Wednesday, February 16, 1994

Question (saved from last week)

Aaron frequently talks about emptiness of self. It is, in some ways, at the heart of many of his teachings. I struggle with defendedness in many ways. Some are recurring patterns that do not seem to be changing, others are changing very slowly. I understand much of what Aaron has been teaching about defendedness and how the experiences of emptiness of self and of interbeing can help us to see beyond the need for defendedness. However, now this understanding is more of an intellectual than an experiential one. It has been helpful to have an understanding at the intellectual level. In many ways I am able to be less defended in my life as a result of my meditation practice and Aaron's teachings. Nevertheless, I'm wondering if there's not a more powerful way to experience what Aaron has been teaching. Is this just a wish to be rid of my pain?

My question is this: How do I bring this intellectual understanding more into my experiential life? Do I need to meditate for hours each day? Am I missing something here?

Aaron's talk

I am Aaron. Good evening and my love to you all. I have many thoughts about this question; we have saved it for tonight to give it more space. Intellectual understanding is a precursor to deeper experience, but there is no magic switch. What there is, is continual practice. No, you do not need to meditate for hours each day. What you do need to do is to be very aware, not to assign meditation to a fixed period of the day, but to bring awareness into each moment of reactivity, each moment of defendedness. I know you can't do it perfectly. That's fine. You begin with this moment.

We have spent much time here these past months talking about relative and ultimate reality. We've looked at the human with its physical body that feels pain, its emotional body that moves into a myriad assortment of heavy emotions-joyful ones, too-the mental body with its thoughts. What I hope you have come to see, at least intellectually, is that you are not those sensations, emotions or thoughts. It's not the sensation, emotion or thought that creates the discomfort; it's your relationship to experience.

What I want you to begin to see is that the physical sensation or arising emotion is not the thoughts about that sensation or emotion, not the consciousness moving to awareness of the contact, not the pleasant or unpleasant quality of it, not the liking or disliking of it, not the wanting-to-hold-on or to get-rid-of. What happens is that there is a proliferation of consciousnesses from the beginning sensation, thought or emotion, the contact with it, to the reaction to it. If, for example, you hear somebody walking through the hallway. There's just hearing: the contact of the sound with the ear and recognition that hearing is taking place. That is the first contact. If you don't get caught up in identification with 'me hearing' and all the old memories that come with it, if you don't solidify into a self that becomes reactive-liking or disliking what you're hearing-then there's just hearing.

If the hearing causes it to be difficult for you to concentrate, for example, if you associate it as unpleasant noise and you move into dislike about it, what has often happened is that an old memory has arisen. There's been thinking. It's no longer just the hearing; there is thinking about the hearing. In this moment it would be difficult for you to hear Barbara's voice if a horn were honking outside, for example, or the phone ringing. If a memory arises about some past pain because there was something you needed to hear and couldn't hear-perhaps remembered embarrassment because somebody asked you about something said and you couldn't answer, perhaps anger because you were trying to concentrate, noise jarred your concentration and a judgmental voice said, 'I should be able to concentrate …' Many, many possibilities-then there is pain in the memory. The point is memory has entered and is influencing your relationship with the present, and you are unaware of that influence. The hearing is no longer the object of contact; the memory is. Each one adds on a new theme. You become further and further entrenched in the story.

Those of you who have been in meditation classes with Barbara are very familiar with this process. It's not something I wish to speak about in depth tonight, only to offer it as background. The work we've been doing this past few months is to come to see that arising-hearing, seeing, touching, arising of emotion, whatever it may be-and the secondary arisings proliferating from that first one, the ways we've gotten ensnared. Then we offer a new tool-the various exercises we've done to come back to the true self.

I've frequently used this example, our familiar old plain white sheet of paper which Barbara has wrinkled, crunched up, and then smoothed out. I keep asking you, can you see the perfect sheet of paper within the wrinkled sheet? The perfect sheet has not gone anywhere. It simply has accumulated some wrinkles. The pure mind, the God-self, the Christ or Buddha consciousness, the higher self, call it whatever name you like, it hasn't gone anywhere. When mind gets ensnared by the wrinkles, you forget who you are.

I call you 'angels in earthsuits.' The earthsuits are real. This is the fact of your incarnation. You need the earthsuit or you wouldn't be here. But you forget you are angels. You forget who you are. The practices we've been working on this winter then are practices to shift awareness back into the angelness, to help sever the identity with the wrinkles, to let go of fixation with that which has arisen. As fixation goes, we come back to pure awareness.

In order to return to pure awareness it is useful to learn to recognize that space. What is pure awareness? How does it feel to rest in that space? This is where there's no short cut. It takes much mindfulness to learn to recognize that space, to rest in it, and to stabilize the identification with the angel. I have said one must be very, very careful here. You cannot prefer the angel because it's pain-free and use it as a device to escape the pain of the earthsuit. Rather, as you embrace the pain of the earthsuit and stop needing to flee from it, you find yourself increasingly able to rest in the angelness.

Part of the question that was read was the line, 'Am I trying to escape from my pain?' I think many of you are. This is the next place we must look. This practice won't work as long as it's a device to escape from pain. There's not less pain in ultimate reality, my dear ones. Rather, there's more space for the pain. You no longer experience yourself as limited. In your infiniteness, there's infinite space for pain. If anything, you experience more pain because you find a willingness to let in what's there, and not to need to hide from it. But you experience it differently. With a sense of loving connection, it ceases to be 'my' pain and becomes 'our' pain, the pain of humanity. That shift from 'my' to 'our' is no longer a defensive maneuver to escape 'my' pain. Rather, it's a natural following of the open heart. If there's any grasping at making it 'our' pain, then there's aversion to 'my' pain.

Perhaps this is the crux of it. Seeing the aversion to the pain that has come up, one must know first, here is pain in whatever form it takes and then, here is aversion to pain. And then one must watch ever so carefully to see what techniques the mind chooses in order to escape that pain. One must know 'escaping.' Seeing that 'escaping,' if judgment follows, know there is judgment. If there is fear, know there is fear.

What happens to pain and the desire to escape from it when real attention is focused on it? Somewhere along this whole chain, one becomes aware of one's identification with the pain, the way that has solidified self. I can't tell you where it will happen-it happens differently for each of you-but somewhere there's a shift as if the weight has been almost all on one foot, looking at relative reality, and suddenly perspective shifts as if you moved through a doorway. You look back through the doorway. Relative reality is still there, but it is seen differently, as if you walked out of an enclosed house and suddenly you're in a vast space. You can see through the doorway, but you understand that this room with its pain is not all there is. You start to experience your true being.

It takes time. I can only suggest to each of you that you work patiently with these practices, and as mindfully as you can, and trust that shift will occur. When it occurs you must be aware to catch it. The first time, you may only stay in it for a second before you're back in the room again. But forever something will have shifted because you'll know there's something out of that room of fear and pain. When you step out of it again, it may be for a few seconds. Each time it gets bigger. Each time you rest for a longer period in this angelness or Pure Mind.

Let's move away from theory. I'd like you all to sit up straight and simply to breathe. Each week we've done different exercises to try to introduce you to this space of Pure Mind. This is one we've done before. It's one of the most simple.


Breathe in and out, noticing the inhale and the exhale … I want you to watch the space between the inhale and the exhale … Elongate it subtly … enough to create a real pause … but not enough to jar the breath … In … pause … out … pause … in … pause … out …

I'm going to be quiet now for three or four minutes. I just want you to do that. Notice each pause … that space between breath … If there is a thought present with the inhale … and you're very present with the pause between breath … what happens to that thought? … Does it tag along or does it go? … If it stays, is there secondary thought about it in that pause? … Secondary thought may follow with the exhale … but, in that moment of pause, are you just there … with that pain in your leg … or wanting … or planning … or whatever it may be? … I'll be quiet now while you do this …

Can you feel the power of that pause? … If you are attentive and fully present in that pause, it is empty of self. Mind cannot be two places simultaneously … In other words, the mind cannot be wandering and fully present … It may be fully present with some pain or thought or emotion … but it cannot drift off into thinking about that thought or sensation … It cannot move off into this proliferation of thoughts that we spoke of earlier … Mind is just here in this moment … Thus, if there's pain here in this moment … or fear … that's all there is … In this moment there's no liking or disliking of the sensation or the emotion … there's just what is present … Or if like or dislike has arisen … that's what is present … There's no judging it or trying to get rid of it … We don't take it any further …

What I want you to do now is to see how this may used as a tool in living experience. I want to do a very simple exercise. I would like you each to turn to the person sitting next to you, to find a partner. With your eyes closed, you will turn toward that person; simply reach out your hands toward each other. There's no danger, you're not going to punch each other. But there's just a small amount of tension: When will our hands touch? Will we miss each other? How far apart are we?

I simply want you to allow the presence of that small amount of tension so you can experience how working with the breath with that tension becomes a powerful tool, helping you to stay in the now and in angelness. Will you each find a partner and then I will give further instructions?

Now, very slowly, with your eyes closed, begin to move your hands forward … If contact is made, note the contact, pull your hands back a few inches and start again … Can you notice the very small tension: When will we touch? … Where are the other's hands? … Allow the mind to know: feeling tension … Can you see how old mind consciousness creeps in here? … All that's going to happen are hands are going to touch … but all the old stories of bumping into something … fear of the dark … discomfort about the unexpected … all of those old stories creep in …

Now, doing the same exercise-when there's touch draw your hands back six inches and start again-as your hands go forward, I want you to simply breath: in … pause … out … pause … In that space of the pause, can you feel yourself moving away from all of those fears? … In that pause, there's just this moment … hands reaching … There's no room in that pause for all the old thinking about the unexpected or the bumping or any of it … I'll be quiet while you play with this …

Can you feel the difference? … Let the breath go and come back to the old way of doing it … See the bits of tension and expectation arise again …

Now move back to the focus on the breath one more time … In … pause … out … Just this moment … If, in this moment, there's touching, then there's touching … If, in this moment, there's not yet touching, then there's not yet touching …

It is a subtle shift … All of you who are doing this exercise are feeling it to some degree. Some are uncertain about it. It will take practice. We'll put the exercise aside now and let me finish talking with you.

Through the past months, we have offered many tools for coming to this space of Pure Mind. This work with the breath is only one. We've used meditations of breathing out into the universe, expanding yourself, moving into the experience of a beloved teacher whom you see as the manifestation of the divine and allowing your energy to merge with that teacher. These are all tools which may help you more fully experience your own angelness.

What may you do then, when you are aware of the arising of fear, of defendedness, of heavy emotions? There are several steps here. First, notice the compounding of thoughts and feelings from the original contact: there is first some sense contact-hearing an unpleasant sound, seeing an angry face or feeling an unpleasant sensation-and then you get hooked into that. Note the beginning of the secondary chain: a pleasant or unpleasant quality to the contact, liking or disliking it, judgments about it, wanting to hold onto or get rid of it. The more it continues without mindfulness, the deeper you get snared.

What uncatches you? If this tool of the breath is helpful for you, use it. You can do it almost anywhere. It doesn't take the lengthy concentration of guru or sky yoga. Just stop and breathe. Breathe in … pause … out. It's just a reminder: 'Come back to my angelness.' Not to escape this pain, but to put my foot on the other side of the threshold, to come back to who I am, and allow myself to rest in that pure and perfect aspect of myself which is fearless. I do not imply this Pure Mind aspect doesn't feel pain, but it is not afraid of the pain. It feels anger; it's not afraid of the anger. It's an aspect of you that is infinitely spacious around whatever is arising so you don't get caught in this proliferation of emotions out of which deeper defendedness, deeper aversion or clinging will arise. Just that.

You know that we will not be meeting next week because Barbara will be away. What I'd ask you to do is to attend very carefully to this practice for these two weeks. Each time you notice yourself moving into identification with a sensation, an emotion, a thought, getting hooked into the stories of it-anger arising or clinging arising-simply know, 'I'm getting snared into this chain. I can stop it. Not to get rid of the experience of pain, but simply to come back and rest in my true self … to let my heart reopen … to allow connection to be reestablished … and, especially, to not need to be reactive to these painful catalysts.' There's no 'I shouldn't be reactive' in this, no judgment against reactivity if it arises. Rather, there's a clear space where reactivity simply becomes unnecessary. Defendedness and its tensions become unnecessary. Not because you're getting rid of, but because you're more fully allowing yourself to rest in the God nature of yourself … to come back to who you are.

You will need to practice it again and again and again. It will stabilize. In two weeks I would very much like to hear your experiences with it. That is all.


Q: Is there such a thing as cars having their own will? My car, which was given to me after my grandma died, has been in three accidents, including today when it was hit in the driveway after my neighbor's car rolled down the hill and hit mine.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Perhaps you are going to have to teach your car to meditate. Speaking with seriousness, no, a car cannot have its own will, but an inanimate object does absorb the energy of those third density beings that have been close to it, and even of second density beings.

For example, a room will pick up vibrations. Many people come into this room and say, 'It feels joyful here.' The room may be empty, just that one person in it, but there is much loving energy that this room has soaked up.

In the same way, you can walk into a place and feel depressed. The furnishings may be lovely, but for some reason it's giving off angry energy. We heard about a home that was painted by somebody who was very depressed. There had been a tragic loss of life within that family and, as a way of moving away from the pain, the being who lived in the home painted the walls. And each brush stroke picked up the pain. The family couldn't stand to be in the room. They asked me, 'What's wrong?' When they were feeling better, they repainted. The same color, but they repainted. And the room picked up a different energy.

The car may have picked up the energy of the present or past owners. There are tools that you can use to purify the energy of an inanimate object. There's the Native American tradition of using a kind of incense, offering certain ritual prayers, asking for the release of that old energy. The present owner of the car needs to be certain that the car is not picking up its own negativity. On the other hand, perhaps it's better that the car is occasionally damaged than that the owner is occasionally damaged. If the car is serving that function, one might simply wish to thank the car. That is all.

Q: Why are we born under the same sign over and over? What is the significance of this? Of what significance is being born on the cusp? What does Aaron have to say about numerology?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Let us take this one question at a time. You are born under the same sign repeatedly because karmically you are working with issues that revolve around that sign-desire to be controlling because of fear perhaps, stubbornness, or a very flowing and vibrant active personality which wants attention. You tend to move into very similar personalities lifetime after lifetime until you resolve the karmic issues involved. As issues come to the forefront to be resolved, you make a move to different signs.

One might well ask, if the personality is already established, would not that personality manifest itself equally no matter what sign it was born under? This seems to be negating signs by saying that the personality comes first and the choice of sign second. The positions of the stars do affect the energy so that one that is born with the stars in certain positions, the energy of that one is affected.

If you want or need to have a dominating personality and be the center of attention, if that is the personality that you wish to manifest in this lifetime in order for it to serve as the catalyst for your learning, then you would not choose to be born under an astrological sign that effects a submissive and quiet personality. So you move into the birth that offers you the optimum possibilities for learning, including the arrangement of planets at the time of birth and how that energy will affect the being who takes birth.

As to numerology, reading cards or tea leaves, or any kind of symbolic material form that speaks to you, there is some truth in these, of course. There is not magic in them. Your energy subtly interacts with everything that surrounds you, just as I said that the energy of the depressed person filled the paint that they put on the walls. The cards may seem to be turned up at random, but there is never such a thing as random. In some way, your energy affects it.

Numerology is something different. It comes closer to astrology, that you align yourself with certain numbers because this is the personality, the catalyst that you wish to effect in this lifetime in order to create the optimum situation for learning. The question about numerology is simply that it doesn't tell you anything that you don't already know. Actually, I raise the same question about astrology.

There are those who look to these devices to teach them about themselves and others. Looking at the position of the planets or the placement of the numbers as cause for the way a being is, rather than as reflection of, is misunderstanding. Because you choose what sign you will be born under, it is not cause for that which is within you-karma is cause for it-it is simply reflection of it. That doesn't mean that observing the reflection cannot offer valuable learning, but don't forget that it came second.

When you see it as cause for, there can be a sense of 'I'm stuck in it, this is simply the way I am.' Nothing is simply the way you are. The planets have affected your energy, but you always have free will. You are here to learn. You cannot lay the responsibility for your learning on anything else and say, 'It blocks my learning.' It is your choice.

Use these as useful tools, but keep perspective. That is all.

Q: What about the transits, the movement of the planets since our birth and the relationship of that movement to the planets' positions in our birth charts?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I precede this by saying that I am very much a novice in astrology. I can only present you my perspective. I cannot speak in depth about it. With free will you make the decision to move into incarnation. Eventually you will need to take that incarnation for karmic reasons, but you are never forced into any specific incarnation. Your free will intersects the free will of other beings. There may be compromise involved. You may say, 'This would be the ideal location of the planets, but here's the fetus of parents whom I would like to parent me and it will not be born at the perfect time. Adequate.'

Of course, everybody born under a certain sign is not a twin. You're each unique. It may be a sign under which most people are submissive and here's one who is aggressive and outspoken. This is one who chose this birth because here was the fetus and here the parents, and if the sign and the astrological energy was not perfect, so be it. Such a one will feel an abrasion with its astrological sign rather than a harmony with it.

If one were only to consider astrology, one would simply look at the movements of the planets, the specific moment of birth, how that energy would affect one later in life, but that's only one consideration. There are many energy forces applied to each of you: the astrological signs under which you take birth and live, the energy of those who have parented or befriended, the culture and physical situations of your life, plenty or starvation, peace or war. These are all forms of energy that influence the being. When you lay it just on astrology, you're denying the reality of your multifaceted existence, and also denying the force of your free will choice.

No matter what energy is placed upon you, you still have the choice to move in the directions that wisdom and heart ascertain to be most skillful. If you were born under a sign which has certain negative personality traits which you have sought to overcome, if you were born in poverty in a country at war to parents were drug addicts, that doesn't mean you're stuck in all of that. It's throwing a giant catalyst at you, but it's still your choice what you do with it. One must ask, 'Why did I choose all this heavy catalyst? What am I here to learn? Can I pay attention this time and learn it?'

Does that answer your question? (Yes.)

Q: The part about numerology … I saw someone last summer who was very knowledgeable about numerology and did a reading for me based not only on numbers of birth and so forth, but also my name. He claimed we choose our name ourselves and that idea is implanted in our parents' minds sometime before birth. So, he does a chart based on your birth, your name and maybe some other things, and each letter and number mean something. Based on that, he said I had had a lot of power and misused it as a male, but had done fine in my female lives. I wonder if Aaron thinks there's any credibility to this idea.

Aaron: I am Aaron. There is credibility, yes, because everything does give off its own energy, even a thought. Those who agreed to parent, on a very real level, are connected with the energy of the fetus even before it is conceived. By which I mean, they are connected to the intention to create the fetus. They know whom they have agreed to parent, at some level. They are aware of which of those beings they have agreed to parent plans to move into that fetus-certainly not on a conscious level, but there is awareness.

Part of the choice of names may be a drawing in of the numbers and the energy in those numbers, but nothing is ever fixed. The most numbers or astrology or any of these can offer is probability: the way the energy lies at this moment. If there's a river with a swift current and I see somebody arrive in a bathing suit, about to wade in, it's easy to predict they're going to drift downstream. However, that particular individual may set its sights straight across the stream, strike out straight across and not be pulled by the current. Each being has free will. Does that answer your question? (Yes.)

Q: Do agnostic people want spiritual answers? What about materialistic people? Am I in the relationship to teach anything to _____?

Aaron: I am Aaron. There is no such thing as agnosticism or atheism in absolute terms. There are only different views of what we consider God. For some, God may be materialism and collecting. Please remember that that which we call God is infinite. Therefore, everything is within that, even materialism.

Think of the sun and a million sun rays. If I stand in one sun ray and say, 'This is the sun,' and you stand in another, we're each experiencing one aspect of the sun. Neither of us is experiencing the whole sun, nor can any human experience the whole of God while in human form. For those who choose not to call it God, but materialism, power, justice or kindness, that becomes their small slice of God.

People want answers that they can understand. If you're speaking to someone whose God is materialism and you speak kindness, they may not be able to hear you. If you speak to someone whose God is justice and you speak only of light and loving kindness, they may not be able to hear you. How can you phrase it in terms that the other can hear? Can you help another to broaden their sunbeam, to begin to experience God in a less limited way?

I want to pause here to see if there's any feedback or further question before we get into the second part of this question. That is all. (No further questions.)

Am I in the relationship to teach something to another? Of course you are. You are all here to teach and to learn. You are all here to give and to receive. Furthermore, unless you know how to receive, you cannot give. And unless you know how to give, you cannot receive. Therefore, in offering yourself as teacher to another, you also allow yourself to be student and open your heart to learn.

I do not choose at this time to go into the specifics of what this one is offered to teach to its friend. If any of you have that question, what am I offered to teach to another, a good starting place is to ask yourself, what do I most need to learn? Because you find in your relationships that you teach what you most need to learn. That is all.

I am agreeable to this process of simply reading cards and giving answers, but I find it more dynamic here when we get into a dialogue, when you offer your own input as well. Are these gripping questions for you? If not, can we have some gripping questions? Is there something that you passionately want to know about and discuss here, rather than complacently sitting back and hearing answers. If not, that's okay and we'll simply proceed as we are. That is all.

(Some time of silence, then a spoken question.)

Q: I have been dealing with self-hatred-one big lesson for me in this lifetime. I want to know what Aaron did when he was confronted with self-hatred in his Earth lifetimes. I believe we all have to experience this: hatred of the human.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I have no aversion to answering metaphysical questions, but I do notice that when a question such as this is asked, there is an energy surge in the room. It's something that touches your hearts more deeply.

Let me start by saying that those of you who are here in this room are what I call 'old souls.' You've come to a certain level of awakening, knowing that you are spirit, seeking to live your lives with loving kindness and non-harm, seeking to evolve and manifest your energy more purely, seeking to know yourselves as spirit.

Not all beings experience a sense of unworthiness or self-hatred. It is part of what I call 'old soul syndrome.' You reach a certain level of aspiring to move into oneness with God, to purify your energy enough to be worthy of that, and you get caught in worthy-unworthy. It's a very painful experience. It's a necessary experience because only through it can you begin to understand that there is and never was worthy or unworthy.

Those words are meaningless. There has been skillful or not skillful, living with motivation of love or of fear, awareness or less awareness, but what could it possibly be to be unworthy? How can a soul which is divine in its origin ever be unworthy, no matter how unskillful its choices may have been in certain lifetimes? Yes, it may have been unskillful. It may have created very heavy karma for itself. But how could it be unworthy?

(Something is missing from the transcript. Aaron has filled in the next paragraph as best he could from memory of what was said.)

Often the idea 'unworthy' and ensuing self-hatred grows out of unskillful choices one has made, seeing the shadow in oneself and judging that shadow, wanting to get rid of it because one so highly aspires to manifest energy purely. So, let's say it as it is. That allows you to focus on the aspiration, not on the shadow. It allows you to focus on the judgment, how that judgment has arisen. So much of it is just old habit. Much of it has arisen because, within that judgment, there was a kind of safety. It's that old story of the prisoner who, when you open the doors of the cell and say, 'You're free,' feels, 'There's all that space out there. It's terrifying,' and goes back to the cell. You go back to your perceptions of yourself as limited because it is terrifying to come to know yourselves as unlimited.

We talked about this once using the image of a drop of water, and a perfect clear area of ground. A drop of rain falls, needs to go somewhere. It cuts a tiny scratch through the soil. Because there is a slight indentation there, the next drop of rain runs through the same place. And the third and the tenth and the thousandth. It starts to cut a stream. Eventually, you end up with the Grand Canyon, this Grand Canyon of 'unworthy' that you carry around. No giant explosion in the Earth created that canyon, just one drop of water after another, each one saying 'unworthy, unworthy, unworthy' until you start to identify with it.

We cannot look at first cause. It is not possible or useful in personal terms, but we can see conceptually because we can see how we do it now in a present moment. That first sense of unworthy was grasped at because it felt safe in some way. It gave you a sense of control: If I am unworthy, then I can become worthy; there's something I can do to change it. I can get rid of this and grasp at that. If I am unworthy, it places a limit on me. There are many reasons why 'unworthy' felt safe. You can explore them in your meditation.

The important thing is to come to some experience of, not of any planting of the seed of unworthiness, and to see 'I never was unworthy. It's just something I got hooked into believing and I've carried it forward ever since. I also never was worthy. It's meaningless. It's just a way of avoiding the pain that I feel myself separate from the divine.'

Why is there that pain? From the very first moment of self-awareness when the spark of God that you were looked at itself, looked at God as seeming to be separate because of self-awareness, and said 'I'm here and God's there,' pain existed in the illusion of separation. 'I'm out of the Garden now; how do I come back home?' That was the beginning of your evolution. It is a necessary path. It is a path to learning true non-judgment, compassion and love.

What does love mean? We'll use a very easy example here. If I have a basket of apples in front of me and somebody comes along and asks for an apple, I may say, 'Sure. Here, take one.' Am I being generous? What does generosity mean if I have a big basket of apples? When I am pushed, when I have only this apple, am about to bite into it and am hungry, and somebody comes along and says 'I'm hungry,' so I cut it in half and give half, then I am confronting my fears, confronting my limitations and asking myself to move beyond those fears, to move into trust, into love, to expand my prior sense of limits. Then I am manifesting my generosity. If you have never experienced separation, aloneness, unworthiness, what does it mean to be non-judgmental? What does it mean to love?

You are all on the path to expanding your energy so that you may bring this small spark of God back into the experience of the divine in seventh and eighth density as a full grown sun-blazing, infinite-and thereby expanding the nature of the already Infinite. So you've agreed to the experience of illusory separation and, once there is that illusion of separation and one becomes mature enough to see spirit, one sees the perfection of the divine and the relative imperfection of the self.

One then begins this whole process of letting go of the illusion of unworthiness, moving back into full resting in one's own divinity. From that place, and only from that place, can one really know the divinity of all that is, can one really forgive everything for manifesting its imperfection, can one cease judgment at that which, out of fear, manifests its own imperfection. Self or other-all manifesting imperfection out of fear. How do we cease to judge that and find compassion for it?

I've been asked, how did I deal with this? Of course I experienced it. I speak here of my final lifetime, and of two beings who were beloved to me-a brother and a deeply loved nephew and student. I was entrusted as dharma teacher of the nephew, and spent many years in that relationship. The brother came in need to the one that I was, wanting to take his son back. The one that I was had come to love this one as a son to myself. I did not want to give him back. I judged my brother's need. The whole affair ended very tragically and I saw clearly that my own dialogue with fear, my own clinging, was responsible, at least in part, for that tragedy.

My first reaction was to move deeper into self-hatred. Here was I who was acclaimed far and wide as a wise meditation master and I helped to create a tragedy for those I loved through my own clinging, through my own delusion and ignorance.

What did I do? That being who I was felt that it had leave where it was teaching, to move itself into a place where it could meditate deeply and in silence. It did the practices that I teach you. It looked in depth at the arising of fear in its own heart and how it had fixated on that fear and not allowed the identity with the unsullied self. It worked and it worked and it worked until it was able to release the identity with fear, until it began to recognize the emptiness of the small egocentric self, and came into connection with its God-self. And then it worked to maintain that identity each time delusion arose.

We could use the image of window here. The window is absolutely clear, but it gets smudges on it. The smudge is the arising of ego. Each time such a smudge arose, there was attending to it. There was no saying, 'Smudges shouldn't arise,' there was awareness, 'As long as this window is in the relative world, it's going to pick up smudges. All I need to do is notice the smudge and polish it off so the window is clear again.'

Because the one I was attended to that throughout the rest of his life, no smudges were able to accumulate. The old karma was cleaned up and no new karma came in. There was great joy and peace wiping away the smudges, watching them arise again and wiping them away yet again. There was reconciliation with that brother, forgiveness and letting go.

This is all any of you can do: to recognize the arising of the smudges, to see the ways that you tend to identify with them, and to know 'I don't need to fixate on them. I don't need to do anything except to come back to the clear glass. I release the smudges. They're not who I am.' Over and over and over again.

Who is this one who thought it was unworthy? Is it me in this moment? No. Let it go. If it arises again, let it go again. Keep coming back to that pause between the breaths where there is no worthiness or unworthiness, only now, only God. We're out of time. I'm sorry we do not have time for more dialogue about this question. I would very much welcome it when we meet in two weeks, if there are those of you who would like to speak further about it. That is all.