May 1, 2013 Wednesday Evening, Emerald Isle Retreat, Aaron's Dharma Talk

(This talk not yet corrected by Barbara and Aaron)

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. I really enjoy the flexibility with which John, Barbara, and I lead these retreats. We don't come with a written agenda: this is what we will teach this night and this is what we will teach the next night. But we try to listen to you and speak to what you're experiencing, what your questions are. So often a retreat picks up a theme that had no plan in the beginning but it seems right for the practice people are doing.

We seem to have picked up a theme in this retreat of the various practices and paths to liberation. However, I see some confusion, some sense that they are separate paths, and that you can follow one, you can follow another. Sometimes you may jump from one path to another. But not completely understanding how they really are one path, like a path through the woods that, sometimes it's climbing up, sometimes it's going down. Sometimes it goes through mud, sometimes through dry ground or over rocks. It's the same path. But this section is like marsh, and that section is like rocks.

I want to tell you a story. This is the being who I was in the lifetime just before my final lifetime. This human had great suffering. He lived in northeast Thailand, the same area as my final lifetime. He was born into a loving family, was the oldest child of loving parents and three younger siblings. His father had moved a distance out of town into the countryside and was raising his family there. He was really a farmer.

One night something happened to our wood stove and there was a terrible fire. The house, which had a thatched roof, was not a fire-proofed structure and immediately caught fire. My parents and three younger siblings were all killed. I was a 7 year old boy, and I escaped. But the younger ones were asleep or too young to get out on their own, and the parents slept in the room where the stove was so they were probably killed first.

An uncle, my father's brother, took me in. He was something of a bully. I did not know him well before this fire because he lived a distance away. It was kind of him to take me in, he didn't have to do that, but there was no other family that could take me in. But he constantly told me what a burden I was. He hit me at times. He withheld food if I was not good. By not good, he meant if I did not do twice my share of work, and do it perfectly.

I was raised in a loving household and I was raised to have compassion for others, and I tried to find compassion for my uncle and my aunt and cousins, but I was the poor step-brother, so to speak, the Cinderella of the house, always with work piled upon me far beyond what I could carry. Never receiving love or approval.

So I grew up feeling acutely the suffering of the world. I was very drawn to the monks who came past our house for alms. I would ask my uncle and aunt, could I bring them out alms, and my uncle would say, “No, we don't do that.” But sometimes I would sneak alms out to them. Sometimes I would follow them a ways and try to talk to them. But my uncle and aunt had no spiritual practice of any sort.

I determined to become a monk. I did pick up skills along the way. My uncle was a weaver, was very good at making fabric, and a tailor. Under his stick I learned these skills. I also was very bright, and I learned how to read, write, work with numbers, so my uncle would employ me to keep his records and accounts.

Finally I was of the age where I might leave home and become a monk, ordain. I asked permission and did not receive it. My uncle said, “Finally I'm getting some work out of you, and now you want to go.” So I waited a year or two. And then one day when some monks were near the house, I asked, “I am old enough. May I come and ordain?” And they said yes. I said, “Do I need my uncle's permission?” They said, “His blessing would be good, but you do not need his blessing. As long as you are old enough, you may come.”

I become a very dedicated, devout monk. I followed the scriptures to the letter, followed my teachers' guidance. It was a strict kind of guidance that depended on that aspect of the scripture that said to close the sense doors, not stay present with objects but avert your gaze. Keep moving into the self. No anger. No emotions. No grasping. No lust, no desire.

So I worked arduously for 20 years with dependent origination, watching objects, sense organ contact object, or mind contact, watching consciousness arise. Watching that movement into unpleasant feeling, and then aversion or grasping. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't control it. I really felt like a failure. There was no word here at all of working with the heart. There was not really any practice with the Brahma viharas. Yes, there was recitation, but there was no meaning behind it, just the words of the sutra. I had no idea what it meant because I had never lived in my heart. I had never experienced love. So when I recited words of loving kindness, they were meaningless.

My practice became a hiding place. I became very good at shutting off emotion. No anger permitted here. No feelings permitted here. I was convinced that if I could just stay with each object, watch the arising and dissolution of the objects, there would be great wisdom and a burst through into enlightenment, and I'd be free of this suffering. But of course it didn't work that way. If anything I suffered more because I could not control my situation.

