Wednesday, March 16, 1994

(Barbara starts the evening by reading a question and two selections from books.)

Question: What is forgiveness? What does it mean? When we forgive on the relative plane, are we saying that what happened that angered or upset us is okay? Doesn't matter anymore? Why now? Why not when it happened? How did this shift happen? How did the event transform from an unacceptable event into an acceptable event? Was it unacceptable before the forgiveness and now it's acceptable? What's changed? The event remains the same. Our perception/interpretation of the event has changed? How did it change? Why did it change?

How reliable is this change in perception? Will it change again? Then what? Is the perception of the event/situation as acceptable more real than the perception of it as unacceptable? Or are they equally unreal?

What is forgiveness on the relative plane? Is there such a thing on the relative plane? What is guilt? When one is forgiven is one no longer guilty of committing the act? Then did it really happen?

An example: Someone slaps me. It hurts. I feel angry and rejected. I allow the feelings to arise, watching them, watching any aversion that arises, allowing myself to move into the experience of compassion for myself as I feel ready to do so and, eventually, am able to experience compassion also for the one who slapped me. This is the forgiveness process as I now understand it. Now, having forgiven the one who slapped me, do I still see myself as having been slapped? Is the memory of the slapping still between us as some sort of boundary? What if he slaps me again? Do I start over again and repeat the whole forgiveness process I just finished? Then did I really forgive the first time?

My understanding of the ultimate reality perspective on forgiveness is that it is a realization that what seemed to happen-one being hurting another-did not, could not happen in reality. Only one's perception/thinking makes it appear real. The perception that something happened-you hurt me-is like a wall between us, keeping us separate in our experience. Even with forgiveness at the relative level, this event remains a fact in my/our perception as having happened and its memory, with or without pain attached, is a thin veil that hangs between us preventing our total union. We must move to forgiveness on the ultimate level for this final veil to be removed.

(The questioner also asks for Aaron to speak about forgiveness from the relative reality and ultimate reality perspectives.)

From A Course In Miracles (Lesson 134, Page 248):

Let us review the meaning of 'forgive,' for it is apt to be distorted and to be perceived as something that entails an unfair sacrifice or righteous wrath, a gift unjustified and undeserved, and a complete denial of the truth. In such a view, forgiveness must be seen as mere eccentric folly, and this course appear to rest salvation on a whim.

This twisted view of what forgiveness means is easily corrected, when you can accept the fact that pardon is not asked for what is true. It must be limited to what is false. It is irrelevant to everything except illusions. Truth is God's creation, and to pardon that is meaningless. All truth belongs to Him, reflects His laws and radiates His Love. Does this need pardon? How can you forgive the sinless and eternally benign?'

Barbara reads a selection called 'Cow Karma' from The Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane: Wisdom Tales from Tibet, a series of stories collected and edited by Surya Das:

In Kashmir long ago lived a monk named Mirathi, an exemplary upholder of the Buddhist precepts. Through the power of meditative concentration he had developed miraculous powers. His numerous disciples made firsthand reports of their teacher flying in the air, reading their minds, describing past lives and foretelling future events.

The great monk, Mirathi, was a vegetarian. Moreover, in strict adherence to Buddhist tradition, he did not eat after mid-day. One day he happened to be in his forest abode, dyeing his old ochre monk's robe in a large pot set over an outdoor fire pit, when a band of angry men came upon him looking for a baby cow that recently had been lost. Opening the pot and finding it full of motley bits and pieces of blood colored hue, they shouted accusations at the silent monk, accusing him of stealing and slaughtering the cow. Then they led him away.

A kangaroo court that was convened in the nearby village immediately sentenced the silent monk to be placed in chains in a dungeon-like hole in the ground where he remained for several days. He said nothing to disprove the claims made against him and made no attempt to secure his release. His disciples beseeched him to defy the matter, but Mirathi himself said nothing. After several days the villagers found their missing cow. Realizing their mistake they petitioned the local chief to free the monk, but the chief was distracted by other affairs and neglected the case for months and months. Meanwhile, Mirathi lingered in his earthen pit.

