A Private Session. Early October

(From Barbara's private work with Aaron, in journal, and from a private session. Early October.)

(I've chosen to include these instructions for those of you to whom they're of value. Through the coming months, Aaron repeats parts of these instructions and clarifies them for the class. Thus, they'll appear again in transcripts, broken down into smaller parts. Please skip this session if it doesn't interest you.)

… Finally, I was just sitting, feeling a sense of calm, resting in rigpa, with very pure and quiet awareness of everything, much light. Stayed with it for a long time …

… Feeling strong spirit presences, very positive and loving energy. Strongest awareness was of NATURAL radiance of everything; resting in that radiance ('resting in' doesn't really say it, as it connotes separate 'me' resting in 'that.' This was more a merging into, no boundaries, but fully at rest in that boundaryless radiance of which my own radiance was a part.)

Aaron began to speak, giving instructions as to next step in working with this light. He said he wants me to use this radiance as a tool of purification. Just DO now; we'll talk about it later. I've seen that while I rest in Rigpa there's no new karma created. Not only do I not create any karma while in rigpa, but old karma can be released. Aaron had said then that he would begin to teach me the process when I was ready. He says it's very hard to put in words; listed very basic steps: wants me to use this present intense energy/light. Instructions are paraphrased unless there are quotation marks.

- Clarify intention to do this for benefit of all beings.

- Rest in rigpa; must be stable.

- Invoke, visualize and rest in presence of a Master, guru, or such as the Buddha or Jesus.

- See (not a visual seeing but an inner sight (third eye?) seeing) the radiance in myself and this being.

- Again, rest in Rigpa, allowing the dissolution of boundary between myself and this being.

- Let radiance blend-'my' radiance and that greater radiance-'NO DOER: NOTHING DONE. Just ALLOWING that which has always been blended to be observed.'

- Shadow/delusion/fear will stand out more clearly in contrast as natural radiance is seen brightened by merging with guru. What I'm seeing/experiencing is the clarity of my true nature with the superimposed negativity, fear and karmic distortions which are a part of that natural radiance. Not other than, but contractions/distortions of natural radiance.

- Completely undefended. No boundaries!

- Seeing distortion of fear/shadow/defendedness, release it. NO GETTING RID OF! 'There is nothing there which is not part of the natural radiance. It is attachment or aversion to distortion which is released. The fear itself is seen as part of that radiance of pure mind and all reactivity to it is released. The contraction which held it is relaxed. Then negativity dissolves.'

- Vital not to enter this practice until one rests in deep equanimity with all that arises. No getting rid of; no aversion, or practice will solidify self.

- Rest in that still deeper radiance. Step of reintegration.

Aaron: There must be no getting rid of the shadow. This must be done while resting in rigpa, releasing that which is seen clearly as resultant of delusion. This is not getting rid of but a willingness to let go. The clarity of rigpa does not allow ownership of the shadow; it sees how defilements attached, how skandhas arose, penetrates moha, sees solidified self which 'owns' that shadow as manifestation of moha.

Seeing the reality and simultaneous lack of reality of the shadow, pure mind releases all attachment to it. You are literally cleansing old karma through the route of the cleansing power of rigpa. What was the attachment to that shadow? How did it arise? No intellect. If there is not immediate clear seeing, you are not ready for this work in this moment. Just let go of the light and move into vipassana practice, working analytically with the arising of any attachment or aversion.

With that first touch of mind, the shadow does dissolve, leaving you in rigpa with awareness of the shadow that had lingered. This is what you allow to clarify. Just let it go, literally. It is a way of working with actual light and energy, empowered by the energy of radiant pure awareness. I will go into more detail channeled through you with K. typing next week. It is hard to both hear this with pure awareness and type it with conceptual mind.

Please do this in the following order.

1. Intention.

2. Rest in Rigpa.

3. Invoke presence.

4 .See radiance; note interbeing with radiance.

5. Rest in rigpa; no boundaries. Do not go any further unless stable there.

6. Seeing fear/old karma/negativity; if any aversion to these, stop here and work with it with vipassana or analytic Dz.

7. Intention to release for the benefit of all beings. Why was there attachment? Seeing old mind.

8. Release, like wisps of smoke rising And blending into the clear sky.

9. Be aware of greater clarity of radiance.

10. Repeat from #4. Cycle through as often as desired. Probably once or twice in a sitting.

11. When finished, end with awareness of gratitude to this teacher who is Buddha, (Christ) to everything which is Buddha, and dedication of merit.

Do this just a little at a time. Work with it briefly toward the end of each sitting. For now, do not attempt to do this practice out of formal sitting.

Barbara: That was all from Aaron. I sat for another half hour, then moved into this practice. Very powerful movement; strong opening of energy; old holding dissolving; awareness of power of this light/energy work.

I see the danger of it. Rigpa must be stabilized. There must be no aversion to the shadow, to any karma, to any old mind patterns. Perfect equanimity or one digs oneself in deeper. But done skillfully, so much can be released so quickly.

Side by side with this practice, Aaron okays use of mudra meditation to clarify energy meridians and release blockage. 'Do this at different sittings, not simultaneous with above. Allow it to come together gradually. This is only the first of increasingly complex light practices we will do. Chakra work will be essential further on.'

October 20, 1993

(Aaron is speaking to Barbara's questions about the reasons behind the practice he's been teaching her of purification with light perceived as natural radiance. Transcribed by Karen as it was channeled. No tape. Edited and clarified by Aaron.)

(Diacritical marks for Pali words are shown only for the first occurrence of the word.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. This practice essentially is a way to purify old karma, as you have experienced. It is also a way of releasing the 'scars' of old mind and old energy blockage. In ultimate reality terms, that old karma is nonexistent. You're pure, have always been pure, but the mental and physical streams-nma-rpa-have grown out of the delusion of self which conditioned vina, and have manifested a relative reality. Within that relative reality the karma must be clarified. When you rest in rigpa there is total absence of the delusion of self. Few humans can maintain that clarity permanently while in physical body. The return to delusion is just another thought. It is not the arising thought of self which provides foundation for karma, but ownership of that thought. This is the moment of shift back into delusion.

It is tricky, subtle. As always, the key is awareness. When ignorance as moha arises and is recognized without identification with it, it dissolves. There is nothing sticky to it. Moha can be clearly seen for what it is. The arising of that delusion without dwelling in it, means it goes no further. No volitional formations need grow out of the delusion when the delusion is known as delusion. Moha itself becomes seen as part of that natural radiance of mind.

We have defined sankhr as 'all things that come into being as the effects of causes and conditions, and in themselves are the causes and conditions for the arising of other phenomena.' You will remember that I disagree with the definition of sankhara as only those arising phenomena which create unwholesome, adhering karma. We have also discussed this in depth. It is not necessary that the arising phenomena lead to adhering karma for it to be labeled sankhara. There can be volitional formation on the relative plane, empty of self.

When we spoke of the twenty-four types of conditionality last year, we put them into two general categories, necessary and causal/contributory. The chain cannot be broken in the places of necessary conditionality. It was observed that to prevent the arising of rebirth or any phenomena one must move back to a place where the relationship is contributory. In any place where the relationship is causal/contributory and not necessary, you can touch the arising with awareness; if this is done, there is no new resultant adhering karma.

Delusion of self in which one is caught unaware leads to sankhara. and the necessary arising of vinnana. Technically, here it is not the sankhara which is necessary condition to vinnana, but ana-not knowing of the arising of sankhara. Moha arising and clearly seen also leads to sankhara. That which arises is the result of the causes/conditions of awareness of delusion; it gives rise to further causes/conditions. The result of this form of arising is liberation, not rebirth consciousness! Can you see that? In this case, we have a 'benevolent' sankhara. This relates to the above definition of sankhara, with its relationship to adhering karma. We practiced at length with identification of these arisings. I know you both understand it. Please note that some teachers would not call this phenomena sankhara.

Once there is the arising of vinnana, that bears a necessary non-reciprocal causal relationship to nama-rupa. Thus, if vinnana arises, nama-rupa will arise. To create the cessation of the arising of nama-rupa, you must trace it back to sankhara and the prior ignorance which was condition for sankhara.

When pure awareness sees self arising, it simply smiles in compassion, but there's no one smiling and nothing smiled to. No duality, just delusion arising, compassion arising, clear awareness noting it all with no ownership of any of it.

So, when you rest in rigpa, which does not mean non-arising of thought and emotion, but non-ownership of that which arises-when you rest in rigpa, no new karma is created. But we must still contend with the relative being and its past karma. That is what this practice is about. We use that natural radiance which is manifestation of rigpa; and we use light-energy, in other words, both the radiance and the energy which is manifestation of that radiance. We use these as a way of releasing the self-perceived shadow. This release brings energy/light to a deeper clarity.

Let me offer a metaphor for the process. If you are largely a bucket of a radiant white paint and it pours out of you, that which pours out will be radiant white. But there are also small buckets of colored paint. As long as those colors are also there, occasional spill is possible. You may have learned how to keep the lids clamped tight. There are still those cans of colored paint. Those are the places of constriction and energy blockage. If you wish to express nothing within you but radiant white, you must harmlessly release the colors. It makes no difference if the colored paint is illusion. If there has been an illusory self who thinks the colored paint is there, then at some level there is reactivity. There has been constriction of energy to keep the lids closed.

If one reaches a level of pure awareness where no new karma is created, with all of the old adhering karma understood and under control, one must still deal with the old karma, the old colored paint. One must be aware that the existence of old karma creates blockage, and constantly work with it, or release the karmic scars that cause contraction and blockage. While it is possible to live with awareness of the blockage, it is easier to release it. There MUST be no aversion, no getting rid of, only compassionate release.

Forgiveness dissolves karma. That's one way to release it. Some releases naturally in the kriyas (physical releases of meditation). Chakra work and mudra meditation with the energy meridians dissolves blockage. It is also released by working with light. This is a very powerful practice. It has been considered a more or less secret practice because it can so easily be misused and further solidify self, as I have explained. It must only be used when guided by a teacher who understands its use and can ascertain for whom it is appropriate.

Please note that all the above words are useless unless they lead to deeper experience. Mere intellectual understanding of dependent origination will never lead to liberation. We're going to shift tracks now. I want to try to express this process as I see and experience it. Then I want you to investigate it in yourselves. There are two aspects to explore.

First we will consider what arises in this moment without the additional influence of old karma. I see you as patterns of light and energy. There is much brilliance in that energy. Inevitably, there is also some shadow. The arising of discomfort experienced within the physical, emotional or mental bodies creates a contraction in the energy field. When you are resting in fully connected pure awareness and a thought, image, emotion, or physical sensation arises, if there is either strong comfort or discomfort in that arising the energy contracts. It contracts regardless of the level of awareness. The experience of contracting energy creates brief sense of separation. Within that contraction may arise the delusion of self.

When you move to ownership of the experience of separation, unaware of how it has arisen as a manifestation of pure mind, then we have a clear, radiant energy field in which there arises vinnana, created by ownership of those contractions. The ownership is the sankhara, resultant of the moha aspect of avijj.

When you can notice the separation without owning it, ideally you return to connection and to pure mind. No new karma is created by the arising or noting of discomfort, or even by the noting of a move into separation and back out, only by aversion to that discomfort or sense of separation (See Aaron's teachings on the interrelationships of comfort/discomfort, like/dislike, attachment/aversion, April and May 1993).

I return to the words, 'ideally you return to connection.' Here is the aspect which is influenced by old karma. Before you had learned equanimity with arising, there had been reaction of anger, greed, jealousy and fear to these contractions. Or perhaps reaction of grasping, liking, holding. These have become imprinted on the energy field: they are spilled bits of paint. If they could just rest there, they would be no problem. It is the momentary identifications with them-a kind of adhesion to them-which create difficulty. 'MY fear, MY anger, MY greed,' and so on. There may be equanimity with the arising thought but non-equanimity with the contracting energy which accompanies the arising thought. The contraction itself is what is sticky.

Think of it as if you were on a giant slide. If you spilled some sticky substance on the slide on a previous ride down and were not responsible for the spill, did not clean it up, it would catch at you every trip down.

These old karmic residues are like bits of rough concrete over which you skate. It is easier to maintain balance on the smooth surface. Do you choose to note each approaching bit of roughness forever or is it not more skillful to get out the patch kit and smooth away the roughness?

In further metaphor, the old karma is sticky in another way. One can easily create new aversion or holding as one watches for the patches of rough concrete! One moves to avoid the rough place on the slide, moves to aversion. Old karma can easily send out new shoots. Thus, we speak of the need to constantly release those new shoots, but also to dig the karma out by the roots. Otherwise one is simply racing around watchfully releasing the offshoots before they, too, take new root.

What I see, then, is that where there is unreleased old karma, there are scars on the physical, emotional and mental bodies. These reflect the illusion of scar on the light body, or call it pure mind. Because of the scars, even with awareness the energy contraction is heightened when arising touches these sensitive places. Then the possibility of reaction to the contraction is heightened. The old karma literally pinches off the energy. The contractions experienced resultant of arising phenomena are heightened. The energy flow/light is lessened.

We work with the practice of releasing that shadow for two reasons. One is that we do literally release it, release the old shadow so that there is nothing there to take rebirth. The body becomes so light that at death it literally dissolves. You have heard of this dissolution manifesting as the rainbow body. For those of you not yet feeling ready to aspire to that rainbow body, there is still reason for this practice. You become used to dealing with the arising of thoughts by releasing them, not by getting rid of them, but by immediately knowing them as delusion and returning to rest in the clarity of pure mind.

How does such work effect rebirth? Let us take a hypothetical highly aware being who is dying. Perhaps there has been strong physical pain, dislike of the pain, and moments of judgment against that aversion to pain. This is all clearly seen. In the pure energy field there is this shadow. Suppose further that at the moment of death that judgment against aversion is strongly in that being's mind, just as a thought, 'I should get rid of that.' We have talked about the connection of vinnana and nama-rupa. That thought is the seed out of which the skandhas arise. It thus leads into a new birth-just that hairline of shadow.

Let us take that same hypothetical being who has practiced this so deeply that it is second nature. Pain arises. Aversion to pain. And there is a moment of shift into self. The being has learned to catch that simply by noting 'thought,' to see any tendency to ownership of that thought, and greet that tendency simply as another arising. If it has also worked with this practice, it is aware of the energy distortion caused by that brief getting caught by the severity of the pain. It simply releases it. Release rather than getting-rid-of is possible because it knows that the whole thing was delusion. It flows in and out. There never was anyone to own it nor anything to be owned. There is nothing to be gotten rid of, only a distortion of pure mind.

Furthermore, if it has worked with the release of old karma, there will be far milder contraction, which is resultant only of this present moment and not of old mind conditions. This practice then strengthens the ability to rest in rigpa, strengthens the ability to perceive distortion and greet that distortion with non-ownership, just a friendly 'Oh, you again,' and to recognize that the distorted material is also a manifestation of pure mind.

You wisely walk through the fall meadows in denim pants to which the burrs do not cling. If one does cling, there's no need for anger to arise, you simply notice clinging and brush it off, release it back into the meadow. As the pants become smoother and smoother, less burrs will cling. As you work with this practice and release those distortions, the energy is purified. Those old distortions serve as magnets drawing in new distortion. As they are released, there is less and less there to catch you. Rigpa becomes more stable. The heart is more open. The being lives less and less in delusion.

So this practice is twofold: a way of releasing old karma, literally; and a way of stabilizing your awareness.

We will now do this.