November 1, 2014 Day Six, Saturday: Remembering Wholeness at Geneva

November 1, 2014 Saturday Afternoon, Geneva Retreat

The Brother of Light speaks of forgiveness.

Aaron: Good afternoon. I am Aaron. What does it mean to meditate? To take just a few minutes to be fully present in this moment, in this room with loving sangha. To be present with this day with its blue clear sky, crisp but filled with sunshine, the autumn leaves still on the trees. Just to give your heart to complete presence. Whatever is in this moment is fine. If there's joy, let there be joy. Know the direct experience of joy. If there is sadness, know the direct experience of sadness. A twitch in the body, ease in the body. However the mind and body are, let them be and bring presence to them, and gratitude that you are alive, here in this moment.

You have not stumbled into the incarnation without purpose. You are here for a reason. The deeper understanding of that reason depends on presence. So let us sit for a few minutes quietly and then there will be more words, some talk from spirit and then time for questions and answers with John, Barbara, and myself.


Aaron: I am Aaron. The room is filled with loving spirit. There is one here who would speak with you. The name is not important. Simply call him Brother of Light, or Teacher, as I am a Brother of Light and a teacher. Aaron is not my name. It's simply a handy label for me that I've given to you. So this Brother would address you for a few minutes.

(Brother of Light incorporates with strong energy, and rises to walk into the room)

BOL: First, I love you dearly. Why are you here in the incarnation? I hope this week you are remembering some of the reasons that you were called to the earth. There is much suffering on this earth: hunger, fear, tyranny, and desolation. Those who live in fear enhance that desolation.

You came to teach love. It is as simple as that. You came to BE love. Not even to teach, just to BE love. That is all we can do. And it is sufficient.

Aaron points out the difference between attending to and fixing. There is nothing to fix, but we must pay the deepest attention to every place on earth where there is suffering, with a deep commitment to help raise the consciousness on earth through raising your own consciousness, through being love.

It is not so hard. When the Mother looks into your eyes, tension melts in you and you remember you are love. All of you, you are love. There is really nothing else on earth but love.

There are places on the earth that are caught in a much heavier consciousness, in confusion, in self-justification and the deep belief that they are right and all else is wrong, what we might call the magical and mythical consciousness, that are in opposition to everything that does not hold the same belief as the self.

You are here to hear and receive, to understand the interconnections, even with those who are deeply embedded in fear, tyranny, and hatred. As the one known as the Buddha has said, hatred is never resolved by hatred, only by love. You practice this in every moment, whenever anything arises in your experience that causes you to contract. There cannot be love in that contraction. But love is the answer to the contraction, the willingness to re-open the self. Ahhh... Notice the contraction and invite the release of it. When your energy field is thusly open, everything is possible. Love. The open heart. In my human lifetimes, this is all I came to teach; the power of love.

You think to yourself, "I do not have that strength. When there is something so terrible, I cannot help but contract and hate it." But I say unto you that you can. You have that capacity. It is your distrust of your capacity that keeps you trapped in fear. It is your distrust of your heart's ability to break open with pain and still know its intactness as the core of love.

The shell bursts open. The tender heart remains. And in that tender heart is the core of all healing. It is the core of everything that we do. Love.

Love is such an overused word. I do not mean the love of lovers for each other or a child for the mother, of friends for each other, but something so much greater. Love is your capacity to take everything that comes to you and hold it in the tender heart, feeling the heart shaking and even falling apart, but holding this core of presence, of witnessing.

It is from that core that you can reach out and attend to the suffering on the earth without any contraction or fear energy that would fix. Because in fixing there is a self trying to overpower something else, but in attending to there is simply setting back on its feet. Being willing to do it 10,000 times.

In some of my human lifetimes, and I have had many, I walked the earth and saw enormous suffering. Parts of me would quake with that suffering and want to escape. So I know how you feel when you experience it. Then I learned that holding onto a self-identity, as that human that must fix, only resulted in more suffering. I began to trust my capacity, growing into my final human lifetimes when I was able to hold all the suffering of the earth. (pauses to adjust equipment) I began to trust my capacity to know my divinity; to trust my capacity to hold the pain of the world; to take the pain of the world into myself and allow it to release through the self, and in that way, to attend to it.

This you also can do. It gives me so much joy that there are so many of you on this Earth, beings of light gathered here in this room, throughout your nation and throughout all the nations, that are so deeply committed to learning how to hold love despite fear, tension, and all the violence that surrounds your world. You are the Light of the world. You, not me. Or me also, but all of us. We are all the Light of the world, and together we do this.

I cannot come back into incarnation and do it myself. It would do no good. You would look to me and say, "O Brother, do it for us!" But now is the time for you to do it, all of you, and to trust your capacity to do this.

That is all I have to say. I love you all very much. I will answer a few questions, then give this discussion back to Aaron and also to John and the medium here.

Q: I ask for help in grounding and stabilizing this light that I am. (inaudible) to blossom, and to really take it to heart in <> myself, and trust it.

BOL: I do not hear a question. You know that help is given. She said, "I ask for help to stabilize and ground and live this light that I am." The help is all around you. All of you, you have only to ask. It is your illusion that you are caught up and separate from the Father/Mother/All That Is. When you meditate and you experience that connection, you start to trust it more.


Q: Tips for dealing with resistance.

BOL: Aaron would be better to answer that. Please save it. Others?