Finally, several of the foremost disciples of the imprisoned monk set a personal audience with a local king. He was astonished at their tale. Fearing that a grave injustice had been done, and that immense bad karma would ensue for the entire kingdom as well as the responsible villagers, he quickly ordered the monk freed and had him brought forth in order to make amends. It was not every day that a distinguished cleric was condemned under false charges to spend six months in a filthy hole. When the dignified old monk appeared before the king, the king begged his forgiveness and asked what could be done to right the terrible wrong that had befallen Mirathi through his oversight, promising to punish the parties directly responsible for Mirathi's unjust incarceration. Mirathi replied, 'Esteemed King, please punish no one. It was my turn to suffer and I endured it willingly. No one suffers anything except at the hands of the karma that his or her own actions have ineluctably produced.'

The king was astonished, 'Why, Venerable Sir? What have you done?' Mirathi explained that in a remote past life he had been a thief who had stolen a baby cow from some villagers. While escaping from hot pursuit, he had abandoned the stolen cow near a sage who was meditating in the forest and it came about that the enlightened monk was punished for the crime by being chained in a hole.

Mirathi continued with downcast eyes, 'Oh gracious and just King, as a result of that negative karmic action, I have endured lifetime after lifetime of misery. Now, at last, my karma has been fully exhausted and my sin expiated. Therefore, I have only gratitude and respect for you and your subjects.'

Bowing low, Mirathi went quietly back to the forest to pursue his spiritual practices in peace.'

Aaron's talk

Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. We are not going to cover this question in one night, and yet, in another way, the story that Barbara read covers it completely. All we really can do is elaborate on what that means.

Let us begin with forgiveness on the relative plane. There seems to be a self and another who has in some way hurt that self. Anger, pain or some degree of discomfort has arisen about what has been done. It may have been a physical or emotional hurt. It may have been intentional in the sense that another reached out and slapped your face, or it may have been that the other was simply walking down a path engaged in conversation with a friend, did not notice you and intended no hurt. There is a difference, then, on the relative plane between whether the hurt from the other was intended or not intended. In either case, you may have perceived it with pain.

Righteous anger arises: 'She should not have slapped me, or neglected to see me!' Perhaps a desire for revenge arises. Perhaps just sadness. In either case, as the questioner noted, a wall descends between self and other. On the relative plane-and I emphasize relative-the process of forgiveness dissolves the wall.

I want to explain to you how I see this happen. I have described to you the way I see your energy flowing out from you. When you are open, it flows in concentric soft circles; those circles move past and into one another, absorbing, connecting. When the energy is angry, instead of these soft circles, the energy projects in spikes. In this way it forces its way into the other's energy field in a violent manner. The one who has affronted the other may feel guilt, or self-anger, so its energy field develops the same sharpness. When one been has hurt in whatever way-intentional or unintentional-the energy that was merged between those two people pulls back in contraction on both sides.

Then the process of forgiveness becomes important because it breaks down the notion of separation. In a sense, as you move into this process of forgiveness, you are opening your heart. You see the perceived hurt from the other and begin to ask yourself, what was meant by that hurt? Where did it come from? In the case of the other's simply being involved in conversation and the unintended hurt, it's clear to see that the feelings of hurt grew from your own old conditioning, that no hurt was intended. What has created this feeling of hurt then is not the other's looking the other way but your own confusion. Understanding that, the angry energy begins to diminish, those sharp spikes soften themselves, and that barrier between you and the other begins to fall away as energy again merges.

What if the other has actually slapped you? The first reaction is defendedness, feeling the physical pain and also the emotional hurt. Righteous anger arises: 'He shouldn't have done that!' Judgment arises. My dear ones, you are in incarnation to learn about this mechanism of judgment-among other things, but very important in your learning. You are not here to expel all judgment, but to understand how judgment arises and to begin to forgive yourselves for the arising of judgment. This is what deepens your ability to feel compassion.

Are any of you familiar with that wonderful television picture of the Grinch on Christmas eve? His holding the sleigh over the top of the hill? He was about to let it run down into the valley, dumping all the people's Christmas, when suddenly he heard them singing. He realized in that moment, 'Maybe Christmas means something more than just presents and food.'

In that wonderful scene he hauls the sleigh back with all his might and you see his heart get bigger and bigger and bigger, this Grinch whose heart was 'two sizes too small.' It grows. Figuratively, that is what is happening each time you experience the arising of judgment and work consciously with that arising. It's a gift-a gift to teach you compassion. It is that yeast for the bread. Without it, you cannot learn.

So, you regard the seeming hurt and your anger at the hurt and then you begin to ask yourself, 'What led this other to hit me?' That question is not raised to ask, is there justification for the hitting. One is not saying, 'If I can justify it, then I deserved it; if it's my fault, then I can forgive it.' Rather, the question is raised to understand, to find real empathy with another's fear and pain. From your perspective it may not be justifiable. Can you really move into the other's shoes?

This goes beyond right and wrong which are mere concepts. Is anything ever completely right or wrong? By whose standards? Was it wrong to put this monk in a hole in the ground or was it a gift to him? What you are doing is understanding another's motives, allowing yourself to truly feel another's pain. You are not getting rid of judgment, you are allowing judgment to fall away because of the strength of understanding. As judgment ceases, the heart opens in compassion and there is nothing left to forgive. Ultimately, forgiveness is never necessary. When compassion is full there's nothing left to forgive.

Most humans haven't reached that point though. The process of forgiveness is far more important to the giver than the actual extension of forgiveness. It's not that you are doing something but that you are learning something. There may not be the perfect compassion which makes forgiveness unnecessary. The best you may be able to do is to understand and let go of blame and judgment. Is there still some judgment left? The very word 'forgiveness' would seem to imply, yes. If I say, 'I forgive you,' I'm saying you have done something that has hurt me. Remember, we're speaking of the relative plane here. In relative reality that slap hurt. In relative reality your ignoring me may have hurt.

If this is only relative reality and the whole issue is illusion in ultimate reality, why do we bother to forgive at all? You are learning compassion and non-judgment. You are here on the relative plane to learn. If you already had mastered these lessons, you wouldn't be in incarnation. You accept the illusion of the relative plane. It's your tool for learning.

You don't need to ask, 'Did the slap really happen? Did I really feel pain? Was hurt intended? Or is it a gift, this slap? Is it repaying old karma?' You don't have to ask any of that on the relative plane. All you need to do is ask yourself, 'What judgment and desire to blame is arising and how can I most skillfully work with that? Can I begin to see the defendedness out of which judgment arises? As I understand that need to defend, might I need to defend less? Might I have keener insight into the pains of others that lead them to unskillful acts and let go a bit of judging them? Might I develop into a more compassionate person?'

From the viewpoint of the one who has slapped another on the relative plane, if there was intention to hurt, forgiveness serves a real purpose for that person. Perhaps that slap grew out of the slapper's own sense of righteous anger: 'That one was hurting me. She has hurt me too many times and I'm not going to put up with it anymore. I will slap her or turn my back on her or in some other way cause her pain.' When the other retaliates with anger to that slap or turning of the back, it solidifies the slapper's sense of self and judgment. It intensifies that which says, 'See, I was right.' It is very hard to be honest with yourself and still maintain anger at another when they greet your slap with compassion.

Does that mean the anger turns back on oneself and one feels guilt? When you forgive another, are you inducing guilt in them? Not necessarily. What is guilt?

Guilt is not always a negative emotion. If you're stuck there, it's negative; but usually guilt is part of a process. Guilt usually follows some way of hurting another or doing something which is perceived by one's values as wrong. One acts out of anger. One begins to feel guilt about one's act. That feeling of guilt is part of the pathway to finding forgiveness for yourself. The guilt makes you squirm. If you have self-honesty there, you must begin to ask, what is the guilt about?

As long as the other is angry, you feel angry back and don't move into this next step of the process of guilt? But if the other looks at you with compassion and you can feel that the other really empathizes with your pain, guilt may arise. Along with that guilt may be anger at the self and even at the other: How dare they feel compassion for me!? Again, if you are honest, you begin to see into the anger that prompted the act, to see how it grew out of old conditioning and fears, to see how it was your own defended thinking, and in this seeing there is the beginning of growth. When you forgive another then, on the relative plane, you invite the other to grow.

There is much more that could be said about forgiveness on the relative plane. In attempt to give a basic talk about the whole subject tonight, I will not go as deep as we might, but would welcome your questions and welcome continued talk about this in future weeks.

I said earlier that you agreed to accept the illusion when you took birth. You agreed to live in relative reality. That doesn't mean you need to be stuck in relative reality. What we've been doing here for years is poking holes in the veil so that you can peer through and get a glimpse that there is another reality that is deeper than the relative plane. We've spent much time talking about balance, understanding that nothing really happened and there was no one for it to happen to. And yet, it did seem to happen to a relative human and, in that relative illusion, there was pain.

One foot in ultimate reality, one foot in relative. From the perspective of ultimate reality one can laugh at the whole illusion, but laughing at the illusion must not mean escaping from the need to learn compassion. How easy it is for the human to regard the pains of being slapped or slighted and laughingly say, 'It's all illusion.' Not to the human who felt hurt. No matter how enlightened the being, if somebody punches him in the nose, he's going to feel pain. If the punch was sudden and unexpected, it's likely anger will arise. It may only last a moment until there's a sense of wonder, 'What happened? What prompted this? How am I getting caught in it?' But still that anger will arise. You are learning compassion, beginning with the self.

But what of the ultimate? Some of you are going to feel discomfort at this statement: There is nothing that happens to you on this physical plane that you have not allowed in some way. We've talked about this notion: You create your own reality. I've told you I feel hesitant to say it in those words because it can so easily be distorted to mean, 'I hurt myself, I'm guilty.' If I have a disease, 'I caused it.' So many of you distort it to say, 'Why did I cause it?' I can't begin to tell you how many times Barbara has been asked, 'Why did you cause your deafness? Why don't you heal it? What's wrong with you that you can't heal it?' Several times a month that question comes through.

That you may have an illness or suffer in some other way does not mean anything is wrong with you. It means you've opened your heart to a certain kind of learning and made a statement to the universe, 'I want to learn this. If the lesson is painful, so be it. I've been stuck here and I am allowing whatever learning will teach me.'

There's also the aspect of old karma as in this story of the monk. Is Barbara's deafness a punishment or a gift? Was the monk's being put in that hole a punishment or a gift? People have asked Barbara, have you forgiven your deafness? On the ultimate plane what is there to forgive? This has been the most profound teacher, this twenty years of silence, that any being could be offered. On the relative plane, it has been accompanied by very real pain and a sense of isolation. Even now that she understands fully that she is not and never has been separate, there's still pain when she sees her children talking, for example, and just wishes she could hear their voices. What is there to forgive then? This pain is just in this moment, feeling the loss and grieving for it. The pain does not negate the understanding of the gift.

We forgive on the relative plane while we embrace the gift on the ultimate plane. The monk doesn't talk about this, he just says thank you. But, surely, while down in that hole he experienced cold and hunger. Perhaps the one that needs forgiveness then is oneself, whose occasional slowness in learning has led one to allow painful circumstances. Can you forgive yourselves for being human? Can you forgive yourselves for the imperfections you manifest in the human plane? Can you really embrace that?

When this monk was put in his prison, he allowed himself to move into the experience that he needed and it was a gift. Going one level deeper, there's no separation. If your right hand hits your left, which hand is hitting, the active hand or the receiving? They're part of one body. When two hands move apart, does one hand initiate that move to abandon the other?

Your energy broadcasts your intentions. You are never separate from anything. If your energy has broadcast your anger and another moves itself into the field of that anger and becomes recipient to it, it is a participant in the movement of anger. There is no doer or receiver. I know that that statement is going to create discomfort for some of you. I will be glad to discuss it in more depth.

Let us use one vivid example. A child is badly abused. On the relative plane there is never excuse for an adult to abuse a child or any being. By all your sense of right and wrong on the relative plane, this is wrong. Anyone who sees it happening bears responsibility to do everything they can to prevent the suffering-not to judge the offender, but to prevent the abuse. On the relative plane the child is indeed an innocent victim. But the energy of that child did not move unknowingly into the presence of that adult. We can not say its lesson is to be learned by being abused. Perhaps its lesson is to grow by being protected from abuse. You can't know what the child's lesson is. If the child's necessary lesson is not learned, it will seek stronger catalyst. Perhaps, eventually, it's going to move into that abuse. You cannot know that. You do everything you can to alleviate suffering. But without judgment. There is no victim or persecutor.

Barbara was in Germany last month. She found herself very troubled as she walked by a war memorial listing the names of young men of the town who had died in World War II. She was angry because nowhere were listed the victims who had died at the hands of these young men. Her first response was, 'They were bad and killed innocent people, and they're the ones whose names are on the wall.' We spent much time with this. Are these young men who grew up in a society in which they were indoctrinated into a doctrine of hate, or in which they were forced at gun point to choose between giving their own life, being shot for refusal, or going ahead and fighting, any less victims?

Where does judgment come from? This is what you are learning on this relative plane which is your teacher: How does judgment arise? How does righteous anger arise? How do we deal skillfully with that? On the ultimate plane nobody is doing anything to anybody. Various energies have agreed to be in this particular improvisational drama and to act out certain parts: This one will hold the gun, that one will receive the bullet. Next time it may be reversed. How many times have any of you been murdered in past lives? How many of you have been murderers? Would you believe me if I told you that it is about equal? Nobody is hurting anybody. That's illusion.

This statement from A Course In Miracles said, 'How can you have the nerve to pardon what God has allowed?' This is another area where Barbara became enraged in Germany. How can God allow this? God doesn't allow it. You have free will. How many times are you going to have to kill each other before you finally learn about non-harm, before you finally understand enough about your anger and fear and reactivity not to need to do that anymore?

But on the ultimate plane nobody has done anything. Good and bad are illusion. Think about that. That's a frightening statement because you want something to hold onto, a truth such as 'Harm is bad and non-harm is good.' What is harm? What is non-harm? Was this monk harmed or saved by being thrown into his hole? I leave you with that question.

If there is no ultimate harm or non-harm, what is to guide your acts and words as you seek to manifest your energy in more loving, skillful ways. When the movement is guided by anger, greed and desire to hurt, the small ego self, which sees itself as separate and in opposition to, is in charge. When you note those arisings of fear in yourself and return to the open heart which allows itself to trust, then the deep wisdom of this mind/body will make loving choices. On occasion those choices may seem to harm, as in not lying for the drunk spouse or child and thereby causing them to lose their job. Is this harm? Has the choice been made in fear or in love?

We have not covered the many questions that were raised on that initial page. After the break I would like to hear your specific questions and, especially, to see where we might go next week with this if there is need and desire to do that. This is a very vital area of questioning as far as I'm concerned and one which, as the questioner noted, leads us into an experiential understanding of relative versus ultimate reality. It is a wonderful place to explore the relationship between relative and ultimate within your own living daily experience. That is all.


D: Aaron has been talking about the light body, the light body template and many of the bodies we have. He's also been talking about fundamental energy and light that we are. Last week we asked for definitions of light and energy and how they relate to the use of these terms in the field of physics. I must admit I've become quite confused about all of this. I wonder if others in the group are also confused. For example, I do not have a very clear concept as to what the light body is. I'm also having a difficult time understanding the relationships between these various concepts that Aaron has introduced.

In addition, I'm not sure what to do with the information that Aaron is giving us. It seems to be rather intellectual study at this point. I realize that Aaron is taking us somewhere and needs to establish this intellectual background in order to do so. Still, I am very confused about the many ideas and terminology and how they all relate to one another. Can Aaron summarize the important points or should I go back and study the transcript?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Barbara recently saw a bumper sticker: 'If you aren't confused, you simply don't understand the problem.' There are some other questions I want to attend to this week. This is a large question and we'll come back to it. Yes, I am laying foundation. Yes, it's intellectual and you don't have to understand all the details of it. I think that K and D are most confused because they are transcribing and have gone deeper into it, dealing more with all the terminology I'm throwing at you than those of you who have simply heard it and let it run through you.

The reason for this foundation is that I want to work much more persistently with you in methods for the release of old karma through work with the light bodies. This is working with what I have called 'scar tissue' on the light bodies, seeing that there never was a wrinkle in the paper in the first place, moving your attention to that perfect unwrinkled sheet of paper, and thereby releasing that which was totally illusion to begin with but which you've been carrying around as if it were real.

The foundation of understanding the basics of the light bodies is vital to work with this process. We will be moving much more into an experiential understanding of the process in such ways as the energy meditation that you did last week. I will simply ask your patience here. I will continue to review and also to move us increasingly into participatory work with this and explain the ways that it relates to karma. That is all.

Question: If I chose or allowed what has happened to myself as a child, my only conclusion can be that I must be one jerk. There was no point to it.

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear your pain. May I offer an analogy here? The child has a splinter in its foot, imbedded deep so that it cannot be reached by tweezers. The mother takes it to the doctor who says it must probe that wound and it's going to hurt. But that's the only way to get the splinter out. It is the child's decision. Do you want to allow the doctor to probe that wound or do you want to allow it to get infected and hope it will eventually heal itself?

If the child does not understand its choice, it might say very strongly, 'No, leave it alone!' But there is an invasive distortion which will create deeper distortion. The child experiencing the pain as the flesh is probed and the splinter removed, might say after it's taken out, 'There was no point to all that pain. I could have just left it alone and it would have worked its way out.' Perhaps it would! One must trust and follow one's deepest wisdom.

For those of you who have experienced severe pain in your childhoods, you have been in the situation where you had made the decision, through many lifetimes perhaps, to just leave the splinter in and see if it worked its way out, and it didn't do so. Finally, you agreed 'All right, whatever is necessary to get it out. I'm tired of carrying this pain.' It might seem to you now that it created greater pain, but, my dear ones, you are only partly through the path. You're at the place where the doctor has perhaps had to cut the foot, remove the splinter and put in stitches. The child wails and says, 'Before there was just a little puncture and now there are three stitches.' But it will heal. It was necessary to remove the distortion.

I know this is difficult to understand when you have experienced the severity of pain that some of you have in your childhoods, but there is a point to it. It is the catalyst for your learning. It becomes the focal point of your life and, in that position, it offers the greatest potential for healing that which you incarnated to heal, as backward as that may sound. If you had incarnated into a very loving home, not been abused, the old karmic issues about abuse, unworthiness, abandonment, and whatever would still be there, but there would lack sufficient catalyst to induce you to attend them.

That choice is like putting a bandage over the wound. It might be skillful to do for awhile and see if the wound heals that way, but if you have come to the incarnation and moved into abusive situations, at some level your deeper wisdom has said, 'Pull off the bandage, it's time to operate. The bandage and medication aren't working.' I can only ask you to trust your lives, to look deeply at the places where there is still rage and grief, to allow that putrefaction to begin to fall away and allow the wound to heal. Not just the wound of the abuse, but the much deeper wounds of which that abuse is symptomatic. The wounds of so many lifetimes, of feeling separate, unworthy, of judging and even hating yourselves. That is all.

C: One thing that Aaron told us a while ago which helped me to understand that issue was … Someone asked Aaron, why would anyone have chosen to be born Jewish in Germany in 1939? Why would anyone have chosen that? Aaron's answer, if we were told that we could spend five minutes in horrible pain to learn a very important lesson and to teach the world a very important lesson, would we be willing to choose five minutes of pain? And we generally felt, yes, we would. And then Aaron said, in a soul's existence, each lifetime is only five minutes. That helped me to understand more deeply why we might make a very painful choice.

Questions: (Several related from various people.) If the monk had been able to forgive himself, would he have had to have that experience of being put in the hole? Does not the story imply that the monk was doomed to live out his old karma? Could not he have released it? It seems like the monk was stuck in relative reality a bit, seeing what he had done in a previous life as very real and that he had to make up for it somehow. Also, during the course of the discussion in the book, it mentioned that that monk had lived many, many lifetimes of pain because of that one act.

Aaron: I am Aaron. What trapped the monk was ultimate and not relative reality. First of all, as long as he was not repentant for what he did, the seed continued. It took new root, grew new shoots, created new seeds and replanted itself again and again, so that each being that he was experienced the effects of that particular karmic seed.

There undoubtedly came a time in the stream of that mind-body consciousness, in the karmic stream of what he was, when he did become repentant. This is where he became trapped in relative reality. There was still somebody who was repentant for something that had been done, something to be fixed. He was still taking the wrinkle in the paper as the reality. As long as he took the wrinkle in the paper as reality, the light shining through it created a physical plane manifestation of the wrinkle and led him into karmic experiences surrounding that wrinkle.

It was no longer the original act that trapped him, but his relationship to the act and to the self that it seemed had done the act. It was solid. If he had been able to look at the whole thing and say-not just conceptually, but experientially-'Nobody did anything, and yet I am still responsible for making amends to that energy,' then all he would have needed to do is on the relative plane to ask for forgiveness, and then to do that work which I've just said I want to teach you: to release that karma, to take that illusory wrinkle and let go of focus on it, to focus on the clear paper instead.

This is very hard to explain. It is among the most profound of Buddhist teachings that through the centuries have been considered secret teachings. Masters were hesitant to offer them to people who might say, 'Then I can get away with anything, all I have to do is release it.' I trust that there is no one here who will distort it in that way because I do know you all and know your deep aspiration to purify your energy and to live your lives with non-harm. That doesn't mean you're always successful at that, but I feel willing to share these teachings and trust you do not need to distort them.

There was a thief who stole the calf and allowed another to be blamed for it. That happened on the relative plane. Self solidified around that: somebody who needed to feel guilt or ask forgiveness. Let us consider that to be a small piece. Because of the way the light shone on it, the shadow it cast was immense. He was unable to look at the piece and say, 'It's just one aspect. It's just this one deed which, on the relative plane, I can fully repent for, pay what I owe in one lifetime, in one moment of one lifetime, and ask forgiveness.' Instead, he became focused on the shadow: 'It's immense.' He began to feel the shadow was reality-'I am bad, I judge myself'-and to experience and re-experience all of the guilt, all of the anger that accompanied it. Seeing that the shadow is illusion, one can simply make the skillful decision, 'I do not need to fix my focus on the shadow anymore. I release the shadow. Then I attend, willingly, to that harm I have done and rectify it.' And then you are free. Just that.

I am aware that there is still some confusion about this. Do you have specific questions? That is all.

Comment: (I still think) the monk would not have released the karma through being put into the dungeon because he was still a 'self' suffering in repentance for what a prior self had done.

(Barbara describes her past life experience as a Native American medicine man and peacemaker and her releasing of the karmic issues surrounding that lifetime.)

Question: Then what you are saying is that the relative work still needs to be done?

Barbara: Both need to be done. You can't ignore either. But you need to do the relative work first. If you do the ultimate reality work first, it's easy to pretend about that relative reality work … 'It was all illusion so what am I fixing?' But it has to be attended; we're always responsible. So you need to do both.

Comment: So, in a sense, what's happening is our becoming aware of ultimate reality in our relative reality mode and learning to, while in this very vulnerable state, understand and release that energy as the relative selves that you are …

Barbara: Yes, but it's less release than simply letting dissolve what's no longer necessary or useful because the work surrounding it on the relative plane has been attended to. There's nothing more to do with it. If you hold onto it, it will perpetuate itself. But there needs to be a conscious allowing it to dissolve.

Comment: It almost sounds like shifting to ultimate reality could be a way of intellectualizing to avoid the pain of the relative reality, that it then could be an avoidance as opposed to really working through the relative.

Barbara: Absolutely. That's why it's such a dangerous process. For so many centuries, these were secret teachings. But I trust Aaron. He would not be teaching them if he felt we weren't ready for them. He said we're ready to learn this.

Comment: I just want to clarify something. If you are trying to intellectualize, you aren't really in ultimate reality.

Barbara: You're not, but you're deluding yourself with the myth that you are, so you think you're releasing it in ultimate reality and you're not really even doing that, you're just turning your back on the whole thing.

Comment: It also seems that … Aaron has said that now on Earth there are many souls who are ready to move across the line between third and fourth densities so it would make sense to me that now the teachings are not as secret.

(Barbara talks about her experience at the Tibetan dzogchen retreat last summer.)