May 1, 2012 Tuesday Afternoon On the Beach, Emerald Isle

Akasha and the Akashic field;

(sound of wind on mic makes it difficult to hear, not always audible)

Aaron: Good afternoon. You may have noticed me taking an extra long breath of that sweet sea air. Taking it into the body, very pleasant.

Let's start with your sharing with me what you experienced as you walked along the water yesterday. There's nothing special that you should have experienced so don't try to get it right. Just, what did you experience?

Q: I found it difficult. I guess I was trying too hard to get into the akashic field. But then I relaxed and I focused on my heart space. The water just kept tumbling over my feet, very warm, very soothing. And it felt like that space, to me. I don't know what it's supposed to feel like, but that's what it felt like.

And almost immediately thereafter, a woman came up to me and asked me, what are you-all doing out here? She said, Are you looking for a nest? I said, No... I said, We're doing walking meditation. She says, Oh, is that something new? I said, No. She immediately said, Thank you, sorry to bother you.

I felt like when I said no to her that I was out of the akashic field, because she kind of walked off abruptly with “Sorry to bother you.” Before that I was open and welcoming.

Aaron: Thank you for sharing. Let me remind you, lest you try too hard, that you are always in the akashic field. Where else could you be? The question is recognizing what that is. The fish when it's in water does not recognize that water is the <element inaudible>. At some point it awakens to the truth, “Ah, this is a specific medium that I'm swimming in.” So the akashic field is constantly here around you. What is needed is more like the pure awareness practice of relaxing into rigpa, which is always there, rather than any tension. Others?

Q: I just have a question, Aaron. Have you been teaching us this for several years but we didn't hear it? Or did I hear it?

Aaron: I have been teaching you this as long as any of you have known me, but I have not used this specific vocabulary until you were ready to understand that vocabulary. We started with simple resting in awareness. We started with vipassana, then seeing the space between the breaths. Then we graduated to formal pure awareness meditation and learning how to rest in awareness. Each of you has moved through a progression of being increasingly able to watch mind and body states arise and pass away without self-identification, and to rest in the spaciousness that's there, out of which the objects arise and into which they fall away. That whole vista is the akashic field.

Some of you will remember the crumpled paper exercise. That was an early introduction to the akashic field. The pure unwrinkled paper is always there. We wrinkle it up and ask, can you see the unwrinkled paper? Yes, it's right there within the wrinkled paper. Both are present simultaneously. But they are not apparent simultaneously to the person who is very much stuck in relative reality and mundane consciousness. So, through these years I've been helping you to open to that shift to an increasingly broad consciousness.

Let me add, here. <inaudible>

Somebody asked me yesterday, am I always in the akashic field and I said yes. But I'd rather clarify that answer. I am and am not in the akashic field. I am always aware of the akashic field, but because I am beyond the causal field, I am no longer in the akashic field. Let's say I move through the akashic field but it simply pours off of me. Nothing sticks. I am not part of the akashic field but literally graduated from karma in every sense.

Others who would like to share?

Q: I keep getting feelings and perspective that remind me of the past, the far away past, when I took hallucinogenic mushrooms. It feels what we call surreal, but is more real. I don't know what this is.

Aaron: At many levels your meditation dissolves the barriers between relative and ultimate reality, between mundane and supramundane consciousness. It's not that mundane consciousness is supramundane consciousness and vice versa, but they're both so much a part of each other that you cannot say this one is this, this one is that; this is the mundane realm, this is the supramundane realm. It is like the border of shoreline and sea, always in flux.

Drugs, the magic mushrooms you describe, drop that barrier away so the participant experiences the temporary release of those boundaries. However, there are two problems with that experience. One, it is not sustainable. Once you come back to everyday consciousness, you believe it to have been a myth because you have no idea how you got there. Second, somebody dropped into that space without preparation can suffer enormously for years afterward, having what your present science would deem mental problems. They keep getting lost. There's nothing to support this simultaneity of consciousness, in terms of meditative stability. So one could end up being hospitalized because one is not able to sort out these two realities. Our hope is,  through careful work to support your gentle emergence into this simultaneity so that there is no distortion, and so you are able to balance very comfortably between the two.

Q: Is that the akashic field, that we are looking to be aware of?

Aaron: Again, let me answer this question carefully. The akashic field is more of an object, although it is not a thing but a space. The consciousness that opens to the akashic field is citta, consciousness. Every citta takes an object. Mundane consciousness, the eye as seeing consciousness takes a visual object. The ears as hearing consciousness take an auditory object. The mind as mental consciousness takes a mental object. The supramundane citta take the Unconditioned as object.

There's a special place in between mundane and supramundane citta. It's not separate from either. In actuality, it's such a fast vibration between the two that it seems as one. In other words, there is no kuttara citta, lokuttara citta, and some other in the middle. It's just this fast movement between the two so that you are simultaneously able to hold relative reality and mundane objects and supramundane reality and supramundane objects. This, plus your work with mindfulness, with concentration, with presence, allows you to see the vast field all coming together, instead of just pieces of it.

If I could use a very simplistic example. Imagine if you had a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces spread out across the table, and you had no picture, just all of these pieces. Suddenly the whole puzzle is intact. You get 10 seconds with it and then it's in 1,000 pieces again. But now you have a sense of how it goes together. It's a very different experience to put the puzzle together, to assemble it, once you've seen that final picture than when you're just trying to match, “Here's a little bit of red, is it the same red? Here's a stripe, does that match?” Suddenly you see the big picture.

Opening to the akashic field gives you the big picture. We're also working simultaneously on stabilizing your highest intentions. What you see within the akashic field, what comes into focus, is resonant with your highest intentions. Everything is there, so if your highest intention is very greedy and self-centered, and seeing as it's impossible to see everything, you'll see that which benefits the self. If your highest intention is service to all beings, your glimpse of that puzzle will see the areas that are of service to most beings.

You'll see the karma. If your highest intention is simply to get everything you can get -- as a bumper sticker seen once said, “He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins”— if this is your highest intention, then you're going to look for different threads in the akashic field, those which bring you the most toys. If your highest intention is service to all beings and the earth, healing, release of unwholesome old karma, you're going to see those threads. It's virtually impossible to see the whole of the akashic field from where you presently stand.

I would liken it to, if there was a house here with a high tower, high enough up that you could see over to the other side of the island, over the whole island and out to the water on the far side, 360 degrees, six windows going around, 60 degrees each, what direction are you going to look? Maybe you can see three directions at once. You can't see behind your back. You have to turn around. So your intention brings that area of the akashic field into focus, which is most needed in order to realize the highest intention.

So again, your further questions, and your description of what you may have experienced walking along the water.

Q: I don't have the levels of consciousness memorized, so, you said you were in the causal level. Where do you place the akashic field? Beyond? Where is the akashic field? Up to a certain point?

Aaron: (corrects the statement: beyond, not in the causal level) The akashic field is everywhere, but beings who are beyond the causal plane, that is, fully enlightened beings who have no karma pulling them back into being, are simply floating through it and nothing is sticking. The akashic field opens through all levels.

Q: <Are they?> even expressed out of the akashic field?

Aaron: Everything expresses out of the akashic field, at all levels. All of you who still experience karma, you are able to use your experiences within the akashic field to understand the various karmic streams that created the condition, using a simple example like feelings of unworthiness. It may be obvious that certain childhood experiences were participatory. You may guess that certain past life experiences were relevant. The ways that you push away or deny feelings of unworthiness, the ways that you use your feelings of unworthiness to try to draw attention to yourself and get others to love you, the ways you may use your feelings of unworthiness to be stoic and try to persuade yourself, “I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay!” All of these are different streams flowing. Multiply that toward the thousands of different inclinations, all the different habitual tendencies you have.

You begin to look at the nature of all these, such as being someone who always needs to control, fix things. It's become painful in your life. You're willing to look. You watch it come up, note “needing to control”, and become willing to figuratively stick your head in the demon's mouth; to be present with that feeling of fear that's leading to the need to control.

You not only watch it and cease to enact it, cease to manifest it, but you begin to see the conditions out of which it arises, but it still arises. So you feel a bit stuck with it, because no matter how often you look, how carefully you look, it still arises and it's painful. Then you may work with it with the Four Empowerments and the Seven Branch Prayer, which is an ideal practice to resolve habitual karma that no longer has deep roots in present day reality.

Most of you have heard Barbara talk about release of the feelings of unworthiness on a month-long retreat. Looking in people's eyes and having them look away. That old pain, shame, “I'm not good enough, I'm unloved,” came up. She had resolved the roots of it in therapy many years earlier, but it still came up.  The painful feeling was there. So at the retreat, each time somebody looked away and shame came up, she would say, “Is there anybody unworthy here?” She said to me the first day, “Can I then say, ‘No, I am worthy'?” I said no, no worthiness or unworthiness. Drop the whole idea.

At the end of the month, when somebody looked away, it was just somebody looking away. Mostly on that retreat she worked with the Seven Branch Prayer and the Four Empowerments because the roots were already dissolved. But if the roots are not dissolved you may need even the help of a therapist, or to look with meditation into the childhood experiences that gave rise to these painful karmic tendencies.

Working with the akashic field helps you to see the simultaneity of the one who is feeling unworthy, the one who never felt unworthy, not just as idea but really to know it. That supports the release of the idea, “unworthy.” Like the shell and stone I gave you. To know, yes, I am this broken shell, and yes, I am this radiant glistening stone. I am both. I am the wholeness. I am the brokenness of the earth, and I am the wholeness, radiance, divinity of the earth and all thereupon.

Then you begin to really live in that non-duality, not needing to be the perfect one, not needing to be the imperfect one. The benefit of the akashic field, when you have reached the readiness for it, which all in this group have, is that it's a very direct path through the dualities of this and that. It breaks through all of those dualities. You literally experience the wholeness of this field, that it contains all dualities and therein, it ends all dualities.

My reason for having you walk in the shallow water yesterday is that for most of you there is still a duality of sand and ocean. And yet as you walk and the water runs over your feet, your bare feet are still in the sand. Then the water recedes but you still feel the water in the sand. Then the water may recede enough that the sand becomes firm. The water comes in again. If you do that for a while, eventually the duality of water and sand will just disappear. Did anyone experience any sense of it disappearing, yesterday?

Q: Doing the walking meditation on the shore yesterday and then this morning, especially this morning, as the water receded, just looking down at the little individual crystals of sand, they contain all the elements. Because there was water, and the sun reflected off the little grains of sand. That there just was a sense of wholeness to it.

Aaron: Thank you. Anybody else?

Q: As I was walking in the water along the beach, I watched “trying mind” arise, trying to do it. Then I just relaxed, sort of like our exercise last night, letting the one who knows do it. When I relaxed, I experienced a deep sense of oneness simultaneous with the rocks and the sand and the water. A vast sense of oneness and spaciousness out of which everything was arising, even my mental formations and feelings. And I started to giggle, or think it was funny. And then I saw that as arising, too. But mostly there was just this deep sense of oneness and spaciousness, right there with the rocks and ocean and sand. Not separate.

Aaron: I am not trying to set up a sense of those who got it “right” or any competition, just to get some sense from each other of what the experience may be. So I want to release any sense of right or wrong. All of you have learned how to rest in awareness and that it's a non-doing. Resting into the akashic field is also a non-doing. Just resting, just releasing, relaxing. Because as I said, the akashic field is everywhere. There's nothing to find, there's nothing to do.

But the awareness of it flows out of your intention and your readiness to find it. If you find the akashic field, if awareness becomes aware of the akashic field, that means you're going to have to take the next step. And when you see the trails of unwholesome karmic streams, you're going to have to attend to them because that is your intention. So be sure you want to open to the akashic field. If you find the path to releasing old karma and you state that as your highest intention, you're going to have to do it. By opening in awareness into the akashic field, you're going to see the path to release. Perhaps that's not what you want though I think for all of you, it is what you most desire.

It's that old, “Be careful what you ask for because you'll get it.” If you open to the akashic field, you're going to need to be responsible for what you see there, or to know that you're being irresponsible. And nobody here chooses to be irresponsible; that's where you're going to have to be responsible, to take care of these old karmic streams.

Q: Was that the akashic field, or just me trying to do it right? I'm trying to understand your comments.

Aaron: You were very deeply into awareness of the akashic field.

Q: I had an experience yesterday, which was not what I expected. At first there was a little bit of grasping for an experience. But then I think I chilled out and I let whatever happened happen. And I said to myself, why don't I just enjoy what's here? And since Sunday, and especially yesterday, I would see the waves roll in up to shore, and see everything sparkling, and the air bubbles, and the waves. I could see the separation of elements, and it was wondrous. It was wonderful.

So I'm standing in the surf and I'm looking out, and I've looked out at the Pacific, out at the Gulf, even looked at the Atlantic. And I just had the experience of, this was really the Atlantic? This is really great. It's a first time thing. I really was here, and I really experienced it. And today, after the dharma talk this morning, I came out. Same old surf, same gray sand. It just changes.

Aaron: Having seen it deeply once, I am certain you will continue to see it from time to time. If you grasp, you will not.  Thank you for sharing,

Now I'd like to try an exercise. I'm just making it up as we go along, not something I had (pre-considered)... Let's mark off an area on the sand... Within that circle, I'd like you to form pairs. Take hands. Each pair starts at one edge of the circle with the intention to move to the opposite side of the circle. Others are starting in different places. It's not better to get there first. But there is a firm intention to move across this sand. Yet you do not control the movements of the others. Some may go straight; some may meander. You are not trying to get across and be finished. If you get across, you simply turn around and come back.

