Wednesday, January 5, 1994

(Twenty-five people were present, including six new to Aaron's teaching. There are some basic questions which are answered in more depth in the book Aaron.)

Aaron's talk

Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. I welcome our new friends here tonight and, of course, am delighted to feel the energy of so many old friends. I hope that you have had a pleasant holiday season. Now it's time to get back to work! I hear much laughter as I say that. Some of you have found the holidays to be arduous work indeed, away from your daily schedules and with many new catalysts in your lives, having to deal with more constant demands on yourselves.

I want to offer a brief preface to our new friends here. I am a teacher. I am not perfect. I am not omniscient. I do not claim what I teach to be Truth with a capital 'T.' I only can teach what I understand from my own perspective. That's all I can offer you. My hope is that it will connect you with your own truth. So if it does that, if it rings true for you, take it into your heart and use it. If not, discard it.

We have spent the fall working with this balance of relative and ultimate reality. In relative reality, you wear this Earthsuit, you are human incarnate on Earth and play the role that you play, 'being' somebody. To some degree, you must be somebody to survive on the Earth. You are constantly called upon to play different roles: child, parent, friend, lover, teacher, student. Your sense of who you are grows out of a combination of these roles. And yet, each of you knows that is not really who are. That is only one part of the totality of who you are.

If you deny these roles and say, 'I am the angel, the spirit. I needn't push myself in any way to be a skillful child, parent, friend, teacher or student. That doesn't matter-I'm spirit.'-if you do that, yes, you become more deeply aware of ultimate reality; but, it is a distortion of ultimate reality which denies the relative plane. The ultimate includes the relative; If you deny the relative, you then cut off from yourself those catalysts which are offered for your learning. You are here in incarnation for a purpose. This Earth is your schoolroom. If you disassociate from the roles that you play, how can you learn from them? How can you learn compassion, how can you learn forgiveness, how can you learn non-judgment, if you disassociate from all of the situations which open you to both judgment and non-judgment, blame and forgiveness? What does forgiveness mean when you have not allowed yourself to feel the pain and fear which distort themselves into blame?

How can you learn true compassion until you have opened to your rage and pain?

So, you are learning to find this balance in your life, to play the part you've been given as skillfully and lovingly as you can, but without attachment to it, knowing 'This is just a part.' What I speak of here is stabilizing the ability to rest in ultimate reality without turning your back on relative reality. One could almost say that once you have learned how to do that, you're through. It's just a matter of smoothing off the rough edges. The act of balancing really is the hardest part of it.

If we focus just on that balancing, it calls everything that you need into yourself. Awareness! In order to balance, you must be aware of when you are not balanced, when there is aversion to the relative reality that pushes it away, or such deep fear that you get caught in your role and forget who you truly are. So, balance grows from mindfulness.

At times, when the path is very dark, balance grows from faith because, when relative reality is closing in around you-a loved one ill, the roof leaking, a big bill needing to be paid, whatever it may be-those are the times that your fear closes in. You begin to fight with your life and with the situations in your life and so easily forget who you are, forget the angelness. At that point, you may not be able to really experience that angelness, that divinity. You may not be able to find that place of pure mind. This is when your memory of having been in that space of connectedness and harmony will carry you through. That and faith. Not blind faith, but faith in the truth of the memory. 'No matter how alone I feel now, how frightened, how in pain, I am connected to all that is. My meditation practice has opened my heart and eyes to that connection. Now, in my fear, I cannot feel that connection, but I have faith in the memory of it. That is real. I am not imagining it.' So, maintaining the balance necessitates mindfulness and faith.

Energy. Yes, a great deal of energy, but not only from within. So many of you come to me and say, 'Aaron, I'm tired.' You become the most tired when you get caught in being the SOMEBODY who is 'doing' the spiritual work, being SOMEBODY who is serving, being SOMEBODY who has to be good. Then you're not feeling connected and the energy for all of that 'doing' comes from a finite place. Your small self is limited. Your divine self is unlimited. Again, it takes mindfulness and faith to allow you to reconnect with that divine self, to stop doing so much and just allow yourself to be, and allow the energy of the universe to flow through you. When I say it takes energy, it's not a personal energy, but is allowing yourself to be the channel for infinite energy and love. Then there is no self 'doing' and no self with its limits to become exhausted.

Concentration: the mind must become disciplined and asked to stay in the moment, as much as is possible.

Wisdom. This is the last one we need for the balance. All the prior strengths are factors in the deepening of wisdom. First there must be concentration and awareness. There must be the willingness to offer one's energy and to be an open channel for Divine energy. This entails a willingness to let go of the small ego self.

I spoke before of blind faith versus what we might call verified faith. Your physical senses can never tell you who you truly are and of your inter-connection with all that is. To cut through the delusion of separation you must use different senses which are best accessed in meditation. When you allow yourself to sit quietly and move into a meditative space, then you begin to know who you truly are. You may have a direct experience of 'dissolution of self,' as it is technically called. You may see, not with your eyes visually, but with your inner, third eye, the falling away of boundaries. Any who have experienced this-while you cannot put it in words like you might put in words the taste of an apple or the seeing of a rainbow-any who have experienced this have no doubt about their connection with all that is, nor about their own true nature.

You can go through much of your life mouthing the platitude, 'We are all one,' but it doesn't mean anything. Then, suddenly, one day in meditation all barriers dissolve. There are no words for this experience. All you can say is 'We are all one,' but you say it differently, forever. There is a new wisdom which truly understands your oneness and is increasingly able to live that understanding. To understand is insufficient. It must be internalized and lived!

That deepening wisdom cuts through the illusion of separation that imprisons you in relative reality. It opens the doorway to ultimate reality. The willingness to allow the fullness of relative reality enhances a sense of compassion. You balance between the two, and know, 'I cannot separate myself because I am not separate. This is not his or her suffering, this is our suffering, and I must attend to it.'

Then your desire, your aspiration, to alleviate suffering in the world ceases to be an 'I should' judgmental kind of push and becomes a deeply loving way of connecting with the world, offering yourself as that channel for universal energy, light and love, sending it out where it's needed, and not being exhausted by the process because there's not a self doing it.

Here is where you find the balance, and here is where the illusion of self truly is dissolved. So my suggestion, my friends, is that we not focus on graduating from this plane, on enlightenment, or any of those other highly spoken aspirations, but just focus on this balance. Compassion and wisdom. Relative reality and ultimate reality. That is the balance that will bring you home. But only when you cease grasping at getting home and simply live your life with as much mindfulness as possible, moving toward living the balance.

The next question, obviously, is how do we live this balance? One of you just said to me, if I knew how to do it, Aaron, I already would have. Of course. Can you accept that everything in your life is offered to you to help you learn this balance? Constantly. The catalysts are offered which remind you to touch pain and fear with love, and simultaneously to trust that pain and not dwell in it, nor seek a place to lay blame.

I want to take this into something a bit more technical. Through the fall and early winter, we spoke at some length about the light body. We defined that body. We talked about the human manifestation as a reflection of the light body. In describing the light body I said that it is always perfect. But it picks up surface distortions. We used this example, which I ask Barbara to repeat for those who are new tonight.

We have a perfect smooth piece of paper. You might pretend it is unlined, if you would. It is what was available. The perfect white sheet of paper. (Barbara crumples the paper and then opens it.) Can you see the perfect white, unlined, unwrinkled piece of paper within the wrinkled sheet? That perfect piece of paper is still there.

Now, you bring along another piece of paper and say, 'I'm going to mirror the first sheet.' Which do you choose to mirror: the wrinkles or the smooth, unlined sheet? Because you do not see yourselves as this perfect sheet of paper but only the wrinkled one, what you manifest in the physical body is a reflection of the wrinkled sheet rather than the unwrinkled sheet. I do not want to repeat too much here, but a small amount of repetition is useful to those of you who have heard this before.

If we took a perfect clear light and shined it through a transparent sheet of paper onto a solid surface, the reflection of light on the solid surface would be unmarred. If you wrinkled that transparency and shined the same perfect light through it, brilliant light, those wrinkles would show up as shadows on the solid surface. I want you to begin to think of your anger, greed, jealousy, pride, fear as wrinkles. Using this metaphor, you can see that you do not need to get rid of the wrinkles in that transparency. Instead of focus on the wrinkles, can there be focus on the inherent perfection of the Light itself? When the brilliant light shines through the wrinkles of the transparency and you have the shadow of wrinkles on the solid surface-the physical incarnation-you can look at those wrinkles, at those shadows, and know 'This is not who I am.' Rather than identifying with and, in a sense, owning and living your life around those heavy emotions, you can come back to the brilliant clear light.

