October 28, 2014 Day Two: Tuesday - Remembering Wholeness at Geneva

Tuesday full day transcripts

October 28, 2014 Tuesday Morning, Geneva Retreat

Instructional Meditation, Watching What Arises with an Open Heart

Aaron: Good morning. My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. I'm going to ask you to begin simply by meditating, experienced and newer alike, bringing attention to whatever you are using as a primary object: the breath, nada (sound of silence), spaciousness, luminosity, energy. Our practice is not to hold attention on one object but to allow for a fluidity that moves to whatever is predominant. (starts very loudly) So if I begin to talk louder (back to normal)–ah, hearing, hearing. Hearing a loud voice. Then I'm back to a normal voice. My loud voice is no longer calling your attention, but there may be some reverberation in the body from it. If so, that is what's predominant in the moment. Don't try to force attention back to the breath, but just be with that shakiness in the body.

There's so much to be learned from your bodies and even from mental agitation. Don't try to get rid of objects, just notice them and be present with them. When the conditions are present, mental agitation, body agitation or pain will arise. The question is not whether they arise or not but how you habitually relate to them.

One person with a fly buzzing around their head just notes "buzzing, buzzing" and it doesn't really interfere with the meditation in any way. The next person says, "BUZZING, BUZZING! How am I going to get rid of the fly?" Mind is off and running. "Where did the fly come from? Is there a hole in the screen? I'll have to patch my screens." That's not a very quiet or peaceful meditation, filled with tension in the mind and the body. But as soon as we note, not buzzing, that's not what's predominant, but agitated, and feel where that agitation is held in the body, relax with presence to that agitation, "ahhh..." compassion, kindness to the self, then there's much more spaciousness, ease.

So let's start. Every few minutes I'm going to come in with a new, very short instruction. For now, simply bringing your attention to whatever you use as a primary object.

(sitting, tape paused)

When an object arises into your experience, a physical sensation, a thought, an emotion, it will be either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. It cannot be other than this. If it's pleasant, can it just be pleasant without grasping? If it's unpleasant, can it just be unpleasant without a strong feeling of wanting to get rid of it? Be with your bodies now in the next few minutes. You may feel ease–ahhh, a gentle, cool breeze coming in on this body, very pleasant, ahhh. Maybe a sharp pain in the back or the neck, unpleasant. Part of your practice is about the habitual relationship you have with what comes into your life, how you try to hold onto it or try to push it away.

Part of becoming a true elder, walking the path of wisdom and compassion in the world, is learning your own habitual tendencies with the frequent visitors and opening your heart around them; relating to these tendencies in a kinder and more spacious way while still attending appropriately. If this body is sitting here by the window and strong rain starts to come down, blowing in the window on the back, one does not just note "wet, wet, cold, cold," although, that too. The loving heart then gets up and shuts the window, without stories about it. "Who left the window open? Will I get pneumonia?" In this moment, just wet, cold, close the window, sit back down, return to your primary object, the breath or whatever. So let's work with this for a few minutes.

Whatever comes up, whatever arises and draws attention from the breath is an important object to be with. One object is no better than another. Without trying to control the experience, just be present with it. This relates to our letting go exercise yesterday. How do we let go? I'll be quiet for a few minutes while you explore this. Contact, consciousness of the contact, feelings of pleasant, unpleasant, neutral, and any reaction to those feelings in mind or in body. Just noting it, not fixing, just noting.

(sitting, tape paused)

Watch what arises with spaciousness and ease. If it has arisen, it's because the conditions are present for it to arise. What has arisen is a result of conditions. Trying to fix what arose, to fix this result, just creates added flow of conditions.

I sometimes use the example of a very full bowl of water sitting on a table. You accidentally bump into the table and the water starts to spill out, sloshing over the rim. It's spilling because of certain conditions. Seeing it sloshing, can you see the impulse to put your hand on the top of the bowl to try to stop the water from spilling? That just adds to the stimulation of the water.

Simply let it settle. The nature of the water is to become still. The nature of the water is also fluidity. So if jostled, it will spill. Allowed to settle, it will still. The mind is the same way. It has fluidity and stillness. When something unpleasant arises in the body and mind and you contract and try to fix it, that just adds to the conditions that are creating the unpleasant result. It goes against all your instincts to just be still and let it be. But this is what we ask of you. And you find that you can do this, can just be present, be a witness to what has arisen without creating more solidity of a self that's going to fix this, going to fix that. Just let it be.

(sitting, tape paused)

Whatever has arisen, treat it with kindness. Walking down the stairs to the lake, perhaps you see a baby rabbit on the stairs. Ahh! Seeing, seeing. Tiny bunny. Cute. Sweet. Liking! An impulse, wanting to go over and pat it, but you know it's a wild rabbit and will not permit that. Wanting to help it. It's so little, climbing these stairs. There is an openhearted love for this creature. All your old conditioning is toward the softness and sweetness of baby bunnies.

Around the next flight you see a long snake, big, black with a pattern on it, maybe 3 feet long, slithering down the stairs. Some of you have old conditioning and will say, "Oh, how lovely! A snake!" But for many of you there will be a recoil. "Snake!" There's no difference in these creatures, both are beautiful creatures created out of love in this beautiful earth. The difference is in your conditioning.

As you meditate and react with negative recoil to something like body pain or a certain kind of thought, remind yourself, "This is just conditioning. What is this object, really? Can I allow myself to go deep into it, into this unpleasant sensation?" There's no denying its unpleasantness. I am just present with it. This delightful thought, wanting to drag it out, ahh, that's just more thought, more ego. Can I just be present with this memory without elaboration? How does the body pain feel in the body? How does the thought feel in the body?

We'll work with this for about 10, 15 minutes in silence. Be present with what has arisen. As it changes or dissolves, come back to the breath or other primary object. Who wants to fix, wants to control? Don't try to fix that "who", either. It's just the human mammal, old conditioning. Let it be.

(sitting, tape paused)

For many of you who are here with the conscious aging aspect of this workshop, there is a true aspiration to give back to the world, to be of service. This is beautiful. Wanting to model the possibility of moving into a deepened place of wisdom and compassion through your maturation and bring that energy to the world.

