October 30, 2011 Sunday, Corinthian Church

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. I don't look any different than Barbara but we do not have the same karmic stream, or the same memories. We are each a unique flow of consciousness, and yet of course everything comes from the same source. So we're separate and we're one, just as each of you are separate and yet one.

In her introduction, Barbara spoke of connecting with spirit guides. Of course, just as there are more negative people and more positive people, there are spirit plane entities that are more negative and those that are more positive. Who do you make friends with in your life? Are they by and large positive people who are loving, or are they angry, destructive, frightened and frightening people? When you invite in guidance, you probably invite in the same quality of guidance as you invite as friends in your everyday life.

My talk today is about fear, the things that scare you in your lives, and how we work with fear. As humans you are literally mammals, and mammals have certain reflexes. The fight or flight reflex, for example. When something scares you, you tense up.

I'm going to make a loud noise. I'm warning you ahead of time I'm going to make that noise. There may already be a subtle bit of tension anticipating it, but you know I'm not going to hurt you; I'm just going to surprise you with a loud noise. What I want you to do is watch your body and what happens when I offer that loud noise. Is there contraction? What happens to the body? If contraction, how long does it stay? Are there stories that come up about it? When I say stories, “Why did he do that? He shouldn't do that. Doesn't he know this is church? We're supposed to be loving in here.”, whatever kind of story may come. There's no wrong or right way to react to my sound, simply (loud shout!)

What happened? Did you contract? (Group: Yes!) Are some of you still holding a little bit of tremble from that contraction? (laughter) The question is not whether you will contract or not, but how you respond to the contraction, which might be somebody's angry words or sharp body pain or sadness, or something that inspires fear. There will be a catalyst, and then there will be a reaction to the catalyst, and then there will be a habitual response not so much to the catalyst but to the reaction. When you tensed, did any of you say, “I shouldn't contract,” or think it to yourselves? Anybody? Yes, a few. And then we see judging. Whatever comes to us in our lives, it might be frightening, it might be uncomfortable or even painful, can we respond with kindness?

We're going to try an experiment here in honor of Halloween. Halloween is a time when you play spooky games. (picking up a scary hand with long, grotesque fingers, and reaching out to people with it) Here I am, spooky! You dress up as ghosts and goblins. You carve and light scary pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns. Little children take delight in scaring and being scared. There is a human tendency to invite fear. It's why you go to scary movies. It's why you ride on roller coasters. At some level you invite fear so that you can find that within you which is fearless and explore the relationship with fear. Right there with the fear is that which is fearless. Or, phrased differently, that which is aware of fear is not afraid.

So, you play with fear in part to invite that which is not afraid. But sometimes you're not able to invite it fully and you get lost in the fear. I'm not just talking about Halloween fear. You get an ache or pain and fear comes about your health. “Am I going to end up in the hospital? What will happen to me?” Your roof begins to leak and fear comes. “It's going to be a major repair job. It will put me in the poor house.” Your boss comes into your office scowling and fear comes, “What did I do wrong?” Black storm clouds come and fear arises, “Will it blow down my trees, or blow off my roof?”

There are thousands of areas where fear arises. Fear and the catalyst for fear are not bad, they are simply part of the human experience. They are an opportunity to practice kindness and to learn: when there is that loud noise and contraction comes, right there is the place for practicing loving kindness.

We're going to do an experiment here for a few minutes in honor of Halloween. I have a few assistants who are going to help me. I'm going to ask the rest of you to simply close your eyes and keep them closed no matter what happens. Eyes closed, and my assistants, you know what to do...

(sounds of walking around)

Eyes are closed. Who knows what's going to happen? What spider web's dripping on your back, a snake slithering through? Maybe a werewolf released-- who knows what's going to come!

(sounds of off-key harmonica, rattles, abrupt sounds; there was also a long rope like object touching people's heads and necks.)

What are you experiencing? If there is fear, notice there is fear... Some of you may find it funny. That's fine...


If the body contracts from the noise, know it as contraction. Of course, nothing here is going to arouse great fear, you know it's just your friends, but it still may feel scary. <lost to noise>

(exercise; then quiet)

I would trust that each of you experienced at least a momentary contraction. You may open your eyes. Startled, contracted. This is really no different than the experience of fear based contraction in your daily life. Something unexpected comes and you feel helpless in front of it. Tension comes as a natural mammalian reflex.

The question is not whether these experiences will come but how you respond to them. It's all about your personal karmic conditioning, your habitual tendencies. You have no control about the things that may come and frighten you. In a bad windstorm, a tree branch blows off. You hear it hit the roof. Oh! Fear. The phone rings at 3am insistently. Fear. Falling on an icy sidewalk, hitting the concrete with intense pain. Fear.

It is not bad that fear comes. Just remember, that which is aware of fear is not afraid. Can you hold them together, fear and awareness? When there is fear, instead of getting caught in stories-- the phone ringing at 3am, “Something's wrong! Somebody was in an accident! Somebody was killed!” the mind spinning at 3am-- wrong number. But you're still shaking after you hang up. A fall on the sidewalk. After a few minutes, the pain subsides but the mind is filled with stories of being in the hospital. Maybe you broke your back-- who knows? Fear.

You have free will. How are you going to relate to fear? Your human experience always gives you the choice: fear or love. No matter how intense the fear, can there be love? Fear will arise. Where did the love go? Can the heart stay connected, even when fear is strong. Then there can be wise and loving response. Fear is not here to harm you but to remind you of the choice for love.

A very powerful experience came to me over a thousand years ago. I was fleeing from people who wanted to kill me because they had different political opinions. These people who wanted to kill me wanted to be powerful in the world, wanted everybody to fear them, and I preached love. As I taught people to love and not to be lost in fear, not to seek to retaliate, not to hate, these people who wanted to be powerful lost power so they were out to kill me.

In the middle of the night, having been warned that they were coming, I fled into the woods and into a cave that I knew of. It was a cave I knew well and that had many pathways to it so I would not be trapped in a dead end. But I knew that these people who wanted to kill me did not know the cave at all.

As I reached the woods they were far behind me, but I made sure that they could hear me. I made some noise, I even had a small candle, so they followed me. They saw me enter the cave. At the first fork, I took the smaller branch. For an hour and more I could hear them clambering behind me. I still had a candle. They could see the glimpses of my light, but they were far enough behind that they could not reach me, through this maze with many paths.

And then, knowing where I was going, I simply extinguished my candle and by touch, walked very quietly. A few minutes later I heard these three men calling to each other. “Where did he go?”

“Where are you?”

“I'm lost!”

“Oh, I fell.”

“It's wet here.”

“This passage is getting smaller and smaller. I'm stuck.”

For several hours they called back and forth to each other but it was such a labyrinth that there was no possible way for them to find each other. Yet I knew there were no steep drop-offs, no place where they could really be killed or badly injured. I had a bit of food in my pocket and some water, so I drank and I ate. I even took myself off into a deeper crevice and had a nap.

Twenty four hours passed. I could still hear them calling each other, still lost, still afraid. Two had actually found each other and the third remained alone. Then I called out. “You wanted to kill me. Your hatred wanted to kill me. How do you feel about that now?” And I immediately got a furious response from them, “We hate you even more!”

“Ah...” And then I was silent again another 24 hours. I knew they would not die of thirst in 48 hours. At the end of that second 24 hr time period, I called out again, “Do you still wish to kill me, or would you like some water?” The one who was alone said, “Water. Please come and get me.”

I knew this cave so well I had no trouble finding him. I approached him, talking softly, letting him know I was coming. Close to him I lit my candle, and I could see him there on the ground. I said to him, “Brother, I do not wish you harm, only to let you feel the experience of being afraid so that you may have more mercy on other people. Here is food. Here is water.”

He sat there weeping. His heart was deeply touched by his own experience of fear and vulnerability. He understood what I was offering him the opportunity to learn, that we are each other when we open our hearts to each other. And that when we try to take power one over the other or harm another, we harm ourselves.

The other two men were together and took some comfort from each other, so they were a bit tougher. I did not want them to come to harm so very quietly I came up near where they were and left some food and water, simple bread and water, and then backed away and said to them, “If you will walk straight down your path, you will find bread and water.”

For the rest of the week I did that. There they were in darkness. They had no way of finding me. I fed them bread and water daily. I did not expect them suddenly to repent of the whole course of their lives, but simply to understand that with the closed heart of hatred there cannot be love. And if you open your heart to yourself and your own fear and pain, you can start to feel other's pain.

Once you find the place in your heart that truly connects with other beings, you stop being so afraid in the world because you start to trust the innate goodness that's within you and also out there. This is not a denial of negativity, it's simply a knowing in your own heart how to respond to negativity so that you are no longer afraid of your own negativity or others' negativity, but able to be openhearted with the negative, with fear, with pain.

It took a week. One of these men began to cry. They could hear his cries down the hallways of the cave. “I cannot stand this anymore. Please come and get me. Please forgive me.” His comrade tried to tell him, “Buck up! Don't give in!” So it was another two days, with one crying, before the other one finally began to relent. They didn't know that I would not have left them there to die, because that's what they would have done to somebody. They had to move through that murderous impulse in themselves-- the lust for power, the desire to harm others-- and begin to trust that they could open themselves to another's mercy.  

I did not stay in the cave all this time. I took the first man out, took him to a safe place. We had a hot meal. We warmed by the fire. I got more bread and water and went back. Day by day.

Somehow, for each of them, their hearts finally opened. It takes patience to open your own heart and to open the heart of another. It takes persistent, kind response. Here I was, a person they wanted to murder, but I was feeding them, giving them water. I even left them small candles, candles that would burn out quickly so they would not have light to find their way out of the cave even if they could find their way through those labyrinths. But a little bit of light to cheer them.

Day by day, allowing the heart to open, until each of them was able to express a readiness to come back into the world and do no harm. I asked for a commitment from each of them to reverse their prior paths. I had no way to be sure they would honor that commitment. I had to trust my own heart. But I brought them back out. And each of these three was able to shift their way of being in the world, to become servants to others rather than oppressors of others.

I can't promise you that this will always happen in the world, but my experience through thousands of years is that in the long run, kindness overcomes fear and negativity. Only love can resolve hatred. Hatred can never resolve hatred. Find that which is loving in yourselves and know the power of it to transform the self and the world.

I want to leave us time for questions. Daniel spoke in his introduction of my speaking of fear and of healing.  What scares you? What heals you? I do not heal you; only you can heal yourselves. There is healing energy all around you, but as long as you have armor around your heart and live in a place of fear or negativity, you cannot let in that love. I can offer you access to that healing energy but I do not heal anyone. The divine with you heals you when you touch that divinity, that God within.

I would be happy to hear your questions and your needs.

(hard to hear questions, may not be accurate)

Q: I'd like to ask of Aaron, can he see the hearts and the colors (auras) today in church of everyone here?

Aaron: Yes, certainly. And I see many different auras. I see contracted hearts and open hearts. I see the hearts that aspire to open and yet don't know how, and I see the radiant ones. All of it.

Q: We have a part of us, the ego, that is designed to judge. In that judgment we become frightened and hurt. What can we do when we are caught up in the judgment?

Aaron: Simply know, “caught”. What is the experience of being caught? How does it feel? Can you feel the contraction? At the beginning, we made some noises to create fear, or at least some semblance of fear. I would guess that all of you felt at least some contraction and were able to note that as “fear, fear.”

There are two different parts to this. There is the experience of fear through some catalyst such as (shout!) “hearing,” then “contracting”. And then there is the judgment, “Oh, that's the second time you did it. I shouldn't have startled. I shouldn't have been afraid. Ah, judging, judging.” We observe the movement of consciousness with kindness and patience.

You are all children of light. The essence of you is light. Some curious part of you still feels a need to explore darkness. You believe you must know how to conquer darkness, to feel safe and in control by being the strong one, and so you call up experiences of fear again and again, and judgment also, and get lost in ego, and so on, because you believe you have not yet finished this exploration.

What if you were to simply say, “I am done with it. From now on each time fear does arise, as sometimes it will, I am going to take a different track. I am going to note, ‘judging, judging,' and growing to note the body contracted and fearful, and will hold my hands over my heart, wishing this human well. I am not going to get lost in the stories.” You have free will and that includes free will to continue to get lost in judgment, ego, and fear, or to say, “That's enough.” What is your choice? It really is as easy as that. It does take practice. How many thousands of times have you done it the other way?

Are there others with questions or needs of some sort?

Q: Is there anything else that you can say to a person whose heart has not opened or is having difficulty in opening the heart?

Aaron: The heart remains closed out of fear. Think of the turtle withdrawn into its shell because it feels threatened. If you bang on the shell with a stick, it's not going to bring the turtle out. If you leave the turtle alone for awhile, if you leave food out in front of it where it can scent that food and then just sit quietly, eventually it will venture out.

When people that are caught up in negativity and fear surround you, all you can do is hold the door open for theml you cannot force them through. If you negate them for their fear and for their armoring, that's only going to push them further in.

It depends on the situation. Sometimes you can say to somebody, “I see how afraid you are.” Sometimes you can't say that. You can just, as I did with these men, offer them the equivalent of food and water; offer kindness.

Recently somebody spoke with me about his neighbor who was for years very, very angry. The man would come beating on his door and say, “Leaves from your tree are in my yard. Get rid of them.“ Or, “The storm blew your branches in my yard. Get rid of them.” Our friend was careful not to act afraid of this man, but just to say, “I'm sorry that happened. Sure, I'll come over and rake.” He always replied respectfully and kindly to the man no matter how much anger he was feeling.

He was concerned. His neighbor was so unpleasant he thought, “Maybe I'm going to have to sell my house and move. I'm not sure how much of this I can take.” But whenever he saw the neighbor coming, he would note his own fear and contraction, decide for kindness, open the door and say, “How can I help you today?”

Finally his neighbor said to him, “You never seem to be angry, no matter what I say or do.” And the man said to his neighbor, “It's not that I'm not angry, it's that I choose not to express my anger but make space for both our anger and find the kindness there too.” A few weeks later, he had gone to pick apples in an apple orchard and he brought a bagful to his neighbor, knocked on his door and said, “I picked apples today. Here are some for you.” The neighbor said, “Why would you bring me these when I'm always so mean to you?” Our friend said, “I believe at heart you're a good person. Here's a bag of apples.”

Something miraculous happened the next week; this was many years into their being neighbors. The neighbor was mowing his lawn, knocked on his door and said, “I've got my mower out; would you like me to mow your front yard?” “Thank you.” Gradually the door opens, depending on how insulated into armoring of fear and anger another being is. It may take a long time. Persistent kindness opens the door.

I'm going to get up and walk out there... (pause, walking among group)

How are you today? (Q: Fine ?) Good. (pause, continuing) You are all so radiant and it makes me sad that some of you do not see and know that radiance in yourselves. You are so beautiful. You don't believe me, do you? (soft laughter) What would allow you to believe me?

Q: I do believe (you).

Aaron: Good. Keep believing until it changes from belief to knowing, knowing your radiance. (pause, continuing to walk from person to person) And you, knowing your radiance. I don't want to embarrass people here, but so many of you have some doubt. “He says I'm radiant. He says I have the core of divinity in me, but sometimes I feel angry and hateful so how can I really be good? How can I really be of the essence of the Divine if I still have this negativity in me?” It's simply old conditioning that is contracted.

You don't have to be afraid of the negativity. Just as this man to his neighbor, just as me to the men in the cave, offer love to the negativity in yourself and thereby transform it.

(continuing to walk around for many minutes with occasional personal comments)

So I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you today. Each of you is in my heart. This room is so filled with loving spirit. Open your heart to it and to the radiance and divinity of yourselves. Whatever healing you seek, know it's already there. Time is simultaneous. One doesn't go from broken to healed, one knows the ever-healed, the ever-divine, the innate radiance, and makes a decision, “I do not choose to carry this belief in brokenness anymore, this image of myself as deformed or negative and angry, as unlovable, as unwhole. I welcome the true radiance and wholeness.”

Watch the fear, “I am not worthy,” or “What will be asked of me if I truly am whole? Will I be asked to carry the world on my shoulders?” You already do. If you recognize that and carry it together, it's not really so heavy.

My blessings and love to all of you. I will release the body to Barbara...

(Barbara returns)