Volume 3, Number 1, January 1995

There is a Tibetan Buddhist teaching called Dzogchen which closely parallels the Light teachings from Aaron. These past two years I've highly valued the guidance of an American lama in the Tibetan tradition, Surya Das. He teaches in many parts of the country. His retreat schedule can be obtained from the Dzogchen Foundation, P.O. Box 734, Cambridge, MA 02140.

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 pages. Some additions have been made by Aaron for clarity in these adaptations from longer transcripts.

May 28, 1994, Ann Arbor, MI

Q: For the past several months, my partner and I have had a lot of conflict. In fact, it seems that all we do is have pain because of conflicting needs. How can I deal with this conflict and pain?

Aaron: I am Aaron. There is someplace basic where you've all got to start. In agreeing to incarnate you agreed to experience pain. Even if somehow, miraculously, you get through the entire incarnation without physical or emotional pain, eventually you're going to die. Unless you are truly a fully realized being, there is going to be some emotional pain around the loss of this body to which you've become attached. Realistically, none of you are completely free of physical or emotional pain.

There are two different questions here: one concerns relationship and conflicting needs, the other concerns dealing with that pain. In actuality, the questions are connected because once you relax a bit and stop fighting the pain, you find that the needs are not quite as conflicting as you had thought. When you are able to relax you can hear your partner's needs instead of needing to defend against them. As long as you're fighting and trying to stay free of pain, you're in a position where it's very difficult to hear what seem to conflicting needs which jab at you.

Let's talk about pain first, briefly. Nobody wants pain. I am a sixth density being with a deep sense of equanimity and I don't want pain. I'm not saying I fight against pain, but I certainly don't invite it in. I said to you earlier that incarnation is messy. A part of you wants so deeply to be secure, safe, in control. People come along and have different ideas than you do and challenge your ideas and opinions; you tense up against that challenge. Messy! Fix it!

The literal expression of this is two people who share a home, one of whom is very neat and organized and one of whom is chaotic. Their chaos is tossed all over your order. In fact, that happens figuratively in all human relationships because somebody else's order is your chaos and vice versa. You each see in a different way.

Several months ago somebody volunteered to file some information for Barbara. Barbara was not explicit as to how she wanted it filed. She said, "Put it in alphabetical order." So the filer put it in alphabetical order, not by last-name-first as Barbara would have done it, but alphabetically by subject matter. It was her order. To Barbara it was chaos.

When someone inflicts their chaos on you, you tense up. When you are in relationship with another, regardless of whether it's partner, parent/child, friend, you are constantly confronted with another person's seeming disorder. When you look at your response to that and begin to see how much tension it creates for you, begin to allow yourself to relax. This doesn't mean becoming a doormat to another person's debris. If you share a home with somebody, you have a right to insist that the shared rooms meet both of your standards. And in the same way, that your shared experiences meet both of your needs as best as is possible. But to do that you have to hear one another. And you can't hear one another when you're busy shielding.

The happy aspect of this is that a relationship is the perfect situation in which to practice. Ask yourself: "When I feel threatened and my energy field contracts, can I be aware of it? Can I attend to it with compassion and an open heart? Finally, when I see that that contraction is simply conditioned mind, can I use these energy practices to release it?"

Why are you in incarnation? Why are you in relationships in the first place? This is a classroom. Yes, the relationships are there to bring joy, but they're also your learning tools. Think about it. Are you in relationships so you won't be lonely? If you're in relationships simply so you won't be lonely, cease incarnating. Stay on the astral plane awhile. There's no loneliness on the astral plane. Come back to incarnation when you're ready to move into relationships not only as avoidance of loneliness, but also as tool for learning.

I'm not saying that your relationships don't give you joy and connection and alleviate loneliness, but that's not the primary reason for them. Get it in focus. Once you have that clear perspective then the other person's disorder or chaos ceases to be a personal affront to you. You can be relaxed about it and say, "Great, here's another chance to practice." It might be a "Great" with clenched teeth, but still you know, "Here is chance to practice."

So, there's going to be pain. Can you change your relationship to that pain, end the war with it? Can you end the war with the chaos? In short, can you allow yourself to be vulnerable to whatever pain, chaos, confusion is around you and keep your energy and heart open? When you can do that then you are going to be able to hear your partner and to work out mutually satisfactory compromise, and to become more tolerant of those areas where compromise is difficult. That is all.

C: Yep! We are responsible for it all.

Barbara: Aaron is laughing and saying that you keep trying to find a way out of that. It's very basic. But, most of us, even though we know better, still spend our incarnation trying to find a loophole.