But right there, perched on the back of the shelf, as it were, is also perhaps the thought, what can I do to stop this body from deteriorating, this mind from deteriorating? Will I be safe? Who will take care of me? Will I lose control of my world? What will happen to me? And that little voice of fear may say, "Ah, I can learn to age consciously as a way to stop the diminishments of the mind and body." But no, it will not stop it.

The diminishment of mind and body is like the meditation object we looked at earlier in the sitting,. Either the looking ahead to it or the actual experience of it is unpleasant. You do not have a choice about whether the body and mind will age. You do have a choice how you're going to relate to it. And that's why I'm emphasizing this so much. Aging with consciousness and love means, through your practice with the small things like the pain in the knee, finding the ability to relate lovingly to these really inevitable diminishments that come with the aging body.

Each of you has the ability to make this choice. So I'd like you to reflect a few minutes, what is my primary intention? As we discussed last night with the practice of clear comprehension, is it to try to control this aging process so it doesn't hurt? Or is it more deeply to move into this phase of my life in a way that is truly of benefit to all beings, including myself?

One author has termed it "sage-ing, not aging." You are all already sages. But you have to know that in yourself and begin to trust it. And again, your meditation practice gives you a chance to find the awakened heart and to choose this as the place for your self identity. Not the aching back or the forgetfulness, or the other mind and body aches and pains. We attend to them lovingly as we close the window when it's raining. But there's nothing to fix.

In you has accumulated the wisdom of so many lifetimes. That wisdom is like a radiant light. So many of you tell me you are seeking the light. Be the light you seek. You already are it.

So I'd like you to bring conscious attention to the intentions that most strongly propel you. Sort out the ones that are based truly in love and cherish them. Notice the ones that are based in fear. Just as with the reaction to the big snake. Then let yourself know the part of you that is already safe.

(sitting, tape paused)

So we observe intention as a vital part of our spiritual path. In the Buddhist tradition there is the being known as the bodhisattva, a being who has made the stated intention of service to all beings, even to the degree of willingness to come back into incarnation because there is still suffering on the earth; to deepen in themselves and to help guide other beings out of suffering. It's interesting that this is in the Buddhist tradition and in many other traditions. In spirit traditions much of what is taught is that service to self is negative polarity; service to others is positive polarity. These are considered to be hallmarks of negative and positive polarity. We can invite ourselves to remember our intention to service to all beings, to liberation from suffering for ourselves and all beings, as our highest intention within clear comprehension.

One statement of the bodhisattva vow-- it's called a vow but I would rather state it as "bodhisattva statement of intention." If we do not take vows, we cannot break vows. Rather we hold an intention. And that's enough, that's all that's needed.

"All beings, one body, I vow to liberate." Now, what does that mean? How canIliberate all beings? Well, if you are separate self, you cannot. But when you know your connection with all beings, then as you do this work to liberate yourself from your old negative and painful tendencies, you are also doing it for all beings. It's not about you. Therefore, to sit here practicing this week is not selfish but is service to all beings. "All beings, one body, I vow to liberate."

"Endless blind passions I vow to uproot." We uproot these endless passions that have arisen out of conditions over so many lifetimes, and that still have roots. In this lifetime there is the opportunity to release those roots, to find freedom.

"Dharma gates without number I vow to penetrate." To truly understand the meanings of non-self, of impermanence, everything arising out of conditions and passing away. Not me or mine. To truly understand that and bring it into your life.

"The great way of awakening I vow to attain." I notice the traditional statement has the word vow. You can substitute the word "intend." "The great way of awakening I intend to attain." However you want to say it. I think that remembering this statement could be helpful for you. Say it with me:

All beings, one body, I intend to liberate.

Endless blind passions I intend to uproot.

Dharma gates without number I intend to penetrate.

The great way of awakening I intend to attain.

(bell, bell, bell)

(session ends)

October 28, 2014 Tuesday Late Morning, Geneva Retreat

Short talk and Forgiveness Meditation

Aaron: Good morning-- again, good morning. I am Aaron. The discussion (people have been discussing  in small groups)  opens a doorway, I would hope, leading you to the reflections that are most useful for you.

We're not speaking directly so much about aging. You're going to age. Whether you're 25 or 85, you're going to age. Aging is one piece of the path. The way you live your life in each moment, with the sore toe, the itchy rash or the sick parent or whatever it may be, however you relate to these catalysts is how you will relate to the process of aging.

Basically we could have done a very straightforward dharma retreat because the most important tool with conscious aging is the deep knowing it's all arising out of conditions and impermanent. This is how the body is. And when I try to resist it, I suffer. When I, as you would say, go with the flow, then I suffer much less. But it's not just about suffering or not suffering.

When you are contracted and suffering, trying to control your experience, it's like having dark clouds over the sun. You extinguish that radiant light that you are, or make it inaccessible to you and to others. The more you are conscious with the intention to bring forth light and love, the spaciousness of the heart, joy, gratitude, to allow these to shine forth, the more you let that radiance come through. Then you are the elder. You are being the radiant light and helping the younger people to see, "I too can become that. I don't have to get lost in darkness and fear."

So you are willing to do this work, as with the bodhisattva vow; you are willing to do this work in order to help alleviate suffering in the world, all suffering, by being a model. This is an imperfect metaphor, but imagine a garden of spring bulbs; daffodils, tulips, and so forth. They peek their head through the earth, but there's still snow on the ground. They shrink back into the earth, but there's a bit of warm sunshine coming through. All the flowers look at each other and saying, "Not me, I'm not going first! It's cold out there!" But one courageous and loving flower says, "Ah, but I feel the first hint of sunshine." It begins to pull itself up out of the ground, waving in the sunshine. And the others that had shrunk back, thereby not giving their beauty and grace to the world, look at this one who has come up and say, "Hmm, if she can do it, maybe I can do it." They also begin to emerge. Suddenly we have a vast garden of flowers.

This is the fruit of conscious aging. It's the fruit of living in consciousness in any way, not just about aging. But the aging is one catalyst because it's something you all will experience. No matter of what age, you all will experience it. There's nobody here including the youngest of you who has not experienced some diminishment of the body in some way. How can we live with these changes in the body with joy? No longer can climb the tree or run down the path, but I can walk down the path and see the beauty. Can I rejoice in that rather than hold bitterness, "It's not fair, I can't run anymore."? The one with joy is the flower that's hiding under the earth. Be the flower that expresses out, that shines forth.

