Volume 2, Number 2, May 1994

We are working in two directions, the horizontal and vertical … On the horizontal plane we deal with each human, its suffering, neurotic tendencies, fears, dreams and hopes. We regard each being trying to find the healing for which it took birth. On the vertical plane we find the ever-healed.

So the ideal path combines the horizontal work of dissolving the fragmentation and the vertical work of moving into true understanding of emptiness of self. Most of you have related to the world from a center of "me." That is the root of so much of your suffering. You know that. You have each experienced the difference when you come out of that "me" and move with a truly compassionate heart that experiences its connections with the earth itself and all which there resides. How do we find that true self within us? Not the small ego self, but the Buddha or Christ Consciousness, Pure Awareness, the pure, illuminated mind? It is a space all beings experience at times, but you are not taught to recognize the experience.

Once you identify that space, stabilize your experience and become more and more able to live from within it, the reality of your ultimate, true being consistently penetrates the illusion of "me," so that when you see yourself grasping and afraid you know that is relative reality. Then the experience of true self comes in and says "There's nobody here to be afraid, there is nothing to be afraid of. It's just old mind doing its thing. Just that." Then you begin to know your fear as illusion, touch it with compassion, and allow it to release itself …



Barbara's Letter

Aaron's Pages

October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Ann Arbor, MI

November 10, 1993, Ann Arbor, MI. Excerpt.

November 3, 1993, Wednesday. Meditation and talk.

October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Ann Arbor, MI

October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Ann Arbor, MI

Barbara's Letter

Dear Friends,

I sit by the warmth of a blazing fire on this damp morning, perhaps one of the last fires of the season. Outside, buds on the tree are spring's answer to the coolness of the air, and although it's just past six, the sky is already growing lighter. When I lit this fire, I turned last night's coals and found embers still burning. I began to reflect on how untended, hot coals may kindle new wood and form a new blaze. If watched mindfully, turned and allowed to exhaust itself, the entire fire finally dies. We are much like that fire. The embers of old karma and old misunderstanding continue to smolder and may light new blazes within us unless we mindfully turn the embers and allow old-mind conditioning to be revealed and to burn itself out.

I had a very powerful and unexpected experience this spring that I'd like to share with you. A student and friend generously invited me to accompany her to a small town in Germany, home of a woman called Mother Meera. I'd heard of Mother but knew little about her. The back cover of her book, Answers, gives the following statement: "Mother Meera was born in 1960 in a village in South India. She soon showed herself to be an unusual child; by the age of three she would report 'going to various lights.' The state of samadhi [deep meditation] was constant for her … she lived for some time at the Aurobindo ashram where her extraordinary presence attracted considerable attention. She now lives in Germany where thousands of devotees from all over the world come to receive her darshan, her silent bestowal of grace and light." Beyond this small background, several years ago I had read about Mother Meera in Common Boundary magazine. This article spoke about the idea that she is regarded by many to be an avatar, or incarnation of the divine, specifically the Divine Mother.

This article left me curious, but with little desire to go and see for myself. I figure I'm Jewish by birth, a member of a Christian (Quaker) Church, and a Buddhist practitioner and teacher. Vipassana meditation is very clearly a foundation of my spiritual path. I have a teacher, Aaron, and a guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Really, what more do I need??? Enough! So I enjoyed reading but was not drawn to experience. Now I was invited and furthermore, my overwhelmingly full schedule had only a single free span of two weeks in all of this year-the two weeks for which I'd been invited. When the universe puts out road signs which say "This way …" I've learned not to argue. With some curiosity I read Answers, and Andrew Harvey's Hidden Journey in which the author talks about his own spiritual path, guided by Mother. His images are sometimes very dramatic, which I read as description of his subjective experience rather than as any kind of absolute "truth" about Mother Meera. In February, we headed off to Germany.

