October 8, 2011 Saturday Evening, Seattle Retreat

(Several Venture Fourth participants are connected via SKYPE and 3 are present in the room with Barbara and 4 other retreatants.)

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. I can see you out there. I assume you cannot see me, but maybe not being here in person, you can see me, who knows? (To those on Skype) Remember that this is not Venture Fourth. You are tuning in to a dharma talk from a retreat. I hope what I say will be useful to you.

I'd like to know how many of you read Barbara's journals this summer? How about those on the internet? (Aaron picks up a copy of Circle of the Sun...)

Speaking to (people in the room), this is a restricted Tibetan text called Circle of the Sun. We used this as a basis for teaching beyond this text. In other words, I was not specifically teaching on Circle of the Sun but using the teachings in Circle of the Sun as a basis for broader work that I did with Barbara. She emailed out portions, not the whole text.

Every day or two Barbara typed portions of the text, my instruction on her practice with those portions, and then she emailed them out to the Venture Fourth group and others. So, many of the group were working along with Barbara. She was not doing this to teach, she was doing it for her own practice and simply willing to share my instructions with her, with others.

What we were talking about largely is what we call the akashic field. I'm going to explain a bit about that as we talk. Some of this may not make as much sense to you (local group) as the others, but as you reflect back on the talk and read the transcript of it when it's available I think you'll be able to fit the parts together, and I hope you bring it into your own practice.

Let's start with a bit of background based on the questions I've received from some of you. Clearly, you are spirit here to learn, and here to bring that learning into service in the world. Everything we are learning here is a tool to help you do what you came to do in the incarnation. You are not meditators, vipassana practitioners, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, etc, you are spirit with a very specific intention in your learning.

Some of you think, “I'm here to become enlightened so I can get out of here!” Well, I can understand it's hard. But in your heart you have a deep commitment to service, all of you, and that's what drew you to Venture Fourth. That's what draws you to a meditation practice, not just to escape but truly to learn how to use this profound energy that you are in connection with all beings, and in service to all beings.

Sitting on the roof today, Barbara experienced an immense sense of connection. Let me describe this for those of you who are listening. The house has 3 stories, and then you go on up to a rooftop deck. On this deck you can see literally in four directions, in three of which there's vast view-- big sky above, with puffy white clouds, birds, airplanes. Houses descending down the hillsides to a lake. Looking down the hillside, this house is on, and up the adjacent hillsides, one sees a lot of houses, but also trees and greenery, and a sparkling blue lake in the center, a sailboat tacking across it. Cars move up and down the streets, occasional people. In the distance, the Cascade Mountains and, at times, Mt. Rainier, holding its peak way above everything else, and then lost in the clouds.

and telephoto lens at different settings and on different days

So, we sat there doing pure awareness practice. I asked people to let go of any sense of a separate self, to relax into the spaciousness. The sun was hot, the breeze was firm and cool. Below us were the wooden deck and the house, grounded into the earth. The lake with it's blue waters and glistening light was there, and the clouds-- all parts of the water element. I asked people to experience these elements in themselves, feel their interconnection with everything and let go of boundaries. Gradually we brought attention to the akasha, but only briefly. I said I would talk about it later, as I am about to do.

Are you familiar with the term “morphic field”? The simplest way I have of explaining that is that everything informs everything else. There is literally one consciousness that permeates everything, and you tune into that consciousness. That consciousness informs you, and you inform it. It's all interconnected. And yet, you are also the separate human beings, each unique, each with your own karma, your own intelligence, your own skills, your own intention, which intention carries a very high energy and vibration.

We spend the early years of practice with vipassana, learning to identify sensations, thoughts, emotions, how they arise from conditions and how not to be overly self-identified with them, how not to contract around what has arisen with grasping or aversion, until there's a sense of spaciousness, objects arising out of conditions and passing away, and clearly this is not who you are; but if you do contract, not to contract around that contraction. Then you learn to rest in the spaciousness between the objects, and open to a clearer sense of what you are. I can't say you're the spaciousness. What you are exists in the spaciousness. It's much easier to find what you are in the spaciousness than in the self-identification with the objects.

So, you rest in spaciousness, coming to an ever-deeper truth of who and what you are. The “who and what” is not a matter of a self but is where you are all interconnected, tuning into this..., I've called it primordial purity, and the book The Circle of the Sun also calls it that.

