April 22, 1993

(We began with 15 minutes of silent meditation.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. Good morning, and my love to you all. I want to start today as I had intended to start last week, hearing from you about what you had seen arising in this segment of the chain from contact to mental formation. Have you been able to see the shift from neutral to liking or disliking? Have you been able to see the old mind conditions which influenced that shift? What happened when that conditioning was observed? Did you stay in like/dislike? Did you come back to neutral? What was observed? When you stayed in like or dislike, could you observe any arising of mental formation out of that sensation? Who was observing? Was there a self there in like or dislike? If observing old mind led to return to neutral, did mental formation still arise? Was there a self in mental formation? If the mental formation led to action, word, or thought, did those acts, words and thoughts plant a seed for adhering or non-adhering karma? Were you able to observe the planting of that seed?

Since each act, word and thought has multiple motivation, you will rarely have seen one that was entirely pure, but perhaps you will have seen more space and less reactivity, perhaps not. I would find it valuable for you to share with me and one another. Then we will look deeper at this whole segment of the chain. That is all.

Discussion: (Old Mind concept very useful, for example, in chiropractic care for bad back-fear arising, noting this, moving back to neutral. Useful to see the old mind-difference between 'bad' touch and 'good.' Other examples. Therapist seeing this movement in clients, nurse seeing it in patients. Leads to more empathy. Discussion of seeing movement in selves and coming 'home.' Talking about the last part of Aaron's talk last week, the way the thought or emotion 'self-liberates,' and one returns to clarity. Sharing our experiences of that shift and resting in pure awareness.)

Barbara: Aaron has often said there are two parts: first, seeing the old mind patterns and giving ourselves permission to experience that old fear, and second, starting to separate the emotional body and the mental body where they have become entwined. When the mental body comes into clear seeing, then we know, 'I don't have to get caught.' We rest in that pure awareness. There's so much freedom in that. Then we see the habitual aspect of the getting caught and can stop holding those habits.

Aaron: One might liken this to a situation in which you have a bog behind your house. Each time you go out you pull on knee high boots. You become used to the effort of stepping into calf deep mud, pulling the foot out, moving it and stepping back into the mud-a painstaking walking process. As you work with the bog of old mind, the sun of your clear perception dries the mud. For some time after the mud is gone, you may cling to your boots and that high stepping gait that was previously necessary. Each time you walk, you lift your feet to clear them of the now non-existent mud. If you pay attention, you may remind yourself, I don't have to walk that way anymore. The boots are the last to go-a final act of freedom, taking them off and putting them aside.

We will talk more today about this connection between the bodies. We get increasingly complex. We need to take smaller and smaller bites so the concept does not run ahead of experience.

Look not only at where we shift from neutral, but why. Blaming is a way to maintain control. 'If I can pinpoint what's going wrong, then I can fix it and stay safe.' We must take care not to abuse these teachings in this way. It needs to be a deeper look, with the question, 'How did fear arise?' not 'Where can I lay blame?' There must be willingness to let go of barriers and feel vulnerable. Last night I gave a talk about feeling helpless and whining as ways of maintaining barriers. One must ask, 'What is the prime motivation here; to bring myself back to safety, or take the risk of discovering deeper truth?' When you understand more of this, you will not misuse the practice to deepen the illusion of separate self.

C: (Talking about jealousy, past lives and old mind in 3-way relationship.) It feels like I'm such a failure when I keep recognizing old mind at work when I'm trying to create new, more loving response. I see how it arises but feel stuck in it. Is it karma that keeps locking me into the same misunderstandings?

Aaron: This is a good time to move deeper into karma. We have spoken of karma as the planting of a seed. If you planted just one seed, it would be quite simple. You plant a seed for sweet fruit and just sit back and watch. Add water, sunlight, fertilizer and watch the tree grow and blossom. What we are more realistically doing is taking an area of soil the size of this room. In places the ground has been tilled, the soil turned and smooth. In places there are rocks and weeds. Here there is a steep hill; beyond, it's level. You are not planting one seed but thousands, so here you come, two handfuls of seed thrown to the wind.

You have all been faced with a situation in your garden where a small plant is emerging, still very fragile, and immediately adjacent, gripping the soil tenaciously, is a weed. You can't pull it out by the roots without uprooting your small plant. You can be aware of its presence, perhaps snip it out at ground level, but it will grow again. Ultimately it must be uprooted. Nurture the beautiful plant that bears sweet fruit. Keep snipping. Skillfully, keep that weed under control, and nurture the fragile sprout which grows sweet fruit. When the sprout becomes strong and full, you will no longer have to uproot the weed. The strength of the sweet plant will have led that weed to dissolve.

Now remember, this is happening in a garden with not just those two plants, but thousands. Old mind conditioning cannot be simplified. For example, the child who was abused and hated that abuse learned fear and hatred because of the violation of its physical body. That is one seed. The child might have learned that it was valued when it completely subjugated its own need to another. In other words, it was valued as the receptacle for abuse, was loved when it was submissive and non-argumentative. When a situation arises which calls that abuse to mind, both sensations will move simultaneously through the now adult child. One is anger, desire to protect, even perhaps desire to flee the body, with accompanying rage and fear. The other, however distorted it may seem, will be the thought, 'Here is an opportunity to feel valued even if only as that upon which others may wipe their muddy feet.'

That's only two simultaneous catalysts. What happens in actuality is that the being may be even more confused, with a multitude of motivations and memories.

We learn to sort this out, to see the old mind conditioning that has lead not to just one pattern, but to an interwoven tapestry with strands of many patterns. One begins to see which are skillful, which are not. One begins to see the distortion out of which reaction arose.

Another part of this tapestry is the interweaving between physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. The pure mental body is pure thought. It has no preferences. It is simply that aspect of mind capable of association untainted by attachment or aversion, and capable of both abstract and concrete thought. This pure mental body can look at the stories of the emotional and physical body, and see the attachments and aversion that have arisen. Memory process can note the aversions and stay in neutral.

Consciousness is aware that the mental body differentiates 'I' in order to express itself but this 'I' is understood as a tool, a useful manifestation of illusion. It has no solidity to it. For example, I, Aaron, must have a sense of self in order to access memories and choose the most useful information to share. Simultaneously I know that this self is simply something held in intactness as a useful tool. When it ceases being a useful tool, it will be released.

Buddhist teaching speaks of taking a raft to the farther shore of understanding. Your religious traditions and teachings may be such a raft. Your spiritual practices are such a raft, as is the Dharma itself … Once you have crossed you do not carry the raft on your back. You leave it on the shore. The self, the illusion of self, and the mental body are such rafts. The mental body knows that the self is a useful tool. The mental body knows that even the mental body is part of that tool. When the being is ready to move into seventh density, that tool, too, is relinquished. It serves no more purpose.

There is confusion because we do not clearly distinguish what is the proper content of the mental body and what belongs to the emotional body. Anger, jealousy, greed, impatience, these are of the emotional body. Awareness that one is experiencing this or that is of the mental body.

What happens is that the ego wants to maintain itself at all costs. It snares the mental body into this maintenance, so the mental body moves to protect 'I' as if it were real, rather than simply observing this illusion of separate self.

You have heard me speak of the frequency vibration of the light body. What follows is a gross oversimplification. Each of the four bodies has its own quasi-independent frequency vibration. In a positively polarized being, the spirit body has the highest vibration. The physical body, the lowest. Spirit body aspires to bring the four strands into harmony. When the emotional body is based on a foundation of fear, it resists that pull to harmony, wanting instead to maintain its present illusion of separation and safe reverberation.

This is why one must work with gentleness. The more the mental/spirit body judges the emotional or physical body, shames it with 'should' or 'shouldn't,' the more it moves into unwholesome co-dependent patterns with those lower bodies. This judgment is precisely what the emotional body may be after. It continues the pattern as it has known it, attempting to reconfirm self, attempting to feel safe. When its fears are greeted with kindness, it is drawn into the process of relinquishment of fear, the process of growth and of greater harmony to the whole. The physical body follows much the same pattern, but is slower to change. We will speak of this in more depth in the future when we begin to work with light and energy.

When you look at your old and unskillful patterns, you may clearly see the old mind conditioning shaped by the fears of what has happened to you in the past. You see that awareness of what created pain, and the desire, however unskillful or deluded it seems, to recreate that pain are both within you. You see how the semblance of safety lies within the dreaded pain. Traditional psychotherapy calls this patterning 'repetition compulsion.'

You cannot move past old mind conditioning with the statement, 'I know what caused it; now I should let it go.' No matter how much you retrain yourself, you are like one addicted. When the substance is brought around again, there's craving, even years later. One must observe that while the mental body has moved past that addiction and the emotional body has healed, there is still scar tissue, so to speak. This is scar tissue on the light body. It is illusion but you continue to react as if it were real. It must always be treated with love. Yes, eventually that scar tissue will dissolve, but it happens very slowly. Next year we will begin to look at ways to work with that scar material. For now, only notice and allow it to dissolve as it will, in the clear light of deepening awareness.

For some weeks we have been focusing on the process of watching movement into this active moment where old mind conditioning pulls mind out of neutral. We have needed to focus awareness on this process to understand it. Over the long run, skillful work with old mind conditioning is not just with mindfulness. We must recognize the addictive quality of fear. There must be a balance of nurturing that inner garden, creating skillful, joyful, peaceful spaces in which the being finds itself reverberating to a new note of harmony. Yes it is still a habit, albeit a more skillful habit. There is still adhering karma from an illusion of a self that nurtures. Eventually that, too, will go. For now, you might think of it as similar to a nicotine patch. You do not continue to provide fear for the emotional body to reattach to, but offer a replacement for fear which becomes so profound in the experience that the emotional body finally relinquishes its addiction to fear and comes into harmony with the spirit body. Think of it as a fear patch, its content being lovingkindness, self-nurturing, joy and peace.

Each time you move into that nurturing and relinquish attachment to the fear vibration, you come to a deeper sense of knowing your true self, the aspect of you that is empty of self, and fearless. Someday you will find that this true self becomes your deepest truth and delusion is seen clearly for what it is.

Are there questions?

D: Does there continue to be the forming of adhering karma while you're learning to be more skillful but still digress occasionally? What if I see the fear and don't react, but there's still someone not reacting? What if I could completely remove fear?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Yes, there is still adhering karma. This is a fear patch, not radical surgery which has cut out all fear and transplanted only total openness. It works gradually with your own effort and intention, which constantly change. It grows out of your free will. The radical surgery could only be done at the hands of another. While, if such were possible, it might create complete purity of the past and on into this moment, in the first moment after the surgery when you noticed pain there would be aversion to pain, anger at the pain and the cycle would begin again. The fear patch provides a gradual weaning from the old addictions of fear.

C: I think you're saying that once we have a shift in mental body we begin the process of reprogramming emotional body. I assume that all of the work of being kind to ourselves and prayer and meditation are part of the reprogramming process. Is there a way of focusing attention particularly on emotional body reprogramming or do they happen simultaneously?

Aaron: I am Aaron. If the focus is on finding what is 'wrong' with the self, getting rid of this or that, even if there is deep aspiration to purify and harmonize one's energy, that getting rid of will become the overriding message. It is part of this ongoing dialogue with fear. Here you are bargaining with fear, 'If I get rid of this or that, then I'll be okay, then I'll be safe.' Then action to 'improve' the self becomes just another barricade that you hide behind. Meditation and prayer can be forms the barrier takes.

One must always watch what is the overriding focus: to find safety or to allow the self to become increasingly undefended? Is the intention to allow the delusion of separate self to dissolve, to come back into wholeness with all that is? When the latter is the overriding focus, meditation and prayer serve very differently no longer as barriers to connection, or places behind which one may stay safe, but as path to connection. Do you understand?

(Barbara shares a story about snorkeling, meeting with a shark, and moving into terror. Old mind! She also shares a spider story-a spider on her sweater that was really a burr. Old mind! We discuss how to work with such experience in the ways Aaron has talked of above, noting the arising of old mind, seeing any desire to stay in that place where fear is center, and then not 'getting rid of' fear but allowing it to dissolve, replacing it, so to speak.)

Aaron: Homework. When fear arises this week, I want you to do two things. First, work with it as we have been practicing, seeing how it arises, seeing the old mind and returning to bare perception. Also please ask yourself, is there any attachment, at any level, to that fear. What if I were not afraid? What might I be experiencing? That is all.