Many of you who knew about my trip and have heard of Mother have asked me, "Is she really a Divine Mother?" and "Can one really be healed or changed in some way by another person's energy?" I don't have any definitive answers for you. What follows (in italics) are excerpts from my journal of those two weeks. Please remember that this is offered only as my experience, written as honestly as I am able, and not as truth about anyone or anything. Please also remember that if you have also seen Mother Meera and our experiences are different, that is not proof of anything wrong with either of us, only that we had different experiences. We are each unique; what and how we respond to anything will differ.

… Just after seven everyone rose and Mother walked in. She wore a lovely sari, is petite but not frail looking, very beautiful. Although upon close look her facial features are not perfect, she is radiant. She sat, we sat, and Adilakshmi, her helper, come up first for darshan. Each comes up as moved to do so and kneels in front of Mother, head bent down. She takes their head in her hands and holds it for about 30 seconds, which is called "pranam." Then she releases her touch, the person looks up and into her eyes for some moments, the "darshan" stage. To conclude, Mother withdraws her gaze, like a curtain being drawn, and the person rises, may bow or do whatever feels right, and goes back to his/her seat. Next … That's it as for as the surface actions.

Her motions are graceful, very beautiful. There are no specific rituals but most people bow, many prostrate themselves. She seems totally empty in receiving this. There's no one there. There's a line in the Bible where Jesus says that when we worship Him we worship God, "Not for my glory but His …" This is what I felt from her. No ego. People's bows were simply channeled through her to God. Totally empty, yet graciously receiving.

When darshan began, what I saw amazed me. I had wondered if Andrew Harvey's descriptions were his own subjective perception as opposed to "real" on any impersonal level. I wasn't expecting what I saw. As Adilakshmi knelt and Mother reached out, I saw brilliant light surround her, truly the raw energy of the universe. It was like watching a white tornado pour into Mother, around her and touching the crown of her head. There was raw, infinite power, brilliant, immense. Mother seems to filter this. Her fingers touched Adilakshmi's head, there was a moment's expectant pause, and then the energy coming in to her poured out, but gentled, selected, through her fingers. I was watching tamed lightening come from her hands. I sat mesmerized for two hours observing this process. The energy going into Mother was always the some. For each person what came through her hands differed in color and intensity. I felt as if she were measuring each person's need and capacity and pouring in the quantity and spectrum of that energy that was needed.

Darshan was drawing to a close. Few people were left, only myself and one other. I was trembling at the thought of what it was going to feel like to have this fire touch my head. I knelt; she placed her hands. In all honesty I can only say I felt nothing. Not "nothing"; I felt her gentleness and impersonal love. But I didn't feel this fire, although I'd watched her offer it to 150 people. I knew what we looked like. But there was no sensation.

Her eyes. One drowns in them. They are immense. No person in there; just God. I can't explain it. I have never met a person before whose gaze I could not hold comfortably. With this first darshan, I felt she was looking into every comer of my being. I felt shame, fear, guilt, and realized as I returned to my seat that these were all from me, not her. I felt that she saw everything I have ever tried to hide from myself, but she does not judge; of that I'm certain.

After all had been up for darshan, about 2 1/2 hours, she rose, we all followed and stood while she walked from the room. The biggest impressions were of the immense energy which passes through her and her total emptiness during darshan. I never met her out of darshan and have no idea if that same emptiness is present. I found great beauty and courage in what she does. Also inspiration as one of the questions I'd come with was how I may more skillfully do my own work, as channel and dharma teacher, emptying of self to allow that truth to move through me. I'd asked, "What do I do with the ego which may create distortion?"