In some ways my teacher considered me a model monk. I was in a situation where I was teaching many of the younger monks. I had a great recall of the scriptures. But there was no heart or kindness in it at all, and I continued to use my practice as a way to avoid the human experience. So I was conceptually aware of suffering, and aware of my own suffering, but not really aware of the causes for the arising of suffering.

Perhaps 20 years had passed and I was about 40 years old. I was on tudong, is the word, far away from my master and the sangha with whom I was connected, wandering in the wilderness. I was sleeping in a cave and went into a small village only every other day to ask for alms, to beg for alms. So I was eating very little food because I had followed the letter of the rules, I would not keep food. So I ate one meal every two days and was living a very rigid life in this cave. I knew there were two or three families in the area, small huts.

One night I was meditating outside my cave when I saw the glow of flames in the forest not far away and I heard screams. I immediately got up and walked to where the sound was coming from. My heart was open enough to hear humans in pain and to want to be of service. So I ran through the forest and came through a clearing where there was a hut burning. It was completely consumed by flames. And out of that hut burst a young boy, perhaps 5 years old.

He was crying, led me to know that his parents and siblings were inside. Could I get them out? No, nobody could get them out. The hut was totally consumed with flames. So I took this boy into my arms. He cried. And my heart broke open in that moment. All the pain that I had not let myself feel for 33 years came up-- loss, grief, the truth of the human condition. We cannot hold onto anything. The true meaning of suffering as grasping, trying to hold on. He cried and I cried with him. We just sat out there through the night. The neighbors were too far away. There would have been no way to put out the fire, and I could tell by the intensity of the fire that nobody could be alive inside.

By dawn the hut was burned to the ground. I carried the child with me. What to do? We went to the village. I was told his family had just moved there about a month earlier. There were no relatives. There were no friends. People scarcely knew their name. They were a pleasant family, but nobody knew anything about them. Where had they come from? Was there someplace I could bring this child? Nobody knew.

I said, “If I leave him here, what will happen to him? Who will take him in?”

“Nobody will take him in. He has no family here.”

“What will happen to him?”

“He will have to beg. He's about 5 years old. He can stand and walk. He will have to beg for a livelihood.”

I couldn't do that to this boy, and I knew as a monk I could not have a 5 year old child with me. I realized I had only one choice. I needed to disrobe. I could not travel the distance back to my own teacher, which would have been the most appropriate. But I went to a local master, a local priest—I don't really have the English word for it, to an appropriate person, and asked to disrobe, and went through the procedure. And there I was, 40 years old, having been a monk for 20 years, disrobed, with a 5 year old child.

Well, I had my weaving skills and tailoring skills from my uncle. So I went into a larger village and found a livelihood. I loved this child as my own son. I really stopped doing any vipassana practice. The scriptures flew away from my mind. All I knew was to make a livelihood for my child and myself, and to love him as fully as I could. To not let him experience the loss that I had experienced, but to know he was cherished. And he in return loved me. He was a bright lad. He was also able to go to school. I had enough earnings and it was a large enough village that there was a school. I could help him learn to read and write but he learned much on his own. He also learned the tailoring trade.

Finally he was grown. I was, I don't have a good sense of numbers in your years, but 15 years later so I was approaching 60, and he wanted to marry and raise a family. He was ready to move out of my house, and he had my blessings to do this. So I saw him marry. I saw his first son come. I saw him doing well in his life. And I knew it was time for me to re-ordain.

I crossed through the countryside, and my original master of so many years earlier was no longer living. But there was still a sangha in the area where he had been, and I told the teacher my story and said I wanted to re-ordain. He quizzed me a bit, and I had to go through the various <nada> stages and so forth. But he welcomed me.

It was so different this time. I heard the same dharma, but I heard it with an open heart. I understood the nature of suffering because I had allowed myself to connect to the world's suffering through knowing the root of my own suffering, and healing that roof of suffering with loving kindness.

The rest of that life passed easily. On occasion I would see my son and grandchildren, he would bring them to me. Not often, it was a long distance. I was a teacher. I was a monk. I did not find liberation in the fullest sense in that lifetime, but I began to understand the dual wings of wisdom and compassion and how they, like a bird, cannot fly with one wing, they must come together.