I speak of this cautiously-especially with those are new to my teaching-because what I have in mind is not denial of the heavy emotions, not disassociation with them and grasping at ultimate reality, but cutting through them. It's not as simple as that. We have led up to this slowly, and I would hope that those of you who are interested in what I am saying and are new to it will follow through by reading some of last semester's transcripts.

But, in another sense, it is that simple. As long as you are incarnate in a human body, at times there will be anger, greed, fear, jealousy and other emotions. The emotions are not the problem. Your relationship with them, which affects how you respond to them, is what is important. Anger arises; do you believe you own that anger and need to react to it, or can the arising of anger lead you deeper into your true self, your pure mind that is always clear of anger, fear and other shadow? Here (Barbara holding the wrinkle in the paper.) is the wrinkle in the transparency of anger; it comes down as a big shadow line of anger in the physical incarnation. If you hate that anger, that shadow, and constantly try to get rid of it, that's just more hatred. When you develop compassion and use that shadow as a constant reminder-have compassion for the human that I am that sometimes gets stuck in anger-then you will no longer need to fling that anger at self or others.

This is not to say that anger is good or bad. It's neither. It's just anger. Anger is energy. What do you do with the anger? Do you claim it as my anger and practice the wrinkle which heightens the shadow, or do you simply note, 'Here is anger, here is fear, here is greed,' whatever may be there, note how it arises empty of self, and come back to the brilliant light, to that place in yourself that is free of anger, free of fear.

Both are true. Yes, there's anger, desire, jealousy. Yes, there's perfect love. The wisdom mind stabilizes itself in that place of perfect love and total connection. The heart of compassion stabilizes itself in opening its heart to the human realities of heavy emotions and finds space for them all. And there you stand balanced.

My plan for this semester in many of my opening talks-of course, we will have some variety in what we will cover-but especially, I want to discuss this balance more and offer exercises for living the balance, stabilizing the resting in pure mind without denial of the relative reality forces and catalysts. As we allow ourselves to rest more in this space of pure mind and to know more firmly 'This is who I am,' to rest in pure awareness, the body energy clarifies. You find that some of these wrinkles, both on the physical plane-the physical distortions in your body-and the emotional and mental planes, can be resolved simply by ceasing practicing the wrinkles in the light body. So I want to help you become more and more aware of where you are practicing those wrinkles in the light body and how they are leading to physical and emotional distortions on the physical plane.

We do this not because the distortions are bad, but simply because you all wish to learn to manifest your energy more purely. You are not getting rid of distortions; you are allowing them to dissolve as you see there is no longer a need for them. You are really recognizing that aspect of you which has always been free of distortion and learning to rest there without any aversion to the distortions that do arise on the relative plane, only skillful non-ownership of them, skillful non-reactivity to them. You are not getting rid of anger or greed, nor the kink in your shoulder or your knee, but you are finding the place where those distortions are the product of old mind conditioning. As you rest in a deeper reality of who you are, the distortions simply are unnecessary. Then they may dissolve, or you may make so much space for them that their presence becomes irrelevant.

Later in the semester, we will take this a step further. I want to look more deeply at karma with you, to help you understand what creates unwholesome adhering karma. There are two different things we will consider. One is that I want you to experience how when you are resting in this place of pure mind awareness, no new karma is created. Now, I know you can't stay in that place, but with awareness you can rest in it for longer periods. This will also help you to see how new karma is created-not as an intellectual issue, but through your experience.

Then I also want you to begin to see how old karma can be released in much the same way as the physical and emotional distortions. This is an area where we will go slowly. It must be understood that you are always responsible for everything that has moved through you: every act, every word, every thought. So I'm not offering you a tool for irresponsibility, but a tool for becoming more responsible, for seeing when there is old karma that you've carried around like old baggage and of which you no longer have need. As you rest in your true nature, that old baggage is clearly seen for what it is and, through processes that I will teach you, it may be released.

It's hard work. I don't want to deceive you here. If you want to do this with me, you're going to have to work. But I promise you that you will also experience your own true light in a much more profound way and find great joy and peace in that Reality.

I'm going to stop here, give you your time for break and questions. I want to request time to do a meditation with light at the closing of this session. I thank you all for your attentiveness and for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. I would say one more thing here. The efforts of two of you have provided a constant flow of transcripts week by week. This has been very valuable so that those who have missed sessions, as is necessary for some of you at times, might catch up. If there are others who are able to do this transcribing and assist these two it would be of value. I would very much hope that we can continue to keep these transcripts current so that this work is more accessible to all.

Finally, before I stop for your break, perhaps not tonight but next week I do want to get back into the topic of dreams, dream interpretation, and work more toward this process of lucid dreaming. If there are not many other questions tonight, I would welcome one dream that we can interpret and that we do this weekly in an ongoing way. Not a highly complex dream. I don't want to spend a half an hour on it, but five or ten minutes. My interpreting dreams for you helps you to understand the process better and learn how to do this more skillfully with your own dreams. Beginning to work with dreams in this way is an essential first step to the lucid dreamwork which I would like us to be doing further into the semester.

My love to you all. That is all.


(Barbara asks Aaron, what is the most skillful way to deal with the profusion of moths in the house?)

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear your question. I don't want to limit the answer to moths. Occasionally your homes are invaded by small creatures that do damage. What if it were termites instead of moths? The moths aren't harming anything, except perhaps a little bit of food that they've moved into and made their home. I think that once you find the source of the food for them and discard it, the moths will leave. They have very short life spans.

But what do you do if you have termites that are truly damaging the house? What do you do if you have some small insect that bites and can cause a welt or even disease?

Some of you may remember the story of the woman who was hoeing her garden and found she was cutting into earthworms (Machaelle Small Wright of Perelandra). She didn't want to hurt the earthworms. She announced to them, 'I am going in to get a cup of tea. When I come back out I'm going to be working in this row. Please move.' She relates how she came back out and started to hoe and there were no earthworms. She finished the row and with some wonder said out loud, 'All right. Now I'm going to work in the next row. You can go back into the row I've just hoed.' She waited a few minutes and began to hoe the next row. Part way through, out of curiosity, she went to the row she'd just finished and dug her hands in and it was filled with earthworms.

Don't ask me to explain it. You are given the gift of communication on levels far beyond what you would suppose you have. You have to believe in it. With termites, even with termites, tell them, 'I do not want to get an exterminator and kill you all. I'm going to put this big old tree stump in such-and-such a place. Please go and live there.'

What if half of them go and live there and half of them don't? You will have to make this decision. You do have a right to a home that is not being destroyed. You have given them a choice. You have stated clearly what you will need to do. This still does not absolve you of the fact that you're killing them. But there is a difference in that you have offered a choice. They have chosen to stay, knowing what the repercussions of that decision will be.

This may sound ludicrous to you, but I promise you, they are hearing you, if you say it clearly. You must give them an alternative. I would suggest the same alternative that we (Barbara, Mike and Aaron discussed the mice in the pantry this week.) decided on for the mice: put a bag of whatever they're living in now out in the garage and tell them, 'You can live there for the winter. Please stay out of the house. I am going to have to kill any moth that I see in the house.' You have given them a choice.

One is asking, if I kill them what degree of karma does that create? You must understand karma here, unwholesome karma grows from a place of greed and selfishness, service to self. Wholesome karma grows from a space of service to all beings. We also have the subdivision of adhering and non-adhering karma. Even when there's wholesome karma done in service to all beings, if there's somebody doing it, you're creating adhering karma. It's wholesome but it still adheres. There's still a self involved in it.

Your work with these small creatures, as with anything else, gives you the opportunity to look at how much self there is. Who is trying to protect? Against an other? When you let down the boundaries between yourself and these creatures, it's very different.

Let me raise a question for some of you who have had this experience. If you go to sleep in your bedroom and you see a number of big insects-spiders or other things-on the wall, you want to get them out of there. My bedroom. Even in a tent you shoo all the small things out the door and zip it closed. But, have you ever gone to sleep out on the grass? As you're dozing off, you feel something small crawling over your hand and you don't pay much heed to it. You have dissolved some of the boundaries. There's nobody being defended.

These small creatures give you the opportunity to see where you are defended and drawing into self. When you respond from a place that is empty of self, but that must set certain reasonable limits such as 'You may not destroy my house,' there's a very different kind of karma created than when you go after these small creatures with rage and intent to harm because they are destroying your house or food or whatever. What is the rage about? I'm not suggesting you can kill something with love. That doesn't go together at all. But you can kill something without a strong sense of murderous raging self, with regret, let us say, and with a prayer for that small being as you kill it. Yes, you're still killing it, but there is a real difference. Eventually perhaps you will not need even to do that. It is a process of maturing. That is all.

Question: What dimensional perspective do I come from? Have I been a dolphin more times than human?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I say this to all of you. You come from a myriad of different backgrounds. Some have evolved fully through the Earth plane, some through other planes. It doesn't matter. Once you are here in human incarnation, you are human. Even those who might be very new humans, having evolved mostly on a non-material plane, once you are in a human incarnation, you are human.

All of you have had so many past lives as mineral and gas, as vegetable, as animal-or on the non-material planes as light beings of one sort or another. The one asking this question is correct that it has been dolphin in many, many lifetimes. It has seen that clearly. I'm not sure what use such knowledge is to you, but I offer that in answer. But don't forget that now you are human, and this is the catalyst that is offered for your growth. Can you let go of what you have been and more fully be what you are? That is all.

Question: I have found the forgiveness meditation helpful as the issue of forgiveness has come up very often. I think I'm getting the message. However, a part of me resists being forgiving. I just don't feel particularly forgiving about certain things that have happened in my life. I have understanding as to how certain things could occur the way they did and even feel compassion for the person. Perhaps I am being forgiving and don't realize it. However, there does seem to be a holding back. Is it possible to get more clarification as to what forgiving really is?

I also feel guilty about not being as forgiving as I might be. Will I incur a demotion in density or create several more painful lifetimes for myself? Will not being totally forgiving prevent me from knowing the true bliss of the self? I just finished reading Aaron's book, No Chain At All. Will inability to be totally forgiving prevent me from achieving steadiness in choiceless awareness?

Aaron: I am Aaron. My dear ones, forgiveness is a process, not an event. What if, in place of the word forgiveness, we substitute the word love? How much are you capable of? What does it mean to love completely with no holding back at all, to move totally beyond awareness of the small self so that one serves as a perfectly clear channel for love? Can you see how impossible that would be while in human form?

You are here in a body with emotions for a reason. You are not here to become perfect, but to learn to love your imperfections. I am not suggesting that you fling those imperfections on others, but that you learn to see the constriction of fear and respond to it with increasing skill. You learn you do not need to be ruled by that constriction and to allow yourselves to give as lovingly as you can despite the constriction. There is far more learning in that than if there were no constriction. Can you see that?

Think about it with the essence of generosity. Here are two individuals, A and B. They each have an apple. At B's feet is a big basket of apples. A has just the one. They're each about to bite into their apple when a small child appears before them with big eyes. Skinny. 'I'm hungry. Can I have that?' B doesn't feel any fear at all. He just hands the apple to the child. What fear could there be? There's a whole basket of apples.

A feels a sense of fear, feels that constriction. 'What if I give this? What am I going to eat? I'm also hungry.' Perhaps A thinks, 'I could divide it, but that child is awfully skinny.' Regardless of how A resolves it, whether A gives the whole apple or cuts it in half, A has worked skillfully with fear, and been able to give despite the constriction of fear, been able to come back to its true self of connection, and to know 'I cannot feed me when this one is hungry, nor can I simply feed this one when I am hungry. We're connected.' A has learned that through its giving.

Has B really been generous? On one level one could say, 'Yes, B gave.' But what did the giving mean to B?

What does it mean to forgive completely? I do not suggest that this is impossible on the human plane in some situations, but no human is going to be able to forgive everything completely. You will make progress on it. You will enter into the practice of forgiveness more and more wholeheartedly and find the deep joy in that forgiveness. The more you find that joy, the easier the process of forgiving becomes. Don't be afraid of the place within you that says, 'I can't forgive this yet.' Rather, have compassion for that place of deep pain in yourself and know that, as you offer yourself compassion and forgiveness for your own fear and holding, you are learning to offer that same compassion and forgiveness to that catalyst for that pain.

Compassion and forgiveness are intimately connected. You are not here just to learn forgiveness. Rather, the practice of forgiveness is part of the path to the learning of compassion. When you truly see into the depths of another, see how their fears arise and give impulse to words and acts, you will know such deep compassion to that being that there will be nothing left to forgive.

How hard you all are on yourselves when you demand perfection. The light beings that you are are perfect. The humans carry distortions. When you are angry at yourself for your inability to forgive completely, that is just practicing the wrinkle of anger. Instead, focus on the amount of forgiveness you are able to give. If you're forgiving 87%, focus on that and not the 13% that's still constricted. Rest in that divine self that is learning to forgive. Allow yourself increasingly to experience the joy of that forgiveness, and slowly the other 13% will come along. If it doesn't come along, just give it a hug and be patient with it. And keep practicing, starting with yourself: Can I forgive that in me that finds forgiveness of others who have hurt me so difficult? Does that sufficiently answer this question? That is all.

Question: There are many methods for meditation. Which one do you recommend most?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I recommend a balance of two different practices, the balance depending upon each individual. There is a practice called Vipassana meditation which grows out of Buddhist teaching. I do not recommend this with a purpose of becoming a Buddhist, although should you choose that label and path, that is fine. This transcends any religion. The word 'passana' means 'seeing.' 'Vipassana' means 'clearer, deeper seeing.'

This is a meditation practice which takes one into the clear seeing in this moment of what is present in the mind-body-spirit experience and allows one to make space for that which is present. Ultimately, it allows one to come to know one's true nature, empty of a separate self.

To balance what may at times seem the … 'intellectual' is not quite the right word. 'Cognitive' is also not the correct word. One moment, please, while I speak with Barbara.

At times this practice can move one into the intellectual, and away from the heart. That is not the heart of the practice, but it can be distorted in that way. As balance to that distortion, I would recommend devotional meditation. This can be devotional meditation with that which is often called God, or if God, in that term, is not real for one, simply devotional meditation with devotion offered to beloved teachers, to the life force itself, to that infinite intelligence and compassion and loving-kindness which is the heart of the universe, or to Truth as one most clearly understands it. One opens one's heart in wonder and gratitude to that central force of love. That process helps bring the heart in as balance to the mind.

Each of these kinds of practice can be done in many ways. There is a specific method that we teach here, but most basic Buddhist practice will teach you some system related to Vipassana meditation. Much basic Judeo-Christian practice will teach you something related to devotional meditation. If you can transcend the boundaries of a specific religion … I don't mean put aside that religion. Hold onto that path if it feels right to you. But don't be hemmed in by its boundaries. Just because something is outside of that religion, don't disregard it but take it as a useful tool … If you can do that, you can bring in the balance that you each need. We're not speaking here of Christian or Buddhist practice, but of spiritual practice.

Devotional meditation may also take many paths. Prayer is one. Metta or lovingkindness meditation is a devotional practice. There is also guru yoga, chanting, and mantra of the names of God. Even such a practice such as dana (generosity) can be a devotional practice when that which is offered is given with love and the thought of the Divine or Absolute. The most important part of devotional practice is the opening of the heart.

There are also the support practices to these foundation practices of Vipassana and devotional meditation. Support practices are anything which shows up the ego for what it is. For example, in some religious faiths one does what is called a 'prostration' practice, prostrating oneself on the ground, over and over again. At first, especially in your Western culture, you may look at that and say, 'That's stupid. I don't need to do that, touch my head or body to the floor; I'm too sophisticated for that …' When you have decided to try it-and remember, you need not be prostrating yourself to an idol or to a specific religious teacher or to anything but this love beyond which all must be humbled-when you decide to try it, somewhere around the fiftieth or sixtieth time up and down, as the muscles are feeling weary, there's a voice that says, 'I don't want to do this. I've had enough of this.' Aha! Maybe this is what it's about. You start to see the 'I' in it, all that self. Can there be bowing or chanting with no somebody to do it?

Barbara had a wonderful experience at the first Zen meditation retreat she attended. It was winter. The woman leading the retreat was a friend of hers and had told her, 'You need not participate in anything that you don't want to participate in. You can just watch.' But Barbara thought she would do whatever the others were doing. She is used to a bell rung to end of sitting; then people get up and walk at their own pace. Here the bell was rung the first time and everybody stood up, pushed their cushions against the wall and marched around the room several times. The retreat had started in the evening so it was night, dark and cold out. Two times, three times around the room. They were barefoot. The front door was open and everyone marched outdoors and around the yard several times. Barbara stood there on the porch. ' I don't want to go out there. I'm barefoot! It's cold!' People were running. All this ego arose, saying, 'I don't want to! I don't like this! I choose this, and not that!'

This is one thing these support practices offer you: a chance to see the ego as it arises in a controlled situation where you have no other work to do besides looking at that ego and learning about it. Yes, ego does arise very often throughout your life. You don't have to create artificial situations to see it arise. But it's very convenient to have it arise in a situation where you have nothing to do but watch it and learn about it. There are many other different kinds of support practices: prostration practice, mantra meditation, chanting. They each offer a different kind of learning. Beyond these are the specific focus practices such as jhanic practice (concentration) or chakra meditation which works with the body energy fields. Each has an importance when used appropriately.

My suggestion to those of you who wish to meditate is to ideally find a skilled teacher-or, if that is impossible for some reason, then a clearly written book that is very simple, not complex-and begin to do some practice faithfully. It doesn't matter what so much as that you do it faithfully. With a teacher you will avoid many mistakes. You will have someone to guide your way. If you are learning with a book you are going to have to seek your own inner wisdom more. You must be in touch with your own balance or have a teacher to help you find that balance: when to bring in more devotional practice, when to bring in more concentration, energy work, or mindfulness practice.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to bring such practice into your lives. Meditation truly is the tool that will lead you home.

I thank the questioner for the opportunity to share my views on this. Needless to say, I feel quite strongly about it. There is a bit more I would like to say about meditation, but I do want these last five minutes for a small guided meditation so I'll end here. There are other kinds of meditation I have not spoken about at all. They all have their value, but I consider them more support than foundation practices. That is all.


I want to offer a very simple meditation that you can take home and practice which will help connect you to the light body. I want you to open your eyes … find someone across the room to rest your gaze on … soft … unfocused … just let your gaze rest there …

For the purpose of this meditation, it would be easiest if it were a person and not an object. You need not look in that person's face, although you may if you choose …

Notice that person's breathing … You may not be able to see their breathing, but let awareness rest on the fact that that person is breathing in and breathing out … Notice your own exhalation … Follow it across the room … Notice the other's inhalation … Whose breath is it? … Where does that exhalation go when you send it out from yourself? …

Keeping the gaze soft … unfocused … Be aware of your own inhalation … Breathe in deeply … filling the lungs … What are you breathing in? … Is there any boundary? …

(We do this for some time.)

Very slowly raise your hand and in groups of two or three, as is convenient, allow your hand to come close to but not make contact with that of another being …

You may close you eyes here to concentrate better if you wish … If there is an occasional physical touch of the hands, that's okay …

Feel the energy … your energy radiating outward and the other's energy radiating in toward you … Can you allow the boundary to dissolve so that you more fully send out your own energy field and receive the other? …

(We do this for some time.)

Now I'm going to ask you to divide your attention a bit … Breathing out … sending out your air, your breath … as you breath out, also releasing the energy from your hand … allowing it to move out … Breathing in and drawing into you the breath … no boundaries … draw in the energy field of the other as well … It will be harder perhaps … If there is boundary or defendedness just note that it's there … nothing you need to do about it …

(We do this for some time.)

(Tape ends.)

(Filled in by Aaron after tape was transcribed.)

I asked the group to rest in that space where energy merged. Notice any barriers as they arise. No need to do anything about such walls, only to note them as manifestations of the relative plane and move back to the boundaryless breath, to the energy which is not owned but shared. Just rest in that awareness of no boundary.