October 6, 2012 Saturday Afternoon, Seattle Retreat

Relaxing resistance and practicing form the open heart;  Clear comprehension; Milerepa;

Aaron: My blessings and love to you. I am Aaron. I'm going to speak briefly, more in the vein of meditation instruction. None of you need basic instruction, and yet we so easily slip away from the basics.

All of you are resisting. Can you feel that tension in you? You're either trying too hard, and that form of resistance is coming up, or you're trying to hold onto one object to push away another. Trying to hold onto the quiet mind to push away agitation, or trying to hold onto that space that really is peaceful, to push away that which is feeling unpleasant or feeling tension.

Be with me now for a few minutes. Put your hands, one hand at least, on your heart, two if it feels good. Breathing in and touching into the heart. (breathing) Feel the gentle energy in the heart. Touching the heart with kindness and with gratitude. Speaking to the self:

I am grateful to this human being that I am, grateful for myself.

I am grateful for my aspiration to live with love.

I am grateful for the friends, the sangha who support me in this aspiration.

I am grateful for the beautiful things in my life, for friends, for children, for flowers, beautiful music, good food. A body that, while it may not function perfectly, can walk to the corner, can climb the stairs, can sing and laugh.

I am grateful for the meditation practice that invites me to be present in this body, in this heart, at this moment.

Holding it all with love.

Come back to where we started this morning and think of something that's very joyful to you. It can be as simple as the beautiful color of a flower or the smile of a friend. I'd like you to hold your hands up, opening, inviting loving energy to flow through the crown chakra and down into the heart. Bring the hands down gently and touch the heart. And then reaching up again, come up and touch the crown chakra, and just bring a hand gently down again to the heart... And on further down, the solar plexus, the sacral chakra and the base, inviting the flow of energy and the openness in the body. Breathe in a deep breath, and let it out gently... And again...

I'd like you to feel me, if you can, quite literally put my hand on the crown chakra. Your friend Aaron, helping to bring in that source energy, that high energy and love. Bringing it down into the heart...

There are different degrees of openness now, not all of you at the same place, but all of you feeling at least some openness.

Each of you in your sittings has come to a place where you tried to push, or felt pushed. Discomfort in the body, an unpleasant thought, a feeling of frustration. For some of you, the thoughts, “I can't do it,” or sometimes, “I don't want to do it. I don't want to give up my old defenses. I don't want to sit with the demon.” Now we can release those old patterns

Invite in now some challenge, physical, mental, or emotional. You are Milarepa coming back to his cave, and here is the demon. Seeing that ogre in your cave, feel the body begin to tense. Remind yourself, I do not need to be at war with this ogre. Breathing in, I am aware of the ogre. Breathing out, I smile to the ogre.

Hands touching the heart again. Remember the open heart that has space for all of it. Here is the arising awareness of contact, consciousness of that contact, pleasant or unpleasant or neutral.  Be aware of physical sensation in the body, of thought, of emotion. If what arose is even subtly unpleasant, feel any closing down, any tension, and bring awareness to that tension. The “ogre” (earlier Aaron spoke of Milerepa's demons and the “eat me” story) itself is not predominant; the tension in the body is predominant and effort to fix tension rather than just hold space.  Grasping to make peace with the ogre, rather than just noting aversion to it and the subtle tensions that arise. Leave them alone

There is space in the heart. Can you find the space in the heart that can just sit and look in this demon's eyes? We're not yet ready to say, “Eat me,” or perhaps you are, but all I want you to do now is look in his eyes, and know that you do not need to go anywhere to escape him.

Everything is arising from conditions, impermanent, not self. This demon has arisen out of conditions that have not yet been purified. What purifies the conditions is not contraction but ease, spaciousness, kindness, and a deep sense of knowing: this is fine, just as it is.

A friend shared with us a note on her refrigerator last week that says “Everything will come out find in the end. If it's not yet fine, it's not yet the end.”

Just relax with things as they are. So I want you in this next sitting to find the simultaneity of spaciousness, ease, and joy, and tension. Instead of trying to fix the tension each time it arises, simply sit and look into its eyes. “Here is tension. There's nothing to fix. That which is aware of tension is not tense. I hold loving space for it.”

Go directly into the experience of resistance. How is it held in the body? Where? How does it feel? And what is your relationship to it? There is nothing to fix. Repeating myself in a different way, that which is aware of resistance is not resistant.

Remember your highest intentions. Remember our practice of clear comprehension: what is my highest purpose here at this retreat? Is it to develop new tools of resistance, more subtle ones? Is it to escape further from the true self? Or is it to open deeply into the true self and how to express that true self? Is what I am doing right now suitable to that highest purpose? In other words, do we want to be waging battle with the demon, or saying, “I shouldn't be battling,” which is just a form of battling? Or do we aspire to return again and again into the open heart and remember that heart?

That's all. Let us sit. There will be a time for questions this evening.

(session ends)