Aaron: I am Aaron. The only loophole is that there are no loopholes. Do you understand that? You're looking for a loophole to find freedom from your pain, a way out of responsibility, a way out of suffering. The true loophole is complete equanimity and acceptance of the fact that there are no loopholes. Once you fully accept that, you allow yourself to stop struggling with your life and move into a place of relaxation. When the energy field ceases to get tense and fight, then you find great happiness and an end of suffering. So that's the loophole. That is all.

C: That sounds like a Zen koan.

Aaron: I am Aaron. The entire idea of the Zen koan derived from life experience. For some people it's too difficult to see it within their own lives so an artificial construct helps to focus attention. Your life is a koan. The central riddle is, is there a loophole? Once you discover that the loophole is that there is no loophole, then you can relax and stop fighting, stop trying to find it and just get on with it. That is all.

Q: Aaron, I'm feeling resistant to what I think you said. It sounds pretty harsh to me. Aren't there any shortcuts?

Aaron: I am Aaron. A loophole is a way out, a freedom from responsibility. For now, think of a loophole as a shortcut. Please visualize yourself walking from point A to point B. There is a steep mountain in between. There's a path. A signpost says very clearly: To B. You start climbing. It's steep and rocky. You see a path off to one side and you think, "Maybe that would be easier." It leads to a hundred foot cliff. You come back to the main trail. You see another path. It leads to a steep ravine with a raging river running through. Where is your shortcut?

Truly this acceptance, "there are no loopholes so let's get on with it," is the easiest way. If this is the road to point B, just lift your feet and walk. Can you see how much pain you create for yourself in your struggle against this road and your desire to find an easier route when in fact you know there is no other route? The only way out is the road, one foot at a time. And, in fact, although this mountain may rise three thousand feet in elevation, one foot in front of the other isn't going to rise more than a few inches. You don't have to climb three thousand feet. With each footstep you only have to climb three inches. What's hard about that? Don't look for point B, look for the next step and stay there, one step at a time. Be here in this moment, fully. This is the loophole! Fully in this moment, you will find you never left A and have already arrived at B, have always been there. That is all.

From The Path of Natural Light: Part 2, page 37

Aaron: There's not less pain in ultimate reality, my dear ones. Rather, there's more space for the pain. You no longer experience yourself as limited. In your infiniteness, there is infinite space for pain. If anything, you experience more pain because you find a willingness to let in what's there, and not to need to hide from it. But you experience it differently. With a sense of loving connection, it ceases to be "my" pain and becomes "our" pain, the pain of humanity. That shift from "my" to "our" is no longer a defensive maneuver to escape "my" pain. It's a natural following of the open heart.

Wednesday, October 12, 1994

Aaron: Good evening and my love to you all. I am Aaron. We have been talking about relationships these past few weeks, your relationship to friends, to partners, to parents and children, to the earth itself. We have looked at the way your energy contracts when fear arises and emphasized that the contraction is not bad; you're not trying to get rid of it. But it's unnecessary, and it leads you into unskillful manifestation of your energy. We constantly return to the question, "How do I offer my energy with more love? If that love is natural to me, and the deepest essence of who I am, what prevents me from manifesting it in my life?"

Last week we did an exercise where I asked you to join hands with one or two partners. We worked with the energy relationship between you, allowing the boundary of self to dissolve. and getting a sense of how boundaries repeatedly built up and dissolved. Tonight I again want to start with an experiential exercise: it will have two parts to it. The first part is an exercise which is connected to Tai chi. Let me describe it.

In your life, there is constantly that which pushes against you, perhaps the supervisor at work who's pushing you to get something finished in a way that seems impossible, or your own sense of a deadline. There is the parent or child who's constantly needing or wanting more. You experience the aggression, the fear of this person or that person, the neediness of them.

When you are pushed, your first reaction is to push back. Fear arises in you, your energy field contracts, and you wish to push back in order to keep yourself safe. The harder you push, the more life pushes back at you. We will do this in physical form, actually standing and pushing at one another. I mean this as metaphor for your lives. I want you to experience the energy contraction that says, "I must push back." I want you to carry that over to the places in your life where the world seems to be pushing at you: your work, your relationships, even the distortions of your physical body.

We're going to learn a very specific technique, a physical exercise where you feel the partner push; instead of pushing back, you note the arising desire to push, the fear which is the foundation of the desire, and you ask yourself, "Just in this moment, can I yield instead of pushing?" As you yield, you absorb the other's energy. When the push stops, then you return it. This is not becoming a doormat to another, nor is the return force against another. It's a way of moving with the energy of your life, rather than retreating or pushing back in fear, living in harmony with it, so that you enter a dance with life, rather than an assault or retreat.

