Wednesday, May 4, 1994

(Barbara begins by summarizing our work with Aaron over the past few weeks for the benefit of the many new people present.)

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. A simple statement before I start. I offer you my clearest understanding, but I do not claim to speak absolute Truth with a capital 'T.' I am not omniscient. I most certainly am not God, merely a humble messenger and teacher. If what I say rings true to your heart, take it into you and make it your own. If not, simply discard it.

I say I am a teacher but, truly, I do not teach you anything. What I do is to open the door to your own deepest wisdom. You are the teacher in allowing that deep wisdom to blossom. I would far rather that we come to these sessions as beings of different planes learning together, rather than as student and master. I do not wish others to come to depend on me, only to use me as a signpost saying, 'Try this way.'

I am aware there are many of you new here tonight. I trust the process with which we work. This year we have handled these Wednesday evenings differently. Rather than simply giving a talk about this or that, we've been building cumulatively through the year. I have tried to offer these talks so that someone coming in new will not be lost but, at the same time, you will not understand it to the depth that those hear it who come every week.

If there's that which is said which you do not fully grasp, leave it alone. Don't worry about it. Trust your own wisdom and opening heart to allow you to see that which is before you. There's nothing that I'm teaching here that's complex or confusing when you hear it with your heart. Truth is very simple. But if you struggle with it with your brain and try to pin it down, then it gets difficult.

We have been talking for several weeks about the human energy field. If my old friends will be tolerant for just two or three minutes, there is a small bit of background that we will offer. I would like you to visualize a child's drawing of a sun: a round disc with triangles sticking out as sun rays, like ice cream cones. If that whole is the sun, those triangles are simply projections of the sun. There's nothing in a sunbeam that's not of the sun. Yes, there may be dust and other diffused light in the Earth's atmosphere which allows you to see a sunbeam, but without the light and energy of the sun there would be nothing to see.

Let us use this sun, the round ball, as metaphor for God or the Eternal, Absolute or Divine-whatever way you wish to label that. If you do not believe in that which we call God, I offer you the Buddhist phrase taken from a sutra in which the Buddha says, 'There is an Unborn, Undying, Unchanging, Uncreated.' The Buddhist unconditioned or Deathless. So, it doesn't matter what you call this, it is That Which Is.

Each of you begin as a small spark of that, of that infinite energy, light and love. The essence of each being, which is totally without ego, without self, might be likened to that sunbeam. There's nothing there that is not of the Divine.

In your imaginations draw a line from the center of that sun through the sunbeam and on down to the human form. That line is what I call the light line. It conveys that core of divinity down into the human through the crown chakra and straight through all the major chakras to the base chakra. Just as the human has an aura, this whole structure has what I have called an energy field. Around this line of light is the energy stream that projects directly out from the light line, and out from the human form. This is vastly over-simplified but that's the basic concept that you need here.

Now I want to come back to last week's work and to your homework. I asked you to watch the opening and closing of the energy field, of that energy stream. We used the image of the energy represented by balloons. I said that the way I see the bits of energy of this energy stream, it's as if the light line were a magnet. When the energy field is open, the balloons are lightly magnetized: they drift out, there's much open space between them. If there's another being next to you, your energy balloons, if I may call them that-this is not a correct technical term, merely a metaphor-mingle with one another. There's no defendedness there.

When there is fear it acts as if it sent a current through this light line, pulling in the balloons tight, wrapping a skin or shield around them. They become a solid force. I said last week that if one being's energy is contracted in that way and another's remains open, undefended against that anger or fear, the resultant swinging of the contracted one's energy is like a baseball bat swinging in a room full of drifting helium balloons. The current generated as the bat swings through simply guides the balloons out of the way. They're not hit, there's just empty swinging. You can watch another swinging in that way and, if you keep your energy open, you simply are not threatened.

If fear arises in you and your own energy field also contracts, the energy stream solidifies and gets shielding around it. Then the picture is like two baseball bats striking. There's pain. There's reactivity.

My homework assignment for you last week was to find a comfortable place, like a garden, where you could be with the beautifully emerging energy of an opening, blossoming tree or plants, a place where you felt secure, comfortable. I asked you to see if you could either visually see, not with your eyes but with inner seeing, hear, or feel your energy field opening and merging with, embracing, that of the growing plant. I asked you then, after some time of resting in that spaciousness, to allow in a frightening image such as that of a large angry dog bounding across the lawn. I asked you to see your energy contract, or feel it or hear it. Then I asked you to remind yourself, 'This is my imagination. I am safe.' and to see if you could again experience the opening of the energy field. The object of the exercise was to directly experience the open and closed energy and learn to differentiate the experiences of these states. Later, I'd like to get some feedback from you about how that worked.

The intention was not to force yourself to stay open but merely to begin to become more familiar with how it feels when you're open, how it feels when you're closed, to know when you are open that you are open, to know when you are closed that you are closed.

That work was all preparation for what I want to do this week. Those who have not practiced it still can do this exercise. You have to be very alert and you do not have the benefit of the practice but I think you can trust yourselves to know when you're open and when you're closed.

I'm going to ask you to do something a bit difficult now. What I'd like you to do is bring into your mind a painful, frightening, humiliating or sad situation-someplace where your ego felt threatened, where there was a churning of the stomach perhaps and a tensing of the muscles. Perhaps your boss criticized you. Perhaps you got a larger-than-you-expected bill and there was fear about it. Perhaps it is something as simple as a friend calling to break a date. While you knew you weren't being rejected, that the friend really was sick or an unexpected family member had come into town, there was still some sense of rejection. Perhaps a friend or family member or even a pet has been sick and there's fear about it, sadness for that being's illness and fear, 'Will this one get better?' I'm just tossing out a few examples to give you an idea of what I want you to work with-not a major episode in your life, but something where you can sense the contraction.

I'd like you to spend a minute or two now getting into as deep touch with that pain, fear, anger, grasping, whatever it may be as you can. I'll be quiet for a few minutes. (Pause.)

Some of you are conceptualizing about it and not allowing yourselves to feel it. My dear ones, if the pain were not there, then you could not feel it. Because that pain is there, building a wall to screen it out does not dissolve the pain, it simply fragments you and prevents you from feeling. Try to trust me on this. I know there are many new friends here who don't know me, so you have no reason to trust me, but I will not willingly lead any being into a situation of harm. It's safe to feel this pain. You do not need to use intellect to separate yourself from it.

Feeling this pain, experiencing it, I want you to see that it's manageable. It's not overwhelming, you don't have to get rid of it. Send compassion and loving kindness to the being who's feeling it. Figuratively or literally, give yourself a hug. Remind yourself, 'I am safe.' But there is this pain, fear, jealousy or desire.

I want you to look very closely at what has arisen. Can you see, feel or hear the contracting of that energy stream? Can you feel how the arising of a strong sense of a self to be protected enhances separation and puts a wall around the energy stream? See if you can get in touch with that. You may not be feeling separate at all from those sitting beside you, but are you feeling separate from the human or non-human adversary in this scene that you've just thought of, some person or situation toward which there's anger? Something that you feel you need to fix perhaps?

Some of you are feeling a strong contraction, some just a very, very mild contraction. That's fine. What I want to do with you here is walk you through the steps of releasing that contraction and allowing the energy field to reopen. What we are going to do now is a new practice built on some of the old practices we've done before, pulling them together.

First, I ask you each to offer the intention that the work you do right now is for all beings, that you're not just getting rid of your own fear or suffering. As you allow your own energy to open, there's one less baseball bat swinging in the universe. This is an important step. It helps bring attention to the reality of the small ego self and touch that with a sense of mercy and non-judgment, while acknowledging that it is a manifestation of fear and not who you are. Simply offer the intention to serve all beings.

Visualize yourself sitting in a cylinder of light. Feel the light line that reaches from God, the unconditioned, or whatever you wish to call it, down through you. This is the Christ consciousness or Buddha nature. This is the place in you that is and always has been perfect and divine. Visualize at the top, in place of that sun, whatever image is most useful to you. It may be pure brilliant light. It may be the image of such a teacher as Jesus or the Buddha. It may be a more contemporary guru or teacher: The Virgin Mary, Mother Teresa, Mother Meera. Krishna. Ancient or present day.

Focus attention as intently as you can, on that image and feel its radiance moving through this light line and into the physical body. I said earlier that when fear runs through that light line it's like a current of magnetism that contracts the energy stream. This image reverses the pattern of contraction. Brilliant light … Warmth … The loving kindness of the beloved … See if you can experience the way that light and energy dissolves the current of magnetism. See the dissolution of the skin in which these balloons were held … See the balloons letting go, moving out … Breathing … Feeling the continuous movement of light and energy through the light line … Turning inward, so your whole being becomes that light line … That divinity is what you are. All the rest is merely the clothing of the incarnation.

There is a beautiful quotation by a great teacher: 'God, guru and self are one.' Within that light line they are one. Expanding inward … The heart of the universe, the heart of the guru and your heart … One heart … Feel the pulsing of that light and energy … moving straight through the chakras … filling you …

Bring attention now to that perceived threat: that boss's anger or the bill that must be paid … As much as is possible visualize or feel, imagine if you need to, these balloons of your own energy drifting outward … If the boss's anger is very intense, let it simply be the baseball bat that stirs through … Watch how you cannot be harmed by it as long as you don't contract to meet it in fear …

Sometimes the baseball bat will keep swinging. Sometimes, not making contact, it will discern that it also is not threatened and will begin to dissolve. Either way, whether the balloons of that energy open and merge with yours, or whether the kindness of your energy simply embraces that bat as it swings through, feel that you do not need to contract to defend. I want you to experience that your truest defense is no defense at all.

I'm going to be quiet for a few minutes. Keep coming back to the guru or to God, to the energy pulsing through that light line and the opening of your own energy field, and then shifting awareness to that which has threatened. If you contract as awareness shifts, allow yourself again to experience that light and love. Keep shifting back and forth as necessary


That's it; that is the practice. I would like you to practice this exercise through the week in real life, living experience. When somebody is expressing anger or criticism to you and you feel your energy field contracting in defendedness, even while that talk and criticism occur, begin this practice. First express the intention that what you do is for all beings. And then open your energy as powerfully as you can, right there in the midst of the conversation. Remember this energy and light coming through the light line. The more you practice it quietly in meditation, the more it will be available to you in the moment of tension.

Just as we've used breathing as a way to quiet yourself, here you are using this turning inward, expanding inward into the light line, into your own divinity, as a way, not quite of quieting mind, but of remembering who you are. From that place of purest being, you allow the defendedness to dissolve so that you can truly hear the other being's pain and fear. There is no aversion to defendedness, merely the recognition that it is unnecessary in this moment. Let it go. That pain and fear is just the baseball bat which never strikes you. It may strike the ego. That's not who you are. It cannot harm this divine aspect of yourself.

As you try this, I think you will see that without need to defend you can hear the other person's fear and pain. There's no longer need to be right. Compassion grows. You invite the other to stop swinging and open their own energy field. You can't force them to do that. You simply invite them by your own undefendedness. Thus, a secondary result of this practice is harmony. But you're not practicing it solely for harmony. You're not practicing it to create or allow change in another. You're practicing it simply to remember who you are and that you do not need to defend.

There have been some questions about the use of prayer and of affirmation. Several of you have asked me when we will talk about it. I merely wish to point out that this practice that I've taught you tonight is foundation for that discussion. I want you to understand how your energy field works and then we'll talk about how it works while using prayer and affirmation. That's all. Just this simple practice. Do it as much as you can this week and we will talk about it further next week.

I know that there are some questions, especially, 'What if I'm really being attacked?' I would be glad to attend to these questions after your break. I thank you for your attention. That is all.


Q: Sometimes people are rude and discourteous to me at work. Why does this bother me? What can be done about it?

Aaron: I am Aaron. It bothers the aspect that must defend. It bothers the ego. It bothers the one who feels threatened. It doesn't bother the divine core. But there's fragmentation. You lose the perspective so easily. You forget that you are this divine core and begin to identify with the ego. The ego contracts and needs to defend.

When you ask, 'Why does it bother me?' why shouldn't it bother you? Nobody wants to be treated rudely. Rudeness is never pleasant to experience. Even that angel within has a preference to be treated with loving respect and not to be treated rudely. Is it strange, then, that the human prefers not to be treated rudely? Can there be compassion for the human instead of judgment? That's the starting place. When you offer judgment to yourself-'I shouldn't react'-it's a way of cutting yourself off and disallowing your feelings. Then the angel and the ego get into a war with one another. We're trying to integrate them, to allow ego to dissolve.

The question to ask at that point is 'Why am I judging myself?' Perhaps you're afraid of your angry response. Can there be noting 'feeling anger, feeling fear and aversion to my anger?' The more solid your anger, the more you want to shove that person who's being rude. Can you see that? When the heart opens with compassion for the self and says, 'Yes, I prefer not to be present with this anger, it's very unpleasant, very uncomfortable,' then you begin to offer compassion instead of judgment to yourself. Then the anger doesn't build up as much.

From that place of an open heart you begin to see the other's fear. It mirrors your own fear. Not his fear and my fear but our fear. Your two baseball bats. Once you understand that, you can begin to work with a practice such as the one I introduced tonight. You cannot work with it immediately. You can't work with this practice from any stance of 'getting rid of' your reaction. The first step is looking at the judgment, opening your heart to yourself and the fact that there is pain and discomfort. Then allow yourself to expand into your angelness, allowing, through your compassion for yourself, a compassion for the other. Then the step we did tonight naturally follows.

The body is still feeling the physical reverberations of anger. They take longer to dissolve. The physical body is the densest body. The reverberations of the mental body dissolve fastest, the emotional body next and, finally, those of the physical body. You may still feel the tension 'anger' in the physical body, but you don't have to own that anger anymore.

Anger is just energy, whether it's the person-who's-being-rude-to-you's anger or your own reaction. Anger can become a catalyst for deeper hatred when there is lack of mindfulness of the contractions and fear that lie behind it. Or anger can become a catalyst for compassion. Those reverberations of anger in the physical body can simply be a reminder, 'I am feeling fear. The one who's attacking me is feeling fear. Can I have mercy for both of us? Can I allow my heart to reconnect with this rude one's heart, instead of judging him? As I cease to judge myself, I cease to judge him.' Then you're ready to release it. Does this adequately answer the question or would you like me to speak further on it?

Q: Why do I get nervous when I do things that are different from my routine?

Aaron: I am Aaron. There is an ego. It's not solid but, on the relative plane, it certainly seems real. Within this incarnation you are actors in a play. You have agreed to read a certain script, to read the lines. It's a kind of improvisation. The basic scene is set. You have control over your own lines, but over nobody else's. Just as the actor in the play agrees to put on a costume, to play the part to which he is assigned, so you play the part which you've agreed to play and into which the incarnation has led you.

There are certain props for the play. One of them is ego. It comes with the incarnation. Until you get very, very clear, it's going to be part of the incarnative experience. Ego clings to the notion of self. It wants to be someone, it wants to be important, it wants to be loved, it wants to be in control. It spends its time trying to defend itself from that which threatens, or seems to threaten, trying to hold onto that which it thinks it needs to feel safe and comfortable. It moves into the delusion of self and other and sees everything else as that which may harm it, which may not give it what it thinks it needs.

However, you learn early that you only create your part and you can't control the lines of others. It's very scary for ego not to be in control. What ego does then is to try to set up situations which are as safe as is possible. One of the paths of safety is routine. Then ego knows what to expect so it feels secure. If you let go of routine, you never know what's coming next. Routine, in a sense, is playing through a scene and then telling all the characters, 'Okay, this is your part. You don't have to say the identical lines, but you must be true to the character and the mood of that scene.' The next time the improvisation is run through, you know what to expect. People each get into their own particular act and everybody feels safe.

What happens when somebody upsets the apple cart? I digress here. Barbara's mind offers that bit of slang as the way to phrase it and I am simply chuckling at the usage of upsetting an apple cart, apples rolling hither and yon. Chaos! Can you see how much fear arises when you do not know what to expect of another, when you do not know what to expect of a given situation? So, routine protects you.

It's important to see that that same routine also traps you. You're like the swimmer in a vast and beautiful lake. There's a small roped off swimming area on one shore, twenty-five yards across. You'd like to swim for half-an-hour. You're a good swimmer, but it feels safe to stay in this marked area, swimming back and forth. How much freedom there would be to slip under the rope and just swim fifteen minutes out into the lake. You confine yourself and create limits for yourself because you fear your own unlimitedness.

You fear your angelness because to fully acknowledge that angelness is to cut ego through with a sword, and ego does not wish to die. When you move into the awareness of your interconnectedness with all that is, and deeply experience that interconnectedness, you can no longer maintain the delusion of self. To even acknowledge the possibility, 'I don't need to be in control, I don't need to hold onto routine,' just to entertain the possibility of that is threatening. It's threatening to the small ego self.

The more you can connect with the divine self-the more deeply you can experience this angel within you, perhaps through meditation-the more willing you become to take the risk to slip out from under the rope, swim out into the beauty of that lake and experience your vastness.

However, one must not force oneself. The timid swimmer doesn't say, 'Now I must go out and swim into the middle of the lake.' Why not swim under the rope at either end in another twenty-five yards in each direction? Get the feeling of how it is to move a bit past your prior limits. Let go gradually.

Look at your routines, for example, and ask yourself, can I change something just a little bit? If I always park on this level of a parking lot, can I park on the next level? If I always take the stairs, can I take the elevator, or vice versa? If I sit in my office alone and drink coffee, what if I go to a coffee break room, or vice versa? Offer yourself small challenges and watch very mindfully. 'What is the fear about? How does holding to a routine allow me to feel in control? What happens within me when I don't feel in control? Can I allow myself to experience that out-of-controlness in small ways, and slowly build up a sense of my true unlimitedness?'

This way, it is a gentle process and not a judgmental 'I should get rid of routine, I should get rid of ego.' That's just more judgment. Work with it gently. That is all.

Q: Lately I've been seeing how greatly people suffer, how horrible the things are that happen to people. I feel so much fear because I see no reason why my family and I should be exempt from these horrors. But to overcome this fear requires that I separate myself from these people by saying that those people in some way asked for it. But I know this isn't the skillful way. How to deal with this fear?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Truly there is tremendous suffering in the world. And yet, the experience of suffering is relative. We often see it through our own eyes and not through the eyes of another. There is a story, an old story. Several wise men have met to discuss suffering and how one can maintain happiness and connection with God even when there's suffering, how one cannot blame God for one's suffering.

They've noted that in the village where they live, in the outskirts of the village, there resides a man who is a poor farmer. This man owns land which is filled with rocks and the soil is not very fertile. At dusk when others are preparing to return home, he's still out in his field hauling in boulders. He had a son who helped him, but the son died. His wife is very sick. And yet, this man always seems to have a smile. When he comes to town, he's friendly, he's joyful.

So they resolved to go out and ask him, 'In the face of all your suffering, how do you maintain this joy?' They find him in his field. His beast that pulls his plow is lame, so he is hauling the rocks out by hand. They watch him struggling for a few minutes and then approach to ask him, 'With all the suffering in your life, how do you maintain faith and joy?' He looks at them with a bit of bewilderment and says, 'I'm sorry, I can't answer that. You've come to the wrong person. I'm not suffering.'

Suffering grows from resistance to what is. When we open our hearts to what is, there may be very real pain-physical and emotional pain, grief, loss-but that's very different from suffering. As long as you are human there's going to be pain. Who can say who feels the most pain: the mother that just lost her child through starvation or by a bullet from a soldier in another country, the mother who just lost her child in an automobile accident, or the mother who has not lost her child's physical existence at all but watches that young person destroy her or himself with drugs? Are they all suffering equally?

Those who can open their heart to the dreadful pain of their situation and the fact that they have no control over it, for whom it ceases to be my pain and becomes the world's pain-all the mothers' pain who have watched their children bear terrible wounds and heavy loads-from this place of connected heart, the pain is no lighter, but there's no resistance to it and it no longer feels like the universe is personally attacking you.

I understand what the asker of this question means when he or she looks at the fear that suffering will happen to its own more fortunate family who is in good health, who lives in a place where it may not expect violence against itself. We love those in our family, we want to protect them. The sense of separation that the asker refers to grows out of pointing a finger and saying their suffering, keep it distant from me. I believe that this asker needs to look more deeply at itself, and even at its own family, and to acknowledge the pain which is there.

As I said, pain is relative. If your son is not accepted to the college he wished to attend and feels rejected, hurt, angry, can you judge that that is less painful than this young man across the world who could not find adequate food today? Judging mind tries to balance everything and says, well, starvation is worse than not getting into school. How can we judge another's pain?

What is the fear of acknowledging the depth of your own pain? Once you fully sink into the reality of that pain-and I don't mean to dwell in it, to muck around in it and find a need to rant and rave about it, only to be aware of how little control you really have in your life-then the heart connects with the whole world that doesn't feel in control, the whole world of vulnerable beings who fear their needs will be unmet. Through that connection, the fear of the pain dies away as ego fades. This is the important part.

Pain simply is pain. It's part of the human condition. Sometimes there's going to be tremendous joy, sometimes there's going to be pain. Every person who you know and love, who was born, is going to die. We grieve at death and rejoice at birth. Maybe we should grieve at birth: This poor person has just moved into a situation where he's going to die. He's just been condemned to death. And then we should rejoice at death: This person has passed beyond the immediate realm of human suffering.

I'm not suggesting that you take me literally. I only want you to see that you cannot control it, that you think your loved ones are safe but they're not. They're going to die. Perhaps they'll live a long, healthy life first. You are fortunate not to live in a place where bombs are falling. On the other hand the crime in your culture and the chances of death through an automobile accident or some such is much higher than in other parts of the world.

Let go of the delusion that you're safe. Allow the heart to connect and see that when it ceases to be my pain or your pain, and simply becomes our pain, the pain of the shared heart, there is space for it all. The illusion of your separateness creates the illusion of a tiny heart. How big is your individual heart-this big? The size of a baseball. The heart you all share is infinite space in which all that pain can float. Then pain does not become a catalyst for suffering. As the man in the story said, 'Yes, my son died, my land is poor, my wife is sick, my ox is lame, but I am not suffering.'

It really is very workable. It begins with one's deep observation of one's own fear of lack of control. It's very much related to the prior question about routine. How is the ego striving to stay safe? What if the ego begins to acknowledge both that it cannot maintain safety on the relative plane, and that on the ultimate plane the divine core of the self always is, was, and will be safe? Seeing the fear, begin to work with it with mindfulness, and then with these light/energy practices. That is all.