One of you asked a question of me by email about primordial purity versus the “All Ground”, to which the book refers. This is an important distinction. The primordial purity is the Dharmakaya, the Unconditioned. It cannot be concept; it must be experienced through your meditation. For some of you it's a very stable experience; for others of you it's a fleeting experience. But even the most fleeting of it, and you've all had that fleeting experience, gives you some sense of what it is.

If you said to me, “Aaron, what is honey?” I could say, “Well, it's sweet and it's a bit sticky.” These are concepts. Once you taste honey, even one tiny taste, then you know what it is. You don't know all the varieties of honey, or how it tastes if you eat a big spoonful of it. You've only had a tiny bit of it on your tongue, but you know, “This is honey.” This is the Dharmakaya, the Unconditioned. You've had a taste of it.

We do not live in the Dharmakaya, for the most part; we live in the mundane realm, or at best, in a place where the wires are crossed, so to speak, where you have one foot in the mundane and one in the Unconditioned.  You cannot live fully in the Unconditioned and still remain alive. Oh, temporarily, yes; for an hour during a sitting, two hours, two days, weeks or months even. But you can't live only from that space, never touching the conditioned realm.

Our work is to find how to stay in contact with both. So we have the beginning vipassana practice in which you learn to find spaciousness with the mundane experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, equanimity with them, non-attachment and non-self-identification with them, and the ability to attend to them in skillful and loving ways, not to be swept off your feet by them. And we have the pure awareness practice in which you learn to rest in spaciousness and stabilize yourself in spaciousness.

Gradually the vipassana practice deepens so your primary object increasingly becomes the space between objects, experienced sometimes through nada or through luminosity or through energy. The spaciousness becomes predominant and not a mundane object, like the breath.

At the point where this comes together, which is about the point we were coming to at the end of Venture Fourth for most of you, we begin to ask the next question: how do I apply this in the world? And how do I create change in the world and in my own unwholesome habitual tendencies through awareness both of impermanence and non-self nature of the conditioned realm and my knowing, tasting, of the Unconditioned? It's at this point that the akashic field work becomes extremely helpful.

Dzogchen teaching has two predominant levels. Trekchod, the cutting through practice-- you've all done that with me. This is where we rest in awareness, watch an object like a loud sound, a car backfire is the illustration I used today. A loud sound startling you, pulling you into a contracted state, noting, “Hearing, sound. Anything there that's not an expression of the Unconditioned?” You have to have had a lot of practice to be able to answer that question. It's not a theoretical question, it's based on years of vipassana practice and seeing how everything is arising out of conditions, and that the primordial purity, the Dharmakaya, is at the base, expressing outward constantly into these conditions. The conditions are karmically expressed, sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant or neutral.

Think of soup broth boiling. It releases steam. You smell the steam and you know the soup, but the steam is not the soup, the steam is an expression of the soup, a pleasant expression. Think of rain clouds gathering above, big clouds, and the rain starts coming down on you. You're by the sea, and the clouds, of course, are from the evaporation from the sea. So it's the ocean raining down on you, but the rain is not the ocean, it's an expression of the ocean come to you through the conditioned process of sun beating on water, evaporation, cloud formation, certain conditions that bring rain. It's all expressing, each in its own pattern.

I am pausing here a bit. When the group is gathered in one room, I can gather your thoughts more clearly, and your questions. I need enough time here to feel out there, all over the country, and gather your thoughts so that I know how best to proceed here. You know I like to answer your questions, as we go along, and then give you a chance to ask further. So feel free to think your questions to me, for now. (pause) There is no time, there is no space, and yet it still takes me longer to reach out across the country to get to your thoughts!

So there is primordial purity, this ground. Not the All Ground; we're talking about primordial purity, Dharmakaya, Unconditioned. Let's call it the soup. And there are the expressions that filter upward from the soup as scent, as steam. Whatever it is you are after, it's always filtering out of the Unconditioned and your intention calls it forth to you. If there is the intention to live with more love, in a sense you connect in to the deepest essence of loving kindness, that deepest unconditioned core of love in the universe, and draw out what is useful to you. It's filtering upward, percolating up. You can only take what you are able to take in that moment. The rest will be accessible again when you are ready.

So, although everything is there in the Dharmakaya, you can't always make use of it all yet because the container that you are is not yet big enough to hold it. You can't hold it all. In this human form, you are finite. In spirit, you are infinite; but in this human form, human mind, human body, you are finite, so you take in what you can. The conditioned emotions especially block your taking it in. This is why in deep meditation when you have stepped outside the emotional body, when there's not even merely absence of self-identity with emotion but beyond that, truly no self, no sense of a self view, suddenly there is infinite awareness, but you cannot retain that and bring it back so easily into the finite body. Again, here, the akashic field work becomes helpful.