First, we're going to practice this in actual physical form for a few minutes, until you understand the rhythm of it. Then we're going to move back into a slower exercise, practicing what you've learned in a meditative way, taking it out of the physical format of one body to another, and substituting a catalyst which creates contraction in your life, that which makes you want to withdraw or assault.

Barbara: Introducing Aiji to those who don't know her, Aiji is, among other skills, a tai chi teacher. Aaron is suggesting that we demonstrate this, and then people break into pairs and do it. The two of us can walk around and help. I've never learned this in physical form. Aaron was trying to teach it to me this afternoon, and it was pretty funny, learning it from a spirit.

Aiji: What Aaron was describing is called "Push hands." It is an exercise to teach how to absorb another's energy and follow their movement

Aaron: For the reader. Stand facing the partner, feet apart, one ahead and one behind for balance. Each rest one forearm against the other. Let one push. The other should note the contraction of energy at feeling pushed, relax that contraction, and allow the body and energy field to absorb the push. Lean back with it; "dance" with it. When the push ceases, gently lean into the other and return the energy, which the other may experience as "feeling pushed." And so on. Note the contraction if it arises with any push and consciously relax, noting "fear," or merely "contracted." Our effort here is to relax around the contraction so as to absorb it rather than feel a need to defend.

(We do for about 15 minutes. We sit and talk about it. Not transcribed.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. Sitting here in this living room, I cannot hand you the painful circumstances of your life, the places where you contract in fear and then push back. We're going to use a very simple physical catalyst, an ice cube. The first step will be to hold the ice cube against your hand. Notice the unpleasant sensation of it, the coldness of it, and the desire to get rid of it, which is a form of pushing. Relax and "dance" with it. Draw light into the coldness.

This is not a statement about the skillfulness of moving away from unpleasant catalysts. If somebody's screaming at you, you're free to withdraw. If you touch a hot stove, you certainly want to withdraw. But sometimes that catalyst cannot be so easily removed. When we can't back away from it, we tend to want to assault it. Then you move into the separation of self and other, that against me, rather than the two seeking a mutually harmonious solution. Relationship with anything in your life is about reconnecting and moving to a harmonious solution that serves the needs of both. Only when both are served do self and other fully fall away.

What we will do here then is provide that small catalyst of discomfort. Watch the way energy contracts around it and wants to push it away. Then I want you to work with it exactly as you did in this tai chi exercise, literally yielding to it, yielding not to the ice cube itself, as physical object, but yielding to the sensation of cold, unpleasantness, aching or burning. I want you to see the energy in you that wants to fight that unpleasant sensation and wants to get rid of it. II want you to yield and relax, just as you did with the Tai chi. I will add some commentary while you do this. For now I will pause while you get the materials you need. That is all.

(Each person is handed an ice cube and paper towel.)

Barbara: This is Barbara. I'm paraphrasing Aaron. He's asking us to simply hold this against the back of the hand. At that first touch, notice the way your energy contracts against it, right away. "Cold." "Burning." Can you feel the parallel with the push, the way you want to push back against the ice cube, to get rid of it? What happens in your experience as you relax that desire to assault the ice cube? Dance with it. Feel the push of the sensation and literally move with it, if your body wants to. Move back into deeper awareness of it. Soften around that sense of fighting with it. (Long pause.)

Aaron: I am Aaron. You may still notice a contraction of "Don't like," or "uncomfortable." That's fine. Sometimes there is that in life which you don't like or which is uncomfortable. We make no judgment about that contraction; it's simply the human's response to discomfort, "Don't like." "Don't like" does not have to be accompanied by fear. It's simply "Don't like," or "unpleasant." Can you see, within your own immediate experience, the progression through "unpleasant," "don't like," and "get rid of, launch an assault upon?"

Now we move to the next step, which is the release process with which we've been working. We've been talking about this in terms of emotion. I've perceived that it's hard for you to sit here sometimes and experience it, to call up an old anger, jealousy or fear, so we will use the ice cube as immediate sensation. In this moment, there is nothing to fight against. There is only a cold cube, creating a somewhat unpleasant sensation on the hand. No danger: it won't hurt the hand. And yet everyone in this room has some degree of armoring against that sensation. You repeat that armoring habitually. You have been repeating it for lifetimes. When something threatens, you contract the energy and flee or attack. But there is another way. You see that you can relax the energy.

Here I want you to do a bit of visualization. Come back to this light practice; visualize yourself sitting in a cylinder of light …Breathe in, drawing that light into you, breathing in whatever you understand as the divine, allowing that to connect with the divinity within yourself, with your own most powerful and pure essence … Breathe in light … Exhale, and allow boundaries to fall away … Breathe in light, and as you exhale this time, send the light into the hand, which is cold … Breathe in light … Exhale, filling the body, the hand, with that light … Again … And again.