I can't begin to tell the whole of these two weeks, nor would the details interest you; it's just my story, personal variations on a universal theme. Somehow I was led to look deeper in myself than I ever have before. Was it Mother who led me there? I can't say. But I found within me the places where the embers of ego still burned, found the hot coals of fear, prejudice, and judgment. A breeze fanned those embers to a roaring blaze. Rarely have I experienced such a depth of turmoil and rage, and not at all in recent years. My dreams and meditations were filled with this violence. I know it was where I most needed to look. I dream of a huge dam, mile high wall of earth shaking with the pressures of the sea behind it. It bursts, not by chance but led by the command of a strong being. Debris and water flies at me. She is earth and water, raw energy filling her being, and she is the refuge. She is beside me, tells me to stand close and I'll be safe, I take her hand and AM safe, feeling this immense force flow past me but not destroy me. Its power is infinite. I feel it strip away layers of posturing, old opinions, fear, especially the fear of allowing myself to be vulnerable. I stand naked, stripped even of skin, no boundary to separate self from the world. But I am safe. She holds my hand. Can I allow the dam to burst in real life, allow myself to be thus engulfed by the shadow in self and world? Can I embrace that shadow?

As one example of daytime experience, there was a village war memorial where I often walked and looked at the names of those village youth who had died, but nowhere were the names written of the victims of these soldiers. Victims/persecutors; right/wrong; good/evil. All the dualities that were left inside me erupted in outrage, against whom? In darshan I was so angry I feared I would fling it at Mother at this so-called incarnation of God. Yet day after day as I went up for darshan she took my head into her hands, looked into my eyes, and the profundity of her non-judgment was apparent. I was the judge; only me. Where is compassion to be found? How do we open our hearts to ourselves? Can these old fears and judgments finally be seen for what they are, product of old-mind's distortions, and be let go? How do we allow ourselves finally to rest in the light of truth?

Day by day I was offered the opportunity to look at this shadow in myself, and sensed such loving support for the looking that it was possible. Each arising of judgment, fear and prejudice was seen so clearly as illusion, as the product of old conditioning, old delusions. Each time I noted that arising, saw its empty basis and that it had no solidity, the reality of that natural Radiance beyond all arising became stronger. There is no duality. There is nothing to fear, even in these arisings of old mind's rages. Neither can they be discarded. On the relative level, what I call "I" has experienced this and seeks compassion. On the ultimate level, it is all just mist, the gauzy fabric of old delusion. Where is my gaze fixed, on the shadow or the light? What is "real"? Slowly my discomfort with my "own" shadow fell away.

Meditation: I begin to see a wall before me, like a rounded half globe. It is immense, and very steep and smooth, with no visible hand holds. At the top is brilliant light but I am far below in darkness. I am asked to climb it. As I look at the slick surface, Light illuminates a foot and hand hold. Each time I reach up into utter blackness, a light falls on a new place to reach, and the crevice opens to receive hand or foot. Beyond is darkness, until the light at the top. There is a fear that there will not be a new crevice, but with each step up, light illuminates the next indentations. Below is a void. I must stay in this moment, in this light. I cannot look down or I will fall; I must stay in this moment. Do not look ahead or behind. Trust the Light. Stay in it. I feel increasing trust as I climb. I hear the thought, "always trust God." I do not have to see beyond this one handhold. I don't have to know where the path is going. It is a path of pure awareness, pure Light. Trust it. I feel infinite energy and Love is the light at the top, radiant, sending down its rays to me in my darkness.

I cannot begin to describe the meditation that followed, as I sat for two hours … with image of the dome to be climbed. The room behind me gradually filled with light [of darshan]. My body/mind felt like a putrescent wound, pus filled and about to burst. After some time of looking at the pain and anger, noting it, noting the aversion to what was being felt, and experiencing how one condition gave rise to the next, mind cleared. I had an image of myself as a child, my hand slapped for some minor offense, saw that child's "righteous" rage, saw her pain, and something melted, I enfolded her in my arms and held her. I did not judge her nor the one who slapped her.

Then the images came faster, so many scenes from so many lives, first minor injuries, then greater ones. With each I needed to look at both the "victim" and "perpetrator" of violence, see they were no different, allow whatever rage or pain was there to deepen compassion, then release judgment, fear and anger. I went through this with the five karmic ancestors with whom I've worked most closely. With each, I experienced their time of greatest pain, saw how peace was lost through their own self-judgment which solidified the illusion of "self" and dissolved clarity, and not through the painful event.

