October 28, 2016 Friday Afternoon, Oakwood Retreat

(This talk not yet reviewed by Barbara and Aaron)

Q&A at Retreat on Infinite Intelligence/God, Citta, *Pole Meditation, Grace, Spiritual Path

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I have no agenda this afternoon, no special topic. Fully open to your questions.

Q: Dorothy Ann (in giving last night's talk) said there is no God. She said it as an aside. Does anybody remember the context?

Q: There was a reference made to God having an infinite intelligence, and she said there is no “God”. Is another way of looking at God as collective consciousness?

Aaron: They're all separate terms. How can you name That Which Is? If we go to the ocean and you lift one bucket of water out of the ocean and say, “This is the ocean,” well yes, it is the ocean. But it's only that much of the ocean. If you lift a fish out of the ocean and say, “Is this the ocean?”, yes, it's the ocean, but it's also a piece of the ocean.

If we look at infinite intelligence, that is one attribute of God/Goddess, All That Is, the core and ground of being. However you name it, you cannot fully name it because it's unnameable. We can come to know it by the attributes. We can come to know it by the experience of divine love, by infinite intelligence, by loving kindness. By luminosity, spaciousness, that cosmic OM, the sound of silence. Patience. All of these are attributes of that which for a shorthand term we call God/Goddess/All That Is. The only way we can come to know it is to explore and directly experience the attributes. And then we know a little bit about it, and a little bit more, and a little bit more.

It's as if you were doing a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box. You pull several pieces out that have red in them. You put them together and there's an area of red. Is it going to be a painting? Is it going to be a tree? Is it a person's cloak? The only clue I have is somewhere in this puzzle there's red. Here's an area of purple. They go together. Seventeen pieces, they all go together. But it's a thousand piece puzzle. I only know this little bit of it. Gradually pieces start to connect. Instead of a thousand piece puzzle, it's a hundred thousand piece puzzle. And with God, obviously, an infinite puzzle. But we can begin to understand it though piecing together and directly experiencing the attributes. I don't know if that answers your question.

(further discussion)

Aaron: Where did the comment “There is no God” come up last night? I don't remember that.

(discussion among group in background)

Q: We think it was just a quick comment, not a real comment.

Aaron: There IS no God, if you call it “This is God,” because we cannot limit this God/Goddess/Divinity/All That Is and say this is it. When we let go of the labels and simply come to know the direct experience, then we can say, “This is a piece of it. Here I'm starting to get close.” What you experienced in that river, that was a direct experience of one piece of the infiniteness of God. You did not experience God, you experienced a piece of it. And each of you in your own ways have experienced that piece. And some of you have called it God, and some of you, perhaps, the Unconditioned, which is simply another synonym for God.

Q: At Barbara's urging, I switched from mundane hearing to supramundane nada. I found myself getting sleepy. So is there more power in a supramundane primary object?

Aaron: It's a higher energy. You're moving from the mundane to the supramundane, and the supramundane always has a higher energy. So yes, until you get used to that high energy it can make you sleepy. If you find yourself falling asleep, notice sleepiness, the direct experience of sleepiness, which is now a predominant object. Notice one piece of the sensation of sleepiness. Stay with it and watch it, what happens to it as awareness focuses on it. Really watch it: what is sleepiness? How does it feel in the body? How does it change? And as you work with this, it will wake you up! Then as the whole direct experience of sleepiness fades, come back to nada and see what happens.

Q: I looked at my phone to see what time it was. There was a news banner about the latest thing with the election, which I blew off. But when I went to meditate, my nada wasn't there! (laughter)

Aaron: The nada was there but mind was in too busy a place to settle down and hear it. If you're sitting by the ocean, the sound of the waves breaking on the shore is there. It doesn't go anywhere. However, if motorcycles start racing up and down the beach, it becomes hard to hear the sound of the waves. When the motorcycles are gone, the waves remain.

So the question then is to bring attention to any turbulence, agitation in the body, in the mind. Is there something keeping me from hearing nada? Just raise that as a gentle question. Not trying to go after it, nothing to fix, but just be aware: in this moment, awareness cannot hear nada. The nada is there. That means the awareness itself is closed off, pulled down to a much more mundane level, so that mundane consciousness is trying to hear nada and cannot do so. What's holding me in mundane consciousness? Is there some agitation, some anger, some fear that I'm not paying attention to? On the mundane level, something that needs me to offer it attention?

