, we make the world.” What kind of world are we making for ourselves?

When I hear people offering these stories and so convinced of their truth, and I look back at myself and the stories that I carried for so long and were convinced were true, how do we let go of these stories?

It’s not that the stories are totally unrelated to truth, it’s simply that they’re only a part of the truth. Yes, we all are broken in some ways. We all have flaws in a conditional sense, and yet we’re all also perfect, literally divine and perfect.

If I’m grumbling at my husband or kids, in that moment I’m not expressing my perfection very well. But the capacity for kindness is there right there with the capacity for anger. The capacity for giving and receiving love is there right along with the capacity for separation. The capacity for fearlessness is right there with fear.

John talked last night about the retreat at Emerald Isle where Aaron gave shell fragments to everyone. We spent a lot of time, Aaron and I, on the beach. I found some beautiful shells and he said, “No, too perfect; take only the fragments.” But he also wanted beautiful or lovely fragments. So they were broken and yet they also had a certain loveliness to them. He asked people to reflect on these fragments, how they were a mirror of both their own innate perfection and their brokenness. We need to learn how they come together.

It’s always interested me how we move into the myths, the stories, that we pick up. We see two people who have just witnessed a robbery, and one says, “The thief had a black beard,” and the other says, “No, he was bald.” Well, in truth he was bald and had a black beard! We each get a part of it.

So the organ touches the object, contact. Consciousness arises with contact. The ear touches a sound, contact. Organ and object, contact, and consciousness arises with contact. Without contact, there can’t be consciousness. Without the organ and the object, there can’t be consciousness because there won’t be contact.

Mind touches a thought, maybe a memory or a plan or a judging thought–contact. The thought arises. I can’t tell you from where the thought arises, it simply arises. I like the bubbles image. Mind touches it. The mind gives rise to thought. Thought arises and cognizance touches it and says, “Aha, here’s a judging thought.” Contact and consciousness.

Perception tells us what it is. At first we don’t know it’s a judging thought or we don’t know it’s a salmon-colored wall. Perception tells us what it is. And then feeling arises: sometimes a pleasant feeling, sometimes unpleasant, sometimes a neutral feeling. It all happens in a flash and then out of those feelings comes a, let’s call it not bare perception but a biased perception, what we think it is. Ah, he’s got a black beard. Ah, he’s bald.

Many years ago I was doing a self-retreat at John’s house at a time when John was not home. John got me settled and he left. And then I went out on his lovely deck that looks out on the woods and there, perhaps 30 yards away, I saw a huge wasps’ nest. Seeing, eye touching this object. Wasps’ nest. Unpleasant. I’ll be stung; the wasps will be swirling around me all day while I sit. If I close my eyes, I won’t know they’re there because I can’t hear them. It was a beautiful day but I sat inside. I don’t like wasps. I’m more comfortable with them now, but this was almost 20 years ago.

Evening came. There was a beautiful sunset so I walked back out on the deck. No wasps. I thought, let me go closer and see if they look active. Guess what? As I got close to the wasps’ nest, it was just a big dead branch of leaves hanging there in the tree. Mind jumps to the conclusion, wasps’ nest. With our thoughts we make the world. I spent all day sitting indoors because there was a nest of vicious wasps out in the back yard.

Look at the stories that you create and how much they come out of your old conditioning. For me, when I was probably three or four years old, there was a wasps’ nest near our house hanging on a branch near the back door. And my brother, who was a few years older and should have known better, but he did not do this out of maliciousness, just curiosity, he banged it with a stick. He was 6, I was only 3. He could run fast. They stung me. So since then my conditioning is, if anything looks like a wasp, I don’t want to be around it. It might sting me. Of course, there’s a much better chance it won’t sting me than that it will. But the conditioning, the fear says, “Might sting. Dangerous. Stay away.”

We create these stories for many reasons. We all want to be safe and comfortable. This is normal. We’ve spent our lives trying to do what is needed to stay safe and comfortable. Consider the situation, for example, where a parent is abusive, either physically abusive or simply always yelling, insulting, telling you how bad you are. The small child wants to be safe, wants to be loved. The parent is insisting, “You’re no good. You’re hopeless. You’re inadequate. You can’t do anything right.” If the child says, “That’s not so,” the parent just gets angrier. So the child might learn at that point, “I’ll be safer if I agree.” So the child says, “Okay. I’m hopeless. I can’t do anything right. I’m a bad person. I’m unlovable.”