Finally I sat with … (a past life figure). We wept together at man's lack of ability to cease reactivity to fear, at the ways we distort and create horrors for one another. We looked together at the very foundation of our mutual judgments, opinions, prejudices and fears. We saw the arising of rage, just another thought, nothing solid at all, just that which arose from conditions of pain and horror. Noting it, it goes. Nothing to do. No judgments about our own anger. Nothing to own or fixate on. Stay in the light, one handhold at a time as it is illuminated. If there is a rock in the path, there is a rock. If there is rage, there is rage. Nothing to own, no one to own anything. Focus. One step at a time. Watch how it arises, empty of self. Stay in the light. We watch emotions and judgment arise. Together we release these to the Divine, to the Light. There is no getting rid of. There is embracing of it all, and release of that ego-based duality which is finally clearly seen as illusion.

Finally I go up for darshan. She is the top of the dome, sitting in a blazing ball of energy1light. One step at a time. It is hard to walk this physical body to her. I kneel and feel her touch. For the first time I am aware of the physical sensation of that energy as it enters me. It is the most tender thing I have ever felt. I look in her eyes and find only absolute love and compassion.

I wonder later, is this my subjective displacement of my experience upon her? It doesn't matter. However it happened, it happened. Healing is deep. No need to question from where it comes. I have never seen her human person directly in these meditations but strongly feel she has been the guiding force, has opened me to what I most need to learn and revealing that, has given me the loving strength to deal with delusion and release it.

Is she "The Divine Mother"? I can't answer this. I can only offer this experience as honestly and objectively as I can and leave you to your own interpretations. Would these experiences have surfaced anyhow because of the intensity and depth of my meditation practice and the fact of being in Germany? Again, I don't know. I do know what I saw in darshan, the energy moving into and out of her. It was the most tender and exquisite gesture I have ever seen; it moved me deeply. Within that 2 1/2 hours of darshan I felt her complete emptiness, which also moved and inspired me. I have no idea what she is like at other times. I have seen that emptiness on occasion from teachers who don't claim to be avatars. It is not proof of being an avatar, only proof of having learned emptiness, no small thing!. My personal interpretation is that her energy was with me constantly and guided the path of learning and healing of this week. I can't prove that, nor does it matter to me. I was not taken where conscious thoughts might have led me, but truly to the depths of my soul's confusion, and found healing there. I find I have much love for her, and gratitude for what I was given. But I don't believe she healed me; the power for this grows out of our own divinity, out of finding and resting in that place of clearest Radiance in ourselves. Can a Divine Mother facilitate that work; My guess is "yes," but does not do the work for us. We do it, with whatever help the universe offers us. Do I need to return ? No. Would I return if it were possible? Most certainly, yes.

Those embers: I'm sure there are more of them. The fire of "ego" is not yet out. I no longer need to put it out. When it next arises, I will better know it as a manifestation of the Light. No "good" and "bad"; nothing to fear; no where to go.

I wish each of you a joyous spring, filled with love and with the experience of your own inner Light.


If you'd like to know more about Mother Meera, the book Answers may be available in your local bookstore or can be ordered from Meeramma Publications, 26 Spruce Lane, Ithaca, NY 14850 ($9.95 plus $3 shipping and handling). You can call Meeramma at (607) 257-1715 for information about this and other books by and about Mother Meera.

Page 1-2 type was to be one size smaller, book review and assorted notes planned to fit here. I'm just home today from 9 days in the hospital. Yes, feeling better. My loving thanks to all whose cards, prayers and visits speeded my recovery.

The most important lesson of this week of illness: letting go. Are you familiar with the myth of Sisyphus, a Greek king who was condemned to the hell of pushing a boulder up a hill every day, only to have it roll back each night? I spent much time on my back, looking at the desire to heal, seeing I couldn't keep the boulder at the top-not in the hospital nor anywhere in my life.

With that lesson in mind, this page is perfect just as it is!!!

Aaron's Pages

My greetings to you. I appreciate this opportunity to speak to so many of you and to choose among past tapes those which I feel would be most beneficial to share. As you read my words, please remember that I am not omniscient. I offer my teaching to be truth only as l perceive it. If it rings true to you and helps you gain understanding, use it. If not, throw it away. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. My love to each of you as we walk this path together.


The following pages are transcribed from channeling sessions. They have been edited by Aaron to fit them into the available four pages. Some additions have been made by Aaron for clarity in these adaptations from longer transcripts.

All of the transcripts in this issue are excerpts from the fall, 1993 Wednesday Night Class in Ann Arbor. The full transcripts of the semester are available as a bound collection, The Path of Natural Light.

October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Ann Arbor, MI

Aaron: … each of you has a light body, which is the perfect blueprint out of which the physical body is replicated. There is what I will call sub-light body, a projection of the light body … For reasons which I will explain at a later time, contractions of the physical/emotional/mental body leave a reverse imprint as scarring on this projection of the light body, like the wrinkles in this paper. [Barbara crumples paper.] The metaphor with the paper is not perfect, but it will do. Each of you saw the perfect, smooth paper before it was crushed. Within this wrinkled piece of paper is the perfect, smooth paper. The potential for that perfect paper, the blueprint (that's the closest word I can give you) for that piece of paper, is still there … the perfect, unwrinkled paper still exists!

… Untended trauma creates scars in this sub-light body. The scars are illusory scars and yet, on the relative plane, they seem real. Can you all see that within the wrinkled piece of paper lies the perfect, unwrinkled piece of paper? Within the somewhat illusory scars on this projected light body is the perfect light body. The scars are illusion and yet when the human manifests the energy blockages in the physical body it manifests scarring in the sub-light body, in those areas of physical body blockage. These are karmic blocks; that's the closest I can come to it. This is why some of you are prone to back ailments, migraine headaches, stomach ailments, weak knees, or a shoulder that becomes disjointed easily. It's not just that that area was injured and has become weakened. That area was injured because there was already blockage in it and it was weak to begin with. So when you fell, that's the part that accepted the injury.

The same pattern occurs with the emotional body and its distortions.

November 10, 1993, Ann Arbor, MI. Excerpt.

M: At the level at which the sub-light body is perceived as unwrinkled, is there a self to perceive it?

Aaron: I am Aaron. There is simply pure awareness which is aware of its perfection and which willingly enters into the illusion of self to provide itself with the tools for clarifying self-awareness and perception. Does that answer your question?

M: When the awareness moves into this sense of self, at that point must the light body become wrinkled? In other words, is our identity … does it come from the wrinkles or does it precede the wrinkles?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Awareness picks up the tool of self much the way you pick up a screwdriver when you wish to set a screw. You have no problem knowing that you are not the screwdriver. You don't carry the screwdriver with you after the screw is tight; it has done its work. Pure awareness picks up the illusion of self, knowing it to be illusion, in order to do its work on this plane of relative reality. As long as there is no ownership of that perceived self there is no adhering karma; there are no wrinkles. The wrinkles arise when the illusion solidifies so that awareness forgets and hangs onto the screwdriver, owns it. Then there becomes a self that is doing, and then we move into adhering karma. The attachments and aversions within that illusion are what create the wrinkles. But remember they are both real wrinkles and not real. The paper is perfect.

I would ask you think about a scar, this is why I use the image of scar tissue. Imagine a razor cut. It is brought together imperfectly, creating a raised edge of skin, a lip. In order to hold the cut together it is joined so that there is a raised edge. Every time that edge gets rubbed and creates abrasion, more scar tissue forms over the top. At some level beneath the scar tissue the skin is perfectly healed together. I'm tempted to say that at some level the cut never happened; I'll toss that out to those of you who want to play with it. But on the relative reality plane the cut did happen. You could perhaps visualize cutting off the scar tissue, simply holding the torn ends together perfectly, so that they healed without scar. This scar tissue is the manifestation of delusion that there is something awry which needs to be mended …

… So, pure awareness loses its mindfulness for a moment, gets stuck in the illusion of having been somebody doing something. Within that space of separation and the duality of self and other, fear arises that it may be hurt or its needs may not be met. The energy contracts with that perceived threat to the perceived self. When the energy contracts two things happen. Adhering karma is created by the response to the catalyst, whatever that response may be, and there is a correlating scar tissue, or wrinkle, that forms in the sub-light body.

