May 8, 2010 Saturday, Santa Barbara

Keywords: liberation, dependent origination, vipassana meditation, healing, energy, relationship, heavy emotion, earth transition, karma and geography

Barbara: Good morning. Channeling is new for many of you. We have introduced Aaron. As he starts talking, don't try to figure out, is he real? Who is he? What's happening? Just listen to the words. If what he says is helpful to you, use it. If it's not helpful, toss it out. If you found a book on the street with the cover torn off and you started reading it and it was fascinating, you might say "Who is the author?", you might wonder, but you wouldn't throw the book away because you didn't have an author. Don't worry about who Aaron is, just, is this helpful information? With that advice, here is Aaron.

Aaron: My blessings and love to all of you. I am Aaron. Thank you for inviting me to be here with you today and thank you, Lauren and William, for arranging this weekend.

As Barbara said, I am simply a dharma teacher, but a dharma teacher with a bit of a difference. First of all, I no longer have a need to return to the earth plane, to return to human form. Second, I have a higher perspective because I'm no longer caught up in the human form. I see my path and your paths with much more clarity.

What is liberation? It's the ability not to be trapped in the incessant stories of the mind. These stories will come and go. The nature of the mind is to give rise to thoughts. The nature of the body is to feel sensation. We don't think of a liberated person as no longer having body sensations. The liberated human also continues to think, and if the conditions are present, certain thoughts will come up.

The question is not what comes up but how you relate to it. If you relate to it with a self-identity that says, "Ah, yes, that one! That's me!" – the one who can't hear, the one who is angry so much, the one who is confused, the one who always has to be good or the one who is always bad and making mistakes – then you will suffer and you will keep hold of this separate self. The more you identify, the more you perpetuate these patterns.

And yet you cannot live in denial that these objects come up. When certain conditions are present, something will arise. If the wind blows in big storm clouds, it will rain. When the storm clouds are blown away, the rain will stop and the sun will come out. It didn't rain because of you. There's nothing personal about it. It simply rained because conditions were present.

When certain conditions are present, storm clouds will come into the mind, and will become very dense and dark. Then you say, "What am I doing wrong?" But the storm clouds in the mind are a result.

You attend to those storm clouds that might create anger or fear, so they do no harm to others. But you do not ask, "Why are they here and how do I fix them?" You understand, " this has arisen as the result of conditioning."

You begin to look at the conditioning, for example, L, if you would, I want you to push me. (pushing) "Why is she pushing me?! What did I do wrong?" As opposed to (demonstrating again). "Pushing, pushing. Feeling pushed. I wonder what that was about." There was pushing sensation; it may have been unpleasant. But it doesn't have to trigger a personal identity.

Life is constantly pushing at you; there are constantly storm clouds. This is the human experience. Vipassana is a beautiful practice. I know Barbara asked this but I did not fully see the result. How many of you now practice, or have in the past have practiced, vipassana meditation? Put your hands way up so I can see. ...More than half of you. The rest of you, do you practice any similar kind of meditation at all? Some do.

What I like about vipassana is that it teaches you to deeply observe what is arising in your experience without taking it so personally. But if you take it personally, that becomes just another object.

(Inviting a push and L pushes) What is really happening? First there's a push. All that's happening-- contact, the hand touching the arm. Consciousness of the contact. It could be a gentle touch but here, more firm, I interpret it as pushing. Maybe she's pushing me away because something is about to fall off the shelf. If I interpret it in my old conditioned way, I say, "I am being pushed because people don't like me, because the world is against me, because I'm doing something wrong."

I need to see that chain of arising. There's contact, consciousness of the contact, then a feeling. It will be either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. A gentle touch may be pleasant. A rough touch may be unpleasant.

Certain kinds of sensation are inherently unpleasant. If a bee stings you, it's going to be painful. When something is painful often aversion will arise, "I don't want this." When something is pleasant, often grasping will arise – "Oh, I want more of that. I don't like the lemon juice, I want more of the sweet peach nectar." Aversion and grasping.

This is a place where we can deeply see our experience. When something is unpleasant, it's just unpleasant. But if aversion arises, vipassana invites us to take a look at the aversion itself. What is the experience of aversion without any stories about it? How doest it feel?

How does it feel to you when there's strong negative feeling? What do you experience?

Q: I think I first experience it in my body.

Aaron: Good. Contracted? (Q: Yes) Any others?

Q: When I push back.

Aaron: Correct. These are all things that happen. Any others? Some of you may want to run away rather than pushing back, to hide. (yes)

Aversion. It's just aversion. It's also the product of conditions. And when something is pleasant, for example, somebody has just served you a delicious tidbit and the plate has passed on. "Oh, that was good! Where did the platter go?" Can you feel that grasping energy? It's also contracted. You can feel it in the body.

You do not have to be a Buddhist or even a vipassana practitioner to watch this. Vipassana is a specific modality of practice derived from the Buddhist tradition but accessible to anyone. No beliefs are required. Anybody who is determined to mindfully watch the movements of mind and body can begin to see this whole flow of experience and the place where you become self-identified with the experience.

Sometimes we give a workshop about this whole flow of experience and how we use meditation practice to step out of the flow of experience. Today I want to talk about that with a different twist; that place where we shift into "This is me," and limit ourselves to a self identity with the experience and experiencer. Then we move into the idea of wrongness and of fixing.

For example, you may feel, "When somebody pushes, I always become angry. Why do I always become angry? I have to fix that." Or, "When my body hurts I always feel helpless. Why do I feel helpless? I have to fix that."

It's that thought "This is wrong with me and I have to fix it," that I want to address today because it puts you into a place of limitation.

Barbara kept her introduction short so I'm going to speak a bit for her. She had to do a number of years of work with her deafness, aware of how much aversion there was to the deafness, until she finally came to a place of equanimity with it and really knowing, "It's just not hearing" and truly didn't take it personally anymore.

That equanimity was real at first but then she began to see that there was also some resignation in it. Equanimity is a very high and open energy state. Resignation is a bit contracted and low energy.

So she began to see the ways that she was hiding behind the "I am deaf," using it in ways that released her from responsibility. "I can't help it, I'm deaf." She had to ask herself, "What if I could hear? What does deafness protect me from?' It took her into a very deep exploration of the parts of her that did not fully want to hear.

To hear is literally to be willing to hear all of the cries of all of the billions of people on the Earth, to be willing to be open to that much pain. What does it mean to open yourself fully to that much pain?

So this was a different direction; she also needed to come to a place of equanimity where she truly felt, "I am ready to hear that pain." To be ready to hear that pain means not to feel responsible for the pain but also to be willing to attend to the pain. If you're afraid of the Earth's pain, of the world and its people's pain, there's a constant, "I have to fix it, I have to fix it," which will become overwhelming.

When you are not afraid of it you're able to simply be present with it and hold space for it without any fear of it, but loving and willing to attend to it in whatever ways it calls out to be attended. Can you feel the difference between fix it and attend to it?

So it's a point where her practice had brought her to a place where she felt very open, willing to say "Yes, I am ready to hear." Then she began to consider the real possibility, "Well, the doctors say the nerves are dead. There's no possibility that I can hear again. But why should that be so? If all the karma is released, why should I not hear?" She began to see how she had gone along for decades saying, "I am a deaf person. I accept these limits," rather than opening her heart and saying, "Right here with the reality of the deafness, and with no denial of the reality, is the one who can hear." It's just the ears that don't hear. The heart hears.