There are many pathways to loving kindness and compassion. We've talked about some of them. And wisdom can be a pathway to loving kindness and compassion, also, ideally when they come together. But either one alone not only cannot fly the bird, but can become a hiding place wherein one avoids the other.

Through those years with raising my son, I told you I did not practice at all. It was too painful for me to go back and look at where I had been for 20 years, how I had put myself into a dead end with so much rigidity and closed heart. And so in the beginning I distrusted all that I had learned. And only gradually, as my heart opened, did I start to understand how beautiful the dhamma was, how complete it was, and that it was not the dhamma's fault that I had locked out a major part of it.

This is the base from which I teach and have always taught, as many of you know-- the two essential wings of the bird, of wisdom and compassion, and how they must be blended together.

John asked, where do the Brahama viharas fit in with vipassana practice? Vipassana, the word means deep seeing. Passana, seeing; vipassana, deep seeing. It's the taking of objects as they arise in your experience and seeing their true nature. If you try to see their true nature with a closed heart, filled with rigidity and control, you can't see their true nature. If you try to see their true nature with a base of maudlin emotionality, “Oh, I love everything and everything is beautiful and perfect,” wisdom really can't develop because you're avoiding the truth of suffering.

The Brahma viharas, skillfully practiced, allow you to come into that centered place where vipassana can be practiced with balance. Without the skillful practice of the Braham viharas or something to replace it, and there are equivalent practices such as…. When I say equivalent, there really are not equivalent practices, just other titles for them. But loving kindness is loving kindness, no matter what names it comes under. Karuna is compassion. Until these are opened and developed, the vipassana practice is in danger of becoming unbalanced and rigid. If one abandons the vipassana practice and simply spends a decade or more on loving kindness or compassion, blocking out the arising of wisdom out of fear, then the wisdom wing of the bird can't develop. So we try to keep them in balance.

Within the vipassana practice is the perfect time to keep them in balance, because as you sit, inevitably pain will arise. Body pain, sadness, fear, feelings of regret, helplessness, hopelessness, anger. We watch these arise, and right there within the practice is the question, how do I relate to these? Is my habitual tendency one of trying to fix and control them? To shut them out? Then there's no open heart. Is my habitual tendency one of, let's say trying to use metta to fix the situation? “If only I can give enough love here, everything will be fine, and there will be no more pain.” Well, that doesn't work either, because it's not honest. No matter how much love you give, there may still be pain.

We need to be honest about the presence and reality of pain, and that pain does not necessarily mean suffering. But when suffering does arise, we can watch how the suffering arose out of conditions, that it's not of the nature of a self, and how holding the heart open to this human experience, for me it was of grief and loss that I had denied for so many years. I believed that somehow, I can't say that I would bring my parents, my family, back, but somehow I could change that childhood circumstance if only I had enough clear-seeing and wisdom. And then when the child came to me, I believed I could change everything for him and for me simply by love. And the love was perhaps a more potent force than vipassana, at that point. Because if I had tried to teach him, “Well, your parents died. It's all out of conditions. Don't feel grief.”, that wouldn't have worked. That's what I heard.

But holding him in a container of love enabled him to develop wisdom. And later as he got to be a young man, and I began to practice vipassana and he began to ask me more about it, he also began to practice. So for both of us there was eventually this balance.

There are other practices we can bring in, practices we've talked about, like devotion. There is another lifetime, an earlier lifetime, in which I was also a Theravada monk, a Buddhist monk. There was not a strong Theravada tradition at that time, but I was a Buddhist monk. I was striving to be a good monk. I was a young man in my 20s. I had learned the various rituals, disciplines, prayers. I followed the rules. I meditated deeply, regularly.

My beloved master became sick, very sick. He was old. There were other more senior monks with him but the process of taking care of him mostly fell to me. So I would collect alms for both of us, and then when he could no longer feed himself I would feed him. I would bathe him. At first I despaired because I no longer had the time to sit so much. He had many needs. He really needed me to be vigilant. He needed to be carried out to the latrine. He needed to be washed and fed, his position changed at night if his body was in pain. And he lingered in this state for about 5 years.

My whole practice became one of service, of seva. In the beginning I thought, “I can't do this. I'll never become enlightened if I just keep taking care of him.” But I realized from a loving heart I must do it. There's no one else to do it. People had left him, really abandoned him, and gone on to take other masters. There were a few people around. It had never been a large sangha to begin with. So I stayed. He even suggested to me, “Go, son. Go.” But I couldn't do that.

But this practice of seva was really a practice of devotion. Service and devotion are not so different. When you offer service in this way, it's a devotional act. I realized I was not serving the human master, I was serving the Buddha, the awakened nature, and I felt a deep sense of devotion to this expression of awakened nature. And this was a very wise and loving master.

So in those 5 years, from his illness to his death, this was a period of great awakening for me, great opening. I said it was an earlier lifetime than the one I described just before. Clearly I was not fully awakened in that lifetime, either, but we learn this by increments. It's not a one-lifetime deal. We just keep working, paring away the places where there's confusion, where there's attachment, where there's simply lack of wisdom or lack of heart. Opening into the core of our being.

And each lifetime builds upon the others. I could not have given my life to this boy and taken care of him had it not been for that earlier lifetime. Can you see that? That taught me the value and practice of loving and giving. So I was able to give that then to the boy. Because I was able to serve the boy in that way, I was then able to move into the next lifetime in which I had a final awakening. It all comes together. Nothing is lost.

I did not meet pure awareness practice in those lifetimes, in that part of the world. I did experience several lifetimes in the Tibetan tradition and practiced dzogchen, pure awareness meditation, but not with vipassana.

In my final lifetime I did not at that point connect pure awareness meditation and vipassana. It wasn't until after, in this disembodied state, if I might put it that way, that I began to understand how the two interrelate. But they're very valuable practices to do together, because vipassana asks you to focus upon the objects and see the impermanence and non-self nature of these objects, but you may entirely miss the space between the objects. You watch objects arising, you watch objects dissolve. And then another object arises.

The pure awareness practice taught me how to watch the space between the objects, how to take that also as an object, which you know is what we teach. And that balance has much more depth, because if you're only watching objects arising and dissolving, eventually everything is going to dissolve. You're going to find yourself in this boundless space and say, “What was that?” when you come back. You don't have any ground to understand that space, that emptiness. And that that emptiness is not a void but is full of potential.

This takes us into the akashic field practices, understanding that field. It's not empty, but there's no thing in it. I think you understand me on that, based on what we've been saying all week. Everything arising out of it, but what arises is compounded upon conditions within the field. There's nothing solid, nothing compounded. Only the potential, that then may arise. We find how both come together. The emptiness, the space, and this whole flow of the conditioned world.

Your work here is not simply to become awakened and float off into-- become an arahant and go off into space somewhere. All of you, I can say this without exception, all of you have taken incarnation with the intention to be of service in the world. That means the necessity to connect the heavenly realms and the hell realms, in a sense. I think many of you have done the pole meditation in which we practice with this deepening connection. Feeling this high energy and the awakened state, the open heart, and this world of suffering. How do we bring them together?

If your work was intended solely to become enlightened, as is one of the Theravada ideals of long ago, then you'd be doing a different practice. The Tibetan and Mahayana traditions are much more involved with the bodhisattva ideal. The bodhisattva ideal does not mean you do not awaken. It's a difference to take final awakening, gone, and as I am, to remain available, whether incarnate or as I am, discarnate. But available to touch the suffering of the world in whatever ways are most suitable for you. You can touch that suffering most skillfully the more awake you are and the more the heart is opened. The ego can't touch it very well. Love can touch it. Wisdom can touch it. This is the course of all of your lives and work.

I could talk for another 2 hours, or I could simply pause here and invite your questions. I think I will do that.

Q: You gave a great definition for compassion and wisdom when you were in Seattle and I've been waiting for the transcript to come out. I'm hoping you can repeat that.

Aaron: You're saying that in Seattle I gave a great definition for wisdom and compassion? What did I say? (further statement lost to laughter) We will look in the transcripts! (lost to laughter, like, If you can tell me) what I said that was so helpful to you, I might be able to speak to it. But I've spoken so many words on wisdom and compassion.


Q: Can you give your current definition?

Aaron: Wisdom is the deep understanding of how things are, with interbeing to everything else, impermanent and not self. The compounded arising of conditions. To understand that, but to understand that from a place of non-contraction. Contraction can only understand part of it. The open heart, non-contraction, is all that can truly understand it. That is wisdom. Otherwise it's <sounds like skood—skewed? (skyewed)>.

Compassion is the ability to keep the heart open, even when the heart is breaking, because of the wisdom that it sees in suffering. When there is true compassion, you're able to see the suffering in the world, and rather than saying, “Too much! I quit!” or “Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!” this heart is seen as this immense container that it truly is, that can hold all this suffering and resolve it through the path of wisdom.


Q: Could Aaron talk about how working in the akashic field as a human is unique? Just as spirit in human form.

Aaron: You're asking why it's more helpful to do this work as a human than for spirits to come in and do it. You carry a certain vibration, a certain frequency as humans. I have a different frequency, a much higher frequency. Everything on this Earth, material, emotion, thought, it all has a certain frequency which is most, I'm trying to find the right word, it can be touched most deeply, transformed most deeply, by the human vibration.

Some of it I can transform, but I may not because there is a free will policy on the Earth, non-interference policy. Only those who are incarnate may take direct action to shape the Earth. I can teach you, but I can't do it for you. It's up to you who are incarnate now to do this transformation work. I can teach you how to do it. I can hold your hand as you leap and let go of the vine. But I can't do the work for you because that would be an interference in the free will choice. Do you understand?

Also, each of you is here not only to serve but to release and balance your own karma, for your own growth. Each of you is a radiant spirit enclosed, many of you, in dark clouds, trying to battle your way out of those dark clouds to find that radiance.

It's like a child must learn to tie his own shoes, eventually. By the time he's 8 or 9, if you're still tying his shoes, something's wrong. I trust you to be able to do this, and in that doing of it to learn both how powerful you are and the responsibility that comes with that power. Then to work in deepening sila, deepening your strong intention to do no harm, to service to others, to love. And increasingly, to utilize that power.

Barbara said earlier today that you have immense power and that in many ways you're infants. It's like giving an infant a machine gun. You're all in the process of learning how to hold that power, and to trust yourself because of your strong intention to non-harm, that you can stand up to negativity with love. And increasingly you can use your power.

I think of movies like your Star Wars, I guess it is, the Force. “May the Force be with you.” You all have that power. But unless you are deeply committed to doing no harm with that power, you become the Darth Vader, which you do not want to become or the whole Earth is going to fall into that negative polarity. And it's going to take 10,000 years to pull its way out. So let's avoid that!

But you must learn not to be afraid of your power. Barbara has been looking at this, this week. She realized the power in these <numbers>, and the power that she has in feeding—she didn't bring her water bottle down with her—but in feeding intention into the water. That she has ability literally to transform, and that she could use that transformation power to do harm. She's suddenly starting to see how much power she has.

I said to her tonight, if you did not have that ability, then Father John, when he incorporates, would not be able to come into this body and charge the soup and the water, bless it and bring it up to a high vibration. That he's moving into a furnished house, so to speak. He's using your power of this body, the frequency of this body, to be able to charge this water. The Mother is coming in and being able to use this body to do her work. I told Barbara, you have not understood how directly you and your own inner work are involved in allowing them to use your body to do their work. You don't yet have the skill to do what they're doing, but you're maintaining a house so they can use it.

Each of you needs to keep your house as clean as possible so that love can use it. This means we go back to the vipassana practice and look at the places of anger, of fear, of hatred, and resolve not to get caught in those energies, but also to treat with love the human that may be experiencing them. Not to disdain the human, but to be increasingly more committed not to act out these energies in the world.

Does that answer your question?

Q: Yes. The Mother told me “Less doing, more being.” …

Aaron: Daughter, you are very busy….

Q: …Does that mean doing from a place of ego versus love?

Aaron: Yes. It's not about less doing. You can do as much as you can do with comfort and joy. It's not being ego-driven. There's a difference. People think of ego as, “I want people to like me. I want applause.” But that's not ego. That's only one aspect of ego. Another aspect of ego is the fear, “I have to hold all this. People will be suffering if I don't hold it all.” That's also ego. When it comes from the heart, there's no longer doing. There's just being expressing itself out in service.

I want you to know you do an excellent job. The Mother is not criticizing; she's just recommending you pay attention there. Because you can clean it up <better>.


Q: If we were to look at the traditional path of knowledge (Visuddhi Magga) from the akashic field, how would that be different <>?

Aaron: If you were to look at the traditional insight knowledges of the Theravadin tradition from the perspective of the akashic field, how would that be different than the traditional Therevadin view? It would not really be different. It would just be an expanded vocabulary.

We look at the various traditional insights and knowledges. They still develop. But when we go into the akashic field, we can start to see the places where there's, for example the lifetime I described earlier. There's a ripple of distortion. I had progressed through these insights. Everything seemed to be in place, but there was no enlightenment because there was a subtle ripple of distortion of grasping, trying to use attainment of liberation as I understood it as a way out of my suffering. Even as a way out for others' and the world's suffering. But not being willing to allow myself to experience the pain that led to that suffering.

If I went into the akashic field and saw that ripple of distortion, I would see that I had a choice. It wouldn't have taken me so many years to open my heart. In the akashic field, we see it all more quickly and more clearly. Does that answer your question?

We can talk longer about this. I was talking to Barbara. Barbara suddenly has the option to drop off about 20 hours of week of work because she will no longer be carrying all the guiding teacher work of Deep Spring. I asked her what she wants to do with that time. She said she wants to teach a class that combines with me, which combines the traditional path, consciousness and its various objects, with the open heart, the akashic field. How it all comes together. So I think this will be a wonderful year-long class next year for us both. Taught at Deep Spring, but more dharma-focused, precise. Asking people to do a deep vipassana practice, but, what Q just asked, to come into the akashic field and watch how that changes things.

I think we have time for one more question.

Q: I understand that you have said we can be affected by negative spirit. Just how do they do that?

Aaron: If you hold any doorway open to negativity, it will come through. If you say, “No anger,” close yourself off, or determine not to experience anger and not to be around anger, then anything that brings up anger becomes an entryway wherein negative entities can come in and begin to influence you.

I'm thinking here of a situation where somebody might actually say, “No anger. No anger. No anger.” to the point where they finally shoot somebody because they're angry. Because there's a negative entity that really has taken over control of them, because they've left the space, the doorway open by their strong contractedness and fear of anger. Whereas, if they'd been able to open with compassion to their own anger and the anger in the world around them, they could never pull the trigger.

Q: Does the negative entity affect what karma arises in them? Does the negative entity affect or manipulate a person's volition?

Aaron: Negativity cannot take you over against your free will. At some level you're open to experiencing that negativity. It cannot force its will upon you. For some reason, the person who moves into that negative experience has chosen to experience such negativity, maybe karmically caught up in it, just needing to experience it again and again, perhaps in order to learn how to say no from a loving place. Eventually they will learn to say no.

Barbara has some healing stories in Cosmic Healing. One is of a young man who, he describes how he was “possessed” by a negative entity. Many tried to treat him here in the U.S.. Doctors gave him anti-psychotic drugs and other kinds of things, but this negativity was stronger and stronger. He describes how at the Casa they worked to support him opening to his own essence of love, because it was only knowing that essence of love and beginning to trust it that would close the door to and help him release the negativity.

It was wonderful that these entities were able to support him in that, but one does not need the Casa. One simply needs whatever practice and support can lead you to find the strength and courage to know your own true nature of love, and to determine, “I'm not going with this negativity anymore. Out! Out!” This is that Milarepa story, putting the head in that demon's mouth.

Q: So if we're working with somebody through the akashic field, that's what we want to do, is work with their ability to open to their own essence of love.

Aaron: Let me make something clear. We are not training people to be “healers.” We're not training people to fix negativity in others. We are simply training you to see these ripples of distortion, which you can sink into the akashic field and see, experience, feel. And to see the place where they're not, as well. The place before the seed fell into the earth and started to take root. The place where the seed exists up on the tree, and the earth has no seed in it. This seed has not dropped, it has not taken root, and a whole different potential is there for a different seed—not the thorn bush, but something flowering, something beautiful, can develop there.

All that you can do in working within the akashic field is to hold that potential. You can see the person that's suffering and hold it up to them. It's up to them whether they choose it or not. It's the same with tonglen. You bring in that light and send it out. It's up to them whether they accept it. You join that suffering and release it, but unless they're willing to give you some of that suffering, you can't take it from them. They have free will to hold onto their suffering. They have free will to reject the light. All we can do is offer.

This is where the vipassana practice that allows you to see the ego clearly, and to learn how to work from the loving heart that is as, I can't say purely free of ego, but as pure as possible of ego, is vital, because only from that place can you really offer freely without attachment to results. And working in the akashic field there can be no attachment to results. Just pointing out, these are the possibilities.

