Volume 2, Number 3, September 1994

When we speak of forgiveness, what we really mean is coming to a place of such deep empathy and compassion that there is absolutely no judgment of the other, so there is nothing left to forgive. The aspect of you that can experience that degree of compassion is entirely empty of self and knows its total interbeing with all that is. But the aspect of you that felt anger still experiences from a place of self.

When a child has had a nightmare and cries for you and you go to comfort it, you tell that child, "It was only a nightmare, you're safe. It was only a dream, none of those monsters are here in your room now." But you must also not deny the child's fear. You don't insist on their unreality and say, "Don't be foolish; let go of this monster idea and go back to sleep." You say, "You are safe but I know you're afraid. Your body still shakes from that fear. Let me give you a hug. Let me sit down here on your bed." You neither shoot the monsters nor deny them, but attend to the fear the thought of them has created.

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



Barbara's Letter

Aaron's Pages

June 21, 1994. Talk given at a meditation retreat, Emrich Center, Brighton, MI.

Barbara's Letter

Dear Friends,

Summer is taking a vacation as I sit at my desk this chilly, rainy morning. In my yard, I watch rain sparkle on grass, and see bits of motion beyond the trees. I'm glad not to be able to hear the sound of bulldozers in these hundred acres of meadow, marsh and woods behind my yard. For 22 years I've enjoyed this small wilderness and felt blessed to share it with neighbors and with deer, fox and other creatures. Now the trees are being uprooted, the marsh filled in, the rolling land flattened into a sterile sameness that is prelude to dense construction of houses. I walked through last week with tears in my eyes, watched a rabbit circling hopelessly around the remains of its burrow, saw many deer tracks wandering directionless in the raw, muddy soil. I climbed over the horizontal oaks where the children's tire swing used to hang in now destroyed woods and said goodbye to these old friends. I walked to the pond in the still-existent small nature preserve beyond the ruined meadow, looked sadly at the water, clear last week and now a muddy brown, steadily receiving the runoff rain of the neighboring, bulldozed field's raw surface. Where had the geese gone who were there just a few days before?

How can one not be sad and angry? Clearly, such destruction isn't a necessary outcome of the building of houses; it comes from the greed to build as cheaply as is possible. Such greed grows from fear which doesn't reckon the real cost, only the dollar price of the house. I sat on those mangled tree remains and cried, not only for my own loss but for all of us who forever must lose what we hold dear. How do we simultaneously act in the world against the fear that breeds environmental disasters, poverty and disease, and keep our hearts open to the wisdom that knows change and loss are inevitable, a part of birth and death? Can we learn to use our energy in the world in skillful ways that speak to the fear and ignorance which create suffering, without enhancing that suffering through our own deepened fear and attachment? How do we not become a part of that voice of suffering, speaking fear back to fear, anger to anger, but learn to find compassion for those who destroy because of their own fear. Only by finding compassion for our own fear and loss can we reach out to others in skillful ways.

First we must see our own fear and pain. I speak here not only of fear of loss, but of all the ways we try to control and stay safe, to protect ourselves from pain, loss, need. There's nothing wrong with desiring to be safe, but we must also come to see how our grasping heightens our suffering. What does it mean, to be safe? Not to be hurt? But as a human I will be hurt. Not to feel need? But that's also inevitable-we do need physical and emotional nourishment. Not to suffer? But what creates my deepest suffering, the outer factors or my resistance to what is?

In the last newsletter I briefly mentioned my illness. In April I was very sick, hospitalized with a sudden intestinal obstruction, cause undetermined. Such illness was very new for me and I was scared and in pain. I lay there, day after day, and willed it to resolve itself without the alternative of radical surgery. Here was the voice of fear grasping at safety.

Early last winter I read Camus' book, The Myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a Greek king who tricked the gods and was condemned to a hell. Every day he must push a giant boulder up a hill and then watch it roll back down, just to push it again the next day. Don't we all do this every day? We arise in the morning and push the boulder. What makes it hell? As I lay there in that hospital bed and did meditations visualizing the bowel and intestines opening, willing it in every way I knew, I realized hell was demanding that the rock stay at the top.