We've discussed akashic field a bit in May but I'm going to expand on it here and restate it, to some degree. Four elements: earth, air, fire, and water, and a container out of which they arise. We erroneously consider ether or akasha to be a fifth element, but it really is the container out of which the other elements are arising. Everything in this conditioned world is arising out of that container that we'll call the akashic field.

The akashic field..., if I could use this as an image, it's a filter floating on a vast sea. Picture an enormous boat almost big enough to go from shore to shore across the ocean, but it's floating on the surface. The ocean is below it. The boat bottom is porous so that everything underneath can rise up into the boat and then out into the atmosphere. Nothing out there can sink back into this sea, which we'll call the sea of primordial purity. This sea is the Ever-Perfect. Hold the image of a filter resting on the Ever-Perfect. So the Ever-Perfect can express only in one way, up, out, into this plane and also other planes, but the negativity of this plane cannot sink back into the primordial purity.

The akashic field, then, becomes the All Ground. It's not exactly the same thing, but the All Ground... let me try to find a good image... A very pure crystal clear sea, with a volcanic cone arisen in the middle of it. An inactive volcano, risen up into a cone. It's ready to erupt. This sea is completely pure and we don't want the volcanic lava to fall back into the sea-- sparks and dirt and ash. So we lay a big filter, an infinite filter around the cone. It's a one-way filter. The water can come up. The ever-pure water is below the filter and above the filter. The volcano, which is the forces of fire, earth, air, explodes. Ashes are falling. They fall onto the filter. They cannot sink through the filter. The filter, then, holds the water, the crystal clear primordial pure water. It also holds the primordial pure fire. The explosion of the fire results in ash, which is not the primordial pure fire itself but an expression of the fire.

I can't really bring all the elements in easily, but I think you can imagine how this debris is piling up on top of the filter. Below the filter is the primordial purity, the Unconditioned itself, and it gives rise to everything. There's a major fault in my illustration in that the filter would have to drape over the volcano, and the fire would have to break through the filter and then the ash come down on the top side....

So we've got water and fire, air blowing under-- I'm not sure. I need to think about that illustration. No, I think it's okay ...

The Unconditioned is below the earth, air, fire, and water. It gives rise to earth, air, fire, and water. The field that holds the potential for that arising is the akashic field.


From Barbara, written while reviewing the talk. I found these illustrations confusing and asked Aaron if he wanted to change them or delete them. He said, no, to leave them but to add to the reader, to just let them go if they are not helpful.  I have put them in italic. If confusing, just release...

My illustrations are sometimes helpful and also perhaps somewhat confusing. The point I want to make here is that there is the primordial purity level, the Dharmakaya level, and there is that moment of the expression of the Dharmakaya outward based on conditions. The expressions move outward into mundane reality but they cannot return into and distort the Dharmakaya; the Dharmakaya remains primordially pure. Therefore, the work you do on yourself and in the world is within the akashic field level or the All-Ground level. I repeat, they are not completely synonymous but for our use here tonight they are close enough to call them similar. We don't need to distinguish. I am using the word akashic field; the book uses the term All-Ground.

So what does it mean to work within this akashic field or All-Ground? It's the place of infinite possibility because the Dharmakaya is there and accessible, undistorted, perfect; it is your boundless heart, infinitely loving. You can all look into that boundless heart, and yet there are moments of uncharitable thought. The uncharitable thought cannot distort the Ever-Perfect. You begin to trust the presence of that primordial purity and to move into it, to draw from it, and be able to lift it and extend it out into the world, and when the moments of negative or uncharitable thought arise, just to say, “Ah, this has arisen from conditions, certain ashes drifting down from the volcano.” You don't get upset about it but you take care of it. You make sure that that ash will not fall on other people and burn them. You simply take care of it.

We work within the akashic field first by getting used to the experience of it. Barbara wrote a lot about this, this summer. One day she wrote about a sunset. The lake was mirror smooth. She could see the hills on the far shore and the trees on the shore, the clouds streaked with reds and yellows in the sky above the hills, and all of it reflected mirror perfect in the lake. But it became clear to her that what she was seeing in the lake was an illusion.

