October 5, 2011 Wednesday Night, Cosmic Healing

October 5, 2011 Wednesday Night, Cosmic Healing

Barbara: I'm starting with an introduction while we're waiting for the last people to come in. We decided to do a year-long class on the path of spiritual growth, and the different elements that support our growth. Last meeting in September, we talked about Aaron's talk, “Trainings,” which is in the book, Cosmic Healing. It's mostly about being mindful, being present with what arises in our minds and in our bodies, and watching what arises and our response to it with kindness instead of with fear, anger or control. So, that was Aaron's talk last month; it's on the Deep Spring website.

In between these bigger classes, we have the registered group, who come together in smaller classes for discussion, exercises and so forth. Those talks and exercises are also on the website, for anybody who wants to follow along.

I'm very excited about this program because it's a way of introducing people to the path that Aaron led me on for over 20 years, and that was so helpful to me, introducing the basic elements of that path. We're using this year as an introduction, getting people oriented, and then next year we will start a longer, in-depth two-year program assured that  everybody has gotten this information this year, or has had access to it to read it.

For those who are in the registered class, I want to remind you that the exercises are an essential part of this process. You're not just here to listen. It really has to be experiential. So, I hope you've been working with these trainings and what Aaron presented last classes, and working with your meditation practice.

We introduced the idea of intention,  asking, what is our highest intention. What are we doing here? Why did you come here tonight? For many of you, it is just to begin to answer the question, who am I? Why am I here? What is this lifetime about? For others of you, wanting to understand how to live with more kindness, more spaciousness, more ease. What to do with heavy emotions. People say, “I get angry. I don't know what to do with my anger.” How do we work with anger, with fear, with desire?

When we start this process, we see that although we want to live free of heavy emotions, we also use those emotions in some ways to protect ourselves. There's resistance to change. What if I weren't angry? Where would my power come from? Who would I be? So these questions come up for people.

It came up for me about my deafness. Aaron asked me repeatedly, what does this deafness protect you from? And I had to look at the part of me that did not want to hear the agony in the world. I was very happy to hear the laughter but I didn't want to hear the cries. I had to be ready o say, “I choose to hear that.” Not just, “I'll hear it if I have to,” but “I choose to hear it,” because through touching the world in that way, my heart opens and I become a more compassionate person.”

So that's a bit of background for where we're going to start tonight. Aaron will come in and will talk... (announcements)  Are there any questions before we start? Okay, I'm going to just get quiet, then, and invite Aaron in.

(pause for Aaron to come in)

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. You are so filled with light, I am so happy to see you all. Thank you for being here with us. And to those we are talking to on Skype, welcome to our distant audience. Is this little red-eyed, three-legged Martian the microphone? Not that it truly looks like a Martian, but some kind of extra-terrestrial. A Cyclops, with one red eye...

So, many of you, I hope, have been looking at your highest intention. You have many intentions, of course, but there's one that's pervasive. It may be as simple as to open your heart, or to be more present. Not to be so judgmental of yourself or of others. Not to get so lost in stories and in fear. Whatever your intention, I trust you have been working with it and observing, as I requested, the places where you're able to open more fully to that intention because you're paying attention. If you don't pay attention, you can't open to it. Paying attention, you begin to see the arising of fear, grasping or anger.

Talking last week to a young man who was concerned with the anger that he often felt, he said the big problem was it came up and he wasn't conscious of it so he would react to it unconsciously. He would stomp around with a scowl on his face. He would find somebody to judge or blame. And he never knew, “Ah, I'm angry. This is anger.” There has to be awareness, “This has arisen in me.”

As we talked, this young man and I, about the experience of anger, he said, “Well, all my life I was told, ‘Don't be angry.' So I'm trying not to be angry.” “Well, where will it go?” I asked. If certain cloud conditions come together, rain will come. Once the cloud conditions have gathered there's no way to stop the rain. Being human, of course, you cannot stop the clouds. Certain wind and other forces come together, clouds come together, and there is rain.

In just the same way, when certain internal clouds come, anger will arise. The anger is a result of conditions, just as the rain is a result of conditions. When it's raining in that way, do you stand outside and curse at it, or blame someone, or do you put up an umbrella? When the internal clouds of anger have gathered, can you put up the approximation of an umbrella? That is to rest in a space out of the storm.

There is a habitual pattern for so many of you that when something arises and it's unpleasant, not what you hoped for, you either try to control it, to stop it, or you may condemn it. Controlling and condemning are just more voices of anger. You can never stop anger through more anger but only with kindness.

The reading for this week, for those of you in the class, was I believe Chapters 3 and 4 in the book where Barbara is coming to terms with being deaf, and learning how angry she was. For years she simply was stoic. “I will not be bothered by deafness. I should not be angry. I should find peace with it.” So, she denied her emotions. She felt this would help her to cope, and on the surface she coped well, but the anger was poisoning her body and mind. This is where she was when I first met her consciously. My first teaching to her was to bring awareness to the strong aversion to deafness and to the aversion to the anger about the deafness. And that perhaps there could just be a little bit of heart-opening for this human, caught in a very hard circumstance.

I also asked her, what does this deafness protect you from? If you were not deaf, what might you be experiencing? We need to be careful here. She did not decide to be deaf in order not to hear pain in the world, but having lost her hearing, she felt it very convenient. She could avert her gaze and not hear and experience so much pain in the world, pain in relationships, pain that left her feeling helpless. So, she found a number of ways to use the deafness.

This is the same question for all of you. If you find yourself frequently judging yourself, ask, if I were not self-judgmental here, what might I be experiencing? If I were not blaming others here, what might I be experiencing? What do these emotions protect me from? In what ways am I still attached to them?

Is there anyone here who has not heard my lifejacket metaphor? (a few) I'm going to go through this very quickly. Here we are on a dock on a hot summer day and all your friends are swimming. You want to swim, too, but you don't know how to swim. So, I help you strap on a lifejacket. You see that it supports you and you swim out and enjoy the company of your friends. Day after day, year after year, through the summers, you put on this lifejacket and you swim.

Ten years later I come to the dock and see you strapping on a moldy, rotten, waterlogged, mildewed lifejacket. “What are you doing?”

“It's my lifejacket. It's how I swim.” I remind you of how you went down the ladder from the dock ten years earlier and it buoyed you up, and I ask you to try it again. Glub, glub, glub, glub-- down you go because it's so waterlogged and rotten. You swim your way to the surface, at least at some level aware, “I am supporting myself, not supported by the lifejacket.”

You climb out and I ask you, “Are you ready to take it off?” Usually the answer is, “No. I see that it does not support me, and yet I'm so used to it. I don't really believe I can swim without it.” What does it protect you from? From the responsibility of being self-floating, self-buoyant? The responsibility of taking care of yourself rather than having some prop that holds you up? What else might it protect you from? What are some ideas, what does it protect you from?

Q: Drowning.

Aaron: Drowning. Does it really protect you from drowning, or is that imagination? So, why are you still clinging to it when you see it drags you under? What is the belief behind it? Not just that I will drown without it.

Q: The belief that you're the one that needs help?

Aaron: So, a belief in one's own helplessness or lack of wholeness. Sustaining that belief by clinging to the lifejacket. Good. What else?

Q: Habit.

Aaron: That it's a habitual pattern. Why do you hold on to the habit? Yes, it's a habit but if one is in the habit of brushing one's teeth with Tabasco sauce, eventually you say, “This tastes foul!” and stop. Why do you hold onto the habit?

Q: It's the nature of habit to...

Q: It's what I know.

Aaron: It's where you feel comfortable. The habit energy sustains itself because it's in your comfort zone, and letting go of the habit pushes you to the edge of your comfort zone. Any others?

Q: Happiness.

Aaron: That you gain happiness from holding onto it, or you keep yourself from happiness?

Q: Keep from being responsible for your happiness.

Aaron: So you can blame others, and if wind blows up and big waves and the lifejacket is no longer holding you up, you can say it's those darn lifejacket manufacturers! Never mind that it's moldy and waterlogged, My present unhappiness, present hard situation, somebody else's fault. Any other thoughts?

Q: Fear from what might happen without it.

Aaron: And also the fear, what if I really am that strong? We're using the metaphor of swimming but let's change the metaphor. What if I let go of my judgment of myself or of others? What if I'm really not so bad but anger still comes up? If I don't blame myself for the anger, what am I going to do with the anger? So, I stick to the habitual pattern of judging myself and blaming myself. That's a kind of lifejacket. “I am the bad one. I'm always angry.” Or, I'm inadequate. I'm incompetent. I'm incapable of loving, or being loved. These are all lifejackets and people cling to them.

Q: I'm incapable of being successful.

Aaron: Exactly. That's another one.

Q (via Skype): It protects you from knowledge of your own power.

Aaron: Yes, precisely. And why are we so afraid of power? You all say, “I want to be powerful.”

Q: With power comes great responsibility.

Aaron: Yes, including the responsibility for not enacting the negative emotions. But they still come up. What am I going to do with them if I don't hate myself for them and I don't throw them at others? What do I do? What do you do? What is the option between hating yourself that they come up and using them as a reason to attack others, or denying them entirely?

Q: Learning to work with them, to become skillful in the face of them.

Aaron: Correct. Can anybody tell me in more detail what that means?

Q: Starting with self-love.

Aaron: That brings us into what I was teaching Barbara in Chapters 3 and 4. Instead of blaming herself or being afraid that she will act out these emotions, finding the ways in which she can simply open her heart to herself that the conditions have come together, the storm clouds have come together, for these emotions to arise. She began to see that she was thus habituated that when these certain objects come to her, anger or fear or sorrow arise, abd that she was not forced by anything but her own habit. She had a choice. .

You always have a choice. You do not have a choice about what will arise. It's the result of your conditioning. You have a choice about how you will respond to it. When you just barely begin to respond with spaciousness and kindness, simply, “Breathing in, I am aware of the anger. Breathing out, I smile to the anger. Breathing in, I am aware of the tension in my belly. Breathing out, I hold space; I place the hands on the belly and bring kindness to this churning belly. I breathe. I open space.”

In the talk on Trainings I described how in my lifetime 2000 years ago, in the Essene community, this was taught to little children, and that it still can be taught today. I talked to some of you about a young man of 5 who we visited in this past year. He was playing with his Lego blocks and the model kept falling apart> He got angry so he threw them across the room. Barbara watched and then she walked over and said, “Can I help?”

His face was tense, drawn. “I am angry.”