If we work to fix something, to get it right, and then it falls apart again, that's hell. In that moment I'm in danger again; the refuge I've built has shattered. This is true everywhere in our lives, in work, relationships, physical health. No matter how hard we try to get them just right, we can't keep it that way. The economy changes, a family member gets sick, the house catches on fire, the body stops functioning. And fear tries to push it back up and get it to stick with a "This time I'll get it right."

Is there a different kind of effort which doesn't increase suffering? One morning in the hospital the doctor said he interpreted the x-rays to show some small opening and was going to switch off the pump which had been keeping my system free of stomach fluids. If there was severe pain it meant no opening and that he'd finally need to operate, major surgery. If there was no increased pain, perhaps my system was beginning to function again. I felt a moment's panic! Keep the boulder at the top! Open this system. How?

Clearly there was nothing left to do but surrender, completely. I am not in control. I can't hold the boulder at the top. Is that surrender cessation of all effort or letting go into "heart" effort rather than that prompted by fear?

I asked myself, what if I just roll the stone of the moment up the hill and let go of whether it stays there? Is there any hell? What I experienced then was just being in this moment, without grasping at goals. That morning I began to relate, not to my damaged body which I'd been trying to fix in fear, but to the already perfect body which I could smile upon with love. With that surrender came a shift in perspective from the illusion of broken to the always perfect. Knowing my body is always perfect on the ultimate plane, the arising of disease ceases to be a dual arising, an "other" of which I must rid myself, but is clearly seen as manifestation arisen out of that "already perfect." In just this way the waves arise out of the still sea but are never other than sea. From that perspective I finally stopped attacking myself and offered love to things, just as they are.

My experience that morning was like looking in a fun-house mirror. The perfect body is there. The contractions of the mirror create distortions. We need not fear them, but learn to smile at them. They are illusions we've taken for reality and allowed to solidify. We don't have to carry them with us out of the fun house and believe they are who we are. We keep returning to the ever-perfect. Both are "real." On the relative plane the distortions must be attended; on the ultimate plane they have never existed.

This relates to an example Aaron gave in the lost newsletter. We took a perfect sheet of paper and wrinkled it, then smoothed it a bit. Aaron pointed out that the perfect sheet of paper was always there. Where would it go? The wrinkled sheet lies within the already perfect, is manifestation of it. We don't lose sight of the perfect sheet, but also must attend skillfully to the wrinkles.

The rock still must be rolled uphill but there's a difference. It begins to roll itself. Effort became effortless as clinging and fear fell away. Effort no longer was to fix, but to breath, to attend kindly to whatever fear and pain were there, to relax into the fullness of the moment with an open heart. Simultaneously, as I visualized the ever-healed, I could "see/feel" the old contractions of fear and how they distorted this ever-perfect.

As my body began to heal in the following days, I looked at this in other areas of my life. Subtle, but there-all the ways I was trying to hold the boulder at the top to stay safe: mediating quarrels in my family so they wouldn't hurt each other (nor me); answering the piles of mail perfectly so as to meet each one's need and thereby feel safe from my own judgment of myself as "not good enough"; even meditating to find answers and thus, safety!

We all have multiple motivations for each act or word. Staying safe was just a small part of each of these acts. Also present was real aspiration to be of service, to alleviate suffering, to open and learn. There's no problem in those aspirations. Can I attend carefully to the scared ego-self struggling to hold the ball at the top? Can I reach out to that aspect of myself with real compassion instead of judgment? When "self" stops kicking and screaming in fear, what happens to the family quarrels, to the students' questions? Can I sit back and give it more space? Do I relate to it more compassionately? Yes, to both questions.

As I sit here this morning watching the glimpses of bulldozers through the trees, I find myself asking how I'm holding the boulder here? Is my deepest suffering from the fact of this imminent destruction or is it from trying to hold that perfect woods and meadow as it was, wanting to maintain comfort and safety? Loss leads us to grief but not necessarily to suffering. Grief for the loss, without clinging, is an extension of love. It connects our hearts to the love and grief of all beings. It opens our hearts and makes us whole. It's only when loss is felt with fear "I will be hurt," or "My needs won't be met," and contempt for the one feeling fear, that loss links with grasping and anger.

When the anger at this destruction is not linked to my fear it is a clean anger. There's compassion in it, not hatred. Anger is energy. My anger may lead me to do skillful work to prevent further loss of wetlands, of forests. It will also lead me to deeper compassion for those who, in their fear and ignorance, destroy in ways that harm us all. I'm angry, but no longer suffering, not attached through fear. Can you see the difference?