What I want you to become aware of is the dance that goes on at an energetic level. You're not going to say, “I'm going this way, I'm going that way,” to those coming toward you, not even to try a motion with your head, like that. But to feel into the akashic field the movements of the others, so that you may get into a lovely and graceful dance, just interweaving with each other.

As I said, when you get to the other side, turn around and come back. Each couple simply moving across and back, but in a weaving motion. Be deeply aware of the others, but still aware of your own intention; aware of the various karmic streams that are cutting across your current and influencing it.

Any questions? All right, let's do this and then we'll come back and talk about it.


I invite you just to share your experience with either exercise.

Q: Walking backwards on the beach, two things came up for me. One is that today I felt much more balanced than yesterday when I was trying to be a wave. The other thing is that I noticed that it didn't make any difference whether my eyes were open or not. It was comfortable, beautiful, either way.

Q: When I was walking backwards with my eyes closed, the boundaries seemed to just dissolve, and I felt one with the water and sand, the air, and the sun.

Q: With the backwards meditation, it was the first time, and maybe because Aaron just talked about it, but I did have the sense of being in both places at the same time, with no effort. Somehow the distraction, I think, of walking backwards, I don't know, or the focus of it, allowed me to have a different sensation about pure awareness, but reality. I don't know. I feel like I was in both places.

Aaron: Looking at the akashic records, I would say yes, you were in both. Others?

Q: I felt more balanced walking backwards slowly than yesterday and the day before walking forward. And that surprised me. Secondly, walking this way, backwards that way, against the wind, I felt a synchronicity with the elements, like I was one with all the elements. When I turned around and walked downwind this way, there was separation. I could feel the wind more, and I could see the sun, and I didn't have good balance.

Aaron: It is equally useful to experience the separation and note it as it is to experience the non-separation and the boundarylessness of space. Both are teaching. Neither is better than the other. One is more enjoyable, but neither is better.

How about that first dance that you did in pairs? What I noticed was in the beginning you were bumping into each other frequently. As time went on, there began to be much more seeming awareness of the approach of another person. Did you feel that?  (yes)

Again, pure awareness is citta, open, and opening into the akashic field. Two things happening. Opening into pure awareness, and pure awareness taking the akashic field as an object, and aware of a movement within that object. Others?

Q: I felt when we were in the first group of two, that if we were all at it long enough, we would have united. For a brief moment, Q and I somehow latched on to someone else's shoulder and stayed with them for a few seconds. And I thought, this is great. It's all one... Maybe two or three moments. Then I felt we were united, we were one.

Aaron: I think you're correct that if you had stayed with it for an hour, all of you could have closed your eyes, moved around that circle, and known with a certainty when other people were coming towards you. It's not the ability so much as the trust. Once you trust, you open into that trust and you allow this deep knowing to surface. Again, we're talking about opening into awareness, resting in awareness, and then accessing the akashic field from the place of awareness than everyday mind.

Q: I felt totally open and spacious, and I didn't know that I was about to smack faces with Q. Were we both empty?

Aaron: I think you were both working a bit from the everyday mind, not really deep in pure awareness.

It's 10 minutes to 4pm. I trust many of you will go to yoga. We'll talk more about this tomorrow, and we'll look more at it. Basically what I'm trying to do here with you is to give you a direct experience of the akashic field rather than talking about what is it. Helping you get to know it through different kinds of exercises.

Something we did a few years ago that you may like to try if it appeals to you. There's this very small hill in the sand. Lie down on the top of the hill, parallel to the top of the hill, and roll down the hill. Just let go and roll. Make sure there's nobody below. You're not trying to be aware of somebody below you. Simply, the rolling is a little disorienting. There will be a temptation to come back into the contracted everyday self. See if you can roll down the hill in pure awareness. Just resting, spacious, open. This is not so much about the akashic field, although as you do this exercise you're likely to experience the akashic field. It's more about feeling the difference between dominance by the ego and resting in awareness. Just roll.

When you get to the bottom, just lie there on your back and look up to the sky for a moment. Get up. Do it again.

Q: Can we do that tomorrow?

Aaron: We can do that as a group tomorrow if you like, but feel free to do it today. Another thing you might like to try is, simply, for those of you who like to swim, go to the hot tub or pool and float on your back in that water. Just float for a moment and look up at the sky. Just be present with the elements, eyes open, eyes closed. If several of you are in the pool together, feel how pure awareness can open to the energy and be aware of other people so you don't smash into them. Just float. Floating in awareness, literally.

We'll have time for questions more tomorrow.

(taping ends)