March 23, 2013 Saturday Evening, Seattle Retreat, Aaron

Growth of consciousness; positive polarity; responding with love; helping those who are dying;

Aaron: Good evening, and my love to you all. I am Aaron. Usually at a retreat we talk about meditation and dharma, in the classical sense. I want to talk about something different, tonight: dharma, but a broader face of dharma.

Your entire world is at a time of transition, one that has been coming for millennia. Many of you have been here through these millennia, either sporadically or frequently, participating in and watching the shifts in consciousness. All of you experienced times when you were lost in the illusion of separation, when the predominant energy of the Earth was one of fear and negativity. All of you in one lifetime or another have consciously participated in adding to the fear and negativity. All of you in one lifetime or another have consciously participated in supporting the loving energy in which fear and negativity cannot thrive.

You have seen it as a linear process, as a child grows from a child's consciousness - the magical, mythical consciousness of childhood - into rational consciousness, and on into a higher levels of consciousness. Maybe non-dual, maybe not yet non-dual; but moving into consciousness that is deeply concerned for the highest good of all beings. There's a movement of experience from non-separation before birth, and the child's earliest memory of experiencing itself as non-dual with the mother, to moving into a sense of separation from the mother, then maturing and eventually knowing that nothing is separate.

Most of you also see your spiritual path as a linear process of growth, of learning. Learning how not to enact negativity in the world. Learning how to hold this place of light within. But always in that linear work there is a doer, on a certain level, somebody who is trying to get from here to there.

Now is a time for remembering, and that remembering means holding the inherent wholeness and non-dual nature of all that is. Knowing that nothing is and ever has been separate. Knowing the power of love, and that Love is not something that is diminished or grows but is always there, always accessible. There's nothing left to do but to rest in that wholeness and in that knowing of love.

This is not outside of the Buddhist tradition. I'm fond of Ajahn Chah's teaching of “The One Who Knows.” Ajahn Chah, a well-known, much beloved Thai meditation master, spoke frequently of the One Who Knows. This wasn't something that one attains. This was simply resting in this already present One Who Knows, which is within each of you. The practice then becomes one not of doing some practice for attainment of something, but simply returning home, returning to this One Who Knows. All that blocks your resting in that One Who Knows are the old beliefs about the limited self and the limited world.

It is a time now for the world to evolve—evolve is a linear term word. In your language there is no way to express it; to awaken into the knowing of this Earth as a ground for wholeness and love and positive polarity.

Some of you were there at the start of this Earth experiment. The hope was that on Earth, grounded in positive polarity, there could be a place where compassion was so powerful that it could teach compassion out into the entire universe. Some of you have heard me speak about Earth history, that the early Earth experiences were so grounded in non-duality and non-self that there was no ground for compassion, because everything was seen simply as part of the One. Nothing was seen as negative catalyst.

Some of you lived in Lemurian times in crystalline bodies. You had the ability to manifest freely and with love, to support a great flow of positive experience. But your efforts were weakened by the fact that there was nothing to stimulate compassion. Many of you willingly allowed the shift in DNA, and to shift from the Lemurian crystalline structure into a carbon-based human structure that would feel the catalyst of physical pain, and that would forget its deepest truth of its interconnection with all that is. Experiencing something pushing against it, it would almost instinctively push back at first, moving into contraction. By force of its free will choice for service to the light, it would begin the process of releasing negative contraction, and thereby satisfying itself and everything to the reality that love is the strongest force in the universe.

And that fear is, simply..., if we think of a flashlight battery with a positive and a negative pole, the negative pole is not separate from the positive and the positive pole cannot function without the negative pole. But we don't give the negative pole all the power. Fear is simply the negative pole of the battery. It actually can support the positive, when it's seen with no duality, positive and negative as one.

So you have all been learning through many lifetimes to transcend the belief in the separate negative, and know that negative simply as part of the power of love, to transmute it to the service of love.

Your vipassana practice serves this end in a very real way, because you watch unpleasant mind and body states arise and the aversion to them, without hating them. The power is in simply holding space for them and seeing that they're temporary, arisen from conditions, and will dissolve, and centering in that which is true, positive, loving.

Let's say there's a spiral you have been ascending; you're approaching the top circles of the spiral, but it doesn't end here; it blossoms, opens up (opens arms wide). So you're not at the end, you're simply at the end of one phase. But the end of this phase is a vital one, not only for each of you as human beings, not only for your Earth, not even for the universe, but truly for all that is, because there is strong darkness in the universe. There is that which is negative and would bring down the light, diminish the light. It imagines itself a dual with light and that it would conquer light, though that is impossible! Each of you carries in your heart the intention to support the truth of the power of light through your own lives, your own works, your own loving hearts.

Someone asked today about critical mass. When we reach a point where enough of the world has touched this base of love in its heart, we will create a critical mass. It doesn't mean there's suddenly going to be a stoppage of war and disasters. It only means that there is the container for that which is negative so that it can no longer overpower the positive. It doesn't mean that suffering will stop. It doesn't mean that people will stop killing each other, that hunger will stop, that physical ailments will stop. It only means that we begin to see that we do have the true container out of which cessation of these kinds of disasters, ailments, and sufferings, becomes possible. And that we together envision not just a world, but a universe, that is truly so deeply based in love that that which is negative can no longer thrive.

We reopen the Garden of Eden, out of which you were never pushed in the first place. You stepped out intentionally because you knew it was necessary for the maturation process, just as the infant lets go of the mother, matures into an adolescent and eventually must leave the childhood home. But he/ she is welcomed back with open arms, always. Thuis is the story of the Prodigal Son, who leaves the father (the Garden), explores  and becomes lost in the world lost in darkness, but finally recognizes he still can choose Eden, still can come home. He was never sent away; he chose to leave. Now he chooses to return.

It's time to reopen the Garden. Have you had enough suffering in your own lives? Have you seen enough suffering in the world? Do you have the power in your heart to envision a world literally free of suffering, and to trust the power of love in yourselves to not hook into the stories of suffering with some kind of battle that simply gives it more energy, but just to step back and say, “Enough”?

When I speak of power, I'm not talking about magic; this power is something that all of you in this room experienced back in Lemurian times, when you understood how to envision and co-create by the power of your intention at a time when negative impulse and concepts of duality were not yet awakened in you. Then you had no fear to use your power to create and co-create, because you knew, understood, and trusted that you would not use that power to do harm. There was not a possibility of doing harm to another, because there was no other.

You had to move through the cycle of stepping into the belief of the other, while letting go of some of your power so you wouldn't destroy everything. You learned how to take on more and more power as the individuated self, as you became mature enough to hold it. Then you re-learned how to co-create with that power. And now, with the power of, in Biblical terms, good and evil but I don't like the word “evil,” —positive and negative polarity—with the power of this, as you shift back into the complete DNA structure again and open yourselves to all you truly are, you are God. You are the divine essence of the universe. You can create whatever you choose to create, and you do not take that power lightly, because you see that you could destroy the world in an instant if you misuse the power.

The challenge for most of you is that you don't trust yourself and your readiness to take on that completed DNA structure, that power, the power literally to create, because you have not fully resolved the negative mind, the negative impulses. So there's fear. “If I have all that power, the power of a nuclear arsenal, and I'm the one with control over the button, and I get a message that my enemy is gathering together in force, am I going to push the button? Can I back off and hold it in love?”

You are learning how to say no to negativity with compassion rather than force, and how to create a group energy that can say no to negativity with love.

I say this is not a traditional dharma talk, and at this point I have not spoken much about vipassana, but I think you can see where your practice is essential to this whole movement in which you are involved. Because, as you recognize in yourself that something can be unpleasant, aversion can arise, an impulse to push back at it, and that you don't have to enact that impulse, but that compassion can firmly say no, and trust the power of that love and compassion, as you do this with your vipassana practice, you become increasingly ready to take this next step, which is truly to awaken in every sense to the fullness of your being and that of all beings, the non-duality of all beings, and to take your place as humans and, on this earth plane, as leaders of loving positive polarity in the universe.

There are still many places in the universe that are lost in darkness. There is so much potential here on Earth to become a beacon that lights up that darkness. If a room is pitch black and you cannot find your way around, just one moment of light lets you see the lay of the land, lets you know where the table is, where the legs are, how to step. The light goes off again, but you know. You carry that knowing in your heart. “I know what it feels like to be in the light.” Gradually, that light within your heart opens and opens and opens, until it cannot be dimmed.