I continue to look. What creates my suffering? What am I trying to hold at the top? What if I let it go? Can I hold that meadow and woods as it was? Can I hold the summer here? Can I hold my elderly parents into health? Can I hold students to learning? Can I hold my children into a joyful unfolding of their lives? Or can I let go and offer my energy with love, offered not to make anything special happen but just to be here with what is, allowing the ball of life to roll itself, with my loving energy behind it. Thus, I reconnect frequently to the perfect, unwrinkled sheet of paper, to the ever-healed. Does that allow more skillful attendance to the wrinkles? I find that it does. Please let me know how it is for you.

with loving wishes,

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 I 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.

June 21, 1994. Talk given at a meditation retreat, Emrich Center, Brighton, MI.

(Italic notes added in newsletter for clarification.)

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all, I am Aaron. We have been speaking much here about conditioned arising and dependent origination. In John's talk last night he explained how you move into rebirth and what creates rebirth consciousness. There are specific conditions that, when present, establish rebirth consciousness, which leads to materiality and mentality and the creation of the aggregates (Form, feeling, thought, perception and consciousness-called the "aggregates" of self, that which we tend to think of as "me." Also called skandhas.) as John described.

Is that all a human is? This morning we were asked about the unconditioned: what is it? Is the unconditioned also in us? What is the relationship between the unconditioned and the conditioned? At first glance the practice of Vipassana (The form of meditation which Aaron teaches and which was being practiced at this retreat) seems to exclude the unconditioned from investigation, because you are busy watching and understanding conditioned arising. Some of you may come to a deep experience of the unconditioned through your Vipassana practice. But it's not the only way to come to that experience.

First, let us speak to the question, what is the unconditioned? There's a Buddhist scripture, the Udana scripture. The Buddha says to a group of monks, "Oh, monks, there is an Unborn, Undying, Unchanging, Uncreated. If it were not so, there would be no reason for our work." Perhaps this is as close a description of the unconditioned as one can come to. It IS, and it is unborn, undying, unchanging, uncreated.

Buddhist teaching speaks of nirvana (also spelled Nibbana), but it never says precisely what nirvana is. It leaves it up to you to experience it, and then you will know. This Deathless and Birthless: what is its nature? If in its essence it is unlimited, how could there be anything in the universe that doesn't contain it? How can something be everywhere and not be in you? I will offer a metaphor which may help you to see this more clearly. Think of a child's drawing of the sun, with sunbeams as those little triangles that children are apt to put on their sun drawings. Let us call that sun "God." Is there anything in the sunbeam that is not of the same nature as the sun? It's a projection of the sun. If you take that sharp point of the triangle and push, it goes right back into the sun, and yet it's clearly not the whole sun, just a projection. One of an unlimited number of projections. This is the essence of each of you.

Each of you has what I call a light body. This is the projection of God, or Unconditioned, which is within you. This light body is the essence of yourself, totally clear, with no trace of personal self. That energy and light runs down into the physical body. The light body is the highest aspect of you, completely empty of self-concept. There is no form, no thought, no feeling, no perception, no consciousness. No skandhas are present. It is simply that core of energy and light. This is that of the unconditioned within you.

When I spoke of the sun I used it as metaphor for God. Can we say, then, that God and unconditioned are synonymous? "God" is only a word, symbol for that which is undefinable by its very nature. The symbol picks up the connotations of different religions and cultures. You live in a Western, Judeo-Christian culture and some of the teachings of Christianity hold up God as creator or the one from whom happenings derive. Therefore, there are beings who would pray to God to make this or that happen, as if God had the deciding power-"Yes, I'll make this team win and that team lose because this team has prayed harder this week"-of course that's not how it is. God also doesn't say "I'll make this army win and that army lose because this army's cause is just." God doesn't make things happen in that way, at least not the God of my experience. God is simply energy and light, the unconditioned.

