April 1, 2010 Thursday Evening, East Bay Open Circle, Berkeley, CA

Keywords: angels in earthsuits, kayas, basic dharma, earth transition, skhandas, healing, energy, unlimitedness, heavy emotions, Seven Branch Prayer

Barbara: Thank you, John... Welcome and I'm happy to be here with you tonight. I'm told that when word first went out about this, people raised their eyebrows and said, "Channeling? New Age mumbo jumbo." It can be that. It doesn't have to be channeled to be "New Age mumbo jumbo;" there's plenty of unclarity around.

Basically Aaron is a dharma teacher. He tells us in his final human lifetime in the 1500s he was a meditation master in Thailand. He also reminds us he's lived in many different bodies, as we all have, many different cultures, religions, different colors of skin, different spiritual practices. And there's no one that is right. We're all going the same place.

He says in that lifetime he awakened and found liberation from this samsaric cycle, that liberation is real. And using those tools, he says he doesn't want to throw away the tools, that one does not have to be a Buddhist to practice vipassana meditation or to study dharma. It's not Buddhadharma, it's simply awakening. But we all have the capacity to awaken and that's why we're here.

He's reminded us many times that if he did not believe that we had the capacity to awaken in this lifetime he wouldn't waste his time. And then people ask him, "Aaron, I thought there was no linear time where you are." He says, "That's beside the point. I still wouldn't waste my time."

People find him to be a very wise and loving being, and I think it's very helpful that he's been where we are, he really understands the human experience.

I'm going to leave most of his talking to him, not tell you what he would say but let him tell you himself. People also are curious, how did I meet Aaron? I most certainly was not looking for a discarnate entity that would talk with me!

I lost my hearing in 1972, suddenly, just after my first child was born. It was a very traumatic experience. I had no previous experience with deafness at all. So there I was deaf, and it also affected the middle ear nerves that affected balance so I had no balance. I was extremely dizzy, bad vertigo, flat on my back in bed. I couldn't even lift my head from the pillow. I couldn't hear, I couldn't read, my eyes wouldn't focus because I was so dizzy. And I had a newborn infant.

Slowly the vertigo settled down. I had to learn to walk again, crawling first, holding onto things, like a toddler, re-learning how to walk. And gained what I consider a visual balance. So if I close my eyes there's no balance but with my eyes open there's some balance. Most of the time except on a smooth, even surface I use walking sticks. Used; I'll tell you a little bit more about that as I go along.

I was suffering. I was struggling. Let me ask, how many of you here have any experience with Buddhadharma specifically? Many of you. Any vipassana meditators out there? Some. Okay.

So I was a Quaker and a member of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Through the years-- the Quakers do a reflection and prayer kind of practice and through the years I had seen I needed just to get quiet, not to think about things, in my meditation, but to let the mind get quiet and see what was underneath. So for many years I had been doing that practice and continued to do it after I lost my hearing.

I had 2 more children. I was teaching sculpture at University of Michigan and doing my own sculpture work. Had a very loving husband of, we've been married now over 40 years. So I had a lot of richness in my life but I was so caught up in "It's not fair, why did this happen to me?" And I had the experience when I saw people talking to each other, it felt like I was outside a window looking in. They were all gathered around the table together enjoying each other and I was cut off.

Nobody meant to cut me off. My friends were loving. They learned-- this is Peg who will be my signer tonight. They learned to fingerspell the alphabet-- A, B, C, D, E. People spell the first letter of each word, which gives me a clue because so many sounds look alike.

So friends communicated with me very lovingly one on one but when there was a group I felt abandoned, cut out. And there was anger and there was fear and there was grasping and I was suffering. And I was really stuck. So what do you do when you're stuck?

Finally, it took me years but finally I said, "I need help." I prayed for help. Just, "God, I can't do this on my own. I need help." The next morning I was sitting in my living room. I sat down and immediately as I sat to meditate there was a strong opening of energy. I could feel the energy. Do you know the feeling when your back is to the door and somebody walks into the room, and you feel their energy before you hear them? Big energy.

And I could see him. He radiated white light, silver white light just poured out of him. It was not light shining on him but radiating out. He had a high forehead and a long biblical kind of white beard, big full beard. Very intense and deep blue eyes, high cheekbones. I didn't see much below his waist. I never see much below the waist.

So I looked. "What's this?" I thought, either I'm hallucinating or it's real and I'm not sure which one is worse. I got up. I went into the kitchen. I got a cup of tea. This energy did not follow me into the kitchen. I said, "Okay, I'm ready to go back into the living room." I sat. As soon as I sat, there he was again.

So I asked, "Who are you and why are you here?" And he said, "You asked for help." I just sat. Not another word out of me, I just sat and he sat with me, feeling his very loving sense of energy. Just embracing me. But he did not try to talk to me.

It took me two days before I got up the courage to talk again. I said, "How are you going to help me?" He said, "You're suffering. Let's start there. Let's look at the nature of the suffering." Fair enough.

He began to show me how the deafness is just deafness. It's just ears that don't hear. We have various sense organs-- ears, eyes, nose, tongue, the body itself, the mind. They touch an object and consciousness arises. As soon as the sense organ makes contact with an object, consciousness arises. We expect that.

If contact doesn't arise then grasping comes. There should be a sound there, I see voices, people talking. No sound. Grasping!

So he helped me to see that the deafness was just deafness and that the suffering was coming from the grasping, and the anger, wanting it to be different. Gradually, actually not so gradually, within about 2 months the whole thing shifted. He encouraged me to go out and be with people, which I had avoided. One on one, yes, but I had avoided groups. He encouraged me to get involved with some groups, to be with groups, and to watch, he just drummed into my head: eye seeing, contact, seeing consciousness, ear, no hearing consciousness.

When consciousness arises it will have a feeling: pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. It always has a feeling. When it's pleasant we usually want more of it. When it's unpleasant we don't want it, we want to push it away. This is just how we're wired. It's so habitual that it's not conscious, just "Ooo, I like that." "I don't like that." Pushing, holding.

So within a few weeks I was watching how each time I saw lips move there was an expectation of sound. No hearing consciousness. Grasping, fear. What if I don't get this? Is it safe? The way I was building a story, personalizing, "They're excluding me. I'm unworthy. I'm not loved. I'm no good in some way. If only I were loved I would hear. If only I were good enough I would hear."