When I speak about negative polarity and negatively polarized beings, first of all I don't intend to create fear in you. I also don't intend to create a sense of duality-- the good guys against the bad guys--for the deepest forces of darkness are simply the negative pole on the battery, which is connected to the positive pole. But they believe that they can outweigh the positive pole. Their polarity leads them to believe in duality. My experience is that nothing can overpower true light and love. But as long as, what I call the loyal opposition, are not convinced of that, they will continue to push and try to force their view and fear upon you.

That means that the closer this third density human stage grows to transitioning into a higher density, the harder the push of this loyal opposition, who would like to see that Earth becomes a negatively polarized third or, now, fourth density planet. And you are here to say, “No way. That's not going to happen.” But not, “No way” --stick it to you. “No way, because you are me, and I am you. And I see your fear and your pain and I love you anyhow. And I have the strength in my compassion to know how to say no with love.”

This is what your practice is about. It's not only about individual release of suffering for each of you. We talk a lot about the desire to move out of suffering, for freedom from suffering, which is the Buddhist ideal. The bodhisattva vow for all beings to be free of suffering takes it a step further: not just enlightenment for me, and freedom and liberation for me, but for all beings. Then we see that it can never be just for me. It must be for all beings. How do we do that?

Then you come back to the individuated self, which is your tool for learning how to do it. So the idea of self-liberation is not useless, it's simply one piece of the route. As the self becomes liberated from its own karmic negativity and entrapments, it knows its interconnection with all beings. It's no longer afraid of its power. And as enough of you learn this, you become this light in the universe.

Many realms throughout the universe, formed and formless, manifest worlds and unmanifest, are looking to you. That's a heavy load to put on you, but you're all volunteers. You all came here with this intention and with the love and trust in your ability to do this. And the good news is, you don't have to do it in this lifetime. If you can, great! If you can't, there will be more opportunities.

The Earth is spinning into 4th and, very quickly beyond that, into 5th density. How strong is your commitment to see that that 5th density is a positively polarized 5th density, based in love? This is what inspires each of you to do the hard inner work on yourselves, because sometimes it's terrifying. You feel, “I can't do it. I'm overwhelmed. I'm in beyond my depth.” Remember two things. You volunteered. You would not have been accepted for this volunteer assignment if it was thought that you would fail. Therefore you have the capacity. You are surrounded with loving beings who are here to help you. You are not alone.

I said remember two things. That's two; a third thing, also. This shift is happening, whatever you do. The question is whether it will be an easier transition into positively polarized higher density, less painful for many beings, or whether it will be an increasingly painful and struggling transition, which will eventually end up in the same place.

Last summer two of Barbara's sons set out to climb Mount Adams. It's a high peak. One 40 years of age and one 37, neither in prime physical condition. Neither had been doing much mountain climbing for the past year or two. They were determined, “We're going to climb this mountain.” The 40-year-old said that's what he wanted to do for his birthday. He asked his brother to go with him. They got half way up. They looked at each other and said, “This is the hardest thing I've ever done.” And they both are outdoorsmen who enjoy climbing and hiking. “This is the hardest thing I've ever done.” So they said, can we do it? They each acknowledged, if we have to stop -if you have to stop, if I have to stop-it's okay. We'll both go down if one of us has to stop. But yes, we've climbed big mountains before. Yes, we can do it.

Now, this is not changing the earth, this is simply their own personal test. But they realized very quickly they could not do it by forcing themselves or each other, but only by taking one step at a time, with love.

It really is the same thing, whether you're climbing a mountain or living a life through the steep places and the rough ground, the places that become smooth and level, and then up again. You're climbing a mountain. The view from the top is amazing. Are you ready to climb to the top? But it's going to be the hardest thing you've ever done.

Remind Barbara to show you a picture when I've done my talk, the two of them leaping with joy at the summit. It's a joyous picture, and I want you to hold it in your hearts to remind yourselves: this is you, also, leaping with joy at the summit. You can do it.

I welcome your questions. They may be about the topic of my talk, or anything.