“Can I help?”

He said, “I'm taking care of my anger.”

So she said, “Can I sit down with you and keep you company while you're talking care of it?”

“Yes,” he nodded. He was breathing deep and he had his hands over his heart. Clearly he had been well-taught how to take care of his anger. And after about 5 minutes, slowly the fists unclenched, the breathing quieted, and then he opened his eyes and smiled at her, and said, “We can play now.”

This is a learnable skill. So we need to look at several aspects of this. What is your intention? Is it to be powerful and in control of everything and never have anything fall apart? Good luck! Is it to act skillfully in the world with kindness? Is it to create more harmony? Is it to create more harmony, or to be right? What is your highest intention? Is your habitual reaction to the situation suitable to this intention, and if not, what options are there?

Then we come into the next step: the very strong resistance that we've just spoken of. “I see this lifejacket is drowning me but I cannot take it off.” How do we work with that resistance and fear?

In the book, the practices that I taught Barbara are what are called in Buddhism the brahma vihara practices, practices of loving kindness, compassion, joy for others, and equanimity, and also connecting with spirit. So often you as humans feel so alone. Fine, you have friends. Talk to your friends. Don't just moan to your friends, “I hate myself,” and have your friends moan back, “Yeah, I hate myself, too. It's a bitch, isn't it?” Instead, can you talk to your friends and say, “I'm so filled with self-hatred and I don't know what to do. What works for you when you're feeling a lot of self-hatred, or hatred of others? What works?” So, connect with friends. In the next chapter in the book, Barbara talks about meeting the being who has been her lifelong guru.

Now, all of you have guides. Every single one of you has at least one, and most of you have many guides. You may not believe me but you do. There are ways to connect to that guidance, and I want to give you a very simple exercise that you can do at home.

Start by thinking of a question to which you really don't know the answer. It might be a question like, how can I be less filled with anger about this person in my workplace? Or, how can I be less fearful about money matters? A question someplace where you're feeling stuck.

Write the question down. Take a clipboard, piece of paper, pad, write the question down.

Now move into meditation. Breathe for a few minutes. Settle yourself and state your highest values, whatever they may be. If you're highest value is, “I want to get everything I can get,” state it. You'll get a guide that's conducive to obtaining that value! But I warn you that in the long run it's not going to work out; it's not going to lead to happiness. But you might say, “My highest value is that I really want to live my life in a more harmonious way, caring for others, for the highest good, with love. I want to live in alignment with the Christ, with the Buddha,” with whatever great being of your own religious beliefs, whatever Master calls out to you. “I want to live in alignment with that being.”

Ask for guidance that is fully harmonious with your highest values. This step is vital. Then, ask your question. Once you've centered and stated your deepest values, “I invite an answer to this question from the highest vibrational being that I can stably hold, and who comes in a harmony with my own values.”

Ask the question. Hold the pencil over the page. What comes next is what is sometimes called automatic writing. You'll start to feel a movement. You won't necessarily hear it. The pencil will just start to write by itself. There will be an impulse and writing.  It may be just a few words or sentences, or a paragraph or two. Don't read it or think about it until the impulse to write stops.

When the impulse stops, then at that point, read it. If it feels harmonious to your highest beliefs, say thank you. If it gives you some ideas but raises questions, ask the questions. If it does not feel harmonious-- perhaps you've asked, “What do I do about my anger about this person at work? He's always grunting and snorting and dropping things, and passing gas (lost to laughter), and it makes me so angry.” And if what you wrote down says, “Well, he's really a huge bore and you should be angry at him,” --wait a minute, in what way am I inviting this more negative guidance? Say no. “No, my interest is not to justify my anger at him; my interest is to help resolve the anger and open in compassion to both of us. I ask for a different entity to come through, one who is harmonious to my highest values.” Ask again and start to write. If you are committed to your own highest values, eventually you're going to open to the guidance that you're seeking.

After you pass some dialogue back and forth, and for those of you who have read Cosmic Healing, you saw how Barbara worked this way with me when she first met me. She doesn't go into detail in the book, so - let's put it this way: the book is already 400 pages and 200 additional pages were edited out due to length - but of course, in the beginning she was unsure. Who am I (Aaron)? Who is this Teacher that has come? Can she trust me? And there were times when she did experience some negative energy that tried to justify her negativity. So she had to look deeply and say, “No, this is not what I'm after”  even after she connected with me.

She didn't know me as Aaron, at first; I simply came with the name Teacher. It wasn't until a month or so into our relationship that I gave her the name Aaron. Ask this guide, once you have settled in and feel the familiarity of this energy, “Is there a name? How do I call you?” The guide may just say, “Friend,” or “Teacher,” or it may give you a name. A mundane name or an esoteric name, it doesn't matter. Remember this is not its name any more than Aaron is my name. Aaron is a being that I was in one lifetime. He was a wise and loving teacher, but I'm not Aaron.

Once a woman student said, “I have a hard time working with you because I'm not comfortable with male authority,” so I said very sweetly (sweet higher voice), “I can become Arianna. Would that feel better to you?” And she decided that I could simply be Aaron. She started to see the duality she was creating.

Don't try to figure out precisely who your guide is. Don't get caught up in the name or background. Simply, does this information that comes through help you? Does it help you find the answers that you're seeking? Gradually you'll start to know that energy, be able to rest in that energy.