A lot of you have this kind of story, we all do. "If only I did something different, everything would shift and I would hear. Or if I couldn't hear, at least I'd be able to lipread everything so I wouldn't miss anything so I'd be safe and okay."

I started to see how this was spinning out and finally I caught on, it's not about not hearing. The not hearing is just no hearing. Sometimes it's wonderful. My husband loves football and occasionally I go to these UM football games with him. And I can only take so much football in an afternoon so our deal is, when I feel I need to I can close my eyes. So there are 100,000 people screaming and stamping their feet in the stands and (it's) blissfully silent.

There came a point where the deafness was no longer a problem for me, maybe 3 months. Remember this was after over 10 years of deafness and struggle. In 3 months it just was not a problem anymore. I said, "What next?" Famous last words. So he said, "Let's look deeper at your meditation practice."

Now I had not formally met Buddhism at that point. I was doing a practice that was very identical to vipassana but I had never read any dharma books. I had no formal training in vipassana meditation. It just had evolved through the years.

So he began to articulate the practice. People began to ask me, "Can we talk to him?" "How can you talk to him, can you hear him?" Aaron said, "Just be quiet and see what you hear." Well I was already working with him in this way, listening to him and writing down what he said. I had not vocally channeled him for anybody, but just question-- yes, question answer--no, and then it was a longer answer. He said just listen and say it word for word. And then somebody said, "You're channeling." And I said, "What's channeling?"

People began to ask me to teach them the meditation he was teaching me. We started in my living room with 6 people and doing meditation work, a group of 6 people meeting with Aaron once a week, and, this is over 20 years ago, it grew. We have Deep Spring Center, is the name we gave ourselves.

Deep Spring, that deep spring of inner awareness that we all have within us. Tapping into that deep spring. It's always there. It's accessible to all of you when you learn how to tap into it. We tap into it through meditation. At Deep Spring we teach vipassana but we're a center for non-duality and not a Buddhist center. We try to stay accessible to people of all different religions and no special beliefs are required, just come and pay attention and wake up.

We have, how many teachers now? 15, 20 teachers, and classes all through Ann Arbor community and southeast Michigan, prison, hospice, Ann Arbor public school, adult schools, many different programs, and as well as at Deep Spring Center. It's been so beautiful to watch this dharma spreading.

The core of what Aaron has taught me could be summed up very simply. Let's use a feeling like anger, something we all experience. That which is aware of anger is not angry. At one level there's anger and at another level there's this awareness that watches anger and is not angry.

At one level, for me with my deafness, there's fear. All the stories, why can't I hear, why did this happen, who's to blame, how do I fix it. And at another level, that which is aware of deafness is not deaf, that which is aware of fear is not afraid. Learning to rest in that deep awareness, to know that awareness, to live from that place of awareness. But there's a hitch.

You can't just live from the place of awareness, you've got to stay connected to the world. I'm not going to go too deep here, I'm going to let Aaron talk more to you about all these things. He has an interesting policy. He says he won't teach through that which I am capable of teaching myself, but knowing that you're expecting him to show up tonight, he's going to give the dharma talk, not me.

Until about 5 years I did what we call conscious channeling. That means I heard him, heard his thoughts, and found words to frame those thoughts. So I was constantly listening, probably like somebody who is an interpreter for a foreign language, listening to the words in one language and then putting it out so other people could understand it.

I started going to a non-traditional healing center in Brazil, a man named John of God. Very powerful. John of God trance-channels about 30 different entities, one at a time, that incorporate into his body and do very profound healing work, physical, spiritual, emotional, karmic. I've seen truly miraculous things there. A blind person who now has perfect vision, people getting up out of wheelchairs who have been in them for 20 years and learning to walk, quadriplegics, paraplegics, healing of cancer, of AIDS, MS.

So the first year I came asking about my hearing. Doctors in the US had of course said there's nothing that can be done about the hearing or the balance, the nerves are dead. The first year, they (entities) said, "Possible. We don't know. Just stay here and we'll work with you." At the end of the first year they said, "It's possible. Come back if you want." The second year I came back and they said, "Probably we can help you." The third year they said, "You will hear."

This was startling to me and it started a whole new area of grasping. Now I would not say I had equanimity about the deafness so much as resignation. Do you know the difference? Equanimity is truly balanced and open. Resignation is, we call it the near enemy of equanimity. It looks like equanimity but it's a contracted state. Okay, sour grapes, I can't hear, it's okay. There was some real equanimity, there really was, but this set up a lot of grasping. "I want to hear NOW. Okay, I'm gonna hear! When's it gonna start?!"

At this point, I've been there 7 times, and that year I started to hear thunder. It was wonderful. I was sitting and meditating and suddenly Boom! What was that? Some kind of new inner ear noise, new tinnitus? Boom! And then I realized that there was a thunderstorm going on and I had not heard thunder in 35 years. I went out and danced in the rain.

I started to hear music. They've told me that voices are the last thing that I'll hear because the brain has to interpret the sound. So pure tone is easier.

So much of this growth has been about not believing in any sense of limits, investigating limits, and learning to know we are unlimited. And this goes along with that, that which is aware of... As soon as we become aware that we believe in a certain kind of limit we can break through it.

So they had said to me... I was walking like this with my walking sticks, but taking little mincing steps the way you walk on ice. So two years ago the entity said to me, "Put your walking sticks down." And I said, "I'll fall." He said, "No, you only think you will fall. Leave them home. Leave them back at your hotel. Don't come back here with them."

So I kind of hobbled back to the Casa, little mincing steps, my back was hurting because I was so tied up in knots. And I heard spirit say to me, "Take bigger steps." Well, it took me a week but I finally found yea! I can walk! As long as I don't stay trapped in that limited place "I can't walk," I can walk!

I had to learn this in order to know I can also hear. That which believes it can't hear, can't hear. That which knows it can hear can open to the possibility of hearing. We have to do it at our own pace. And of course the cells, the tissues, I'm told they're creating a whole new neural network for the hearing. It can't happen instantly, the nerves have to grow. But there's balance.

I came back at the end of that week and they said, "Now get a bike." And I spent the rest of my trip down there riding on a bike. It was great! I felt like an 8 year old! Wheels, whee! Freedom!

So this has been an amazing adventure. I have a new book coming out next February called Cosmic Healing, that's about this whole story. It's basically, it's a mix of my personal journey and every man's journey. An excursion into non-duality and what it means when we live in non-duality. Getting rid of the idea of separation, getting rid of the idea of limits. Living from the whole self.

So these years with Aaron, it's been over 20 years, have been remarkable in so many ways, brought me to many wonderful groups like you. I travel all over the country, all over the world, really, teaching. It's nothing I ever envisioned doing. I was at home raising kids and making sculpture. I was successful at my sculpture. I was teaching at a big university, I was selling work in big architectural settings, 10-foot bronze pieces. I loved what I was doing. I just knew it was time to stop. This is what I came to do in my life. So here I am.

So that first year at the Casa, they said, "You're exhausted because Aaron's high energy and your lower energy are in the body at the same time. You've got to learn how to get out of the body and let him come fully into the body so there's only one of you in the body at the same time." So they taught me how to do this trance channeling, they being masters of it because this is what they're doing with John of God, Joao is his name, this is what they're doing with his body.

It works. Now I simply project my consciousness out of the body and I'm gone. People ask me, where do I go? I don't know. It's very peaceful. I just sit there in peace somewhere, relaxed. Aaron comes into the body and Aaron will talk to you.

That's enough background from me. I'm going to get quiet and let Aaron take over.

Aaron incorporates.

(pause, next recording file)

Aaron: my blessings and love to you. I am Aaron.

There are some differences between us. She was fussing with the recording device. I tell her I can repeat anything that I've said, she doesn't need to record it, but she insists on recording it. She insists on wearing shoes, I like bare feet. I like my energy down into the earth. She prefers sweet tea and I like it black.

Yet some of you may not feel any difference between me and Barbara and that's okay. Please don't try to figure out who I am or if I'm real. (To individuals) Are you real? Are you real? Are you real? What is real? There's some level of consciousness here. If I'm simply an aspect of Barbara, what difference does it make?

If you were walking down the street and found a book with no cover, no idea who the author was or what it was entitled, but as you started reading through it, and it spoke to your heart, would you throw it away because you did not know the author? If you found a book by a famous author and it did not speak to your heart, would you keep reading it?

Let go of if I'm real or if I'm not, if I'm just an aspect of Barbara or not. If what I say is helpful to you, use it. If it is not helpful, discard it.

(To individual who arrived late and is apologizing) No problem, I just want to greet you. Thank you for being here with us.

I call you angels in earthsuits. You are divine and radiant beings. You are whole. You have always been whole. And you wear this earthsuit of the mind and the body. Sometimes it's very challenging. As you come into the incarnation and into the earthsuit, you forget who you are. You forget your divine origin and you get caught up in the challenges of the physicality and mentality. You get locked in to these aspects of your being and you forget your truth.

Then people ask me, "Well why would I come here and forget everything?" Why indeed? If you remembered who you were, then the incarnation experience would simply be one of gritting your teeth and forging ahead. But you are here also to learn faith, to learn how to let go of all the fears that lead you to try to control and fix, how to make that shift and truly live from your heart.

It is the combination of the angel and the earthsuit that you live. Are you familiar with the Buddhist teaching of the 3 kayas? The word kaya means body; physical body, mental body. Dharma means truth. Dharmakaya is the truth body, that place of deepest truth. Ultimate reality, the Unconditioned.

On the other end of the spectrum we have nirmanakaya. Nirmana means form, the form body. Not just the physical body but all the form bodies, physical, emotional, and mental.

We have ultimate reality and we have relative reality, Dharmakaya and nirmanakaya. People see them as at either end of the spectrum, relative and ultimate, as if they were 2 separate things. So here I am in relative reality, living in a guarded place, in a little box. I can't see anything outside of this little box. I try to keep the box as neat as I can but it always seems to get jumbled up. No matter what I do I can't keep it right.

I learn to meditate and I find myself in a very blissful place. Ultimate reality, heaven realms, colored lights, no thoughts! I've learned to control my mind and it's oh so quiet, so peaceful. But that meditation session ends or the retreat ends. Chaos comes again. I've got to go back to relative reality again. When can I do another retreat?

You must be a bridge. This is the human experience. Sambhogakaya. The word Sambhoga is translated usually as wealth body but it could be also called transition body. If one foot is in relative reality and one foot is in ultimate reality, I can move between the two. I learn to dance between the two. I cannot hide out in relative reality and pretend that there's nothing else. And I cannot hide out in ultimate reality and pretend that there's nothing else. How do I bring it together?

You bring it together with mindfulness and with meditation practices such as pure awareness practice. You have to learn the experience of ultimate reality, to awaken into that experience even if it's only momentarily, and then bring it back into relative reality. You bring them together with enough mindfulness that you're constantly aware of shifting back and forth, holding that vast open space (stretches arms) and present in the affairs of this moment with an open heart, with love. Eventually the sense of shifting ceases, and there is just one space that contains both Ultimate and relative.

The living of this integrated experience is why you came into incarnation. It's very easy to love on the heavenly plane. Can you love in a hell realm? I'm not saying your earth is a hell realm but it can be at times. Can you still love?

The angel in you, that divine and radiant being, has no problem with compassion and love. The human is challenged. When you remember who you are, you learn how to bring this high clear awareness into the moment and live in the moment with clarity. If you're in the moment with clarity, you're in the moment with compassion.

When you lose clarity, fear comes. Fear and love: I would not say they cannot co-exist; they're not opposite to each other. But as humans you seem to experience only one at a time. There really is only love. Fear is a distortion of love. When you move into fear you contract. Everything closes up. We climb into that relative reality box and pull the lid shut. Then you lose touch with everything that's out there around you. The innate compassionate heart gets locked in. behind layers of armor.

I think of it as similar to those nesting eggs with painted figures on them. In the innermost egg is this little being, sealed in. It thinks, "There's nothing else here but me." Then one day it pokes up and looks out and says, "Ah, there's a little more space out there." It comes out but it can only come out that far. After exploring that space for awhile, it pokes the next egg up. "Hmm, a bit more space." It keeps opening up until one day, wow! Infinite space. There never was a limit. But when you're closed into that inner egg you think there is a limit.

When you wake up, you realize there's never been a limit; therefore there's nothing to be afraid of. Yet you still must live in this human form. When I say there's no limit, we can't go up on the roof and jump off and say, "No limits so I should be able to fly." There is a law of gravity. Now I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying until you have the training please don't jump off the roof.

So you come into the incarnation. The physical body is your teacher. The emotional body is your teacher. The mental body is your teacher. And all the catalysts that come to these bodies: body pain, mental pain, emotional pain, they are teachers. There will be pain. You are not incarnate to stop pain but to learn how to relate to it with love.

You can't stop pain. Have you found any way to stop it? Anybody here found a way to stop it? I mean permanently. Yes, you can take a lot of aspirin or perhaps drink a dozen scotches and temporarily you'll be out, but it comes back.

How do we relate to it with love? At first you do as Barbara did, you fight against it. You hate whatever is the source of your pain, whether it's your body or your boss or your parent or your child or your spouse, your leaky roof, your anger, your feelings of unworthiness, there's no end to the things you can hate. You fight against them and you try to fix them. If you're on a spiritual path you say, "I shouldn't feel this way, I should feel loving." So you chastise yourself.

Is there any way you can push yourself into feeling loving by saying, "I should"? You forget that the heart innately loves and what's needed is simply to tap into that place of unconditional love. The question is not, "How do I turn off the heavy emotions so that I can love?" but "How do I break through the barricade that I have created in myself to touch that heart of unconditional love and bring it forth into the world?"

A wonderful poster that I saw many years ago-- when I say I saw, that I saw through Barbara's eyes in this incarnation-- showed a swami in a loincloth and a long beard, turban on his head, on a surfboard. It said, "You can't stop the waves from coming but you can learn to surf."

This is what you're doing; you're learning to surf. You're learning balance, first. How to stay balanced with negative thought and emotion when it arises and not be afraid of it. You learn to watch the story that comes up, "Oh, I shouldn't feel that," and you simply note, "Here is anger," or fear or impatience. Breathing with that energy, you learn to make space for it. Here he's coming out of the little egg, he's opening up. You learn to make space for it.

What if instead of chastising yourself when there's a negative thought you simply note, "Here is a negative thought? It has arisen out of conditions. It's impermanent and not self. If the conditions are present it will arise. It will not cease until the conditions for it cease."

The Buddha said, "Hatred never resolves hatred, only love resolves hatred." This is the beginning of the Dhammapada. When you hate yourself for having a negative thought it's just more hatred. Only love resolves hatred. When you open your heart to this human and the wisdom mind breaks in and notes, "This negative thought is the result of conditions. I am responsible for it," that means I vow not to enact the thought in ways that harm others. But I don't have to be afraid or ashamed of it. It's just a negative thought.

The thought is a result. The attention doesn't go to the result except to make sure it doesn't do harm. The attention goes to the cause. You don't have to know the exact cause, only, certain conditions, deep habitual conditions, have given rise to this negative thought. You will hold space for it until it resolves itself. That which is aware of negativity is not negative.

This is a leap. It takes practice. It cannot be conceptual. Some of you practice meditation, some don't. I hope that I can inspire you tonight so that everybody who walks out of this room will continue or begin a meditation practice, because if you want to awaken, you cannot awaken by reading books; you've got to do the work. And if you do the work you can awaken.

So you watch the negative energy every time it happens, 200 times a day. Contracting. You don't even have to use the word anger, or fear. You certainly don't have to fish around for the right, precise word; just "contracting" is sufficient. Watch the body and mental contraction experience. Know it.

Let's try something here. I'm going to make a loud noise. I'm warning you ahead of time. I want you to watch what happens in your mind and body when I make such a noise. Just watch. Watch especially for contraction. Does it happen in the belly, in the throat, fists, shoulders, what part of you reacts in that ---(shouts)


Did you feel it? Are you still holding the contraction? Can you still feel it a bit? If there's a little judging voice that says, "I shouldn't have this," just smile to it. "Ah, is that so?" "Is that so" is the perfect answer to that judgment. "Why shouldn't I?" If somebody says something abusive to you, anger might come up. This is how you've been wired. I don't mean that it's permanent wiring but this is your habit energy.

Breathing in, smile to that tension. See what happens to it if you hold space for it. Put your hands over your heart if you wish. "Breathing in, I smile to the tension." I bring kind awareness to it. This tension has arisen from a condition, has arisen from Aaron's shouting. That which is aware of tension is not tense.

Allow yourself to shift into that spaciousness. Can you feel at least the possibility of opening? You are NOT trying to push the tension away, you are going someplace where the tension isn't and at the same time holding a space for the tension. You are not abandoning the tension, you're holding space for it. And watching, it does resolve. Everything is impermanent. It resolves.

Can you feel that? Has the tension resolved at least partially?

So we're learning to be present in a kind manner rather than a judgmental or abusive manner with what arises in the mind and body and not to take it as self; to take responsibility that it does not do harm but simply to hold space for it and let it resolve. You don't have to fix it; it will go.

There's a beautiful story about the Tibetan saint Milarepa. Many of you may have heard it. He was meditating in the mouth of his cave when the demons of fear, greed, and anger appeared. They were dangling bloody knives and swords. The flesh was torn and gore dripped out. They had a foul stench. They were truly hideous and offensive in every way.

Milarepa looked at them and then he said, "Come in, I've been expecting you. Come sit by my fire, have tea." "Aren't you afraid of us?" they said. "No, your hideous appearance only reminds me to be aware, to have mercy. Come, sit by my fire and have tea."

Your life is one of inviting your demons in for tea. But, you do not get into a dialogue with them. When fear comes you don't say, "Who are you and what brought you and how do I get you out of here?" You just say, "I've been expecting you; have tea. Shhh; have tea." When it doesn't get a rise out of you, it will go. Anger, fear, greed, impatience, judging mind; all of these. We greet them, we sit with them; they will go.

Now the question is, what remains when they go?

I'd like you to try something with me here. Hold your hand up in front of your face. Wiggle the fingers. Do you know the Buddhist term skhanda or aggregate? Buddhism teaches that there are 5, synonymous words, aggregates or skhandas: the body/form, feelings, thoughts, perceptions, consciousness. We can also look at the fingers as, in this situation there are various demons: here's anger, here's fear, here's greed, here's impatience, here's the feeling of unworthiness and other painful emotion. Whatever it is that's there, very much in your face, look at it, keep it moving. All you can see are these wiggling fingers.

I want you to keep the fingers wiggling. Now look right through them at me. If you see Barbara's body, that's fine; if you see me, that's even better! The fingers haven't gone anywhere but you can see through them, yes?

Look back at the fingers again. They don't go away. This is the human experience. In the relative realm, you are made up of these 5 aggregates. This is the conditioned human experience and when you look through the aggregates, the Unconditioned, which has always been there, is right there. But you've been so busy working with the aggregates, trying to fix the aggregates, trying to improve them, trying to perfect them, that you lose contact with the Unconditioned.

Awakening means learning to look through but we're back to the 2 boxes, dharmakaya and nirmanakaya. We've got to stay connected. You don't want to shift into that vast space when a fire starts in the building, people are running around screaming and you're just sitting there saying, "No problem, no problem." You have to take care of things in your everyday world. You have to stay connected because this is the place where you practice. But you practice from that connection to the Unconditioned. You move into the experience of the Unconditioned and you bring it back into the everyday. You never abandon either.

For most of you this means learning how to get out of the relative into spaciousness, but some of you who have done a lot of meditation practice also have to learn how to come back from spaciousness into relative reality and how to hold them together.

We could look at this with the Christian symbolism of the cross, where there is a horizontal line, let's call it relative reality, linear reality. It seems like there's a linear track. And (pointing to the vertical line) the wisdom that cuts through. And you live at the crossroads, on relative reality but always with the wisdom/compassion mind that cuts through to see things as they truly are, and not as you in your relative reality have imagined them to be.

Do you think you see clearly? Is there anyone here who believes that they truly live their life in a place of bare perception that's with things as they actually are? How can you learn to live in that place that sees things just as they are and unconditionally loves things as they are?

Of course there needs to be discernment that sees what is harmful and painful and works from the world to try to create more wholesome conditions. So I'm not talking about simply finding equanimity that says, "Well there's always going to be injustice and illness and poverty and so forth." Of course you work to take care of those things in your world. But if it's the ego working and saying, "We have to fix this, fix this, fix that," then you're caught up here (pointing to the horizontal line) and you're not seeing beyond.

From that vast spaciousness, that clarity of awareness, rigpa – do you know the word rigpa? It's a Tibetan word for pure awareness – from that clarity of pure awareness, you look back and see that all object arise from these myriad conditions. Instead of just trying to fix the top results, let's look deeply at the conditions. What are the conditions that give rise to injustice, to poverty, starvation, and so forth in your world?

Well, we can go down one level and say it happens because people are greedy. If people did not take more than their share, there would not be injustice and poverty. Ah, why do people take more than their share? What is greed but an expression of fear?

Then if we didn't have fear, everything would be resolved. But what is fear? It's an expression of the ego, the individuated self. Well, if we get rid of the individuated self we would not have this kind of injustice. But you are humans and there is the individuated self.

Break through and bring them together. Ego is not a 4-letter word. You do not have to get rid of ego, you don't have to hate ego. Your work is to learn not to be self-identified with ego. There's nothing wrong with ego. Find out who you are beyond the ego so that you're living on that relative reality and the place that cuts through.

There's a Christian image here and this Easter weekend, perhaps it's an apt one; the crucifixion and the resurrection. Each of you carries your own cross, so to speak. Each of you has your own demons and burden to carry in your life, your own crucifixion.

The resurrection, if I can skip out of the strictly Christian image here, each of you is resurrecting yourself from a purely human relative-reality consciousness into a higher consciousness, into non-dual consciousness. This is the pathway of the whole Earth at this point. I'm going to give you a bit of New Age mumbo jumbo now, so be careful!

Earth is moving into what we call a higher density, a higher vibration. You are all ascending in consciousness to a higher consciousness. That's your work here on Earth at this time. Many of you are here to help support this raise of consciousness. You are all awakening, moving from rational consciousness through subtle consciousness and into non-dual consciousness.

You can only do this if you meditate and become aware that this whole span is within you. Rational consciousness; that's fine; we have nothing against rational consciousness. Subtle consciousness comes up more in meditation when the mind is quiet and you begin to rest in the space between objects. Do you understand what I mean by "space between objects?" Some shaking heads, no.

Let's do this together. We don't have a bell here, do we? No. Everybody together with me, we're going to say the syllable OM, elongated. I'm going to put my hand up and as I bring it down we're going to go into silence. When the OM stops, what remains? Listen to the silence. When I put my hand up again, another OM. As I bring my hand down, silence again. I want you to hear the space between the OM's. Have you got it?

(exercise, 3 OM's)

Can you feel that space at all? (many nodding yes) When you look around this room, what's the biggest object here? It's not the ceiling, it's not the floor, it's not the people: space. Because it's a non-object we don't usually look at space so deeply, we look at the things that come into the space. Now I'm asking you to look at the space.

So your work as humans is to be present with the objects that come into your experience but also as you shift from rational into subtle consciousness, you have become more aware of the space. Then, as you move into non-dual consciousness, you begin to see that the objects and the space are non-dual. You can't separate them.

Yes, objects are objects – feet, glasses, doors, an OM sound – and space is space. But neither have boundaries. Where do the object and the space merge? When you believe they are separate you live as if they are separate; when you know the non-duality you invite the reality of One.

I want to tell you a story. This is Barbara's story but I think it illustrates well and she won't mind me telling it.

Two summers ago she fell and broke her big toe, right across the bone there, a bad fall, it was a clean break but swollen and painful. The doctor taped it and said "6 to 8 weeks. It will heal."

When she got home that night, spirit said to her, "These are only molecules. There's nothing solid there, you only imagine that they're solid. What if it's not solid?" Spirit told her, "See the molecules in space. Instead of seeing the molecules as separated, just see them floating in space and envision them merging together. See the spaciousness, not the solidity. Let the whole thing break apart. Molecules float in space. Then sing to it."

She spent the better part of 3 days toning. Spirit said, whatever tone the toe seems to want to hear, sing it. Ommm.... Or another time (higher) Ommm. . . . Whatever tone the toe wanted. She just kept listening and asking the toe, "What do you need now?" She visualized not the broken toe or a mended toe but the toe that was part of everything. In other words she was not envisioning a broken toe that would becomes fixed. That's linear: it's broken; it will become fixed if I just do something right. This process transcends time. She envisioned the already ever-perfect right there in that moment, envisioning the vast spaciousness, the whole body breaking apart, yet always co-creating itself anew; nothing solid anywhere. But everything whole and ever-perfect.

The 4th morning she woke up, aware that she had slept through the night, which she had not for the 3 previous nights because it was so painful. She got up and it didn't hurt. She stood on it. Spirit said, "You can take the tape off. It is healed. It's a little fragile; be careful."

When they x-rayed it the doctor not only said it was healed but there was no sign of the break. How can it be? Last week it was broken; this week there's not even scar tissue that shows where it was broken.

This is not miraculous in any way; it's simply knowing your innate perfection and going there. Knowing that you truly are without limits. It can't be a belief; it needs to be a knowing. For it to become a knowing you need to experiment in small increments, so you can do it, for example, with the emotion. Here is anger. It certainly seems solid. That which is aware of anger is not angry. I allow the whole thing to break up in space, to find that which is not angry, not non-anger over here and anger there but the whole thing together. Sambhogakaya, we may call it, the transition body. Hold that space, watch the anger dissolve and be in that place that's free of anger until the whole thing opens up.

As you practice in this way with whatever comes – a moment's impatience, a judgment – not trying to fix, simply holding space, seeing the ever-perfect right there with what has seemed distorted and letting the whole thing release, you become more and more certain of your ability to live in a non-dual way. To literally let go of the whole idea that now there is a dualistic universe but someday when we just get it right we will finally be in non-duality. Now there is knowing, right here is non-duality.

A dzogchen teaching poem, Flight of the Garuda, says the words, "Butter is of the essence of milk, but if the milk isn't churned the butter won't form." The mind is of the nature, the essence of awakening, but if you don't practice you won't awaken.

This meditation practice and the mindfulness practice are the churning that lead to the awakening. You are not fixing anything; you are simply coming to know that in yourselves, which is already inherently awake, and to let go of the self-identity that something is broken or un-whole in some way. And then your radiance and clarity can shine through.

There's so much more I could say to you but I want to leave time for questions. Let's make a shift here and open the floor to your questions.


You're all too shy! Somebody must have a question.

Q: I've had this contraction in my abdomen, it's become sort of permanent, in my experience. And when you talked about Barbara singing to the toe, I had some relief for the first time in awhile. So I'm wondering how to keep working with it... It feels like a very deep habit that I have. Do you recommend singing to it? Or some other practice.

Aaron: Would you mind coming up here? (Q comes up) When I push against you, I want you to feel where in your body you hold the pressure of that push. (pushes) I'm going to push you a bit harder but I won't push you over, I promise... (pushes) Can you feel yourself tensing? (Q: Yea.) Now I want you to soften, relax. Bring attention to the abdomen. Put one hand on the abdomen. Life, I am life and I am coming along and pushing at you. And you have the long-term habit energy, perhaps from many lifetimes, of holding tension there. Let it run through you, grounded. Ground yourself...

Let any tension run through the legs down to the ground. Can you feel that? (Q: A little bit.) Breathe into it, relaxing it. Can you feel that softening? Everything that comes to you is a push, not just to you, to anybody. It's often seen as a push. As we push back that way (illustrating pushing with arms) people get sore shoulders. Sometimes they push back with the face and the jaw is sore. Sometimes they push back with the belly, holding the tension in the belly.

With mindfulness, whenever you feel something as a push, ask yourself if it's (sound effect), stopped here, feel your feet grounding into the earth, just releasing that tension into the earth.

Q: Okay, thank you, thank you. I appreciate that.

Aaron: Sing to it also. Is it more in the solar plexus area or the navel area?

Q: More in the abdomen.

Aaron: So down near where the navel is. So the note D, the tone D. C is the base chakra, D, E is solar plexus, F is the heart. The tone D, have you got an iPhone? No. There's a wonderful tuning device on the iPhone, it's one of their programs. It gives you all the tones. Find something to give you the tone D. (Aaron tones OM in D)

That's not handy when you're walking around the street. When you're walking around out in your life, just ground and release. But spend some time during your meditation just singing to it.

I'm going into some detail here because others of you can take this information and apply it to wherever your energy is stuck. Each of you will find certain chakras that are more habitually closed, where the energy closes and becomes stuck. You can't ground because it's stuck there. You can consciously release it, breathing through; singing to it can be helpful to open the energy field.

Mindfulness is perhaps the most important thing. Stop thinking of, "This is painful now and stuck but I will fix it and then it will be okay until it gets stuck again." Instead, go to the place that's already open right there with that which is closed. As you sing to it and you find that which is already open, don't look to see if the belly actually has opened. Simply be with that which is already open and know the potential of the physical body to open in emulation of that which is already open. The physical body is the heaviest body and it's slower so once you get into that which is already open, it will take the physical body some time to follow along. Like a little child with a parent who's making some kinds of arm motions and the child is trying to imitate, but it can't quite do it yet. But it will catch on. Give it time.

Q: Most of my adult life I have experience cycles of depression that can be very debilitating. I have a question, how do I ask this question. Do you have any insight into why I have the cycles and how I can cope with them in some way to help <inaudible>...

Aaron: May I ask you a question? Are you a perfectionist and hard on yourself? (Q: Yes.) When I look at your energy field, this is the first thing that I see. (Q: It's true.) May I have your permission to look in the Akashic records? Do you know the term Akashic record? (Q: Yes, yes.)

I think some of this is karmic, which doesn't mean that it cannot be resolved, only that it's very long-term habit energy. I'd like to suggest 3 different things. I'd ask you to watch the pattern of, let's not use strong anger; it's too strong a catalyst to work with right now, but just irritation. See how when irritation arises, there is immediately a small judging voice that comes up. This is going to be a mindfulness practice where each time the irritation comes and then the judging voice, I want you to simply use the phrase, "Is that so?" Just a reminder. "This is just an old story, 'I shouldn't feel this, I shouldn't think that.' Is that so?"

Then, say after me,all of you please, "Whatever has the nature to arise has the nature to cease, and is not me or mine. It has arisen from conditions. Whatever has the nature to arise has the nature to cease." (all repeating the phrase)

If a cloud blows in across a clear blue sky, do you say that cloud shouldn't be there? It came became because certain atmospheric conditions were present. When the conditions change, the cloud will go.

Your mind and emotions are no different. Thoughts and emotions arise out of conditions. They are impermanent, not self in nature. Say this now; "Breathing in I am aware of this judgment. Breathing out, I smile to the judgment."

Where there is judgment in you and that thought, "I shouldn't," there's tension. "Breathing in, I am aware of the tension." Try to feel where it is in the body. "Breathing out, I smile to the tension."

Begin to see each of these objects coming in turn, like the tide washing upon the shore and running back down. Certain conditions and it's high, other conditions and it's low. Certain conditions and irritation arises and based on irritation as condition, judgment arises. Based on the judgment as condition (of course there's more than one condition, I'm simplifying) but based on the judgment as condition, contraction arises. And based on the contraction and the habitual state of contraction, depression comes because your whole energy field is depressed because you're constantly attacking yourself.

Awareness must move to that which does not attack the self, that which is clear and open; awareness, able to see the pattern, willing to step at least a small step out of the pattern and watch the pattern with the knowledge, "I don't have to do this anymore. I do have a choice." It's like the rat on the treadmill who says, "I've had enough of this," and jumps off. "I do have a choice."

The choice is not one of fixing yourself. I'm not suggesting that therapy and meditation and various practices are not helpful, they're skillful means. But also, get out of the idea that anything is innately broken and needs to be fixed. Instead, you shift into that place that's open and clear and able to watch this whole habitual pattern coming through and say, "I'm not trying to stop it, just holding space for it, like the contraction after the shout, until it resolves and opens up." So this is my first suggestion.

The second suggestion, I can't remember--it's my book and I don't remember the name of it. There is a practice that I've taught that's based on Shantideva's Way of the Boddhisattva, a small piece of that practice called The Seven Branch Prayer and Four Empowerments.

There are two books, The Path of Natural Light and The Awakened Heart. I don't think they're in the books that are here tonight but they can be ordered from Deep Spring and I think they can be downloaded online freely.

The Four Empowerments is a piece of the Seven Branch Prayer, it contains 4 of the steps of the Seven Branch Prayer. This is a way of looking at old habitual pattern. We look and see, "I just keep doing this. I've been doing this forever. And it's not wholesome. It's not for my highest good or the highest good of all beings, and my intention is the highest good of all beings. Therefore I wish to release this."

We ask for support, wherever you wish to go, to the Buddha, to the Christ, to your own personal guides, your teachers, to your own loving heart. We ask for support. We give thanks, gratitude, genuine gratitude, which opens the heart, that such support is available.

We find that which balances the energy. For you with such self-negativity, practice metta, which means lovingkindness, or compassion. It doesn't have to be formal lovingkindness or compassion practice, it can just be, " Breathing in I offer myself kindness. This tension keeps coming up in me and it leads to depression. It closes me down. I choose to open." So please read the practice, I'm not going to go through all the steps. But it's a very powerful practice for releasing an old karmic pattern and I think you'll find it helpful.

(next question) The man in red...

Q: I've never been called the man in red...

Aaron: Since I don't know your name, it's as good a description as any! "The man in glasses." There are many. Red is a becoming color on you! (laughter)

Q: My wife has early Alzheimer's and I've been having trouble sleeping. Part of what happens is when I wake up at night I worry about, what's this going to mean about tomorrow because I'm not sleeping well, <so I don't fall back asleep>. I wonder if you had any suggestions about things that help me sleep because it would make my days a lot easier and make it easier to cope.

Aaron: Son, do you meditate? (Q: Yes.) Do you meditate before bed.

Q: I usually meditate in the morning.

Aaron: I'd strongly suggest you meditate also at night. What form of meditation do you use?

Q: Usually vipassana.

Aaron: Vipassana, good. So when you sit at night before you go to bed, first just briefly scan the body and see where there's tension. Then bring attention--what do you use as a primary object in your vipassana practice?

Q: My breath.

Aaron: Aware of the breath, moving in, moving out. As long as the breath is predominant, stay with the breath. If the tension becomes predominant in your experience, you're not trying to force the tension away but simply to bring awareness to it. When you feel the tension somewhere in the body, let that light of awareness shine on the tension. It's probably unpleasant so know it as unpleasant. If there's any trying to fix it or push it away, know that.

If instead of tension the first thing that pulls your mind away from the breath is, "What will happen with my wife?" The thought comes from fear, so note fear. How is fear felt in the body? Where is the fear settling in the body? What's the direct experience of fear?

The stories probably want to come. One way that we avoid the unpleasant experience of fear is we rush into the story. With the story there's the idea, "If I did this or that, if only I could find a solution, then everything would be okay again." It might be okay for a moment, and then you need another solution. You're never going to be able to fix it, let that go. You can't fix life.

Nurturing the mind that lets go; aware, "Fear has arisen in me." See the whole progression, what will I do? How will I take care of her? How can I fix? What will it mean to us? Each of these is what I would call a story. I don't mean anything negative by that but it's not in this moment. In this moment there is just tension.

Or just the story, "If I don't sleep I won't function well tomorrow." That's just another story; more fear; more tension.

Breathing in and aware of the tension, breathing out and smiling to the tension. Holding space for the tension. How do you relate to the tension? This is why you can't sleep. (Q: I'm afraid.) I know. I'm glad you know. Is it okay to be afraid of it? You're trying to avoid being afraid of it by coming up with some solution. And even at night your mind is spinning, trying to find a solution.

You're not trying to fix the tension; I repeat, the tension may stay there for quite awhile. Can you make friends with the tension and just be there with it until eventually you start to see that which is beyond the tension, right there with the tension. But you can't force it.

In the beginning tension or fear may seem so solid that's all you can see. Okay, what is the texture of this tension? Does it feel hot or cold? Is it prickly? Is it stagnant? How does it feel? What is the direct experience of this tension? Watch it as it changes.

As it begins to change and open up a bit, you will be able to see that which is not tense right there with the tension but you're not trying to get there, you're just trying to make peace with the direct experience of tension until it's ready to go. Milarepa, "Here, have tea. Shh, no stories. Just sit there." Here's tension.

If you meditate like this every night before you go to bed, even for 10 or 15 minutes, slowly mind will start to settle down and not be so active trying to figure out how to get away from the tension and the fear it renders, and you'll be able to sleep.

Does that sound workable?

Q: It sounds like it would be <nice>. I usually fall asleep, the problem is waking up...

Aaron: With fear and tension. If you wake up with fear and tension, get up and sit. You can sit right there on your bed. You don't have to go into some special room or find a zafu to sit on, just sit on your bed.

Feel how strong the fear and tension are. It's the subconscious coming through with all of those stories. How can I keep her safe? How can I keep me safe? How will I fix it? Tension, tension. Smiling into the tension, allowing it to reveal itself as fear, the ego which wants so badly to control, not just for your own well-being but for hers, for all of your loved ones. To keep everything safe. Of course, this is human.

May I offer a suggestion that you at least consider the possibility with a disease that cannot be cured in your medical science, like Alzheimer's, of visiting John of God. I've known a number of people who have been-- let me put it this way, they have not gained that amount of memory that has been lost but the decline has stopped. In a few cases, some gain. But people I've heard, not met personally, people who 10 or more years ago were diagnosed with Alzheimer's and have not progressed into declining memory. It's worth exploring.

I wish you well.

If he's the man in red I suppose you are the woman in green...

Q: Hello... I went to John of God about 5 years ago because my hearing is impaired and I was hoping that I could get some healing. And he told me that perhaps I could but it would be a very long process. As I inwardly worked with all of this, I felt that I was so attached and efforting around trying to hear better--I do wear hearing aids but they don't help totally-- that I just let go of it all. Maybe I just was wise in letting go of trying to hear and decided I would work more on opening my inner hearing. But I'm also wondering, did I give up too soon. Is there anything you can tell me about what the possibilities might be, or is this just a karmic lesson to be with in this lifetime?

Aaron: Daughter, there is a progression. First one must find some true equanimity with the situation. If you-- can you hear me, can you hear my words now?

Q: Yes, it's even hard for me to understand all of your words.

Aaron: If I speak slowly?

Q: Yes, and when the voice is more on one level rather than going up and down.

Aaron: I will try... When there is any physical distortion in the body, it comes for many reasons. It is a teacher. So we ask karmically, what did I come to learn? There's no one answer, of course. It will vary from person to person. For this instrument, she came to learn to open her heart to everything, to truly be willing to hear all the joys and sorrows of the world, not to be afraid of the sorrows. You'll have to look for yourself. What does this very painful gift teach? What can you learn from it?

Gradually you make peace with it, and I think you've come a ways in doing so; there is some equanimity. Then you begin to see the reverse question. Let me phrase it in this way: what does this hearing loss protect you from? It's part of the same question. For Barbara she saw that it protected her from not hearing things that were too painful. She began to see certain very specific past life karma, traumatic situations in which people were dying, screaming. She couldn't bear to hear it. Opening the heart and being willing to hear everything.

At that point one opens into the place where one is ready to explore the possibility of hearing. When you first went to see John of God, I don't think you were ready to explore in that way. Now you are. It may be that he again would say, "Long time, possible, don't know." As Barbara pointed out, he said "maybe" and then "probably" the first 2 years and it wasn't until the third year that he said, "Yes, I can help you." And then he keeps saying to her, "Be patient, be patient. It will take a long time."

Since she enjoys her trips there, there's no reason not to go. It's a beautiful place and she's found so much deep spiritual healing in other ways. So did you give up too soon? It is very different if you look at it in terms of "I gave up" rather than, "I stepped back to see what needed to be done first."

Q: And that's what I feel I am doing...

Aaron: Then perhaps you're ready to re-explore the question.

Q: I feel I'm making <inaudible> especially tonight.

Aaron: I think you'll find much value in Barbara's book. It is not yet ready for publication. There's a publisher out here in California who is publishing it. It will not be available until next year but I think you should ask her when she's back in the body if she would be willing to send you an email, an e-copy of it at its present draft stage. The publisher, the editor there is working at it and there will be small changes but it's basically in final form and it explores in ways that may serve as a guide for you as you proceed.

Never give up. There's a difference between grasping and aspiring to. You understand the difference. Fear grasps. Love aspires to. You aspire to heal as much as you possibly can heal, knowing that the body may not be able to fully heal, but aspiring to heal as much as is possible, with love and for the highest good of all beings. Anyplace where you contract and say, "I can't do that," that's fear. Then you work with it skillfully until it releases.

I wish you well.

I see that it's after 9 so we need to stop here. I want to thank all of you for your presence here tonight, for sharing this evening with me. I've enjoyed your energy and your questions. I wish you could see yourselves as I see you. There's so much light in this room, and you don't know yourselves as that light. You forget who you are.

Look around you-- right now, look around you. See the light in the people sitting next to you. See the love. See the courage. Can you imagine how much courage it takes to come into the incarnation knowing it's going to be hard? But you love enough to do it yet one more time. Yes, you're pulled by karma but there's some degree of choice. Eventually you've got to come back. But you came in at a time of transition on the Earth with courage and love to help advance this transition, to support this move to a loving non-dual consciousness.

Cherish yourselves, appreciate yourselves, and know it's hard. You don't say to a 6-month-old, "Why don't you get up and walk already? It's been 6 months!" Go at the pace that works for you. Treasure and cherish yourselves.

My blessings and love to you all. I'm going to release the body to Barbara. When I do that, when I move out of the body the body is vacant for a moment. If Barbara comes into that completely vacant body, it's very disorienting, so she holds hands with one or two people. The body holds hands so that she comes back feeling energy, something to home in on. So I will say goodnight and Barbara will come in.

(Barbara returns)

Barbara: Thank you all. I'm Barbara. I'm back! Where have I been? I don't know. I see we're past ending time so I will briefly say, thank-you and goodnight.

(announcement about DSC materials and Saturday workshop)

That's all. Thank you all and goodnight.

(session ends)