Q: Two questions. One is, you said that there was no ground for compassion. Why is it necessary to have ground for compassion? Meaning... compassion is a dual concept.

Aaron: Compassion is. It's part of the Dharmakaya. It is not dependent on conditions. The primordial purity is compassion. But it has no meaning until it's called forth to be made manifest when challenged. So we have compassion that is not stimulated, not awakened. We have compassion that has not been asked to function in the world. This is the compassion that is, unconditioned.

Q: Ahimsa?

Aaron: Ahimsa is a bit different. Ahimsa is one expression of compassion, dynamic compassion. But there are many different aspects of compassion, not just ahimsa. Ahimsa is one expression. But-- let's use light. At 2am, the sun is shining, but it's on the other side of the globe. You can't see it's shining. The sun is already shining, but until the earth swings around, you can't experience that sun or use the light from it. It's not accessible to you.

Compassion always existed. It's part of All That Is, part of the essence of the divine. But its power has not been tapped because it has not been utilized as a means of lighting the darkness. Until you have darkness, you cannot try to light the darkness. When you find compassion, love, and all of these beautiful qualities, and are given negative catalyst, instead of using negativity to fight negativity, you turn within yourself to bring forth that compassion as ahimsa or loving kindness or gratitude or however it may appear, to light up the dark field. So you allow the negativity so as to be able to tap into and manifest that ground, the primordial purity that's there.

We talked a year or two ago about how what's under the surface with something atop of it, can come up. It expresses out of that primordial place. What draws it out? If compassion were limited, there would be no need for any of this. But compassion is unlimited. As you work with human catalyst, inviting compassion, the power of compassion expands and expands and expands. This is the proof to negative polarity that it cannot win through the power of darkness.

Q: We had described the relationship between compassion and wisdom. We talked about compassion being a nirmanakaya expression, and wisdom a dharmakaya expression, although I understand what you were saying about compassion. But the way I was understanding it was similar to nada, in that it is a primary expression of the Unconditioned.

Aaron: They are all direct expressions of the Unconditioned, but in different ways. Compassion is a different kind of expression than the expressions like nada and luminosity.

Q: So is it different in that it has stronger—I am not sure that I am saying this correctly—that it has deeper roots in dharmakaya? Whereas nada, for example, or luminosity, are dualistic expressions...

Aaron: No, they're not dualistic expressions. Nada, luminosity, the energy, scent, the taste, of the Unconditioned are basic expressions of the dharmakaya. There's no duality in it.

Q: Okay.  I take that back. What I mean is that they still have a temporal characteristic.

Aaron: Why?

Q: Because they are still conditioned.

Aaron: Nada is not conditioned. Luminosity is not conditioned. Yes, they are conditioned expressions of the Unconditioned. For them to be experienced there must be an experiencer. But the luminosity exists regardless of whether there's an experiencer or not. The conditioning occurs in the need for you to experience it. It's the same thing for compassion. Compassion exists, but certain conditions are necessary for you to experience compassion and bring it into play in the world.

Q: And still you are saying that compassion is different than nada and luminosity.

Aaron: It's different in that it's not an elemental expression. It's more like wisdom.

Q: So, can you explain a little more the relationship between compassion and wisdom?

Aaron: Compassion and wisdom are two wings of a butterfly. The butterfly needs both to fly. Wisdom is the willingness to see things as they are. Compassion is the heart that holds space for things as they are. If you only see things as they are without a heart that can hold space for it, you quickly move into contraction and a fighting stance with things as they are. If you only hold the open heart but blind yourself as things as they are, then nothing is learned.

Q: That was question #1! Question #2 is, there seems to be some sort of urgency in your talk today.

Aaron: There is an urgency. The further we go into this transition, the more this loyal opposition steps up its opposition, trying to push us back into negativity, into pain, into fear and anger. Unless you understand, not with fear, “It's urgent! Fight back!” but with a loving-hearted commitment, “I'm in this for the full ride. I've signed on. I am going. Wherever it takes me, I'm going with it, with all the love I can give it. And I don't have to do it perfectly. I only have to ask myself to do the best I can.” But we do not run from that which is difficult because it's difficult. It's going to keep getting harder and harder, like climbing to the top of that mountain, with false summits,  until you reach the top. It will plateau at the top, and there will be a beautiful view.

There were two questions in the basket, I believe, if someone will bring them over, I'll speak to those...(reading)

“How do I talk to myself when others are watching (me) and my ego feels puny?”

Well, first of all, I'm not sure why the questioner is talking to himself or herself, or what difference it makes if others are watching. But if the ego feels puny, simply note the puny-feeling ego. It's not the ego that has the wisdom; it's the heart. The ego doesn't really have much to do with it. If others are watching and you're trying to find your own place of courage or whatever, simply notice the fear. I don't know if this answers the question.

“How does heaven look?”

How does heaven look to you? Is it an oceanscape, or green fields, or a mountaintop?

Q: A mountaintop.

Aaron: How about you?

Q: It's just filled with spirits of love and kindness.

Aaron: And to you?

Q: Heaven is here.

Q: I was just going to say, it would probably look a lot like Seattle today.

Q: I like what the artist Laurie Anderson said, “Heaven is like exactly where you are right now, only much, much better.”

Aaron: At the ocean retreat, we often sit on the beach, declaring it to be a heavenly realm. We're all there sharing the dharma, with the waves pounding at our feet, and the sunlight and the warm sand, delicious food, loving people. For each of you, heaven will look different, because what is heaven to me may not be heaven to you. I may long for those loving spirits around me, another may long for solitude. It's all there.

I think what most denotes heaven is that whatever you seek is there and available, accessible. It's never imposed on another. It's what you seek and comes with no grasping or fear. It's filled with love, with light, with joy.

Q: “There are many spiritual practices. Do they come together on the other side?”

There is only one spiritual practice, which is learning love, and all the others are support practices to lead us to that learning of love. None is better than the other. There are many tools. If you're a carpenter and you want to build a table, what do you need? If you have only a hammer, it's going to be hard to cut the wood to the right size. If you've only a saw, it's going to be hard to nail it together. So you have a spiritual toolbox with many tools, and you learn which tools are most appropriate in each moment.

Q: “As human, will we still connect to loved ones after physical death?”

They may not be able to hear you. You'll be able to connect, if they can hear you. Those who have gone before, yes, you'll connect with them. Those who have not yet made the transition, some of them will hear you, some of them will not hear you. After they make the transition that you have made, when the loved ones who have not yet transitioned do make that transition, you'll be united again. Temporarily, while you are post-transition and they are pre-transition, they may or may not be able to hear you.

Q: One more question about the urgency. What has changed since last time that you were here?

Aaron: Too many things to articulate, Q, and nothing unexpected. It's simply, if something is spinning freely, without friction, it goes faster and faster. You are in transition to a higher consciousness. Friction is being released. The spin is not going to stop. Negative polarity has  enhanced its determination to push this spin into a negative place, and the more it determines that, the more commitment from each of you (is needed) from a loving place, not a fear-based place, that they will not succeed. The Earth can be, is, and will be a positively polarized planet; Increasingly a 4th, then a 5th density planet.

Q: A few weeks after returning from Brazil, I noticed what seemed to be some strong streaks of negative energy moving around my field of awareness. And I wondered if it is because I'm just more aware now, or is it because there was a reason.

Aaron: Not more negativity, just more aware of it, because of the distinction between the strong positive energy by which you were surrounded there, and being more aware of negativity when it arises. Offer love to it. That's all.

Q: How can we best support people who are dying? Before, during, and after they die.

Aaron: Love them. It depends on the person, their understandings, and what they're able to accept. You can only offer, you can't force anything on people. (some deleted for privacy)

But some people are so frightened of death, such support can't really help them. All you can do is offer them love.

Q: Are there things one can say to them to comfort them or help their transition, and help them end up in a better place?

Aaron: There's a very good book called American Book of the Dead, which is a translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  

(American Book of the Dead [Paperback) E. J. Gold (Author) Harper, San Francisco

Q: I bought a book called The American Book of the Dead...

Aaron: And it has 40 days' worth of prayers, yes?  (Q thinks she had the American Book of Living and Dying...) So what is most helpful is, after the person has died, to begin reading those prayers. First reading the daily selection,  and then, if the person is not a dharma practitioner and the prayer would not make much sense, to translate it in your own terms. “What I find this means is, do this.” And the next day, the next step; just keep moving with that person.

The 40 days may not be precise. Everybody doesn't transition at the same schedule. If you have an intuitive sense of the speed of that person's transition, then move with them. Otherwise simply trust that the reading you're offering is supportive and keep doing it. It's also a way of staying deeply connected from the heart with that person, helping them not feel alone, giving them guidance. And your prayers and love are with them.

Q: For 40 days?

Aaron: I believe the book is divided into 40 days of prayers. It's based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, but it's much more accessible to people of your culture.

Q: I wanted to comment that, having read both of them, it's so much easier to read the American Book of the Dead, because the Tibetan culture isn't part (of ours) so all of the buddhas that they talk about that you would see in the transition, that's for someone else's culture.

Aaron: Yes, the Tibetan Book of the Dead has many visualizations, gods and goddesses and so on, that don't have much meaning to people of your culture. The American Book of the Dead is much more accessible. But it's based on the same path as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, simply adapted to your culture.

Q: Before a person dies, are there things one should say to help them transition more easily? “Dissolve in the light, go to the light...”

Aaron: If they're willing to discuss how they're feeling, discuss it with them. “Are you feeling fear?” You can't tell them what will come next because, unless you know somehow, most of you don't remember. You can only tell them, “I have a trust in the process of dying, because we all go through birth and death, and I have a trust that you will be safe. But I know you may be afraid. Can I hold space with you for that fear?” Invite them to talk about it, to whatever degree they're able to. Don't force it upon them. The forcing it upon them is so you can feel better about their dying.

Q: When I was with my grandma just before she passed a year ago, I spent the night with her, the night before. She was unconscious. I just did a guided meditation with her, relating specifically to her world as I understood it. Just helping her to move into that, with the same images that she lived in and grew up in, and the same people that she knew had passed. I didn't talk to her, but I did talk to her. I was with her. We were together.

Aaron: When a person is in a coma before death, it's different than when they're alert and you can talk responsively to them. You still talk to a person in a coma; they can hear you. They won't be able to respond with articulation. They may respond with some bits of facial expression; they may not. For a person in a coma, that is a very skillful way of approaching it. You can sing to them; talk to them; pray for them. Let them know they're not alone.

I like to simply remind the person, “Go to the light. Go to the light.” Reading some of the American Book of the Dead prayers to the person in the coma, the early prayers, can be helpful, which talk about the possibility of feeling lost, uncertain, “Where am I?” Simply remind them, “If you're feeling lost or uncertain, know you are not alone. You are in a safe place. I'm here with you.” Take their hand, if you can, so they hear your voice and feel your presence. Touch them. Touch is experienced. Voice is experienced. Just be with them with as much love as you can. It's useful sometimes to tell somebody, “I will miss you very much. I love you. But it's okay to go. You don't have to stay here for me.”

Your culture knows so little about death, and is only learning about birth and how to birth a child skillfully. And of course, birth and death are part of the same thing; the coming out of that realm of Light and moving back into it. You've all died many times. It's safe. What could happen to you? Sometimes you get a little lost. Eventually you work your way out. The more awakened you are to your deepest truth, the less lost you feel.

Have any of you had a near-death experience? Most of you know that Barbara had a near-death experience with the ocean wave. I'm telling her story here; it was very clear to her she was drowning. She was unconscious. She could see this so-called tunnel of light. She felt many entities surrounding her. It was very clear she had to make a decision, to stay here, coming back into whatever kind of body she would come back into, possibly quadriplegic-- she didn't know how damaged the body was. There was not a conscious thought, “It might be a quadriplegic body,” it was more a sense of, “Have I finished my work here? Am I ready to go on, or am I willing to stay here, whatever is asked of me, and do it?” And it was clear to her she chose to stay.

So she said, not from a place of fear, such as  “I'm scared to die. I must stay.”, but a place of love that said, “My work is not finished. I choose to stay.” And as soon as she chose to stay, many spirit energies moved around her and lifted her to the surface, where she was able to come to enough consciousness to cry for help before she lapsed into unconsciousness again. People pulled her to shore.