When Barbara first met me and she was feeling confused and unsure as to whether she could trust her experience, she was volunteering one day with Seva Foundation, in those days, and she had the opportunity then to talk about me with Ram Dass. Ram Dass said, “He feels loving, and his thoughts feel loving to me, but the most important thing is just hang out in his energy. Just start to feel the love and high vibration of his energy field. Don't be so intellectual with it.” And it was wonderful advice because at that point she stopped trying to figure out who I was and where I was coming from and we just hung out together, friends. And gradually she relaxed into knowing me, feeling comfortable with me, trusting me.

But when I say trusting, you are always the final authority over your experience. No matter how loving your guide seems, your own discernment is primary. You must always listen carefully and be ready to say, “No, that doesn't feel right,” because there IS negative energy out there. And negativity can masquerade as positivity. In other words, something could have come in and said, “I'm Aaron” and said something negative. Barbara had to maintain a sharp discernment. To listen to what was said. To see if the ego liked hearing, “You're right. You're special. He's wrong,” whatever, and say, “No, that's not what I'm after.” Discernment. Awareness. Watching how the ego grabs hold of something and being willing to say no. “Yeah, I want this lifejacket, but no, it's not what I need.”

So, we have two primary areas of support in which to direct attention, guidance and loving kindness and other expressions of the heart.

Looking at resistance, at fear, at holding on to the old habits, even though at some level you say you don't want them. Looking at this. Looking at your relationship with what comes up. Your relationship with your own fear or anger, with your ego. Seeing what kind of resistance there is and then, practice with those tools that help you move past resistance: connecting with your guidance, and working with loving kindness.

In that moment where self-judgment comes up, perhaps, feelings of unworthiness, self-anger, instead of saying, “No, I won't be angry,” you say, “Ah, this is hard. Here's anger,” right there you're changing the habitual pattern. Instead of continuing the anger and negativity, you're saying it doesn't have to be continued. Even in this moment of pain there can be kindness.

If you keep doing that with persistence, the pattern is going to change. When anger comes up, you will greet it with, “Ah, here's anger.” Give it a cup of tea, sit it down by your fire. Don't chase it away with a stick. It has come because conditions were present. You will give it tea and not get into a dialogue with it. No talking, just “Shh, drink your tea.”

Because, we dialogue with our anger. Do you know what I mean by that? “I shouldn't be angry.” Or, “Who's to blame?” Forget all that, just, “what is the experience in this body, right now, of anger, of contraction, of tension?” And “how can there be more kindness for this human that is thusly experiencing it?”

Some of you are thinking-- you know I'm telepathic and I'm getting a question from a number of you, “I'm skeptical. I don't really believe I have guides, so how can I open to them?” Your guides don't mind if you're skeptical. They won't be upset. Simply know, “skepticism.” What is the experience of skepticism? How does that feel in the body? “Skeptical, skeptical, skeptical.” Is there tension in the belly? In the chest? In the throat? Where does skepticism sit in you? Where do you feel skepticism? How does it feel? Is it tight? Is it open and flowing?

There's no one place where you feel it. Different of you will feel it in different places. One person I spoke to and asked that question said, “My toes curl.” There's no right or wrong way to feel skepticism, just get to know how it feels in you. Mindfulness, “Ah, skepticism has arisen. Right there with the skepticism, can I be present with a deeper knowing of possibilities?” It's not a statement, “I'm wrong to be skeptical, of course guidance exists.” And it's not a statement, “Of course it can't exist.” It's just, “Who knows? Let's just stay open and see what happens.”

Barbara takes many people to Brazil. One woman, on her first trip there, had been writing to Barbara for several months, saying, “I'm very skeptical. Is that going to stop my work there? They won't be able to work with me because I'm so skeptical.” Barbara kept saying, “You don't have to get rid of the skepticism.” The woman said, “I should have faith.” You don't have to have faith. Just go and see what happens.

The second night there, before her first day at the Casa, something tilted her bed and she fell on the floor. She just rolled off the bed onto the floor. She got up. The bed seemed flat. But she felt something had pushed her out of bed. She got back in the bed. She started to go back to sleep, and again, something pushed her on the floor. So she stopped and said, “Who's pushing me?”, and she says she felt embraced, enveloped with warmth and loving energy. And she said, “I'm imagining this.” And again, push! If skepticism arises, just be aware of it.

So, what I'm asking you to do is not to believe in your guides but simply to allow the possibility that there is something there available to you, loving you, able and willing to guide you, and just see what happens.

Let me pause my talk here. If time permits, I will add to this talk later, but for now I'd like to hear your questions, both from those in the class and those not in the class. For those in the class, I'd like to hear especially what's been happening as you've looked at your intentions and your habitual patterns. Have you come to see what blocks those intentions better? How are you relating to that blockage? For those not in the class, anything you want to ask is okay.

Q: I was wondering if it's possible to have guides that are negative, at all.

Aaron: Yes, guides may be positively or negatively polarized. If you're receiving negative guidance it's because at some level you're inviting it. Certainly, just as there are humans who are negative and humans who are positive, there are spirits who are negative and those who are positive.