You may ask, "Then why do I pray to God?" Your prayer is a message to the deepest and truest essence of yourself. It allows you to manifest your energy purely, from that space where you are interconnected with all that is. From that space entirely empty of ego, greed or aversion you move from a place of deep love and interconnection with all beings. Simply put, when you move from that space you're empowered. You can only be thus empowered when there is no personal concern for power, but when that desire for empowerment comes from the absolute purity of a heart that desires to serve all beings. So when you pray to God, it's not that you're putting weights on the scale in your favor, but that you are opening to the deepest truth of your being and manifesting your energy from that place of truth. Is God powerless, then? What is God? This that we are calling God is simply this totality of unborn, undying, unchanging, uncreated, manifest and unmanifest. It is the place of deepest truth in all of you; the place where you are all truly one. Not just humans, but these oak seedlings, the newborn kittens; all of it.

Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, by which I mean it does not believe in a manipulative or creator God. The teachings of Buddhism are that everything arises when the conditions are present for arising and ceases when the conditions cease. When the conditions for your rebirth cease through passage beyond this illusion of a separate self, then you no longer move into birth. I won't go into the cessation of rebirth and karma; Barbara's talk on karma later in the week will explain it. So Buddhist teaching does not feel comfortable with the idea, "I can pray to God, and God will end my suffering." Only you can end your suffering. Yes, in a sense it's God that ends your suffering because it is the discovering of that God, or divine emptiness within yourself and the learning to address the world from that place of pure awareness which end your suffering. So yes, God ends your suffering, but not because God has simply pointed you out and said, "This one's had enough, it's ripe, no more suffering. That one, we'll let it suffer a little more. Suffer, don't suffer, suffer, don't suffer." God doesn't do that; what kind of unjust God would that be?

Is the unconditioned synonymous with God, then? It's not synonymous with the Judeo-Christian concept of God. It is synonymous with my experience of that which for simplicity's sake I prefer to call God, which is simply this unlimited and eternal energy and light-this force of infinite love and intelligence, which is the core of all that is.

Much of Buddhist practice is directed towards experiencing the unconditioned, or experiencing God, if you as non-Buddhist prefer to say it that way. There are many kinds of Buddhist practice, all aimed at the experience of the unconditional and the integration of that experience into one's relative reality. Vipassana is a very powerful practice for doing that. However, its focus is largely on awareness of conditioned arising, which leads into the experience of the unconditioned. It's also valuable to balance that work by starting at the other end. If there is that of God within you, can't you experience it right now? What does it take to experience it? There are Tibetan teachings called Dzogchen which concern themselves especially with this question. None of you here are Tibetan Buddhists, so as I present this material I want to put it into a, let us say, American-Christian idiom.

These teachings speak of that which we can best translate into "luminous pure awareness." This is that place of awareness where there is no longer fixation on the arisings of conceptual mind. In reality there is no mystery to that aspect of yourself; there is no one in this room who hasn't experienced it. Is that the same as touching nirvana, as enlightenment experience? Yes and no. It's not just the experience, but awareness of the experience. One who has sat through countless hours of spiritual practice and finally moved to that deep level of experience beyond all conditioned arising knows that one has been in that space. One may still have trouble integrating that experience into daily life, but at least one knows one has experienced it. Those of you who have sat with a symphony or a sunset so totally connected with that experience that there ceased completely to be any subject or object, that all sense of boundary of self fell away, have at that moment experienced pure awareness, but there was no awareness of awareness. You may have felt later that it was a wonderful experience, but the foundation has not been given to you to understand that experience.

Now your meditation practice starts to provide you with that foundation. So when you're sitting with that same symphony and hearing ceases because subject/object division falls away-I won't say noting mind knows because at that point there is no noting mind-when you return from the experience then noting mind notes that you were in that space of pure awareness. The first part of this is to learn to recognize that experience of pure awareness. And the second part is to stabilize it, to learn how to simply rest there.

You are in that space of pure awareness more than you know, but you are unaware of it. One of the reasons you are unaware is that you are so deeply conditioned to focus on the shadow side of yourself that you rarely notice the perfection, or even more accurately, you find duality between the shadow and the perfection. You think, "This is good and I'll keep it, that's bad and I'll toss it."

With apologies to those of you who have seen this display before, I ask you to look at this perfect white sheet of paper. (Barbara holds it up.) No wrinkles in it at all. (Barbara crumples up the paper and smoothes it out again.) Are there wrinkles now? Where has the perfect sheet of paper gone? Can you see that the perfect sheet is still there, within the wrinkled sheet? It hasn't gone anywhere, it's always there. It's like one of those optical illusions where you see either the face or the vase but they are both always present.