Q: To be more specific, when we see the horrible images on TV, should we turn off the TV and process that and attend to it right there?

BOL: Don't absorb into it. If it pulls you in with stories, fear, and fix-it energy, turn off the TV. To the degree you are able, keep watching the images. Did you do the tonglen meditation last night? Work with tonglen. Each of you is a field through which love can flow and be directed out to the places in the world where there is horror. Each of you, if you will open yourselves and relax the defenses, is a place that can draw in that fear and let it touch the heart and help in its release. The giving and taking of tonglen is not just something happening in your head; it's a real process. You have that power. You have enormous power, as you get used to it and begin to trust your capacity to hold that power.

Q: Can you speak some more about the process of going from head to heart?

BOL: Again, something Aaron would be better to speak about than me. He is more articulate in certain areas. But from my perspective, as soon as you feel it coming into the head, put your hand on your head. Ah! Head! Head! Then put the other hand on the heart. Remind yourself repeatedly: come back to the heart. Aaron will have more specific practices, but it really can be as simple as that.

Q: I thought I heard you say that love is not in the contraction. But I thought love is everywhere.

BOL: Love IS everywhere, but it cannot be expressed through the contraction. My phrasing was poor. Love is in the spaciousness and the contraction, but it can only express itself in spaciousness. The contraction locks it in. Like building a fence around it so it cannot pour out.

Q: When we do our work with love and light and positivity, are we really just only giving those of negativity a chance to choose a different karma?

BOL: That's only one piece of it. Yes, you are giving them an opportunity to consider a different karma. ReadThe Aaron/Q'uo Dialogues. Aaron and Q'uo go into this in quite a lot of depth, and it is a beautiful ongoing dialogue. But there's another piece to this.

When you give love as response to fear, you are modeling the possibility and the power of love. Those who are enmeshed in negativity desire power. They will choose the power; they will choose what seems most powerful. But here's the hitch. If they want power, they begin with wanting power for the personal self, service to self, because that is the hallmark of negativity. But they begin to discover that they cannot hold that power to the personal self, that it only can be power used out of the loving heart that holds everything. This perception can shift them from negative to positive polarity, that moment of "Aha!" At first it starts as service to self. "I can benefit more if I love." But once they open to the possibility of love it catches them. It draws them in. Service to self very gradually falls away. Then comes the shift in karma.

Q: And does this happen on the earth plane?

BOL: It happens on every plane. What you do here on the earth plane is, let me put it this way. Billions of sentient beings are watching the earth plane to take into their own hearts that positivity, that love is the most powerful force in the universe. There are many on the fence, so to speak, and they are learning from you throughout the universe. Again, Aaron and Q'uo speak to this in some very profound depth.

Q: I'm just wondering, it seems like there has to be an equilibrium point that's reached with this positive consciousness and energy...

BOL: ... A tipping point...

Q: A tipping point, yes, for humanity.

BOL: Yes, and you are approaching it. This is why so many of you with a strong intent to love have incarnated at this time, because your Earth–let me tell a, Aaron has told these stories.

Your Earth came into being as a divine experiment: is there a limit to compassion or is it infinite? Can the deepest compassion on Earth truly shift the amount of compassion in the whole universe? Many of us of the Brother/Sisterhood of Light hold this experiment dear, because we feel certain in our hearts that compassion is infinite, love is infinite, and that the whole universe has the potential to radiate this light.

Your Earth is a very powerful place. There are a great many places in the universe with sentient beings. Very few that have the catalysts that you have-- especially, the forgetting of who you are. If you come into an experience–Aaron, give me English words–if you come into an incarnate experience in some other realm with strong memory of who you are, then you're just working on doing. "This is who I am so I will bear true to who I am." But because of the forgetting on Earth, your heart is stretched, and then you come to trust the truth of the loving heart. And it is this truth that matters, not the will, but the truth of the heart that creates the tipping point.

Many of your children are very old souls, come also to help shift Earth into a deeply positive polarity and into higher non-dual consciousness, as a model of high consciousness for the universe. You are all agreed to come and participate in this movement. You are all committed. And each of what you take to be personal problems is just part of the teaching, to open to love even when there is fear. Aaron's bookHuman says this with great clarity.


Q: Can you talk about forgiveness, what supports forgiveness and what prevents forgiveness?

BOL: The old stories of judgment against the self and other block forgiveness. The belief that you cannot open with compassion, prevent forgiveness. In my final human lifetime, my primary lesson to you all was forgiveness. It is not an easy lesson.

Compassion is the ground for forgiveness. The move into what Aaron calls self-stories is the antithesis of forgiveness. But as soon as you get lost in those stories and remind yourself, "Come back, come back to the heart; the heart is the heart of compassion, " you shift into the positive polarity again. You are born with Love. And the mind is so easily filled with old stories, judgment, and separation.

This is where your free will is so important, because as each of you in a painful situation chooses compassion and forgiveness, you really do shift the vibration of the whole earth plane. Forgiveness does not mean condoning the harm done by others. Compassion is strong and able to say no, as I said no many times in my final lifetime here. Compassion never says no with hatred or fear. But it's very clear, "No, you may not harm."

Forgiveness takes self and other together and understands the pain of the other, where the other's voice and fear is coming from, and says no to the movements of harm that are grounded in that fear and often in that very elementary self-service consciousness.