I want you to come to a place where the contraction is seen clearly for what it is, simply old conditioned mind. It is there, and we're not judging it, but in this moment, you don't need it. It is like that shield we spoke of in the past. It was useful when someone was throwing rocks. Now you are hundred miles past the rock thrower and still lugging a twenty pound shield.

See this contraction for what it is; honor it. It was created originally to protect you. Honor the deeper part of yourself also, which says, "I don't need this anymore."

Some of you may be able to visualize this energy and contraction. The way I see it is as if you saw the Northern Lights, stretching as a curtain on the horizon, shimmering. That is how your open energy appears. When there is a contraction it is as thought the curtain was pulled, tied with a knot.

Release the contraction. Breathe in light … Expand outward, seeing that old contraction for what it is … Simply release it … And again … Feel the openness of this centered energy and awareness, which knows it need not be afraid.

Now draw your attention back to the cold. I wonder, does it still feel as cold? Has its nature seemed to change? I believe your ice cubes are melting. Let us quietly pass this bowl to collect them while I continue to talk.

This is the practice with which we may work repeatedly in any relationship, with people, life, the earth itself. For example, you have planted a garden. Weeds are growing. Birds are picking at the seeds. It's been too dry. Each time you come into the garden, it's not the way you wanted it to be; feel your energy contracting in a sense of fear. None of you in this room will actually starve if your garden doesn't grow, so it's not a fear of starvation so much as a fear about failure or frustration that you cannot make it what you wish, a sense of powerlessness, perhaps. In each situation, the contraction will be about a different issue. What is it about?

Experience the contraction in the hypothetical garden. Can you yield and dance with the forces of the soil and the sun and the rain instead of trying to force your will upon them? Then you become co-creators with all of these elements, a very different relationship than the gardener who is doer and sole creator. You are learning to be such co-creators.

You are not God, but there is nothing in you that is not of that same essence, nothing in you that is not divine. When you manifest the divine nature and send that energy as purely as you can out into the world, as co-creator, you and whatever you may be in relationship with begin to work harmoniously.

Let us use a different example here. Perhaps you have a supervisor at work, who is very controlling, and is a being who always wants credit for itself. She tells you what to do although you know your job better than she does. When you make suggestions, she claims them as her own. Each time she approaches, you feel your energy contract with the question, "How is she going to hurt me now?" But, my dear one, she cannot hurt you, unless you allow yourself to be hurt. You need not flee; you need not assault. Move into the dance. You say, "What if she won't dance?" That's fine. Dance around her. It will take her as long as it takes to make the decision to join you. You can't force her; you can't change her energy, only your own. But each being that learns to live its life with more love, wisdom, and skill becomes teacher to others. Not only that, but you are no longer suffering. You are no longer fleeing or attacking.

What about the reality, though, that she's still standing there saying, "I want you to do it this way," and she doesn't know what she's talking about? Notice the desire to retaliate, angrily to tell her, "You don't understand this," and notice, simultaneously, the desire to retreat. As your energy contracts in anger, there's the fear, "I'll lose my job if I lose my temper here."

Stop and breathe and remember, this is a dance. Look at her very deeply, which you can only do when you relax these contractions. Breathe in light, breathe out tension. Expand outward. Begin to feel the fear in her energy.

You may ask, "Why is she trying to control me?" We're not going try to play amateur psychologist here, but one can clearly see that for whatever reasons this being is afraid. We move here into the issue of unwholesome co-dependence, which we have spoken of before. Seeing her fear, you do not need to become a doormat for her fear, but neither need you assault her fear. Your response will be very different when you understand that she speaks out of fear, and have compassion for her fear. Then you may also connect with your own fear and pain, and have compassion for that as well. Then you begin to enter the dance, simply by offering your energy back lovingly to her. You will need to make the decision, "Do I accept her direction even thought it seems contrary to what needs to be done, or do I explain to her?" If you choose to explain, your explanation will not be wrapped in anger. If she's going to hear you, the best chance of being heard is when you are not assaulting her, but meeting her with this dance of "Let us both win."

A friend who has spoken of this calls it "win/win," a far more useful choice than "win/lose. If she wins, I lose. If I win, she loses. How do we both win?

You will need to be very clear. If your desire is to do the work the best as possible and her desire is to build up her ego, you will have to give in some places. If your ego is clashing with her ego, so that you want credit for knowing the right answer, then you need to ask yourself, "Why?" Again, pay attention to her fear; it's the key. The same fear in her which wants to control and direct, even that about which she is ignorant, is also the fear in you. The more you can open to her fear, the more you can open to your own, and the less you will need to push back. Relax into the dance. Yield to her push, and then return your own energy with your own idea. "We could do it this way."

I offer one more thought here. This same principle is applicable in any area of your life. It is the key to living harmoniously in the world. It has four parts: mindfulness, by which I mean, knowing what you are experiencing when you are experiencing it. Honesty and courage to be with what you are experiencing, even if it's unpleasant, to note the move from unpleasant to wanting to get rid of, to note the arising of fear without fear of that arising. Part three, coming back into the light, into the divine self, centering, being courageously willing to release that fear, which is clearly of old, conditioned mind. Part four, remembering, you are not a doormat. You bring your own energy back to this situation, but with loving intention rather that aggression.

I would ask you this week to watch this carefully in your lives. You've heard me say this before: there are no problems, only situations that need your loving attention. Each such situation is a gift to you, an opportunity to look at your own fear, at your lack of mercy for yourself, at your judgment of yourself and others. Each is an opportunity to grow and learn. When you feel life pushing at you and note this inclination to push back, stop and ask yourself, "How can I dance with this?" That is all.

March 2, 1994. Excerpt.

(The relationship between a path of mindfulness and a path of devotion.)

Aaron: When these two paths are brought together, they balance one another very beautifully. When one is very, very mindful, one cannot help but be aware of contraction, pain, fear and judgment. When one brings in the light to that judgment and fear, allows oneself to connect with that place of God within, one's heart cannot help but open in compassion for this being that is feeling fear and pain. Then the mindfulness ceases to be a place of escape and becomes a pathway leading into the discovery of one's own divinity. If one starts with devotional meditation and becomes aware of how one is using that path as an escape, constantly re-lodging in duality and judgment, one can only be drawn deeper and deeper into mindfulness.

The real question then is, do you want full realization and the level of responsibility that entails, or do you want to simply be able to say "I am a meditator" or "I am this or that religion?" This is to cling to a path and to cling to the ego of a being on that path. It can be very comforting. It can lead to a sense of self-righteousness, feeling good about oneself. But it will not lead to realization.

To become a realized being-by which I mean to know the true self, not the small ego self but the God self-to know the self stripped of all ego and standing naked in the universe, to see the divinity in that self and in everything else-in every grass blade and every rock, bird and insect-that's a very frightening path because the being who has seen that must be responsible for what it has seen. It's easy to see it, it's hard to live it. Once you know that God is in everything, how do you live up to that understanding? Are you ready to be compassionate enough to yourself to forgive yourself when you err and forget that God is in everything and do something that harms? Are you ready to be compassionate enough to forgive others and not to judge?

To follow a path takes love, commitment, deep aspiration and courage. To truly seek realization and live your life responsible to that realization also takes maturity. It is not for the faint-hearted. It is a place where all of you will come eventually.

I want to make it clear that I have no quarrel with those who would choose a devotional path solely, or a vipassana path solely, or any other path. Only keep in mind where you are aspiring that this path lead you and constantly ask yourself, "Is it leading me there? Is ego growing or diminishing? Am I able to lead my life more skillfully or less? Has this path led me into deeper judgment instead of less judgment? If I am not living my life more skillfully, what do I need to bring in in order to balance? If there is judgment, righteous anger, prejudice, fear, am I trying to get rid of those or am I learning to make space around them, to be less reactive to them? Can I cease judgment of myself, to grow beyond judgment of others? In short, am I truly learning how to love on this path?"

Christmas Stories. Excerpt.

Aaron: Never did I hear him lecture. He did not teach by telling people, "Now you should do this and this and this," and philosophizing about it. He simply acted. Perhaps he had infinite power but he did not show off that power. A very simple story to illustrate this: There was a time when the one who I was was walking with him and a group of people. We passed a field where there were sheep and there in the field was a ewe lying on the ground in pain. It was obviously in great difficulty giving birth. There was a foot sticking out. He could have fixed it in a moment. He didn't do so. He knew that the one I was was a shepherd. He turned to me and said, "Can you help it?" And, of course, I did know what to do, was able to insert my hand and push back one leg, pull forth another leg, twist and turn that tiny body to correct birth position, and draw out the baby lamb. Just that. Nothing special. But I wondered as I did it, why did he ask me when he had such power? He said nothing then. We dried off the lamb and put it back with its mother and went on our way. That evening he simply said to me, in response to my unasked question, "Always do things in the simplest way. Never show off your power to impress."

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky