October 27, 2013 Sunday Afternoon, Trainings Workshop

Barbara: Later this afternoon Aaron is going to come in and talk to you. We're going to try to pull together the variety of tools that we've touched on through these four workshops, and how we can pull them together to really envision and manifest our internal and our external worlds, the way we want them to be. First we'll work with an exercise together.

I can't sing this, but I want to read you the final stanza of a song from my son Peter Rothbart. He's a musician and songwriter. His latest album is called You Are What You Dream. This is part of the final stanza of the song. I have no idea what the music is, I'm sorry. I'm just going to say it.

Don't hang yourself on your regrets.

Pick up your head and don't forget

That you are loved and you are free

To make your world the way you want it to be,

Cuz you are what you dream.

Thank you, Peter. I'm delighted to have a son who understands this. You can find the song with the music on Amazon, google “Peter Rothbart,” or on his website, both. You can hear him singing the song.

We are what we dream. In what way do we limit ourselves? Why do we limit ourselves? How do we move beyond those limits; really see them as a concept, the limit arising within our experience, not something we're bound to, just a thought? We can invite in our guides, our power animals; work with opening chakras; work with connecting with the elements, with nature, with all the nature spirits around us. We can really visualize our dream for ourselves and the world and invite it. We're capable of doing that.

We live so often within limiting beliefs. So much of my book Cosmic Healing is about moving beyond limiting beliefs and seeing how these beliefs are simply based on our old karma, old consciousness, and a belief is just a thought. If I think, “Hmm, I want to walk up the hill there. Oh, I can't do that, the ground is too unstable, too rough,” or “my knees will give way,” it's just a belief. Well, if I say, “I'm going to shinny up that tree,” right now this body probably can't do that. I've got to be realistic. I may want to climb up on the roof of this building here and fly. Well, I haven't learned how to do that yet. If I really want to fly, I'm going to have to learn how to do that, not just jump off a roof. So it takes skill to manifest our dreams. We have to develop certain skills. But we'll never develop them if we're caught up in the limiting beliefs. If I believe I can't do it then I'll never try to learn how to do it.

My mother is 96 years old. For a long time we've been asking her-- in the nursing home where she lives there's a room where they have Skype. The staff will even set it up for her. We've said, “Go in and we'll Skype you, with video Skype. You can see your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” “I can't do that. I don't know how to do that.” So finally we talked her into considering, “Maybe it's possible that you can. They wouldn't have it in your building if they felt that people your age couldn't possibly do it. What's lost by giving it a try?” So she went in, she was still pretty skeptical. I was talking to her on the phone, coaching her through, step by step. And she opened it, “Oh! There are my great-grandchildren! There's everybody! Wow! I can!” The little engine that could: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I knew I could. I knew I could.” But if you say, “I know I can't,” you never try.

What we're going to do this afternoon is to break into the groups again. I want you to take more time together as a group. Invite in your power animals. Invite in your guides. Go around the circle and share your highest vision for yourself and/or for the world. How does it look to you? How does it feel to you? Does it have a texture? Does it have a taste? What color is it? Really open to how it feels. Share it with the others.

What is the resistance? Like my mother, “Oh, I can't do Skype.” What is the resistance? How does that feel? Does the resistance itself  have a color or a shape, a texture? How does it feel? How do I relate to that resistance? All of you together comparing what the similarities are in your resistance and how they feel. Invite in your guides and your power animals. Invite in any nature spirit or any kind of assistance that wants to come. Do a little bit of opening to spirit within the group, sharing, as we've done in some of the past workshops: what guidance are you receiving? And then begin to get up and dance, to sing together, to go outside and build a construction out of twigs, rocks and pine cones. What does your vision look like? Use any combination of expression. You can use just vocal expression, but that tends to limit us to one side of the brain. I would like you to get out of that linear track and into a full-body expression. How does this vision feel? How does the resistance to it feel, and how does it feel when that resistance is released? What happens in the body? What is our vision for ourselves and the world? And it's not either/or, because our vision for ourselves is part of our vision for the world. Our vision for the world is part of our vision for ourselves.

So we're going to spend about two hours here working with this in whatever intuitive ways you feel led. Simply start with some time of quiet, connecting the energy within your group. Share verbally what your vision is and the feelings of resistance, and see where you come together, the different kinds of fears you have, the different kinds of resistance. Ask spirit for help. Then literally follow your lead intuitively and just express. In two hours we'll come together and ask each group to share the vision they created as a group, to share it with the other groups. Then we'll have a break and some time for questions and answer. Are there any questions?

Q: So there's an individual part of this as well as a group part. And my question has to be, is the output a group production or is it five sections within this one project?