Whenever you cannot hear nada, ask after it. The same thing of rigpa, rigpa being the Tibetan term for the experience of pure awareness,. For years one of Barbara's primary practices, with me tapping her on the shoulder, was asking, where is rigpa? Barbara would get involved in the mundane things, and then I would say, where is rigpa? It's not that it ceased to be there. It's that she forgot to rest back in the spaciousness that could experience rigpa, experience pure awareness.

I want to make this clear. Rigpa or pure awareness is a citta, a form of consciousness. It takes an object. Pure awareness is not the object. Pure awareness is the consciousness, a supramundane consciousness, that takes an object.

If you are not able to access that pure awareness or rigpa (synonymous there), if there is no access to pure awareness, it's because at some level you're locked into mundane consciousness. What's holding you into mundane consciousness? Often there's a very subtle level of tension, sadness, fear, anger, confusion, that's not being opened. But when consciousness notes agitation— ahhhh. And right there with the conscious experience of agitation there is spacious awareness, supramundane awareness, rigpa, watching mundane consciousness getting caught up with agitation,you need to step back. You get in too close, you can't see the big picture. As soon as you realize you're in that close, step back. As soon as you step back it opens again, nada opens again. Pure awareness opens again.

So it can serve as a wonderful practice, a helpful practice, to not continually but frequently ask yourself, in this moment do I hear nada? Just pausing. In this moment, where is pure awareness? Where is rigpa? Oh, I forgot. I got in too close. I forgot.

Q: You used the expression, “Step back and invite rigpa/pure awareness.” What's actually happening in the stepping back? Is mind as a sense organ being let go?

Aaron: If I were to open a photograph on the iPad and blow it up so you could only see a few different pixels, you could see 1/100th of the photograph, this tiny little corner with bright blobs of color. What is it? What is this? Red dot, yellow dot— what am I looking at? Stepping back is akin to closing the screen so that you can see the big picture. You've gotten up too close, usually because there's some grasping. You want to fix it so you get your nose right into it. “What is it? Fix it!” Ah, just let it be. Step back. See how this relates to that, relates to that. Relax. And then if something needs a little bit of kindness, offer it kindness.

Q: I have notice that discursive mind does seem to be in the front, and when I do step back, it does open up.

Aaron: That non-discursive mind opens up when you step back, big mind. Small mind, big mind. So what is the experience of stepping back? Share what you experience when we say “stepping back.”

Q: Relaxing.

Aaron: Relaxing. Sometimes you find you've been holding your breath. What else?

Group: A re-centering. Remembering, Non-doing.

Aaron: Waking up over and over again in this moment, to remember you're not the ego. You're not somebody here to fix. And then from that spaciousness you can attend what needs attention.

I'm reminded of a story, over 20 years ago, when Barbara was part of the winter retreat at Plum Village with Thich Nhat Hanh. It did not happen while she was there, she heard about it from one of the senior nuns. There was a practice there that at lunch everybody would sit in silence until the bell rang and then they might have mindful talking. Whatever they were doing anywhere in Plum Village, when the meal bell rang everybody was to stop, not abruptly, but stop, put down what they were doing, and come to the dining hall. You don't take five minutes to finish it, you just stop. You watch the, “But I have to finish this!” You stop. On the phone, “Sorry, the meal bell is ringing. I'll call you back.”

People asked the nun, isn't it interruptive? She related a time when they were trying to rescue a boatload of Vietnamese people who were adrift at sea and in grave danger. Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) was trying to make phone calls to different agencies who could come to their rescue. There was a lot of urgency around it. Other people were on the phone, many people trying to work to coordinate some kind of rescue. People very tense. And the meal bell rang. Nobody responded in the usual way, everybody kept going. And Thay said in a loud voice, “The meal bell has rung.” “You don't expect us to go to lunch?” “I do expect us all to go to lunch. Stop what you're doing and come to lunch. We will have a short lunch.” Everybody stopped what they were doing, some bewildered by Thay's request, but they all went to the dining room. And they realized they needed that 10 or 15 minutes to re-center, step back, see the big picture, to come back into the true self so that they could work effectively. Otherwise it was just the ego trying to fix. I recall how moved Barbara was by that story, and what an important teaching it was for her, 25 years or so ago.

Q: I have been drawn to the pole meditation. Upon rereading your directions in Cosmic Healing, I became very confused. My question is two-part. One, is it really that confusing? And two, are there more appropriate times when one will find the pole meditation most helpful?

Aaron: Let's put this in context. I introduced that pole meditation to Barbara at a time at the Casa, I think her first year at the Casa, when she had been invited to sit with eyes open and observe surgery. She asked me, Aaron I know what I will see will sometimes be alarming, exciting, confusing. This was going to be visible surgery, the entity actually working, cutting people, doing the surgery he does with the instrument up the nose, scraping the eye, or even cutting into the body, removing a tumor, or whatever. So she said, how can I best support what's happening there? I'm afraid that I can't keep my ego, my self out of it. I don't want to interfere with the flow of energy.

So I asked her to experience her whole being as a pole. Her head in the clouds, her feet deeply grounded into the earth. Her head in the clouds— when the wind blows, everything sways with the wind. It moves with the clouds. The feet are anchored deep. The feet are, let's call it pure awareness, non-ego consciousness. The head is more mundane consciousness. For example, if she was standing there and handed the tray of instruments to help the entity, and he said, “Hand me the knife,” pointed at something and said, “Hand it to me,” something in her needs to be able to respond, to pick up the correct tool and offer it. She can't just stay grounded and space out.

The question for her was, how do I hold both at the same time? So the pole meditation that I taught her was a way of centering one's energy and deepening it. I used “down into the earth” as an example. But it's not really down into the earth, it's down into the core of supramundane consciousness, resting deep in pure awareness. Resting deep in the core of divinity, free of ego, and then allowing mundane consciousness to respond appropriately.

Another example, really almost synonymous with the pole meditation, and some of you have done this with me, how many of you have done a meditation with people on a boat? Big waves swelling. People screaming for help. And you're on a little raft. You can't do anything to help. You're pitching wildly with your own boat. Maybe I'll lead this as a guided meditation tonight; now not taking the time, just briefly explaining the meditation. Without getting pulled into the screams for help, you put on your scuba equipment and lower yourself down and down and down, below the pitching waves, below the storm, to a place of stillness in the body.

Now if you had to either be down there or up here, it wouldn't work. But symbolically you keep the feet planted down there where it's still, where it's stable, and you find that the whole body can stretch and rise upward. As you come up, the current starts to grab at you. Your attention is up here with the movement of the current. Bring it back down and find that still bottom again. Once you're balanced there, bring attention back up and come up a little higher, until your head breaks the surface of the water. You as the human cannot save the people on the boats. You as expression of the divine, free of ego and any sense of a separate self, you are the people on the boats, and the feet are planted down where there is absolute stillness. Resting in that absolute stillness, you lift this small boat and bring it over to the Coast Guard cutter, where they can help the people up. They can't approach the boat, they're too big. They'd smash into it. These people trying to row their tiny rubber craft to the big Coast Guard cutter, which is bouncing up and down on the waves… You, as the intermediary, because you're centered in the body, grounded, you just gently escort it over and lift it up so the people can be helped off. Then you may need to go back down again. Or maybe you can help a second boat before you go back down. But as soon as tension comes up, “Can I do another one? Is it safe? Can I help these people? Will I cause more harm than good?”, go back down. Ground yourself again. And then, feet firm on the bottom, 20 miles down, the arms rise up, attention rises up and attends to what's happening on the surface. And this is really what Thay was doing as he was attempting to help these boat people.

Does that answer your question?

Q: Half. So other times or situations in life, this would be a helpful meditation? Or it sounds like it is just a good general practice for life. Is that right?

Aaron: Whether the pole meditation is a helpful meditation during life in general? Always. Because sometimes in life we lose contact with the bottom and we find ourselves at the top. We need to reground. Sometimes we hide away in that still space, and there's a subtle reluctance to merge fully with the world. We need to allow ourselves to be the entire pole, not just one end of the pole. Here's the top… it's connected to the bottom. Without the bottom there can't be a top. We need to be all the way through, to live our lives fully connected to the deep ground of the Unconditioned, of Christ Consciousness, Buddha nature, love, however you want to name it. Deeply connected there and joyfully willing and able to participate in whatever needs doing on the earth plane. And sometimes is what needs doing is rescuing boat people and sometimes it's changing a diaper. It's the same thing.


Q: Because I feel like in nature everything is like (two parts) of one cycle, like flow and dying or construction and destruction. And also the contraction and (inaudible). And I sometimes have a problem because I want to see everything as made by God, or everything as God. I feel drawn to this expansiveness and spaciousness and want to see that as God, but how can we see the other also as God?

Aaron: I'm not even going to try to answer that question. (laughter) I'd like you to read my book Human, and I'd like to recommend a book by Rabbi Rami Shapiro called Open Secrets, which is a beautiful clear explanation of this kind of non-duality. He talks about God's completeness, and that for God's completeness, God also has to comprehend God's annihilation, God's not being there. He has to also be able to comprehend, he phrases it so beautifully and I can't remember his terms. Can you remember it?

Q: Yesh and ayin. Yesh, “there is,” which has separation, and ayin, which is “nothing,” unity. And together the two are schlemut, which is wholeness.

Q: Also form and emptiness.

Aaron: I'd like to read this small phrasing to you, because it's very clear. (?) But he points out, to be God must also be able to be able to contemplate its own cessation. God is everything. If it's everything, it also has to know itself as nothing. What does nothing mean? So we move back and forth with this until the everyday mind releases the duality and begins to understand what this schlemut means. I should know this from days of speaking Hebrew, thousands of years ago! Too many languages in the brain, at this point.

The understanding of the completeness of God, schlemut, what that really means. Barbara spoke this morning of some of the extended conversations she and her friend Carla had about good and evil, and not creating a duality between good and evil. And Carla coached a bit by Ra and Q'uo, who she channeled, and Barbara coached a bit by me. Carla saying it more from that perspective, Barbara saying it a bit more from my perspective. We all agreed that there is no duality between good and evil, but there is still a subtle shade of difference.

What is evil? I see light and relative absence of light. Moving into a place where it becomes thoroughly black, dark, no light, not even the tiniest bit of light coming in. And yet the potential for light is still there. So there's no such thing as absolute evil. There is only light, relative absence of light leading into darkness. But everything is moving toward light. The completeness of this, light and darkness. That completeness is God. And yet God does have a, preference is not the right word, a leaning toward light. We cannot say God is light because that eliminates darkness and creates a duality. We can say that God contains all of light, and all darkness is is relative absence of light. And so darkness is also light, but it's relative absence of light, diminishing, and diminishing, and diminishing.

Your work as human is to come further and further and further into the light and the support of the light, expressing the light, living the light, but without disdain for the darkness. And this is why the other night when I addressed this entity, I addressed it with respect. But also making sure it knows it may not do harm. What i do is invite it to live up to the light in itself, which is as yet a small spark. But I trust the power of that spark, and because of my love I helped to support the growing of that spark. But as with that quote, “Trust God and tie your camel.” Trust the light, but also say, “No, you may not do harm.” Not, “Sure. You've got a core of light in you, so come in and do whatever you want.” “No, you may not do harm. But I trust the power of light in you to emerge. I trust you to be able to make a transition from negative polarity to positive polarity, because they're part of the same pole.” They are not other than. Battery: positive, negative. They're part of the same pole. You ask this of yourself, to live as fully as you can up to the light potential of yourself, but without chastising yourself when you fall short. Just committing to try to do better.

It's interesting when we talk about positive/negative polarity and a path of evolution. Positive polarity moves through 1st, 2nd, 3rd densities. It keeps evolving, 4th density, 5th density. At 6th density it no longer has any self-identification with the heavier physical, mental, and emotional bodies. It simply knows itself as spirit. And it can evolve up into 7th and 8th density to be a fully awakened being, the arahat. Negative polarity similarly can evolve, but it can only evolve through 6th density and then it comes to a dead end because it does not have the capability to release the self-identification with the ego, with the physical, emotional, and mental bodies, because it wants power. The higher it goes towards 6th density, the more service to self it becomes. And because it cannot get past that whole idea of service to self, that whole commitment to service to self, it simply cannot let go of the heavier bodies that bind it, so it hits a dead end. And it must go all the way back literally to 1st density again, and begin now on a positively polarized path.

When we work with deeply negatively polarized entities we trust that at some level, if they are here knocking on the door and wanting not just power but truly wanting to evolve into the light, that they are ready to make that difficult journey backwards, dropping off the self-identification with the heavy bodies and service to self, so that they can move forward again and into the higher density. And then they can evolve into 7th and 8th density, become fully awakened.

Let's get back to more immediately useful questions about practice and so forth.

Q: This is back to rigpa and spaciousness, both mundane and supramundane, and the Unconditioned. So for me the Unconditioned seems like grace. I don't do anything and it just comes. Whereas, it seems like with rigpa it takes more effort, to choose an object and hope I drop into rigpa.

Aaron: This is largely accurate. Remember, rigpa is citta, is consciousness. The Unconditioned is the object of consciousness. We use the path, whatever path you may be on, and here with a vipassana retreat it's a path of wisdom. It can also be a path of service. It can be a path of compassion. There are numerous paths— devotion, and so forth. They all help to serve as a pathway to the direct experience of the Unconditioned. When we come to that through any path, though, it's still grace. What is grace? Any sense of what grace is?

Q: Helping hand.

Aaron: Whose helping hand? (Q: God. Q: There is no God!) You and God are one!

Q: Dharmakaya?

Aaron: Dharma is one aspect of grace. We can't say grace is this or that. It's like God. You can't point to it and say it's this. There are as many different aspects of grace as there are individuals, each one following their own path of grace.

Q: When you get lost in your thoughts and your emotions, what have you, and the light is kind of concealed from you, grace is the opposite. Grace is that force within you, that highest within you that pulls your attention back up to the light.

Aaron: It's the divine in you that raises you up to the light. It pulls you up. Somebody hold up Neem Karoli Baba's picture there, please. Throughout Barbara's life, this has been her guru. He is the inspiration for grace. She in meditation holds his hand and says, “Baba, help me.” When the darkness gets thick, when the heavy bodies feel heavy, he doesn't make grace happen. He is simply one pathway that Barbara is able to use to help lift her up, like a cork at the bottom of the ocean with a heavy weight on it. And it cuts the weights, and it bobs up to the surface.

Grace is, let me put it this way. If you were that cork, your natural tendency is to float. But you have all these weights on you, pulling you down. Grace is all the different forces of love, of dharma, of wisdom, of compassion, of divine help, that slowly cut off these weights so the cork can spring up into the Unconditioned.

Q: So is what you're describing the same as your energy becoming less dense?

Aaron: Exactly, exactly. And as you do this ongoing practice, you gradually drop off the weights. Your whole energy field becomes less dense and begins to float. And like attracts like. You gradually move up and merge with the Unconditioned because you're not so weighed down with self-identity with the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. You know yourself as spirit. That's not correctly said— awareness knows itself as spirit, no “you” in this. Love knows itself as love.

And there are many paths to this. Devotion is a path. Service is a path. They're all ways of diminishing the heaviness of the heavier bodies so that awareness is better able to know its true being and to float into the light, to merge with the light, to know its unity with God. And when I say God, of course I include Goddess.

Q: So does resting in rigpa or pure awareness make you less dense so that you merge with the Unconditioned? Is that a stepping stone?

Aaron: I would say yes, but not quite in that step by step way. Resting in awareness, there's much less self-identity with the heavier bodies. There's more clarity. Resting in awareness, and in the very traditional path of vipassana which I teach, the whole process of— let me try to say this succinctly and briefly. There is a well-described path in the Theravada Buddhist system, Path of Purification, Visuddhi Magga, a very dense, complicated, confusing, huge book. You don't need to know the details of it. But there is a delineated path.

As we pass through that path we gradually become less self-identified with self as body, self as mind, self as ego, self as emotions, self as feelings. The whole sense of self dissolves. As one meditates there will be an experience, eventually, of complete dissolution of the body and the ego. Objects still seem to arise and pass away but there's no self-identification with any of these objects. If one courageously follows through on that path beyond any sense of self-identification of anything arising and dissolving, and looks through all of this that's arising and dissolving, one breaks through into the Unconditioned. One then has what is traditionally called a cessation experience. It's just getting to the other side. The conditioned objects are still there. You look through, you break through. Everything seems to cease arising and dissolving.

The citta that are capable of perceiving the Unconditioned, that have always been there but we haven't had access to, become accessible. Every citta takes an object. There are no longer mundane citta getting in the way, so there's the direct experience of the Unconditioned, or we could say God/Goddess, That Which Is. Then you may come out of that experience and say, “Wow, what was that? What did `I' experience?” We're right back in the old traditional thinking.

But as we repeat this, gradually we start to be able to truly rest in the Unconditioned. Now, when I ask you to do the pole meditation, I'm asking you to do something that most of you are not fully ready to do. You're not fully ready to sink down into that ground of being. You can only hold the intention and allow yourself to go as far as you can. But the good news is, that's enough. That once you're grounded in that place from love, with very little personal ego involved in it, you are able to serve in the world. You are able to love that which seems unlovable. You are able to be deeply present even in very painful situations, grounded in the Unconditioned, although it may not yet be known as the Unconditioned to you, but simply grounded in Love. But it keeps developing. Each time we experience it, we can go further. And eventually you develop the ability to literally play in the Unconditioned, to explore there.

I think we have time for one more question…

Q: You spoke about <that they cannot say God is light>. What about a new soul, a baby being born, the soul, is the soul pure light?

Aaron: The new soul is pure light. It's in the so-called Garden of Eden. But in order to evolve it needs to step out of the Garden of Eden. The whole metaphor of that story: the taste of the apple, of darkness, of “sin,” of, let's call it ego-driven-ness. And gradually as each being evolves, because of the deep aspiration of service to the light, of service to all beings, each is called upon to explore the places where ego pulls it down. And ego is not a bad thing; I'm not saying get rid of ego. I'm saying ego is the servant and not the boss. We become increasingly able not to respond to the fear-based commands of ego, but simply to consign it where it belongs as servant, and let the heart, love, light, lead us.

Q: (inaudible, about when Aaron was describing something) …It struck me as dry. The figure of Padre Pia, the Catholic saint, he was someone who loved Jesus so much that the stigmata appeared on his body, his hands, and stayed with him his whole life. There was something that he did that occurred to him out of love. Those two opposites just seem so… one person sitting in a cave meditating and the other person loving God and serving people.

Aaron: They're in no way opposite. Each being has its own karma. Each being through different lifetimes will probably have followed different paths. One may develop that open heart first and then need to more fully develop a path of wisdom. Others my have developed a path of wisdom first but with a certain degree of contraction, where moving onto a path of openhearted love becomes the final being. One is not better than the other. They come together. Service is another path. Devotion, service, wisdom, compassion, these are all paths, generally mixed together in any one lifetime, with one vehicle being predominant but the others drawn in. It's why we teach the Brahma Vaharas on a retreat here. It's why we ask to look at what it means to love, to look at service.

Each of you will need to find the range of the path that best suits you. And often I am able to help you to understand where you need to focus next to help bring balance. So if people are going too far to the right, I'll say go left. If they're going too far to the left, I'll say go right. But neither right nor left is better than the other. We're trying to find balance.

Q: I think also the Visuddhi Magga did not teach pure awareness. Is that correct?

Aaron: Visuddhi Magga is brilliant in what it gives. But it's also very lacking in certain areas. It not only doesn't teach pure awareness, it teaches duality. “If you follow this path, then eventually that will be the outcome.” It has nothing to say about the already-awakened. So it's a very linear path. And this has been Barbara's big challenge with it.

It is easy to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Its lacks do not in any way minimize its strengths. This is the path through which I became awakened. But after years of following this path with a certain degree of tension, “Do it right!”, a bit of contraction, loving but not fully opening the heart, it was only that last awakening experience, that most of you have heard from me, where I lay on a path in the forest in the rain, pinned down by a thorn tree with a tiger growing around the edges of the tree. Have most of you heard this story? All right, I'm not going to repeat it now. Look it up in the Deep Spring archives, the stories that I've given of my lifetime, Aaron's final awakening story.

So there I was, lying on the ground, angry at myself, angry at the tiger, not wanting to die, and my heart opened. That thorn tree was not piercing my flesh but it was just right there, pressing against my back. I could not move without its piercing me with big thorns. I could hear the tiger. I was lying belly down in the mud. Finally the power of compassion arose in me, knowing this tiger is me and I am this tiger. If I am to live— in fact, there are the Daily Quotes that go out and this was the quote today or yesterday, “If I am to live, I choose life, that I may continue on to share the dharma. If I am to die to feed this tiger, so be it. And the tiger in its own way will feed the dharma. And maybe it will eventually develop into a buddha. I relax and let go of control.” And in that moment of letting go, the ego dissolving, that's when I awakened. Not through the traditional path of dissolution and cessation experience, although we could say that that was a cessation experience of sorts. The cessation of thoughts and ego and such all were prevalent, and suddenly there was no separate Aaron. I was not Aaron in that lifetime, but there was no separate being that I thought I was, no separate Thai monk who I thought of as me. And then I was awake.

But this awakening happens gradually, smaller awakenings leading to bigger awakenings until there is finally a point, grace, where there is that fullest awakening. And each of you is capable of that awakening. Each of you is already there, you just haven't realized it yet.

(Q&A continues but there was not a second recording file)