If you are experiencing negative guidance, it's up to you to say no, just as if you have a human comrade who keeps saying, “You should get rid of the boyfriend. He's no good. You should get rid of your car. It's a junker.” --whatever, “This isn't really what I want to hear. I like this boyfriend. I like my car. I think they're fine. So maybe this isn't the guidance I want. I want to talk to a different friend who has a more positive outlook.”

You learn to say no, and learning to say no is a vital part of your spiritual growth. It deepens your grounding in your own truth each time you say no to something negative. It's not that the negativity is out to get you in some bad way, but rather, it's giving you the opportunity to center into your own deepest truth and find the courage to say no to that which is not resonant with that truth. Okay?

Q: Do we all have access to loving guidance?

Aaron: Absolutely. But, I think here of the person who perhaps drinks a lot or uses drugs and is surrounded by friends who drink and use drugs, and there are plenty of people out there who don't. This person is getting more and more into a hole, into a bad place. Being sick, caught up in this negativity, continually seeking escape through drugs and drink. He's got access to loving friends, but as long as he keeps himself in a dark place he may think there's nobody else out there that he could talk to. He or she has got to be ready to say to himself or herself, “I have had enough of this negative pattern. I see how it's destroying me so I seek help.”

Probably many of you have experienced-- at a time when you're feeling very sad or angry and caught up in it and finally say, “No, I'm not going to keep this anger going.”-- suddenly somebody walks into your life who is just the person you need, just the friend you need, able to help you see the anger more clearly and release some of it. Have you had that experience? Synchronicity. But it's more than synchronicity; it's your direct invitation through saying, “No, I'm not going that way. What's available this way?”, and then you invite it in.

It really comes from your intention, your decision, “I'm not going to keep drowning in this waterlogged lifejacket. I can swim okay without the lifejacket, but when I put this heavy, waterlogged thing on it pulls me down. As soon as the wind blows and there are waves, I'm drowning. But I'm so attached to the lifejacket; how do I take it off?” Whatever the habitual patterns are that are drowning you, how do you find freedom from them or even begin the process?

Q: It's more a comment than a question, but, I appreciate that you said at some level you invite it, the negative influence, into your life.

Aaron: You invited them in for a reason, usually, either because at some level it seemed supportive or an escape from something that was more frightening, or perhaps because you were going to use this relationship with negativity to learn greater compassion. Negativity is not all bad. Negativity helps to teach us compassion.

Q: Explain that.

Aaron: I'll explain it with a story by a man named Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher. He had a man in his community whom everybody hated. The man didn't do his share of the work. He was rude. He didn't bathe himself; he had foul body odor. Eventually the man said, “I'm fed up. Nobody appreciates me” and he left. Gurdjieff went after him and invited him back. He offered to let him come back for free, though people paid to live in this community. The people in the community were upset. “How could you invite him back? He's horrible!” Gurdjieff said, “He is your teacher of compassion. Without him how are you going to learn compassion, for him and for yourself? If everybody here is loving and there's no negative catalyst, how do you learn compassion?” Do you understand?

I have a quick question. Q, have you talked to the Casa entities from your heart (this is a person who has been to Brazil, to John of God)  about your question, and about supportive guidance to reach higher loving guides?

Q: Not wholeheartedly.

Aaron: Maybe it's time to start. What's blocking you from asking wholeheartedly? You don't have to answer that for me; that's your question. You might take that to the entities and ask them for support to be able to ask wholeheartedly, to work with the resistance. Start where you are. Okay?

Q: I've been working with impatience. I find it's a little like micromanaging. The first thing that I noticed was an awareness of the impatience and an awareness of the part that's not impatient, the part that's patient. Then a desire to be impatient, not patient! And then as I kept watching, over time I noticed that I'm aware of the impatience and then there's this pause of nothing, space, I guess. Then I'm noticing that there's anxiety, I think, that comes in...

Aaron: This comes back to, what does the impatience protect me from? The anxiety is not about whether you can work with impatience, but anxiety; what does anxiety give you?

Q: Right. If I am not impatient, then what do I do? So I need to work with the anxiety, I think, next. (begins related question...)

Aaron: Could we try a completely different approach? Ask, who is impatient?

Q: I have a related question, that is, can I be in a hurry without being impatient?

(laughter) Signer: That was a roll of the eyes, for the people on the phone!

Aaron: Can you?

Q: I'm trying it. I'm not sure.

Aaron: You can move quickly without being impatient. “Being in a hurry” implies impatience. There's a grasping energy to being in a hurry. Can you feel the difference between being in a hurry, the tension of it, and moving quickly, which can be tension-free?

Think of a runner in a race. The runner is moving quickly. If that runner is impatient, “in a hurry,” in the sense of tension, she wouldn't have the free-moving energy to run fast. She's got to run fast from a place of emptiness.

Q: What I'm thinking of is, it usually happens on my way here. I'm usually in a hurry to get here on time, and then I get impatient with drivers in front of me, around me, traffic lights, you know, all that. So I can't move my body in the car like a runner can, I have to sit...

Aaron: I am laughing. I'm remembering somebody coming to a weekend retreat who arrived very stressed, very agitated, and said, “I was hurrying to get here through all that traffic.” After they got off the highway there were some miles of country road, I said, “Why didn't you just pull over and meditate?” “I needed to get here to meditate!” What are the stories? Just watch the stories but with a touch of kindness to this human who is caught in those particular stories. Come back with the question, “Who is agitated? Who is in a hurry?” because that directs you to the one who is not agitated and in a hurry that is right there with the one that is agitated.

