October 10, 2011 Monday Afternoon, Seattle Retreat

Barbara: Aaron is going to give a short talk and then lead us in a guided meditation.

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. There are many reasons for spiritual practice. Basically one is led to spiritual practice because one feels some discordancy in the fabric of oneself and the world and yearns to harmonize that discordancy, because there's a knowing that that discordancy creates pain and suffering.

Different traditions have different approaches. Within some traditions, the focus is on personal liberation, with the idea that until one attains that full liberation for the self, one cannot do much in the world. Other traditions approach it from a direction of attending to the world, and that the path of service leads to personal liberation.

No one path is right. Each of you has a unique karma and a unique way of evolving and of serving. In Venture Fourth our focus was on service in the world, not even specifically as a path to personal liberation but as a path to service in the world. And yet, inevitably that service must come from an ever purer place, and thus will lead to personal insight and eventually to liberation.

Our work with Venture Fourth inevitably brings us to this place where we understand that the entire universe is one fabric, and that each of you is a part of the thread of that fabric. Don't think of it as a billion threads going that way and a billion going this way, simply interweaving, but that at a certain point, this thread goes this way, this way, this way, this way, and eventually that way, but one thread. It has strong and weak points. It has different colors. It has places where the thread has worn a bit thin.

It is all your thread, and therefore you're responsible for the whole fabric, for attending. You attend to your own particular piece of the thread and the parts that overlay your piece. You also are responsible for learning to hear, see, and feel the undercurrents that shift the thread into knots and tensions that create the wars and other unwholesome grounds of suffering in your world.

Along with your vipassana practice and kind attention, the best way I know to do that work is to enter the akashic field. Different traditions give it different names. The Dreamtime, dreaming as a way of working within the field. Shamanism and shamanic journeying. When you all took that canoe journey with Heather, you were all entering the akashic field. You could feel the distortion of the one who was carried in the canoe for healing, and all of you were holding the field, not only offering support for that healing but seeing that distortion not only in the one in the center of the canoe but also in yourself. Healing it in yourself so that that healing became available to the one carried in the center of the canoe.

I can only demonstrate for you the different pathways into the akashic field, and have you share your own pathways so as to better understand that there are innumerable paths. Basically, if you hold the intention to enter the field for the highest good of all beings, you will find your way there. You will be led, one way or the other.

To me, the supreme value of the vipassana practice is that it lights up where there is strong ego, where there is separation. One can see how that ego consciousness and the illusion of separation arises out of conditions, find clarity that there has never really been separation, that it's all illusion, and rest in the spaciousness that can hold the illusion.

The trekchod practice takes you to the same place, and resting in awareness-- different traditions but very much the same result. We've talked at length about the differences. I'd rather talk now about the similarities. Each of them uncovers the ego self as illusion and leads you to the place where awareness can hold the ego with kindness, with compassion, and without self-identification with it, and thereby slip past it. And then, based on that compassion, can use the ego, can transmute the energy of the ego, for the highest good.

If you don't know the ego and the force and push and disturbance of the ego, you're always either slave to it or trying to slip away from it or to control it.  However, the ego is just energy, and you can transmute it for the highest good.

A few minutes for questions and then I want to do a guided meditation with you. I'm going to have you come into a circle. What I'm going to have you do is hold hands, and I'm going to take you on a journey of sorts into the akashic field so that you can feel each other as continuations of your own thread, and between you we're going to feel distortions in the akashic field. And from the intention of the highest for all beings, the release of suffering, the enhancement of love and loving kindness, we're going to, together, attend to those distortions.

I think you're going to find there are some universal and some personal distortions, and you're going to feel those in each other. There's not going to be any hiding place here. I expect each of you has the ability to be open and honest, to reach out and ask for help as you need it, to feel the support of the group, and to offer help fearlessly. But if fear arises, to attend to the fear.

I'll explain further as we begin. Are there questions before we go up to the roof?

Q: I have a question which, I don't know if this is the right time to ask, but what is the purpose of the ego?

Aaron: Let's save that for tonight, okay? Because we have a limited amount of time now.

Q: We are always working with this ego thing!

Aaron: It's part of life with children, part of life in relative reality.

Q: It seems like trouble!

Aaron: If there are no questions about what I have just spoken of, let's gather coats and blankets and ascend.

(recording paused)

(wind static on mic, hard to hear)

Barbara: We are up on the rooftop, formed in a circle...

Aaron: I am Aaron, and I am not incorporated, simply speaking through Barbara so she can consciously participate. We open this circle... so that the left hand is receiving and the right hand is giving, face up and face down. We open this circle, inviting in the four elements. The air, wind element, which is very apparent sitting here on the rooftop. Fire energy, which feels a bit low today, so you'll have to draw it up in your own body. The water element, feeling it in your bodies, seeing it in the lake and in the clouds. Let yourself ground through the building, down into the earth. You are sitting atop a hill above a lake. Ground yourself deep into the ground.

We give thanks for these brothers and sisters, earth, air, fire, and water, and we open our circle to invite all loving angelic presence. Only that which is of highest intention for service to all beings may participate in this circle. Others are welcome to listen.

Move down through the spine and anchor yourself into the earth, and feel your power coming through the earth. Breathing in through the chakras... and exhale... Let us bring in fire, finding it today more in the solar plexus, through the fire in the belly, your life force. Bringing it up to the crown chakra. And as you breathe out, grounding again. Wind and water...The elements balanced, in this expression of the divine that you are.

Open to your own highest intention to service to all beings, for an end to suffering for all beings. And based upon that intention, allow yourself to let go of any separateness and feel the presence of the others in the circle. Feel each energy flowing into you and out of you. There is no longer any point where you can say, “That is my energy, and this is his or her energy.” Feel the chain of energy, and each of you feel behind you with hands on your shoulders innumerable loving guides supporting this energy circle. So much love.

Here we might offer prayer also to the Buddha, to the Christ, to all awakened beings, to support our intention towards the release of suffering, the transmutation of distortion in the world.

All together, we're going to journey into the akashic field. Breathing in light, breathing out. Moving through whatever doorways or channels open for you. You're connected and yet each of you unique. The vital point here is to allow the ego to release enough to that you can sink down to that vast sea of loving connection. However you come into it, see a vast golden expanse of water, deep blue with gold lights and diamond light glittering on the tiny ripples. Let yourself sink through the surface, knowing that you will be able to breathe. Going down, and down...


There is no less radiance...All around you is light, and yet, here and there your attention is attracted by a distorted current, a small whirlpool or eddy. It is not other-than the Divine, it's an expression of the Divine. Yet, as you look into that small eddy, you see beings tossed, caught, sucked under and afraid because of the movement of the water. There's nothing there but water, wind, and current, and yet there is that subtle distortion.


Together, drawing energy from each other and building on each other's intention, “May all beings be free from suffering.“ Right here with this ripple of disturbance is the perfect calm, clear water. For whatever beings may make use of this stillness and space, we hold it open for you.


See the ripple gradually settling, quieting. Some beings breathing a sigh of relief as they are no longer tossed by the current and others striking out to find a different ripple of disturbance because that is what they presently seek. Your work is not to stop all the ripples of disturbance but to reflect the innate perfection that's right there within the ripple, so that all who have been caught in the illusion of distortion may swim free of it if they so choose.


Now we're going to go deeper. Feeling the energy in this circle. If any one or several of you feel yourselves caught in your own specific ripple of distortion, send out the message to the circle. “For the highest good of all beings, I choose to free myself of the hold of this illusion of unworthiness, of separation, of fear, seeking for power or fear of power, or ripple of loneliness. I ask the circle to hold the space for me while I personally move into investigation of this illusion, and especially of the illusion that I am caught in it,” for no one has ever truly been caught.

What does it mean to be free?


I'm going to be quiet for awhile. You may or may not feel the others in the circle directly. You may simply feel some energy. You may not know where it's coming from, or who. You may feel some need and not know from whom or where it comes. Simply respond with your hearts. Don't forget the vast circle of spirit behind you, hands on your shoulders and backs, backing you up and supporting you.


Don't be afraid to ask for help, believing, “I'm acting out of turn and others may need the help more.” There is energy and healing here for all who seek it, for millions far beyond the five of you. I'll be quiet now...

(Long pause)

Barbara is feeling the pain of the world's orphaned and homeless children, seeing it as a deep ripple of disturbance in the akashic field. Each of these children experiencing the results of their own karma, and yet their karmic history also includes the possibility of release and balancing of those old and painful results. You cannot save these children, only open your hearts to them and reflect joy, love, welcoming, to help them to be ready to say no to the illusion of a necessity for their own isolation and bereavement. So the ripples you see may be personal, or within the group, or they may be within the world. Attend to whatever comes...


Know that you sit in a vast circle of elders. The thought might occur to you, “I am not worthy to be part of this circle.” There is never a question of worthy or unworthy, only of readiness. When your heart tells you, “I must do this,” then you are ready. It is a circle of those who have taken the bodhisattva vow or its equivalent in other traditions, who are avowed to speak up for those with no voice; to help shelter those who are homeless; to see for those who are blind and hear for those who are deaf; to hold love for those who feel bereft of love.

Each of you is welcomed and blessed into this circle. The power of this circle is your power, and the heart of this circle is your heart. It is only ego's voice that fears that power. Know yourself and your intentions, that you will never misuse the power, but only will use it for the highest good.


See one or several of the great Masters as part of the circle, and let him or her hold your attention, hold your inner eye and touch your heart. There is some fear, “I am not worthy.” NO ONE is ever unworthy. Come forth and be blessed by this divine presence. Feel his or her love and blessing.

Open to the intention to walk by his or her side, to support and be supported. And once more, send that energy down into whatever distortions, whatever rips in the fabric you may find. Go deep here, and with courage, using this energy to transform negativity, fear, hatred, greed, and anger in whatever form it appears. Not to throw it away but to transmute its energy to love and for the highest good.

Again I will be quiet...

(longer pause)

As we begin to close the circle, remember that you never withdraw from this circle, you only shift your weight from one foot to the other, so to speak, one leg always in the circle and one hand always within its heart. And yet with the eyes of compassion looking out on this relative world, able to go and take care of your children or your business, to support your relationships, and so forth.

Keep connected to this circle, both this smaller circle here and the greater circle of which you are always a part. Do not be afraid of your power. That fear is what separates most beings from this circle. Feel the angelic presence behind you that will guide you and help keep you on a true course. The power will not be misused.

You may open your eyes... Take a deep breath...

Whatever good may have come of this meditation, we offer it out to the highest benefit of all beings. Through our own heart's work, may all beings find freedom, happiness and peace.

(session ends)