So she first had the dualistic thought, “This is real and that is illusion.” And I said to her, “Why is one more real than the other?”  She said, “The mirror image in the lake seems like an illusion.” I asked her to look at the clouds in the lake, reflecting all the oranges, reds, yellows of the clouds in the sky, and the clouds themselves, simply bits of molecules of water vapor with sun reflected on them. Nothing real, nothing solid. Is it more real in the sky than the reflection in the lake? In some ways the lake reflection is more solid.

And then shift that observation. Look at the trees. It's easier to see that the sky is simply water vapor. The trees look more solid but there's nothing solid there. Those leaves now have blown off the trees, in Michigan. They're decaying on the ground. The trees themselves will fall apart and decay in time. And the trees are only molecules.

As J reminded us today-- a beautiful illustration, for those listening in-- they discovered that the nucleus of the atom related to the whole structure of the atom is like the size of a golf ball in a large stadium. The golf ball is the nucleus surrounded by all that space, and then the outer wall of the atom. All that space! And how many of these atoms are in a molecule, and how many molecules are in a tree? What are you looking at? There's nothing solid.

Look at your hand. Hold it up and look. One hand, hold it up near your face and really look at it. See if you can imagine how many molecules make up the palm of this hand, how-many-ever atoms in a molecule. How many football stadiums are floating around in your hand, with only these tiny golf balls as nucleus? It's mostly space. Literally let it dissolve. What was this hand before you were born? What will it be after you die? There is nothing solid there.

(D is taking a photo) He thinks he's taking a picture of Aaron, but it's going to look like Barbara!

So, we look at the distortions in the body. We look at the emotions that arise. We look at the habitual tendencies. We go into the akashic field and find the place where the Ever-Perfect is just below the surface, and whatever expressions - the body pain, the challenging emotion, the mind that won't become quiet - we see how all of this is simply expressing out. It's really just an extension of the vipassana practice. It's all expressing out of conditions. It's all impermanent and not self.

The powerful difference here is that you, with free will and the power of intention, can go into the akashic field and, no matter how many times you have chosen one specific repetitious thought or physical pattern, you can say, that's enough. Let it go and go into the akashic field and choose other ones.

Barbara has often repeated her story of the broken toe that healed in three days, singing to it. She was not conscious at that time that she was working in the akashic field but basically that's what she was doing. She went into the akashic field with the intention for the highest healing. She was asked to visualize the supposed break where the molecules were distorted energetically, had pulled apart, and then to visualize them coming back into an intact relationship with each other.

In the akashic field was both the break, the separated molecules, and the whole illusion of that, which she could keep in place and extend by thinking, “Six weeks. It's going to take six weeks to heal,” not letting herself know the ever-healed. Or she could come into the place of the ever-healed and know it.

It will take as long as it takes. There's no grasping. I'm talking specifically to one participant here who has just had knee replacement surgery two weeks ago and is doing very well. I want to simply remind her, whatever the doctors say, forget it. It's already whole. It's already healed. Go into the akashic field and know the ever-healed. And then if something, like a visualization of color, or for Barbara with the toe, the suggestion to sing to it, if that comes to you, do it. Let the knee tell you what it needs.

So, we're doing the same thing regardless of whether it's a physical experience or an emotional one, a habitual pattern like judging or feelings of unworthiness. We go into the akashic field and find the place where that experience is not. It must exist there. If the experience arose, the opposite has to be there. In other words, the innate perfection is there along with the distortion, and the distortion cannot arise unless the innate perfection is there to give rise to the distortion. Your intention is what chooses.

Sometimes it's terrifying because you are so habituated to living with the distortion. Again, here's where the vipassana practice becomes important because when there's fear or resistance when you go into the akashic field, you then immediately shift back into the vipassana practice and the experience of fear, tension, resistance: where is it in the body? How is it experienced? The power of intention asking to understand this resistance as a preparation to releasing it for the highest good. And sometimes it's very, very hard work.

Inserted by Barbara as I review. Dec. 8; On Nov 23, we took our whole family to an indoor water park with many features including a long, winding slide that was great fun. One sat on an inner tube.  It took perhaps 45 to 60 seconds to go down. One trip down, my head hit a projection (a design flaw that should not have been there!) and I was knocked unconscious; a major concussion. So I sat on a bench at the bottom, ice pack on my head, and worked with Aaron's and Casa Entity's guidance with the akashic field. I was asked to visualize the ever-perfect skull, brain, and neck and to release anything not in accord with that image. I continued to hold that image of innate perfection as we traveled home and to the hospital. CAT scan was clear; no fractured skull, no brain damage, no neck injury. There's been lots of bruising, major black eye and facial discoloration, affording ongoing opportunity for further practice, but all is healing pretty well. It has been fascinating to watch and practice with these ever-perfect molecules and the obviously distorted ones. It's more than 2 weeks post-concussion now; I have also been watching some mental lack of clarity from the concussion, knowing it as impermanent, and coming back to the place of innate clarity. It's fascinating to really see both at the same moment. That which is aware of lack of clarity is not unclear.

