September 21, 2011 Wednesday, Cosmic Healing Class

September 21, 2011  Wednesday, Cosmic Healing Class

We did not start recording at the beginning. After about 15 minutes Aaron asked us to turn on the recorder.

Aaron: I have been talking about keeping your equanimity in hell, but that's much harder than keeping it in heaven, and the example of the Zen master who came down from the mountain top. Barbara can fill that in on the transcript.

A zen master who was said to be very enlightened and was always calm and centered was asked to come into the city from his mountaintop home to teach. He came on foot, then by oxcart, by car by train and finally reached the big city. He had to ride in a subway to the place where he was to teach. It was foul smelling and noisy. Rude young men taunted him about his clothes and appearance. He lost his calm, screamed and yelled at them. Later he was asked about it and said,  “It is easy to keep your equanimity in heaven; can you keep it in hell?”

There are cycles that are common. The first time around this spiral of Trainings, you're functioning mostly from the small ego self. Only the second time around do you start to see the possibility of some level of awareness, of presence, that's not so self-identified with the ego. It is not wrong that there are these stages, and there is no wrong or better place to be. The best place to be is right where you are.

If we took all of you to a river and you wanted to swim across, those of you who are very strong swimmers might strike right out, heading across the river. Others of you will need to stay in the shallow water for awhile,  learn the strokes, and build up your endurance, before you're ready to swim across. If you try to force it, you're probably going to cry for help in the middle of the river. But once you're a strong swimmer, confident of your ability and comfortable in the water, then there's no more fear and you can strike out for the other shore.

Of course, those who tend to linger in the shallows and say, “But I don't know how to swim. I'm scared to strike out. I'm scared to go out in deeper water.”, well, we're going to nudge you a bit because eventually you are going to learn the strokes, and you've got to be willing to get your feet wet, then to get your belly wet, then to get your face wet, and to move out over your head and trust your ability to swim.

Have you all read the talk “Trainings”? If you haven't, please read it. This is central to our work here. I gave this as a private talk to Barbara at the Casa in 2005. She was sitting in a room and simply writing down what I was telling her. She was reading a book called Anna, Grandmother of Jesus, which I deeply recommend to you if you have not read it. She was asking me questions about the different initiations of which Anna speaks.

My purpose in explaining this, in this talk that we later labeled “Trainings”-- it was not intended then as a talk called “Trainings,” just information to Barbara -- but my purpose was to more clearly delineate the spiritual path. We use vipassana. Vipassana in the Pali language: passana means “seeing,” and vipassana means a deeper, clearer seeing. It is simply a meditation practice, often translated in English to mindfulness meditation or insight meditation. Presence in this moment with the experience of this mind and body.

As we watch the breath flowing in and out, as the first primary object, attention may stay with the breath for 20 seconds and then there's an itch. Suddenly the itch has pulled attention away from the breath. Now, some of you who have learned concentration practice at that point will try to push the itch away and say, “No, I'm with the breath,” but that's not what we want you to do. The practice here is to be present with whatever is predominant in your experience. If there's an itch, know there's an itch-- tingling, tickling, burning. And if it's unpleasant, know it's unpleasant.

Then you get to see the habitual pattern with an unpleasant catalyst. Ah, when something itches or pushes or irritates, here is the karmic response-- through how many lifetimes has this happened?

(The recording abruptly stops and resumes in a new file with Aaron and assistant demonstrating kinds of pushes with sound effects. This is the “push” exercise; the partner is pushing Aaron; at first he responds fiercely, pushing back; then he folds and collapses. Finally he just sways with the push and relaxes, and keeps talking)

How do you respond to being pushed? What happens? Pushing again... I guess she's just going to keep pushing me until she's ready to stop... I'll just rock back and forth here and talk to you... Eventually she's going to exhaust herself and stop.

How do we relax with the push? I wish we had more time in the class because it would take us 10 or 15 minutes to do this as an exercise. Many of you have done this here at Deep Spring with me as an exercise before. Anybody who hasn't?

What I'd like you to do is sit facing each other, not tonight but at home. Find somebody in the class or some other partner to do it with you. Simply sit relaxed, one person designated as the pusher and one as the receiver, and then you change places. The receiver closes their eyes. The pusher will push. The receiver can meditate, focus, “feeling, pushed, pushed, unpleasant,” or perhaps pleasant or neutral; however it feels. And then what happens? Is there strong aversion to the sensation of being pushed; to the unpleasant feeling? Is there fear? Can you feel your body contracting? What happens when you're pushed? Being pushed. At a certain point, there's simply spaciousness and ease. And then change roles. So you're not trying to fix how you respond, merely to investigate and see how you respond: what happens when I am pushed?

The push is a perfect metaphor for all of the things that push you: your physical problems, your relationship challenges, your body challenges. Life is filled with pushes. You don't always have a choice about whether there will be a push, but you have a choice about how you're going to respond to the push. You can respond with control, fear, aversion, and helplessness, or you can learn to dance with these pushes. It's just a push.

The pusher should be mindful too. Is it a pleasant or unpleasant experience to push another? What habitual thoughts or emotions arise?

For the one pushed, the important thing, here, is that at some level you are inviting these pushes, manifesting them and drawing them to you. Perhaps there is some sense of deserving the push. Perhaps there is the intention to learn to dance with the push. As many of you unveiled in your small group talks, the catalyst or push becomes the teacher. At what point do you stop inviting this teacher and the repetition of it? Have you had enough of it? Are you ready to let it go?

It can't be something where you make the decision ahead of time, “I'm not going to be bothered by people's rudeness anymore. I'm not going to be bothered people's anger. I'm not going to be bothered by people's tardiness.” Rather, you note, “I am bothered by it, and each time I feel that contraction I'm going to see how I relate to that contraction.” Is it with anger (and more contraction) or is it with kindness? When you finally learn kindness as response to these pushes, at that point there's truly the ability to let go of the need to keep inviting the pushes.

Now, inevitably you'll invite something different instead because you're here in human form learning, and you're not really ready to stop learning. You go on to the next step, and the next one and the next one. But it does become easier in time because you start to catch on to how to dance with the constant stream of pushes and just say, “Ah, another one.”

I think I've said this to this group, perhaps last Wednesday-- the story of Milarepa. Did I relate that? (no) Milarepa was a Tibetan saint. He was sitting and meditating in his cave when the demons of anger and fear and greed appeared. They were hideous. The flesh hung in shreds from the bones and gore dripped out. The bones beneath that flesh rattled. There was a foul stench. They dangled bloody knives and swords at their sides.

Milarepa took one look at them, and did he flee? No. He said, “I've been expecting you. Come, sit by my fire. Have tea.”

“Aren't you afraid of us?” they asked.

“No, your hideous appearance only reminds me to be aware and to have mercy. Come sit by my fire and have tea.”

So, we keep inviting our demons in for tea, but there's one special point that must be made, here. We sit them down, hand them a cup of tea and then say, “Shh! No talking. I'm not going to get caught in a dialogue with you.” because these demons want to snare you, they want to talk. They want to stir you up. Don't argue with them, just give them tea and “Shh,” tell them to sit quietly. Don't get involved in the stories they're trying to promote. And, as I said, it gets easier. Each time you do this there's a bit more spaciousness, a bit more ease with the various kinds of pushes, the various visiting demons. and eventually, a very centered equanimity that just says, “Ah, here's what has arisen. It arose out of conditions. It's impermanent; it will go.” Meanwhile, just keep feeding it tea. It will get bored and leave. So this is the process.

The ability grows out of your vipassana practice where you are sitting and meditating and there's this strong itch, or the thought, “I have to do this or that. Did I defrost dinner? Did I answer that phone call? I've got to do it now.” Ah, impulse. Tension. Feeling I should answer the phone call now. Feeling I should run to the freezer and get dinner out. Just breathe and feel that tension.

Again, I wish we had more time in this class. I don't feel I have enough time with you all, not as much as I'd like. I'm going to end up giving you exercises that you're going to need to try at home rather than using the group time for the exercises, as I might do in a class that met weekly.

I'd like you to try this exercise at home. Take a glass of water. Bring a sip into your mouth and mindfully swallow. Feel the experience of swallowing and know “swallowing, swallowing.” Now, take another sip of water and hold it in your mouth. Feel the impulse to swallow, which may be very strong, uncomfortable. “Need to swallow.” A feeling that you're going to spit it out or choke on it. Tension, tension. Or it may not be so strong. However it is, just let it be. Just watching, “impulse, wanting to swallow.” If it becomes too strong and you have to swallow, that's fine, swallow. Then take another mouthful of water. Do it a half dozen times. Keep watching the impulse to swallow and what happens to that impulse as you simply breathe with it, with spaciousness. “This human is feeling tension. Breathing in, I am aware of the tension. Breathing out, I smile to the tension.” Not berate myself or bang myself over the head, just breathe and smile, feeling tension.

After a few tries, you start to see that just because an impulse arises doesn't mean you have to enact it. If there's a push and the impulse arises to push back, one can note “wanting to push.” That's very different than pushing. Not liking... (asks someone to push hard a lot of times)-- it's a little overwhelming. Unpleasant. But there's no longer an impulse to push back. There's no anger coming up. This shift comes from mindfulness.

So, here's the first cycle in the trainings, the awareness that there is catalyst pushing at the body, at the emotions, at the mind. Then know the feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral and know that you have a relationship to the experience. If it's pleasant, you want to hold on. If it's unpleasant, you want to push it away. Just because there is an impulse to hold on or push away doesn't mean you have to do it.

In the beginning there's a self holding the space, watching, not reacting. But as you come around to the second circle of this spiral, you shift into a different level of awareness. I often say, for example, “that which is aware of anger is not angry.” Or  “That which is aware of fear is not afraid.” At first it's what we call a witness, that beyond the ego self that watches the small self getting caught sometimes in anger or fear or desire, and saying, “Ahhh, sooo. This human is experiencing this right now. Can there be mercy?”

Gradually with the second loop around the spiral, the trainings 7 to 9, as you go around, the self-identification shifts from the small self to the higher self, but it does not lose touch with the small self. If it were to lose touch with the small self, there would be no opportunity to learn compassion, and you are not here only to learn wisdom but to learn the blending of wisdom and compassion. So, there's got to be connection with the small self, awareness that watches the small self's aversion, fear, discomfort, with compassion but isn't caught up in the stories.

By the time you've moved through the second leg of this spiral, there's a fairly stable ability, not always to rest in but to connect back in to the higher self. We lose it; we come back into it again. Then we move into the third ring of the spiral. Here you're almost always resting in that higher self perspective. You rarely get caught. It's at this point within the third ring of the spiral that we start to be able to work deeply with the release of old karma.

Each loop around has got to become stable-- let me phrase this differently. It's not like stairs in a building, flights, levels-- Level 1, Level 2, Level 3-- it's much more like a spiral where you're ascending, moving up-- Level 1, 2, 3, 4, they're all on the first ring of the spiral. Then it goes up-- 5, 6, 7, 8. So you're constantly moving up and up, but you're always on this spiraling stairway. No matter where you are, you're always at the top and at the bottom. There is no clear beginning or end. And this is the miracle, because when you're at the bottom, you're also at the top. That awake mind is always there. That fully awakened, divine essence of your being is not something you have to try to attain so much as to awaken to it, to get to know and recognize and embrace as the deeper truth of your being.

Then you begin to reflect on your situation, the question that I asked Barbara in Chapters 1 and 2 of the book: what does this deafness protect you from? Or as a related question, if you were not experiencing anger, for example, what might you be experiencing? If you were not experiencing fear, what might you be experiencing? What does this object that you repeat, over and over-- feelings of unworthiness, for example -- what does it protect you from?

Here we get into the homework. I want you to choose one box that's been predominant for you through much of your lifetime. I want you to find that in your heart which truly yearns to break out of that box, but also to ask yourself, what does this box protect me from?

At the Casa when Barbara asked for help with her hearing, the Entity said to her, “Why do you want to hear?” She said, “To hear all the beautiful sounds-- birds singing, children laughing, water flowing.”

“Sit in my current and think about it.”

The next day, “Why do you want to hear?” So she had thought about it and she said, “Well, I want to hear all of the beautiful things but I'm willing to hear the pain.”
Those of you who have been there know that deep compassionate look. He looked in her eyes and he said, “Sit in the current.”

Again, a few days later, “Why do you want to hear?” Well, finally over this weekend break and a lot of meditation she had got it. “I choose to hear.” Not only “I'm willing to hear the pain of the world,” “I choose to hear the pain of the world.” Because until I'm fully connected to that pain and choose to hear it, I'm separating myself from the world and from the divine. The divine is not just the beauty, it's the pain, it's everything. “I choose to hear it.”

He gave her a big smile and said, “Surgery this afternoon.”

So, she had to come to this understanding herself. “I'm ready to allow myself to be that vulnerable, that open and tender, to be so deeply touched and exposed. I choose it.” You have free will. “I choose it” is so important.

Find the box. Think about what you gain from that box, what you're sure you don't want but you've clung to. “I choose to step out of the box.” What does the box protect me from? If I was not in this box right now, what might I be experiencing? And then begin to visualize and know the simultaneity of that which is caught in the box and that which has always been free from the box. You're going to have to work through Level 1 of the spiral, watching the box arise mindfully in daily life, over and over, and seeing how trapped you are in it, how much you really don't want to be there and yet how much you habitually keep yourself there. And you're going to have to move into at least the second piece of the spiral, seeing the ability, the real possibility, to step out of that box.

This class is geared in such a way that we can take this one step at a time, so this is as far as I want you to go right now. But those of you who have been at the Casa, as many of you have, those of you who have contact with your personal guides, ask for help. At the point where you see the box you're caught in and you're ready to say, “I choose to step out,” ask for help and express gratitude for the existence of that help, for the presence of loving spirit that does support your growth.

I don't want to assume that all of you understand this, and in the next class we'll work more with practices that open the heart-- loving kindness and work with resistance. And in another future class we'll work more with connecting with guidance and finding all the supports that are there to help you make this evolutionary step into living your highest level of wholeness.

I know that many of you must leave, it's 9 o'clock, and yet I would like to hear questions. How about if we say I'll hear questions for about 10 minutes, but anybody who needs to leave right now is free to leave? There may not be any questions...Are there any questions?

Okay, we'll leave it there, then. Usually Barbara is available to speak to your questions by email, although I cannot give extensive channeled answers by email. She must go home and pack and leave tomorrow to visit her children and then go on to Omega with John of God, so she'll be gone all week next week and not looking at email. If you have questions toward the end of next week, feel free to send them in and she'll try to attend to them before the next class. Usually I leave these practical matters to her.

My blessings and love to each of you. I want to point out how important the energy of this circle is, that each of you energetically supports everyone else in the circle through your loving intention to growth, for yourself and for the highest good of all beings. This is not about a personal growth only, but it's about the whole evolution of the planet and moving the whole planet into a higher vibration of love, and the part each of you can contribute to supporting that high vibration. So the work that you are doing is not in service to the self but truly in the highest service to all beings.

We'll end here.