October 17, 2011 Monday, Cosmic Healing Class

Aaron: My blessings and love to all of you. I am Aaron. Our work here is not to have you create an intention and give you the idea, “Okay, now you should do it,” but to help you clarify both the intentions and the reality, that from the human perspective there may be some resistance.

There are two necessary parts to this. First is having a deeper sense of your intention. That is, permitting yourself to open consciously to an intention, which sometimes has been frightening to open to. Second is looking at the resistance: if I open fully to this intention, what might happen to me? Will it be safe?  Then you find the tools to help you with the resistance, which tools are: working with the open heart, with the brahma vihara practices; working with your guidance; and working with your energy, working with chakras, which we'll get into in a future week.

I want to be sure nobody is too goal-oriented, saying,  “At the end of this class I'm going to be out of the box and out there, able to do this!” But rather, “At the end of this class, I'm going to be more open-hearted to myself, able to more clearly envision what I choose and to be more open to the parts of me that are resistant.” That means not hating those parts but taking care of them, attending to them.

Manifestation follows intention. There are always going to be parallel intentions, the free-flowing one and the closed one. Reaching out, letting go, leaping out of the box and then rebuilding the box, wanting to be safe.

I want to lead you in a guided meditation for a few minutes. I ask you to close your eyes. Walk with me over the dunes. (pauses are given but not noted in the transcript. Please read this slowly and give yourself time with it) We can hear the ocean in the distance, waves breaking on the shore. The sun is warm this morning but there is a cool breeze blowing in from the sea, with that lovely salt smell of the ocean. The beach is one of fine sand, clean and soft, and there's nobody near you. People a hundred yards away one way, somebody else  a distance another way. Far enough that you don't hear voices or feel any disturbance.

Spread your towel on the sand and lie down or sit in such a way as you can feel the warmth from the sun, feel the breeze, see the waves. A few gulls flying overhead. Feel the deep joy and ease. A perfect day. Feel your energy field opening within all this natural beauty. Feeling the elements within the self, all in balance and open. Sheer joy and presence.

In the distance you hear car doors slamming. Do you feel any tension? And then loud rap music. Coming closer. “It's a big beach. They'll walk a distance away.” But they don't. Suddenly there are a dozen teenagers settled right there within a few yards of where you're sitting.

You had observed as you came to the beach the oddity that there were a number of large panels of plywood. They were just to the side of where you sat. For whatever reason, to get up and walk down the beach and isolate yourself again is not a possibility. So lift up one of these panels of plywood. It has a brace on the back so it will stand. Set it up so the teenagers with their music are on the other side, and put in earplugs. Now you cannot see them; you cannot hear them. You cannot hear the gulls or the ocean, either, but you don't hear the loud music.

Sit for awhile. And then suddenly there's a family, two families with 6 or 7 young children, and they sit just on the other side of you. The children are running around making noise, kicking sand. Put up another piece of wood, 4x8 plywood. Stand it up. Your earplugs are good. The children are screened out, too.

A cold wind is blowing in from the sea and you don't have an extra jacket. So put up a third piece of plywood to block the wind. You can no longer see the water, but you're not cold anymore.

And then, in a few minutes, some dogs come running down the beach, wet dogs who have been swimming and are covered in sand.. They run into your 3-sided enclosure, dropping sand and water on the blanket. Quick, put up a fourth piece of plywood-- get them out of there!

Ah, well, you can lie back on your blanket and see the sky. But now the sun is very hot. Grab another piece of plywood and lay it over the top to block the sun. And here you are in a four-sided fortress with wooden roof. Feel any tensions in you-- aversion to the teenagers, aversion to the family with loud children, aversion to the dogs, aversion to the cold. You are well-protected now. Are you happy?

Just sit with it, feeling yourself in this dark fortress. You cannot have both: to armor yourself into this shell, and to be touched by the sun, the sea, the breeze. Without any judgment, no “I should,” just gently allow the intention to arise, to reconnect with this beautiful landscape into which you have come to spend your day.

You can do it slowly. Push the wall on the ocean side open 6 inches. There's some breeze but you can see through. And push the ceiling panel open 6 inches so that you have some sunlight. But it still feels cramped. It was so beautiful to look out and see the dunes and the mile-long sweep of beach. What do you think those children are doing now? Feel the intention to release the walls. Slide that panel open 6 inches. And the dogs, perhaps they're gone. Slide that panel that faces the dunes open. And open the panel that looked out onto the teenagers with their music. There they are, dancing on the beach. And the children are digging a sand castle. The dogs are lying right there at the opening, panting after their run on the beach.

Letting go. Opening it more and more. What leads you to the ability to fully take down the walls? You're about to take down the wall next to the dog when he gets up and begins washing your face. Can you allow it? Pat him and then tell him to lie down. The children are flinging sand. Gently ask them, “Please be careful where you throw the sand so I don't get it in my face.” and then enjoy watching them. The teenagers, seeing you've taken down the walls, one of them comes over and says, “Come on-- dance with us!” Can you do it? Or, simply politely say, “No, thank you, but I'll enjoy watching you.”

I'm going to be quiet for a few minutes. I want you to explore what invites and supports opening...

You may open your eyes. There is always going to be the desire to be safe. This is the human, the mammal that you are. And there is always going to be the aspiration toward deep connection, which is the spirit that you are. They are not mutually exclusive. You are spirit here in this mammal body and have certain instincts of self-protection.

What allows you to observe when you build walls, “Ah, building walls.”? What helps you to come out? Kindness, of course. Not criticizing or judging this human for putting up the wall, but simply noting, “Putting up a wall, fear. Fear is present. Breathing in, I am aware of the fear. Breathing out, I smile to the fear with kindness. I do not condemn the fear, but I will not be self-identified with it or possessed by it.”

Ask your guides for help. I do want to talk a bit about how this has been, how you have worked with opening to guidance, as per the exercises we gave previously . I want to do that carefully so there's nobody that feels, “Everybody else got it and I didn't.” The guidance is there. You will open to it in your own time.


Aaron: What helps you not react? What tools do you have?

Q: Awareness.

Aaron: Yes, that's the primary one. Just to be mindful, contracting, contracting. I'm going to try something in a minute. I'm going to give a loud yell, and I'm warning you I'm going to yell so you're going to be expecting it. I want you just to watch what happens in the body and in your energy field when I give out this yell. It's not a surprise that it's coming. Right now, the energy field is open, or maybe it's a little bit tense in expectation-- (loud shout!)

Can you feel it? What happened? Contracting? Then what happens to the contraction? Is it still there? Are there still ripples of contraction? Half of you, yes. Breathing in, I am aware of the contraction. Breathing out, I smile to the contraction.

There's going to be contraction. Things come. We contract. We metaphorically put up a wall. We look out and see, “Do I really need the wall? Is it safe?” Or we stay behind the wall and build a lifetime of habitual patterning of living behind walls.

When there is the intention to open the heart and to live in a state of connection with all things, that becomes the guiding light toward the manifestation of release of the walls. There has to be that subtle intention, even the possibility, “What if I release some of these walls? What if I open my heart?”

We can look at this in a situation where somebody has done something that hurt you deeply. There has been enormous rage, a feeling of betrayal, grief and pain. What allows the beginning, not even of forgiveness, just of compassion? What allows you to begin the process of dismantling that wall? There has got to be the intention. You have different intentions, but for all of you the heart of your shared intentions was to live with more ease, spaciousness, and connection in the world, more in connection and service to all beings, more in joy.

When you keep remembering that intention and coming back to the clear comprehension practice, “Is my holding these walls suitable to my highest purpose? If not, what will help support the release of it?” This is what we want you to work with in the next two weeks. What is my highest purpose right now? I don't mean the ultimate highest purpose, but what is it you are moving toward right now? What walls are you putting up to hold yourself in a safe place? Figurative or literal, but a where is a hardening of the heart with separation? And does holding yourself in that place of separation support your purpose?

This becomes complex because you must also acknowledge, “Part of my purpose is to keep this human safe.” Where is ultimate safety to be found? That's one to explore in your meditation. Is the ultimate safety found in separation or in letting go into the infinite? Letting go into the, we call it emptiness of self, into that vast spaciousness of being.

Are there questions?

(Q&A not transcribed)

Aaron: There's a wonderful story told of Ajahn Chah. He is no longer alive, but he was a senior meditation master within this Theravadan tradition. He came to teach at IMS as a guest teacher. He had people doing walking meditation on the grounds, two hundred people walking like that (demonstrating slow walking practice), and Ajahn Chah would walk up to one and say, “Are you suffering much today?” He just walked around touching people, bringing them back into the present moment, into their body, and asking them, “In this moment, where is the suffering?”

From my perspective the suffering is often in keeping oneself in the box through old conditioning. By that, I mean keeping to the old myths of who you thought you were supposed to be, had to be, and how unsafe it felt not to be what was expected. It may be conditioned from the outer world. It may be conditioned from your inner experiences. Being the angry one may have kept you safe, being the helpful one or the good one, the pleasing one, the strong one, the weak one.

So, as we look as the intentions, begin to see the intention toward freedom is really the intention to release self-identification with this box, and to find that you do have the capability to step out of it, and then to ask yourself, what tools best support this intention?

So I'd like you to explore that in these two weeks. What tools help best when you do find yourself caught in the box, and how does it feel to get out?  If you find yourself back in there in 5 minutes, that's okay, don't judge yourself. Just note you're back in the box.

AM: And there are examples in Chapters 1 through 5, which you should be done with by next time.

Aaron: But don't base this on Barbara's experience. Use her experience as a reminder and take it back into your own experience.

(Q regarding situations that are non-negotiable, isn't it better to avoid it)

Aaron: But there's no box there, Q. This is free will choice and wisdom and compassion. You're not saying, “I'm the one who cannot cope with this situation,” you're saying, “I choose to cope by stepping aside from the situation.” You are not caught in a negative belief about the self, although you don't want to be caught in what I might call positive but illusory beliefs about the self, either. If you are a novice skier and you climb off the top of the chair lift and look down on the Black Diamond slope and say, “Oh, I can ski down that,” you're going to end up with a broken leg. There's got to be some reality here, what you can handle and what you do not yet have the skill to handle. So it's fine to step aside but there's no story behind it, just wisdom that knows the present ability. But it's from a place of openheartedness, spaciousness, compassion, not fear and tension. Can you feel the difference?

(Q on did the impetus that got ourselves into the box in the beginning ever have validity?)

Aaron: It had validity for most of you in this or a past lifetime when it was created... (example of abused child creating a box of belief of unworthiness because it‘s safer) It's the lifejacket that you're still carrying... (example of attending a party, unworthiness dictating who you approach to talk to)

Impulse energy, ...on another level. You're standing under a tree. You hear a loud crack and you jump aside. A big branch falls down. That impulse saves your life. It did not necessarily come from a place of fear. Just as with my shout, there would be contraction when you heard the shout and it set the whole body into motion to move fast. But then, as soon as it lands, what are you going to do? Are you going to talk for five weeks about how the tree branch almost came down on your head and to avoid going out in the woods? Or are you just going to stop and breathe, say thank you. Something in me was aware, connected to the tree, aware of the danger, able to step out of the danger because my highest intention is not to get killed. It comes from a place of compassion. There's contraction but there's not long-held fear. Can you feel the difference?

Contraction will happen. The whole body contracts and opens, contracts and opens. The heart beats-- contracted, open, contracted, open. Hold your hand out as if you were going to receive something. I've got some wonderful candy or fruit to put in your hand. Bring the other hand up. Feel the hand reaching. Before you touch, feel the hand reaching. Can you feel a subtle tension in the open hand? Then touch and fold the fingers in and feel the tension release. Take it out. Hold the hand out gain. “I want more of that.” Tension. Touching. Closing in, release.

This is kyo energy, open. This is jitsu energy, reaching. The body works on a balance of kyo and jitsu energy. Thump, thump, thump. Or the ocean waves building up in jitsu energy, and slap! Hitting on the shore, flat, still, for a moment. And then jitsu again as the wave pulls out, builds up into another wave. At the crest of that wave, just before it starts to move forward, it's kyo again. And then it slaps down.

All life moves in this pattern of kyo/jitsu energy. Ideally it's balanced kyo/jitsu. When it's imbalanced, then you're in trouble. Jitsu energy, we think of logs floating down a river. They're banging into each other but they're moving. But then they come to a blockage. Gradually they squeeze together until they're frozen. There's no motion. It looks like kyo, doesn't it? Everything is still, but you can feel the power under it. If you open the dam, the logs rush out (sound effect).

A lot of you live in this state of, we call it hyper-kyo. The kyo energy is so jammed up that given the slightest opening, it explodes. Or you live in a state of quiescent kyo, out of balance where there's no incoming energy. Some of your ailments, like chronic fatigue syndrome, are these chronic kyo states. No jitsu energy coming in. You need a balance.

Impulse energy can be a positive jitsu movement that balances with the kyo and keeps you in balance. It's the stories that get you in trouble, the incessant stories, and no mindfulness of those stories.

(Q...) (about the pollution of neighbor's cigarette smoke in her new apartment.)

Aaron: Sometimes what you think you want is not what you really want. You wanted a wholesome, safe, comfortable place to live, but beyond that, you wanted to release and balance some old karma. As you do that, you may find that these smoking neighbors move out. Who knows? Can there be more of an open heart with them? Not with them so much as with yourself, with the whole situation. Compassion to yourself.

Okay. We did not get to speak about your experiences with opening to your guides...And I implore you all to practice with this in the coming weeks. Do not feel that you have to have some bolt of lightning experience of a spirit speaking to you. It can be very subtle.

One friend talks about wondering whether he was to move to the east coast or to stay in Michigan. He had sat in meditation for a couple of days with this question: to take that job or not? He went out and was taking a walk outside his house when a big truck came by that said, “Michigan Water” on the side. Well, that was just one truck. But then, two minutes later, another truck came by that said, “Michigan Produce”. There were 5 or 6, all in a row within 10 minutes. Michigan! Michigan! Michigan! Well, guidance was certainly trying to tell him something! He had the presence to read this and understand, something is trying to tell me I'm to stay here in Michigan. And it worked out well for him.

So, open to the guidance. Invite the guidance. Try the writing. But don't try to force how it comes through. If it doesn't come through in writing, okay. Put the pencil down and take a walk. See what spirit says to you from other sources.

It's 12 o'clock so we will end. My blessings and love to you all, and thank you for joining me on this wonderful exploration and journey. And thanks to Anna Marie for all the organizing you are doing to help people on this path.

I release the body to Barbara...