Wednesday, March 23, 1994

Two Opening Questions

1) I just don't seem to be getting it as it relates to forgiveness. Maybe I'm forgiving and I just don't know it. I feel like I can understand from a cultural and emotional standpoint why people and myself do what we do. I can feel compassion towards other people and myself. The dilemma seems to be that I can feel compassion and anger simultaneously. Is this being truly forgiving?

2) Last week Aaron spoke at length about the forgiveness process, from both the relative and ultimate perspectives. There was the suggestion in the way he presented this material that this work is sequential, i.e. that we first work with our focus in relative reality, until the work is completed at that level, and then we shift our focus to ultimate reality for the final stages of our work. Is it useful, once one has reached an understanding of the importance of allowing our relative experience, i.e. not clinging to or trying to get rid of what is arising, to move ones focus to an ultimate perspective of allowing the self to see the reality of the situation while simultaneously working with the relative pain and misunderstandings?

An example: when waking from a frightening or disturbing dream, while acknowledging the feelings arising in and from the dream, we also acknowledge that the dream was a dream and did not really happen, and thus has no real effects in waking reality. Although the resulting emotion needs to be allowed and attended to, some of its charge is removed by realizing what is real and what is not real. Another example: at times when I have been working with the forgiveness process, I have been lifted to an ultimate perspective in which I am filled with such an unbounded love for the person with whom I am in conflict on the relative plane that my relative perspective dissolves completely and I am one with the other. When I return to a relative focus there's still pain and conflict in the relationship, but it is much diminished and seems more easily embraced.

So again, can it be useful at times to consciously move to an ultimate awareness of the situation, perhaps using a modified form of the four step process Aaron has shared with us, while continuing to work within the relative process? Can this help us gain a deeper perspective on what has arisen within us? In other words, is it useful to bring in ultimate processes at certain points within the relative process?

A follow-up. After I had written these thoughts to Aaron I was reading a poem I have written that reflects some of the pain in the relationship with my mother in this life. I noticed that even though we have resolved many of the issues between us, reading this poem brought up the emotion associated with our conflicts with each other. I began to explore this pain that has been part of my human relationship with her, pain that is not part of our present relationship, but can be re-entered, as one can re-enter a room and re-experience its energy. At the same time I was able to feel deep love for her; more a present experience.

At first I found myself shifting back and forth between the two. First, exploring the pain of our past encounters with each other, then shifting to a deep love for her as an expression of God, not separate from me. As I continued to explore this, there began to be less space/time between these two feelings/experiences, until they finally occupied the same space/time. I was only able to stay in this place of simultaneous experience of relative and ultimate planes for a short time. It really stretched my heart to embrace both perspectives at once, as they seemed so diametrically opposed to each other. But it was enough to show me the distinct difference between authentic experience of what Aaron has described as standing with one foot in relative and one foot in the ultimate and my more familiar experience of merging my experience of the relative with my conceptual understanding of the ultimate, or my experience of the ultimate with my conceptual understanding of the relative. There is a dramatic difference between merging experience with experience and merging experience with concept. One stretches the heart, the other the mind.

Aaron's talk

I am Aaron. Good evening and my love to you all. First, my gratitude for this thoughtful and articulate question. I'm going to spend just four or five minutes reviewing a bit, summing up, some of these ideas of relative and ultimate reality for those friends who are newly with us tonight. And I also want to review some of the ideas of the light body template we've introduced through these past months, of how it manifests into the physical body. I do this both so that you may all understand the remainder of the talk, and also because there is some confusion about it, as was voiced last week. Perhaps in saying it again it will come clearer. I will be brief, though. For those who have not heard this before, there are more complete transcripts available.

You are actors on a stage, here in incarnation to learn. This play is your present relative reality. If you're going to make it worthwhile to the audience and the actors it must be played honestly and convincingly. In other words, you've got to believe it. If you just shrug off the issues of the incarnation and say, 'Well, I'm just here in this body for awhile and none of it matters,' why did you bother to come? On the other hand, it is an illusion, it is a play. If the actor forgets that he or she is in a play, their back will be turned to the audience, their lines may be mumbled. You must always remember who you really are and why you are here. We may call one relative and one ultimate reality. You can not say relative reality does not matter. Relative reality is the gift of incarnation. It is your opportunity to learn. What happens on the relative plane matters very much, especially in the ways that you form adhering karma. There was a question given that relates very much to karma. I'm going to touch on it lightly now and save the question for after the break. In fact, one of these next weeks I want to spend a whole session on questions about karma.

Perhaps you've yelled at another and then said, 'Sorry, but I felt sick,' or simply, 'You provoked me,' If you hurt another, you are always responsible. Part of what you're learning here is that you are always responsible. It's part of your learning to embrace the incarnation-not to deny the various emotions, thoughts and physical sensations that move through you, but to fully embrace them so that your heart may be opened in compassion. It is through this stretching of the heart that you truly learn to live with lovingkindness and non-judgment, and that you learn equanimity with what arises. Then there is no hating this and grasping at that, but space for it all. The dilemma in the human framework is that one can expend all of one's energy becoming one who embraces everything, constantly working to be kinder, more skillful in one's affairs, and get so caught up in that one forgets that this is a play, that this is an illusion.

Everything that you practice in terms of becoming more kind, more loving, more patient, more generous, is part of your growth. It's never wasted, but you can get stuck there. By becoming the one who is kind, loving and patient, self solidifies instead of dissolves, so that you start to think, 'I am the patient one, I am the kind one' it is someplace where you can get stuck. The situation of forgetting that this is illusion, is only relative reality to be lived as lovingly as is possible, is much easier to correct than making the opposite move of getting caught in ultimate reality as an escape from the pain of relative reality. Ideally, neither will be escape nor place of fixated identity. So, we speak of this balance of ultimate and relative; one foot in each. But the idea that they are separate is also illusion. The wall doesn't exist; relative reality resides in ultimate reality. To be unbalanced is to negate one aspect of ultimate reality.

The physical body and, within that physical body, the emotional body are part of relative reality. We have been speaking here for several months of the light bodies. I am not going to go into the details of this now, except that I want to correct several areas of confusion.

We begin with a metaphor. Visualize the sun, a brilliant orb. Visualize it as if it were infinite, unlimited. Infinite not only in space, but in time. Within the metaphor let us call this God. Visualize the way you see a sunbeam; imagine the spikes that stick out from the sun in your children's drawings. Or, when the sun is at a certain angle behind a cloud, you may see a sunbeam reaching out. Again, this is metaphor. From the Infinite to each of you there is just such a column of light. Let us call that the perfect light body template. (To avoid confusion, with so many 'bodies' Aaron decided some months later that we would call this the 'light level'.) It's perfect; there is nothing to amend, nothing to be changed. How could there be? It is a projection of that Perfection; it is absolutely no different in its composition from that which we call God.

We are still working within a metaphor; I am trying to offer terminology as correctly as it can be given. It is not absolutely precise to call this sunbeam the soul, but it will do. The incarnation can not hold all the energy of the soul. It must be stepped down, like a transformer steps down high voltage electricity to make it usable by the consumer. We have the light body, which is that sunbeam itself. We take a reflection of that perfect light body template; this is the aspect of the light body which will eventually energize the manifestation, just as the light body energizes that reflection. Let us call it the sub-light body.

If you looked at the sunbeam coming from behind a cloud, you will see a strand of light which comes to rest on the ground, or physical manifestation. If the light source is perfect, it's physical manifestation will appear perfect, but if clouds drifted through, the physical manifestation might appear mottled, shadowed. The light is still perfect but outside forces. lead to the appearance of distortion.

To aid understanding, you might also use the visualization of a flashlight shining through a perfect piece of transparent paper. You see the light stream from the flashlight; it settles on a piece of paper on the ground, the physical manifestation. If the transparent paper is perfect and clear, the light will shine through it and hit the paper on the ground, forming the physical manifestation, and the manifestation will also appear to be perfect. What if we take that paper and wrinkle it?

Barbara is holding here a perfect, smooth piece of paper. I'm going to ask her to wrinkle it up and unfold it again. (A smile of appreciation to those who of you who were saying, 'Oh, not this again!' Thank you for your patience. (Laughter)) Within this wrinkled piece of paper is the perfect white sheet of paper. Can you see it? It's still there; it hasn't gone anywhere. But, if this were transparent and you were to shine a flashlight through it, what would come out on the piece of paper on the ground, on the physical manifestation, would be the illusion of all of these wrinkles.

Please keep in mind these five ingredients. We have the source, the light body which is the projection of the source, the sub-light body which is the snip of the projection, the stream-energy which flows from the sub-light body to the manifestation, and finally, the manifestation. This is oversimplified. It will do.

Now, I'm going to take this one step further, to something that we haven't talked about before. See three distinct areas: The physical body, which contains both the material body and the energy body, the chakras, energy meridians and energy fields; this is part one. Part two is the energy stream comprised of aura and, let us call it, the stream-energy which is this beam of light nourished by the source and channeled through the light and sub-light bodies. Part three is the source, light body and sub-light body. (See J's question at the end of Aaron's talk for further clarification.) This energy-stream does manifest distortion when there is the illusion of distortion in the sub-light body. To the best of your ability, visualize a wrinkled piece of cellophane. Brilliant light is shining through it. In the places where the cellophane has no wrinkles the light will appear less dense. In the places where there are wrinkles the light will appear denser. When it reaches and becomes manifest as the physical body, those densities, or areas of cloudiness, will manifest as distortions within the physical body.

At times in the past I have spoken of distortion of the soul and said that it was too complex at that time for me to explain it, that you didn't have the vocabulary for it. I want to clarify those old teachings here a bit. The soul in itself is not ever distorted. But as those snips emerge from the soul to express as the energy feeding the manifestations, because of past karma the mind's distortions reach up and wrinkle them. That's the best way I can describe it; it's all in your mind! Here we have the perfect sheet of paper within the wrinkled sheet. How could this sub-light body ever have any real wrinkles in it. The material in it is nothing different than the material of the soul, which is nothing different from that of God? But the mind has created these distortions, held onto these distortions, and part of your work with your karma is to cut through the illusion of the distortions.

So we have three parts: the physical manifestation, including the energy body, the light stream manifestation, and the light and sub-light bodies.

How does this manifest on the physical plane? As an example let us use anger that isn't resolved. There is an accompanying desire to blame the other, an unwillingness to become undefended and to see the other's pain because of the extent of one's own pain. We will not get into an 'original cause' discussion. We can start anywhere.

As that anger's distortion moves through the energy body within the physical body, there is a contraction. It is not only that the source light shines out through the light body and is reflected by the sub-light body, this seemingly wrinkled paper, but you also send energy from the manifestation back to the sub-light body. What's wrinkling the paper? How did it get wrinkled in the first place, especially since it never was really wrinkled? The contraction of the energy body feeds the illusion, out to create distortions into the physical body and up this shaft of light. It's as if each time there is anger that was not resolved, your hand reached up and wrinkled the paper. The perfect light is still shining through. The wrinkles keep reinforcing themselves. How do we cut through that illusory distortion and refocus on the perfection, but without any aversion to the distortion? Where is forgiveness to be found?

You can start at either end. Begin with the relative reality and the experience of this anger, with an exploration of how the anger arose, and solidified a sense of self; this is an exploration of how anger has contracted the physical and energy bodies in relative reality. Or begin with the understanding that the contraction on the ultimate plane never happened; your soul isn't angry. You can reconnect with that pure energy, pure mind, and find through that energy your connection with this one with whom you are angry. And it can all be released. It's just old baggage. We've spoken about this process for many, many months, with the emotional and physical bodies.

The question that Barbara read said that last week, in speaking about forgiveness, I seemed to give the idea that it was better to do the work in relative reality first and then in ultimate reality. Yes. The reason is that you can never do too much opening and letting go on the relative plane. If you move to the ultimate plane to try to get rid of an unpleasant physical sensation or emotion, if there is any element of denial of, or even aversion to, the pain that is being experienced on the relative plane, it further solidifies the sense of self. The move to ultimate reality becomes an escape. What you are really doing is moving deeper into a different kind of distortion, one that denies what is happening on the relative plane.

The optimum practice is the balance of both. One must first create a foundation of awareness. You can not work with any of this if you're not aware of what you're experiencing. For most of you, so much within you has been denied and buried. You must first reach a level of awareness, and of readiness to find compassion for yourself and not judge yourself, so that you can let some of this rise to the surface. Otherwise you have no access to it. All of the opinions, the prejudices, the fears, the need to control, to feel safe, the manipulativeness, all of that which is in all of you is simply part of being human, you begin with that. At an appropriate point where you have opened your heart to yourself, you begin to explore the experience of ultimate reality through many of the meditations we have been introducing through the winter. You stabilize the ability to rest in that pure mind or 'rigpa,' that ultimate reality space. You begin to really know who you are. You come back again to the pains of the relative, and then back to the ultimate.

I deeply appreciate the questioner's description of its experience, the moving to a simultaneous experience of relative and ultimate. That, my dear ones, is what you are after. It is very important to see where it's concept and where it's experience. When you can merge the experience of the relative and the experience of the ultimate, it cuts through so much fog. But you can't will it to happen. All you can do is to keep practicing, with the inspiration of such as was shared above and the assurance that if you keep practicing it's going to come together. You're going to experience it in just that way.

A person who has had that experience is never going to see in quite the same way again, because when they move into the concept of one or the other, they are going to know that it's concept. It's like reading a topographic map. You get a firm sense of where the roads twist and turn around the mountains. The map shows elevations and so on. You see how to get from point A to point B, and locate the rivers, hills and so on that you'll pass. Then you get out there and you walk from point A to point B. When you come back and read the map again, the map is very different. The circular lines are no longer the concept of a hill, they are that hill you saw where the road twisted around and became rocky. You see where there was flooding because the river was high; it's your experience.

From this experience you start to understand that the relative being may feel anger, that it's fine for the relative being to feel anger if that's what it's feeling, and that the ultimate being simultaneously feels infinite compassion. If you move to the perspective, 'I shouldn't feel anger anymore because I really do feel compassion for this being,' then you are escaping into the ultimate and denying the relative. If you stay in the relative and say, 'I feel anger, so this must be a sham kind of compassion. I'm not really feeling it or I wouldn't feel anger,' you're denying that the perfect piece of paper exists within the wrinkled sheet. It's all there together.

When we speak of forgiveness, what we really mean is coming to a place of such deep empathy and compassion that there is absolutely no judgment of the other, so there is nothing left to forgive. The aspect of you that can experience that degree of compassion is entirely empty of self and knows its total interbeing with all that is. But the aspect of you that felt anger still experiences from a place of self. When a child has had a nightmare and cries for you and you go to comfort it, you tell that child, 'It was only a nightmare, you're safe. It was only a dream, none of those monsters are here in your room now.' But you must also not deny the child's fear. You don't say, 'None of the monsters are here in your room, it was a dream. Don't be foolish, go back to sleep.' You say, 'You are safe. The monsters are not here, but I know you're afraid. Your body still shakes from that fear. Let me give you a hug. Let me sit down here on your bed.' You attend to both the ultimate and the relative.

When another has caused you deep pain, you allow yourself the experience of total selfless compassion and interconnection with that one. But you also don't deny the pain. It will go when it's ready. Much of what you still are thinking of as anger at that point is just the old reverberations of anger within the body. The physical and emotional bodies are denser and will take much more time to release that energy. Just let it be.

Here is where it becomes useful to work with this four step process. For those of you who are not familiar with it, I'm not going to review it in depth tonight; it is available in transcript. Briefly, seeing the anger that you are still feeling, feeling the experience of that anger, you make the decision, 'I don't need to carry this anymore. I really do feel compassion for that person. I understand why that person spoke or acted as he or she did. I see their fear and I feel deep compassion for them. This anger that I'm carrying, it's just a habit. I'm practicing the wrinkle. I don't need to do that anymore.' Then, in the ways we have described in this four step process, you make the decision to simply release it. Remember, you're not releasing the whole mass of anger, just a little bit. How many times have you practiced this habit of anger? You're not getting rid of it, you're just seeing that you don't need it anymore, that you can release it, then offering the intention to do so, and to focus awareness on the perfection instead of the wrinkle.

I've offered many ideas tonight. There are a number that I want to follow up on in much more depth in coming weeks. One area is working further with this four step process of releasing. One area is deeper understanding of karma. One very important area is that which was new tonight, working with this human energy field and its distortions, coming to understand the interplay between the physical and energy body manifestations of distortions and how that's sent back up into the sub-light body. Those are three areas to which I want to pay special attention. And I also do continue to welcome your questions about forgiveness. I think we will use forgiveness as a connector. As the questioner noted last week, it's a wonderful place to explore the interrelationships between the relative and ultimate planes. I thank you for allowing me to share with you tonight. After your break I will welcome your questions. That is all.

J: Where does the cellophane come from?

Barbara: In Aaron's metaphor, the soul is like the sunbeam coming out. We can't take the whole energy of the soul, but through karma and the decisions of what issues we will work on in this incarnation we take a small piece of that, which is the sub-light body. He is using the cellophane metaphor for that sub-light body because while it's a piece of the whole light body and is perfect just as the light body is perfect, our distortions go back up to it and distort it our experience of it. Its like looking through a muddy window and believing that the distortions are in the matter out the window and not in the glass. Then we try to fix what's out there rather than just knowing the window is dirty.

J: So the cellophane is the sub-light body?

Barbara: Yes.


Barbara: (Reading question.) I still don't understand why I and other people would choose to be so unkind to ourselves, especially as children. What lessons can be that important? It seems like a sinister, premeditated act of cruelty.

Barbara: I assume the questioner is talking about child abuse and things of that sort.

There are several questions here. Aaron said to read them and he will respond to some or all.

Question: If I did a thoughtless act or deed in a previous lifetime, does the punishment fit the crime? It seems like a pernicious and evil response when I just didn't know any better.

Barbara: Last week we read a story about an innocent monk who had been dyeing his robes red when people came along and said, 'Ah, you've got the stolen calf in your pot; you've killed it,' and they took him and imprisoned him in a hole in the ground. He remained there for six months after the calf had been found before somebody realized, that he was still in the hole. When they pulled him out of the hole, the lord of that area was very apologetic and said, 'How could we have done this to you? Please accept our apologies.' The monk responded, 'It's okay. I thank you! Many lifetimes ago I did steal and kill a calf. A monk was blamed for it and thrown in prison. So this was due me and now I've repaid this karmic debt.'

That story brought up many questions. (Much laughter.) I had an interesting time this week hearing Aaron explain much of it to me. He says that he will talk about many of my questions. He wants to talk more about karma to everybody. But the question here is: If I did a thoughtless act or deed in a previous lifetime, if I've got some kind of heavy karma in this lifetime, how does it relate to that deed? The questioner says it seems like an 'evil response' that if you beat a child in a past lifetime, now you are beaten as a child yourself.

Question: We're trying to explain something that doesn't have an explanation at this level of existence. Incidentally, I can buy that this is all an illusion but you must admit everybody's pain seems awfully real, so why create the illusion? Again, what lessons can be that important that we make children suffer?

Barbara: Before we get going on this, are there related questions? Those are questions of a few different areas. Does that provoke anything in you? Aaron would like to respond to it all together.

F: In today's newspaper the Dali Lama was quoted as saying that even in Nazis there is a spark of love and compassion.

M: We know karma isn't punishment, per se, however, it sure seems that way. Why?

C: This is probably too much to get into, but, Aaron says that all things happen simultaneously. If that's the case how can we benefit by past mistakes, if there is no past and everything is happening at once?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Wonderful questions. Let me begin very briefly with the last one. Imagine you and innumerable comrades walking side by side across a big field. The field is filled with rocks and boulders of all sizes. You're walking arm in arm. You see a comrade somewhere to your right kick a boulder and then stop and hop up and down, holding his foot in pain. He says, 'Darn boulder, it shouldn't be so solid, it shouldn't be so heavy. It hurt my foot!' At the same time, others of your comrades left and right are doing the same thing. Some others, seeing the first ones do it, get the idea and they kick boulders. How many times does this row of people have to kick boulders before somebody gets the idea: 'Maybe I shouldn't kick boulders, maybe it's not useful. Maybe if my foot hurts after kicking a boulder it's my fault for kicking the boulder. I had that choice and I chose to kick.'?

Your lifetimes might be thought of as simultaneously in this way. I know this isn't quite it because the events in your life do seem to unfold in a linear fashion: you were, you are, you will be. But, if you take all of your past lives and walk arm in arm with them, you can learn from what they are, will be or already did learn. I really can not explain simultaneous time to you, it needs to be experienced. Simply put, your past lives were past lives and at the same time those ancestors of yours still exist. There are no longer in material form, or have not yet come into material form, but they still exist. Where would they go?

Visualize a burning stick, a kind of fireworks. It's one stick, one mindstream. When you twirl it, a multitude of different colored sparks fly out-pink, blue, green, gold, yellow, silver, white and red. One could say that the blue light here and the red light much higher up are different. The stick might burn at a different pace, so that it burns from the top down or bottom up. But, basically, everything that's flying out of it is part of that same stick. My fear here and my joy there, they come from the same source! These past lives of yours-what happens to that spark when it leaves the stick? It still exists, nothing ever disappears. When an oak tree drops an acorn which sprouts, it is clearly a new tree but it is also part of the parent oak. What happens to the energy that was part of that past being? I've told you over and over that wasn't you, that was an ancestor of yours. What happened to that being? It's part of the same mindstream that you are, but it also has its own independent existence. You learn from and teach one another.

When there has been distortion in a past life that has created harm for another, you as the continuation of that mindstream are offered the opportunity to work with that distortion and clarify it. You're not being punished for your ancestor's distortion. Rather, this is something that this mind/body/spirit that you are has found confusing and you need to practice it. The seed has mutated; you as carrier of that mutation are given the opportunity to correct the distortion and return to the original perfection.

It can be seen with more clarity if we look at it within one lifetime. Perhaps you have a tendency to blame others. It's very hard for you to accept your own responsibility. Perhaps you're often late, and your way of dealing with other's annoyance when you come late is to say, 'Well, my car wouldn't start,' or 'I got stuck in traffic,' 'My watch stopped,' 'I got held up at a meeting.' It's very embarrassing to have to say, 'I was busy doing something and I lost track of time,' so you always have excuses. Now, this isn't a major harm to another, just an annoyance. The issue is that you have not wanted to put another's need ahead of your own. You've preferred to finish that which you've wanted to do, and you choose not to be responsible for that preference. Each time you do it, others are annoyed.

The way karma works, this does not mean that you must be held up by others; that you're going to be left waiting, saying, 'Where is he?' or 'Where is she?' That's one possibility; that you will be offered the opportunity to experience the inconvenience that you foisted on others. But another possibility deals more directly with the issue of not wanting to be responsible, of needing excuses and with that sense of shame abut self-involvement.

What is the distortion really about? Essentially it's an ego distortion that says, 'I'm more important.' What your karma hands you, then, is the opportunity to examine the distortion that you're more important. Why have you grabbed hold of that? What can help you to loosen that distortion, to recognize the importance of others and learn deeper respect for them? Is that not also a way of learning deeper respect for yourself?

You may find yourself in a situation where your boss is very egocentric and continually steals your work, taking what you did and saying to his superiors, 'Look what I thought up,' leaving you with the need to look at your own anger about why he takes merit for what you did. It's the same question: why are you elevating yourself above another; why is he elevating himself? You have the opportunity to look at his fear which makes him claim the merit for your work and hopefully to look deeper within yourself and see that same ego functioning there, then to move to more understanding and compassion for the boss, more understanding of your own fear. Finally you move past that fear.

So, karma is specific, but it is generally misunderstood what specific means. It does not mean that because you were a child abuser in a past life you must then experience abuse in this life. Child abuse in itself was not the issue. We are not speaking of sexual abuse here. What was the issue for that being who manipulated and controlled a child, belittled and shamed it? Perhaps that being needed to feel big, strong and powerful because it felt so insignificant, and the only place it could feel powerful was with a helpless child. Perhaps its fears were intense and it very much wanted to be in control; here was something that it could control. Perhaps it had deep rage; here was a safe place to take out its rage because the child couldn't retaliate. What was the issue?

In how many lifetimes was that pattern of behavior an issue? We're just selecting one here; feeling helpless and disempowered and so becoming a very controlling human in order to override those feelings of helplessness. If that's the issue it does not mean that you need to move into a lifetime where you are abused. It means you need to move into a lifetime where you have the opportunity to explore that feeling of helplessness and how being controlling of others feels empowering, how that's illusion.

There are many ways you can explore that question. You begin with easy ones. Perhaps you move into a lifetime where you have a loving and supportive family, but one adult, maybe a school teacher, who's very controlling. It gives you a chance to explore your own sense of helplessness as related to that being's controllingness. It gives you the opportunity to ask, 'Why is he or she so controlling?' Maybe you get it and that's it, you've resolved it. Maybe you don't get it, and instead of understanding you just move into more rage at this being. Then life hands you another lesson.

You are always given both the lessons and the tools to understand them. You are never put in a situation where life simply beats you without the resources to understand what has been handed you and why. But sometimes your fear gets so intense that you can't hear the teaching that's offered. You keep contracting more and more and more. It could be said that if life just handed kindness then people would learn. Often that is the way it happens, but sometimes there is a place where you are stuck and all the kindness that life has handed you doesn't get you past that stuck place. It simply empowers you to be more rash, more selfish and controlling.

For the one who moves into an incarnation where it suffers severe pain, physical or emotional abuse, deprivation or abandonment, yes it seems cruel. But life is not simply punishing you; you're not being whipped and sent into the corner to sulk. You have made the decision, before your incarnation, of what issues you want to work with in your incarnation. From that place of clarity you see the truth, you see the brilliance of the light that you aspire to merge with. You see the purity of the light body and you see the distortions.

One might use the following image. You've been given a clear pallet of paints and white paper. In your first painting the colors have become terribly muddy. These are oil paints and you can paint over the muddy colors. Here is the light body with absolutely sparkling clear color, and here is the manifestation you've created. As you are not well skilled in how to use the paints many of the colors are muddy. You take a fresh brush, fresh color and you try again, and again and again. From that place where you know who you truly are and know your connection to God and all that is, where you experience the perfect purity of the light body, there is clear seeing that before this muddy mess can merge with that I've got to clean up the colors. How do I best do that? It is not masochism that sends you off into a painful lifetime, but deep, infinite love and aspiration to purify your energy, a willingness and courage to work at it as hard as you need to in order to finally understand.

I want to talk in a future week in much more depth about karma as it relates to the light body, the human energy field and the physical body. I want to talk about how that paper gets the illusion of being wrinkled. How the illusion manifests itself with physical reality, and how the physical reality creates the illusory distortion; how it moves back and forth. I want to talk about that in relationship to karma. I shall pause here and answer any specific questions. That is all.

C: Why does Aaron keep saying, 'In the future I will talk about …'?

Aaron: I am Aaron. When I work with a group of you there are constant questions arising in your minds. I could talk for ten hours and never finish with the new questions that arise. I'm suggesting that I will talk about this in a coming week because some of you are asking me specifically, 'What about this?' It can not all be attended now. I'm simply reassuring you, 'I'll get to it. I hear your question.' That is all.

Barbara: C has asked is this 'saying he'll talk about it' a hint to ask us to ask that question; does he want us to write it down and he'll talk about it later?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Your asking is part of your learning. If you walk out of here leaving all these thoughts awaiting your return, you're not going to get nearly as much out of it as if you carry it with you. If you carry it with you, you are bound to have questions. I can not answer what I am not asked; I can not violate your free will by imposing on you in that way. But also, your asking is an important part of your learning. So, yes, I do hope to draw out your questions, but I don't need elaborate questions. You know me well enough to know that I use your questions as a springboard to launch into that which needs to be said. I don't feel that I violate your free will in that way. But your carefully thought out questions teach you, as I'm sure the writers of tonight's questions have learned. Think about the longer question that Barbara read and the work that that being did with its questions and understandings about forgiveness based on last week's talk. That is all.

C: Aaron said that we are never given a situation where we can't learn. What about babies who are abused and die? Is there learning on the astral plane after they die?

M: I have a related question. Why do we have 'earth karma'? Can we learn the lesson on some other plane? Why do we have to come back?

Aaron: I am Aaron. You have to come back because there is this shadow on the earth plane that holds you until you have found equanimity with the emotions and physical sensations of the human body. This relates to the movement from rebirth consciousness into mind and body.

The baby that is abused and dies, the child who is killed as an infant in a fire or an earthquake, this is a very different picture. Often these children have incarnated as a gift to the adults around them. Obviously, if a whole village is wiped out one has to ask what is the gift there? What might the adults around that child have learned in its first weeks or months of life? How might that baby have opened the hearts of the adults around it so that although adult and child died simultaneously from a bomb, earthquake or whatever, something was learned . What might the adult be learning who abuses a child who dies? What about the guilt of knowing that you beat a child and it died? I'm not suggesting that guilt is a skillful teacher, but it certainly is a powerful emotion. How might that being's heart eventually open to itself, how might it be lead to forgiveness for itself and to asking for forgiveness from the child?

I said to you once, and C reminded the group of it last week, that if someone said to you that you could teach somebody else a very powerful lesson and learn something deep for yourself, but it would mean five minutes of severe pain, would you be willing to do it? But each human lifetime is like five minutes in the totality of your being. You see a lifetime now as immense, but from the astral plane it's just one lifetime. What does it mean to incarnate briefly, suffer a bit and die? What about the gift of that incarnation?

What about the gift of those who allow themselves to be killed by the Nazis? This new movie, 'Schindler's List,' is calling it all back to your attention. And, of course, it's no accident that simultaneously there are those who are saying that Nazi Germany never happened, that there never were concentration camps, that it's all a myth. You are all learning and deepening your compassion and your commitment to living with a morality and love that prevents that in the future. If those beings had not died in such a horrible way, you would all have been denied the power of this teaching. Can you thank those who have given such a gift, whether infants or adults, for the gift that they have offered? Can you know that each of you, in some of your lifetimes, offered such a gift to others? Keep it in perspective.

We're out of time; this is not a full answer. I will be glad to come back to your questions in future weeks. I find it humorous that while I do not dwell in your linear time I am still bound by its rules! I thank you for sharing your thoughts and energy with me tonight. Once again, I do appreciate your written questions of that which has come to you during the week and been powerful for you. If you have such questions and drop them off or mail them, they are more likely to attended to the next time. I do try to shape my talks out of the questions, written and verbal, that come in to me through the week, as well as through a direction, a plan let us say, for the entire year. My love to you all. That is all.

C: As third density beings we can learn from our own experiences and past lives. As fourth density beings we will be able to learn from each other's experiences and past lives.

Barbara: Aaron says that's why it's so intense getting to fourth density; that's why we need to be so clear before we get there.