Barbara talks some about this in the early chapters of Cosmic Healing, about her work with her deafness, the attachments to the deafness as well as the aversion to it. There was a very helpful chapter that we cut out because the book was too long, and because it is already published in the book Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on the Dilemma of Embodiment, which was published by Shambala in the mid- to late 1990s, I believe. In her chapter in that anthology Barbara talks of being deaf and how she worked with the deafness. Hating the deafness. Going into her studio and singing songs to herself because she couldn't stand being silent in her sculpture studio. Walking in the woods, it was okay to be silent, but in her sculpture studio it wasn't.

She talks about finally sitting with this pain, this anger, and that it was the hardest thing she ever did. That she would sit, sweating, her body aching and cramped, just asking herself to stay there with all that discomfort and finally to see through it. And she writes quite eloquently about it in that book. Perhaps she can send out that chapter when this transcript is sent out.

So this is what you're being asked to do. And I am not suggesting that it's easy. It's going to test you. It's going to take you to the deepest places of unwholesome conditioning and ask you: for the highest good are you finally ready to see through this and that you no longer need to carry it?

How many of you, when you travel, carry a big suitcase? What if you traveled with just a toothbrush and trusted that everything else you needed would come to you? Maybe a toothbrush and a set of clean underwear so you could wash them out at night.

Q: And a credit card.

Aaron: No, no credit card!

Some years ago, Barbara's son David was given an assignment by some big magazine for which he writes an occasional column. They said, “Davy, we want you to go to,” I think it was a town in Italy, or maybe Poland, I'm not sure where. “You may not take any luggage with you. You may not take any money or credit card. We'll pay for your plane ticket. You have a week there and then we want you to report on what happened.” They were going to pay him well for this. He was to go and live it and write an article. So, with a little bit of trepidation, he went.

He felt very strange leaving his credit cards. He had his passport, identification, but that's all. He had a wonderful week. He opened himself in ways he might never have to people because he needed to rely on people. I don't remember what he wrote in the article, but he described to Barbara going out on a basketball court immediately after he arrived, because that's what he loves to do. He shot baskets with people. The day that his flight arrived, he had no idea where he was going to sleep. He had no money for food. He played ball with these people and, I think he was not allowed to tell them he was writing a magazine article, that he just had to say, “I'm here with no money, no credit cards, nothing. I have no place to stay.”

The young people he met playing basketball invited him to stay with them that night. They fed him. He found some way to earn his keep for a few days, washing dishes or doing something. Other people fed him. People took him in. He met a lot of loving people. And then he flew home and wrote his article. I suppose somewhere along the line somebody provided him with a toothbrush.

Aside from Barbara; I have asked Davy for confirmation of details. I'll send this out to VF  as is, but may offer something additional from Davy later.

Davy: haha love it.

it's mostly accurate... not sure there was a romance, but i like the story. it was Barcelona. for GQ, i think.

i kind of cheated because i knew Rise Against (a music group who are close friends) was going to be playing there... so the first night i slept on the tour bus and ate with them. but then they left for the next city and the rest of it played out just as you say...

very fun adventure!

love davy

It takes a lot of faith to let go of all the old props that have seemed to support you, to recognize that most of that support is illusion, that you don't need that support. Who you think you are needs that support. Who you really are doesn't need that support.

You begin to look into the akashic field. You see what there's resistance to letting go of. You take it back into your vipassana practice, looking at the fear. You don't try to figure it out mentally, you just sit, present with fear, tension, and with the intention to understand and to release, the intention for freedom. And insight will arise. Understanding will arise. And it will still be hard to let go. You can do it.

The last very small bit of my thoughts about Akashic Field. Toward the end of Barbara's journaling we were talking about the three channels. This is in Circle of the Sun. The only one you need really to become increasingly conscious of is the energy channel. It's not quite the prime channel in which the chakras lay. It's in front of that, connected to the chakras but not exactly that meridian. It moves upward from the heart up to behind the eyes.

You may not all be able to do this at this point and that's okay, but for those of you who can, to become increasingly aware of that energetic channel coming from the base chakra through the heart, into the third eye and ending behind the eyes. It gives you a very clear access into the akashic field. It is not the only way to access the akashic field; it's one traditional way.

Q: How does it give you the access?

Aaron: It opens the energy fields within you so that it takes you to a place of dissolution of self and of ego. If you focus on that energy field, and this is a very strong concentration practice, to focus on that energy field until it seems to burst open-- it's a different experience than jhana, and it's a different experience than dissolution of self in vipassana. Instead, it's an experience of...connection. It's as if the energy meridian breaks open all the habitual blockages so that you fall into being who you truly are, and there's for many people a feeling of being in two places at once. Being in that totally connected space, and still aware of the body, able to pick up a glass of water, for example.

Q: So, are you saying that the, for lack of better words, the focus on the channel is what brings you into that space?

Aaron: The focus, the recognition of that channel and focus on the channel brings you into the awareness of the channel, and within that channel, the interconnection with everything. But it's like an overlay where there is the mundane human being and the fully connected human being. And one sees at that point one is in the akashic field with the habitual identification as the mundane human being and simultaneously, the deeper truth of your being.

I don't want to elaborate on this too much. For the 25 or so of you who receive these journals, only 2 or 3 picked up on these questions, and I'm not sure it's the best use of our time tonight. Perhaps further on this weekend, for those who are interested, we'll have a deeper discussion about it. I think it's important, but I don't think it's suitable for everybody. People who have done less dzogchen practice will not find it as useful. So I don't want to push it on people so they feel, “Oh, I have to learn about this.” It's just one possible practice that one can use. It's helpful if it suits you. Every practice is not suitable to everybody. For those who are very aware of energy, this is helpful.

Some people experience this channel much more in terms of luminosity and light. They don't experience it so much as an energy channel as a channel of light bursting out behind the third eye, and that luminosity takes them into the Unconditioned. Circle of the Sun doesn't talk about that but it's a parallel path. So, this is simply the traditional togyal path as delineated in Circle of the Sun, and it's only one possible path. But I would be happy tomorrow to answer some questions about it.

For now I'd like to hear questions about what I have spoken of so far. We've been talking here for an hour. I realize it's after 11pm in the east. But I'm happy to hear your questions, and we can also pick this up again tomorrow night.

Tomorrow during the day we will work in meditation with the akashic field, guided meditation.

Q: Barbara's toe, broken and perfection, are in the akashic field. Are any other possibilities there?

Aaron: What possibilities are there besides the innate perfection and the illusion and expression of distortion? The distortion can take many different forms.

Q: Can it be said that the akashic field is where the energy expression of an arising is just after it comes from the Unconditioned?

Aaron: Yes, that's accurate.

Q: Are you saying to focus on an energy channel from the base of the spine up to beyond the third eye in order to access the akashic field?

Aaron: That is one technique. It is a traditional technique within the togyal practice. It is not the only way of accessing the akashic field. If it works for you, it's a useful technique.

Q: Is this kundalini energy?


Aaron: No. Kundalini energy is  energy that moves up through the spine. This is not the same channel. Kundalini moves through a different channel.

Q: When energy arises from the akashic field, it passes away again. Does it go back into the akashic field, or into the dharmakaya?

Aaron: It's not really going anywhere. It's not really arising or passing away. Simply, your awareness of it arises and passes away! (groans, laughter)

Q: I am following some of Geshe Wagyal's practices with the five chakras. (channels?) He urges we image in-breath through the side channels, which terminate in the central channel and goes up through all five chakras (channels?). Will this practice help to acquire awareness of the energy channel you have been talking about?

Aaron: It could but don't over-strive. It sounds like your understanding is not clear, of the distinctions between channels and chakras.  If the practice feels natural to you, it will help. You're each unique. What works for one is not necessarily what works for another. If as you inhale there's a strong sense of these side channels that leads you into the central channel, wonderful, then practice it in that way. If you say, “What the heck is he talking about?” then let it go.

There are many ways of understanding the akashic field, and using the central channel as a pathway there is only useful if it resonates for you, not if it's forced. It is a tried and true method that works for many people, but many of the people it works for have been doing trekchod and togyal practice for a long time. This has not been your path. So there are other ways of getting there.

Some of you have practiced this in past lives and it will seem, immediately, “Ah, that makes sense.” Fine. Some of you have never done this before. You've used other pathways. For example, shamanism of different countries, different cultures, takes you much the same place, to this central channel, with different images and practices.

Q: I have a question. It may not be appropriate. Today after we were on the roof, I stayed. I asked for guidance to work togyal. I did things I've never been taught or read, and had a wonderful experience.

Aaron: You have never been taught it in this lifetime! And, you asked for help. All of you, we've worked with you for two years reminding you, guidance is available out there. That it's important to ask for the help. We worked in several sessions with connecting with your guides. Some of you said, “Well, that's impossible,” and suddenly there was this guidance.

Q: Did you see what I did?

Aaron: You were connecting with your higher-self more than an external guide, and with past life experience of the practice, and trusting your own knowing of the practice at a deep level. You were releasing the resistance that said, “Be logical, this can't be true. Just stay with the facts.” and going into your heart and trusting the intuition.

You were allowing a much freer flow of energy. The central channel that we've just talked about was very open. You know how to do that. You, Q, don't know, but the karmic stream knows, the spirit knows. You were allowing that to come through, holding the intention of the highest good. Sitting there on the roof, there was a very heart opening period of feeling connection-- all those houses and beings, feeling so connected, your heart moved, wanting to serve all these beings, that it let you slip through resistance and into a place of trusting your ability to work energetically with Light and all the streams of energy that were coming.

Up there on the roof you were at the center of a million streams of energy, sun and so much more. And it was like you became the orchestra conductor, feeling that you could move that energy and help it, not force it but invite it, into a much more harmonious flow. I don't think there was a conscious image of that, there was just a conscious image of ease and centeredness and joy. But that joy was based on a sense of co-creating the harmonious flow. Can you see that?

Q: I see it differently.

Aaron: Okay. I can only tell you what I see. It may not be exactly what you see. What did you see or experience?

Q: I was working with the sun directly and working with breath, powerfully.

Aaron: As I perceived it, you were working with all the elements, not just the sun. The consciousness may have been more directed toward the sun, but I believe you were working with all the elements, combining and bringing the elements together. There's the Unconditioned, the akashic field, and the elements expressing out. Now you're reversing the direction, taking the elements back into the akashic field just to the point where they emerge from the Unconditioned. At that point everything within the akashic field is accessible. It's the same thing at this point. You're going to that point in a different way. You can go through the channel up to the space between the third eye, or you can go to it through the elements, pouring the elements back into the akashic field just to that point where they emerge. In either place, you come to the place of infinite possibilities, and then intention is able to choose the possibility that most resonates with your heart, at that moment.

Q: Togyal is called “leaping over”. It's supposed to be an accelerated path. Is what I did togyal?

Aaron: Partially. It's on the way there.

Q: What do they mean by “leaping over”?

Aaron: Leaping over the small ego self without dismissiveness of the small self. Taking that within the whole field of possibilities, but not being the least bit caught up by it. Leaping into the vast sea with blossoming compassion for the ego that says, “Is this safe?” Not ignoring that ego, but not taking it any more seriously than you take the 2 year old seriously who says, “I don't want to go there.” “Well, you have to go there. I hear you don't want to go. Come on, I'll carry you.” That's leaping over.

Vipassana watches the small ego; observes it without self-identification, and learns about impermanence and no self through it. Togyal already has experienced enough of impermanence and no self that it just says, “Come on, let's just go.” It then uses these different practices, such as the central channel and the energy, or, with shamanism, often with chanting and harmonics, parallel paths, to get to that place where you are able to work within the akashic field directly and sort out.

Here's an image. You are on the beach with a platter of crackers spread with soft cheese. You drop the crackers! Are you going to get caught up in the crackers that fell face down and try to scrape the sand off, or are you going to let go of that completely and just pick up the crackers that are face up, put them back on the platter and enjoy them? So that's what you're doing.

Now, what I saw you doing was based on the intention, feeling energetically all of the space around you, and the radiance and the suffering around you, as you sat there in the first part of this sitting. Finding within yourself the leaping over, no longer being the one who has to pick up and try to dust the sand off the cheese. Leaping over into the realm of possibilities where you see that all the crackers are free of sand. Picking them up. Having them accessible and available to feed people. You were coming into that place where you could interweave all of the possibilities and needs without a self doing it. It was a place of power.

Let us go on with some of the questions...

Q: (going back to the question on Barbara's toe, the two possibilities and Aaron‘s question, what other possibilities are there?) Other possibilities include the toe healing in one day, the toe healing in two days, the toe healing in three days, the toe falling off, growing a new toe-- infinite possibilities.