Compassion and forgiveness invite others to raise themselves up into a higher consciousness. As you hold that higher consciousness stably, that's what invites others into it. (Let me have the microphone back. I am forcing this voice to reach the back of the room and it will become hoarse. Now that I'm seated we can use it again.)

Your own allowing yourself to rest more and more stably in this higher consciousness terrifies those who want to hold to a lower consciousness. This is where compassion comes in. You are giving them a catalyst that frightens them terribly, that threatens their whole base of self-centeredness, of service to self. If you judge them for their terror, it's only lower energy hitting them back; it's really what they want. But the more you can hold to that high loving energy, truly with compassion but still able to say, "No, you may not do this or that harm," the more it shifts them from their platform of service to self.


Q: Ego is an obstacle to my compassion, be that with others or myself.

BOL: Ego is not an obstacle to compassion. Belief in the ego, taking it as self and getting caught in its stories is an obstacle to compassion. Ego is just ego. It's part of the human experience. If you stub your toe, it hurts. You don't then hate the rock or the toe. You open your heart to yourself and you move the rock off your path.

Q: Would you suggest we step up our practice a bit? (laughter)

BOL:  Would I suggest you step up your practice a bit? 24/7! (laughter) But it doesn't have to be sitting on the cushion 24/7. It cannot be. Daily time on the cushion or chair, silent, and taking it out into the world, into the marketplace 24/7.

Q: Where do the elements of blaming come from? What is the root for blaming?

BOL: Fear. Fear, when one is caught of the stories of fear because one has not learned how to work skillfully with fear and then one keeps repeating those stories. What Aaron and other dear friends call the "loyal opposition," negative polarity, takes delight each time you get caught in the stories of fear and blaming. If your commitment is to serve love and to help the Earth shift into a higher non-dual consciousness, then you will watch these stories as they come up and just say, "Ah, here's another one." Come back to the heart. It's much harder than running with the stories of blame. It asks of you to keep the heart tender, where the stories of blame allow the heart to harden. As soon as the heart hardens, you're serving that loyal opposition, negative polarity and fear.

The Buddha is quoted as saying, "Abandon the unwholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. Cultivate the wholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it." I would join in that phrase. You are not here to fail. You have all come to learn the power of love, to manifest and model the power of love. And you have not come with the intention to fail. But it is the hardest work you will ever be asked to do.

Q: Forgive me for splitting hairs, and I may be asking you to repeat something you just said. I find myself very bothered by certain things going on in the world, not exactly the suffering, not only starvation and the suffering, like that, but particularly things like people tampering with the food sources, in a deep way.

BOL: All that tampering is based on fear.

Q: So I know that these practices address that. But because it's a little bit of a, I'm a little confused, would you mind speaking again how to address that in a good way?

BOL: Whatever you see that feels off-balanced and doing harm, whether it's political, environmental, nation to nation, personal, religious persecution, whatever you see, first you must watch the contraction, the place the heart hardens and says, "Fix it." You invite that which is willing to be vulnerable, to allow itself to be touched by the pain of those actions without hatred, but knowing that they have arisen out of confusion and fear.

When clarity and love say no, eventually it has results. The results may not even happen in your lifetime. It takes faith. But each time you speak out against anything that feels wrong with contraction, fear, and hatred, trying to control, you lose the game. Each time you allow yourself to come back to the soft and vulnerable heart, offer forgiveness, and from the heart of compassion become willing to attend, Love blossoms.

There are simple examples. There is a chemical called fluoride in your water. It's intended to help the teeth be hard. It touches the teeth for a moment as it washes past, but it contains harmful chemicals. Nobody thinks about it. I shouldn't say nobody; but those who think about it simply condemn and argue. What if these ones simply said, "No, I will not drink this fluoridated water," and began to find pure sources of water? Then the companies that create the fluoridation would have no business. Can we say no compassionately rather than trying to prove we are right?

Let's have one more question.

Q: Can you tell the story from your last lifetime when you had to say no with compassion? And also, can you help us understand how we today can do the kinds of miracles that happened in your last lifetime?

BOL: (smiling) First, there are no miracles, there is only a deepening understanding of science. This is a whole workshop unto itself, and I would be happy to help teach that workshop. I don't think I can explain it in ten minutes, only it's all completely rational. It deals with the work Aaron is teaching you with the akashic field. It comes from knowing who you are, knowing your power, and being willing to use that power, never to misuse it; to know your ability to manifest everything. So I will not answer that question further today, but I would be happy to co-lead a workshop with that question.

An example from my final lifetime of saying no with compassion. First, I have introduced myself simply as a Brother of Light, and I don't want to take the identity beyond that. I have lived numerous human lifetimes.

I have found that compassionate no-saying is much more powerful and effective than hollering at another.

I was walking with others down a road. We came upon a young man with a heavily-laden donkey. The poor beast was on his last legs, so to speak, staggering, and every time he staggered and fell to his knees, the man beat him. The man had goods that he needed to bring to the marketplace, and he was afraid if he did not get those goods in and sell them he would be punished by the one who sent him.

To simply grab the donkey from him and knock him out, say, "No!"–fistfight with him for the control of the donkey, would teach him nothing but that the bigger man had more power. I was big!  So I said to him, "Your beast is very weary. It just cannot go any further. But I have with me several comrades and we would be happy to carry the load from the donkey. Let us help you."