I want to come around to a short forgiveness meditation and then we're going to go to lunch. I will cut this somewhat short. We'll do it again sometime this week in a longer format. But I want you to reflect: what areas of judgment and holding are there still that remain for me? So this is not going to be so much forgiveness of others but forgiveness of the self. What is there that I need to forgive in myself? What areas of shame, of sadness, of confusion, what moment of anger? Can the heart open with compassion to this human who reacted perhaps in an unskillful way and did harm to another, never condoning that harm but opening the heart to oneself?

(tape paused, guided meditation begins)

My intention has always been to do no harm to myself or to others, and yet somehow I seem to blunder into saying the wrong thing that causes pain. Experiencing angry thoughts, and speaking that anger. Experiencing greed and grasping, and enacting that greed. I so deeply aspire to be a light in the world, to do good for others and never cause pain. And so judgment arises, thinking myself inadequate to the aspirations that I hold.

In this moment, my intention is to open my heart to myself. Holding myself right in front, as if looking in a mirror, speak to yourself. First ask forgiveness of yourself. "However I have harmed myself, in reactivity, in enactment of fear, in lack of mindfulness, in impetuous behavior, of that self I ask forgiveness."

Speaking here to my deepest heart, speaking here to the human also, feel one part of yourself–the wise, loving part–able to offer forgiveness to this sometimes impulsive and reactive human. How would it feel to drop the many judgments you have held? Saying your name, "(Name), however you have harmed, I forgive you. I love you."

Allow yourself to feel the possibility of that forgiveness, the spaciousness in it. And the next part of this, how does it feel to receive that forgiveness? Am I able to receive it? Is there a part of me that wants to stay immersed in judgment? What does judgment benefit? It keeps us separate. It can be a layer of armoring with the idea, the false idea, that it will prevent pain. But nothing is so painful as separation and alienation, especially from yourself.

Now feel the deepest part of you, the wise and loving elder. Speaking to this sometimes terrified human with such strong old habits, feel the possibility of embrace, of love, from that deep, wise part of the self. "(Your name), I forgive you. I love you."

Can this sometimes crazy human accept that love? To accept it really means to let go of the armoring held through self-judgment to protect you from the pain of feeling yourself to be a failure. Feeling unworthy. Feeling inadequate. Are you ready to stop enacting those old erroneous beliefs about the self? What old beliefs want to go with the acceptance of forgiveness, the offering of forgiveness? Who are you, really? Let yourself shine forth.

I'll be quiet for just a minute or two.


Speaking those words to yourself, "I forgive you. I love you." And feeling the heart accept that and open.

Now, in this two minutes before lunch, I invite you to join me in singing, "This Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let it Shine." Most of you know it. It's not in our songbook, I think, but it's easy to follow. Can somebody lead it?

(singing with enthusiasm!)

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

When my heart is breaking,

I'm gonna let it shine.

When my heart is breaking,

I'm gonna let it shine.

When my heart is breaking,

I'm gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

When my body's aching,

I'm gonna let it shine.

When my body's aching,

I'm gonna let it shine.

When my body's aching,

I'm gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This is why we wanted to do this kind of workshop! We can't sing like this in a silent retreat!

Go and enjoy your lunch. We'll see you at 2pm. Thank you.

(session ends)

These questions were introduced for dining table/ small group discussion and each person given a copy.

small groups - Taking stock: Three parts:

Aaron will briefly introduce each part – 5 minutes, then groups.

Where have we matured and where have we resisted maturing?

Parts of list taken from "Grace in Aging"  by Kathleen Dowling Singh:

Exploring Resistance and Closure:

- What are my resistances to being fully present?

- What are my distractions?

- What are my fears?

- How honest is my self-inquiry? Where do I not want to look?

- How well am I able to be with unease, disappointment, and suffering?

- Where do I hold back from love? Where do I grasp for it?

- What are my most frequent aversions?

- Where do I cling?

- Where do I limit my identity?

- What are the predominant stories I still tell myself?

Exploring Opening:

-What supports my ability to release the heart's armor and be more vulnerable and tender?

- How thorough is my forgiveness of others? Of myself?

- How deep is my gratitude?

- How generous is my heart?

- How spontaneous is compassion?

- How have I nurtured patience with myself and others?

Moving forward

- Am I ready to set aside judging and attachment to negative thought?

- What helps me to experience the presence of spirit?

- What keeps me from living in that presence?

October 28, 2014 Tuesday Afternoon (1), Geneva Retreat

Includes element practice from Barbara

(The first 15 minutes of the talk were not taped.)

Barbara: ...I've been talking–I've just lost 15 minutes of talking, and it really doesn't matter. I'm just talking about connecting with guidance and opening our hearts. I'll record from here. I've been talking about my early childhood experiences with Mahara Ji.

My question for you is, how can you invite in this wonderful guidance, whether it's from your guides or from your own higher self, getting past that ego voice that's incessantly saying, "Do this! Do that!", bossing you around, and really hearing the voice of the heart that knows.

In dharma terms, I think of Ajahn Chah, who was one of John's teachers in Thailand and a very senior master in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. He talked often about "the one who knows." By the one who knows, he wasn't talking about some teacher out there. He was talking about finding the one who knows in your heart. So whatever tradition we come from, this is what our practice is aimed toward: resting in this one who knows, connecting with it. Developing confidence to distinguish between the ego's voice and the wisdom voice. Trusting ourselves that we are capable of connecting with that wisdom voice and opening our hearts to it. Living it.

Our guides help us. From those early years, I realize now, looking back, that at age 6 or 7 it was Aaron who was teaching me meditation, and it was Maharaji who was simply inviting me into this still, blissful space, helping me experience myself as love, if I could put it in that way, at a point where I thought of myself as wrongness and distortion and unworthiness and so forth, helping to really know this heart of love within myself, and connect with that.

So, part of the work I'd like you to do in the hour you're outside(it is a lovely afternoon and people are going to go outside, to the lake or woods for a while) –well, let's not call it work. Part of the inviting I'd like you to do in this hour outside is simply to become still enough to ask for the presence of this loving guidance around you. You don't have to know is it teacher or guru. You don't have to know a name. If you ask who is it and it simply says, "Butterfly," and there's a butterfly flying by, that's enough. You don't need a name. What you need is to feel the energetic connection with this love and to know that you're part of this family of love. You are not alone.

The second part of what we'd like you to do outside, we talk about the elements. A number of you have been at retreats where we worked in depth with the elements, other retreats too. Earth, air, fire, and water are the four mundane elements. When I say mundane, they have a mundane level. The Earth, ground. And they have a supramundane level, the essence of earth, which is not the dirt but the essence of it. The essence of fire, the essence of water, the essence of air, and the fifth element, ether or akasha.

Everything is arising out of conditions. We have a whole universe that's expressing, conditions expressing out. What is the ground or source, the base container out of which those elements arise?

Think of an underground spring. It's percolating up through the surface and then running down a hillside to a stream. The stream can pick up some distortions, dirt in the air, dirt from the cattle that come and wade a half a mile down. The underground spring is free of distortion. But even the underground spring is not the source of the water. What is the source of the underground spring itself? Where is that groundwater way deep down? From what does it arise?

The question then is to find that bedrock in ourselves, this pure awakened heart that is the groundwater for everything.

When we do element practice, we begin by exploring the experience of water, looking out at the lake or even walking down there and wading. Of earth–again, walking barefoot on the beach, digging your hands in the sand. We see the sand is not sand and the water, water. The sand has water in it, and under the lake is a sand bed. They're part of each other. We can't separate them. We feel the sun on us, fire energy, and we feel the fire, the heat, in the sand. We see the fire glinting in the reflections in the water. We feel the breeze. It's picking up moisture from the lake, it's not just wind. It's moist wind, or dry wind if it's very hot, baked by the sun.

We can look at these elements in ourselves. Sometimes, if a lot of anger comes up, there's strong fire energy. It feels out of control. One way we can reclaim the heart's power to balance that fire energy is simply to think of a cool rain quieting the fire energy a bit. We don't want to drown the fire energy; it's energy. It's vital to you. We don't want it to take over. How do we keep it in balance?

Feeling very sluggish and stagnant, tired and slow. Inviting in wind energy, air, movement. Not to the point of a tornado where we're flying, just enough to keep us from being stuck in the  mud, lifting us out. It's helpful to look at this in ourselves and ask, where is balance in this moment? Especially when there's a strong emotion or just a feeling of ungroundedness, needing more earth energy, or stuck in the mud, needing more fire, earth, or water energy. Find the balance.

At the place where these elements come together in a balanced way, we look beneath and find the ether or akasha, the ground out of which they're all arising, the container for them.

I don't want to get too conceptual here. Instead I want to send you outside to just explore. Find a place where you'd like to sit or walk, or several places, here for a while, there for a while. Sit still for a bit and ask your guides to be present and help you. You may not hear them the way I hear Aaron. That's fine. You may ask, "What do I need?" If you're feeling very heavy and that butterfly flies by–some wings, some air. Or you're feeling very hot, fiery energy, and suddenly there's a cooling breeze. The world will respond to your openhearted request.

The question is not whether it will actually respond but whether you can begin to trust that response enough to allow yourself to consider the possibility that the world is talking to you, that the elements are talking to you, that love is talking to you. Whatever level you hear is fine. There's no right way to hear.

When doubt comes up and the mind says, "I must be imagining this," because you're hearing some strong guidance, then just note, "Ah, here is doubt." You don't have to get caught up in the doubt. You don't have to fix the doubt. Simply recognize, "here is doubt." What is the experience of doubt in this moment? That which is aware of doubt is not doubtful. Come back and rest in this awareness while watching doubt move through. That which is aware of fear is not afraid. Come back and rest in the direct experience of fear, knowing it, and at the same time knowing that which is not afraid, that open heart.

What we're talking about here really is discernment. Discerning when you are living from, hearing from, moving from the heart, from the one who knows, and when you're caught back in this tight place of the small self. And each time you find yourself in the small self, what is your intention? At that point, can you just say, "No, no; I'm coming back to the one who knows. I invite the presence of the one who knows."?

So we open our hearts. When you're feeling a bit settled, I'd like you to open your eyes and work with the various elements. First just getting to know each one, even just for a few minutes. Here is earth. Here is what the earth element feels like. How does it feel in my body? Often in the belly, you feel the earth element. The air element we feel in our breath. The fire element is energy moving through the body. The water element, fluidity of the body. Water is everywhere in the body.

So just gazing out at the lake, feel that water within you and out there, and the place where the separation falls away. Just water element. And then begin to ask, how do they come together? In this moment, is it balanced? And if not, what do I want to invite in? Ask your guidance what would be helpful to invite in, not to make better balance, that's a doing, but to support better balance. To rest in the already balanced.

Are there questions?

Q: I think you already have answered this. But when you speak of elements and inviting balance, I like to see how that perspective comes up in vipassana when the instructions are to just be present.

Barbara: Because when we are present and note imbalance, we have to be present to note that there's an imbalance. Tension, wanting to get it right. The earth energy gets heavy, stagnant. And then I note; the vipassana noting comes up. Noting contracted, heavy. And then just raising the question, what is out of balance here? Can I feel the over-predominance of earth energy, and what would bring in more balance?

It's just a kindness. It's like doing metta. We feel hardness in the heart, anger. Inviting in gratitude or joy. What brings balance? It's not a doing. It's more a surrender into the open heart that knows how to invite in that balance that's already there. So you're not creating the balance, you're just inviting resting in the balance. Does that answer it?

So no doing, just being. Resting in it. When I say co-creating with spirit, I repeat, you don't have to hear some voice or whatever, saying, "Do this." You may. If you do, that's fine. If you hear something like that, challenge it. "Do you come for the highest good, with love?" If you get a sense of yes, then hear what it has to say. If it's bossy and pushing you around and saying negative things, say, "Shhh. This is a place of love." Let it go.

I mentioned the four heavier elements and akasha. Basically we could do a weeklong workshop like this week on akashic field meditation, a mixture of vipassana and focusing on co-creating, resting in the akashic field, finding the place where what we seek already is and resting in it. I'm not going to talk too much about this now. Some of you have done this in depth with me at some retreats and in classes. For some of you it's new. But if it interests enough of you, I think that would be a wonderful topic for a future workshop. It's something we could get into deeply within 5 days or a week. But we can't do it in an hour.

So for now, just working with the elements and with spirit, and using these with the question, what helps support my return to the open heart?

Again, any questions? (No.) Okay. Among other things, simply enjoy being outside. There are woods to walk in. There's the lake. Places to sit in the sun or the shade. Roll in the grass. Whatever appeals to you. Find a little hill or sand dune and roll down it. Just experience the joy of being.

We'll meet back here at 4:30. Aaron will lead us then in a guided meditation. Enjoy your afternoon. I would suggest no chattering. Some mindful talking, if you're walking with somebody and sharing something related to the practice, is fine. But not talking about who do you think is going to win the World Series today. Just settle down and practice.

(session ends)

October 28, 2014 Tuesday Late Afternoon(2), Geneva Retreat

Guided Meditation: Being the Light that You Seek

Barbara: This is Barbara, still. Just sharing my process with you. No matter how many tens of thousands of times Aaron has incorporated in my body, I always challenge before I invite him in. It' would be just like opening a door and saying, "Come on in," before you look to see who is there. It feels like his energy, but I need to check.

So here's the process I go through. First I reach out for him, inviting him to incorporate in the body and to speak. I feel his energy. It's a very specific energy pattern that I'm used to. But I've learned through tough experience that something equally heavy negative can feel a lot like Aaron. I need to be sure before I invite this into my body.

I challenge, then, feeling the energy. "Do you come for the highest good of all beings?" And I feel a yes. "Do you come without harm to any being?" Yes. "Do you come fully harmonious with the Buddha and the Christ?" I feel a yes. When I feel those positive answers to my three questions, then it's like tuning a radio. I invite our energy fields to connect harmoniously. And then I say, "I consecrate this body to the light." And with that, I consciously release my consciousness out through the crown chakra. Just project consciousness out of the body, opening the body for Aaron to come into the body. There's only a moment, and the body is vacant, and then immediately Aaron comes in.

I'm gone. Aaron is talking. So this is the process I always use. Sometimes it's faster. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer. I wait until I feel a very clear connection before I release consciousness and invite him in. There's no hurry. That's why sometimes I sit longer than other times. It's like tuning a radio. Sometimes there's more disturbance on that channel. Just making sure it's clear.

(Aaron incorporates)

Aaron: :My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. It was very beautiful out there on the beach, big wind, big surf. Could you feel the energy of the elements? Let me ask two simultaneous questions. Could you distinguish between the elements, and could you also feel the simultaneity of the elements, how they are all interconnected and you can never say this one is wind, this one is fire? But they're all interconnected.(yes)

So I would ask you in the coming days to feel that flow of energy in the self. Not trying to say, "Oh, this is fire, this is earth," but to feel the interconnections of those elements. For those of you for whom it feels suitable, when you are feeling a strong simultaneity and balance of the various elements, go down and find the container out of which the elements are arising, the ground, the akashic field. And rest in that container. Don't force it. Only if you feel ready to look for that. Otherwise, just know, in this moment what balance of elements is predominant? Where might there be imbalance? And asking for help to bring the mind and body back into balance.

All of you are seekers of light. Like the hummingbird seeking the nectar of the flower, you're drawn to light. The Portuguese word for hummingbird is Beija-flor; it translates literally as "flower kisser", seeking that light in the heart of the flower. We are Light Kissers. We're all hummingbirds seeking and sipping that nectar. Most of you have made the error through many lifetimes of believing that that light is somewhere out there, and forgetting that it's right here in your own heart.

I'd like to lead you now in a simple guided meditation to help you find that heart of light and rest more firmly in it; to be the light that you seek.

(Aaron pauses to ask if he's dropping the end of his sentences. The group says no. He's trying to monitor them.)Like you, I forget. I am just an entity, just as you are. I have a lot of things worked out, but not necessarily not dropping endings!

Close your eyes and come with me on this journey.

We're going to travel together. Parts of the walk are open with grand vistas, and parts are in dark woods, and even a section through a cave where it's pitch black. There may be wild animals. We may need to cross a treacherous stream, or traverse a steep cliff. We will travel together and support each other.

We leave the meadow and move into a gentle woods. Dappled sunlight is pouring through. The leaves colorful with the autumn. Blue sky is visible. It's an easy walk. Can you feel your heart singing with joy in this autumn woods dappled with color and sunlight?

Gradually the trail begins to climb. The earth grows more rocky.(pauses between phrases, not noted)The forest grows taller and denser, blocking out most of the sunlight. Feel any apprehension about the deepening shadows. In the distance, hear the grizzly bear breaking through the brush. Closer up, the howl of a wolf. But you travel with a loving group. Take the hands of your friends and find courage and support. You are not alone.

Support is a beautiful thing. It is not bad to depend on others. When love seeks support, that choice can be very wholesome. There is a difference, though. When fear, believing itself to be inadequate, grasps at support, fear does not believe in its own inner light and strength. Can you feel the difference? Two beings who know themselves to be whole and hold hands, supporting each other, versus one being who believes in his lack of wholeness, lack of strength, and grabs at the others out of fear.

And so we continue to climb, mutually supported and supporting. But conscious of that aspect of the self which, when something very frightening comes, grasps to the other, feeling, "I myself am not sufficient."

The path continues up the mountain. It is a long hike. The sun is setting. The way grows darker. And now we come to the cave through which we must pass. It is not a normal cave with one exit but we enter here and climb, coming out on the other end of the cave, higher up the mountain. The way is narrow. You must drop hands and proceed single file. Feel any tension to release the hands of those ahead of you and behind. You can still hear their footsteps, but it's deceptive. How far away are they? Is the one you follow truly right ahead of you, or have you taken a wrong turn in the dark? The footsteps seem muffled and distant.

Mutual interdependency is wholesome, supporting each other. The grasping for support that grows out of a lack of faith in the self is not wholesome. And so we climb through this dark cave. The leader knows the way, and there are arrows painted on the walls. But here you are in the dark, experiencing the increasing muffled quality of the footsteps in front of and behind you. Feeling tension.

It is pitch black. The leader had a candle, a torch, but that leader is far ahead of you. There is no light. The human eyes cannot see. Can you feel how fear closes you in? Now I want you to pause in your walk. Reach out a hand and touch the rock wall. Breathe. Breathing in, I am aware of the fear. Breathing out, I hold space for the fear.

You have been told that there are no major forks; there are tiny passages but you are unlikely to blunder into them. If you follow the main path it will lead you through. Breathing, aware of the fear. If we deny the fear, we cannot find the one who knows. We cannot find the light. Without denial of the fear, find the wise, courageous, loving essence that knows with certainty, "This path is not meant to destroy me but to free me."

It is your choice: to mire yourself in fear and the stories fear carries, or to choose to be the light that you are. As you trust more deeply in this innate essence of your being, you may actually begin to see light glimmering from the rock walls, the path lit up. As you become the light, of course light is a metaphor here. But it's also real. You are light.

Let's spend a few minutes quietly, now, while you work with this tale that I've told you. Let your imagination lead you. Allow yourself to experience fear, if it's present. And also to experience the deep loving awareness, that which is not afraid. Do you freeze in place, waiting for someone to rescue you? Does a different voice of fear come up and say, "Just keep walking!"–a scolding, bossy voice?  What allows you to rest in love and literally become the light that lights the path for you? That leads you up through the mountain and into the open plateau at the top, where you see the glory of the setting sun and a blazing bonfire?

I'm going to be quiet now for a few minutes and just let you experience this. There's no right or wrong way to experience it. Just see where it takes you.

(sitting for some time in silence)

The light you experience may be quite literal. A burst of clear seeing–"Aha! I've got it!", coming from a place in your heart that you know you can trust. Or it may be a more figurative light, the dawn of understanding.

There is nobody out there to rescue you because you do not need to be rescued. Youare the light you seek. You are the love that you seek. It doesn't mean there are not companions on the way, both human and loving guides. But as you come to trust your own capacity, increasingly you take this center stance: I am the light.

Jeshua has been recorded saying to us, "I am the Light of the world." He did not mean the individual man, Jesus, but the awakened consciousness is the Light. You are this awakened consciousness, perhaps not of the stature of He who led you there, but you are also the awakened consciousness. Don't minimize yourself. You are radiant beyond measure. You have capacity far beyond your wildest imaginings. Be the light that you seek.

So we walk on. And gradually you see light coming from the far end of the cavern. You see that those with whom you walked have never been far away. Burst through the cave opening, where you see a glorious sunset from the mountaintop. And off to one side, a large bonfire where your companions are seated, who have come before you. Sit and enjoy the warmth of the fire and companionship, knowing thatyou brought yourself there.

You are not broken. You are not limited. You are the awake one. And you can live that. It really is your choice.

May all beings live from the awakened heart. (bell)

May all beings bring that light into the earth plane, with intention to the release of suffering and darkness on this plane. (bell)

Through each of our courage and work, may all beings everywhere find freedom, happiness, and peace. (bell, bell, bell)

(session ends)

October 28, 2014 Tuesday Evening, Geneva Retreat

Being light

Aaron: Good evening. My blessings and love to you all. A day and a half is really a very short time to cover a vast topic like aging. I could have talked for a week or two. You may have noticed we did not talk so much about aging itself but rather how we relate to the diminishment of body and mind; how we relate to this whole process of moving from the prime of the physical being into a diminishment.

I pointed out that while aging is one catalyst with which you can relate either with fear or with love and kindness, it is only one catalyst. Illness can happen at any time, and it's a similar catalyst. Personal loss, loss of loved ones, loss of physical resources, of income and so forth, seeming loss of power or of esteem in the world, these are all catalysts to which you may respond with fear and grasping and contraction or with the open heart.

So aging was the focus for these two days, but you can substitute anything in your lives. Those who have a family member who is experiencing illness, an aging parent, someone who is very ill in your primary family; those of you who might have lost your job, your income; the one who stubbed the toe or got a black eye or a virus: how do you relate to these?

In the chapter ofCosmic Healing on consciousness, Barbara and I have a chart on the states and stages of consciousness that we wrote out together. Your whole earth is moving into a gradually higher consciousness, a transition of consciousness, and you are all part of that transition. You can move into something new with fear, grasping and contraction, or with spaciousness that lets the inner light shine forth. It's your choice.

Some of you perhaps get the daily quotes sent by Deep Spring. Now, I cannot quote myself from memory, so give me a minute....(tape paused)

A goal of service is not only to become distortion-free but to give off light with as much energy as possible. Freedom from distortion creates the clarity. The energy level creates the brilliance. Remember that this original spark, before self-awareness, is always free of distortion. Let it shine!"

I have just read today's daily quote. It was the Tuesday daily quote. For those not familiar with these daily quotes, simply go to the Deep Spring website and subscribe to them. They are extracted from my talks and are meant to inspire. They will be emailed to you daily.

Why are we afraid to let that light shine? There's a beautiful quote, again I cannot quote it exactly, but that your deepest fear is not your wrongness but your light, your power, that you are afraid of your power. Why?

You so deeply aspire to be loving. You see that radiant light. I said this to some few of you the other day. You see that radiant light and you see yourself as a shadow in front of that light because you have not yet purified all the negative tendencies. There is still anger, still grasping, still fear. As old souls, you have such a deep intention not to do harm. If you really are as powerful as I say you are, and anger comes up, there is the fear you will destroy through that anger, so you diminish yourselves. But in diminishing yourselves, instead of simply holding back the anger you also hold back the light.

So the work is to learn to trust yourself not to enact the negative thoughts, not to enact the fear, but to do that in a process that remains open, spacious. Not contracting and diminishing but trusting your power, trusting your light, and the ability of that light literally to transform the world. The power of your love has nothing at all to do with the power of your negative thoughts. They arise out of conditions. They will pass. Don't give them power by using them as a reason to diminish yourselves, or negativity is winning.

When you trust your wholeness and your love, when you trust your capacity for kindness, for wisdom, for compassion, you can enact these in the world, even in very frightening and challenging situations. Even when there is strong emotion boiling up in you because you have learned to note, ah, fear, ah, anger, ah, judgment. Breathing in I am aware of the judging mind. Breathing out I make space for the judging mind. Breathing in I am aware of rage. Breathing out I hold space for the rage.

And when you practice in this way without contraction around what has arisen, or at least if a contraction comes, without contraction around the contraction, you allow the light and love to come through. And in this way you support the movement into a higher non-dual consciousness.

This truly is your work in the world. The vipassana meditation is, I would not call it a vital tool. Vital to me means there's no other choice than vipassana. I would call it a primary and powerful tool. I do not know of any other tool that is as powerful. That doesn't mean there is none. But this is what we can give you. So my suggestion is that you work with the vipassana practice until you come to the point that when something strong comes up in you, instead of fearing your reaction to it and closing down, you are increasingly able to simply note it spaciously and let it pass. And it will pass. Whatever has the nature to arise has the nature to cease.

Now let me qualify that a bit. Whatever has the nature in the conditioned realm, this realm of objects that arise from conditions and pass away when the conditions cease, those objects have the nature to arise and the nature to cease. But we speak also of the Unconditioned, that which is. Unconditioned is the Buddhist term for it. Pure nature, Christ consciousness, Love, they're all really synonymous words, just drawn from different traditions.

There are two parts then to your work. Being increasingly aware of the habitual tendencies that close you off into separation and fear and lead you to diminish yourselves, and incidentally lead to further aging of the body, because all the contraction is not good for the body. To aging yourselves because all that contraction is not good for the mind. When you are open, you are more healthy. You glow.

So one half is doing the practice to allow you to note the places of closure, breathe with them and come back, and the other half is to remember who your truly are when you're not asomebody trying to fix these contracted habits. This is where we'll be going tomorrow and the rest of the week. We're not abandoning the first part, increasing awareness of the habitual patterns with the conditioned self. But we're also going to move deeply into experiencing the Unconditioned. It may not be the ultimate experience of the Unconditioned in terms of what you might experience in a month-long silent retreat, but experiencing that expression of the Unconditioned that is you. Really knowing this and trusting it.

Part of our work here will be with the Mother, who simply awakens that remembrance of the divine self in each heart. Other brothers and sisters of light will also participate, each helping in their own way. Some of them have very high energy. The energy here thus far has been moderate. But there are times in the coming days when the energy in this room will be very high. We ask you to take responsibility for yourself. If your energy feels ungrounded, to ask for help and to ground yourself.

We do not have any water, here, do we? Just pure spring water. Is there anybody here who does not have water? Okay, we'll try to make some arrangements (to purchase some in town) for those who do not have it, so that people can keep sipping from it to keep grounded and energized. One of the Brothers of Light will bless this water and raise the vibration of it. People can use it to ground. I don't want to use just tap water. It won't hold the highest vibrations.(More about the purchase, not transcribed.)

For most of you, because the energy will increase gradually, you will not be thrown by it. At times you may feel you simply want to go to your room and rest, and that's fine. Loving spirit will be supporting this, myself giving talks and so forth, the Mother and also these other Brothers and Sisters of Light.

I'm going to invite one of these Brothers in to talk right now. Some of them give us names for themselves; others decline the names and simply offer their energy. So one is going to incorporate here for a few minutes.

(Entity incorporates)

E: What a joy to be with you! I am looking forward to your energy and love and sharing mine with you these days. Perhaps you can feel the difference between mine and Aaron's energy and vibration. Mine is not really higher than Aaron's, but Aaron has learned how to keep his low so as not to knock you over, and I have not practiced that so much, so I come through with a lot more energy.

I am simply a Brother of Love. That's all you need to know. And I will be with you through this week as a group and independently. Simply ask for me. We're part of a loving support team, and our interest is to help you know who you are. To trust who you are.

There is so much light pouring out from all of you. I wish you could see yourselves the way I see you. I have no doubt at all about my own divinity. I want to invite you to stand beside me and also release doubt, so that you know yourselves as light with absolute certainty, and begin to know everyone and everything in the world as light, albeit some of it is very diminished. Even the most terrible and hate-filled people,  tyrants and murderers have that spark within them, and it is called forth by your compassion. Compassion also says no to abuse. I'm not used to these mechanical devices. Do we need this device? (laughter) It impairs my energy field. I have to work around it, it's awkward. Not just the mechanics but the energy itself.

So I am with you. We are learning together, because even with what you consider my infinite love and compassion, I am still growing, as you are. If there were an end to the amount of compassion possible, everything would be cut off. But there is no limit. And you are here to walk this path with us, opening into the deepest compassion and love of your being. I rejoice in these days we will have together. That's all.

(Aaron reincorporates)

Aaron: So I am Aaron, and that is our friend, a Brother of Light. I'm going to release the body to Barbara and leave the floor open for your questions and answers, and then a final sitting. Thank you.

(tape paused)

Barbara: ... I'm talking about an incident where I said, "Oh, it's just Aaron," to myself, and he came in with such power, saying, "Is that all you think I am?" And I saw this huge energy. I saw that what I was seeing as Aaron was just the tiny tip of an iceberg. I was bowled over by his immensity and power, and his love. I know he doesn't show us that most of the time. It's too big for us. He just shows us his wisdom and his compassion, and that's enough.

For me, as long as I've known him, he's fed me like you feed a baby, giving it a little bit, seeing what it can digest. Giving it a little bit more, then a little bit more. And gradually the digestive system grows and it can integrate more nourishment into its being. When I look back at the transcripts from 25 years ago, he was teaching us the same thing but in simpler terms. As we grow, he gets a little bit more complex with it.

Anyhow, a big thank you to all these loving Brothers and Sisters of Light who are here with us for this week and will be supporting our work in various ways. Let's take a minute to stretch and then come back with questions and answers.


Aaron: The question is, "You've spoken about aging but not about death."

Death is easy. Dying is not easy. Dying is a process and it can take a long time. You start dying from the day you are born. But death is easy. From my many experiences of death, it's like being in too tight an item of clothing, hemmed in, and suddenly it all breaks loose and there's space. There's ease. A bit like being underwater with a scuba tank and so forth, and suddenly you don't need the tank anymore. There's abundant light, air and space.

Now, different beings have different experiences immediately following death, usually dependent on your spiritual practice. But the moment of death, that transition, is not hard.

You have a lot of resistance to the idea of dying, but the idea is not the actuality. The reason we focused on aging and not on death is that the work with aging is something you can do now in every part of your life, because it's the same work whether you are working with aging or with old habitual patterns of anger or fear or holding. It's basically living consciously and holding the intention to love.

Aging involves so much ongoing diminishment. The old image, from diapers to diapers; we move through that pattern. From the toddler who needs help to walk to the 90 year old who needs help to walk. Who will take care of us? Will we be safe? What will happen to us?

So conscious aging obviously involves some planning. You can't just say, "Oh, I will be safe," and spend all your money on frivolous things. You do have to be wise in the way you live your life and plan ahead. But then to trust, whatever happens is what will happen. You have no control over it. Even with the best of planning you don't have control.

I think of John's teacher Ajahn Chah, who had a stroke, how many years before his death, John? (John: 10 or 12 years.) So he lived that long in a body that needed complete care. He was a great, beloved master. He had many disciples. There were so many people who were happy to come forth and take care of him. He obviously didn't have social security or Medicare. His Medicare was simply he was an ordained Buddhist monk, and he trusted the system, the dharma, would take care of him.

Many people, I've heard indirectly, not so much directly, a little directly too, that so many people who took care of him said they learned even more from him in taking care of him when he was incapable of speech and movement than they did when he was a teacher. And he was a profound teacher, so you can imagine what he was like in these last years.

This is part of your potential. I know personally a number of people who through cancer or some other ailment died a very conscious loving death, with their hearts open to themselves and to others. I'm thinking of one woman who was in hospice. I've been told by people who visited her, as Barbara did on occasion, and by the staff at hospice, that whenever they had no other place they needed to be, they wanted to be in her room, because her room was so filled with life and love. Everyone simply gathered there.

You have the opportunity to die like this, but if you're going to die like this you have to live like this. Therefore we focus on the aging, which is now, not on the death. That's all.

Q: In your last lifetime, you extended the aging process. I assume it was a loving choice. Can you speak any more to that? And to gain more insight into this process. Why not teach Barbara's body when you are incorporated? (In the repetition of the question while signing, it ends up sounding like, why not teach Barbara when you're in the body?)

Aaron: I go over what I've said to her afterwards, but when I'm incorporated her consciousness is simply not present. She is holding her consciousness in a very special place where I have access to her mind to get the vocabulary but not to her intellectual consciousness. I can be in many places at once. She has not yet learned how to do that. So if I interrupt to try to explain what I'm doing, she's not as able to be present to simply keep her consciousness out of the body, but available to my need. Does that make sense to you?

Q: Well, I was assuming that working with cell rejuvenation, you would be teaching the cells of the body. Could you do that work when you are in the body?

Aaron: Could I do that work on this body, when I am in the body? Yes, certainly I could, but it's Barbara's responsibility to learn this. I've told her many times I will not do for her what she is capable of doing for herself. That is compassionate, not cruel. Her deepest intention is not for the body to be pain-free and healed but for the deepest growth and learning.

I teach her more in her sleep. I come often in her dreams and work with her, and of course in her meditation. But when I work with her in meditation, and we talk about cell rejuvenation and so forth, she is consciously present but in a meditative state, a deep meditative state, and able to follow what I'm asking her to do. I am not then doing it for her but asking her to take responsibility to remember-- not learn, but remember how to do this, for she has also known how to do this before.

Now, you were talking about my last lifetime. You did not mean my immediate last lifetime as a Buddhist monk, but the lifetime long ago in which I was Aaron. (Q: Yes.) She is talking about a lifetime in which I lived to be over 500 years. It was the lifetime before the lifetime in which I came as Nathaniel, a colleague, we might call it, of Jeshua. When I say colleague, I don't want to put myself on equal footing with him. He was a master. But a friend of Jeshua.

So Aaron, as he was then, 2,500 years ago. He lived to over 500 years, then consciously released the body. The process that he used was one that was familiar in those times. In the Bible you read of people who lived to those great ages. It was familiar to people who lived in Lemurian times and took some of these trainings. It's part of the same training that was used in Jeshua's birth and death, and resurrection, the rejuvenation of the body, the raising of the body. I don't want to go against any of your religious beliefs where you have learned this as a miracle. And of course it is a miracle, but also it's a discipline that can be learned.

Many of you gave up the memories of how to do this a long time ago, and actually allowed the cutting back of your DNA, because you were so powerful and yet you were not emotionally ready to hold that power. As you grew into a deep intention to do no harm, you were afraid of your power, as I spoke about earlier tonight. You willingly cut back on certain things you were capable of because you recognized that until you resolved the heavy emotions, the self-identity with them, you were not mature enough to hold that power without doing destruction, the possibility of which horrified you.

But now you are growing back into a readiness to claim that power. Some of you have heard me talk about this before, the restoration of the DNA strands, the completion of the DNA. It's a shaky time for you because you're moving into more and more power, and you're not sure you've really resolved the relationship with the heavy emotions. It's part of the whole process of trusting who you are, the divine essence of your being. Because unless you are willing to reclaim that power, sadly negatively polarity is going to win, fear is going to win, because negative polarity has no constraints about using its power to destroy. Love is stronger, but only if you trust your ability to love and the power of love. So you're all learning how to do that. And negativity cannot begin to match the power of love.

That's a roundabout answer. We have time for one more question.

Q: Were you the Nathaniel that gave the lamb to Jesus when he was born?

Aaron: Yes. The Bible records don't say much about our relationship. My Christmas stories, the book back there,47 Stories, talks more about it. I was blessed to know him as a friend.

Shall we stop?

(There is an inaudible comment about someone leaving in the morning.)

We are so glad to have had you here, and all of you who are leaving. How many are leaving? Five of you. Thank you for coming to be with us these first 2 days. I hope we shall have the opportunity to see you again. Go with my love. I will always be with you. Just ask for me.

I'm going to return the body to Barbara. Of course we have 5 more days here so there will be a lot more time for questions. Just drawing some closure around this portion of the workshop.

(session ends)