So the rest of you, what we're talking about, here, I teach often: that which is aware of anger is not angry. That which is aware of fear is not afraid. That which is aware of feeling rushed is not rushed. That pure awareness is there.

When you bring attention to the one who is agitated, angry, afraid, filled with tension, and ask, “Who is it?” it's the ego. You don't hate the ego; you hold it with kindness, this human that's thusly conditioned. But also, right there with the agitation, with the feeling, “It's not going fast enough, I should be there early,” whatever, is that which says, “Ah, forget about it. Just relax.”

There will be the stories. “People will be angry at me for being late. I'll interrupt things. I'll miss something.” Just begin to look at the stories.

Q: I am aware of both the impatient part and the patient part, but I continually choose the impatient one.

Aaron: Let's hear from some others who are impatient, who experience impatience. How does that feel? How do you work with it?

Q; In traffic, for example, if I get upset with another driver, I'll monitor my breathing and heart rate to keep it the same as it was before I got upset. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

Aaron: Thank you. Others?

Q: I had the good fortune to hear a teaching that I guess was wrong.  I heard the Hebrew word for “wait” meant “to be with God”. But later I learned that's not correct. (But it is the idea.)

Aaron: So when you equate “wait” with “be with God,” it takes you back to that spaciousness. Just be here in this moment with the Divine. The word is incorrect but the idea holds; when you hear “wait” in your heart, pause and hold space for the divine.

Q: Yes, it's a gift to spend time with the Divine...

Aaron: And what do you do with the tension of impatience, the little voice that says, “You should be there.”?

Q: Oh, well, I usually swear and shout (laughter) and get it out of me.

Aaron: Others, about impatience?

Q: I find it helps to leave 15 minutes earlier (laughter) so I don't drive at 80 mph to get here...

Aaron: This is a good question, for those of you who are habitually late. What is it that makes you late? Now, some of you may simply have to work until 6pm and then you have to be someplace 90 minutes away at 7:00pm. Can't do it. You may have to tell the place you have to get to at 7:00, “I'm always going to be 15 minutes late. There's nothing I can do about it.” Can you do that? Make that statement and relax. But if you have the option to leave 15 minutes earlier and you don't, what's going on?

Let me put it in a different way. What do you get out of your impatience? It's the same question, what does my anger protect me from? If I didn't have this anger, what would I be experiencing? What does impatience protect me from? If I didn't have this impatience, what might I be experiencing? And I think for some of you, it may be a sense of inadequacy, sadness, fear. “If I show up on time and I don't get it, something is wrong with me.” Some kind of feeling like that.

Each of you is unique. I can't say what it is for any one of you, only, this is where your spiritual path leads you to explore. It's a wonderful exploration. Impatience is not the enemy; impatience is simply a feeling, an emotion, a body tension, that has arisen out of conditions. What is this teaching me? Why is there this habitual pattern of impatience with myself or with others? What if I was not feeling impatient right now? Sometimes it's a huge breakthrough. Don't be afraid of these experiences.

Q, I want to say to you here, and this must be taken very carefully, we are not attempting to fix impatience, but I would like to suggest when the timing is appropriate, in other words, not when you're driving your car but sometime when you're at home and feeling impatience, to hold these male and female crystals that you have (from her trip to the Casa)  and work deeply with that energy, which is going to bring you into this much more male/female balance and help you understand the experience of impatience and what it protects you from.

Q: So, hold the crystals and...

Aaron: Just hold the crystals and breathe in, “Breathing in, I am aware of impatience. Breathing out, I smile to the impatience.” Feeling the physical aspect of the impatience. Inviting the crystals to help bring you into balance, because impatience and that kind of tension is very unbalanced. Invite the crystals to help bring you into balance, and ask for help from your guides for why you hold the attitude of imbalance. You have to be ready-- as Q said, she doesn't want to hear it-- you have to be ready to hear it. This is how we work with resistance-- with kindness and spaciousness and compassion for this human who's been clinging to the lifejacket for 20 years. No force, ever. But persistent intention to grow past that which has been self-defeating.


Q: Our homework last class was to look at our box and what prevents us from maybe being outside of our box. In looking at that, I realized I created this life with so many things that need me: children, chickens, four gardens, bees. Then I realized this was just a very creative way to enable my resistance to sitting.

Aaron: What you must remember is, you can do your living with your children, with your home, with your parents, with all the demands that are made on you, without closing yourself into the box. Do you remember the line in the Metta Sutra, he's describing this wise, compassionate being, and he says, “Unburdened with duties.” “Let them be ... ...able and upright, unburdened with duties, and skillful in their ways,” loving and so on. Certainly the Buddha is not saying one should not have duties. What does it mean to be unburdened with duties?

So, your choices is not to end your affiliations with things that ask you to support them but to explore, how can I do this without a sense of burden, and without pulling myself into a box?

Q: I know that... my point is that I just realized how huge my resistance to it is, which means there is a huge amount of fear...

Aaron: Then, daughter, be gentle with yourself. Start with a commitment to 10 minutes daily practice, starting with metta for 5 or 6 minutes. Just working with metta, this being, feeling the tension. Simple metta, “Breathing in, I am aware of the tension. Breathing out, I smile to the tension. Breathing in, I am aware of fear held in the belly. Breathing out, I hold the belly softly, with kindness.”