How did it feel to drop the self-identity with deafness and to start to know herself as the one who hears deeply. From that place, she invited the ears to participate in that hearing. It was at that point that she. . . let's just say there was great synchronicity and a letter dropped in her email from an unknown person describing the Casa to a group of friends and somehow Barbara ended up on that mailing list.

She googled John of God and said, "Seems like I'm supposed to go here." And off she went to Brazil. These, I guess 7 or 8 years that she's gone down there and has worked with John of God and the Entities at the Casa. When I say "Casa entities," these are about 30 different entities who incorporate one at a time in the man they call John of God, Joao, and do healing work. They are not as much philosophers as healers. They work more with energy although they are certainly wise beings. But I tend to talk a lot, they tend to work with their energy and do very miraculous healing work, not only of the body but of the emotional and mental bodies, of karma, the spirit.

So she was drawn there and through these years they have told her, "You will hear," but it will be gradual. I remember her sitting in Lauren and William's living room hearing Olivia's music box. They were sitting at the table and Barbara's back was to the box. She had no idea that Olivia had opened it, and she said, "What is that? I hear musical tones?"

She's hearing different kinds of sounds; she's not yet hearing speech but that will come. She knows it will come.

My question to you is, where do you limit yourself? What old stories do you hold about yourself? "I am this and therefore I cannot be that." In what ways do you fixate on some physical or emotional component of your experience and keep moving into this trying-to-fix-it rather than opening your heart with that very clear thought, " That which is aware of feeling pushed is not pushed. That which is aware of feeling unworthiness is not unworthy. That which is aware of fear is not afraid. That which is aware of an aching back is not the aching back. That which is aware of cancer is not the cancer."

How can you more fully open yourselves to attend to your experience without denial, without denial of the real physical, mental, or emotional experience and yet without self-identification with it?

I want to try a short exercise with you as a demonstration of my words. I'd like you to hold your arm out straight. I'm going to talk while you hold it out. At first it's easy but within a minute or so it will start to feel heavy.

When you experience the heaviness, it's going to feel unpleasant, a dull ache maybe. Some kind of discomfort in the arm. When you experience that, simply note it: "Feeling discomfort." Just holding it out. I want you to watch carefully where the shift comes. I talked earlier about contact and consciousness; consciousness of the weight of the arm, of sensation. There will be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral feelings. Is it feeling unpleasant, heavy, aching? Watch where the predominant object becomes aversion and the feeling, "I want to fix this. I want to put the arm down." It's not about the arm, it's not about the shoulder; it's a contracted energy in the body. This is the direct experience of aversion to the discomfort in the arm. Can you feel it?

Feeling that aversion, the shoulder and arm are no longer what's holding your attention, but the contracted energy in the body. Try this with me; "Breathing in I am aware of contraction. Breathing out I smile to the contraction. Breathing in I am aware of the aversion, breathing out I smile to the aversion." There's nothing to fix. The aversion has arisen naturally as a result of discomfort in the body. It's not bad. But when you get caught up in it, it creates suffering.

Can some of you feel a shift in the physical experience of the shoulder as the body energy opens up, and unpleasant feeling remains just unpleasant? There's still an ache but there's less fear of it, less contraction around it. Can you feel some spaciousness? I'm getting a few nods of yes and some not. And if you're not experiencing it, it's okay. You may need to do this exercise a number of times, especially those of you who do not practice meditation.

Now focus on the breath. "Breathing in I am aware of the tightness in this arm and shoulder. Breathing out I smile to it." Just offering it kindness. Feeling even more openness. There is just this object, tightness in the shoulder, tightness in the arm, unpleasant feeling, impermanent, no self, it's just arisen out of conditions. When the arm is put down, it will go. No problem there, just relaxed. Come back to the belly, further opening any contraction.

(taking deep breath)

Smile into any tension; nothing to fix. You are attending to the discomfort in the arm and shoulder. You may put your arms down.

Could we have some discussion about this and what you experienced?

(background noise (fan?), hard to hear)

Q: There was a part that was not as uncomfortable in the physical pain as the story I had around <putting my arm down>. Then the story about that, the mental story.

Aaron: I would need to talk more with you to know for sure, but I think that what you're talking about when you say there was a part that was not the shoulder, what we're talking about here is awareness. So let us distinguish between consciousness, mundane consciousness: the eye touches an object and seeing consciousness arises. The mind touches a thought and thinking consciousness arises, maybe as remembering or planning. The ear touches a sound and hearing consciousness arises. These are mundane consciousness. They happen within the physical body and the mind.

But there's something that goes much deeper. I use the term awareness. That which is aware of physical sensation in the arm and shoulder is conscious of it, it's experiencing it as a mundane object, and there is also a deeper awareness. There's direct body and mind experience on that mundane level. On what the Buddhist scriptures call the supramundane level, there is awareness, the awakened mind.

The awakened mind is not something at the end of a long journey that someday if you just do all your meditation and other spiritual practices right, someday this awakened mind is going to come. If it was going to come then it would not be the Unconditioned; the Unconditioned is always there.

You realize the Unconditioned. You awaken into the realization of the Unconditioned. It's always there. So here you're experiencing that awakened mind, awareness, watching the human experience of discomfort and unpleasant feeling, and ah! right there, that's the awakened mind.

The important thing is that it is not something that you get or attain; it's something you open to. It's something you train yourself to see. I'm going to come back to this discussion but I'd like you to try another very short exercise with me.

All of you, hold your hands up like this, just a few inches in front of your face, and wiggle the fingers. Focus on the fingers. Here's the body; here's the thoughts, here's feelings; all the different aspects of human experience, and all you can see is these moving fingers.

Now, keeping the fingers moving, look through them. Hold them up high enough so that you can see right through them. The fingers don't go away, you still see them wiggling, but you see the view beyond them. Come back to the fingers again. When you come back and focus on the fingers, the view beyond them disappears. Go through them again. It's always been there.

Thank you. So I think what you experienced was that slipping through, moving into that awareness that was able to watch the object without being self-identified with the object, and that's exactly what I hoped for with the experience. Thank you.


Q: It was very simple. I felt the pain, wanting to put my arm down. And just kept trying to separate myself from it. And right before you asked us to put our arms down, suddenly it was as if it was a separate object, and the pain dissolved.

Aaron: So you could feel the pain and the resistance to the pain as two different objects.

Q: Yeah, I felt like I could stay like that for a long time. I didn't think I would <>.

Aaron: It's very different when you bringkind attention to the resistance itself. My book over there is entitled Presence, Kindness, and Freedom says it this way: To be present with what arises in your experience with kindness is the path to freedom. Others?

(fan is turned off)

Q: I had a similar experience in that at first the pain was so irritating and then I almost felt peaceful and wanted to stay there actually longer, both being aware of the pain and the calmness that I was experiencing, opening.

Aaron: Thank you. Anyone else?

Q: I think I became aware of how I limit myself because when I first started, I thought, "It's not going to happen to me. I'm not going to feel anything." And then I had to deal with the reality that I still had to feel the pain. And then I tried to do what you were asking us to do, to breathe it in and smile it out, and it still didn't go away. But it was okay.

Aaron: Thank you, daughter, that's beautiful. Others?

Q: As I felt the pain arise slowly when holding my arm up and then just started to do that breath, I could still feel the pain but there was a much bigger container for it. So the pain was a smaller percentage of my whole being than when I was focused on the pain, and it became much easier.

Aaron: You'll notice, and especially those of you with a vipassana practice, you're trained in your practice to watch objects arise and pass away and then come back to the primary object. So there's a sound, the neighbor's lawnmower, whrrrrr (there's the sound of a lawnmower or weedwhacker outside), "hearing, hearing, unpleasant." And then he shuts it off and you come back to the breath or whatever you're using as a primary object.

Instead of bringing attention immediately back to the primary object, when the sound ceases to be predominant you'll find there's a spaciousness there. Try resting in that spaciousness. As soon as something else pulls you away, then come back to the primary object.

For those of you who don't practice vipassana, let me explain this very briefly. We start with a primary object on which attention will be focused. Usually, especially for beginners, it's the breath. As people's practice deepens, what we call nada, the sound of silence, may become the primary object, or luminosity may become the primary object. It's a strong object that's accessible and holds your attention.

When something draws your attention away from that object, you don't try to force attention back and hold on to that primary object; that would be a forced concentration. Instead we use what we call natural concentration, we simply move to what's predominant.

So you're meditating, aware of the flow of the breath, and suddenly there's a hornet buzzing around your head. Hearing, or maybe it's crawling on your face, touching, touching. It's a strong object, it gets your attention. You don't say, "No, I won't hear the hornet, I'll stay with the breath," just, "hearing, hearing;" and then it flies off.

You come back to the breath or whatever is the primary object. Is there anybody here who uses nada or luminosity as a primary object, among vipassana practitioners? No; then I won't go more into that for now.

We're going to try this with a bell. I'd like you to just sit and close your eyes. Be aware, breathing in and breathing out... Breathing in and breathing out... and of course you're hearing my voice.

Deeply center yourself in the breath and when you hear the bell, note "hearing, hearing." Know that the ear is touching the sound and hearing has arisen. This first time through, as soon as the hearing fades, come back to the breath.

I'll be quiet a minute so you can establish the breath, presence with the breath.



Hearing, hearing...

And when the sound is no longer predominant, come back to the breath...

If an object arises that is strongly unpleasant, the feeling of unpleasantness may be predominant over the object itself. Just note, "Unpleasant." How does unpleasant feel in direct experience? If resistance arises to the object, know resistance. This is the basic practice, noting objects and returning to the primary object as whatever has arisen no longer holds your attention.

But now we're going to try it a different way. Be with the breath. When the bell sounds, hearing, hearing, and then I want you to just stay with that sound. And as it dissolves, go with it. Go out with the bell. If you find a space there, just rest in that space. And then as something pulls you out of that space like the thought, "What next?" or a body sensation, an itch or some such, or the sound of someone coughing in the room, note it and come back to the breath. But I'd like you to see if you experience even a little taste of this space. Go where the bell goes as it dissolves.



Just a taste of that spaciousness. Could you taste it? (many nodding yes)

Objects are arising from that space and dissolving into that space. That space is like the awareness that we spoke of, it's always there. It's like the space beyond the open fingers.

As soon as you get caught up in self-identification with limiting thoughts, beliefs and so forth, you close yourself into contracted human experience. Resting in awareness, we're nobody. You're connected to everything. You begin to know who you are beyond this body that doesn't function quite right, these emotions that are painful, and so forth.

It's simultaneous, not linear. The emotions are not gone, anger is not gone, body pain is not gone, just because you know that spaciousness. But like with the arm, you're able to attend to it from a place of kindness rather than contracting and moving more and more into a self-identity. Then you start to see how limited you have been by the beliefs of who and what you are.

I want to share one experience Barbara had in Brazil which I think highlights what I'm teaching. For 35 years or more Barbara had no balance. She often walked with walking sticks. She had a visual balance. She could walk, but she walked more or less like this, very tense, trying to avoid falling over and having to keep her eyes fixed on where she was walking.

She came down to the Casa with her walking sticks. The Entity looked at her, it was her first visit on that trip to see the Entities., and he said, "No more walking sticks." She said, "I'll fall over." He said, "You only believe you'll fall over. Leave them in your room. Don't come back with them."

So she walked back down to the Casa from her hotel like this (showing the tension in the walk) ... and her back was aching, her whole body ached because she was so tense, so afraid she was going to fall. The Entity said, "Relax." She could hear him. John of God was not walking beside her but she could hear the Entity like she hears me, saying, "Relax. Take some longer strides. Relax the body."

So she began to relax and she spent a week walking around. She came back through the line and he said, "Now get a bicycle." This was a woman who had no balance! She said, "I can't do it." The first time she tried to mount the bicycle she fell over on the ground. She said, "See, I knew I couldn't do it." I said, "Can't or won't?" It made her a bit angry. She got up, got on the bicycle, and away she pedaled.

Well, it's still not easy for her as it is for most of you. Riding a bike, she has to pay attention; she can't talk to somebody as she's riding, she's got to stay focused to balance it. But she and her husband have bought bicycles and they ride around and enjoy themselves. And she can walk, I'm walking the body now (demonstrating) because I'm incorporated in the body but she can walk around, she can walk freely and easily. It was mostly the belief that was holding her there, "I can't balance."

Before this Casa experience, she went through an interesting experience as she learned about balancing. I asked her one day during a self-retreat to go out in a snowstorm in the middle of the night. She was in a cabin in the woods; to stand in the woods and put her walking sticks down. Now, she had to have her walking sticks in the deep snow to wade through the snow. She said, "I'll fall over." I said, "That's fine."

So she walked into the woods where I asked her to go. She laid the walking sticks against a tree, stood up. I said, "Now, close your eyes," and she fell. It was soft snow, she didn't hurt herself. She just got herself up, closed her eyes, and fell again. A dozen times, two dozen times.

She realized that falling was not hard, it was fear of falling that was hard. Who was this one who needed to be upright? She started to look at herself, the human being who needed to hold herself upright, to be the good one, never to fall, figuratively speaking. And how much pressure she was putting on herself to be the one who would never fall. And how it felt to let herself fall.

We did that the winter before this particular trip to the Casa and I think she needed that experience to learn that it was safe to fall before she was ready to put her walking sticks aside and try what the entities asked of her. So it goes together.

You have to keep learning and exploring. Whatever limits you find yourself believing in, what holds them there? What do I get out of this belief? What if I let it go? What if I move through it and see what's beyond it?

I'm going to pause here and give you 15 minutes to stretch and then we'll have an hour and a half for questions. Thank you.


Barbara: So, let us get started. Aaron said he was demonstrating to you how I can now walk without my walking sticks. It's amazing to get on a bicycle and ride away on it, and just to be able to walk without so much tension.

So let's open the floor now to questions and answers. I will briefly stay in the body so you can address questions to either of us, but when there's a question to Aaron, he'll incorporate. They can be about Aaron's talk or any other questions that you have, including personal questions. Here you have an ancient enlightened meditation master, what would you like to ask him! (laughter)

Aaron is laughing; he says, don't forget he has been human, both male and female, and, I'm paraphrasing him here, and he says he understands what it's like to be in a woman's body as well as a man's body. This is from me. Interestingly we do a lot of couples counseling because he can really hear both the man and woman in the couple.

(discussion during Q omitted, Q is paraphrased here)

Q: (My) ear condition sits on my soul path gift of working with the voice...

Signer: Her soul path is about using her voice and singing, and her ear condition impacts that.

Q: Whatever guidance on my healing journey here, and specifically from what she said before today, I'm interested in the acceptance, resignation, and openness for healing.

Barbara: Aaron will talk. Give him a minute to come into the body.

Aaron: I have a few thoughts for you... Your hearing is impaired and you are afraid, of the situation and that it negatively impacts your soul's path. When there is fear about an experience that is not allowed into the heart, in other words there's fear and fear of the fear, and a "someone" trying to control the fear and suppress it, it gives the fear more power. Then what arises related to the condition that inspired the fear is more contracted.

When the fear itself is fully let into the heart, the pain of the human condition – these bodies are vulnerable, they're impermanent, we have certain skills and then we can lose them. Nothing is permanent. You can't hold on to anything, you can only be in this present moment with as much love as possible – once you accept that, know it as truth and begin to live it, then something like this will no longer limit you because the body itself can learn to hear to make up for the lack in the ear.

The Casa entities directed Barbara to the use of tuning forks, one octave of tuning forks. This is a woman who was tone deaf years ago. She could not hear the difference between tunes, she could not carry a tune. The chakras, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C (pointing to each chakra as note is named). So on their direction she bought one octave of tuning forks and each day she sounds it, holds it to this ear, tones with it, holds it to that ear, and she uses the sacred syllable Ommmm.... And again in the other ear, going through each of the tuning forks. Gradually the body has learned to hear and she can now chant each of those tuning fork tones in tune, even though she can't hear with the physical ears.

I think this would be a helpful process for you, to train the body to more fully participate in the hearing, not just the ears, so that you begin to hear your voice with the whole body, to hear music outside yourself with the whole body.

There certainly is some karma as part of this, and I would suggest you also ask yourself the question, what don't I want to hear? Remember that this is not something of which you are a victim but something that you have chosen at some level for your own healing and learning. So instead of going about it with a "Why did this happen to me? It's not fair. How can I fix it?" attitude, begin to nurture a more welcoming attitude.

Yes, your soul plan is to sing but your soul plan at a deeper level is to heal. Here is a gift to guide you to that healing. Instead of despair that you are kept from you work, trust you are being led directly into your work. What can the experience offer to you? Don't be afraid of it. It's not a pleasant gift but you can learn from it.

Q: I've been struggling with chronic illness since I was 19 and I'm wondering if the illness is my destiny or a process that I can heal from.

Aaron: Son, no illness is a destiny in terms of something you must then carry with you through your whole life. It's always a process. That does not mean absolutely that on the physical plane there can be full healing; there may or may not be. If somebody came to me missing an arm and said, "Well is it my destiny to go through the rest of my life without an arm?" I'd say it's not your destiny but it's probably going to be the case because even though it's possible to heal anything, you probably don't have the skills at this point to re-grow an arm.

The question with any long-term illness needs to be, in what way am I self-identified with this illness and fixing the illness in such a way that I'm actually giving more energy to the distortions? In other words, if we look at somebody with cancer, the first response to the cancer is usually wanting to get rid of it. It becomes a war, then, against the cancer. They forget that the cancer, the malignant tissues, are only in part of the body and the rest of the body is healthy. They begin to believe, "I am a sick person," rather than to know that simultaneous with the illness there is that which is not sick.

We find the same pattern in survivors of abuse, who first go through a stage of feeling like a victim, then learn they are a survivor, but they can cling to that survivor idea to the point that they never get past it. They're giving so much energy to being the survivor and their whole life is caught up in it.

I would ask you to explore in what ways you are self-identified with being the one who is sick and who on a linear path is going to try to do this or that or the next thing to try to get better, rather than to giving at least equal energy to the part of you that is whole. If you really are whole, this is just a mark on the surface. Even if it invades deep into your body, it's not who you are. It's only from that perspective that the true healing can start.

I'm simply looking at your body energy patterns. Here I'm sharing something, we're in an intimate group and some of your questions may call forth a response from me with personal material. Please hold in confidence anything that I share within this group.

Your body energy field is very blocked. I think it would be of great help to you to work with the chakras. Work with opening the body energy. You can sing to your body, as I just described to Q, about singing to the ears, but sing to those places of physical distortion; this goes to others of you, too.

Use a tuning fork or piano. If you have an iPhone there's a wonderful tuning instrument on that. Find a note that encourages that area of the body that feels distortion, to resonate. Use OM or some other syllable and just sing to it.

The body can shift enormously with the use of harmonics. Your body is cut off here (demonstrating) , the energy comes up to here and comes down to there. There's a lot of closure in the throat chakra and from the throat to the heart, through to third eye. The belly area is pretty open. The crown and third eye are relatively open, but this whole area of the body is closed. So focus on that with your meditation, with energy work, not just visiting an energy work practitioner, although that can help, but taking responsibility for it yourself. Ask, "What would it mean if I open this area of my body?" Because the physical distortions you're experiencing are increased in severity by the fact that the energy is not flowing through the body; you can help yourself a lot by exploring this.

This will lead you to the healing for which you took birth, if I can phrase it that way. The physical distortion is there because of conditions, the ongoing distortions. But the healing you took birth for is not to heal this physical condition, which came with this incarnation; it's to heal very old emotional and spiritual distortions that you can investigate through your meditation and other spiritual practice.

New Q: I'm going to visit my elderly mother for Mother's Day. She has suffered a lot in her life and I know that when I'm with her she's going to take some of that suffering out on me. I'll react. I'll take it personally. I'll be pulled into the experience, I'll be lost. So any help is appreciated.

Aaron: Parents are certainly our teachers! (laughter) Remember that her words that pull you in, pull you in because of what is still distorted in you. She is simply reflecting that within you.

If somebody came along and said, "You are an ugly mean person," and you knew you were not an ugly mean person, you would just listen and say, "Do you think so?" But if you think yourself to be an ugly mean person and you're constantly looking around and thinking, "Do others see that in me? It's the thing I'm most afraid of in myself," then the others' pointing to it, it doesn't matter whether it's real or not, it's how you see yourself. And then you get snared in because there's so much defensiveness around it.

So this time, promise yourself and your mother, silently to yourself, make the inner promise, to watch what she says that ensnares you. When you feel yourself getting ensnared, excuse yourself. Go to the bathroom, tell her you want to take a short walk, just go get a cup of tea from the kitchen. Separate yourself for 10 minutes.

Breathe. Pay attention to the reverberations of the body, to the tension, to the pain. "What is it in myself of which I am accusing myself, not my mother, me? What am I not loving about myself here? If I can love that part of myself, it doesn't matter what my mother says to me. How can I better love myself in this specific area?" Pay attention to her words. What is it that she says?

When Barbara goes to visit her mother, her mother always says, "Your hair is a mess. You're too fat. Your clothes are wrinkled." There's always something. Barbara goes in the house and smiles and after the first "It's so good to see you," comes "What did you do with your hair?" or "Why are your clothes wrinkled?" It used to bother her. Now she knows this is just how Mom is and Mom is talking about herself and not Barbara. Mom is talking about, she's 93, her hair is not the way she'd like it to be. She can't keep herself as pretty as she'd like to be so she wants her daughter to do it for her. There's no way Barbara could ever be perfect enough.

So this is the second part of it, hearing that your mother's stories are about her, not about you, can there be a spontaneous response from the heart? First, "Breathing in I am aware of the tension or the anger, whatever comes first; breathing out I smile to the tension or the anger," just a few breaths. Then, breathing in and aware of your suffering, breathing out I smile and offer you well-being. May you have well-being. May we both have well-being. Just doing some compassion meditation.

You can sit and listen to your mother and do that while she's talking, just sitting there quietly and breathing. Do you know tonglen meditation practice? Do tonglen with her while she's talking. Do it with her and do it with yourself, both. Just sit there. Make space for the pain, your pain, the pain, and work with these practices.

Q: And I think when you were speaking earlier about fixing, I realized part of my pain is I wanted to fix it.

Aaron: You want to fix yourself, your mother, the relationship, all of it. Bring loving attention to that, the deep pain of the one who really cannot fix it because it's not yours to fix. All you can do is offer love to it.

We come back to resignation versus fixing, resignation versus equanimity, versus letting go. Begin to feel how resignation feels in the body. Are you familiar with, I don't know if you are one of the vipassana practitioners, but we talk about near enemy? (Q: Yes) Resignation is the near enemy of equanimity. You can feel the difference. And then invite letting go.

Ajahn Chah, a well-known Thai teacher, said, "Do everything with the mind that lets go. When you let go a little, you have a little peace. When you let go a lot, you have a lot of peace. When you let go completely, you have complete peace and freedom and your trials with the world will come to an end."

But we cannot say, "I will let go," we have to bring attention to that which is holding and tense, not fix-it attention but kindness, just watching this which is so afraid it won't come out right.

For you, I suspect, and for many of you there is a strand within your being of needing, wanting to be the good one. I say this in part because it's true of many serious spiritual practitioners. Part of your make-up is to want to take more than your share of the responsibility, want to make everyone happy, make everything safe and comfortable, and you can't do it.

There's a statement in the Theravada teachings, each being is the heir to his karma and inherits its results. There's great wisdom in that. You cannot take on another person's karma, only they can do it. You cannot enhance their karma for them. In other words, when your mother, whose karmic expression right now is fear and judgment, when she offers that, you don't have to accept it. This is the best way you can help her. So remember that if you really want to take care of your mother, the best way you can take care of her is by not taking on what she throws at you. That's the kindness you can do.

New Q: I've had chronic back pain for many, many years. And since the birth of my child 4 years ago I've had some disturbance with my nervous system. I feel fight or flight, waves of it. It's very extreme. And as a result I have crippling insomnia. And with/during the night, something that happens is that I feel a dark presence come in.

Aaron: May I ask you a few questions? Is your relationship with the child's father a healthy one, a happy one?

Q: Yes, there are challenges.

Aaron: There are always challenges but basically it's a happy one. How about the child? I'm sure you love your child.

Q: I love my child.

Aaron: Is he healthy? Yes. Is he your only child? Yes. May I look in the Akashic records? I would not do this without asking your permission, I would not invade your privacy...

So the body pains began before the child was born (Q: Yes) but this has increased since the child's birth...

There is a past life that may be helpful to you to know. This is not the ideal time to share it and I can only share it in brief, but I think that you might want to find support to go deeper into it. Do you meditate? A little. In your meditation or with whatever kinds of support are appropriate.

In a very recent past life, actually the most recent before this one, you bore a child in a very stressful situation. You knew the child would be taken from you at birth. You were in an imprisoned environment, one of political imprisonment, let us call it, political/racial type imprisonment. You knew the child would probably be tortured and would die. You did not believe you would survive, you would survive the birth but not too long afterward, probably.

The being that you were chose literally to kill the child at its birth and then to kill herself, because the situation realistically was so hopeless. But there was enormous fear and guilt about that. So I think that this present child's birth has brought up many of those old feelings, has allowed an opening for negativity. I think you can imagine how painful it would be to take a child that you loved and immediately, to take that newborn infant and kill it. But you had seen what was happening to the other infants, how they were tortured and used for experiment.

The most important thing here is that you could not forgive yourself for making this choice, of taking his life and then your own. I would ask you, daughter, in meditation to hold this past human in your heart. Be her sister, be her dear friend. Sit with her just before the child's birth and hear her plan, and help her to accept her choice as a wise and loving choice, not a fear-based choice, and to forgive herself. Because karmically you're part of the karmic stream that she was, and as she forgives herself you will move yourself away from that place of darkness and negativity that you've been holding.

For the whole body distortion, if such a course of action appeals to you, I suggest you send a picture to John of God and ask for help.

Q: I can't sit on a plane.

Aaron: You can send a photograph there and ask them, L can tell you exactly how to do that. Sometimes he will tell people they have to come for him to help them; other times they are able to help from a distance. This is both about body distortion and largely about karma. And they have very powerful ability to help with the karma.

I would suggest in your meditation and times of prayer you ask spirit for help with the karma. Just ask Love, you don't have to ask any special spirit, just whatever loving beings there are out there and whatever your heart resonates to: Jesus, the Buddha, Mary, Kwan Yin, ask them for help.

In sharing this past life, I also want to point out to those of you who are therapists how much an unresolved past life experience can impact this present life.

Q: I'm going through 2 really big life changes. One of them is dealing with my youngest daughter who is ill and the other is my own integrity in my relationship with money.

Aaron: I hear that you have these challenges. What is your question?

Q: I think it's, what do I need to know... when I am trying to manage it all, it's so anxiety-provoking and I get nowhere. When I just sit down and have one step at a time... I don't know how to cope with it all, I guess.

Aaron: The most important thing I can say to you is how important it is that you realize that you are only part of the picture. With your daughter, with illness, it's very stressful when a child is ill, a young child or an adult child. The older the child is, the more stressful in some ways because she makes her own choices, not you. So with a young child, you can choose what will happen, what care it will receive, but at a certain point you can no longer do that. You may disagree with the choices being made.

Remember that at one level there's a situation with the ill-health of a child and your love for that child and your pain about that child's illness, and wanting well-being for that child. And at another level there is really a pre-birth planning that you and this child would come together with the intention to teach you how to let go. It was not pre-planned that the child would move into this specific illness, only that this child specifically would be a partner in this incarnation with you helping you learn about letting go, and you have things to teach the child, too, such as unconditional love. So the child teaches you to let go and you teach the child unconditional love, regardless of the choices the child makes.

Your work is simply that. Your work is not to fix your child. You cannot save your child, you cannot make your child (choose) the choices that you would wish, only to love. Remember that this is the healing you took birth for, as I phrased it earlier, and that this kind of letting go will spread into all areas of your life.

You spoke about an issue with integrity about finances, I believe you said, and I'm not sure whose integrity you are questioning, yours or others'. But again it comes down to not just letting go in this case – that's only part of it – but compassionate action, whether it's with the self or another.

Compassion is sometimes misunderstood and people believe that compassion is soft and weak. But compassion is strong. Compassion knows how to say no but it doesn't say no with anger or judgment, it says no with kindness. If another is acting in a way that is not with integrity, you have to call them on it, as painful as that may be. If you are finding within yourself some lack of integrity, you have to call yourself on it. But you do it with kindness and not with judgment. This is the important thing.

Q: This is a really open question about trying to open my heart more.

Aaron: What holds the heart closed?

Q: I think I get scared.

Aaron: Fear. And when fear arises, what is your habitual response to fear?

Q: Tightening up.

Aaron: Exactly. Usually we speak about opening the heart and that what blocks the open heart is fear. It becomes a cycle. Then you respond to fear with more fear and tightening up. How far do you want to keep going in that pattern? When are you willing to say, "That's enough"?

"Breathing in I am aware of fear, breathing out I smile to the fear. I hold space for the fear." Begin to see how the fear is not solid; it's little pieces breaking up, this thought and that, old experience, all coming together. It looks solid but it's not solid. You've heard me say already today, that which is aware of fear is not afraid.

Without any denial of the fear, go into the direct experience of fear. Where is it centered in the body? Do you feel it in the belly, in the chest, in the throat, in the heart? In the chest. Bring the hands up to the chest. Breathing in and offering kindness to the fear. Inviting the heart to open more. Begin to see how right there with fear is that which is not afraid, like the bell and the space after the bell sound died away. The fear is not solid but your discomfort with the fear and need to fix the fear makes it feel solid.

Breathe spaciousness into the heart. (breathing) Can you feel the possibility of a bit of opening in there? So this is what I would ask you to do each time this cycle comes up, feeling the heart closed, judgment, tension, fear. Ahh, here we go again. Where is that which is not afraid?

Bringing hands to the heart; breathing into the heart. Feeling that which is truly fearless and yet is respectful of the fact that human beings experience fear. Not disdaining of it. I think this is the key, Q, that right now there is so much judgment, "I shouldn't be afraid, I won't have fear," rather than just saying, "Ah, here's fear. It has arisen from conditions."

Pretend you are going on a picnic and you walked out your door with your basket and you looked up and there's a big dark rain cloud. What are you going to do? You can just sit on your lovely sheltered porch and eat your picnic. You can go out yelling at the rain cloud. You can feel helpless, "Why can't I stop this rain from coming?" If the weather is such, the rain will come. If the conditions are such, the heart will close. Can there be kindness? That is the route back to the opened heart.

Then you begin to go through the closed heart into that which is open. The heart is always open. And on the surface it often appears closed. You don't have to destroy the closed heart and make an open heart; rather you go through the closed heart. Here I can't see the space; when the fingers are open I can see through and there's the open heart. It's always there.

The other question I have for you is this. Begin to explore in your meditation, why am I afraid to allow access to this open heart? In what ways am I afraid the heart will break, that I won't be able to bear it? What if my heart was open all the time? What might I experience? And with kindness to yourself, doing metta, lovingkindness practice, experiencing for this human how painful it is to keep the heart open to the immense suffering of the self and of the world and how that armoring around the heart has been a response because of the tenderness of the heart.

Q: I left my field of work 4 years ago and would like to know how to know what work is mine to do now, because it feels different, and how will I know what it is? My question is, how to move out into the world feeling good about my work in the world, how to do that. And how to identify what it is to do.

Signer: So you don't know what the next work is. (to Aaron) She does not know what her next work is. She wants to know how to find that work and connect with that, how will she know?

Aaron: What do you love to do, daughter? What gives you the most joy?

Q: Movement. Connection. Nature. Relationship.

Aaron: May I look in the Akashic records? (pause) You are an old soul, you know that. You understand what I mean by old soul? A mature being, and there's a deep intention to service in the world, to doing things that are of benefit to others.

There also seems to be a fear that you will not do it well enough, and I think that holds you back. You cannot know what the next step is as long as you are limited by that old fear. So the next step, the first next step, is to look deeply into that old fear and take care of it. To understand how much it's just an old conditioned story, and that you don't have to hold on to it anymore.

You do this through mindfulness watching each time that tension, "I can't!" or "Won't be good enough." It's less, "What will people say?" than "If I make a mistake it could do harm to others." Each time that comes up, just stop and hold loving energy around it and remind yourself, "This is just old conditioning. It's a very old story with which I came into the incarnation, and which has been enhanced through the incarnation experiences. I don't have to believe this anymore. It's holding me back from fulfilling joyfully that which I intend to do in the world."

It has to be done with kindness, you cannot say, "I'll get rid of this story so I can do that," that's just more negativity. But holding kindness to this whole human being that psychologically was conditioned in this way in childhood, that karmically it came into the incarnation with this conditioning, and realizing, "This is not a problem, this is the healing I am seeking, to let go of this old story." And then as the story begins to lose its hold and break apart you begin to move attention to, what does my heart seek? I invite it. What is it I wish?

Keep yourself centered in the intention to, service is not quite the correct word, but to work that lovingly offers well-being to all, and with joy. Keep asking in meditation, "Is there anything still that blocks this?" Keep inviting. It will come.

I think you understand what I'm saying. If for example at some level there was a, this is just for the sake of explanation, if there was a deep aspiration to swim across the bay here to the island, that had always been your dream, but there was a deep fear of sea creatures, you'd hold the dream and know you could never do it because of sea creatures. So then you've got to go and work in an aquarium and familiarize yourself with sea creatures and take care of them and get to know them so there's love for them. And then you take the next step.

But until one does that, here come many possibilities: here's a giant group swim-- "Oh, it's the wrong time of year for me." Here's somebody who's looking for somebody to accompany her on this swim--"Oh, she's a faster swimmer than I am, I won't be able to keep up." There's always an excuse. You've must go into what's blocking this.

Q: I'm holding on to a lot of fear because everything I have known my life to be has been here in Santa Barbara and in the U.S. but my heart is drawn to what I'm assuming to be a past life in Austria.

Signer: (to Aaron) Her husband is from Austria and her heart is drawn there now. (to Q) And you're feeling?

Q: The fear of disconnecting from all that I've known.

Aaron: Are you and your husband planning a move to Austria? At some level you're thinking of it, I assume. Have you gone to vacation in Austria for a long period of time? (Q: Yes) Have you made friends there? (Q: Yes) So it's more about the fear.

Q: The fear of losing family in the process and of having a family with him away from my family.

Aaron: Do you have children? (Q: Not yet.) Do you have close family ties here in Santa Barbara? Do you anticipate having the finances to be able to fly back and forth once or twice a year. (Q: We're working on that, yes.) So it's not realistic, it's not like you will go and you will never see them again; it's more in mind. Okay.

What I see is that you are afraid of fear and are trying to control the fear, judging the fear, rather than letting the fear touch your heart. It's not so much fear as sadness. The fear masks the sadness. Sometimes we ask, "If I was not experiencing this fear now, what might I be feeling?" And it's sadness.

So you're using the fear as a way to control the grief and the sense of loss. Loss is hard for you, more than for some people. It also can be very healing because only through that kind of loss will you realize that you cannot really lose anything. So that old conditioning that talks of loss and that one must control loss at all costs, is what's part of what needs to heal.

I'm not suggesting you should move to Austria. I don't know if your situation is such to let you take a long vacation there, a month or two, and be away from your family and be there and email them and call them on the phone, and begin to see, "This is safe." And gradually to let yourself experience that pain of loss which is less about this idea of leaving your family now than about old feelings of loss. You understand me? Okay.

Q: I have a question, not personal, if nobody else has one, and it's about how do we, the world is in a lot of upheaval and pain and we're inundated with a lot of fear. And I feel like we should not add to that, that we should, you know... I guess the question is, in a world that is so chaotic right now, how can we help to bring more peace and love instead of feeding that?

(Signer: How do we bring peace and love into a world that is so chaotic?)

Aaron: Let's take this at a very simple level. Those of you who have children can easily think of a time when the child was angry, distraught, confused, maybe hyperactive, running around the house, knocking things over, breaking things, filled with angry denial – "I didn't break it, it got in my way!" Running around, hard to deal with. And anger is coming up.

But you love your child and in that moment you re-center yourself and hold this child in your heart. You don't connect with the chaos and anger and fear that the child is expressing, you find the core essence of that child, that which you love about the child.

It's the same process. We look at the world and we see that all this chaos, the war, the areas of starvation, of pollution, of many different kinds of difficulties, these are just the outflow of many conditions. On the one hand one can center oneself and begin to work in response to those conditions which call one's heart. In other words to work with orphans or to work with the environment or to work with people in displaced persons camps, or with certain diseases. This can be a wholesome outlet if one does it from the place of the non-fixer, attending and caring.

On the other hand, one must remind oneself periodically, the conditions are not all within me. The conditions out of which this chaos is expressing in the world come from all over. However, each time I respond with anger and negativity, I simply add to the negativity.

Again, quoting the Buddha, "Hatred never resolved hatred; only love resolves hatred." How do we return love to fear and negativity? This is always the question. This is always the answer. Whatever chaos there is in the world, each person responding with love will help neutralize and resolve the situation. Each person responding with aggression, with contraction, with fear, will simply perpetuate the situation.

However, the personal conditioning is such that contraction and negativity and aggression may arise. Then how do I relate to that which has arisen? How do I take care of that, not the whole world, just this little bit of aggression, of fear, of anger, of contraction, how do I tend to this with love? This is the personal work that each person does.

When enough of you are doing this work, the world is going to shift. Are you familiar with the teaching of the 100 monkeys? Does anybody know that teaching? It's a book which illustrates how one monkey finds a piece of food and washes it off in a stream because it's covered with sand. Another monkey observing doesn't know it's covered with sand, he just sees his brother washing it in the stream. He picks up a piece of food and he's near the stream so he washes it. A third monkey sees him doing it, a fifth, a tenth. Suddenly all the monkeys in that particular community are doing it. They learned this behavior because it seems wholesome.

Somehow energetically this idea is transmitted and another monkey out of sight, in another country, feels this energy, gets this idea-- ideas are communicated, you don't have to use words to communicate them. He washes his food and suddenly-- the hundredth monkey of course is a metaphor, it might be 10,000, that's however many monkeys it takes, but suddenly all over the world monkeys wash their food.

When enough of you have learned to respond to aggression, fear, and hatred with kindness and love, you're going to create the shift in the world. This brings us into a very different area which was not to be part of our talk today but I think I'll spend a few minutes on it since there are not a lot of questions. It takes us a bit out of the Theravada Buddhist and vipassana realm and into what some people might call a New Age realm. But New Age is not a negative term. You are truly entering into a New Age, into a higher consciousness.

Your Earth has moved through a transition from what we might call the magical and mythical consciousness of young children and what used to be the predominant consciousness on Earth of many, many centuries and millennia ago, and on into a rational consciousness.

You're presently in what we call vision logic consciousness. There's a still strong rational consciousness – when I say "you are", the forefront of consciousness today is of vision logic. There's logic but not just logic; but tuning into oneself with intuition and visioning, and that vision logic consciousness is giving way to non-dual consciousness.

So we have those still stuck in rational consciousness, a large group in vision consciousness, and the forefront off into non-dual consciousness. You're all involved in this transition. The whole earth is moving into a higher vibration and consciousness. This is both human and all sentient beings and the Earth itself. The question for you is whether you're going to move into your hearts enough to move into that higher vibration and support this move into non-dual consciousness. It's only within that consciousness that you can truly have peace on Earth and well-being for all beings. And this is indeed possible; this is the Eden that was promised you. But you have free will and the free will to have disrupted that Eden. Now you have the ability to re-establish it, perhaps not in your lifetimes, but perhaps. You can't worry about, "Will it happen in my lifetime?" or "When will it happen?", only "What is the Earth I wish to see, and am I part of the solution or part of the problem? In what ways can I support the Earth that I wish to see?"

Then you come back to yourself and the inner work that leads you to, watching the habitual patterns that when somebody pushes, (sound effect), rather than "Ah, pushing, pushing, unpleasant."

I want to show you something here. This is a tai chi exercise called "pushing arms". Does anybody know it? Would you do it with me?

Q: I'm not familiar with the practice. I practice a different martial art that incorporates sensitivity that's similar.

(Q: Will you do it with him? Q: Sure)

Aaron: Now what we're going to do, I'm going to turn off the machine...

(pause; demonstration)

We've just demonstrated the tai chi exercise "pushing arms". Life is constantly pushing you. How are you going to respond? You are here in human form to learn to respond with love. It's as simple as that. Lifetime after lifetime, to transcend those old habitual patterns that say (sound effect), that contract with fear and negativity, and to come further and further into this loving heart that knows how to respond with love, with compassion.

But compassion is strong. Compassion isn't a pushover. You noticed when he pushed me I didn't collapse on the floor, I just absorbed the energy and then fed it back. When somebody is abusive you don't just let them abuse you, and you don't say no with hatred, you say, "No, this is not appropriate."

If necessarily, like in the case of the mother, you can say to the mother, "If you talk to me in that way, it really hurts my feelings and I'm not going to come and visit you." No matter how old the mother is, the mother can learn to hear that. "You're not speaking to me with kindness. I want to be loved and to love you. Instead of telling me how bad my hair or dress looks, can you tell me what you find pleasing about me in the moment? I'd much rather hear that from you."

So you call people on it when they're abusive but you call them on it with kindness and with compassion. You know that their negativity, judgment and fear is the result of their conditioning and in that moment they may not be able to shift that conditioning. It may have to happen a dozen times before finally they're able to bring forth some kind of shift. But you keep inviting the best in the world, not pushing back to draw forth the worst. And in this way you really will change the world. And simultaneously you will contribute to this raising of the vibration of the whole Earth, that raising of the possibility of lovingkindness and peace on the Earth. You heal yourself, you heal the world. You and the world are not separate.

Is there another question?

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the relationship between our individual calling energy and the Earth itself, the geography?

Signer: (to Aaron) Can you differentiate between our individual calling and...

Q: ...And our own individual energy, speaking to the earlier question about feeling called to another place, geographically. Is there some alignment where someone's journey brings them to a different place geographically for this evolution?

Signer: (to Aaron) If one's energy calls them to a certain place geographically, can you speak to that?

Q: There, you know, again, speaking to this earlier question, feeling called to be somewhere in the world from a heart or soul place, and yet from an emotional or personal place, feeling torn in whatever direction. What's our individual dance with the planet? Our relationship and then being called and we talked about how people sometimes feel compelled to live in a certain area, certain people gather together in certain areas rather apparently synchronistically. But that there's something that evolves out of that. Can she speak to that, that aspect of it?

Signer: (to Aaron) Can you speak to why people might be called to a geographic area? Is that the Earth's calling, a karmic calling...?

Aaron: It's usually karmic. It usually relates to something unfinished in past lives or something... it's not always about something unfinished. It's always about past lives but it may be the heart calling, not because it's unfinished but just because it feels like home. Often unfinished but sometimes just home.

When you've traveled, you've all found places where you just said, "I feel at home here," and places that felt alien to you. Some of those places invited you to stay or come back, and some of those places just felt like home but there was no problem to leave them. If it says, "Come back, come back," sometimes it's still just home, and the draw of home.

Other times there is some subtle tension around it, not just home but there's something I need to do here, that comes if there's something unfinished. Sometimes we recognize there's nothing I have to do that's here, it just reminds me there's something I have to do, and I can take that back to my present home with me. Sometimes there's a strong call to move there.

You don't need to know the details of a past life; you just follow the body energy and tensions. You ask yourself, "Is there something undone here in this special place? Is there something that I can take home with me and do?" Perhaps the place triggers memories of some past violence and there's some level of fear.

For example, Barbara some years ago was teaching in Mexico and immediately upon entering Mexico she felt a lot of tension. She's never experienced that kind of tension anywhere else. There were guards with machine guns everywhere and lots of barbed wire. There was just an atmosphere of vigilance and the possibility of crime or violence. It triggered a sense of lack of safety in her.

As she explored it, she realized in meditation it was not specifically about Mexico, it was not about a past life in Mexico, but it was about the part of herself that felt vulnerable, and that she needed to do some meditation with that. She didn't need to be in Mexico to do that but if she had not been able to realize that, then staying in Mexico for awhile might have brought forth those feelings of vulnerability to the degree that she had to work with them. Because of the depth of her meditation practice she was simply able to take it home and release it from home.

On the other hand, I'm just trying to give you some simple examples here... We have a friend who was very called to move to Thailand and spend some time there. He had been a monk in Thailand in past lives. He did not need to ordain and become a monk, just needed to be there in that atmosphere. In his time as a monk in Thailand, he had not can I best express it... he had not felt successful in his endeavors, so he had felt frustrated and eventually had disrobed.

He didn't know this at the time of his trip. He recounted this to us afterward, that when he went to Thailand he just felt a strong call to stay there. So he stayed for many months, lived quietly, meditated, and gained insight into that which was disrupted from past lives, that which was tense and angry. He no longer needed to ordain as a monk in Thailand, he needed simply to do this work himself to release the old karma. And then he began to see, "I can do this work anywhere. It's not about Thailand, it's about me." Occasionally there is a very specific karma related to the place, not often but occasionally.

Let me ask if there's anybody who has not spoken who wishes to speak.

Q: I had a strong feeling when Barbara was talking earlier before Aaron about how things maybe control our lives. I turned 70 this year and I grew up in a household where there was a lot of fear. It was a Depression mentality, my father grew up in the Depression and couldn't get a job. So there was a lot of fear around money in particular. And I realized and have realized for awhile that even though I am financially secure, I have a little child inside that grew up in this fearful household that still controls my ability to get the most out of my life.

Signer: (to Q) We're just about out of time.

Aaron: We can continue for another 5 minutes...

Q: The little child part puts controls on the adult part, just an old record that's going. So I related to that when she was talking. The question is how to deal with this fearful part of the depression mentality in my family and in myself.

Signer: (to Aaron) He grew up with the Depression mentality and has a young part inside that still feels that strongly. How to work with that part.

Q: Yeah, these old patterns.

Signer: (to Aaron) These old patterns can be difficult for him.

Aaron: It doesn't really matter what the pattern is. Every pattern that comes up is the result of karma and is presenting itself for healing. It's not a good or a bad pattern although it may be a painful or frustrating pattern. It may lead you to unskillful choices. Some patterns will lead more directly into unskillful choices; some patterns can be more glossed over and ignored.

When a pattern presents itself in a strong way and you see, "This is a hold on me and leads to certain old beliefs and limitations, choices that are not always wholesome," then first your deep intention to living your life with non-harm and for the highest good comes forth. One must deepen in that intention, to really start each day with, "Today my intention is to live my life for the highest good of myself and all beings and with love."

Then when something comes that's not for the highest good of all beings and with love, one turns to it; one does not say, "Get out!" but "Ah, here's this. It needs healing." What is this? What is this old belief? What is the fear behind it? What does the maintenance of this old belief system protect me from? What might I be feeling if I was not feeling this specific limitation or belief?

One just begins gently to investigate it. You're not trying to fix it; it's more an item of curiosity. It's like you're walking in the desert and suddenly a big lumbering creature comes along. It's bright purple with green spots and it's got long horns. It looks up at you and you start to walk and it starts to walk in front of you. So you walk in another direction-- it doesn't appear aggressive but whichever way you move, it simply moves itself in front of you. Are you going to try to take your axe and chop it to pieces? Are you going to run from it? Or are you just going to sit down on the ground and look at it and try to understand, what is this creature? How can I relate to this creature in a non-aggressive way and move past it? That's all you're doing. Old karma is not something bad, it's just old habitual patterns that need caring attention.

Q: One of my dark sides is judgment. So what do I do with it when I'm someplace and it comes up?

Aaron: Daughter, just in your phrasing, "one of my dark sides," is the distortion. Judgment is not a darkness; judgment is simply a habitual pattern, deeply conditioned in you. It is probably painful.

As soon as you view it as a dark side, you believe, "I have to fix this." What if you had a, rather than your own judgment, what if you were confronted with a very judgmental child? There's a little boy, a little girl. You say, "Would you like a lollipop?"

"No, I don't like that flavor."

"Would you like to go to the beach?"

"No, I don't like the water."

"Would you like to read a book?"

"No, reading is always boring." You go through a long list of things and the child is just filled with judgment. What are you going to do?

Can you feel how much pain that child is in? So you turn to the child finally and you say, "Well, what do you want to do?"

"Just sit here."

"Okay, we'll just sit here." Half an hour later the child is obviously restless. "What would you like to do now?"

"Go to the beach."

You don't say, "I thought you didn't like the beach," you just say, "Fine, let's go to the beach."
"Are you hungry?"

"Yeah, I think I'd like that lollipop."


You treat it with love.

Judgment is just judgment, don't make it into a monster. Don't act out the judgment in ways that do harm to yourself and others. You must be aware of the judgment and attentive to it. But don't make it into a monster; simply know, "This is an old habitual pattern. Right now it's harmful to me and others so my intention is to watch it. It's a result of conditions."

Know it as a result. "If I was not experiencing judgment now, what might I be experiencing? What is there beyond the judgment that needs attention-- fear, sadness, confusion? Out of what does this judgment arise and how can I relate more lovingly to that condition out of which the judgment is arising?" That's all.

We're out of time. It's been a joy to speak to all of you here, to get to know you a bit and to share with you.

It is Barbara's and my intention to remain available to people with whom we have worked and if any questions have come up for you today that you want to follow through with, you can email Barbara. If it's a short question we'll try to email you back and answer. If it's a longer question we can make an appointment to speak by telephone and meet in that way. So just know that that is available should you wish it.

I'm going to release the body to Barbara so she can say good-bye to you. We hold hands as we release the body because I leave the body and then Barbara's energy comes back into the body; when she comes into a completely empty body it's very disorienting. Those hands with the energy gives her energy field something to home in on, so it's much less disorienting, much more comfortable to come back into the body. That's why we do it in this way.

(Barbara returns to the body)

Barbara: Thank you...

(session ends)