"Why would you want to do that?"

"Really because of compassion for this donkey that is so tired, but compassion for you too. I feel your need to get where you're going with your goods."

He was suspicious; were we going to run off with his goods? But he let us unload the donkey. The beast, being lightened of this very heavy burden, was able then to stand on his feet, and I put my arm around him, comforting him and giving him energy. In this way we walked the last miles into the next town.

The man immediately saw to his goods, that they could be sold, while I led the donkey to a stable where it could have food and rest. I told him where I was taking the donkey.

At first I don't think he understood what we were doing. He did not understand the message. A few days later, when he was ready to go home, the donkey was rested, and he was ready to overburden it again. And I said to him, "Do you want to get back home?" He said yes. I said, "What about two donkeys? Would that not get you there faster?" You have income from your sales and can carry things faster with two donkeys. So I did not shame him or blame him, but helped him to find the answer, the compassionate answer, within his own heart.

I worked with his desire for his own personal gain to help him understand that his personal gain depended on the good of others, in this case his donkey. But gradually he understood. I came to know this man at a later time, and he had become a deeply loving being.

Just a simple story.

Q: The Being of Light said the questions by C and M would be answered by Aaron. And I think it would be compassionate if Aaron would respond to the questions. They haven't been answered yet.

BOL: Yes. Yes, yes. I'm just looking at the clock and asking is there one more question for me before I give the body back to Aaron, and also invite John and Barbara to speak.

Q: I'm very confused about the loving based on–I can explain this to you (signer) and you can paraphrase it (English is not her first language)... I'm confused about the loving based on everything that the Brothers and Sisters of Love tell us. I'm confused because in reality a lot of violence is happening in my country (Iran) and in the world. For example, a lot of executions happening every day in my country in public. Like two days ago a 25 year old innocent daughter, a girl, lady, was executed by the government in Iran. So there is a lot of suffering from the mother. The mother, how can she bring love when it happens to her daughter in public execution, 25 years old, how should we bring love here? ... I don't know how to apply it. I really like the idea, the love, but I don't know how to apply it. How can she bring that love into herself, <instead of> going to the street and saying, "We want peace. We want peace."? Everybody goes to the street, with love. Is she asking us to go home and just pray and have love inside us? I don't know; I'm really confused about this.

John(signing): Essentially, you and Aaron and other Brothers and Sisters of Light encourage us to keep our hearts open in the face of violence and terror. How can a mother of a child who has been executed, killed, keep her heart open in kindness and compassion when her daughter is executed by others?

BOL: I understand your question, daughter, and the pain behind it. I think Aaron has the better vocabulary to speak to it, so I'm going to give the body to Aaron. Thank you all for sharing yourselves with me, and I am always with you. I love you.

(Aaron reincorporates)

Aaron: Blessings to you. I am Aaron. Q, I hear your question.

Gandhi used a process based in a philosophy, and it was also used in the civil rights movement in the south, based onahimsa or dynamic compassion andsatyagraha or soul force. Satyagraha the quality of resting in the deepest openhearted place in the soul and using that to say no. It is grounded in ahimsa. Any time you respond with violence and hatred the resultant energy simply breeds more violence. And yet, of course the mother of the executed child can only feel hatred and pain.

This then is her learning, that no matter how terrible the catalyst, hatred will never resolve hatred. But there is a force that goes so much deeper, and all of you who are helping the Earth to move into a higher consciousness can access that heart of love.

I want to give the body back to Barbara to tell a story. I'm going to release the body to Barbara.

(Barbara reincorporates)

Barbara: Please give me a minute to get myself together. Aaron says he wants me to speak. I need to find about what! Just a moment, please... (pause)

This story takes us back to the early 1960s in a small town in the southern United States, and the fancy restaurant in the town, which was segregated. People had come to the restaurant over a period of two months, perhaps, trying to integrate the restaurant, and been increasingly badly beaten up. There was so much hatred and fear.

So they asked for volunteers. They wanted a black couple and a white couple. They wanted people who were experienced in responding to violence from an open heart, and I certainly was far from expert on it, but I had worked with it for some years.

Four of us were driven to the restaurant and dropped off: a middle-aged black couple, a young white man, and myself. We just got out of the car and went in. It was morning and the restaurant was mostly empty. Immediately when we came in, everybody left. Word got out immediately, "They're back," and a crowd gathered outside. They had bricks and baseball bats, rotten tomatoes, which would not really harm, but also things that would harm.

We four sat there holding hands. I could hear, then. We could hear them screaming with hatred outside. They were so afraid of us, so afraid of our threat to their way of life, their rules of life. It required holding the heart open with compassion and hearing their fear, not trying to be right, just really open to their fear, and trusting this power of satyagraha, soul force.

Finally we were ready. We all got up together and we walked to the door. I think all four of us were terrified. We knew we could be badly beaten or killed. We also trusted not something self-righteous but that we had to speak our truth. We trusted the power of the soul to speak its truth.

When we came out the door, my eyes caught one hatred-filled pair of eyes after another. So much fear, so much anger. If I had looked back with hatred, those bricks would have flown. Trusting the power of the soul, trusting the ability to meet their eyes, truly with compassion. It's not that I knew I was safe; I knew I could die. But I knew I could not let myself hate. That their fear and my fear were one, and that I could truly open my heart to them and meet them in this field of compassion.

As they were able to meet my look, some of them, they just fell back. The power of compassion is that strong. It did not guarantee me safety. It would have taken only one person to throw the brick at my head. But any negativity from me, any hatred from me, would just have carried on the whole hatred and oppositionality of the situation. Here was a possibility of hearing each other.

So the crowd just stepped back. It remains one of the most powerful moments of my life, one of the most powerful teachings of my life, to trust the power of love. We simply walked past them, meeting these faces that were filled with agony, but which were dropping that mask of hatred; beginning to consider how strong their hatred had been. These were not people who would normally choose to kill, would not choose to go where their hatred was leading them. That this is not what they chose for themselves, either. So we walked out to the car and we drove away.

I don't know if that answers your question. I actually did not hear your original question. But that's what Aaron asked me to speak to, so I hope it provides an answer.

Q: Thank you.

Barbara: So at this point, questions to me, John, and Aaron. In the beginning, please to me and John. Aaron will incorporate when needed.

Q: I'm wondering about the questions (earlier). There was one, I know, was how do you deal with resistance?...

(to be continued after break)

November 1, 2014 Saturday Afternoon, Q&A, Geneva Retreat

Q&A on Resistance

John: There were a couple of questions that people had for the Brother of Light who was incorporated, that he felt would be better for Aaron or someone else to address.  One question was, what are some tips or ways of working with resistance?

Barbara: Do you want to speak to that?

John: Sure...(laughter; Q: Are you feeling resistance?)

Barbara: Aaron says you're good at this! You are skilled at working with resistance.

John: I experience my share of it. So what is resistance? Let's start there. What is resistance?

Resistance feels like a pushing back energy with us, when we feel resistant to something. So it can be helpful to be aware of that pushing back experience. Aaron described it when we do the pushing arms experience, where we feel that we're resisting the catalysts of life that we're experiencing at any given moment. And so there's resistance to those catalysts.

I think at the core of the resistance is fear, that in some way whatever is presenting itself to me in this moment is threatening in some way. Or that I have experienced this catalyst before and it's been unpleasant or painful to me, and there's resistance to opening more fully to the catalyst in this moment because it's hard, it's difficult, it's challenging, it's painful, so I would rather back away than to meet it in some way.

I can't meet the resistance with my ego and with any kind of force or aggression because that would just create more resistance. The only way I can meet the resistance in the moment is with kindness, and with compassion for myself in this moment meeting this hard thing, challenging thing, in my life. So I think that that's one important point in relationship to resistance: my relationship with the resistance. Do I want to turn around and run the other way? Do I want to, in some way, engage whatever it is that's coming at me that I feel resistance to with more force or aggression, or that fix-it, change it, make it better mentality, that the Brother of Light was speaking about with us today?

Or can I just breathe in this resistance–breathing in, I'm aware of this resistance right now, breathing out, I smile to the resistance. I allow myself to engage with the resistance more from the place of openness and investigation, the investigation of what's happening right now, by asking the question, what am I resisting? What am I resisting in this moment?

Let's just take, for example, the feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy, which we talked about last evening related to the question of karma and how to resolve the karma. That when we experience either this particular habit energy, of the fear of being unworthy, unlovable, not good enough, or any kind of habit pattern, karmic pattern: my needs are not going to be met; I don't feel safe in some way. Whatever the karmic pattern habit energy that comes up for any of us, but is a repeated pattern that keeps coming up over and over again. And the reason that it keeps coming up over and over again is because it's inviting us to work with it, to be present with it. To find deeper resolution of that karmic pattern, because our intention is to open more deeply to love and liberation of the heart. And that's why we come to these kinds of workshops and retreats, is because we want to do this deep inner work.

So the pattern is going to come up because we're meditating and the space opens up for whatever karmic patterns we wish to resolve, to have that opportunity to resolve them. And, being human, at the same time, there's some resistance to doing this deep inner work, because it takes a lot of effort. It takes energy and intention and commitment to meet the challenge of these habit patterns and habit energies.

So it's human. It's very human. How many people here have experienced resistance thus far in this retreat? (laughter) People are raising two hands, are waving! That's how human it is. Breathing in, I'm aware of this resistance to open. Breathing out, I smile to it. I make the resistance the object of my meditation, the object of my awareness.

And to see how I'm relating to the resistance. Is there judgment of myself, because even though I know I came here to do this deep inner work and work with the feelings of unworthy, inadequate, unlovable, is there judgment of myself because there's some resistance to opening more deeply to these patterns and working with them skillfully, or judgment of myself because the patterns keep reappearing over and over and don't seem to be more resolved or balanced in my life? What is my experience with what I am resisting in terms of the inner work in place being offered to me right now in my life?

And then that becomes the proper object to pay attention to, which is that there is perhaps some fear there of the resolution of the pattern, or doubt that I'm able to do it. And that can be part of the resistance. Or feeling a failure, feeling that I'm not able to do it, that other people are able to do it but I can't do it. So there can be a lot of judgment and doubt and fear in the experience of the resistance.

And so as we begin to investigate it more deeply, we start to see what the resistance, the different elements, aspects, of the resistance that is there, and then work with that in terms of vipassana practice, which is so helpful in being able to address the different states of mind like doubt and fear, resistance, etc.

Let me ask you, all of you: in your daily practice, do you have resistance to meditation at home? When the thought arises, "Okay, it's time to meditate," and there's a part that wants to do that, is there a part of you that resists doing that? I want to hear from you now, what is that resistance? In your experience, what is that resistance? Is it that you're afraid of seeing something, or that the meditation is going to be uncomfortable in some way? What is the resistance that we experience in our practice as it relates to our formal meditation time?

Q: The resistance varies. It is multi-faced because it's not real. So it may show up as, "I have too much to do," or it may show up as, "This is not a good time." It may show up as, "There are more important things." But it varies, because it's not real, is how I experience it. It's just something showing up.

John: So the resistance is not real, you're saying, but it kind of manifests itself in different ways, in terms of your experience of it.

Q: I think in a job situation that maybe the element of resistance is fear because of the consequences. If somebody is overloading you with work and his or her favorite person is doing nothing, it could be fearful if you offer resistance to what's going on.

Q: I'm not sure how clearly I can say this, but often for me resistance comes from the pain of feeling the energy of the heart closing after it's open. And it seems easier to keep it closed than feel the pain of opening it.

John: A very good point, thank you. The resistance of the heart.

Q: And I think it comes from just maybe another layer of like, shame, "Look at me, I'm (inaudible), not a radiant being," (inaudible).

John: Sometimes the closedness of the heart in itself almost becomes habitual and familiar to us, and to investigate that and to have the heart more open, that there is resistance.

Q: And part of it is also pain in trying to force it open. That's really painful too. (inaudible).

John: Which you can't really do, you can't force your heart to open. But even that closedness of heart is also an example of resistance, the contraction. Usually when I'm experiencing resistance I'm feeling a contracted energy. It's a kind of closed energy, when I'm resisting something, because it may feel in some way challenging to me, or that it's going to call forth something within myself which I'm not sure I'm able to give. So there's a sense of, "I'm not sure I can do this."

As the Brother was talking to us and encouraging us to do this deep inner work, there were times when I was feeling resistance to it because, as he was saying, it's the most difficult work that we'll ever be asked to do. So it would seem almost natural that there would be some resistance to the deepest work that we'll ever be asked to do. And I can feel that at times, where I know that this is the work, and I know that there's the possibility of doing it, otherwise we wouldn't be here.

One time, a friend of mine at a monastery in Thailand-- he was an older Western monk than I was. We were both young, but he was a little bit older than me. We lived in southern Thailand in a beach-y area. It was sand. And he took his toe like this and he drew a line in the sand like this. And he said, "Here you are, and you have to step across that line." And that line, in my mind, is the resistance. And the willingness to step across it. And that's why it feels sometimes, in terms of the inner work that we're doing now, that essentially we're stepping across that line. But there's some resistance, sometimes, to stepping across that line, because, where am I going? What's going to happen? Who will I be? What will be asked of me in this process? And so sometimes it feels like that's the resistance, to me.

Perhaps Barbara can speak further about it.

Barbara: For me, I find it comes. It comes, it goes. Some mornings it's so easy to sit, and I flow into this light-filled space, and sometimes there's resistance. I've learned that I need to just sit, not to listen to the stories that say, "Oh I can do it later." Just to say, "Ah, this is resistance." And if there's strong resistance, that becomes the predominant object. What is the experience of resistance in this moment? How does it feel in the body? How am I relating to it?

The, I think of the Rumi poem, "A swarm of beings sweep your house, violently. Let them in."

The Guest House by Rumi

translated by Coleman Barks, fromThe Essential Rumi,

(San Francisco, Harper SanFrancisco) 1995, p. 109

This human being is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

All these thoughts and resistance and body sensations, ah, just let it be experienced. Because only in giving it the fullest experience and being present with it do I allow it to reveal itself for what's underneath, what's really happening. I'm not trying to dig it out. I'm not trying to figure it out. I'm just willing to be present with the body sensations, the mind, the whole tension of resistance, and invite it to reveal itself. And sometimes it takes days to reveal itself. Sometimes there's just resistance, day after day after day.

But I find that when I'm kindly persistent, not "I should sit," but just, "I know there's something here that wants to reveal itself, and this will be helpful in the end. I trust my practice to that degree. I will simply sit with resistance." And then gradually it does reveal itself.

I've learned that the open heart is always there, and resistance usually comes from some place of fear. For me it's often a fear of stepping over that line. What will be asked of me if I go that one step further? Maybe I can tolerate pollution of the water, but to see these babies being beheaded, how can I tolerate that? What will be asked of me? How much compassion am I capable of? Feeling myself pushed in that way.

And yet it's this that engenders this deeper compassion. I spoke two words before. Ahimsa is dynamic compassion, and satyagraha is soul force, and they work together. As the heart opens deeper and deeper and deeper into this quality of dynamic compassion, I begin to feel the real power of the soul, the loving essence of my being, and to trust that I will never abuse that power in the world. That I can safely step into that power. So part of my resistance is fear of becoming too powerful and not being ready to hold that power. But I start to trust myself more.

Resistance is really just another object to work with, a very hard one but workable.

Dan: In my practice, resistance brings up the bigger subject of motivation, why I practice. And I can talk about, well, I want to meditate for this reason or another. But on a day to day level, it feels good. It's an inherently pleasurable thing to meditate most of the time because the open heart feels good. And I've allowed that pleasure and happiness to be a motivator. It becomes a habit. Every morning I go into that place to look for the open heart. And whether I find it or not, I know it's there. And it's become a habit.

In the same way, if that regular contact with the open heart in sitting doesn't happen, I become unbalanced. I don't like it. It would be similar to, on a physical level, when you don't exercise after you're used to exercising for a long period of time. Or you eat something different that you're not used to eating and so your body has a different experience.

So when I encounter resistance to my meditation, which I do, it's usually a Pavlovian battle between "I want the pleasure" and "I don't want to meditate." And that has been a very powerful motivating force for me because it's so <primal/primary>. I need meditation. I have this inner compulsion to. And that's usually enough to overcome resistance.

It's not something that is intellectual. And I'm wondering, do other people have that experience? How does pleasure work, how does that sense of well-being you get from meditation, how much is that a motivating factor?  Where would the resistance from that come from?

Q: Remarkably, I was going to say something very similar to that. My first spiritual teacher really said to me that usually all your habitual tendencies are something you have to overcome, that you can make them work for you. So he suggested that I meditate at a certain time each day, at a certain place, and make it totally regular. And what I found was after about two weeks it felt very uncomfortable not to be in that pattern. So for now it's normal for me to meditate in the morning because it's a habit.

My resistance will come in, then, when I'm meditating, which is how (inaudible). Sometimes I'm fully there with the attention and sometimes I'm not. For me, I think I have to be easy on myself and allow myself to have days when I'm just not meditating well. And know that it's going to come around in the cycle to when I'll really be able to stabilize myself in meditation.

But the fact that I do it every day is a tremendous benefit to me, because even the days when I don't go deeply into meditation, still I watch the breath. When the breath is even and slow, you get into a peaceful state, even if your mind is working and whatever. So even the days that I'm really distracted in my meditation when I get up, I'm different than when I sat down. So I'm very happy that I'm able to do that.

John: And it sounds like patience helps you during the days where it's not a good day of meditation.

Q: When Dan was speaking, I had this same idea of saying, "Ditto, ditto!" I maybe would skip breakfast or skip anything, but if I don't meditate, I feel off. I work with people and their energies, and if I have to go to work and I haven't meditated, I know it's going to give a static and a roughness to my whole day. So I get a lot out of it.

I don't know about the resistance. I would sort of go the other way. I think I get so habituated that I don't want it to be stale, so maybe once in a while I'll say, "Just see what happens if you don't meditate, what will happen." And then the next day I can't wait to meditate again.

I think after enough years it just becomes a part of you, your view. And like I feel the energy arising and I feel it opening. And then I'm available to share that with people, and to share people's own energy with themselves. (inaudible)

John: Okay. There was one other question that the Brother of Light wanted others to respond to. It was about, when we find ourselves caught in our mind and thinking and worrying, how can we move more deeply into the experience of the heart? Going from here (head) to here (heart).

Barbara: For me, just with awareness. We spoke earlier in the week, maybe in the pre-retreat, about the practice of clear comprehension of purpose, of suitability, bringing it into meditation. So when I find myself caught in my head, it's a form of resistance. When I find myself not in my heart, it's a form of resistance.

Then I ask myself, what is my highest purpose here? Is it to hold this armoring, or is it to be as fully open as I can be? And can I honor the fact that there's something in me that's afraid, here? Not force myself, but gently invite myself to bring this back into the heart.

So I begin to observe how the mind gets caught up in the stories and just to note and come back into the heart again and again and again. I come back into the heart often just by putting my hand on my heart and noting, "Getting mental. Getting up in my head." Breathe, come back.

We might ask, how does it feel to be in the heart? There aren't a lot of stories in the heart. There may be pain. There may be an achiness, sadness. But there are no stories, in that it's a direct experience. And moving into the head is a way of dodging the pain of that experience. The heart breaks open because of the suffering of the world and the suffering that we personally really cannot fix. We can only hold space for it. We can learn skillful ways to say no, but some of this madness in the world is still going to go on.

So the energy goes up into the head, trying to be somebody who finally can control and fix this. The opposite is not a giving up, it's more surrendering of the personal ego self to the higher self, the deeper wisdom self, this one-who-knows. Resting in this one-who-knows, trusting the dharma, trusting the heart's capacity for love. And gradually we begin to see the results of that, and it becomes easier to trust it.

It's 5:15 here... We've been talking here a long time. Let's end here. We'll do some more talking after dinner. Go off, take a walk, do yoga with Amy. Go and watch the sunset. We'll meet back here probably around 7:30pm...

(session ends)

November 1, 2014 Saturday Evening, Geneva Retreat

Final questions; first Barbara and John appeared with masks and gave out candy!

(The first question was not recorded.)

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. Of course you are going to slip back into the illusion. The important point is, after this week you are more aware of the illusion and the reality, and of the tendency to slip into the illusion, and the ability to say no, to stay present. It's not that it will never happen; it's that it won't be as steep a fall, that you'll catch it sooner.

You will increasingly find your ability to honor the choice to stay with love no matter how strong the illusion of separation. If you never went home, if you stayed here in this loving environment with high energy, you would lose the catalyst that you are ready for, that which comes to you and says, "Come! Come! Let's bring in fear! Let's bring in anger!" Just put it aside. But if you get caught, simply know you're caught. You cannot catch a fish who will not snap at the bait, or who, sensing the hook, says, "No," and spits it out. Don't get caught. But when you do get caught, and it will happen, simply know you are caught. That which is aware of being caught is not caught. Right there, you are back to love, back to spaciousness, just as fast as that. Just keep working with it.

I want to speak to this question, what happens after death? The process of dying can be challenging because it's frightening. You're going through sometimes body pain and unusual sensations. But as soon as you come to that transition, it's no longer hard. You've done it hundreds of times.

For me, the experience is like flipping out of too tight a pair of shoes, too tight a jacket. Ahh, suddenly you can breathe. There's space around you. There's loving presence with you, ease and light.

Here is where your practice becomes important. If you have done a practice that leads you, when something pushes at you, to note pushing instead of moving with the stories of fear and pushing back, then in that transition process, if there is any moment of confusion, disorientation, that mind has developed the ability to simply note "confusion, disoriented" with spaciousness. It will pass. As on the earth plane, it's all impermanent. So you move through it without creating new karma with it, without being drawn back into a new body.

But if you are drawn back, I liken it to the child who has not fully mastered the arithmetic being taught in his class. He takes the test; he fails the test. The teacher says, "Come in after school and we'll go over it." This is not punishment, it's simply an indication there's something here that is yet to be learned. Not a problem. Come back and learn it, and then you're ready to move on. So anything that's not yet fully understood and integrated will likely draw you back. But it's not punishment; it's simply a continued opportunity to follow this path of love, to learn what you seek to learn.

In the time after the transition there will be a rest, a little bit of R&R, a loving and supportive environment. You are not booted into the next incarnation. There is a time to review the life and to decide what is needed next. What is my soul's plan? What karma is still pulling me? What is my direction here? And what would best support the movement in that direction and the learning?

Let's pass this on to other questions.

(tape paused during question)

The question is about horror coming up in dreams, and not being able to bring the awakened self into the dream to relate lovingly to the horror. Part of it is simply a matter of practice. (Q: The awakened self is watching but it cannot help.) So there are two things. One is, I think a major part of it is simply depth of practice, repetition of practice. The more often you do this in your sitting where something difficult comes up, frightening, painful, and the awakened self is recognized and able to hold space for the small self, moving through this pain or confusion, gradually it seeps into the dream and you gain the ability.

Eventually some of you will learn how to do what we call lucid dreaming. That is, when you're dreaming, you know you're dreaming. The monster is chasing you. The awakened self is watching but the small self is running. But then there's some moment where you say, "Ah, but this is a dream," and awareness turns around and say to the monster, "No, you may not chase this self anymore." So it's a gradual skill that comes through the depth of your practice.

Resistance needs to be looked at. In what ways, and I'm not speaking just to Q here but to all of you, in what ways is there still identification with something in the self as faulty or bad, deserving of the monster chasing you? Take that into your meditation. After the dream, waking up, just sit in bed. What is this monster? Why do I feel vulnerable to this monster? Why am I allowing this monster to control me? When I say ask these questions, I don't mean to ask in terms of trying to figure it out with the brain, but simply raise the question and then come back to your vipassana. Just breathing and present. It's not called insight meditation for no reason! Insights arise. Trust your practice.

Do you want to add anything, John?

John: Just one thing. A practice that I did for a while with dreams was, I had-- in those days it was a tape recorder, next to my bed, and when I woke up from a dream I would record it right away. In the morning I would listen to the dream on tape and then sit with it. Sometimes, as Aaron was speaking about, I would have some insight into the significance of the dream, using the meditation practice as a way of more clearly looking at it in the morning.

So if you continue to have dreams like this, and they seem to be significant to you, this may be a practice you would want to work with for a while. It can be very helpful, because it's the unconscious speaking to us, and we make that more conscious by bringing that into our meditation practice.

(tape paused duringquestion)

Aaron: I want to add just a little bit to that. You are newer to practice. We distinguish between pain and suffering. The wasp stings you. There's going to be pain. There is not necessarily suffering. Suffering is what grows out of resistance to things as they are. Life is not always going to be the way you want it to be.

There's also a big difference between resignation, saying, "It's not how I want, but I can't do anything about it," with a depressed and a contracted attitude, or an open heart that says, "This is how it is right now, and I hold it in spaciousness. I support the conditions that will allow wholesome change without grasping, keeping the heart open to things as they are now, to the highest intention to the possibilities for change."

The fruit of practice is the increasing ability to experience life as it is in this moment without suffering, and also to attend to that which is unpleasant and unwholesome in life, personal and universal life from this open heart. Because only within that open heart and love can there be genuine change for the good.

(tape paused during question)

Are you asking, was it a different kind of journey (spirit canoe) because it was Halloween? Halloween, All Saints Day. There is much more spiritual energy available on Halloween, both loving and negative, so I suppose it would heighten the journey.

But we did not specifically plan it on Halloween. We planned it to be in the middle day of the retreat so that you had Saturday to process it rather than doing it today when there wasn't enough time to process it afterward. So had this whole thing been a week earlier, we would not have had Halloween as part of it and it would have been no problem. But experiencing it on Halloween, I'm sure some of you had a stronger experience.

Q: I was thinking about the end game, why we do this. For me it's a very simple thing. It's such a good feeling to understand myself, to get an insight into myself. And it gives me like a power with life itself, it empowers me. And it's what my inner heart really wants.

(recording ends)