As the body begins to open a bit, then just spend 2 or 3 minutes, at first, with vipassana. Let it open gradually. If you come into it saying, “I'm going to do this,” that's just more harshness to yourself. The ground for the fear will not reveal itself through force but only through kindness. But, you can't run away with it and say, “I'm not going to sit. It's too hard.” Can you sit, just for a short time, with kindness, acknowledging fear?

In the anthology Being Bodies, Barbara has a chapter about becoming deaf, and the beginning years of being deaf and learning to open to the situation. She originally had included that material as part of Cosmic Healing and cut it because of the length of the book, since it was available in another book. She talks there about sitting, how hard it was to sit, covered with sweat, body aching. Nothing she had ever done felt so difficult. And how she worked with kindness.

I think the book is in the Deep Spring library. I know it's also in the bookstore. Take a look at that chapter. See if that helps give you some guidance as to tools that you might use. Stephen Levine, in A Gradual Awakening, also talks about sitting with a lot of agitation and tension and resistance. So you might read what he has to say in there, as well. Kindness.

Other questions or things to share?

Q: A philosophical question. Does time exist in the other bardos, and does it not exist here also? Is it just an illusion?

Aaron: Your time here, your illusion of linear time, is an illusion. In the bardos there is the experience of, let me say this carefully, the simultaneous experience of simultaneity. That one perspective of consciousness wants to see in a linear way because it is conditioned to see in a linear way, and at the same time, an awareness that there is no linearity of time, that it's all conditioned. Because at that level, within the bardo state, you're not caught in the conditioning, but the conditioning still comes up as habitual pattern.

Q: A word I'm not familiar with is bardo.

Aaron: Thank you. I asked last time that people who did not know a word I used would ask, and I appreciate your asking. The bardo state is a word for the state into which consciousness moves between lifetimes. Very simple explanation: in between lifetimes you are in the astral plane, and we might say you are in the bardo state. Astral is another word. There are different states and stages of consciousness, which I've spelled out very clearly in the book Cosmic Healing. Astral is one. In the bardo state you are on the astral plane.

For now, simply know that you are evolving consciousness-- let me phrase this carefully, you are simultaneously evolving from here to there, and you are also already both here and there. You're not going anywhere. The whole idea of evolution is an illusion. And yet it helps you to hold that illusion because you think you're growing. What you're really doing is waking up to what you truly are and have always been, and at that point you know there's not been anyplace to go or anything to do, you've always been there. But until you know you've been there, you just keep pushing to get there.

Q: I noticed this week that my need to control and be perfect is trying to keep me from being blamed, my biggest fear.

Aaron: That's an important insight. Good. Now work with metta with it. This human who is afraid, can this human be touched with kindness? It's not bad that this fear has come, it's simply conditioning. It's a result of eons of conditioning. But it's no longer suitable to your highest intentions. You can't just boot it out; only kindness will release it.

Q: Through journaling I realized that I blame. “It's not my fault!” So I'm learning to take responsibility.

Aaron: Again, an important insight. There's a wonderful poem ...

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~

(There's a Hole in My Sidewalk)

Many of you know it. We've talked about it here before. It talks about how this person evolves from blame to simply choosing a different street.

Q: Sometimes it seems as if loving kindness is simply the answer to everything. Am I just being simplistic?

Aaron: I'd say a mix of loving kindness and presence. My book, Presence, Kindness, and Freedom emphasizes these two important factors. Loving kindness without presence can become maudlin or mechanical. Presence without loving kindness becomes forceful, pushing.

Q: And presence is to be authentic, to be real?

Aaron: It's to be however things are. Presence might lead you to see that you're asleep. When I say asleep, I don't mean literally asleep but spaced out, somewhat. That which is aware of being spaced out is not spaced out. And when you notice that spacing out, can there be kindness for the human who has fallen into that trap, spacing out? On the other hand, presence may lead you to see anxiety, the need to be on top of everything, trying to be super-present. And that which is aware of that need for super-presence does not have that need. That's based on fear, also.

What I like to ask people to watch is contraction in the body. When there's contraction, there's grasping of some sort-- trying to get it right, trying to fix, trying to get away and escape, wanting to be somewhere else. Mindfulness in your sitting practice will watch contraction. That which is aware of contraction is not contracted. You begin to see this big mind, Buddha mind, Christ mind, this big awareness, that's open, energy flowing through, connected to everything, uncontracted, and how strong the pattern is for the human to move into a place of contraction, which I consider to be a kind of armoring to protect the self, armor the self, close it in.

Now, as humans you are never going to become completely unarmored; don't expect that of yourselves. Simply be mindful when armoring comes up--”Ah, armoring. Right here is fear, grasping, aversion, whatever it may be. Armoring. Breathing in, I am aware of the armoring.” Feel it in the belly. That's one of the first places to armor itself. “Breathing out, I smile to the armoring.” Soft belly.

There is a beautiful meditation from Stephen Levine called “soft belly”, a wonderful meditation. Opening the belly, opening the body. Gradually, awareness steps in so that when there is contraction, there's faster awareness of the contraction, and you're not so likely to enact the contraction or the causes for it of fear, anger, or whatever. Okay?

Is there one more question? And then we'll do a guided meditation to close.

Q: I did the push exercise with my friend, and I realized when irritations come in small doses, they're mostly forgiven and forgotten. But when they are more frequent, I build my stories around them to maintain the irritation.

Aaron: Just note, “stories.” Can the stories arise and awareness note them without self-blame and judgment that they've arisen? The arising of the stories is both a sign of the force of the habitual patterning and is a sign of the degree of fear or discomfort. You're asking yourself to go out of your comfort zone, and stories come up. That's one of the ways of trying to come back into the comfort zone. Can there be kindness?

If I could teach you all one thing this year, it would be compassion for yourselves. You are angels, angelic, beautiful presences, and you've had such courage to come here in these earthsuits, incarnate and live this heavy density human experience. And then you blame yourself because you can't get it perfect! If your intention was to get it perfect, you would not have incarnated. You would have stayed there in the astral plane where there's no veil, no forgetfulness of your divinity, and it's much easier. Down here, when you forget who you are, it's hard.

You are not here incarnate to get everything perfect. This is an ungraded classroom; there's no such thing as an A+. You are simply here to learn compassion, as with the Gurdjieff story that I told earlier. Everything that comes along that pushes you is a reminder to compassion. Presence is a tool that you can practice in your meditation practice, and that helps you to maintain the spaciousness of compassion even when it starts to get shoved aside.

We have about 12 minutes. I'm going to give you a choice. My first thought was simply to lead a compassion meditation, but somebody brought up the pushing exercise, and there's enough space for you to partner off, not standing up but just sitting and pushing. Push... (demonstrating pushing) The one who is pushing is mindful of how it feels to push and the other one mindful of what comes up when pushed.

(Aaron takes a vote on whether to do the pushing exercise or the compassion meditation, and everybody votes for the compassion meditation. Laughter.)

Okay, we'll go with the compassion meditation, then.

Guided Compassion Meditation

Breathing in. Bring into your heart and mind an image of someone who is dear to you. It may be a parent or grandparent, a dear friend or teacher, someone who has been a mentor, taken care of you. This person has suffered. Often when we're on the receiving end we don't see deeply into that person's experience.

Speak to him or her now from your heart.

You have suffered. You have known loneliness, fear, and confusion. You have known pain in your body and in your mind. You have not been able to hold on to what you love, or to keep yourself separate from that which seems to threaten. You have suffered.

May you be free of suffering. May your heart open and flower. May you find the healing that you seek. May you love and be loved. May you be happy and find peace.

Please continue silently, using my wishes or whatever your heart prompts, offering them to this dear one. I'll be quiet for a few minutes...

Normally we would now bring in a neutral person, but for lack of time we'll skip that stage. If you do this on your own, bring in a neutral person. Note their suffering and wish them well.

Now I'm going to ask you to let this loved one step aside, and to bring in a difficult person. Please don't invite the most difficult person in your life-- not yet, you need to build up some spiritual muscles for that. Start with somebody who's a little bit of a challenge. But notice any resistance to letting them into your energy field and heart.

You have suffered. You have known loneliness, fear, and confusion. You have known pain in your body and in your mind. You have not been able to hold on to what you love, or to keep yourself separate from that which seems to threaten. You have suffered.

I feel anger at the ways you have hurt me, not ready to offer forgiveness, but I see that you have suffered and I can wish you well.

May you be free of suffering. May your heart open and flower.

I caution you not to use force, here. If it‘s too hard to wish this person these wishes, wish what you can. Just, “May you be happy,” or whatever feels right. How does it feel as the heart opens a little to wish happiness to one who has brought you pain?

May you find the healing that you seek. May you love and be loved. May you be happy and find peace.

Please continue silently...

And now, letting this difficult person go, invite your own self into your heart. Sometimes we are our own most difficult people. Speaking to yourself:

I have suffered. I have known loneliness, fear, and confusion. I have known pain in my body and in my mind. I have not been able to hold on to what I love, or to keep myself safe from that which seems to threaten. I have suffered.

May I be free from suffering. May my heart open and flower. May I find the healing that I seek. May I love and be loved. May I be happy and find peace.

Let your heart prompt you as to the wishes that you need to hear from yourself to yourself...

May all beings everywhere be free from suffering. (bell)

May all beings find themselves living in the radiance of that great Heart we all share. (bell)

May all beings be happy and find perfect peace. (bell)

Whatever benefit we find from this gathering tonight, we offer those benefits out to all beings for the highest good of all beings and with love. May all beings benefit by our work. (bell)

Thank you. When I bow in this way, people sometimes ask me, who am I bowing to? I'm bowing to that love that's part of all of us. I'm bowing to all of our own highest divinity and radiance, recognizing namaste.

Namaste means the highest wisdom and love within me bows in respect to the highest wisdom and love within you. Namaste. (Group: Namaste.) It's a way of recognizing your divinity and my own divinity, remembering it.

Thank you for being here with me tonight... My love to you all. I'm going to release the body to Barbara. We are holding hands, just for those who don't know, when I release the body, it's empty. Barbara is disoriented tumbling back into an empty shell. But when there's a hand holding the body, it helps support her and gives her something to ground on. Her consciousness can ground on this energy coming in to her. So that's very helpful. Good night.

PAGE  14