June 9, 2012 Saturday, Saugatuck MI

June 9, 2012 Saugatuck MI - short workshop: half from Barbara; half from Aaron

Limiting beliefs; Cosmic Healing; healing as remembering; moving past feelings of unworthiness; releasing stories; ‘a bigger container' Milarepa; simultaneity of contraction and non-contraction; compassion; transition; book, Testimony of Light;

Barbara: We've just finished an hour's talk about the three books, I've signed books, and now we have a group of about 10 people for another hour, to go into more depth.

My intention here was to work with a focus of Cosmic Healing, moving past limiting beliefs.

We all have different beliefs that limit us. It can be as simple as the belief, I'm not strong enough, I'm not tall enough, I'm not healthy enough, etc. I find a lot of people who come to me have experiences of feeling unworthiness. It's very common in our culture. People are convinced that this is real, “I am unworthy, and when I finally get this worked out in therapy or meditation or simply by maturity, finally I'll become worthy.” So there is often no insight that this is just a belief.

I had an interesting experience with unworthiness that I want to share with you, as a start. Growing up, a woman who was a nanny to me, but really a primary caregiver, became sick and had to leave when I was about five years old. I felt furious. It wasn't explained to me what was happening. I was sent away to summer camp and when I came home she was gone. My parents thought this was the cleanest way to do it. After all, she was just a “nanny”. They said, “Don't be angry. It's not her fault she got sick.” I felt that something must be wrong with me if the person I love so deeply got sick and had to move to another state. I poisoned her in some way. I made her sick. And I was angry despite the advice, “Don't be angry.”

I lived with this all of my early life. In my early twenties, with the help of a compassionate therapist, I moved past having to act out unworthiness in relationships, work and so forth, but the feeling still came up. If I went into a room filled with people, I would feel very timid; “People won't like me, people won't want to talk to me. I'm bad in some way. I'm flawed in some way.”

I worked on this a lot in meditation after I met Aaron, seeing increasingly, that it was just an idea. I gained more insight into the whole illusion, or shall I call it delusion, we have of unworthiness. Many of us are looking for connection with the divine, however we name that—God, Goddess, whatever. We feel like we literally were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Thus, something was bad in us. How do we fix that badness? How do we come home?

As I teach meditation I work with hundreds of people who have scouring pads in hand and are trying to scour the stain off themselves, not only Catholics raised with ‘original sin' but people of all backgrounds, thinking, “Finally I'm going to shine enough that I'm going to be worthy to come home.” But of course that's not how it is. If that window in the front of the store had dirt on it, we wouldn't break it out and put new glass in; we'd wash it. The nature of the glass itself is pure, is clear.

We don't see that in our own nature. We think that there's some irrevocable stain. Somehow we're going to come up with the cleansing solution that's finally going to get it off and then we'll be worthy to know our interconnection with God - When I use God, please use God, Goddess, or whatever word you want to substitute, here -  to know our non-duality with that divinity, and to know our connection with everything and everyone.

By early 1990s I had worked with these feelings of unworthiness for many years and they were no longer running my life, but they still came up. Twenty years ago, if I came into a setting like this, there would have been a lot of nervousness. Will they like me? Will I do okay? Am I appreciated? Et cetera.

Twenty years ago I went to a month-long meditation retreat, and the instructions given at such a retreat are not to talk, and also, not to make eye contact with people, to stay in your own private space. I noticed that when people walked by me and I would look up at them and smile, they would look away, following the instructions of the retreat. Then shame would come up. “Why don't they love me? What's wrong with me?”  But of course they were just following the retreat instructions. “It's not about me,” I would tell myself, “Don't take it personally.” But up it came, every time.

Aaron asked me to look at this. He said, each time it comes up, just note it as shame. What is the experience of shame? How does it feel in the body? Hot, kind of prickly, contracted. Breathing in, I am aware of that contraction. Breathing out, I smile to the contraction. Ask yourself, he said to me: is there anybody unworthy here? Can you see how it's just the flow of old conditioning, and how you've taken that conditioning personally and built what he called stories around it? “I am the one who Nanny walked out on. The one who poisoned Nanny somehow because there was something inherently bad in me that made her sick,” And so forth. Just old conditioning, old stories.