It’s ironic that that allows the person to feel safer but in some way it does because they’re doing what they need to receive energy and attention from the parent. Sometimes the child will act out that negativity–“Okay, I’m no good,” and set fire to things, break things on purpose, act it out. If you’re going to tell me I’m no good then I’ll be no good. Other times the child will try so hard to do things right, but they start to learn, “No matter what I do I can’t get it right.” So a certain kind of habit pattern is formed.

It goes deeper than this. For the child that’s told repetitively, “You’re bad. You’re hopeless. I don’t love you,” of course there’s going to be anger. The anger feels dangerous for many children. If they act out the anger or even express the anger verbally, the parent might hit or yell louder, so the child’s in a bind. No anger. Squelch the anger.

When we suppress any energy, it’s got to go somewhere. It comes out for that child as being convinced of the idea, “I’m no good,” because that was the solution, “can’t express the anger, go along with the parent,” and everything in the mind really needs to go along with it. “I’m convinced, I’m no good.” But there was never a reality to it. There was never a child who was no good, in this situation. There was never a child who was hopeless. Unloved, maybe, but not bad. The child had to buy into the myth and then the myth carries over into adulthood.

As a child, I had a nanny who took care of me. I had two loving parents but they were very busy with their lives, and they thought the best thing for their little girl was to have a nanny who was always there to take care of her. I loved Nanny and she loved me. But when I was 5 years old she got sick. I don’t even know what sickness she had. But they sent me away to camp for the summer. Five years old, I went away to camp for 2 months, fully expecting that Nanny would be there when I came back. Nobody told me she was sick. But I came back, no Nanny. And it was explained she was sick. She went to another state to live with her son. And when I got angry they said, “Don’t be angry, it’s not her fault.” She didn’t want to go but she had to, the doctor said she had to go. What do you do with such anger? If anger is there and you’re told “Don’t be angry,” then you’re bad, because the anger is still there.

So gradually the belief developed that in some way it was my anger that had forced her away, the anger that had made her sick. And then to compound things, there was another person in the household, a cook, who, two years later, had a nervous breakdown. I was convinced this illness was caused by my anger because during those two years I was angry.

So I came out of this experience with the idea, “I hurt the people I love. It’s not safe to be around me. It’s not safe to be around other people because if they love me back, I’ll hurt them. Keep my self separate from other people. Don’t form attachments.” I came out of the situation touching all the abandonment issues that people might have, and I picked unworthiness, there’s some basic flaw in me.

I lived with that myth through all of my childhood. It wasn’t until I was just out of college, with the help of a very compassionate therapist, that I began to understand that I had been creating a myth. Understanding that I had been creating the myth still didn’t make it disappear. Now I conceptually understood that I had never been unworthy, and yet if I came into a group of people, there was enormous pain and fear. “I’ll be rejected. I’ll hurt them. Not safe to form connections.” And logical mind would say, “No, you know this isn’t true.” But that logic wasn’t enough.

So what happened years later as I got into dharma practice, I was at a month-long retreat. I realized that I needed to look at this. When I was doing walking meditation and looked at somebody in the face, they looked away. The instructions would say (the kind of instructions you have here) to avoid eye contact, to avoid talking, noble silence. I know they were not looking away because something was wrong with me; they were strangers. There was nothing wrong with my appearance; there was nothing wrong that they could see with me. It was the first week of the retreat, nobody knew me.

Feeling rejected. I’m unlovable. I’m unworthy. This was all coming up. So I started to understand that I really needed to keep doing this, to make eye contact with people in order for them to look away, in order to feel these feelings of unworthiness and ask, in this moment is there anybody who is unworthy? Isn’t this just old conditioning? It’s just an old story.

There were a lot of dharma teachers at this retreat. There was one man who I really respect, one of the senior teachings in our tradition. Every day at meals he ended up sitting right across the table from me. I would sit down first. I wasn’t seeking him out. I guess he just wanted to sit at a table by the window. I don’t think he was looking for me, he was just looking for the table by the window. He would sit down, I would look at him and smile, and sure enough, he would look away!

So pain came up–this man is rejecting me. We did this 2 or 3 meals a day for several weeks. Finally I got to the point where I didn’t need to look at him anymore. I knew, “He’s not rejecting me, he’s just doing his practice.” Ironically at the end of the retreat when we were out of silence, he said to me, “I enjoyed sharing meals with you. I enjoyed the peacefulness of sitting at the table with you.” But no, no eye contact.

So I began finally to understand, there’s nobody here’s who’s ever been unworthy, this is just habit energy. While I had known this for years conceptually, it finally started to sink in. I went through a brief period, there, of saying, “Okay, I’m not unworthy. If I’m not unworthy, I’m worthy.” And Aaron said to me, “No worthy or unworthy. Let go of the whole thing. Nobody’s ever been worthy or unworthy, you just are. Just be as you are.”

Finally I got to the point where I was able to look at people, have them look away, and they were just looking away. That’s it, just looking away. In a similar vein, after my deafness, whenever I saw two people talking together, a deep sense of abandonment came up. There was so much suffering from this. I might have lunch with two friends. We’d sit down at the table. People were so careful to sign to me, to include me, but they leaned over with the menu and one said to the other, “Are you having the gazpacho or the vegetable soup?” “What are they saying? They’re leaving me out, they’re ignoring me. I’m unworthy.” This was before the experience at the retreat.

So much of my suffering in those early years of deafness came not from the deafness but from feeling excluded, feeling separated, and that pain of feeling abandoned, feeling unworthy. Soon after I met Aaron, and after some months of work with him, he suggested I attend a workshop. A flyer came to my mailbox for a workshop in North Carolina by Stephen Levine. I had read one of Stephen’s books and was moved by it, but for all these years, almost 10 years at that point, of deafness, I had never attended a workshop. How could I go to a workshop? I’m deaf. It wasn’t just that I wouldn’t hear what was said, it was fearing the pain of feeling left out. So I wrote to Stephen and said that I wanted to come to the workshop, that I was deaf and I was coming not to hear him but to not hear him. And he understood exactly what I was saying and he said, “Sit in the front row, and you can watch me and I’ll smile at you now and then, and you can simply not hear.” When I got there, his wife Ondrea said that she was just going to be meditating and if it got too intense, simply to look at her and connect with her and meditate with her.

The first day there was so much pain, not just craving but all of these old feelings coming up again: unloved, abandoned, separate. I worked with it in a skillful way, seeing, “This is just a story.” The way we work with it is just to be present with it, to touch this feeling of fear, of sadness, of grief, with love. To allow ourselves not to run from it, not to create stories, which is a way of evading the basic feeling, but simply to stay present with that feeling. What is this feeling? What is the direct experience of abandonment or unworthiness, sadness or fear, without any stories? How does it feel in the body? Instead of trying to separate from it, can I allow myself to be present with it? Really to become intimate with it? And sometimes we can’t. If it’s too intense, we have to note that: the experience is just too intense, right now I can’t do this. I go as far as I can. John’s talk last night, saying to take one more step. You don’t have to plan on 10 steps, just one at a time, allowing yourself to open to whatever has been your deepest pain.

The second day of the workshop was easier. He had told me which guided meditations he was most likely to do, and I had read them in one of his books and had some sense of where he was going. He would pause and somebody sitting next to me would write for me, “He’s doing a forgiveness meditation,” or this or that. So I had some idea of where he was going. And of course I had Aaron to help me, Aaron to do the meditation with me.

The reality of sitting there not hearing was not a problem, the “I’m left out, it’s because I’m unworthy,” separating, the whole sense of separating, this was where the suffering was. So by the end of the second day, it was a long day and I think I was just so exhausted that I gave up worrying about, “Am I getting it? Am I included or not included?” I just relaxed into things as they are.

By the third day there was just somebody up on the platform talking and somebody sitting in the front row who couldn’t hear. Just these deaf ears. There was no more suffering. It was really a profound shift. I came back from that workshop able to start participating in group activities again, no longer feeling like something was wrong with me, like I was unworthy, being abandoned, or whatever.

These changes happened gradually because even though that shift happened, still when I came to the retreat a few years later, the retreat was maybe 3 or 4 years after this, all those unworthy feelings still came up. So I needed to work with them again. By the end of the retreat they had stopped, and they don’t come up anymore.

There are times that I feel sad that I don’t know what people are saying. There are times when I’m, I would certainly not say feeling unworthy or even feeling separate, but aware my deafness excludes me from some things, and sadness arises. But there’s no suffering in that, there’s just, this is how it is. This is the way these deaf ears are. On the other hand, there are a lot of things I get that other people don’t get. It’s okay. It’s not a problem anymore.

We have created these stories, probably since childhood, each of us, and for many of us it’s been continuous through many past lives, so many of these stories. The ironic thing is we keep the story going and get into a fight, “I won’t be the one who’s unworthy,” so we work so hard to be good, so hard to be loved, rather than acknowledging this is just old conditioning. There was never anybody who was unworthy, there’s nobody who has to prove themselves. Just be who you are, be present, be loving.

When we see it as either/or, we’re in trouble. Either I’m worthy or I’m unworthy. Either I’m good enough or I’m not. Either I can be loved or I’m not worthy of being loved. Either I’m capable of loving others or I’m incapable of loving others. Either I’m generous or I’m selfish. It’s never either/or, it’s always both. The learning always continues. We never really get there, we just keep building on where we are. It’s never finished.

I’ve been going down to the Casa de Dom Inácio in Brazil since 2004. I first heard about the Casa in an interesting way. I got an email from a stranger that was meant for somebody else; somehow I was added onto a mailing list. She had just come home and was just describing her experiences there. I had never heard of the place or of João, John of God they call him, affectionately, who runs the place. But I read her story with fascination and, nothing happens by coincidence. I looked it up, I googled John of God, and immediately felt a resonance with this man’s picture and the work that they were doing. Just as Aaron incorporates into my body, many different healing entities incorporate into his body, and they do some amazing work.

So at that point, this was I think still in the winter of ’02, I saw his picture and I felt, “I need to go there.” For years I had been feeling, maybe someday I will hear. But I had not followed up on many possible leads just because they had no resonance for me. People said, “Try this healer, try this technique, etc.” It didn’t feel right. This one felt right. We really need to trust our own inner sense of what’s right for us.

How do you go to a small town in central Brazil that you can’t even find on a map? There was no mention of this town in any atlas. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally I found a woman who served as a guide, who lived in Connecticut and was going there the following January and was willing to take me. I decided to go.

So I’ve been going there since ’04. One of the areas of work which João and these entities are particularly skilled at working with is nerve damage. There are many areas at which they are skilled but this is a special area of skill. So, people who are paraplegics and even quadriplegics are getting up out of wheelchairs, healing nerve damage, healing eye nerve damage, hearing nerve damage. So I felt, “Okay, I will go. No expectations, let’s just see what happens.”

Each year the entities there have worked with me, first saying possibly they could help me, then probably they could help me, and finally they said, “You will hear.” The third year I was there they said, “You will hear.” I know they are very honest with people and if they can’t heal somebody they’ll say, “I cannot help you,” or “I can help with the pain but I cannot relieve the disease, cannot cure the disease.” So, they’re honest. So if they say, “You will hear,” it means that I will hear.

For two more years I was waiting, where is this hearing? I want it! Where is it? The first two years there were no expectations but as soon as they said, “You will hear,”–I want to hear! This year when I went down, I didn’t ask them first about the hearing or my eyes–they helped me a lot with my eyes. In ’04 I had a serious accident and lost the vision in one eye and had damage to the other eye. So I went down in January in ’05 with very limited vision, blind in one eye and limited vision in the other, and now I have 20/20 vision in the good eye and usable vision in the poor eye. Not good but usable. So this has helped me to trust them, too.

This January I simply walked up to them and said, “You know my needs. I ask for the highest healing for the highest good, whatever you think is useful.” My balance has been bad since I lost my hearing because the semi-circular canal that controls balance, the nerves are dead. Since way back in ’72 when I lost my hearing, I’ve had visual balance, and then without good binocular vision, my balance the last few years has been very bad. I had taken to walking most of the time with 2 walking sticks.

So when I say the entity looked at me–as Aaron might look at you, the entity incorporated in João’s body looked at me and basically said, “What’s with the walking sticks. Get rid of them. You don’t need them.” I said, “But I’ll fall over.” “No walking sticks.” So when I took them back to my room at lunch, I left them there and as I came back that half mile walk from my posada, my inn, back to the Casa. I was walking with little mincing steps, like you walk on ice. My whole body tight, and my back ached. I couldn’t walk.

I hear the entities at this point much in the way I hear Aaron. There’s clear connection, not with all of them but with a few of them. João channels about 30 different entities that at one time or another may incorporate into his body. So I was walking this tight way and my back hurt and I said, “I can’t do this.” And the entity said, “Just step out. Take long strides.” I said, “I’ll fall over. I have no balance.” He said, “You only think you have no balance. Walk! We’ll catch you, we won’t let you fall.” And I almost could feel an energy force, I could feel it on either side of me as I started to step. So I started to take longer strides and I could feel them holding me up, and slowly as I didn’t need the support, move away. And by the time I got down there I was walking more normally than I’ve walked for over a decade, just taking big normal strides.

I spent a week walking in this way, and I came back to the entity, and he said, “Get a bike.” (laughter) I hadn’t been on a bike since 1972! “Get a bike.”

So I rented a bike. The first thing I did was, it was not a girl’s bike, it was a boy’s bike and I had to swing a leg over the seat. I tried to swing my leg over the seat and I fell on the ground. I said, “See, this isn’t going to work.” And both the entity and Aaron said, they said different things with the same meaning. Aaron said, “With your mind you make the world.” And the entity said, “It’s not going to work if you think it’s not going to work. Get up, swing your leg over.” So I found a place to hold onto, and I swung my leg over and got on the bike and sure enough, I could ride a bike! I was a little shaky at first but I spent a couple of weeks just spinning around town. Several of you who were there will verify that.

The second thing that happened that week was, I asked the entity, what about my vision? It was improving for awhile after I was last here but now it’s plateaued. The entity said, “Use the eye.” I said, “I can’t use the eye, it’s blind, close to blind.” He said, “Use the eye.” He said, “Close the good eye when you’re walking around the pousada. Use the eye.” And I started to realize when the good eye was open, I was focusing with the good eye and really not using the poor eye at all. And when I used the poor eye, yes, I really could see things with it–the flowers, the shapes, the colors, the little white buds that haven’t opened yet, distinguishing faces–yes, there’s a lot of vision.

So what is my point here? We are what we think. With our minds we make the world. I began to see that when I believed I had no balance, I had no balance, and I was living my life for years as a person without balance. Now, I could not say, “Oh, I do have balance so I’m going to go off to the circus and get a job as a tightrope walker.” (laughter) That’s not realistic.

But it’s not either/or. Find the balance that I have and make the most of it. Find the vision that I have and make the most of it. Cease to carry the mental concept, “I am blind in one eye,” or “I have no balance.” Let go of that completely just as I let go of worthy/unworthy years ago. Simply be with things as they are. In other words, like that shell fragment, find that wholeness that’s right there with the brokenness, but without ignoring the brokenness. I do have to be careful. I can’t ride my bike with only the bad eye. I need balance, I need two eyes for balance. I wouldn’t get on the highway in my car and close the good eye.

We need to be present with what is, in relative reality, less than perfect in ourselves and nurture it along, support its growth. But not with the idea, “This is broken,” but only, “How can I improve this?” Bringing more love forth.

People tell me of themselves, “I’m a greedy person,” or “I’m an impatient person.” And I ask them, “Is there generosity sometimes?” Yes. “Is there patience sometimes?” Yes. But they see themselves only as that, greedy or impatient. We watch impatience come up and right there with impatience is patience. We watch fear come up, and right there with fear is fearlessness. There’s no denial of the impatience. We work with it skillfully. There’s no denial of the fear. We work with it skillfully.

We need to acknowledge those areas that challenge us, places where there’s fear, where there’s anger, where there’s confusion, to allow ourselves to become intimate with that experience in ourselves and understand it and not self-identify with it. To really know, right there with fear is that which is not afraid. Right there with lack of balance is that which can balance. Right there with that which feels unworthy is that which has never been unworthy and could never be unworthy, is divine and whole and beautiful.

At the Casa this year, the culmination of this was after these couple of weeks, I asked the entities finally, “What about the hearing?” And he just smiled at me. I said to him, “You say I will hear but nothing’s happening.” He just smiled at me and he said–they call it the Current Room because there’s an energy; we sit here, we’re all sitting together and you feel the energy of the meditation of everybody doing the practice together. There’s this current of energy– he just smiled at me and said, “Just sit here in my current.”

I sat. They play music–sometimes the room is quiet and sometimes there’s loud music playing. So I was sitting there that afternoon and it was near the close of the afternoon session. Sometimes the sessions go on for a few hours, so we had been sitting and meditating for maybe 3 hours at this point, and I suddenly started to, I can’t say I heard it, just to sense this, bum, bum-pa-bum, bum-pa-bum, bum, bum, bum…(etc) rhythm and melody. What is this? I have tinnitus but my tinnitus doesn’t do that. What’s that?

Finally the session ended and I turned to the person next to me and I said, “The music they were playing, did it have this melody: bum, bum-pa-bum, bum-pa-bum,…” “Yes, yes, that’s right.” Was I hearing it? I can’t tell you how it was coming into me but at some level it was coming into me.

On the third day that week, John and I were sitting in the Casa garden and somebody behind us clapped their hands. I was looking at John, we were side by side looking at each other but this person was not in my line of sight at all. And John didn’t move. But I spun my head around. And John said, “You heard that?” I said, “I heard what?” I wasn’t sure what I heard. But there was an awareness, I did turn my head, something was there.

Another day that week I was talking to somebody and somebody was sitting behind me; something that was said was funny and she broke out laughing and she said, immediately when she broke out laughing, I turned my head and looked at her with a big smile on my face. Now I can’t say consciously I heard any of these things, but somehow something’s hearing this.

So I needed to reflect how attached I was to the idea “I am deaf but someday I will hear. Something is going to happen to change this,” rather than, “I am hearing but it’s not yet fully developed, but I allow everything in me that can hear will hear.” And whatever expresses itself will express itself. And I don’t know how it’s going to be, but to stop thinking of myself as a deaf person who’s finally going to become a hearing person after the entities do their magic. And rather to know the innate capacity for hearing is here. How it’s going to manifest, we don’t know, but it’s here. Stop thinking, “I am this.” Let go of the story, “I am deaf” and let go of the story, “I have to hear, I will hear.” Simply, I hear. I hear some things and I am also deaf in many ways, and both are true. So let go of the whole thing: don’t be hearing, don’t be deaf, just be. Relax, know my wholeness, and allow it to manifest.

This is still new to me. It’s easier to talk about things that happened years ago and that I’ve fully had time to digest and integrate, and I’m still learning about this.

When we focus our energy in a certain way, saying, “I don’t have that but I need to get it,” there’s a certain scarcity consciousness. I lack this but I’m going to get it.

Somehow in believing that we lack it, we keep creating the lack because we’re the one who is somehow going to get it. I’m going to get enlightenment. I’m not enlightened yet, but someday…. So I keep needing to be the one who’s not enlightened yet but someday I’m going to get there, rather than resting in an opening to this awakened mind, and knowing there are flashes of Light coming through. It’s up to me. It’s there. Trust it. Just as the awakened mind is there, the hearing body is here. It’s all here. The perfection is here and we still must attend in skillful ways to the flaws. Maybe “flaws” is not the best word–to the…maybe “flaws” is the right word, to the broken pieces of shell.

So we do our meditation practice. We don’t say, “I’m already enlightened so I can stop practicing.”–-I’m already enlightened AND I need to practice. I’m already hearing AND I need to continue to do the exercises the entities have asked me to do, and I will continue to go back to Brazil regularly so that they can continue to do whatever surgery and other things they need to do to more fully complete this work. It’s all true.

Since I’ve come back, I’ve been hearing more thunder, which I heard a year ago. I didn’t hear the rain today but often I do hear rain. I hear cars when I’m driving my car and a car comes past me. It’s very helpful that I now hear a car passing.

It’s not always loud noises that I hear, I hear vacuums and car doors slamming. But I also hear the sound of, maybe it’s a muffler or the engine, I don’t know what it is but I hear the sound as a car is just in that blind spot, about to pass me.

Hearing is there. It’s slowly developing. We’ll see what happens.

I would ask all of you to look this week at the beliefs in limitation that hold you back. The ways that you believe you’re limited, that you’re unworthy, incomplete, unlovable, not good enough. Whatever belief it is that’s the demon following you around, invite it in for tea, take a good look at it, and begin to understand, this belief is optional. I’ve carried it for so long that it feels like a part of me. To release it feels like cutting off my arm, but it’s not who I am, it’s simply part of my conditioning. I don’t have to carry it anymore. What do I get out of carrying it?

Often what we get out of carrying it is we’re afraid of what will happen if we stop carrying it. What if I really AM worthy? What if I really am lovable? What if I don’t have to constantly please people? What if I don’t have to get everything right? There’s a lot of fear about that. Who will I be without these beliefs?

Look at the intensity of suffering that carrying them has caused for yourself and for others, and use this retreat time to look deeply at the possibility of release. Not to say, “I am not unworthy, I am worthy,” but simply, there’s no worthy or unworthy. It’s all old conditioning, old belief. I step outside the whole box. Let it go.

You can do it. It’s a beautiful freedom to come into this–beautiful for yourselves and beautiful for others.

Thank you for this opportunity to share this with you tonight.

(recording ends)

Copyright © 2008 by Barbara Brodsky