But it was a life-changing experience for her, because it completely removed any fear of death. Better for her to talk to you about it than me. But she knows now that dying is safe.

Q: I grew up with a memory that I thought was from this lifetime, but it was my dying from my previous life. I was a toddler between 1 and 2 years old in a park near a lake. It was a beautiful day. And there was a man and an older boy on the other side of the lake, and a small toy sailboat on the lake, and a duck. I reached out for the boat and I fell in. I saw gold sparkles in the water and duck feet passing over my head, and was perfectly at peace.

I would tell my mother about this memory, and she had no realization of me ever falling in the pond. And now I know that it was my passing from the previous life.

Aaron: And I'm sure that that helped you not have a fear of death in this lifetime. As I've said, you've all died many times. One of the challenges is that some of those deaths were painful, perhaps brutal or abrupt and surprising, blown apart or killed in a battle, died slowly and in a painful way, and this is part of what brings up the fear of death. But it's the fear of dying and what will happen in those last moments of life, that's frightening, not the transition itself. Once you're dead there's no more pain.

Q: I thought that in some of the realms after death there is pain, or what feels like pain.

Aaron: There's no physical body. If there's any experience of physical pain, it's in the memory, though yes, it can feel “real.” There's no body to experience pain. There can be fear. You can move into a place of darkness. There are many different bardo states that you pass through.

This is another part of your practice. When your practice deepens to the point that you know that whatever arises is illusion at a certain level, and don't get caught up in the stories that the illusion is presenting you, you simply pass through it. When you've deepened in that sufficiently in your vipassana practice, then when you encounter these different, perhaps frightening, illusions after death, you simply note, “Oh, here is an ogre looking at me. Here is a spiraling darkness. I note it. I don't take it as happening to me, but just an illusion that I'm passing through.”

It's like going to a cinema and seeing frightening horror scenes on the screen-- “Oh!” you may scream.  But you do know it's not real; it's an illusion. The more you're able to touch these with love in this lifetime, the easier is the transition itself.

I want to give you an example, a little story, here. Barbara spent three days in Toronto with the John of God three-day event. She had the role to be an anchor medium, they call it, in the Entity's current, which meant she was one of the mediums holding the energy in that room. So she was sitting about as close to John of God as Q is (10 feet) to me. Just there in the front row, a line of people going past her, to him and then turning off to the side room.

Her eyes were closed, of course. So she was sitting there, meditating, and in a very deep place, feeling sometimes very loving energy going by, feeling sometimes very tumultuous energy going by. Working as she is accustomed as a medium, with spirit, helping to support the loving energy and release difficult energy.

So she felt difficult energy, tense energy moving past, and suddenly a flare-up, and something smacked her in the face, which of course brought her to open her eyes. And she saw them holding a 5 or 6 year old boy who was flailing his arms and screaming. I said to her that there was a possessing negative spirit that they were working to release, that did not want to be released. The boy was struggling. The entity incorporated in John of God's body was just standing there holding a positive space around this negative energy. Barbara's immediate conscious response to that, opening her eyes, seeing what was happening, was just to offer love.

This goes deep. It's out of many decades of training. But it was very helpful to her afterward. Hopefully it was helpful to the child, as well. She was told afterward that eventually he quieted down and walked quietly from the room. So we would presume that the negative entity released.

But she realized for herself, “I can do this.” Even from a deep meditation, to be suddenly assaulted, see what's going on and simply offer love. Now, of course, she was not in any serious threat. If it had been an adult waving a knife, she might not have been able to so skillfully just settle back and offer love. She hasn't been tested to that. She doesn't know. Perhaps she will never be tested to that in this lifetime. --She has actually been tested to that earlier in this lifetime in demonstrations for human rights. Not to a knife, but to violence, and being able to respond skillfully to violence.

But it's the same thing. As you transition, you're probably going to go through both light and dark-filled bardos. When you recognize them for what they are, simply arising out of conditions, mostly your own inner conditioning, that there's nothing substantial there, it's just dissolving, and simply keep offering love to it, that being moves very quickly through the transition process. But the being who gets caught up and struggles is often very quickly pulled back into a new incarnation based on the struggle and the negative experience. This is karma.

Enough. It's 9 o'clock....

(session ends with a sitting)