This "scar" is simply the reflection of the contraction. That contraction has moved through the energy bodies. It comes to rest lying on the projection of the light body, rather than being an intrinsic part of it. Let us say that it is a shadow of a wrinkle on the light body rather than a substantial wrinkle. Nevertheless, the next time the light moves through, that shadow of a wrinkle shines into the spirit, mental, emotional and physical bodies and becomes a place of blocked energy within the whole system. Through many different tools one must release the shadow of the wrinkle.

I said several weeks ago that one can roller skate over rough concrete, but one must constantly be struggling for balance. At some point it becomes skillful to smooth the concrete; then the skating is much easier. In the past our work has revolved around learning to skate on rough concrete. What we are presently talking about is smoothing the concrete. You can not always count on smooth concrete; you must learn to skate on rough concrete. You must also learn that it's skillful to smooth the concrete. One hopes not to be attached to smoothing the concrete, to know that you can skate on rough concrete, but where it's smoothable to smooth it. Does that answer your question? That is all.

November 3, 1993, Wednesday. Meditation and talk (excerpted and rearranged to fit space).

Aaron: There are many techniques for releasing the illusory scar tissue, releasing old karma, releasing old energy patterns. You can work with the chakra energy in the body directly, with the energy meridians of the body. You can work with mind and emotions and meditation. They're all tools. Part of what we are doing here this year is to further explore these tools, to help you find ways to rest in your perfection, to release the constriction and defendedness and come back to truth, the truth of your perfection and divinity, the truth of that first spark that is nothing other than the divine.

Last week we worked with the aperture within the breath-that space between the inhalation and the exhalation. I asked you to rest there, to find that space of perfect light and absolutely pure mind in that brief rest between the inhalation and exhalation. Will you try that now. Breathe in … breathe out … breathe in … pause … breath out … in … pause … out. Bring awareness to that pause. (Some time of silence.) In that pause you are absolutely present in this moment, with pure awareness. I said last week that fear is an illusion and is no different than love but just a distortion of love; so is any thought, emotion or sensation. You do not have to get rid of fear, nor of any arising. You begin to understand it all as part of this natural radiance of mind. It changes your relationship to what arises. In this pause, let pure awareness begin to see arising from a new perspective, nothing to be owned, fixated upon nor gotten rid of … As I speak, then, allow this breath practice to be a tool that can help bring you back to that pure awareness when you stray.

Let us begin with several deep breaths. (Three dots indicate pauses.) Visualize Light. See it as you see the sunbeams coming out behind the clouds … the light so deeply full of love … full of gentleness … feel all holding dissolve in the loving intensity of this light … all separation fade … resistance fade …. As much as you are able, feel that light entering you through the crown chakra, like the sun melting an ice cube … dissolving all the holding … moving through the third-eye and throat chakra to the heart center … and then that inner warmth spreading through the body … It may help to open your hands palm up in your lap, a gesture of opening and letting go … not getting rid of fear, but allowing fear to dissolve in the perfection of this divine love … not getting rid of separation but allowing that delusion also to dissolve … softness of the physical body … soft belly … soft shoulders … allow the jaw to hang just a bit slack … dissolving the tension of the face … Releasing boundary with each exhale.

(Long pause.)

This is your natural state. In this way the conscious human can reach to who you really are. Undefended. Connected. Loving and loved. This is the angel who you are. This was the level of awareness of that first spark of God that moved into the illusion of separation from God.

… I would ask you to think of something painful that came into your lives this week … something against which you felt a need to defend … perhaps a sense of jealousy of a friend getting a job … Perhaps the pain was from a sense of rejection by somebody … or trying to do something and not being able to … feeling inadequate … feeling attacked by another … the arising of anger … Allow this situation to come into your memory as fully as you can. This next step is going to take careful watching with senses that you don't usually use … can you feel the sense of fear … the constriction of energy and how it cuts off the light … Allow yourself to feel it … unshielded … I want you to look at this situation and ask yourself, in this moment was I really unsafe? Was I really threatened? Was I really unworthy or inadequate? … Can you see the way mind interpreted it because of all the past data and confusion? We see the carving of the Grand Canyon, one drop-one moment of delusion-at a time.

Now, very consciously, come back to that clear light. We are not going to get rid of the shadow; this is important. To get rid of is just to bring more self in and create deeper separation. It is to get lost in the illusion that shadow and Light are dual. Rather, you are going to come back to who you really are, to allow the constriction of fear to dissolve. Release the constriction; just let it go. Come back to openness again. Breathing … drawing in light … This is not done because there is preference to the good feelings of connection and openness or aversion to pain and separation, but because you make the decision to live in truth, and the truth is that you are light and that fear is an illusion. The constriction created by fear is part of the illusion. No holding … relaxing back into the light … back into who you are …

There is a light body which is perfect. With each arising of fear, separation, constriction, the light body projection gets what I call a scar tissue. You might think of the image of a brilliant light, perhaps a window through which brilliant light shines and plant like ivy climbing up over the window. It obscures the light, shades the light. But that ivy is also a manifestation of light. If you take the light away, the ivy dies.

October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Ann Arbor, MI

Barbara: (Reading question.) Can you speak of grace as it relates to karma?

Aaron: I am Aaron. The word karma means action. Every thought, every word, has accompanying karma … You have lived hundreds, thousands of lifetimes, and through each of those lifetimes there has been an accumulation of unresolved karma. One must always be responsible for one's acts and choices. There will be karmic repercussions from each act, word and thought. Yet you can not go back and touch each bit of karma in every lifetime with the work that will be needed to resolve it.

There are many ways of releasing old karma. Forgiveness comes to mind as direct and powerful. Suppose throughout a dozen different lifetimes you either were stabbed to death, or stabbed another being to death, because of your quick temper. You can clarify all of that karma in this lifetime if you begin to look at the same quick temper in your present self, a tendency which has persisted. In this lifetime you know that despite that quick temper you would never kill another nor would you provoke another to that extent. You begin to find compassion for yourself for the fear that leads to this temper and begin to work very skillfully with it. You learn to release the anger, learn awareness of the arising anger before it builds up to that explosive state, learn to transform the angry energy in skillful ways. Please note that even after there is forgiveness and compassion, after there is no accumulation of new karma in a specific area, you must still be responsible for the harmful acts of the past. You need not be killed to balance that responsibility. To teach others not to kill also balances that karma … There are two steps then. After doing the present work in which you acknowledge complete responsibility and transform unwholesome old mind tendencies, you find and offer forgiveness in the places where those tendencies created harm. That balances karma.

There are other ways to work with karma. One is working directly with the light body and what I call scar tissue on the light body. This practice includes the above, but takes the clarification a step further. I will not go into the details of that here now. (He is teaching this now, in April.) There is a way related to Light practice, which involves a different kind of purification from that of forgiveness practice. When we use the word grace we think of it as coming from either a great master such as Jesus, grace of God directly, grace of a guru or spiritual teacher. You can not go to such a being, whether it be the spirit aspect of the Christ, or to the living or no longer living guru, and just say "Free me from my karma" without changing from within. In this or a past life, first you must do sincere, deep inner work, really giving the effort to work with the shadow within yourself, learning to live your life with more love and skill. And you learn to surrender "self," allow yourself to rest in the energy of that teacher, or of God, and through prayer and other kinds of purification practice open your energy to that very high energy. Then, through means that are beyond explanation by their very nature, you open yourself to the possibility of what we call Grace.