So each time I looked at somebody and they looked away, I would note, “feelings of unworthiness, shame.” and ask, is there anybody unworthy here? No; just the flow of old conditioning. Then I said to Aaron, if I'm not unworthy, I must be worthy. He replied, “Don't get caught in that trap. If there's no unworthiness, there's no worthiness. As long as you're trying to be somebody who's worthy, you're still trying to push away unworthiness. You haven't made peace with the whole thing and understood it's all an illusion. It's all old stories based on old conditioning. People can be kind or unkind. People can be angry. People can be generous or stingy. But worthy and unworthy are meaningless words.”

I kept inviting eye contact. People kept looking away. It happened twenty times a day. Each time, I noted it and came back to center. Somewhere in that month, people looking away stopped bringing up contraction. People looked away and it was just someone looking away. No problem. And I'm delighted to say it's never come back. No more stories about unworthiness!  If we practice in this way, we really can overcome old conditioning.

We come into the world with different kinds of conditioning based on our families, our culture, our place in the family. Some people with whom I work were oldest children with many siblings, and always had to be the caretaker. They felt a lot of shame if they weren't taking care of everyone and doing everything, and also resentment about that role and shame about the resentment. Some people were often told, as I was as a child, “Don't be angry.” So they constantly had to not be the angry one, to be the one for whom “everything is okay with me” and not to allow the experience of anger, to the point that they couldn't even acknowledge that there was anger, it was so deeply suppressed.

Our culture teaches us not to be angry. So many people in our culture experience that lesson, “Now, don't be angry.” It doesn't have to be that way. I had a wonderful experience last fall. I was away teaching and staying at somebody's home. There was a little boy in the house, 4 or 5 years old, the child of my students. He was building with his Lego blocks and they just wouldn't stick together. Finally he picked the whole thing up and threw it across the room. He looked up at me and I said, “You look very angry.” He said, “I' am angry.” I walked over to him and said, “Can I help?” He said, “No, I'm taking care of my anger.” So I said, “Can I sit with you while you take care of your anger?” “Yes.” So I sat down on the floor with him; his fists were clenched. He was breathing heavily for about a minute or two. And slowly his fists unclenched a bit and his breathing became quieter. Another minute passed, and then he looked up at me and he said, “I'm all done. We can play now.”

It's wonderful when we teach our children how to do this, but first we have to teach ourselves. Remember that thumbtack image I used earlier. If you step on the tack, there's going to be pain. We expect it. If you step on an emotional tack, you have this illusion, “I shouldn't feel pain. I shouldn't be angry. I shouldn't feel hurt,” or whatever emotion has come up. So this is another area of limiting beliefs: I shouldn't have certain what we call negative emotions, I should only have loving positive emotions. It's a limiting belief because it doesn't allow us to be genuine in who we are and how we experience things.

So, we see the formation of the stories,  unworthiness, being the helper who has to do everything and carry all the burdens, being the helpless one, the one who was always told, “Oh, you're making a mess, let me do it,” and is constantly feeling, “I will bumble everything,” and backing out, not even trying; being the angry one; being the good one.... there are so many different kinds of limiting beliefs. And I am certainly not trying to label them all here. We each have our own - a friend calls them the Top Ten Hit Parade. These are the ones that play most incessantly in our minds, the stories that we get caught in most.

As long as we are trying to fix these traits in ourselves, we're slaves to them. We only really find freedom when we understand that this is old conditioning and it's okay that it's here. We don't have to react to it. Then what do we do with it? What do we do when fear or anger or contraction of any sort  arises? With fear, the body contracts, the energy contracts. Anger, greed, grasping, they're contracted energy. But when we open up—ahh, there's all this space, right there with the contractions. How do we invite ourselves into this spacious place? We don't have to get rid of the contractions, only to find the space that has always been there.

I want to illustrate the idea of space. Imagine yourself sitting in a box about 3'x3', about shoulder high, sitting in the box, each of you in your own separate box. I walk in with a bag and pull out a tarantula. I've got a whole bag of them. I'm going to put one in your box. Could you stay in the box? Maybe. I once asked that and somebody said, “Oh, I love spiders!” But the rest of us would be out of there.

How about if the box was about 10'x10'? No furniture or any other object in it. Can you see that you might be able to sit in there for a few seconds? As soon as he started moving, you'd probably jump out. But there's a little more space. Now picture a box the size of this room but completely empty. There's no place for this fellow to hide; a big empty space. I put the tarantula down in the front corner. Can you see that that space allows you just to be there and watch this object, this spider? When he gets past the middle of the room, you may get up and skirt around him and go to the other end and sit down. He explores this end, and then he heads back towards you.

You're watching him. You don't let go of that. You're very present. But eventually it's not fear that's watching, just awareness, watching this fellow crawling around. Gradually, maybe after weeks of spending time in the box with him, you might actually be able to let him climb up on you. There would be fear, certainly, but at a certain point, as he walks by you and you see, “He's really not attacking me. What if I just let him crawl up on my lap? What if I allow myself to be that present with him and just see what happens?” And here he comes, just walking on me, and walks off and goes on his way. Later I let him crawl all over me. Gradually I'm learning it's just a tarantula, if I can put it in that way.

Our fear of failure, our fear of not being loved, and so forth, as long as we contract and try to fix it, it's like running out of the room with the tarantula. But when we can relax and just be with it, we see, okay, this is just this fear, conditioned through my childhood. I've seen this in meditation. I've seen it in therapy. I understand it. It's okay if it brings up tension in me. I don't have to fix the tension, and I don't have to fix the ground for the tension. It's all okay.

Spaciousness is interesting. What is the biggest thing in the room? (books and bookshelves; people; walls; ceiling) When the object commands our attention, we don't see the space, but truly the biggest thing in the room is space. It's a kind of non-thing, not pulling our attention, but is always here.

As I relax into that spaciousness, the whole field opens up. Gradually these beliefs stop coming. Where I teach at Deep Spring and on retreats I give people the little phrase, “Is that so?” I shouldn't be angry.” Is that so? “I shouldn't be afraid.” Is that so? “I shouldn't feel sad.” Is that so? “I shouldn't want to control.” Is that so? It doesn't mean I'm going to act out my anger. It doesn't mean I'm going to control everything. Simply, this thought or feeling came up. “Hello, here you are.” So I smile to it and let it be. There is nothing to fix.

There's a story I love about the Tibetan saint Milarepa. He's meditating in his cave when the demons of fear, greed, and anger appear. They're hideous. The flesh is hanging from the bones. Gore is dripping out. You can hear the bones rattling underneath. They have a foul stench. Milarepa sees them and just says, “Ah, I've been expecting you. Come, sit by my fire, have tea.”

“Aren't you afraid of us?” they ask.

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

We are constantly inviting our demons in for tea. If you pick up a stick and try to chase it out, being a demon its initial reaction is going to be to laugh at you and say, “Oh, I'm getting to you, am I?” So we relax with these demons. But there's one more rule, here. We don't get into a dialogue with them. Give them tea, and if they try to talk and say, “See, you gave me tea and now I'm going to prove to you how inept you are, or how bad you are to be angry,” or whatever, just say, “Shhh. Drink your tea. I'm not going to get caught up in your stories.”

So, gradually we open to that space. We open our hearts to ourselves and to our humanness. We stop judging ourselves for being human. If we were not created with emotions it would be different. We're humans, with bodies that feel sensations and have emotions. So we don't make a problem of any of it.

I want you to directly experience both contraction and spaciousness. I'm going to try something with you here. As I'm talking, in a next minute or two I'm going to give a loud shout. It will startle you. I want you to feel the sensation “feeling startled.” First know that what happened is hearing, the ear hearing the sound. Hearing. There's nothing really unpleasant about a shout, but the sensation of being startled may be unpleasant. If it's unpleasant, know it's unpleasant. Is it the shout that's unpleasant or the startle and jumping that came with it?  Feel any contracting, fear, or other emotion.

Then I want you to watch what happens, shift your attention from any story—“She shouted. What's wrong? I shouldn't feel startled.”—whatever thoughts come up, and feel the body still reverberating, shaking a bit with this shout. Watch it gradually quiet down until you're just sitting and breathing, back to normal. Note that you didn't have to fix anything (shout!)...


Nothing to fix. Breathe and be with it. Startled. Where is it held in the body? Can you feel it? Heart beating faster, maybe, or body tension. Remember, “I am not my body tension, and I also do not have to deny my body tension.” Just making space for it, holding it in a loving spaciousness and watching it subside. Breathing, breathing. Nothing to fix, nothing to change. This is how the body is. When it's startled, it contracts. Let it be and it relaxes again. Releasing self-identification with it. However it is, is okay.

Will you share with me some of what you experienced, with the shout and after the shout?

Q: My whole body contracted. I felt it here in the chest area.

Barbara: And what happened as you brought kind attention to it?

Q: It gradually subsided.

Q: I just kind of tingled all over. All my nerves...

Barbara: And as you made more spacious attention with it, what happened to it?

Q: That was easy because you had warned me. So I enjoyed it.

Q: I felt a lot of pain in the left side of my head.

Barbara: So it particularly hit on one side. And were you able to bring more kind attention to that discomfort?

Q: I was really glad you had warned me.

Barbara: I wouldn't do it without warning you! Because it's not supposed to traumatize you; it's supposed to be a ground for learning something.

So what I'd like you all to do is to reflect now on some habitual pattern that you have. Feelings of unworthiness, feelings of the one who always has to take care of things. “It won't get done if I don't do it.” Feelings of helplessness. Just general feelings of shame. Whatever is a repetitive pattern in your life. I'd like you to try to envision, really remember in your body and your mind an experience in the recent weeks where that pattern came up. I'll give you a minute here to think about it.


Can you feel the contracted energy in experiencing that pattern? As you look at it in your memory, can you feel how there was a time when somebody said something rude to you, maybe, and anger came up and judgment and contraction? Or, something you were asked to do and fear, “I can't do that.” Contraction.

We're just going to sit quietly for a minute or two. I assume that there's some noise in here because we have people who are not part of this workshop walking around in the front of the room and a few are walking back to us, listening.  (speaking to the onlookers)You're all welcome to listen, all of you up there. We're just having a short workshop, here. It's based on the book Cosmic Healing, there on the table, and you're welcome to listen.

Breathing in and breathing out. Aware of that memory and how it causes some sense of tension, contraction. Aware of a pattern, if it's there, of self-judgment. Try my little “Is that so?” I shouldn't be angry. I shouldn't be judging. I shouldn't be afraid. Is that so? This arose because of old conditioning, and the only way past that old conditioning is through it. Not suppressing it or getting out an axe and breaking it to pieces, but just seeing it as nothing solid and moving through.

An illustration that comes to my mind. I remember once flying in a plane. Looking out the window, there was a huge, black, solid-looking cloud. We were flying in blue sky but we were flying right toward that cloud. It felt like the plane was going to hit a mountain. But of course the plane just went into the cloud and it came out the other side. I could not have gone out of the plane and pushed the cloud away. I couldn't have denied that there was a cloud. There was fear but there was nothing solid there.

All these old beliefs we hold are simply our old conditioning. Just letting it go. So, coming back to whatever it is that you're working with, just breathing, watching whatever trigger there is, like self-judgment or feeling helpless or whatever it may be. Ask, if appropriate, is that so? I shouldn't be angry. I shouldn't have judgment. I shouldn't be sad. “Is that so?” Breathing in, I am aware of anger. Breathing out, I smile to the anger. Breathing in, I am aware of tension. Breathing out, I smile to the tension.

What we're doing is taking a step from being so self-identified as the everyday human, in this mind, this body, all the self-identity with the human emotions and physicality, and stepping into a bigger space. Who are you when you're not this mind and body? We're back to the glass window. Of course we have smudges; we all have smudges. We don't break out the glass and we don't deny the smudges, we just get some soapy water and wash them off.

Coming back to the beginning of this talk, so many of us have felt “I cannot be fully connected to the Divine until I purify these distortions, these smudges.” But purification doesn't mean smashing the glass, and it doesn't mean turning our back on them and saying, “No, I'll be kinder. I'll be better. I won't have anger.” But simply in this moment, we take care of our anger, as that little boy did, opening our hearts to ourselves. And we find the spaciousness and ease that have always been there and learn to rest in these, to trust their presence.

This washes away not only the anger of that moment, but the habitual tendency to anger in certain situations. It's like the pushing exercise that we did earlier in the open book talk. We're so triggered that when something pushes, we push back. Then we say, “No, I won't push back,” so we collapse on the floor. But that doesn't work, either. Instead, can we just let whatever has pushed at us go past, breathe with it, return the energy, dance with it? Life is filled with things that are pushing us. We do not need to perpetuate a self-identity with them and keep them running, trying to rule us and creating suffering. Thos idea that we must always be suffering is part of the limiting belief.

At this point I want Aaron to come in for a few minutes and talk, and then perhaps answer questions. But I want him to add something from his perspective, to what I've been saying.

(Aaron incorporates)

Aaron: Once again, my blessings and love to all of you. I am Aaron.

You did not incarnate to be perfect and to experience only bliss. If you wanted to be completely free of any negative catalyst, of any discomfort, any human experience, you would have stayed on the astral plane. You would not have chosen to incarnate. You come into the incarnation for a certain reason. For most of you that reason is the learning of compassion. This is a primary human learning.

There's a lovely story about the spiritual teacher Gurdjieff. He had a man in his community who was rude to others. He didn't do his share of the work. He even had poor hygiene and gave off a foul smell. One day this man said, “I'm fed up with people not appreciating me. I'm leaving.” People paid to live in this community. Gurdjieff went after him and said, “No, please stay. I'll pay you to stay.” The others in the community were aghast. “How could you ask him to stay? He's unbearable!” Gurdjieff said, “He is the grist for the mill, a teacher of compassion. How are you going to learn compassion with each other when you all love each other and are always kind to each other and compassionate with each other?”

Something has got to trigger some kind of negative emotion—fear, contraction, whatever—in order to feel both the uncontracted and the contracted and make a conscious choice for the uncontracted. You can learn to rest in that uncontracted, compassionate heart. You are not human to avoid unpleasant experience, although I understand your preference for the pleasant. But that's not always going to happen. It can't always be sunny; some days it's going to rain. Some days your food will taste better than others. Some days your bowels will move more smoothly than others. You are human.

All of this is because you chose to come into the incarnation to learn compassion. It begins with yourself. It begins with understanding that you always have a choice. You may not have a choice about what happens to you, but you have a choice about how you will relate to what happens to you. Actually, you have more choice than you understand about what happens to you, as well. But how you relate to what happens to you is the point for today.

When something is unpleasant, it's simply unpleasant. You then have a habitually conditioned process whereby you try to fix it. “I don't like what happened. Who can I blame?” That's one. Or “I blame myself. I should have known better.” That's another. Or “How do we fix it?” All of these are ways of avoiding being fully present with it.

Now, I have another Milarepa story. Milarepa goes out from his cave to collect firewood, and when he comes back he finds a lot of demons there. He doesn't want demons in his cave so he takes one of his sticks he's carrying and he chases them, and they laugh. Not going to get rid of anger and fear and greed that way. They just are eating it up. They love his reaction, “Look how angry he's getting. Wheee!” So he sits down and reflects, “I can't get rid of them this way, but maybe I can give them a dharma talk. Maybe that will get rid of them.”

He starts giving a talk to them about kindness, generosity, and so forth. They simply roll their eyes. The harder he tries to get rid of them through his dharma talk, the more they laugh at him. They know, “He's just trying to get rid of us. He's just reverted from throwing the sticks at us to trying to oust us verbally. But he's still trying to get rid of us.”

Finally most of them have gotten bored. Milarepa sees the dharma talk is not going to work so he just goes about his business, living with them there, and thinking, “I guess they're just going to stay as long as they're going to stay.” He realizes, “Maybe they've been here all along and I just didn't notice them. Maybe all those ‘monsters' of fear, anger, and so forth have always been here. I'm just going to go about my normal life.”

So most of them go, but there's one horrible looking ogre with big bulging eyes and big fangs who's still there. So Milarepa thinks about it, and realizes there's only one thing to do with this demon. He walks up to the demon, says, “Eat me,”  and puts his head in the demon's mouth.

This is a very challenging teaching. It's a statement, “Okay, Anger, Fear, Greed, whatever; you and I are not separate. I will attend to your presence but I don't have to fear you or control you. I will not act out the experience of anger, fear, greed, and so forth, but I don't have to be afraid of it. Eat me. I come completely together with you, and you with me.”

And as he said “Eat me” and put his head in the demon's mouth, the demon dissolved, because Milarepa  realized, “The demon is nothing other than myself.” What I've been thinking of as demonic in myself, which are these negative emotions, are simply human emotions arisen from conditions, impermanent. There is nothing to be afraid of.”

When we relate to them in that way, they go. Not instantly, of course. Sometimes the anger may linger for hours or days, but eventually it goes. Is there anybody here who has been angry about the same thing for months? (Group: Yes!) Yes. What would happen if you look at that anger and just say, “Okay, here is anger. It's not a problem. Just, here is anger. You're lingering. I stick my head in your mouth.” What is sustaining the feeling of anger except your anger? What if you made friends with it and let it be?

I want to leave us with time for questions. Of course we cannot cover this topic fully in an hour. As Barbara said, we are leading a one-week meditation retreat on this topic at Deep Spring Center starting next Saturday, and even that will only touch on the subject. But I hope this gives you some tools to work with. Watch the contraction in the mind and body. Recognize, “okay, this is part of the human condition. I observe this catalyst with a sense of ease and joy. I actually say thank you. Thank you for stepping on my toe. Thank you for saying something rude. Here is my opportunity to practice compassion. But no, you may not step on my toe again.” Because “no” that is part of compassion, also.

Your questions?

Q: I have a situation. I stayed in a woman's home that was my friend. And when the woman returned, she decided she didn't want to have anything to do with me. And I recognize it as a pattern. And I feel the sadness around it, but also wonder if there's another learning.

Aaron: Have you experienced similar things with other people? (Q: Yes) There are two parts to this. It's easy to say “Don't take it personally,” but also that's a way of saying, “Well, the other person's to blame and I have no fault here.” One has to both not take it personally, to know something upset the other person, and also to do the deep inner work of asking, “Did I do anything that might have upset that person? Can I be more careful in the future?” One needs to look courageously at both possibilities.

I'm not saying that you did or didn't do something that served as a ground for irritation. In some cases it may be almost entirely about the other person. But we do have to do the inner work and not just say, “Well it's not about me so I'm completely free of any fault,” I don't want to use the word blame, but “responsibility, here.”

It is partially about not taking what others think of you and say to you so personally. In that way it is about them. The woman came home, and maybe she was not feeling well, was sick, was tired, found some things rearranged in her home and wanted everything to be just the way she left it—tension came up, and you were the nearest one to take it out on. But also, you may want to ask if you have misused such situations in any way and created disruption or irritation for your host. It is an opportunity to learn compassion. Once there is deeper compassion, you may find that you don't invite such experiences anymore, because you've learned what you've needed to learn from them.

Others? I'm happy to hear personal questions, and also questions about what Barbara and I spoke of.

Q: Is there a way for us to help younger people before they get into these repetitive limiting experiences? Teenagers, young 20 year olds...

Aaron: Yes. Start with your children, and your friends' children and your grandchildren and whatever children you come in contact with. When somebody clearly is angry or upset, say to them, “You look angry.” Just acknowledge, “I can see you're feeling angry. Can I be of help?.” It doesn't have to be said in a way that is patronizing. Just note the anger and that it's okay with you. If it does frighten you, then do your own work with it.

Q: What about the things you can't see, like the worthiness issue?

Aaron: Talk to the children about it. “Are you feeling unworthy?” Unworthy may not be the right word, but if you watch two or three children in a household and one snaps at the other and the other pulls back, you can say to the one who pulled back, “Are you feeling sad or afraid or unloved? Do you need a hug?” It is as simple as that.

Talk to the children about human feelings. Remind them that people sometimes do feel unworthy or unloved, that people do feel ashamed. That it's okay to have whatever feelings they have. Normalize them by speaking of them. And speak of your own feelings. Give the positive example that just because there is anger, you don't have to lash out.  I believe in Cosmic Healing and perhaps also in Presence, Kindness, and Freedom, I'm not sure, is a chapter called “Trainings” in which I speak about my experience 2,000 years ago in an Essene community where children were taught from infancy to be present with their feelings; that it was okay to have human feelings and it was not okay to harm others because of those feelings. This was part of being human. They could sit down with whatever feeling they had and just breathe with it and make space for it.

This became an ascending spiral until as they matured into adulthood they knew how to work energetically with such emotions. As children the focus was simply on recognizing the arising of the emotion. Just as they would be taught, “Oh, there's a scratch on your hand. Let's wash it.” Not, “Oh, my! There's a scratch on your hand!!”, just, “I see there's a scratch. Let's wash it off and take care of it.” As they mature, they learn how to energetically respond to and take care of feelings.

This little boy that Barbara spoke of, all he knew how to do was sit and breathe with it, and that was fine for a 5 year old. By the time he's 10 or 11 he'll know how to watch emotion arising in him, note the anger immediately as he begins to feel it. Note whether there's space for the anger or not. Note any conditioned reaction to the anger. Look at his chakras and energy field and see what is closed because of the anger, and help invite it to re-open, which is not fixing but attending to. Very different. There's no fix-it energy, just love, just kindness.


Q: What is it like on the other side in between lives?

Aaron: There's a book I would recommend, Testimony of Light by Helen Greaves. I don't know if it's still published or if it can only be bought as an older copy.  (It is presently available new and used, and also in Kindle format) I think they may have reprinted it. In this book, there are two women who are good friends. One is a medium. The other says, “When I die, I'm going to come back and tell you how it is.” One is older, so likely to die first, and her friend who's the medium says, “Good. I'll be watching for you.”

She comes back and begins to tell her friend what she's experiencing. It's a very clear book. The one who died had been a nun and finds herself in a heavenly convent, of sorts. Now, of course, the fisherman is not going to find himself in nun's robes in a convent. He's going to find himself in his fishing clothes on a beautiful beach. The farmer is going to find himself with wonderful fields growing around him, rich land and flowers. So it's important not to read into the book that this is what everybody's experience is, only that after the transition one finds oneself in a spacious place with much support.

First one connects with loved ones of the past life, but they may not be the immediate ones who stay with you to support you. They're doing their own work. But there is always support, loving teachers and, I don't have a name for them, just loving support, guidance.

The body is no more but you still have the idea of the body. So the body heals of its last illness until it feels strong and whole. The letting go of the body only comes gradually. One begins the review the past lifetime, what was clear in that lifetime. I see it like a blueprint for a house. The intention for the lifetime, what actually was built, and what did not get built; also what additional wings were built that were not even planned. But if we forgot this wing, in the next incarnation we're going to want to focus on it.

So one sees what one learned, and what one needs to learn. Gradually one loosens the self-identification with the last previous physical body, with being that person. One knows oneself as spirit. A new soul just transitioned has a much more solid form. Souls transitioned quite a while ago are more purely just light and energy. They don't need to hold onto a solid form anymore. Eventually with your guides you make a decision of readiness to move into a new incarnation.

Testimony of Light will both educate and delight you. It's a wonderful book.

Q: So there is no penalty or judgment on the other side?

Aaron: The only Hell that exists is the one you create for yourself. Helen Greaves also goes into this in the book. Her friend, reporting to Helen, talks about being taken with some of the angels of light to some of the dark realms, and describes how it's explained to her that they're simply held in this darkness by their own negativity, their own judgment. If you have a long tendency to judgment of self and other, that's not going to disappear just because you die. Whatever old habitual patterns there are will continue. If you're a person that's constantly angry at somebody on this realm, you're going to continue to be angry on other realms.

So if you're constantly angry, just because you've died doesn't mean the tendency toward anger is going to leave. If you have learned deep compassion, you will find that compassion on the other side. That's why this lifetime is such a valuable place to do the work, because you can take it with you!

In the book, she talks about a very lost soul who was an artist; all his paintings were browns and blacks. The angel said, “He's ready for some more light. He doesn't know how to get it.” She brings him some lighter colors of paint. Gradually he allows himself to bring in lighter and lighter colors.

Healing goes on at every level. I want to say something about healing, here, and the word healing in Cosmic Healing. On the ultimate level, healing is not a linear journey. On the ultimate level, there's nothing to heal. How could anything be broken or amiss in you? You're all angels. You're divine. We start there. And then we accept, yes, I have some unpleasant tendencies. I tend to fly off the handle when somebody irritates me, or I tend to impatience, or I can be very proud and arrogant. I want to take care of those tendencies. My body may be deaf or infirm in some way; a bone may be broken or there may be a virus; but on the ultimate level, you are whole.

Healing is a remembering of your wholeness. As you know and become certain of that wholeness, you no longer need to hold on to these negative patterns of body, emotions, or mind. Gradually they fall away.

I call you angels in earth suits. You're angels, all of you. And if you're here in a body, you're here in an earth suit. One weekend workshop we often offer is called Angels in Earthsuits; how to live the angel-ness; how to live with the earth suit.

Other questions?

Q: In January, I hurt my back on a machine at the gym. I was pushing my right leg too hard, I think. So every week since then, I've been in therapy. I went to the chiropractor, I went to the doctor. And now I'm in physical therapy. And it's better after I get the treatment, and then if I sit, the pain comes back and the muscles are really tight. What I've learned is the empathy with people who are in pain. But I would like to fix it. (she would like any advice)

Aaron: Note the wanting to fix. I don't mean that as judgmental noting; just pay attention. “I would like to fix it.” Of course, we don't want pain; it's unpleasant. But there's a difference between fixing it and attending to it. Fixing comes from a place of fear. “What if it doesn't get better? It's limiting me. I can't do the things I'd like to do. I'm uncomfortable.” Fear, tension, contraction.

Instead, attend to it with love. Do you have children, grandchildren? Think of a crying baby. He or she wakes up wet, hungry. You pick it up. You're not fixing it, you're attending to it. If you said, “Oh! Don't cry! Don't cry!” with some hysteria, it's just going to cry harder. But when you pick it up soothingly, “There, there. I understand. I'm taking care of you”, even wet and hungry, the baby stops crying. You know that.

So, relax with this pain. Be a mother to it. Pick it up. Hold it lovingly. Ask your body to remember the patterns in the body that were there before you strained the body in that way, to remember its wholeness. Lie on your back in a comfortable position, knees elevated on a pillow or however is comfortable for you, so that there's no pain in the back, and experience how the body feels at that point with no pain and no tension.

Then, eventually when you get up and the pain comes back, stop. Give yourself time to stop and pause and feel the muscles that are pulling tight. Stretch, relax, hold it with love, and take care of rather than fix it. Just giving it love.

There's a lot more that could be said here, but not time to go into the kinds of detail. But you can work with toning, singing to the pain, working with harmonics in the body. You can work with the chakras. You can work with crystals. Many of these practices are detailed in Cosmic Healing. There are many ways of helping the body remember its wholeness, which is basically what all of these techniques are doing.

Q: Thank you.

Aaron: We have time for one more question.

Q: Many of us question our divine purpose, so to speak, on Earth. Perhaps guidance? We want to live and work in our divine purpose...

Aaron: Daughter, I'm not quite clear on your question. You are asking, “how do we live our divine purpose?” or “ What is the divine purpose?” (Q: Exactly, what is the divine purpose!) For me, as I said earlier, it's the learning of compassion, the learning of kindness, the learning not to be reactive in this human body.

Beyond that, each of you will have specific purposes based on your karma, and you begin to understand them more deeply. The most important tool, to me is meditation. There are many forms of meditation, but most valuable is a form that allows you to watch the movements of the mind and body; to explore the self-identity with the mind and body. Gradually you move past that self-identity and know, “All the sensations and even the cellular matter of this body have arisen out of conditions. It is not me or mine. All the thoughts of the mind have arisen out of conditions. They are not me or mine.”

Once you get that, then the next question is, “If this mind and body are not who I am, what am I?” Then you begin to find out who and what you are beyond being the mind and the body. Once you understand that, you have a much clearer answer to, “what is my purpose?” It's not something anyone can tell you, but something you can uncover for yourself. So we could say that part of your divine purpose is to understand your purpose! (laughter)

It's about 3 minutes to 4pm. Let us end here. Thank you all for being with us today. I offer you my deepest love. Please know that each of you have guides, and there have not been a dozen people in this room but a dozen people plus a great many guides. They are with you. Reach out for us. We are here, but we cannot come through walls. You have to open the doors. It's not that we can't come through walls; it's that we won't because we respect your free will. When you're ready to open the door, we're there. Opening the door is as simple as sitting down quietly and saying, “What do I need to learn? I'm ready. I invite spirit to guide me, to help me. I'm ready.” And then make time for meditation or simply, time for silence in your life. If you're constantly busy, you cannot hear us. Find some quiet time. We are here, and our greatest delight is to serve you and help you more fully live your own divine purpose.

May all beings everywhere benefit from what we have shared today.

May all beings be happy and find peace.

What we're doing here with holding the hands is that Barbara is literally out of the body. It's quite disorienting to come back to an empty body. This touch gives some energy back into the body so that she has something for her own consciousness to ground in on, so she's not so disoriented.

Thank you.

(session ends)