Barbara: It is a group co-creation, and also does not separate into self, others, or universe. If my intention for myself is to become kinder and more loving in the world, less reactive to things that are unpleasant, and I visualize that as part of a whole world in which everyone is less reactive and more loving, more open and able to hear others, it's my intention for myself and it carries into the world. If it is also part of your intention, how do we experience it together? If I start with saying I envision a world of peace, I have to come back to myself. In what ways am I not at peace? What do we feel like together when we are peaceful? So we're connecting our personal visions, the way those visions connect into the outer world, or our visions for the outer world and the way that leads us back into ourselves.

It's got to be both. There's no way we can have a vision for the world that doesn't include ourselves. There's no way we can have a vision for only for ourselves. We might say, my vision for myself is to be more healthy and vibrant. In what way do I visualize the whole world as diseased or lacking in some way, energetically? How can I envision that whole world with that vibrancy, of which I'm a part? If the whole world is expressing that vibrancy, how can I have a lack of vibrancy?

So each of you will have a personal area that's most important to you, but it will connect to the self and the world. And as a group of five of you, maybe one of you talking about personal health, vibrancy in the world, one talking about world peace, one talking about heavy emotions and transcending, releasing and transmuting heavy emotions in the self and the world, see the ways within your group that you all come together and what themes there are. My guess is that all the groups' themes eventually are going to come out to be the same thing: living our wholeness as individuals and in the world. But just talk about it and see where it goes, and then ask spirit to come in and help. If there's some confusion, “What are we talking about here?”, ask spirit. See if any of you having guiding spirits that want to come in and talk and share in that way. Just see where it goes. Explore, no limits.

(groups gather)

Barbara: Start with silence, holding each other's hands, looking in each other's eyes, connecting, talking one soul to another before you begin to draw or create. And bring spirit in. Open chakras. If one of you feels your chakras are not open, ask for support from the group to open the chakras. So the whole group energy becomes an intact, vital energy; then see what grows out of that energy.

(group exercise for over an hour)

Barbara: The groups have all created whatever it is that they created. They're amazing creations. I didn't record everything that was just said. I would like somebody in that hallway group to make a short statement. I have a photograph of it. Could somebody make a short statement of what it represents? Just a summary.

Q: Our creation is based on the work of David Hawkins. It relates to the quote from Hawkins that says, “The single most important thing that any individual can do for all of humankind is to raise their own consciousness.” In addition, all of the beings and all things on the planet are connected through an invisible matrix of connection, and raising consciousness in one influences and raises consciousness in everything around it. So we have an interconnection of things and bottles of water representing individuals. I think that describes it. The torn white paper is that matrix of connection of consciousness.

Barbara: I love that in the construction they made, there are plants. There's paper. There's a roll of toilet paper. Everything is part of the raising of consciousness, they said. And they also mentioned they had fun doing it, and having fun is part of the raising of consciousness. Is there anything else that wants to be shared for that group? If not, let's go on to the next group.

Q: (says off mic it's kind of the same concept) We start with ourselves, with our own vigilance, mindfulness, forgiveness, our own loving heart. And vigilance to our own choices, that we're always at choice to see things from love and be love in that situation, or not. Rather than it being about changing everybody out there, or fixing things out there, that by simply being present, that's the way to live in the world.

Then we went for a walk and we saw a stand of white pine trees, and that inspired us as a metaphor for how to live: to grow strong and tall, reach for the light. And in order to be that tall and thin we recognize the need to have multiple trees to grow with. As we watched the trees sway with the wind, we saw the teaching of how we can be firm and strong and flexible. Have equanimity. We also noted that the tree starts short, and as it grows it collects more and more leaves and branches, but then those branches fall away. We saw the parts that fall away as the baggage we collect in life, then being able to release that baggage.

So we did fret a little bit about finding something to create. And as I walked in, I picked this stick, which might have been from this other group. But we wanted to have some representation of the tree, but then we (inaudible).... And having released all the baggage.

Barbara: Thank you. Another group?

Q: I think for our group the experience of the creation of our vision, it was fun, it was connecting, it was nurturing. And the process that we did, we sat and held hands and, in our own way, at first invited spirit to be present. Then one of us was moved to begin speaking with an out loud invitation, an intention, and a flow happened, that we each took turns as we felt moved, with our own intention and our own vision.

It turned out two of us strongly felt the force of fire, the element of fire, come forward, and two of us felt the element of water come forward. And we spoke about what each of those could mean as a vision for the world and ourselves. And especially what came to each of us was reaching to all corners of the planet, to all beings on the planet, and in all directions—up and down, behind us, in front of us. Sound was part of our vision, that was very connecting. And in the process of our creating we went outside and found things that spoke to us, asking for permission to collect, to gather, to find, help to find.

When we came in we worked with a paper first, and blue was a strong, strong presence in our visions, so there's a lot of blue in our creation. And blue that goes deep to the depth of the ocean, and the blue of the sky, way above the planet. The fire element became the center of our creation. Then we used the elements from outside to reach up above the paper. The idea of spiraling was strong for us. Somehow through the creating we included whales and birds, and spiders for Barbara. I felt there was very much a flow that was in our creation, the flow for all beings, flow of being alive, flow of energy sharing. Anyone want to add anything?

Q: For me it was a wonderful experience, allowing the process, using left hand.

Barbara: I think that's so important. We're often so goal-oriented and we forget about the process itself as being essential to the result. Part of the result, not separate from it.

Q: It felt so powerful.

Barbara: Another group?

Q: How do I summarize all that? We started out nervous so we sat and connected our hearts. Called in our guides and all our power animals. And we called in the power of nature. Nature called us outdoors. We went for a walk barefoot. I started it, I guess. We went to the lake. Our group vision was of having a naked open heart, being vulnerable and open to sacred relationships with others. Being connected to nature and everything that is. And having fun. And how all that actually all goes together. That's probably how I would sum it up. So we ended up getting in the lake together (note it is late October in Michigan!). We have some photos of our feet. Got in the mud, and this is actually our footprints and handprints and words drawn in mud. Collected some natural objects that called us.

Q: And our vision for the world, at least as I remember it, our vision for the world was as we became whole, that radiance spread to the world, and that's how we contributed to the world. And that was a real important part of our discussion, is becoming authentic, not hearing our own stories or the stories of others, and letting our light shine. It was a fun time. And it all started with taking our shoes off. And there was more talk than just shoes coming off.

Barbara: One more group?

Q1: Our group has a vision to start considering the world a narrow bridge. It comes from song, and that was our theme song, “All the world is just a narrow bridge.” Above all is not to fear at all. So there and there is a bridge connecting with blue around that. It was also a sense of the four of us as individuals contributing to the center, possibly to a mandala, but in this case it's the bridge. (group members offer input to Q, inaudible)... Individual visions to the whole... And so here is the vision, with the eye and power animals and loving heart, with a mandala. But actually, how we started was, someone put their hands down, and then we thought that was a good idea so we all traced our hands. So it's our hands reaching into the center, and it's part of each. Over there where the green hands are is a vision of living in community. Again, with the heart and people coming together. There is heart again, and it turned into a leaf... (inviting another group member to explain)

Q2: Actually I was the only one that didn't trace my hand. I just took two markers and got into this space of not being in my head, and just let whatever was coming through move my hands. That leaf-looking thing is what came out. That was fun and interesting, and I thought it was interesting that when I tried to put my head into it, my left hand couldn't do it. It couldn't move the way I wanted it to. But as soon as I got out of my head (it worked).

Q1: So we thought that all four individual aspects kind of fit together with the bridge.

Barbara: I'm paraphrasing Aaron. He says he's delighted with the results, and that everybody got into it from their hearts, not just their brain, and really touched the place where you and the Earth come together. That this was a primary intention of this whole series; to empower you to be able to do that in the world. He will speak further, directly; he will incorporate. Is there anything else that people want to share before we move on?

Q: The importance of process, you know, the fun you have. It's not about the goal, it's about the process. And we thought more about process and less about the outcome.

Barbara: Because process from this awakened heart leads to the outcome. The outcome is already there, in a sense. This takes us back to the akashic field. It's all there. When we come back to, not a “me” directing process in a linear way but this whole co-creation with everything, then what we are seeking is already there.

(tape paused)

Barbara: Thank you for all jumping into these four weekends so wholeheartedly. I've loved doing this. It's been wonderful to share all this with you. This really has been part of a dream of mine. We do residential vipassana retreats, which I find very powerful, to be there in the silence. And we do workshops. We've not found good ways to bring vipassana and the exercises and talking together, because we're either in silence or we're talking. So this has been a wonderful way to bring it together.

Amy suggested to me recently the idea of doing a residential, maybe 4-day, I don't know what you call it. My friend Judy Coates and Jeshua, when they have a retreat like this, they call it an “advance,” not a retreat. A gathering. Amy found a beautiful place up on Lake Michigan near Northport, near Lake Michigan. That's just one possibility. Coming together for four days in a really beautiful place with a fair amount of silence and meditation, plus shared meals and talking and exercises and hearing from spirit, remembering wholeness, bringing in some of these other entities like the Mother, Aaron, the Brothers and Sisters of Light. I'm not sure exactly where we would go with it. For me the theme that's most important is just what we've done here, taking it further. Living from a higher consciousness. Remembering wholeness. Not getting caught in limiting beliefs. Looking into our true selves. Somebody mentioned the most important thing the individual can do is to live from a higher consciousness. And that takes both sharing and going deep. So if you have any thoughts about such a weekend, please write to Amy. Amy, I don't know if there's more you want to say about it.

Amy: (off mic) I will send out an email, getting ideas, just to see how many people would be interested. We would probably have it next September so we had enough time to plan, and that might be a good time of year. So I'll probably send out an email explaining it. Give us an idea if you're interested. It's not a firm commitment at all. And then I'll ask a couple of questions about what you might be interested in hearing about, or learning, or doing at such a gathering. It may be  (inaudible), work with groups and so maybe we could have people that are interested do little bits of <time> here and there, activities that can be optional. Different groupings, different things, (inaudible), connecting with nature. There are a lot of possibilities. So anything that you feel (inaudible).

Barbara: The place Amy found and sent me pictures of is right on Lake Michigan. I know we do a retreat at Emerald Isle every year where we sit on the beach in the morning. So I envision meditating on Lake Michigan with sunrises and sunsets, and activities like the group that was wading barefoot in the lake. There's just a great opportunity to come together co-creatively and create the workshop that we wish.

Amy: We were talking just a little bit at lunch about this and saying that it would be possible, if there were enough people interested, to rent a big passenger van, and the retreat starts before we leave. And the drive up, creating community. (inaudible) It would be like “Camp for Higher Consciousness.”

Barbara: It's something I would love to do. Aaron is enthusiastic. The Brothers and Sisters of Light sound enthusiastic. At the Howell retreat, each person or several people are responsible for a meal, and I picture that we could do something similar. Organize it so that one or several people bring the food for each specific meal, and do the preparation of that meal, so it's not a big burden for anybody. Amy will share more about it, but I just wanted to mention that because I'm very excited about the idea. We're envisioning it for a year from now, fall 2014. And keeping the cost down as much as possible so that it's affordable for people.

Okay. Second thing. Some of you have noticed the new version of Forty-Seven Stories... finally is available. It was out of print for a year. Hal and I republished it. The photo on the cover comes from my son Mike, who is a photo journalist, a sunrise. I'm happy that we've got them available again.

Some of you have said to me that you'd like to participate more in Deep Spring things and other activities. Dottie and I are teaching a class right now, and we'll go on with that class in February. “Consciousness and its Objects.” This is a meditation class at Deep Spring working with raising consciousness, awareness of mundane and supramundane objects and consciousness. Working with the akashic field. We're not quite sure where it's going, but everybody who's been in this workshop and has participated with vipassana is welcome to join. You have the background to join us if you'd like to.

I think that's all of my announcements. We'll have a five minutes for a break and then come back and Aaron will be available to speak to questions.

Q: Are you all filled up for Brazil?

Barbara: No. The Casa trip in January is Jan 20 through Feb 2. Many people are staying a third or even a fourth week. I still have about six beds remaining, or more, maybe six. So if anybody is interested in coming, please let me know. Especially for new people it would be important to sign up pretty soon, because you have to get your visa and so forth. We have a wonderful group of people coming. Talk to me if you're interested. Amy is co-leader for that trip, doing this together. We're happy to answer your questions about it. It's a trip to be with John of God, a trip to be with spirit, out there and in yourself. You don't have to be sick, to go. You simply have to have spirit that wants nurturing and be seeking ways to nurture it.

That's it. A five minute break...


Aaron: We come together for a final gathering. Let me start with the simple statement of how passionate I am about the work we have done here. There is nothing else as important this raising of consciousness on the Earth. It's everything, because if you're going to save your environment, if you're going to live together without wars and hatred, if you're going to fulfill your own potential, it's going to come out of a higher consciousness. Raising of consciousness is not just about going off to a mountaintop and communing with the trees and the stars. It's about being right there in the difficult moment in daily life, with somebody angry with you or the roof leaking or whatever it may be, and not moving into a negativity. Or, if you do move into a negative consciousness, watching that movement and not getting stuck there. Yes, sometimes you move into it. The habitual patterns have not yet been fully resolved. But don't get stuck.

So all of this inner work is about not getting stuck in negativity, but finding the already existent loving heart, finding your wholeness. Remembering, right there in this negative moment, when the truck has gone by and spattered you from head to toe with mud, remembering that shining essence of yourself and not hating the truck driver. But if you hate the truck driver, simultaneously forgiving the truck driver, and forgiving yourself for the move into anger and contraction.  

Barbara received an interesting email this morning from a woman on the other side of the country, from whom she has not heard in probably close to ten years. The woman said her note was long overdue, to please forgive her for her anger at Barbara the last time they met. And Barbara puzzled over it. “I don't remember any anger.” She thought about perhaps a half-dozen lovely memories around this person over a series of years. She didn't remember any anger.

This woman has been carrying this around for all this time. Now she's releasing it. For Barbara it was long since passed. What are you holding in yourselves that needs to be released? The other people have probably long since forgotten it. But if they haven't, perhaps you can ask for forgiveness, as this woman did. They may say, “I haven't thought of it for years. No problem. Hug.” Or you may simply clear the air between you. They may say, “Yes, I've been brooding over that for ten years.” It's time to let it go.

Go into yourself with courage and with joy, find the spots that still carry some stain and rinse them off. Because it's not really stained, it's just some mud on the surface, and it will wash off. Then the radiant heart will shine out. That is the road to higher consciousness. What blocks it? To what negative beliefs and limiting beliefs are you attached?

We've worked with many tools here. No one tool is more important than the other. Vipassana and mindfulness are core, but every tool that we've touched upon has a part in this opening. I hope you will continue a meditation practice, both vipassana and awareness practice. I hope you will simply hug trees. I hope you will wake up in the morning, scan your body energy and see where you are contracted today, and where open, and give gratitude for that which is open. Work with your guides. Ask for  and feel their support. Remember gratitude toward the trees that shelter you, the guidance around you, the food you eat, the water that you drink. Practice with all of it. Love, gratitude, joy, laughter. All of these tools are routes to higher consciousness.

I'm going to stop talking here and simply invite questions.

Q: I have a couple of questions. One is to ask you to talk about having permission from others, either consciously or energetically, to work energetically...(Aaron: I understand the question, which arrived written.) I also would like to hear about balance. We were talking about balance in our group. And I know as a physical therapist that walking is a perpetual state of falling, but then we catch ourselves as we are taking the next step. How to keep the balance between the mundane and the ultimate with the most ease.

Aaron: Thank you. I hear the questions. Let's talk first about the permission. You don't need permission to send loving wishes to somebody. “I wish you well, may you be happy,” and so forth. There's a subtle difference. Perhaps you have a friend who's perpetually angry. Do you have the right to wish that person to release their anger? They're attached to that anger in some way. It's different to say, “May you be happy. May you have well-being,” than to say, “May you get rid of your anger.” The person may be very attached to their anger. So you have to ask permission.

You can ask it in different ways. If the person is talking to you and saying, “I struggle so with anger, I don't know what to do with my anger,” you can talk to them about just holding space for it and say, “I will pray for you, that you may have more ease with the emotion of anger.” You actually can say that without their permission, thinking of the person and saying, “May this person have more ease with the emotion of anger.” That's very different than saying, “May this person get past their anger.” That's really your wish. “It's hard to be with this person. I really like this person, but their anger is so irritating. Can't they get past their anger?” That's coming from me, not from them.

The same may be true with a physical malady. A person who has perhaps a bad knee and finds walking difficult, and you suggested a number of times that they see a doctor about it, that physical therapy or exercise might help. And they keep pushing you away and saying, “No, it's just the way my knee is.” It's very different to offer the prayer for the person, “May this person resolve the challenge with this bad knee, open to the possibility of a knee that functions well,” than to say, “May this person's knee get better.” That's up to them, to choose that. If they come to you and say, “I so much want this knee to get better, and I'm going to try these different treatments. Please pray for me.” then you can pray, “May this person's knee get better.” Other than that, you're intruding. Wait until they're ready to invite the knee to get better. But you can offer the prayer, “May this person open to the possibility of wholeness of the knee.” Can you feel the difference.?

Q: What about if a person senses that another being has an attachment, negative thought form or entity that is influencing negatively?

Aaron: Unless they ask for help, you cannot ask that that negative entity be gone. If the entity is attached to them, they're also attached to the entity. You can ask in prayer. You can put a picture at the Casa. You can ask, “May this person find the highest freedom and well-being.” But you cannot ask without their permission, “May this person be free of this attached negativity.” Can you all feel the distinction? So it's an invasion of their free will.

The one place where with care you can invite is with a person in a coma or unconsciousness, a person who has a head injury and is unconscious, and so forth.

Q: What about a child?

Aaron: An infant, but once a child is of an age to make their statement, you have to ask. Any child over 2, 2 ½, you have to ask. Any child who is pre-lingual, you still must use care. The child is very sick. The most helpful prayer is, “May this child find the highest healing that he or she seeks.” Observing this child's free will. Maybe this child came into this incarnation specifically with a life plan to have a very short life, to teach the parents about letting go and loss. It goes against the whole child's plan for the incarnation and karmic connection with the parents to say—the parents are saying, “Make him better! Make him better!” but your prayer needs to be, “Whatever is for the highest good.” Just holding that energy. Inviting angelic presence, inviting love that knows what you can't see. Inviting the highest good.

With a person in a coma, still one would ask for whatever is the highest good, and not, “May this person come out of the coma.” But if the person has said to you before falling into the coma, “I so much want to live,” then you can accept that as their free will choice and offer a prayer for that.

Are there questions?

Q: Related to asking permission, what about precepts #1 and #2 that we read at the retreat? “Do not allow others to harm another or kill another.”

Aaron: This is a difficult question, since we must always act to prevent harm, and we may not be sure what is harmful. If you see someone about to hurt another person, you are responsible to intervene or you share responsibility for the attack and injury. We cannot turn our backs. Yet you are also violating that person's fee will intention to harm the other. You willingly take onto yourself the karma of violating the free will because if you don't you are taking onto yourself the karma of allowing the violence. At times you may make unskillful choices, but persevere in paying attention to the clearest knowing within, and speaking and acting from that place of compassionate understanding,

Here we get into the whole field of satyagraha. I quietly walk into the back of a room where a murderer is holding a machine gun on a group of kindergartners; he's already shot the teacher, so I know he's capable of murder. To not act to prevent that harm is also an act of harm. Now, I've got a gun. I can shoot this man in the back, thereby preventing the murder of 30 little children. Quietly, before I shoot, you need to ask permission, not aloud but within. To allow him to murder 30 little children is to allow him to enter into some terrible karma. But you take the willingness, in doing harm-- even if you are acting from the place of the highest good you still are responsible for this man's death and for any karma that comes from it. If this man, as his last act as you shoot him, turns around and shoots you in his rage, and then he dies, you have accepted the potential, “He might shoot me.” You've forgiven him already for shooting you. You don't hold it karmically or energetically, against him, because you were the catalyst for it. Free will choice. This is how satyagraha works.

The whole thing is very subtle, Q. I can speak to many different possibilities, but it's very hard to give one blanket statement about it. We must always hold the intention to do no harm to others, but to withhold action is also a form of harm.

Here's an example that might be helpful to you. It's an example that's sometimes useful in teaching about karma. Two men are walking down two parallel side streets. Half a block behind one is a thief and murderer. Half a block behind the other is a heart surgeon. Both men, at the same time, suddenly clutch their heart and drop to the ground. On street one, the thief sees the man drop to the ground. He pulls out a knife. The man tries to push him away, although he's having a heart attack, and the thief plunges a knife in him and kills him; even though he was about to die anyhow the thief's intention is murder. Then he takes his wallet.

On the next block, the man is falling to the ground. The heart surgeon sees exactly what's happening. He has his medical kit with him. He knows this man has one chance, only one chance to live, and that's if he opens the man's chest and does some kind of open heart surgery, right there, to squeeze his heart, to get the muscle pumping. That's the only possibility that he'll live. He's not in the least bit caught up with, “Is anybody looking? Will I get praised? Will I make the news?” He has one strong intention, which is to save this life. The man dies anyhow. There is no unwholesome karma attached to this act. He's killed a man, but there's no unwholesome karma attached to it. Actually the heart attack killed the man. He participated in the man's death but without any intention to cause harm. However,  if his intention was to gain fame, then he holds the karma for the act that caused death, having acted for his own benefit.

Karma is an intention. As long as there's no intention to do harm, there's no unwholesome karma. If he says, “Oh, is somebody watching? I want to be in the news. I want to become a famous surgeon. Everybody will pay attention.” then there's that specific stream of karma. When we act with intention to do harm, we experience the results. When we act with the intention to do no harm, we experience those results.

When we act, based on your question, seeing a person suffering, discomfort with that person's suffering-- let's use a simple example, an animal that's lying in the street that's been hit by a car. It looks like that animal cannot survive. You can try to pick it up and take it to a vet, but it looks like it's so badly injured that it probably could not survive. Do you slit its throat? If so, are you slitting its throat so you can avoid experiencing its suffering, or so the animal can avoid experiencing its suffering? If it's about you, then you're doing harm. If it's about the animal, you're not doing harm. Most often it's about both. Therefore the good deed and the loving deed is in releasing that animal from its agony. But you're still karmically responsible for that strand of you that said, “I can't watch this. I just have to put it out of its misery.” I don't know if that answers your question.

Q: Going back to permission, then, if you ask for something for someone for your own comfort, even if at some level you want to be helpful to them, are you tangling up your own energy?

Aaron: I'm not clear on the question. Somebody is suffering. You ask for something for them, that they be free of that suffering.

Q: Yes, and it's also for your own comfort, that you are not comfortable with their actions or being with them in pain.

Aaron: Both karmas will be side by side: the loving karma, to have offered good wishes and help, and that strand of karma in yourself that says, “Oh, I can't watch this. I have to fix it.”

Q: So then, are you better off not to ask until you become clear in yourself?

Aaron: It is not a matter of better or worse, but what is intended or needs to be learned. If the karma is still there to need to protect the self in that way, you will make that choice, again and again and will experience the painful results until the karma is finally cleared. It is painful that this happens, but not bad. You are also practicing the loving karma., the wholesome karma. In this way you purify the karmic stream. It gets very tricky because, let's say this person has fallen and broken his leg, a compound fracture, and he's lying there with bones sticking out, screaming. You're not a doctor. You're out in the woods, far away. There's no ambulance. You can't stand to watch him screaming, so you make attempts to fix it, which in the end really make it worse. Or you ask him, “What should I do?” or you back away and say, “I can't do anything. I'm simply going to go back to a place where my cell phone will work and call for help. I'm leaving you.” If that leaving comes from a place of fear and contraction, then it brings unwholesome karma. If the staying and trying to help comes from a place of fear and contraction, it brings unwholesome karma. If you sit down and say, “I don't know what to do,” so you leave him lying there screaming while you meditate for an hour and try to figure out what to do, that brings unwholesome karma. This is why the clearer you become, the more you can live in a clear way, not compounding one act of negative karma upon the next.

Rather, the person falls, and you know: I can have a doctor here in 15 minutes if I run and make a phone call, but that might make it worse. You say to the person, “I don't know which is best. Do you want me to stay here with you and hope someone else will come along with a cell phone? I don't have a cell phone. Or do you want me to go and get help?” If the person has hit their head and they're unconscious, you'll have to make the decision. The more you meditate, the more you can be sure that that decision is coming from a clear space.

And then you review it afterward. You ask forgiveness for anything that did not come from a clear space. You invite your guidance, you invite your loving heart, to help you find clarity so you do not repeat any negative actions or words. You ask forgiveness for that which you have enacted. And gradually the karma clears. The next time, you have more certainty about what to do. You're responsible for acts committed. You're responsible for acts omitted.

Q: And then talking about wholesome balance.

Aaron: I like your thought that walking is falling, one step after another. Contraction comes. Lack of contraction, spaciousness, ease, and then contraction. I'd like you all to stand up in place. Stand on two feet. Feel yourself balanced. Feel the body uncontracted, open and spacious. Now pick up one foot. Can you feel the subtle tension? Some of you have easier balance than others. This body can't do it without holding on. Put the foot down. Feel the contraction dissolve, and then raise the other foot. Contraction again. Put the foot down. Do it in slow motion. Feel the contraction dissolve. Then raise the other foot. Contracted, tension. Putting it down. Ahhh...

As Q put it, when you walk, you're constantly falling, and there's a constant habitual contraction. Now what if you can walk experiencing that falling and lack of balance, and lack of balance is just lack of balance? So there's no contraction around it. The body may contract but there's nothing that holds onto that with a belief, “I am unbalanced.” So that you become able to just... (walking)... There's the moment of subtle contraction, but it goes back and forth. Not tension. But just balanced.

Use that as a metaphor for your whole life. In a conversation with somebody about a difficult subject: contracting. Finding spaciousness with which to approach this topic. Coming back into balance. Then as you begin to discuss the topic, there will be some contraction, but there's an awareness that says, “Finding space for this contraction,” and is able to look in the person's eyes and talk about the topic.

So, balance... I could best phrase it by saying there is always balance on the ultimate level, and there is always an alternation between balance and imbalance on the relative level. That which is aware of imbalance is not unbalanced. You keep coming back to that part that's balanced. And then (dancing smoothly) you can dance! Balanced! I'm demonstrating it because you know if Barbara were in this body it could not dance like that. She doesn't know that she could balance. I do!

Does that answer your question?

Q: I have some limiting beliefs about myself, evidenced by the fact that I have never met a power animal, have never had a conversation with my guides. My meditation practice is mostly relaxation. Can you kick me in the butt or something?

Aaron: No, but I can ask you, why do you hold on to this limiting belief? What do you get out of it?

Q: I have no idea. I'm just aware of a lack of experience of the other.

Aaron: I think there's a subtle fear there, probably based in past lives. I'm not looking in the akashic records, here, but most likely there's some fear of letting this energy bleed through. The one who needs to be in control, to keep others and self safe. What if something comes in? What if I'm not fully in control? So that if you make the firm intention, “I want to open more fully to spirit.”— there is perhaps also a fear something negative could come in. What if you open to spirit and something negative comes? Maybe there is a limiting belief, “I am not good enough. I have not fully resolved my negativity, so I could invite something negative. So I better not invite.”

Simply look at this and begin to ask yourself, if I opened to spirit, yes it would be wonderful, but what also am I afraid of? What might happen? In what way do I protect myself by not opening? I think for you it's about a past life. I'd be happy to speak with you privately about it at some point. But if this concerns you, you don't really need to know the past life, only that in a past life a being that you were probably had an unsafe experience opening to spirit. And that's not who you are anymore. Even without reading that past life, one can assume if there's some fear, it's probably of something that came before. So, “That's not who I am anymore. I release this.” Try to feel any contraction as you meditate.

For many of you, this similar limiting belief of not going into a very deep place in meditation is based on the fear of, “Will I annihilate myself if I move into this space of body and ego dissolution, and through a deep realization experience? What will remain?” So I think for Q and for many of you, it's a part of the limitation that you place on the depth of your meditation practice. And it's a very common fear. Coming to the edge of a cliff. I can't see. I'll fall off. I better back up.


Q: Aaron started to talk about losing the ego and read my mind. I have questions about how to be a leader in this world and yet not have the ego. Or lessen the ego or losing the ego.

Aaron: It comes from your daily meditation practice. We settle down into watching mental and physical objects arising and passing away. Seeing perhaps some irritation at the fly buzzing around the head. Hearing, hearing, unpleasant, unpleasant, and then this contraction, wanting to swat it, wanting to get rid of it. The strong aversion. And then you can ask yourself, “Who is experiencing this aversion?” Gradually it becomes clear that the pure awareness aspect of yourself is not experiencing aversion, but the small ego. You don't then judge the small ego and say, “I won't have that small ego here,” but can there be compassion for that small ego, for the everyday self that doesn't want the meditation disturbed by the buzz, buzz, buzz of the landing and tickling of the fly? Tension, tension. How do you relate to that tension?

Each time you open to more spaciousness, you disempower the ego self and empower the divine essence. The ego self is no longer the boss. Each time you have compassion for the ego self, rather than taking a stick and trying to chase it away, it's no longer the boss, but this loving heart becomes the one who is in charge. As you gain confidence in your ability to hold spaciousness around the unpleasant buzzing of the fly, not to condemn the self because aversion has arisen, but also not to get caught up in stories either of judgment or of the aversion itself, it becomes easier and easier to do that in the world, until you have a sense of self-confidence that when something arises in a group situation and you choose to be the leader, it is the heart and awareness that's choosing and not the ego.

If you have enough confidence in your ability to pick up that ego quickly-- in other words, the situation where you're walking in the woods and come across the hiker with the broken leg. “I can't be here with it.” - “This is just my fear.” We come back to the center. What am I capable of doing to help, at this point? I have no cell phone. I'm a slow walker. This person is in agony. But I can take my coat off and cover them because they're cold. And then I can assure them I'll be right back, and I can walk out and start to call for help. It's not fear calling; it's wisdom and love calling. And somebody comes along with a cell phone and you say, “We need an ambulance here.” It's not ego.

We just keep watching, not saying, “Get out of here, ego!” but “Ah, here's ego. Sit, have tea. Shhh!” until we're at ease with ego. It just arises because something triggers it and the conditions for its' arising have not yet been resolved. We don't have to act on it. We just let it be.

How about if we conclude this now with a guided meditation? Does that feel suitable to people? Let's move close enough that we can hold hands. Right hand facing up. Left hand facing down, sending. Feet uncrossed so the energy can flow.

We invite our guides, the wonderful spirits of all the trees around this room, the earth itself and the air, the fire energy of the sun, water, all loving spirit everywhere, to be with us. We go into that vast container, the whole akashic field where all potential is revealed, and open to that place of the highest potential for the highest good of all beings throughout this entire universe, all sentient beings of any sort. We receive the energy of all these sentient beings, and we also send out our energy to them. Feel the energy coming in into your left hand. Breathe in and bring it into the heart center. Feet on the ground. Feel the energy coming up from your heart, and the energy coming down into your head and the heart center. Exhale, and send it out through your right hand.

Breathing in energy, drawing it in from the left hand, from the feet, from the head. Exhale, sending out energy. It won't work if I keep saying, “Breathe in, breathe out.” Simply be conscious of drawing in energy with your own in-breath, from the feet, from the head, through the left hand, and then sending it out. Stating the intention: may all beings everywhere be blessed by this energy and love. Through this loving energy, may all beings have the blessings of well-being, joy, and peace.

As you breathe in, feel behind your back that spaciousness, and your guides, their loving energy. Draw that into you. We invite all the great masters into this circle, too, all of your energy. Not holding it for myself but passing it on, for the highest good of all beings. Yet also taking and using what I need for myself, because to deprive myself deprives everyone. So as you breathe in, fill yourself with it. Feel the blessings of it. The intention that this body is thusly blessed, and extends itself back out in service to all. And then sending it out.

Feeling the space. The more you send out, the more you can receive. Feel how that works. Breathing into this empty space all the energy of the universe. Holding what you need for the self, and sending the rest out.

Relax back into your chair. Ahhh... Feeling that relaxation. Breathing in light and love. Filling yourself with it and sending it out. No longer just the energy of this circle, but truly the energy of the universe. So much love moving around and through this space. We consecrate this energy for the highest good everywhere, the highest consciousness, with the intention of harm to none and for the good of all. May all beings everywhere benefit from this energy freely given.

We consecrate this energy to the power of love, and ourselves, our bodies, minds, and spirits, to the power of love. May all beings everywhere may know their innate radiance and divinity, and pass it on. May all beings may be happy and find peace. May it be so, now and forever. We offer this prayer in gratitude and in love.

(bell, bell, bell)

Whatever benefits may have come to us individually through this series of workshops, we offer that benefit out also to all beings.

Thank you, and I will release the body to Barbara. My deepest blessings and love to all of you. Thank you.

(session ends)