February 18, 1993

Aaron: Good morning and my love to you all. I am Aaron. I intend one more class with little new material. I want to hear from each of you how you are working with rebirth consciousness, the planting of the seed. I want only to mention the next two steps on this chain today. I will not bother with Pali words, we will write them into the transcript where they serve a purpose for clarity.

These next steps are of necessary conditionality. Given the existence of nama-rupa or mentality-materiality, there is necessarily the six-fold sense base, the five physical senses and the mind. These are the internal bases, eye, ear, etc. There are also the external bases which are the sense objects. Given the six-fold sense base, and an external object, there is necessarily contact (phassa). This contact is conditioned by both internal and external sense bases. When the internal sense contacts the sense object there is sense contact. Realizing that mind is a sense, when mind contacts the sense object of mind there is contact. When there is knowing of the contact through the mind, there is sense consciousness. Contact and consciousness are not identical.

These two aspects of the chain are self explanatory. As is obvious, even if you shut yourself off as a hermit, the senses will lead to contact. If you do not wish there to be contact, you need to move backward to vinnana, rebirth consciousness. This is the place where one can work.

So we are back to rebirth consciousness and discussion of what plants the seeds for adhering karma? What strengthens the sense of self and solidifies it, and what dissolves it? This is what I would like to hear from each of you-what works for you when delusion of separate self is firm? What works to allow it to dissolve? I will also offer some suggestions, but turn it to you first. That is all.

C: Confusion about what Aaron just said. If we have senses we will have contact?

Barbara: Yes. Once in rebirth we have senses and contact. So we focus on what comes before and after contact, on what plants the seed for becoming or for the creation of adhering karma that solidifies self. Aaron asks, 'What are our strategies?" If we had no adhering karma, then whatever comes would come. Total purity. But we can't do that.

(Barbara talks about last night and the fear that arose when she found out she had been given only one and a half hours in which to teach what she'd expected to have three hours for. But she had time to sit and allow the fear to pass and so there was little adhering karma.

D shares idea of laughing and singing; the ways that humor and openness dissolve self.

Barbara begins reading from a letter that came yesterday from a man reading Aaron. He also talks about humor and the ways it returns him to 'center."

X comes in, very upset about her son's self-destructive threats. We shift to talk with her.)

Aaron: X, I hear your pain. My dear one, as you well know, you cannot make him take care of himself. You cannot keep him from suicide, should he choose that. My conjecture is that he uses intimations of suicide as another way of controlling you. It's one of his tools. I cannot promise you that he will not act on that threat. He has free will. But control is much more on his mind than self-destruction.

It is a very painful situation, magnified of course by your experience of H's death. There is not only your genuine love for your child, but the agony of your gut feeling, 'Could I have prevented this" should he choose death. My friend, you cannot prevent it. If he were seven years old, I would speak differently, but he is an adult. I suppose you could forcefully hospitalize him, but there is no reason for him to be held. These are his growing pains. As with any of the growing pains of your children, you as the parent, may suffer.

You know I seldom give any concrete suggestions, but will do so here. It feels to me that you need to talk very honestly with this young man, and to be sure he hears: 'I love you. I cannot keep you from destroying yourself, whether suicide or that slow destruction which is your present path. I will not allow you to hold that threat of destruction, fast or slow, as a sword of control over my head. My love for you and fear for you are my own work. Sometimes the voice of love must say no, rather than yes. You are an adult. I love you, but I am no longer responsible for you. You must begin to be responsible for yourself or suffer the consequences of your irresponsibility. I feel this is the most loving thing I can say. I do not say 'no" with anger. I say no with love. You may not come back to this house unless you contribute. You may not abuse me, may not threaten me. I love you. I welcome you if you will live with these conditions. I take your getting a job and contributing financially as evidence of your sincerity, that you truly do want to grow and become more responsible. I also take your finding a counselor as evidence of sincerity. If you choose to do so, I will offer you all the help I can. It is your choice."

You have said this in some way or other to M many times. He's learned where you are vulnerable, where he most hurts you. If there is a hint of self-destruction, your terror lets him in, dissolves your 'no." If it is five degrees outdoors and he would freeze, your fear allows him in. He knows how to manipulate. If he could focus a fraction of that energy in positive terms, there would be much healing and growth. Perhaps that possibility of growth is his terror. For whatever reason, he will not allow himself to be independent.

X, I only remind you here to look down the road ten years. This saying no firmly may be the hardest thing you've ever had to do. If you keep saying yes, is there any guarantee he won't eventually kill himself? There are no guarantees either way. You can no longer afford to base your choices on what seems to protect you both in this moment. You cannot protect him from himself. Should he choose suicide, it would be agonizing for you but you are not responsible. You only prolong his movement into learning his own responsibility for himself. Please know that I love you. That is all.

(Barbara continues reading from the letter from a reader: 'Myself as a creek bed for the flow of universal love. When experiencing separation, humor as a bridge back to Joy." (From Bob H., Cincinnati, OH))

(Barbara reads part of last week's transcript, page 2.)

While there is deep love in that desire to help, side by side with that love is the fear, 'I'm not pure enough. I need to prove repeatedly that I am loved and loving." Here is the small seed of doubt of one's innate perfection. Until you believe that utterly, you cannot purely and continually manifest that divine energy, cannot allow its unblocked passage through you. We will talk about ways of deepening the perception of ultimate reality-of the perfection of all that is. How do we learn increasingly to rest in that Pure Mind and know all that arises as manifestation of Pure Mind?

Can you see yourself as a pipe, a conduit, through which this energy may flow? That bit of doubt is just the tiniest impurity, the tiniest fleck of dirt inside of this conduit, a subtle distortion to the energy flow. You are still channeling that level of energy. In your human form, you will never be rid of all the distortion.

I have talked about fear with its projecting points and loving energy as concentric circles. When you see that grain of fear and touch it with compassion, instead of a sharp point projecting into this conduit, you have a rounded bump on the wall, far less distortion.

To graduate from this plane the inner wall of the conduit need not be polished perfectly smooth. It can be filled with bumps, which you will polish in fourth and fifth density. That is the work of these densities. but there may not be any sharp points. You may be afraid but not afraid of your fear.

Aaron: Once you absolutely know this perfection that you are, and can stably rest in that space of pure mind, all rebirth consciousness will cease. As our letter writing friend has said, humor becomes a bridge. You do not laugh at, but with the self. It is a gentle reminder, come back to who you are. Over and over again, come back to who you are. Attend to the fear, smile to the fear, let it be. From where did it arise? Was there ever anything separate of which to be afraid? Was there ever anything which was not manifestation of pure mind? Come back to who you are, with a smile at the self who was caught in distortion.

My dear ones, perhaps the loudest voice heard on the higher planes is the voice of laughter and joy, the voice of the angels singing praise of the Eternal. Where there is laughter, in that moment, there is no delusion. I do not say there is no fear. But fear is seen for what it is-just the small self, jumping up and waving its arms around to be noticed. With laughter, the heart remains connected. Fear is known as distorted manifestation of Love.

Please understand that there are diverse kinds of humor. I do not mean sick jokes but loving laughter that would make you feel better. What I speak of is the laughter of that being who has just fallen SPLAT in the mud puddle, feels a moment of wanting to curse the mud, takes a good look at itself, and laughs; the heavens laugh with you. In that moment you are totally clear, no shadow. Yes, shadow comes back, but less forcefully, the more you practice. I once suggested to Barbara a sign above her desk: 'Am I taking myself too seriously?"

How do you make the transition from the being cursing at the mud puddle to the deep laughter? It can not be forced. But as D suggested, the willingness simply to say 'ha ha ha" does flip a switch. What works for you?

In abusive situations there is a fine line between a self that says 'no" and 'no" said from a selfless place. The self that says no is acting from anger, defending. Acting from a selfless place is not acting from anger or protecting. The NO comes from a connected place, connecting to the fear of the other.

When you sense the presence of fear, of self, you may use specific coping strategies: Walk out. Say, 'I need to be alone, I'll be back when I'm quiet." Hold your speech until fear is no longer the motivator.

Question: When there's pain in my dealings with others, the ego tends to protect by not even revealing the emotion such as fear within. What to do?

Aaron: In that kind of situation, you are not transcending self, but building a shield around the self. You can't make ego or self disappear by willing it. It can't be done. It is not the connected heart that feels battered, but the small ego self. So when you try to get rid of that small ego self, calling attention to it, ego is actually strengthened.

Perhaps you are trying to escape the pain by chopping off the arm to keep the finger from hurting. Pain increases. If you notice the ego wanting to defend itself when there is attack-just noticing 'turmoil"-and can hug that self, it relaxes. You all move to defend when you feel attacked. This is very natural response for the human. The more the focus is on protecting the self, the more enmeshed you become in the illusion that there is a self that needs protection. The heart may feel pain, even grief, and disappointment that the other falls into so much reactivity. The heart has room for that grief without need to defend. The ego is what moves to defend.

When Barbara's children were young, there were times when the baby would come into a room where the five year old was playing with Lego blocks. When the two year old came into the room and reached to grab the forbidden toy, the elder one would stand to keep the tiny blocks out of the baby's reach. The baby would cry, even throw something at his brother, call him all the terrible names that a two year old can dredge up. The elder was a sensitive child, strived hard to be loving to others. It really wounded him to be called names when what he was doing was protecting his brother. There was confusion; which was 'bad," to withhold the toy or to offer the toy that could harm?

In tears, he would seek Barbara, who would hold and hug him, tell him how kind and brave he was to insure his brother's safety even at his own expense. Slowly the small self that needed to be assured of love would dissolve. He began to really hear the baby's frustration. He learned how to give himself that help, to know 'I do not have to please my brother." Acting responsibly, sometimes, means displeasing. Each time he did so, he learned to speak to that aspect of self that wanted to be loved, and instead, to act from a deeper wisdom. From the space where he could hear that in himself that sought love, he learned to hear it in his brother. He found ways to interact lovingly with his brother, to start a new game or otherwise skillfully divert his energy.

We visited with a family in which there was an alcoholic. The parents kept liquor in the house to serve to guests. The son repeatedly invaded that store and drank. There was in the parent both loving concern for the son, and tremendous anger, which they could not allow themselves to express or even acknowledge, but which found its channel through the act of keeping liquor in the house.

What Barbara's elder child learned was to acknowledge how much anger there was. He could have just sat with the Legos, and the baby could have been hurt. Because he was able to acknowledge his anger, the ego that said 'ME!" was seen so that he could act responsibly, rather than act as did the parents of the alcoholic child.

The more you try to get rid of the ego, the more it sabotages through indirect channels. The more love you can bring into fear, the less control the ego has. Think about these two stories and apply them to your own life situations. We are out of time.

(Discussion of homework. More of the same. Watch for the moment when the seed is planted, be it wholesome or unwholesome, through the solidification of self. What works to bring you back into connection?)