December 19, 1990 Christmas Stories

December 19, 1990 - Small Group

My greetings and love to you all.  It would seem fitting that we talk tonight about he whose birth you will celebrate next week ... he, who in his human incarnation was known as Jesus.  We've talked about this being many times before.  Rather than repeating what I've said, I'd like to simply share with you a beautiful memory.  

You know that all of us have lived many past lives - myself as well as you - and there were a number of you who were incarnate on the Earth at that time 2,000 years ago, as I was.  I share this story as a true memory.  I've shared very little with you of my lifetimes and my memories.  For each of us, there are certain memories that stand out through an infinite number of lifetimes.  

At the time of his birth, I was a young boy - six or seven years old - and I was a shepherd ... yes, a shepherd outside that town of Bethlehem in the hills with my father and older brother.  I'm not going to try to separate for you tonight what has been built up as myth about the story of his birth and his life, and what is real.  Was such a being born in the town of Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago (and we would quibble as to the exact date).  Yes, he was.  Does all that is taught about his birth come from fact rather than myth?  This is something that's irrelevant.  Can you see that?  The facts of his birth are far less important than what he did once he was here ... what he taught.  We'll come back to that.

Let me first finish sharing this memory with you.  The climate of the world in that time - emotional climate - was very different than it is today.  Yes, there is war and hatred in many parts of the world today; but there is a new word, the concept of which scarcely existed 2,000 years ago, and that word is "forgiveness".  Instead, the prevailing philosophy was that of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."  "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" was distorted to "do unto others as they do do unto you."  "If he hits you, hit him back."  "Protect yourself."

There was an effort to follow the Ten Commandments:  not to steal, not to kill.  But it was acceptable to kill in self-defense.  That wasn't considered killing really.  And if one harmed you or those you loved, it was quite acceptable to seek revenge against that one and those he loved.  You may think this sounds little different than today's world.  And certainly, for individuals here and there, it is little different.  But even as a nation, there is some effort at forgiveness.  Look at your relationship today with Japan or Germany.  The past is past, and hate is not extended to the citizens of those nations.  

So, this is the world in which I lived ... a young boy sitting that cool evening, wrapped in a blanket by a fire ... a very peaceful scene.  My father and the other men told stories.  And I was just considered old enough to accompany them.  One night (and I will not say it was your December 24th, but somewhere in the area of that time) ... remember this is the memory of a six or seven-year-old boy.  At this distance, I can't tell you exactly how old.  The night grew very still.  And suddenly, there was a brilliant star.  That much is fact, as I saw it.  And below me in the valley some distance away was the town of Bethlehem.  

Never had I seen a star like that before, nor I would assume had the elders there because everyone grew quiet.  Some felt afraid, but most felt a deep sense of peace and wonder.  You have seen what the moon looks like - a full moon shining on a snowy scene, and the way everything seems lit up.  That star did the same thing.  The whole scene seemed lit in the distance.  I can't say that the light was focused over a special building, a stable.  I can't say that it was not either.  I didn't observe it in that way.  But there was such a sense of deep peace ... such a brilliance to the light.  And music seemed to fill the air - not music which is heard with one's ears, but music which is heard with one's heart.  

We were drawn as if by a magnet to descend the hills, to approach the town.  There were many, and my father was hesitant to leave our sheep and go too far from them.  So we did not come all the way down into the town, but stood on a hill perhaps a mile away.  It was night like none I have ever known before or since.  The strongest memory is that of deep peace, and of a profound joy that something had happened - something far beyond the understanding of this young boy that I was - but something that would profoundly change the world.  

Many went all the way into the town.  Others of us stayed closer to our flocks on the hillside.  But no matter where you were, this light permeated everything.  I cannot say it came just from that star.  It seemed almost as if the Earth itself glowed.  We were awed ... not just myself as a young child, but the adults as well.  And many began to pray.  

We sat there for many hours.  And some of those who had gone all the way into the town began to return.  I was a young child and dozing by this time, hearing just the faint words of elders whispered past me in still of the early morning hours:  "A child is born.  They call him the Prince of Peace.  They say that his teachings will change the world."  And then I remember my father's strong arms lifting me up and carrying me back up the hill to our fire, and sleeping with a sense of joy and peace as I have never known before ... a sense that somehow much that had been wrong with the world was going to be righted ... that new hope was offered to the world.  

I give you this memory to share with you what his birth meant to me.  Think, if you will, as you celebrate his birth, of this gift of forgiveness, and the way his teachings changed the world.  That is all.

Q:  What is the relationship of the words "atonement" and "salvation" in relationship to Jesus?

A:  I would use perhaps different words here with a subtly different meaning.  First of all, we're talking about both the soul and the light body, which are the mental and spiritual bodies.  For many of you at the time of Jesus' birth, you were already what we might call "old souls" ... had been through many incarnations, and your minds had accumulated many misunderstandings.  The spiritual body was pure, as it is and always has been; but the emotional and mental bodies - which also comprise the astral body - were stuck in anger and fear ... retaliation.  

Let's talk about atonement first.  I said I would use a different word and that's "responsibility".  You understand the workings of karma:  that you must always be responsible for everything - every thought, every word, every deed - that passes through you.  Many of you were stuck in this mode of revenge that I've just talked about.  It is was the prevalent teaching of the time.  For those whom you hurt with your "eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth" philosophy, you had to take responsibility for that hurt.  Never mind that they had hurt you first.  It was still your choice to return that hurt.

In the word atonement, I understand an acceptance of that responsibility and a truly profound regret that you have harmed another ... the true desire to change that in the future - and here we come to this word forgiveness - to seek forgiveness for what you had done ... and also to understand that you must forgive others for that which was done to you.  

This is the essence of what Jesus taught:  that forgiveness must begin with yourself, and then be extended out to others ... that you don't need to suffer in a mythical "hell" for your sins.  Simple to understand:  that you cannot harm another and have it passed unnoticed ... that each time you do harm to another, you must truly repent of that harm and ask forgiveness of that being.  

The atonement is perhaps in the karma that comes to you ... than even if you've understood the situation and asked forgiveness, you are still responsible for what you have sowed ... and you will reap the fruit of that sowing.  And if it was bitterness or hatred or rage that you sowed, even if you understand and ask forgiveness, you are still responsible.  

There is a belief among some Christians that you can heap this karma, in a sense, on Jesus' shoulders ... that he died for your sins ... and in his blanket forgiveness, you are released from all karma.  And this is where the concept of salvation comes from perhaps.  I see this as a distortion.  Salvation is to be found - through Jesus as well as through other beings - not through what he has done, (although what he has done in his teaching is certainly of tremendous importance), but through following his teaching and becoming responsible for yourself.  That is where your salvation lies.

Do you want to stay stuck in this cycle, being born and dying and born and dying, always sowing rage and hatred and reaping the results of that lifetime after lifetime?  Or are you ready to follow his teaching of love and forgiveness ... to begin to sow these new seeds?  This is your salvation.  Yes, there is a path to salvation here, but he doesn't do it for you.  He guides you so you may do it for yourselves.  Are there questions?

Q:  I'm not well-rounded in traditional Christian teaching, but I know it's taught that Jesus died for our sins, for our salvation.  What does that mean?  Can you explain that?

A:  It is quite simple really.  He encountered both joy and pain in his life.  As with all of you, he was human - regardless of the myths or facts about his birth.  Once he incarnated on this Earth, he was human.  For him, the veil that separated him from his spiritual awareness of who he truly was was far less dense, as opaque, than it is for most of you.  Thus, he truly understood that God was his Father.  

He understood this even as a young boy.  Some of you may be familiar with this story.  When he was in a town with Mary and Joseph, they lost him, and came back and found him talking to learned men at a temple.  And they said, "Where were you?"  And he said, "I must be about my Father's business."  So, even as a boy, he understood who he was and what work he had to do.

And yet, he was human and he felt physical pain as a human, and at times was plagued by the same doubts and fears that plague any human.  "Was it really the way he thought it was?"  And so he lived his life, and he was loved and hated, loved and feared.  He died in agony.  And yet, his final words were, "Forgive them, Father."

Can you see what would have happened to his life and his teaching if he had been proclaimed a prince and a teacher, loved and never hated in any way ... had built up great wealth and a great following ... and died peacefully at some time?  How much less force would his teaching have had?  It's easy to say, "Forgive them," when there's little to forgive.  But to be there on that cross in agony and still be able to say, "Forgive them," ... that's inspiring.  That is truth - and heard as truth.

Again, I suggest that he did not take your sins unto himself, so much as lead the way for you ... that his death was offered as your salvation in terms of its being the most profound way of teaching than message that could have been offered.  He had a choice.  You always have a choice.  He did not have to die in that way.  But he understood that his death was as important as his life, and that this was the gift he was asked to give.  And he gave it joyfully that others following him may receive that message and understand it.  

Forgiveness doesn't just mean: when there's a little to forgive, but when there's everything to forgive.  And once you have mastered that lesson, this cycle of birth and death is broken; because forgiveness truly ends karma.  That is the gift of salvation that his teaching offers.  That is all.

Q:  The picture that you offered of Jesus' birth was beautiful - very peaceful - and brought me to some peace for the moment, even though I've had some deep anger I've been trying to feel and then let go of.  I'm curious deal with his very human anger?  How did he release it so that it didn't cause him disease?  Or did he ever have to deal with anger because of his constant spiritual grounding?

A:  I cannot answer this from my own experience with it.  My first experience with this being in this incarnation was as I have just described to you.  And then, I knew him many years later toward the end of his life, when I took him as my teacher and was a follower of his.  I was still a shepherd - not wise or learned in any way.  At that stage of his life, no anger was felt or expressed by him.  And yet, I feel sure that as a younger man, he did experience anger.  

I emphasize that this is conjecture - not directly from his teaching, but from my own present understanding about anger.  He accepted his humanness.  He didn't try to be anything but human.  His anger, I would think, was not personalized so that it became him, the being that he was, feeling hatred or rage toward another being ... but was simply felt as an impersonal emotion - here's joy, here's anger - that even while he was feeling anger, through the depth of his compassion and understanding, he was able to forgive those beings that angered him ... to understand why they felt the way they did ... why they needed to speak or act as they did.  

He was angered, I feel certain, by injustice and callousness.  But it was so totally balanced by love, that it was completely impersonalized.  He was unique.  Very few who are as highly evolved as he was in that lifetime are born into human bodies.  We have spoken of this before:  that he had no need to incarnate for his own growth.  He accepted this work out of love, to serve others.  

But, for most of you - you are not that evolved.  You're here to learn.  And so, simultaneously, you feel anger and you understand that there is a need to forgive, to put yourself in the other person's shoes and know their own fears.  But the anger is still personalized.  That's okay.  You are here to learn.  You are not expected to be perfect.  Just work with it over and over and over again noticing "Here's anger,"  ... noticing the way it makes you want to react in retaliation toward another ... developing the self-discipline to control that reaction ... and forgiving both yourself and the one who provoked you.  

It's a process you will need to repeat over and over and over ... each time accepting that you are human ... and as long as you are here learning, incarnate in a human body, there's going to be anger ... until perhaps, (from my experience, I would say only the end of your final lifetime), there may be a space of some years where you pass beyond that ... just in that one final lifetime in human form.  That is all.


Q:  Would Aaron discuss the initiation or training that Jesus went through in this incarnation to become the Christ?

A:  Please remember that, in a sense, he was born the Christ.  He was born fully evolved.  And yet, he was human.  As he got older, the veil became more and more transparent.  But there were times in his youth when there was fear and doubt.  As I understand it, he went off to the wilderness alone to cope with these demons of fear and doubt ... finding the space of perfect faith within himself wherein these demons could no longer exist.  

Let me explain this in a deeper level.  We've talked about negatively-polarized beings and positively-polarized beings ... that that of negativity thrives on hatred, jealousy, fear.  When you experience such emotions, you allow more and more room for negativity to enter.  It's not that you, as a positively-polarized being, become negative; but the negative has an entry into your mind, into your spirit.  When you can greet even that negativity with love ... just saying, "There you are: anger, fear, doubt," greeting it as an impersonal phenomenon ... you don't give it a foothold.  

I've said over and over that love is the strongest force in the universe.  Your love, in a sense, is a shield around you that protects you from fear and doubt.  Your faith is also such a shield.  I ask you to consider here the lines of the 23rd Psalm:  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."  You are not promised that there will be no evil.  "I will fear no evil."  

In a sense, this is more of a guideline, or even a command, than a promise.  No matter how bad it is - "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" - what do I do in that situation?  I will fear no evil.  I will see whatever negativity surrounds me and send love to it.  And in doing that, I cannot be harmed.  God cannot protect you.  You always have free will.  It is your faith that protects you.  

This was the essence of Jesus' learning as a young man:  to move past that fear and doubt ... that knowledge he had that if he continued the course of his life, as he saw he must, there would be great pain ... to have faith to face that, and to do the work he had come to do.  He also faced what any being faces in incarnating as a human.  Although he was beyond any human plane, if he created adhering karma for himself, he would create the situation where he needed to incarnate again to deal with that karma.  He understood that.  

There was a question about his anger.  If the deeds of another had led to a personal anger - a desire for revenge from him - that would have trapped him, in a sense.  Can you see that?  He then would have needed to reincarnate to work that out.  And it is probable that he could not have done what he came to do.  So, his whole life had to be lived with constant awareness to avoid that.  

I've mentioned that there are beings who have not evolved through the human plane, but through some other form than human - who are not of Earth, shall we say - but choose to incarnate as a human ... both to serve others and because there is something for them to learn through this human form.  Often a deeper compassion is their lesson.  We call these beings "wanderers," and there are many of them.  You've heard me speak of them before.  

Such beings face the same problem exactly.  If there is misunderstanding that leads them into rage or hatred and creates karma, they become trapped in that human form and must return - perhaps for many lifetimes - to work their way out of it.  This is not punishment.  It's just taken them more than one lifetime to learn what they came to learn.  And they will emerge stronger and wiser for it.  But it can be painful.

Such beings are often aware of this sense of entrapment.  I would suggest to those beings that thinking about Jesus and his life may be some comfort.  He, too, had to try to avoid this entrapment.  In a sense, you all do.  You would all like to become that evolved - to move on to the next stage of your growth - to experience yourselves as light bodies with no longer the need for the physical.  And so, it's the same lesson for all of you:  to be aware of where you are creating new karma, to work harder and harder at compassion and forgiveness and acceptance of both yourself and of others.

Another digression here ... Jesus taught:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Not love yourself as your neighbor - love your neighbor as yourself!  It starts with the self.  You can't fully love your neighbor until you love yourself.  We've been through than.  It just seemed to fit, and I thought I'd grasp the chance to slip it in.  

Until he was able to move past all fear and doubt - to establish that level of faith where negativity could not find any chink to enter - he was not able to continue with his work.  So, this was the first step:  to become so fully comfortable with his humanness, that even in that form he could give unconditional love.  That is all.

Q:  Aaron, you say on the night that Jesus was born, there was light that seemed to be coming from the Earth and music.  What is your understanding of this now, not as a seven year old boy, but the way you see it from your present perspective?

A:  I would have to think about this for a bit to answer you.  There comes a time in your life when you understand the physical causes of a rainbow.  But when you watch a rainbow, you don't think of those physical explanations, but just observe and enjoy the wonder of this light across the sky.  Indeed, if I were to ask most of you in this room to explain the physical phenomenon of a rainbow, few of you could do so very adequately.  

Through all my many lives, and time spent in between lives, it was enough for me to remember the love of that moment, and the wonder of it.  I never sought a physical explanation of it.  In doing so now, I would have to say - this is a quick answer and not well- considered - that, in a sense, a doorway between heaven and earth had been briefly opened, and some of the experience of heaven was pouring through, most literally.  If you wish a more well-thought-out answer, you will need to give me time to consider it.  That is all.


Q:  Was part of this response, very literally, from Mother Earth?

A:  The Earth is physical form and mass.  It's vibratory rate is very slow, and it is slow to react to such stimuli.  I do not feel that that connection explains the phenomena that I experienced, but I will think about it.  That is all.