Aaron: These are all possibilities. Barbara had the idea, from what was said to her by spirit, that the toe could heal faster. She didn't think two days or three days, she simply thought of, “Not 6 weeks. It can heal faster.” If she had thought it could heal instantly, it could heal instantly. Possibly, if she had thought, “The only way for it to heal is for it to fall off and a new toe to grow, and I can do that overnight,” that might happen. But it's less likely that she would totally believe that than that she would believe (the other). she has to completely believe, believe not in terms of faith but know it. And she could understand mechanically that the molecules are simply separated and can rejoin. That's easier for her to visualize than the whole toe falling off and re-growing. So, that's not as likely a possibility, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. And I've seen similar things happen.

Q: I need a perspective about the relationship between the akashic field and how the relative mind knows things. When a person is knowing the world from relative reality, the akashic field is still the akashic field. What are the dynamics of the mind which knows and the mind which sees from relative reality?

Aaron: The mind which sees things from relative reality and does not know it's caught in that relative reality is therefore limited by its belief in the absoluteness of the relative reality. The mind that sees that it is perceiving through relative reality and that that's a trap and an illusion is almost immediately back into ultimate reality and into the simultaneity of the two. It needs to be in that simultaneity where it can see the illusions as they pop forth, know them as illusions.

For example, anger comes up and then the thought, “I can't get past this anger.” You're trapped in it. Or anger comes up, and immediately, based on your practice, the awareness, “Anger has arisen in me. I bring kindness to this anger. That which is aware of anger is not angry. I hold space for and invite forth that which is not angry. I see the little part of me that wants to hold on to the anger. That is not in accordance with my highest values. I release it.” And so forth.

One works back and forth, grounding again and again into the akashic field, into the broader range of the ultimate reality, which is still attentive to what's arising in relative reality but not self-identified with it. Does that clarify?

Q: How come that simultaneity is not so obvious? How can that ultimate reality be more identifiable?

Aaron: Practice, daughter, practice! You knew I was going to say that. (Q is laughing)

Q, keep going back to, “that which is aware of.” That which is aware of fear is not afraid. That which is aware of anger is not angry. That which is aware of contraction is not contracted. Let that become your primary practice for awhile until you feel more grounded in the simultaneity. Okay?

Is there any other pressing question from anyone?

Q: My question has to do with, I know you said that when we say the akashic element, we really mean the akashic field. When we talk about 5 elements, we say the akashic element, the element akasha. And you said today that really it is not an element, it is the akashic field.

Aaron: There is an akashic element, and there is the akashic field. They are not the same thing.

Q: Thank you, that clarifies. So I wanted to ask, the way I perceive the difference is that the akashic element is the expression of the akashic field in the nirmanakaya. The way I perceive the element akasha, as opposed to the akashic field, is that the element is the expression of the field in the nirmanakaya.

Aaron: It is both the expression of the field and a base for the field. The other elements express out of the akashic field. And yet, there is a water element that precedes the akashic field. The akashic field is simply the place where the water element expresses from the Unconditioned into the conditioned. The akashic field is where akasha, which pre-exists, expresses out into the conditioned realm.

Before the akashic field, in the Unconditioned, are the potentials for earth, air, fire, water, akasha. They couldn't express if they were not already there. But they have not yet become manifest. It's like the human being. The sperm and egg are there. We can say the human is already there. But, there has to be coitus and fertilization for the embryo to form. But the conditions are already there for it to form once certain things occur that create the possibility. It's a, “what comes first, the chicken or the egg?” question.

Let's use the same illustration. The human being is there because the sperm and the egg are there. However, no human has incorporated into that fetus. There is no fetus yet, only the possibilities. In that moment where there is a viable fetus, there may still not be a spirit moved into that fetus. There's a certain moment where the spirit moves into the fetus. At that moment, all the past karma of that human, positive and negative, is there in that fetus.

This is the All Ground: everything, all the positive, all the negative. A moment before, or let's say whatever time before it was a fetus, there was a sperm and an egg. There were all the possibilities, but nothing had manifest. So the primordial purity is pre-karma.

Aaron: Barbara is very, very tired. It's near midnight for her, and I have been incorporated in her body for over two hours. To all of you on our Skype screen, my appreciation to you for joining us. It has been wonderful to feel your energy there in this circle. Thank you, my dear brothers and sisters of light. Good night.

For those who are traveling back someplace to sleep, please be as silent as you can. I'll see you in the morning. Those sleeping here, remain in silence. We will not hold a formal early morning sitting. You are welcome to get up and come together here to sit... I imagine there's a beautiful sunrise from that rooftop some mornings...

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