As long as you are in human form the wrinkles, the shadow side of yourself, are going to be present. You may get as close as 99% unwrinkled, but if the conditions arise there's still going to be desire, aversion, or some form of delusion, because you're human. Yes, as John described in the life story of the Buddha last night, it is possible to reach that perfect realization. This raises the distinction between realization and liberation, with the example offered that realization is the igniting of the wood fire, flames catching on the wood through constant touch of energy and mindfulness. Liberation is the extinction of the fire as the wood is all burned away; there is nothing left to burn.

To move beyond this plane you do not have to attain that total liberation where emotions completely cease to arise, but only to find equanimity with emotion. That's what ends the delusion of self, which in turn dissolves karma. So, the potential is there; all of you can become that perfectly liberated Buddha, but most of you will not make a leap from this human form into fully liberated. The wood will complete its burning away in fourth and fifth densities. You go through all the transitory stages into some form of realization, but still have the need to allow the emotional body to fall away slowly, once equanimity is established and the delusion of separation has been cut.

So the wrinkles are always there. Knowing those wrinkles, most of you fix your gaze on the wrinkles. What about the perfect sheet of paper? That perfect sheet of paper hasn't gone anywhere; it is your true nature. How could it go anywhere? There is a poem by Kabir I would like to have read here.

The small ruby everyone wants has fallen out on the road
Some think it is east of us, others west of us
Some say among primitive earth rocks, others in the deep waters
Kabir's instinct told him it is inside and what it was worth and he wrapped it up carefully
in his heart cloth.

You think of attainment, that you must attain something in order to be perfect, rather than knowing that the innate essence of you is already perfect. That ruby isn't east or west or north or south. It's right here; it has always been here. How could it be anywhere else? You do not have to do anything, to get anything, only allow yourself to manifest what has always been present. The spiritual faculties that Barbara spoke of several nights ago (faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom, these strengths within us are our greatest resources for this opening to the Unconditioned)-the seeds for them are always present; you do not attain the unconditioned but open to the unconditioned in yourself.

We come back to the metaphor of the still water with waves on the surface. Your anger, jealousy, greed, impatience and pride are just waves on the surface. The waves do not change the nature of the water. The nature of you is divine. That is as clearly as I can put it. That unconditioned is your true nature. Your work here is not to get rid of the wrinkles so that you may attain the perfect sheet of paper. Simply stated, where do you put your focus, on the wrinkles or on the perfect sheet of paper? These teachings are geared to help us learn to rest in the perfect sheet of paper.

This does not deny the presence of the wrinkles; we understand that there is a relative and ultimate reality. In ultimate reality you are and always have been perfect. In relative reality none of you have learned to fully manifest that perfection. So we've got the perfect sheet of paper which contains wrinkles and the perfect unwrinkled sheet. One!

Your practice, then, becomes a matter of finding a balance-learning to express your perfection, to nurture it, to stabilize the experience of it, and simultaneously to understand that you are responsible for the wrinkles. You must continue to do this work with conditioned mind, to work with your reactivity, your fears, your delusion and ignorance. Thus, you continue to refine your energy and learn how to express it with more love, and at the same time you allow to drop away the fear which states that you have got to get rid of all the wrinkles. Rather, you start to more fully live the pureness and beauty of your energy.

Ultimate reality and relative reality. I like to think of them as intersecting; not as a corner like two straight lines, but as a curve. Let us put relative reality on the horizontal plane and ultimate reality as the sword of truth that cuts through it. If you will picture something that rolls back and forth along the curve between the two, that's what you are doing. You rest in different places on the curve. If you rest way out on the relative plane you forget who you are and you start to think that you must get rid of this and attain that. If you rest up on the vertical, ultimate plane, you escape into ultimate reality and turn your back on the suffering of the world. You're after the balance between the two.

There are some very simple practices that will help you rest in this ultimate part of yourself and allow it to balance your fear and pain as you work with the relative. I'd like to introduce you to two of these practices. One is somewhat of a very simple guided meditation with the breath. Another is a practice that you can take outdoors and do. I'm going to explain the first simply, and let us do it together. Then I am going to explain the second and end my talk. During the walking period perhaps you would like to experiment with it on your own.

(Three dots indicate a pause in Aaron's talking) First this simple breath practice. Breathing in, breathing out … In and out … With the next in-breath, I want you to notice the subtle pause or aperture before and after the exhale … Again … You may extend that pause just a fraction of a second; not holding your breath, but simply holding it long enough to notice, "pause." In, pause, out, pause. If only one pause is noted strongly, stay with that one, before or after exhale; if both, note both.

Label it for a few breaths and then let go of the label. The label will separate you from the direct experience. With Vipassana, as awareness deepens we let go of labeling the inhale and exhale and simply know when we're breathing in and breathing out, without needing to tack a label or mental note onto it. So I want you to let go of the mental note and feel the experience of the in-breath, the pause, and the out-breath in your body … With the inhale you are moving from the past into the present. With the exhale you are moving on into the future; as you exhale you know, at some level, that you are going to need to take an inhale. That pause is now. It is the most present that you can be. Let's do it for just about ten minutes. If mind wanders, simply note, "wandering," and bring it back. When you rest in the pause, the "now," simply rest there. No reason for any thought about it. But if thought arises, see it as the waves on the surface and watch it flow past. Thought need not pull you out of "now."

(We do.)

Thank you. This breath practice is in no way to replace the foundation of Vipassana practice. It is simply a tool with which you can balance the moment to moment awareness of conditioned arising. It helps you remember that the essence of the unconditioned is also there, and that you can learn to manifest your energy from that space of the unconditioned. I'm being asked the question, how does this "now" relate to enlightenment experience? They support one another. Enlightenment experience is just an experience. You still must learn to integrate that experience into your life. This is a tool that helps you learn with that integration, which is only possible when you are present. It also makes it easier for you to allow that kind of enlightenment experience, because the unconditioned is no longer thought of as something that you must attain by moving somewhere else. You start to understand that it is your true essence, and all you need to do is let yourself become still enough to find it in there; nowhere else but within you-you are the Buddha.

Enlightenment experience-touching Nibbana-and these moments of pure awareness are related but not identical. One might consider these moments as the momentary experiences of the sun as clouds part, and Nibbana as experience of the sun when clouds are not present at all.

The other practice is one of letting go of boundaries and starting to merge with the divine in everything. You can do this with those baby oaks in pots, or the trees outside. Perhaps its simplest form, the form that I'm going to suggest, the sky becomes the base.

Sit with your eyes open, looking at the stars, the clouds or the blue sky. Eyes are soft, unfocused. As preliminary, breathe out and feel your breath move out infinitely. Is there any limit, any place breath stops? Does it stop at the end of the earth's atmosphere? Perhaps this one little breath that you've given doesn't actually reach out beyond the earth's atmosphere because it's not sent out with enough force. But you can see that as you breathe out, your breath touches everything. It's breathed in by your neighbor; the same air moves in and out of both of your lungs. You breathe in oxygen and let out carbon dioxide; trees, through photosynthesis, convert that carbon dioxide. Your breath is in everything. The breath that you breathe is in everything and from everything.

This isn't about breath, though, but about awareness. The first step is to sit and simply breathe, sending your breath out and feeling your limits fall away. As the breath moves out, so your energy moves out. As you receive energy without shielding, and receive breath without shielding, you feel yourself deeply connected to the universe. Then you allow yourself to rest in as pure a space of awareness as you can. Simply noting, "aware, aware." Sending awareness out in the same way.

Can you allow yourself to experience, even for a fraction of a second, that aspect of your mind which is in touch with the awareness of all that is? Do you dare? Rest there. That's all there is! When one finds oneself already home, there is no place else to go!

Send awareness out beyond the clouds, beyond the heavens. Find that space of pure awareness within and rest there. I can not tell you where to find the pure awareness, only that it's inside. But the place to start is simply with the breath, resting awareness on the breath. Simply do it for ten or fifteen minutes and then you tell me what happens to your awareness. Again, this is not to replace Vipassana practice, it is a balance that helps you to come back to your true nature, find the ability to rest in that truth and use it as an ally in your work with conditioned mind. Within that space is all the joy and peace of the universe, not "out there," but right here where it has always been, within your own heart!

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky