April 13, 2014 Saturday, small retreat group, on negative attachment

April 13, 2014 Saturday, excerpt from Private Session of small group of teachers-in-training, during the Stone House, NC  retreat.

Working with negativity in the self and in others.

Aaron: Speaking to the question from a psychiatrist, of his patients who are experiencing voices, usually/always negatively polarized voices. Speaking from a place of fear, hatred, whatever. He gives them medication. He is asking, how else can he support them?

These voices come from lost entities. These are beings who have not fully made their transition. There's a difference between hearing one's own inner voice and hearing a voice coming in. If they're hearing a negative voice coming in, 98% of the time it's because there is some attached entity there.

There are three parts to this. One is, what is creating the attachment? What within you is holding that entity to you? You don't have to get into talking about past lives with your clients; you can't do that. But perhaps it's the voice of someone with whom there is unfinished business. They can begin to ask themselves, what is there in me that could be inviting this voice? What is there that I need to resolve in myself? What is there that needs to be forgiven in myself, or for others?

Second, addressing the entity that's attaching itself. You, speak to it. Instead of saying it's not real, it's an illusion, acknowledge that it's very possible there is some external entity here, and this entity is also suffering. Now, I'm saying things that may not be within the realm of what's appropriate for you as a doctor, so you'll have to choose what you can offer and what you can't. But if it feels appropriate, say to your patient, “Let's work together to address this spirit.” This person is saying, “He's telling me to kill myself.” Or, “He's telling me to hate this person and do damage to this person.” Say to your patient, “This is not in your highest values. So there's something out there trying to convince you. If this were a human being trying to convince you, what might you say to them? Let's say it together: ‘No. Your telling me to hate this person and harm this person is not within my heart and my values. You may not tell me this.'” Practice with the patient how to speak firmly, compassionately, clearly, to whatever is trying to possess the person's mind and body and to direct them.

So Part I, find what's inviting it in the self. Part II, addressing the entity. Part III, finding the place of clarity and the open heart in oneself. In other words, if it's speaking of hatred, what is the balance to the hatred that's being spoken of? Become able to come back into the self and say, “My highest intention is not to harm people. I wish the highest well-being for every human being,” or every sentient being, however you want to phrase it. So three parts. Finding what's inviting it and holding it to you. Speaking with firmness to the entity. And finding the balance; what balances this negative energy, because this negative energy is not just out there and it's not just in myself. The negativity is in both of us Here is the head in the demon's mouth. (referring  to a story of the Tibetan Saint Milerepa putting his headin to a demon's mouth and saying, “eat me.”)  What forces do I want to bring in to balance it?

You might look at my book Awakened Heart, and especially the Seven Branch Prayer and Four Empowerments, and see if there's a way that you can adapt those Four Empowerments to be useful to your patients. They speak of going to a spiritual source, and that may not be appropriate for your patients. But the compassionate regret aspect of the practice is appropriate: experiencing compassionate regret that this force is arising, out there and in myself. This fear is arising. Opening myself to invite, not necessarily spirit help, here with your patients, but they have come to you for help. Opening myself because I choose change. And then, if what's coming up is a lot of self-hatred, for example, opening the heart to oneself and appreciating the self. If there is hatred of another person, trying to see the loving qualities in that person, and so forth.

Q: The particular patient I have in mind seems like a very gentle spirit, but he is afraid to leave his house because he feels the demons within him will attack other people.

Aaron: Obviously some of this is simply mental aberration, and it can be helpfully treated with drugs. But my experience in these situations is that it's over 90% related to an attached entity. And that the drugs will simply temporarily alleviate the anxiety but will not liberate the attached entity or end the experience. One would need to continue medication for lengthy periods of time.

The demons within him are part of him, perhaps from a past life. The fear of the demons may have invited other negative entities that feed on the fear. This is the basic practice of returning love to negativity, fear and hatred. Some introduction to vipassana practice may be helpful, watching objects arise and the habitual relationship to such objects.

So what we're doing is essentially Ghostbusters! Taking the responsibility to note the possibility that maybe there are beings or forces that can influence us. You can say it from your own experience. “I experience a world in which there are spirits that can connect with us and influence us. This is simply my personal experience. If it does not feel appropriate to you, we'll drop it. But if it feels like it could be a possibility to you, then we could approach it this way and look at what ways you are inviting this negativity into your life, what needs to be attended to in yourself. In what ways can we release this entity, because this entity is suffering just as much as you are.” And if the patient is open to that, then you can explore that direction. I don't know if these are patients that you see regularly for counseling, but if so, it's a wonderful opportunity. (yes they are)

I would add to this that if you have patients for whom this feels like an appropriate track, John and Barbara's experience, and mine, with John of God is that this is one of the best places in the world for the release of negative energy. They can send a photograph to the Casa, either to send a photo and ask for help, just making the energetic request, or they can send a photograph and receive the herbs and that ongoing support. But simply sending a photograph with JO when he goes this summer, and having him put it in the triangle and ask for help to release the attached negativity, can be helpful. And it may help the patient to know someone out there is helping me. It may help give them confidence. Do you have further question? Does my answer seem, I won't say workable, that's for you to decide, but do you have clarity about these suggestions?

Q: I do have one further question. Do I need to take any steps to protect the patient or myself in that situation?

Aaron: Yes, because this negativity that's attached is terrified, in most cases, and will not want to be released. It will fight back, so that the patient can go through a healing crisis as they attempt to release it.

What you need to do, though, is fairly simple. First, for you, and it's ideal for you because you have a spiritual practice and a deep intention to do no harm, to speak and act for the highest good. Five minutes before you meet the patient, or in the first five minutes of your meeting, either by yourself or including the patient, as is appropriate, simply invite in me, whatever other loving entities there may be, and ask for help to form a force field around the room and protect you, so that the highest intention for the session is for the highest good and no harm. This attached entity thinks it's going to be harmed if it's pushed out. It's terrified. The more you push it, the more terrified it will be.

So you need to address the entity. You don't have to experience it directly, that's okay, but at some cognizant level you need to know: there is an entity there and it's suffering. Spend a few minutes before or at the beginning of the session telling it that you wish it well. Tell it that it's imperative that it move on its way, you want to help it move on and you know that idea is terrifying to it. But it's damaging itself, and it's damaging its host. It will kill its host. It needs to move on into the light. It needs to let go. You're there to help support that transition for it, so that it stops seeing you as an enemy.

Then if your client is open to working with it as a spirit entity that's attached itself as some kind of force, we don't even need to say spirit entity, as some kind of negative force that's attached itself, teach your patient a very fundamental loving kindness meditation. Just, “May I have well-being.” And then feeling out to this force of negativity, “May you have well-being. May I love and be loved. May you love and be loved.”

This heart opening and love may be enough that the entity will release. It may take a lot more than that, but in some few cases that may be all that's needed. But making the shift from fear to the open heart is the essential point for the patient; that he begins to move out of his fear and find his own inner heart of love. When I ask Question One, what's holding it to you, the ongoing fear itself is what's holding it. It's not that you get rid of the fear, but you find the place that trusts the love in the heart right there with the fear, and begin to live from that love. And this perhaps is an essential point of learning. It's almost teaching vipassana. You're in a perfect place with your FIT group and your experience here to begin to teach some basic vipassana to these patients.

Q2: I have a question about his question. What if the situation were such that he or any physician really could not speak of spirit? Would it be ethical to work with that spirit without telling the patient explicitly?

Aaron: No. However, what is said explicitly can be vastly simplified. You don't have to talk about entities and spirit and so forth; it's enough to say, “I think these voices are coming from something beyond your conscious mind that's attaching itself to you. There's some kind of energy here. And in my perspective, this is another being that's also suffering, or simply an aspect of yourself that is suffering. . There are ways we can work with it. ” Making it clear to the patient: you don't have to believe that there's an entity there. But let's just suppose that there's even the smallest possibility. We have nothing to lose to try it.

Q: I think it would be a great relief to the patient.

Aaron: That's my experience, for many people who think, “I'm going crazy; I'm hearing voices,” when we finally make it clear that it may be real. Many of these people are sent to us, referred to us by psychologists and psychiatrists. They're hearing voices. They're getting negative messages. They don't know what to do. The doctors don't know what to do. They refer them to Barbara and me. And people are so relieved when I say this is coming from a negative attachment, and we can deal with it, we can give you tools to deal with it. The medication may still be helpful, to help the person relax more with it and not be so caught up in it. Eventually the need for the medication ends.

When we do this work, we always do it in conjunction with the referring physician, and the patient has agreed to share the tape with that person. That person is providing whatever medication is appropriate. We're simply supporting this inner work. But you have the possibility to do some of both.

Q: I overheard the Native American group that was here yesterday saying that there was a spirit that had attached itself to the land and was trapped.

Aaron: Yes.

Q: The woman who was the shaman for this particular <Okaneechee>, she is presently alive here, so they were drawn here. She said spirit called them here because they needed assistance in being released.

John: So the attached spirit to the land called out to the shaman to come and help it be released.

Aaron: So the woman who was the shaman was here in person doing the drumming to try and release the spirit.

Q: So they were here drumming and praying and doing a ritual dance to help release the spirit.

Aaron: Good. I'm glad. I had felt that spirit trapped here. I have attempted some talking with it, but not wanting to bring Barbara away from the retreat, have more or less just let it be. So I'm glad it's being attended to. There's actually more than one spirit-- I think the one attended to yesterday very old, and one a newer spirit that's somewhat attached here.

I would say to all of you, it's sufficient to be vipassana and dharma teachers. You don't need to do more than that. But for those of you who are moved to go beyond that foundation, it's important to remember that as dharma teachers you are opening a whole spiritual world for your students, and that there is so much from your own direct experience that you can convey to others and can become more articulate about as you practice with it. Working with energy and the chakras, I'm glad you're doing that in your FIT class. Working with spirit communication is valuable, not channeling specifically, but awareness of the spirit essence of everything, from entities to the spirit essence of the flower or insect. Beings exist on every level. This is in Buddhism. The Buddha talks about different kinds of spirits. Earthbound spirits is what we're talking about now. What releases them? They are suffering as much as anyone else. We're not just talking about humans but all sentient beings, and these are sentient beings. So it's up to you to decide how far you want to develop that side of your teaching and dharma practice. There is no right or wrong to it.

Q: A continuation of Q's discussion and my question. Beginning with metta, and then moving further toward affecting well-being for others, I find myself bringing this into my practice, sitting meditation, more and more often. However, no one I am working for knows it. Is this okay?

Aaron: This is okay. This is different than working with a specific patient who has come to you hearing things and a specific attached spirit. We, humans and me, all of us, we feel the quaking of the world, the distortions in the energy stream. We don't have to know it's this being or that being. Simply put, the kind thing when you feel a very distorted, fear-based energy, is to offer love to it. Not “send” but “offer.” Send is, “Take this.” Offer is gentle, no force, no expectations of what it will or will not accept. “I offer loving wishes.”

It's imperative that you do this; otherwise you may become caught up in the ego self, because it's the pure awareness mind, the loving heart, that offers in this way. And this is part of your spiritual maturation.

Q: I find that what some people need reveals itself unexpectedly to me. And I want to be sure I'm not meddling.

Aaron: Last week, going through the line in the supermarket, there was a woman with a child in a cart ahead of Barbara. The child grabbed at the candy on the rack. The mother smacked the child's hand. The child broke out crying. The mother was obviously very tired, short-tempered. The more the child cried, the more the mother yelled at the child, trying to get the cart through and her groceries. Now, Barbara cannot say, “Don't treat your child that way.” She did say to the mother, “I can see that you're exhausted right now. Why don't you let me stand up there with your child and entertain her a bit while you're paying for your groceries?” And the mother said, “Thank you!” But beyond that, while Barbara was entertaining the child, she was simply offering metta with the child and the mother and the salesclerk who was also frazzled by all this crying and strong emotion, and the people in line behind her.

We attend. We attend with as much kindness as we can. This is what's asked for. It's always appropriate. It's not appropriate and scold and say, “Why are you treating your child that way?” And it's not appropriate to act as if there's something that needs to be fixed. Rather, just to offer loving kindness. To hold it all in the container of the loving heart.

Q: I think that's the clear instruction here: not to fix.

Aaron: Not to fix. To fix is always coming from the ego. The loving heart cannot fully express itself as long as the ego is saying, “How do I fix this?”

B: My tendency!

Aaron: Metta is a natural expression of the loving heart. I see that it's after 12 here, so let us close.

(session ends)