It is not that that Grace is offered here, and not there, randomly. Grace is offered! It is your own work that opens the door for Grace to come in. This is an important area to clarify. There's nobody up there saying, "He's worthy, she's unworthy," or making an arbitrary decision "I'll give grace to the first three that come along." This receptivity to grace is part of your own natural, pure mind and perfect radiance. When you do the work to express that, you open the door to receive the grace that's always been offered. You are the one who opens the door.

October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Ann Arbor, MI

Barbara: (Reading question.) Is there any truth in this world? Can we say that true and not-true coexist in this world at the same time? Therefore, truth is just like the flowing water in the river. It does exist, but is changing, disappearing. So, can we say that truth can be relative like a drop of water in this river? And, truth can be absolute like the entire river which is filled by every drop of water? Do you agree, truth, God, spirit are just like this?

Barbara: Aaron is asking me to speak and read something before he speaks. In Vietnam, after the end of the war, a number of people came together trying to formulate a set of life principles that were positive and universal. They came up with what they called-called in Vietnamese-the Tiep Hien Precepts, or Principles of the Order of Interbeing. There are fourteen of them; I find them very beautiful. We use them as part of mindfulness and sila training in our meditation class. I want to read numbers one and two. "Do not be idolatrist about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology. All systems are guiding means, not absolute truth. Know that the knowledge you presently possess will change and is not changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn to practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not only in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times." … Now Aaron is going to talk.

Aaron: I am Aaron. What we have been given here is not so much a question as a very clear statement. I will offer my response to it. The only absolute truth that I know is love. I once said the only truths I know are God and love, but when we get into the word God we get into each of your concepts of what God is. In a book of the Bible, John 3, I believe, is the quotation "God is love." So if I say "The only truth I know is love," God is part of that.

Fear, as I have said earlier this evening, is a distortion of love. All of your heavy emotions are distortions of love. Love is the river that flows endlessly. Part of the river cycle is its time spent in the sea. Part of the cycle is its time spent as clouds, and also its time spent as rain. So it's an endless cycle. Some of the water in that river is absolutely pure and some has become polluted. Water is made up of the chemical composition two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. Even the polluted water still is that H2O, but it also contains pollutants. Within any river are the pollutants and the clear, pure water. The paper contains wrinkles, but within that paper is the pure, unwrinkled sheet.

Each of you understands the Truth of love in your own way. Each of you is embarked on a journey, ultimately, to manifest that Truth as purely as you can, to let go of your own filters that have distorted truth. As you purify your own energy and move away from this delusion of a separate self and back into the natural radiance of pure mind, or into full expression of your angelness, you move back into the source from which you came. The Christian calls it God, the Buddhist calls it emptiness, the absolute, or pure mind. You may prefer "the Unborn, Undying, Unchanging, Uncreated" of the Buddhist Udana Scripture. Whatever you call it, you move back into pure expression of that energy which is the manifestation of love.

When you feel that your truth is better than another being's truth and try to convince them to give up their truth and embrace yours, even if you try to force them to embrace your truth under the guise of religion, or a great teacher, you still do violence to that other being. There is no true religion on this earth whose founding teacher advocated violence. There may be those who call themselves religions and advocate violence, or those who have misunderstood their founding teachers, but no spiritual master who founded any major living religion advocated violence as part of his/her teachings …

… By its very nature religion is a way of reaching the truth, a way of expressing the Christ or Buddha consciousness, the godhead within yourself. It doesn't matter how you label it. You're expressing that radiant, pure mind, rigpa. That can only be a reflection of love, which is the Truth of the universe. Each of you has areas where you get stuck. As open-minded and unprejudiced as you may be to a certain point, each of you will hear something within another's belief system to which you say "No." Now, your personal "no" is fine. You don't have to embrace another's truth. But, are you hearing their truth and allowing them to hold their own truth and express their own perfection in their own way? Or are you demanding of them that they express it in your way. This becomes a distortion of love. Within this distortion there is fear. Within fear there is anger, jealousy and greed. They are all distortions of love. Love is all there is, the bare substance of the river when all impurities are removed … That is all.

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky