October 26, 2013 Saturday Morning, Trainings Workshop

Aaron: Good morning. My blessings and love to you all. It is a beautiful autumn day, misty, gray, yet filled with color. I have a metaphor for which it is perhaps the wrong season. Right now the Earth is moving into a period of dormancy, yet light still exists underground, even when these trees shall be all bare. In the spring, shoots will come up, first tiny and green. Everything is moving toward the light, everything choosing to express its life and its light.

Your Earth is like that. You have been in a very long period of dormancy, perhaps since Lemurian times. Consciousness remained hidden in the dark to some degree, moving to express itself into the light, and yet smothered by snow and leaves, unable to fully break through. But the sun is warm and bright, and your whole Earth is moving into the phase of spring and summer. I think it will be a very long summer, once you get there; a very stable summer where nothing will become lost underground again for long periods.

You are the planet, and you are the sun. You welcome the sun, and you are the sun. You are that light, love, and energy. And yet you lose touch with it easily and move yourself back into a place of darkness, fear, and hatred.

I'm trying to remember a song... Pardon my singing  off key, “This train is bound for glory, this train...” Do you know that? Sing it with me. (group sings)

This train is bound for glory, this train

This train is bound for glory, this train

This train is bound for glory

You can't come if you're not holy

This train is bound for glory, this train

You're all holy. You're all on the train. Everyone on Earth is on the train. Some are buried in boxcars under a lot of debris. They don't even know they're on a moving train. Others are standing out in open gondola cars,  singing and gazing at the  blue sky. But the train is driving on.

In participating in this workshop you have each made a statement, “I plan to be one of the movers on the train, one of those who helps the train emerge more fully into the light and holds that light for others.” I would not say we are birthing a new consciousness, because that consciousness has always been there. We are inviting that consciousness to more fully emerge.

Each time there is some kind of fear or negativity, it closes the consciousness. How many of you have read the children's book, The Secret Garden? Perhaps I should not call it a children's book. It's a wonderful book for people of all ages. I suppose there's a time during adolescence, when young ones say, “Eh, it's a children's book.” But for you adults, if you haven't read it, I deeply recommend it.

In the book there is a 10 year old boy whose mother died at his birth, whose father has turned his back on him, for whom the doctors and all the people that care for him have said, “He will die. He cannot survive,” until he believes it. He dwells on the negative. He dwells on anger and fear. Into his life comes a cousin, a 10 year old girl, who also has had hardship. She begins to find light and life in her wanderings in the woods and the gardens as she watches the spring emerge. The book is filled with metaphor. She finally takes this 10 year old boy out into the garden. He has to be wheeled out in a wheelchair. He has never walked. Now the book strains credulity a bit, because he hasn't walked, his legs are so weak, and yet eventually he just gets up and walks.

But the point that the book keeps making is, you always have a choice, to choose negativity, darkness, like our groundhog friend sometime next spring, to look up, see it's dark, and burrow underground for another month, or decade, or century, or to come up and sniff the potential of freshness and light and growth all around you and in you, and say, “It's time.”

The Buddha said the same thing in different words: you are what you think. With your thoughts, you make the world. Think a negative thought and you become consumed in this negative thinking. Think a loving thought and you flow in that direction. You are what you think.

Today we're going to do some work with intention and manifestation, and we're also going to look at what blocks light-filled intention. How we relax that personal self that has fear. We're going to do an exercise. We're going to form into small groups. Normally if I ask you to lie down on a blanket, and tell you people are going to pick you up—“Oh, they are? Is it safe?” So you're going to lie down, one at a time, and have the group around you lift you up and sway you gently. You're going to lie there and relax to whatever degree you can, and you're going to watch the simultaneity of ease, the delight of the 3 year old swinging on a swing, or the one year old rocked in the parents' loving arms, and the adult fear of being dropped, being hurt, the tension. I keep saying it this way. That which is aware of fear is not afraid. How do you rest in that spacious awareness even while fear is still present, and how do you allow the whole body to relax into that spaciousness and light.

Then we're going to break into small groups and work with vision. What is the inner world you envision? What is the outer world you envision, in your families, in your larger communities, in your country, in the whole earth, in the whole universe? What blocks that vision in you? I'm not talking about what blocks it on the other side of the world; what blocks it in you? To what degree are you like that boy who said, “Well, I'll never walk. I'm going to die.” To what degree are you like what the boy became? “I am alive! I am alive! I bring love and light out into the world, and it brings it back to me.” How do you find that light in yourself? What blocks it from fully expressing? I'll talk more about it when we're ready to do the exercise.

We've worked here through these sessions with a number of tools. We've touched on intentions. Holding the intention without a fear-based contraction. We've talked last time about satyagraha and ahimsa, introduced those terms. Ahimsa, dynamic compassion, and satyagraha, soul force, which is the force that can hold this loving intention for the self and for the world. We've talked about states and stages of consciousness. We've practiced moving between ordinary and non-ordinary space-time, through journeying, through opening to the akashic field. We've talked about co-creating with spirit, finding your power animals, your guides and so forth. Just connecting with all the forces of love in the world. We've talked about body energy and working with the chakras, the elements.

These are all tools that you have begun to hone. They are not yet perfectly aligned to your use. They will become so through practice. So we simply practice, knowing it's not yet perfect but you get better and better at it. If my memory serves me well, toward the end of The Secret Garden, this 10 year old boy has learned to run, and he races his companions and wins, the boy who, months earlier, had never walked. You are all like him. His determination had him walking around the garden, over and over and over. First one track around; as he grew stronger, twice around; ten times around. Climbing trees and running, and digging in the soil to plant new plants. Exercising his body, not with an “I will exercise,” but with the joy of being alive.

Is there anybody here who finds exercise joy? Good, a few of you. If it were a beautiful day, I would lead you on a walk through the woods. Maybe we'll do it anyhow if our weather and schedule permit. Not a walk with that, “Now I'm going to get my daily exercise,” but a walk to see the wonders, how beautiful it is, with the leaves turning colors. When you come back, your cheeks are rosy and your body feels good. So, if we don't do a formal walk like that, perhaps at lunchtime some of you would like to choose to go, singly or together, just for a walk, and feel how that movement feels in the body.  Know the wonder that you have a body that can lift one foot and another and move yourself on the earth. This is quite precious. The body that has eyes that can see. From Barbara's cabin, the trees are changing color and it's exquisite; eyes that can see it. Ears that can hear the birds, squirrels, and other wildlife, and breeze in the trees. Hallelujah! We have these bodies! Not, “Ugh-- I've got to live in this body for how many more years? but “Hurray, I've got this body, and it functions. Thank you, body.”

This afternoon from 2:30pm to 5:30pm our friend Norma Gentile will come and lead you in a session working with sound, I would not say healing, more what I call remembering wholeness. Helping you wake up to your wholeness through sound and vibration. She does this really as a career, and we're very blessed to have her living here in Ann Arbor and have her come and join us. Those of you who were in Venture Fourth spent a day with her there.

So this is our plan. “Remembering wholeness” really sums it up. Remembering not awakening consciousness but awake consciousness. When the plant is that far out of the earth, we might look at it and say, “Oh, it's awakening.” There is just the little green shoot. But the plant is looking around and saying, “Wow! I'm awake! I've come out of the dark space!” That first moment, where the first quarter inch of green appears. It's awake! Are you awake? Are you awake? Unless you're awake, you're asleep.

So this weekend we're going to practice being awake, and look at our intentions. What does being awake mean to our commitment to helping the rest of the world wake up? We pay attention to the wonders, the beauty and light and love, and the manifestation of that love; to awakened consciousness. Let's call it “us” consciousness rather than “me” consciousness. How that feels, and how we do it.

We're going to move into meditation now, about 40 minutes, some vipassana, some pure awareness practice. Take a minute to move about or stretch if you need to...

Starting with pure awareness practice. Eyes open, gaze soft. If you have glasses, I suggest you take them off. Not fixing the gaze to see this leaf or that tree trunk or that patch of sky, just spaciousness. You may see movement as the trees blow a bit, or you may see stillness. Breathe it in. Whatever you're seeing through the eyes, drinking it in through the eyes. Breathing it into the self. And then everything within the self, ahhh, breathing it out.

As you breathe in, is there anything that you're taking in that you can call “mine,” belonging to the self? You're breathing in the energy of the trees, the oxygen that fills the air that we all breathe. The energy and breath of all the others in the room. Is there anything that you can say is mine, that you don't release when you breathe out? Letting it all go. Ahhh... Breathing out. And again, breathing in. You can try using your arms. Bringing it all into the self. Breathing it out. Bringing it in, welcoming it into the heart. And then an audible ahhh... breathing it out. Breathing it in. Letting it touch deeply into the heart center. Ahhh.... Share yourself with the trees, with every single leaf, with every tiny atom of oxygen out there in the air. Sharing yourself. Taking it into yourself. Let go of boundaries. Keep the eyes gently open for now. We'll close them in a bit. But for now, open. Sharing through the eyes, the ears, the breath, the cells in the skin of your body. Giving off energy, taking in energy. Nothing to do here, just sitting, with spaciousness. Ahhh...

So we sit here just this way. If a thought comes, note, “Here is a thought.” No different than if you were sitting under a tree and a leaf fell on you. “Ah, here is a leaf.” If there's a moment of startledness when the leaf falls on you, note “startled.” And then ahhh.... releasing the startle. No self to it. No stories, “Why did that leaf fall on me?” It's just a leaf, it's what leaves do.

So if a thought arises, just another leaf. Thinking, thinking. If a sensation comes, suddenly hearing a branch crack, sharp cracking sound—hearing, hearing. Let go of everything. It's just the world moving through its various expressions. Conditions arise. There is a result. That result likely gives way to new conditions and another result. The whole world spinning out. If the branch cracks and starts to fall on your neighbor's head, catch it, lay it on the ground. It's not doing that to attack your neighbor; it's just being what a branch is, capable of cracking and falling. No stories in any of it. But if stories arise, note them as tension, tension. Don't get caught in the substance of the thought or story. When I say story, the thought like, “Why is that branch falling on my friend? Is it punishing her?” No, just being a branch. This is old conditioned thought. Let it be.

When Barbara drove in this morning and saw the clear-cut under the power line, at first anger arose in her. “What did they do to my woods? How dare they do that! Why are they attacking our beautiful woods?” Ah, tension, tension, anger, anger. This is what the electric company does under the power lines to maintain power for everyone. Don't take it personally. Let it be. Think about how you can use it. She saw the slope over here. Ah, good sledding and skiing this winter. It's all clear. Thank you, electric company.

So in the sitting, we still have eyes open. Eventually we're going to close eyes and move into vipassana. For now, just resting in awareness. There's not really a huge difference between vipassana and pure awareness practice. Pure awareness is perhaps more spacious, the big picture; vipassana is more fine-pointed, more observant of objects. Seeing them arise, seeing them pass away, and coming back to the breath or other primary object. But gradually with vipassana we notice the space between objects. It's not just one object after another. One object dissolves and there's space, and you rest in that space. Then you're into pure awareness practice until another object asks your attention

So as we sit here - we're going to sit now for 20 minutes - be aware of the arising and passing of objects and the space between objects. Don't rush to bring attention back to an object. Just rest in that spaciousness. If the arising object is strong, allow attention to hold it. You may close your eyes, but if it's useful and gives you more of a sense of space, leave your eyes open, just gazing out into the trees and the sky. I'm going to be quiet now for 20 minutes.

(sitting; taping ends)