I'm thinking here of the wise parent I know with a child, a young child. The child said, “I need the bathroom.” And the parent said, “Okay, let's go.” But it was an outhouse, and the child said, “I don't want to go into the outhouse. It's stinky.” The parent said, “Well, it's up to you, but if you don't go, you're probably going to have an accident.”

“No, I won't go in there.” And the child had an accident, and he was old enough to feel embarrassed, 4 or 5 years old, and felt uncomfortable, and his friends were around. The parent helped him to clean himself up and gave him fresh clothes.

A few days later, a very similar situation came up and the parent said, “Well, are you ready to use the outhouse? If not, you'll probably have an accident.” The child gritted his teeth and went into the outhouse! We offer possibilities. Each being has to choose and deal with the results of his choices.

Let's end here. My blessings and love to all of you.

(schedule, not transcribed)

I would like to ask here, in a general way, just to get the feelings of the group, here often at this Emerald Isle retreat, we have offered the Mother on the last day or evening as an option. Some people choosing to sit here in the meditation hall and others choosing to sit in the living room and have some time with the Mother. It's really just darshan, her taking your hands and looking in your eyes. Or others of the entities, the Brothers and Sisters of Light coming through. I know some people have not wanted to participate in that, and I honor that free will choice. I'm afraid that some of those people have felt pushed or uncomfortable because many others wanted to experience this, and this is a vipassana retreat. So I want to stay very clear, that if we choose this it's because many people want it and nobody is uncomfortable. Although they may choose not to participate, but that we do not choose this if some people are uncomfortable.

I want to ask for a show of hands. I'm not asking if you would wish to participate, but if you would feel uncomfortable. You can send an anonymous note to Barbara or John simply saying, “I would feel uncomfortable. I would rather we not do this at this retreat.” So we will respect your choices here.

John: Aaron, it might be helpful for those people who are not familiar with who the Mother is to explain a little bit.

Aaron: The Mother is an aspect of the Divine Mother filled with unconditional love, who has been incorporating in Barbara's body for about 5 years? Am I correct? I'm not good on linear time. I would say 5 or 6 years. She tells us that she is, in different expression of her being, the Mother Mary, Kwan Yin, an entity named Santa Rita, and other aspects of the Divine Mother. And different aspects of those come through strongly for different people.

She simply emits unconditional love, and her practice is just to take people's hands and look into their eyes. She seems to reflect that unconditional love to people and allow them to see their own divinity, looking into her eyes. So people often just find this enormously heart-opening and healing. She says, as I do, that nobody needs to believe she's real. If looking into these eyes is helpful but you think, “Gee, Barbara has loving eyes!” that's not a problem for her or for Barbara.

There are others, we call them the Brothers and Sisters of Light. We started to do this here some years ago when one of your group was very sick with cancer, in a lot of pain. These Brothers and Sisters of Light were able to alleviate her pain not just for the day but for some months. So each time she was at a retreat with us, we would try and come in to help her with that pain, help her with the release of the malignant tissue, and others who had different kinds of body pain.

Barbara is a clear channel for these beings. We're not talking so much of healing as what we call remembering wholeness. That these beings work to help you remember your wholeness, whether it's the release of that malignant tissue or the healing of back pain or knee pain. Finding that which is already whole right there with that which is damaged, and going into the akashic field, essentially, and inviting the body, with the support of these loving entities, to bring up this wholeness and reflect it, manifest it, out into the world.

Barbara has been doing a service about once a month in Michigan with the Mother and occasionally some of these Brothers and Sisters of Light. She is happy to do this. She has no need to do it. She respects your preferences. But it feels appropriate to me and to her that she offer it and let you decide.

I know that if even one of you says no, “I don't want to attend, but I also would not be comfortable if others attend,” then we should not do it. But I don't want to offer it if only two or three of you are interested. So may I see a show of hands of how many of you would like to attend, if we do it? Okay. And that does not mean if one of you feels uncomfortable, you have to feel ashamed of saying no. If these people don't experience it, that's okay. You must be honest with yourselves. So if anyone is uncomfortable, simply let Barbara or John know. And if we don't hear from you by tomorrow morning, we will write a time in for that into the schedule in an appropriate way.

That's all. Enough discussion.

(recording ends)