Volume 4, Number 1, January 1996

Deep Spring Center Newsletter
Volume 4, Number 1, January 1996

To love is not to possess. To love is to let go. The ego possesses. The soul loves.

Divine love comes from and to the higher self, not the ego self. This is an aspect of the being in which there is no heavy emotion. There is joy and sorrow, but there is no fear or acting out of fear. This level of love may flow between the being and that which it considers Ultimate Divinity, or it may flow between the being and what it considers to be expressions of that Divinity such as another human or an ant or flower. It is the same Divine love. When I use the word "love," I am implying Divine love. This is not to say that love is impossible on the relative plane, that love is impossible for the ego self. But it must be separated out. When you look deeply at what the ego self considers to be love, you find Divine love on one level and on another level, fear and grasping, loving the reflection self sees of itself in the other, loving the way the other cares for it, loving the sense of being somebody who cares for another, how that inflates the self. When you take all of those out, you're left with what I could only call Divine love, egoless love.



Barbara's Letter

Aaron's Pages

November, 1995. Excerpt from Aaron's Talk during the Retreat at Emrich Center.

October 21, 1995. Angels in Earthsuits Workshop, Ann Arbor, MI.

November 18, 1995. From an informal discussion in Anchorage, KY.

November 8, 1995, Ann Arbor, MI

Barbara's Letter

Dear Friends,

I've just returned from a walk with my collie, Prince, our breath steaming in the crisp air of this November dawn. I notice the deep frost on the lawn and tree branches. Later today perhaps the sun will be warm enough for me to bare arms and work in the yard but at this hour it's a cool-red ball peeking over the treetops. Everything is still.

Every few months life gives me the gift of asking me to sit down and reflect on what's gone past in order to share some of it with you in this newsletter. When I wrote last summer, it was from my retreat and the learning and healing drawn out of that silence. Many of you have written to inquire about my health for which I thank you. Yes, slowly it's all healing. I've decided to just pick up the story from where I left off in August. For those who haven't read that newsletter, the worsening pain of an abdominal hernia and tendonitis in my shoulder sent me into extended retreat to see what healing could be found in this body. I was working on both the physical level, with diet and exercise, and with awareness of contractions held in belly and shoulders and the nature of those contractions. What follows are excerpts from my journal.

August, 1995 journal: All summer I have been reading from the sutras and especially from this new book … "If the body is cultivated, then the mind can be cultivated." To cultivate my garden is to reach my hands deep into the soil. I see how I have been refusing to "dirty" my hands with the body, but strove to stay apart from it, untouched by its pains.

Entering my body, dwelling there with each breath, I realize that I must watch contraction in the body to see the movement of tension and release. I observe the natural balance, noting the small tension at the end of each exhale, as body reaches for more air. As the inhale begins, the tension dissolves; and then the cycle begins again. The body/mind complex is naturally balanced between these two energies-holding, opening, Sometimes there is contraction, or tension; sometimes it is released.

I begin to observe closely the ways that this balance becomes distorted by my lack of presence. It is not the tension and release which throws off the balance but my relationship to that rhythm. As soon as I'm not fully present, tension and release take me by surprise. Then "pleasant" and "unpleasant" set up further waves of contraction which ensnare me into argument.

August 4, 1995 journal: The contraction of the energy field is a natural response to a physical, emotional or mental stimulus. This morning a small shell pierced my foot and energy contracted with that unexpected fiery explosion in the instep. I could see the whole process-feeling pain, experiencing the contraction around that pain, noting aversion to pain as separate catalyst-each arising phenomenon just another cloud upon which there was also no need to fixate. When awareness observes the contraction with a spaciousness that doesn't judge, grasp or fear, the contraction runs through me and then dissolves as its catalyst changes. It will go when it's ready and leave no trace. Mind's old conditioning is what holds contraction. With the first cut of the shell came a memory of an infected foot, old memory of pain and judgment. I was able to look gently, neither hate myself for that contracted reaction nor hate the shell, but to move kindly and skillfully to wash the wound. The contraction isn't stored in the mind or body. It creates no karma. It's just the energy's natural movement. It will pass.

I remember a swim in the ocean last spring, just after a storm. The waves were fierce and knocked me down. I couldn't get to my feet, lay there tossed and battered on the sand, knees and elbows scraped and bleeding, then was lifted and tossed again, and again by that immense power. My breath was locked away by the wet and salty mask that buried mouth and nose. Noting: "fear," "anger …" With awareness noting, time moved into slow motion, seeing each mind state with a clarity that acknowledges and releases, just watching to see what will arise next-fear, anger, pain … Then, in the midst of pain and panic there was a great calm. In that spaciousness I shouted "no!" to the ocean, rose on wobbly legs and stumbled in to the shore. Sitting on the sand, waves lapped at my feet. I realized that in those moments I lost all separateness from the ocean. The force of the waves, the force of my body-one. When I ceased struggling with the ocean, there was nothing left to do but walk out.

This morning I held the shell which cut me, held the bleeding foot. No separation. I learn to move in harmony with the earth, not in contradiction and power dispute. My body is the teacher. I look at the fears when stomach goes into spasm. Just a thought. Just energy. Nothing to do. It will pass. No need to fixate on fear.

As I watch these contractions in my body, I begin to see my relation to them more clearly, especially the unnoticed judgments of them. These thoughts about contraction are the secondary contractions. Thought, in itself, is a tool the personal self has used to feel safe, a mechanism for control. There is no need for such perpetual thought when there is harmony. I do not get rid of thought. It ceases to control the moment because there is no fear calling it out.

When there is kindness and awareness of the process we are in, our natural compassion arises with any tension, allowing us to open our hearts to the pain we feel and equally to the pain of that which catalyzed anger.

August 11, 1995 journal: I see how much I have stored the tensions of a thousand mind and body moments, following up that initial contraction with secondary contraction, with need to flee or to control. It is all stored in the belly!

August 15, 1995 journal: This pattern is not just with strong emotion, thought or sensation. I see it in ten thousand ways. Feeling thirst. Wanting water. I see how I hold the contraction of that desire through the entire process of arising, getting glass and liquid, and drinking, as if the thirst and process of alleviating it were an adversary to be defeated. "Notice the contraction. Notice and release. Come back to wholeness, to pure heart/mind." Again and again!

This morning when I reached the far end of the lake, storm clouds had gathered. I began to swim home fast, me against the threatening storm, but of course my sore shoulder couldn't tolerate that intensity of movement. Seeing the nature of the tension as movement of fear, just watching how it moved, I relaxed back into the harmony of the lake. The storm was not separate but a part of the whole environment, within me too. There is no adversary. Come home, back into harmony. As I did so, I actually felt the wind shift one hundred and eighty degrees, no longer coming into my face but now behind me, helping my progress. A half hour later, as I finally stood on my beach, the first lightning shouted across the sky.

I see the subtle judgment of my experience and the way mind moves into duality. Suddenly I am not "with" the experience but trying to separate myself from it. In so doing, I separate myself also from myself. I put this experience outside of me. And I store the contraction instead of allowing it to pass naturally through me. For myself, I find that I "swallow" it, thus storing the tension in the abdomen.

I'm learning to watch these myriad contractions which fill my days and not get into a relationship with them. Instead I note "contracted, contracted," allow the deep experience of that contraction and note any holding or opposition to it, just further contraction. As I look deeply at the whole process, I see the catalyst and my own contraction as a series of conditioned expressions, just natural movement. All conditioned phenomena arise from conditions and cease when the conditions cease. This is a primary teaching of Buddhism, confirmed by my own experience. There is no need to attack the contraction or otherwise perpetuate it. I find it very powerful to watch the whole movement and see how it eventually dissolves. The more I work with it, the more spaciousness I experience. There is nothing which I need to fight or hold on to.

October 3, 1995 journal: I sit at a rolling desk in my cellar office, pushed under high slits of window where pre-dawn morning gray peeks through the spruces beyond the glass. On the altar the candles are still lit. The counter behind my back holds the inevitable piles of mail, class notes, and phone messages awaiting attention before I leave town for retreat. My appointment book announces a day of meetings and a promised evening of folk dancing with my family. My belly speaks a warning, "tension, tension," and I bring gentle awareness to the tight place. "Breathing …" Tension is just tension. No need to let it go further.

Yesterday afternoon the intestines pushed through the hernia as they have not done for several weeks. Bean sprouts; another food I can not eat! For the first time there was no Sisyphus holding the rock at the top of the mountain, just a soft awareness that touched this tender spot with mercy. I went to lie down, embraced belly and pain. A shrug. If it's going to be out, it will be out. Seven P.M. and 24 people waiting for me to begin the meditation class with a sitting, belly still out. I lifted myself from my bed, walked out to my cushion, briefly sat and told the class why I would lead the sitting lying down. "We must be honest with our bodies…" Lying there in the warm glow of candle light, surrounded by the loving energy of these students, I watched the tension release completely. No secondary contraction and no denial, just there with pain, aversion, noting it all arise and move on.

Back now to my late November desk. The Thanksgiving leftovers are in the refrigerator, the extra table boards awaiting the move to attic storage. Later today Hal and I will go out to clear summer debris off the trails in the back woods, in joyful anticipation of skiing. Please have a wonderful holiday season. May the new year bring you, and all beings everywhere in our universe, joy, health, love and peace.

with loving thoughts,

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.


November, 1995. Excerpt from Aaron's Talk during the Retreat at Emrich Center.

Aaron: Good evening to you all. I am Aaron. On the astral plane before your incarnation, you're deeply aware of the truth of your being. You understand that you will have 4 bodies when incarnate: the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. You experience very clearly that the spirit body is not separate. Your individual bit of spirit body is like one cup of water lifted out of the ocean. Besides the fact that it has chosen to put itself into a cup, a container of mental body, there is nothing to differentiate it from the rest of the contents of the ocean. If you pour it back, you can't tell what was in that cup. It has merged with the rest of the sea. This, in fact, is the experience of profound meditation when ego and physical body are loose their solidity. On the ultimate level there is no "my soul," or "your soul." "Soul" is simply your portion of this universal divinity.

We add to the soul the individuated mental body. This is the first bit of container, something which separates. It is as if I reached into the sea with a mental energy field of pure awareness, a large open, porous energy field that knew no separation, and then before I lifted it up, I contracted that energy field so it was no longer porous. That container of individuated mental body now holds the individuated bit of spirit body.

This unit, the mental body and spirit body, we call Higher Self. The mental body is a tool. I speak to you from the perspective of a mental body. If I did not maintain that tool, how should I communicate with you? But I have no identification with that as me, or mine, and, therefore, no anxiety about it. There is nothing I need to defend; it is a tool. The "cup" further solidifies with the emotional and physical bodies, and you move into the experience of being someone separate. This entire experience of separation is part of the illusion you have agreed to in coming into incarnation. It is also a tool.

The relative self and ultimate condition are both "real." You are incarnate to live with the balance of both. Why would you choose to come into incarnation knowing the truth of yourself, and seeing it clearly, and therefore without the physical, emotional and mental experience as catalyst for learning? To incarnate is precisely to move into this illusion of separation. At the same time, clearly nothing has ever been separated.

In every profound spiritual tradition, these teachings exist. It doesn't matter what religious path you follow, you are learning a reverence for the vehicle through which your maturity comes about, and an equal reverence for that which never needed to mature, for the Divine, of which you are expression.

Both relative and ultimate, separate and non-separate are part of your being and you must not choose one over the other. This is difficult, because your physical experience is often painful and you have some dim memory of resting in that space where you know your true being, where there is no contraction, no fear, nothing outside of you to threaten you. How can you not yearn to be united back into that blissful experience? You make the wrong assumption, though, that to move into that experience of your truth, you must get rid of something. What could you possibly need to get rid of?

What you need to do is awaken from the myth that you are this body or mind. Then you begin to relate to mind and body with much more spaciousness, without fear of what arises therein. You begin to relate to body and mind with a kindness. From that equanimity, you find the doorway into the truth of your nature-a doorway into that which was always present, but the experiences of mind and body were so solid that you could not see it through the wall.

I want to lead you in a meditation. Close your eyes, sit with spine erect.

Come with me into a vast open space, truly endless. That space is filled with what appear to be large cardboard cartons big enough to sit in. Choose one of your liking. Although they look much the same, but there are small differences in color and size and in where they are placed in the space, some in the mountains, some by the sea. Choose one.

Look at the scenery around you, scenery of your choice: mountains, sea, prairie, forest. Exquisite scenery. The sun is just rising, the sky a dense pink with golden glow. The trees, hills and sand dunes are silhouetted black against the flaming sky. The heavens are a deep blue beyond the colored sunrise, open, stars still sparkling in the west. So much space. Breathe it in and out. Make yourself at home in the universe. This is your home! Seeing your comrades, smile to one another, and feel the heart that you share.

Breathing. Looking. Truly at home in this vast expanse. Look down at the box which you have chosen. I want you to climb into it, one foot, and then the other foot. When you squat, you can still see over the edge of the box. Look down and see how it changes your perspective. Suddenly you are enclosed in a confined space. Look up again. There is the infinite universe, and you're again free to breathe in and out into it, to make yourself a part of it. Feel yourself to be a part of it.

Look down again. Push your arms against the edges of the box. It is a heavy cardboard, totally opaque, solid so that you cannot poke a finger through it easily. Shift your gaze on down into the box, out … in and out. Certainly you are sitting in this box. Certainly you are also sitting in this infinite space.

Let us call the box relative reality. It is not just the physical body but all the heavy bodies, physical, emotional, and mental. Let us call the space in which the box rests, ultimate reality. Relative reality rests within ultimate reality. They are both together.

Suddenly a strong wind arises, blowing cold. It creates discomfort. From your squatting position, you find that if you sit, you can pull the lid of the box closed over you, and you're safe from that which has created discomfort. The analogy is not accurate here. You do not move into incarnation to escape discomfort. But I want you to close yourself off into the box, and feel the way this relative reality, with its illusory walls of separation, makes you feel safe.

In just this way, you move into the illusion of separation. Separation, not only of body and mind, but the illusion of a separate essence of your being as well. The illusion binds you, restricts you, but it also serves the purpose to protect you. Does a prison only wall the prisoner in, or wall others out? If there were not something to be gained by maintaining the illusion, why would we hold onto our prisons?

Sit in your box. Hear the wind howl. Feel the box shaken by pellets of hail. The more the forces of the universe seem to batter you, the more the wall that you have built of a separate self is solidified to offer a protection.

Yes, as I have said, the analogy is imprecise, because you do not move into incarnation to escape. But when you first move into incarnation, you know the truth of your being. The baby knows. You have the habit of forgetting. I say the baby knows. I digress, a moment, for a brief story, told to this instrument by her son. He was at a Quaker Meeting when a member of the meeting rose to tell a story of something that had happened with her young child. This couple were expecting a baby, and their 3-year-old asked, "When the baby is born, can I go alone and talk to it?" They considered the request, and as it seemed important to this child, they said yes. The baby was born, and soon after, since the child persevered in her request, they said you may be alone with her. Yes, you may go in! They left on an intercom so they could hear what might be said. The child approached her baby sister, awake in the crib, and asked her, "Please tell me what is it like to be with God? I'm already forgetting."

My dear ones, you close the lid on your box and you forget. Your meditation practice, practices of differing sorts, are ways to help you emerge from the box. Perhaps "emerge" is not quite the correct term. To help you open the lid of the box and regain your perspective, to come back to the truth of who you are. For one example, vipassana practice involves watching moment to moment, the experience that you have within this box. Eventually the practice leads you to poke holes in the box. You had thought this box was the end of your experience. But you come to understand the conditioned nature of the box. and the unconditioned nature of pure heart/mind. You find that awareness extends out and out and out. Dzogchen practice comes to the same end via another route. In dzogchen, the box assumes its true transparent nature. Prayer, various concentration practices, karma yoga or work in the world, all are paths to help you remember to keep balanced both within the box and without. There are many such paths to the dissolution of the fixation on ego as self.

Everything in the phenomenal world is what we call "conditioned," by which I mean it exists because the conditions are present for its existence. When those conditions cease, it ceases. I'm not just talking about body here. Emotions are conditioned. Mind is conditioned. Even what is often called soul is conditioned if, by "soul, you mean a concept of your own separate soul. Everything which we think of as separate, be it body, mind, soul, is part of the conditioned universe, and it will cease. That which is not arisen from conditions, that which is infinite and eternal, that is the unconditioned. Call it God, call it the Absolute. That Unconditioned is no less a part of you than the conditioned, yet it often eludes the relative experience.

Go back to your box. The hail is still pounding it,

The wind is blowing. Perhaps you are growing or maybe the box is shrinking; somehow there doesn't seem to be as much space in here anymore. Even with that turmoil outside, the box is becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Your arms are pushing against it. Your head is scrunched down.

What if you make a hole, what will you let in? Shall we try it? Take your finger and push it through, maybe about eye level. One hole. Feel the sweetness of the air that comes in. When you peer through, that morning sunrise is still there. The stars are still there, and all the heavens. You had forgotten their magnificence. Gently now, open up the lid. Straighten your body that was so bent to fit itself into this tight space, and get your head out. Look around you. Look with a sense of wonder, at all your comrades also peeking out of their boxes. Notice how many boxes are still sealed shut. But in some within your view, the inhabitants have begun to stand up.

You're not going to leave your box now. This illusion of separate self is a tool of the incarnation. We are speaking of awakening to the truth of your being, that you are divine energy, that cup of sea water, held in a cup-held in a physical, emotional and mental body. The relative condition rests within the ultimate. Both are true, your illusion of separate selves and your deep awareness of non-separation. Your illusion of separateness is a gift. It has nothing to do with the other truth of your being, your oneness and non-separation.

Your vipassana practice helps you understand your attachment to the security of the illusion of a separate self, a separate being in a box. It helps you to understand how you have gotten caught in the illusions of the conditioned world. Dzogchen practice pokes holes in the box and reminds you, relative rests in ultimate. You are out there. You are in the box and you are out there.

It is important to find this balance. While I use the terms vipassana and dzogchen, of course those specific practices are just tools. It doesn't matter what you call the practice. What we are talking about is being present. When you are present you find how things are. And dzogchen likewise is a tool. We're talking here of any meditation practice which connects you to the non-dual experience, to that which rips open the box or pokes holes in it.

Remember that you are incarnate for a reason, not just to experience, but to grow, to learn how to live with more love, more wisdom, more kindness. Your meditation practices which open you to your divine nature are also the tools that lead you into this more spacious way of living. You expand outward to your non-dual relationship with the universe, but infinite space is not just out there, outside the box. That space is also right here in your own heart. You can get to that space by going in either direction, expanding outward, or expanding inward. If you go out far enough, you come to your innermost heart. If you go in far enough, you come out to the universe. It is the same space.

My dear ones, I cannot begin to describe to you the great peace and joy which are your birthright when you come to rest in that space, not in denial of relative reality, but in celebration of it. Because from that space you deeply experience that everything in the conditioned realm is expression of that divinity which is ultimate reality. Everything!

Finally, then, there is nothing to get rid of, nothing to change. That which is unskillful falls away, not because you attacked it, because there's no longer need of it. That which knows its innate connection has no more need to defend, and so defendedness falls away. Those actions which grew out of fear, such as saying no to one who seemed to threaten or abuse-you still say no, but the "no" no longer comes from a place of fear which feels it must defend. It comes from a deep place of love, of reverence, of compassion, which has the kindness to say no to that which is unskillful. Here you find your true strength, because response comes not from you, from the personal self only, but from the divine, the eternal, the unconditioned.

I thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. I should be glad to hear your questions. First, I would like to invite you to sit in silence and reflect on my words for some moments. That is all.

Barbara: The story was just given of the Zen master crying. He says he lost his child. "But master you tell us it is all illusion." "Yes, and the loss of a child is the hardest illusion of all." The questioner is asking, how do we deal with loss on the relative plane while knowing that it is relative.

Aaron: I am Aaron. You are truly asked to walk a tightrope. It is a very difficult task, but it is possible. You do not have to do it perfectly, but you do have to do it with love. With love for the divine self, which knows itself to be free of the illusion, and with love for the human who is easily caught in the illusion. You are not here to unsnare yourself. You can't take both feet out of the box and stay in the incarnation.

Ultimate reality can so easily become an escape in which we say, " It's all illusion," and distance ourselves from pain. Relative reality can become a hiding place where we build up stronger and stronger armor in order to feel safe. Basically there is nothing to do with loss, grief, anger, fear, but to allow yourself to move into it. It strains the greatness of your heart. Have you ever seen the film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas? There's a lovely image there. This grinch is about to push his sleigh containing Christmas over the hill and into the abyss, to lose Christmas completely. He hears the people singing and suddenly he has an insight into the true meaning of Christmas. Then he grabs the edge of the sleigh runner and pulls and pulls. There is a wonderful image on the screen. It was said the grinch's heart was three sizes too small. The heart grows and it grows and it grows and it grows. It took this heavy weight to make it grow.

Trust your pain. I'm not suggesting you enjoy your pain. That is too much to ask. But trust it. When there is a loss, can you allow the pain of that loss to stretch your heart into a compassion for all beings, for the ten thousand sufferings of all beings who have known loss, pain, fear, and loneliness. In practical terms, simply watch yourself. Watch yourself wanting things to be different than they are, wanting there not to be loss. Watch the unpleasant quality and how in relationship to that unpleasantness, you tend to want to defend or escape, either by closing up the walls into a solider separation, or escaping into the ultimate. Can you smile with yourself at these tactics, and just know again, "feeling pain, feeling loss."

Metta, loving-kindness meditation, is often a help with a loss. You are not getting rid of the loss by doing that. You are opening this heart of compassion. You must remember the heart of compassion is the enlightened heart. It's always there. It is not ultimate reality as escape, it's ultimate reality which fully accepts the relative weight within it. So when you do loving kindness meditation, you're not bringing anything new in, you're simply going deeper in and opening to the ultimate self, creating a space within, in which there's room for this loss.

Question: Aaron has said that we can be in touch with our divine selves through meditation. I have not had this experience, so I have to accept this on faith. How do I keep having faith?

Aaron: I am Aaron. I hear your question, my friend. And I hear your pain, wanting to know this divine aspect of yourself. Where is it?

There is a story of a Sufi combination trickster and teacher, Nasruddin. A friend came and found him searching under a streetlight. "What are you doing?" Nasruddin said, "I lost my key." So the friend got down on the ground and they both were looking. Finally the friend said, "Where did you lose it? Exactly where?" He said, "Oh, over there, in the dark shadows by the door." And the friend said, "Well why are you looking here?" He said, "There's more light here."

We tend to look for this divine self where we think it should be, which is in the "light," in those times when you are feeling spiritual, and not in the darkness. But you come closer to the experience of the divine self in times of darkness. Why do I say that? In the times when you're feeling deeply spiritual, you feel cushioned, protected, in a sense, and outside of your pain. But you cannot hold onto those times, and that which tries to hold on pushes itself back into the darkness. When you are in the darkness, just being a human and feeling loss, pain, fear, separation, when you open your heart to the human who is experiencing that confusion, right there is the divine self, right there in that opening heart.

You ask me, how do you maintain faith? Without the direct experience of the divine, it's very difficult to maintain faith. But the experience is available. Why not try looking for it in some different places? Look at that which wants to stay safe, which builds up armor. I'm not telling you to dissolve the armor. You can't dissolve it. It will dissolve in its own time. But when you look deeper into the places of fear, pain, aloneness, grief, then you find the immense power of the loving heart. And right there is where you find the divine. That is all.

Question: Can we find the divine through places of joy, love, pleasure?

Aaron: I am Aaron. Of course you can, but it's more elusive there. In this place of great joy and openness and love, you feel spirit moving through you, you feel deeply connected, and then, since things always change, this experience of spiritual opening, of connectedness, changes, and you say, "where did the divine go?" as if it had gone away. It's not that you can't experience it in the joy and the love, but that you can experience it in the painful. When you experience it in the painful, you cannot so easily lose it again. Certainly experience it in the joyful. It helps you to know it, so that you recognize it when you're deep in pain. But don't try to hold onto it there in the joyful. Just watch it come out; let it go. Always the box closes again, and then it opens, and then it closes, and then it opens.

If you sit on a mountain top and watch the sunset, and the wind begins to blow, you might climb down from the peak to find shelter,. Then you might say, "Darn it, I've lost the sunset." But here it is glowing in the rocks beside you. Here it is in the cool evening air that has replaced the hot day. The sunset is everywhere; you can't lose it. You must be alert to its signals. The divine is everywhere. As I just said, we tend to think we have to find it in the light, in the joy, in the beauty, and of course it's there. But that is like feeling we must stay on the top of the mountain to experience the sunset. Find its reflection everywhere, even in the darkest places, and then you cannot lose it.

October 21, 1995. Angels in Earthsuits Workshop, Ann Arbor, MI.

Question: Several times when Aaron was talking he used the phrase, "our infinite power." Clearly as humans we have quite limited power externally. I believe he was referring to our ultimate self but I wondered, what did he mean by "infinite power."

Aaron: I am Aaron. I am not using that phrase metaphorically. I do not mean this as might be as inferred as blasphemy, but you are each God, you are each truly infinite. Not in the personal self, no not at all, but in the largest self. By way of metaphor, think of an infinite sea made up of brilliant drops of water. If you take all the drops of water out, what have you left? When one drop of water adds itself to the sea, it ceases to be a drop of water and becomes the sea. You all partake in that divine image that we call God, are drops of water in the infinite sea we may call the Absolute, or Divinity. And through that participation, you are infinite and have infinite power.

If I have a very pure stream, absolutely pure water, and begin to add just a small bit of garbage to it on a daily basis, eventually I will pollute the stream. I have the ability to convert absolute purity into filth. If I lift out a piece of garbage every day, I have the ability to convert filth into purity. I have the ability to convert fear into loving kindness and vice versa, harmony into fear. How do I use my energy? It is all within me, the whole world is within me, I can save or destroy the world, literally. What I do personally matters. Each choice that I make matters. That's why it's terrifying, because you come to see how much it matters. And yet you have not yet come to a place where you trust yourself to make loving choices because you're still at war with the negative energy within you. Do you see that?

The central work, then, is learning how to end the war with the negativity within us so that we start to know that we can manifest our energy lovingly, purely, despite any storm clouds which may be approaching.

November 18, 1995. From an informal discussion in Anchorage, KY.

Question: Will Aaron talk briefly about his vacation?

Aaron: I am Aaron. You have asked me about my vacation. When you, as human, rest deeply in meditation, there are periods of time when the physical body and ego seem to dissolve. Boundaries fall away and you rest in that space which is totally empty of any notion of self. You may experience a high vibration which literally lifts the vibrational frequencies of the lower bodies. It is a highly nurturing experience, filled with joy and light. There is no self, only a pure awareness, the last tinge of mental body.

I have no physical nor emotional bodies and no identification with the mental body. It is clear to me that mental body is merely a highly useful tool, yet because I am required by my work to make frequent use of that tool, both in teaching on the Earth plane and in communicating with my peers, my students, and my teachers on this plane, I do not have the meditation time I would like to simply rest fully in the divine.

You ask me, why do I not have that time, when I live on a plane that is non-linear in time? I should have infinite time. I can be many places at once within the mental body, but I cannot be simultaneously without the mental body and with the mental body. Therefore, to rest in that place totally beyond the mental body, I must put all the concerns of the mental body on hold.

On the plane, where I currently exist that is no problem. I find substitutes, as it were, to teach my classes and counsel for me. But I am also in a position of responsibility to those on the Earth plane. Here, I can not request a substitute since Barbara would not so easily be able to channel another and allow its guidance in place of mine.

I have chosen not to tell Barbara that I will not be available at a particular time, In part, because for me the remaining thirty to fifty years of her incarnation is just a snap of the fingers. If I cannot enter that space of meditation for that period of linear time, that's OK. But of course it is very nurturing to me. There are times when I know Barbara will not be channeling me for others and when she is settled enough in her own life not to have need of me when I tell her, "I will also be on vacation. If you have need of me I am available. You do not need to fear disturbing me because to serve you is my priority, but if you can resolve it yourself, please be responsible for yourself and do that."

In this way I have taken perhaps three vacations in the time that Barbara has consciously known me. My experience then, is what I will perhaps experience in a more final form when I move from sixth to seventh density and allow the mental body to dissolve. I do not experience a final dissolution of the mental body anymore than your meditation leads to a final dissolution of the physical body and ego. For you, the physical body seems to dissolve for the period of the sitting, and then comes back. For me, the mental body will come back. But it is a profoundly nourishing experience for me, as I can move more deeply into the light than I can when my energy field is attached to the heavier vibrational frequency of the mental body which cannot tolerate that high frequency of light. So, joyfully, I lay the mental body aside and bask in the brilliance of the divine.

Question: Do they have meditation retreats for sixth density energies who go on vacation?

Aaron: I am Aaron. We have such retreats for fourth and fifth density energy who wish to experience the next density of light under the tutelage of a teacher. By sixth density there is … let me phrase it in this way: As I move into seventh density and totally out of the experience of the mental body, what use will I have of location, comrades and teachers? That is all.

November 8, 1995, Ann Arbor, MI

Aaron: Good evening, and my love to you all. I am Aaron. As you know, our focus this year has been taking last year's teachings and putting them into practical form. What do these teachings of energy, light bodies, ultimate and relative, have to do with living daily life? We also have been addressing the question of what precisely is the nature of karma. You are not living your life to avoid adhering karma. That's a path of fear. Rather, you are living your life to express the truth of your being, the deepest place of loving connection, as best you can. But in so doing, it's certainly happy circumstance that you are not creating adhering karma.

It's useful to understand just how that works. Tonight I want to offer you a slightly different metaphor than we have used before. I beg you to feel yourself sitting in a warm bathtub, warm to hot, very comfortable temperature of water. Ahhhh! Just soaking in it. Now here comes somebody with a bucket of ice water, including ice cubes, and pours it into your tub, just in front of you, 8 or 10 inches from your belly. OHHH! Feel the coldness, feel the contraction of the body. Can the body help but contract?

There is no intention to do any harm in that contraction. It is simply a movement of the body in relationship to a physical catalyst. You are not expected to control such physical reaction. At the minimum there will be a sharp intake of breath, and a sucking in of the belly. There may also be a "pushing away" of that unpleasant coldness.

All of you have played enough in the bath water to be able to feel what happens next. If you sharply pull back away from that cold water, you create a space there into which the ice cubes are sucked, so those cubes that were just floating in the tub for a moment all are drawn toward you because you back away. If you push the ice with your hands, it sends it spinning around the tub, it comes back to you. Thus, the more reactive you are, the more you attract this ice up close to you.

What if you sit still after that first sucking in of the gut, just noting cold, cold, unpleasant. One of you is asking if you may climb out of the tub! Of course you may. But for the moment, let us presume that you wish to stay in there to finish your bath. Cold, cold, unpleasant. As you note the unpleasant quality and just sit there, can you see how the ice slows itself down and just settles into the tub? Some of it may touch you, much of it may float to the distant end of the tub. Slowly it dissolves. Yes, the water will be cooler, but it comes back to neutral. The unpleasant catalyst fades.

Now let us play this same story with a different catalyst. Although anger is more akin to heat than ice, I choose not to have this person pour boiling water into your tub, because ice really can't hurt you, it's just uncomfortable, whereas boiling water can cause physical damage. You're sitting in a room, instead of a bathtub, and somebody walks in and figuratively pours a pitcher full of his anger over you. You were just sitting there, perhaps reading a book, meditating, or simply looking out the window. Perhaps you had previously offended this person, or perhaps something else upset him. Here he comes with his anger, and he dumps it. Is your energy field going to contract? Ohhh! Suck in the gut! Of course it's going to contract.

Presuming that you do not use that contraction as reason to intentionally harm the catalyst to the contraction, in other words, it is different to withdraw from the anger or note the discomfort of it, than to slap the bearer of it in the face. There there's certainly intention to harm. It's a different story. When there is noting of the immediate reaction to anger, the contraction of the energy field, shielding, perhaps, the arising of energy that wants to attack, it's all there, just watch it.

In exactly the same way, if you withdraw from it, you pull it along with you. If you fight it, announcing your own anger in return, saying perhaps, Why are you angry at me?!, in an angry voice, you set up the same energy patterns which you would experience with the ice cubes in the bathtub when you try to push them. They can't go anywhere. They hit the edges of the tub and they rebound back to you.

The way I see your energy fields, when an angry person comes in and dumps his or her anger, and you do give an immediate reaction, the two of your energy fields become enmeshed. You literally create the kind of surroundings of the bathtub. When you push your energy back at that which has attacked you, it simply rebounds back and forth. When you notice your anger immediately upon its arising and don't need to do anything with it, by which I mean need neither to withdraw nor to attack, but can notice desire to withdraw, desire to attack, the desire's not the doing. Even if strong anger has come up in you, when you just breathe and work with it skillfully, then slowly this negative catalyst energy dissolves.

Let us liken the strong anger that might come up with the strong discomfort of ice cubes hitting your belly and your back. Discomfort. Anger is an energy, it is also an experience of discomfort. You all see how it would be possible to sit and feel the ice cubes and just observe. My dear ones, you can do the same thing with your anger. Though it certainly might be skillful, after observing the discomfort, to simply reach out and pick up the ice cubes and put them out of the tub.

This is not an attack on the ice cubes. Yes, it is unpleasant, but there's no strong aversion. You're not acting out of a place of fear by taking them out of the tub, but a place of loving kindness. Loving kindness for yourself and for the one who dumped them there. It is a way of taking care of yourself, and it is a way of saying a very clear, "No!" to the one who was seeking to hurt you. If you sit there and suffer, becoming a martyr to his mischievous sort of anger, you move into a relationship with his negative emotion, and there is adhering karma built up between you.

In not saying no to him, you allow him to continue to create more karma. Let us try this first with ice cubes. Feel how that taking up the cubes and putting them out of the tub, can come from a very clear and loving space.

Now try the same thing with anger. You'll move through the sensation of unpleasant, the awareness that dislike is there, that your own anger is arising. As you make space for your own anger with a kindness to this human who has just been dumped on, there is less and less need to be reactive, either by drawing yourself into a shell, or by attacking. It is not attack to figuratively lift out the ice cubes, not attack to say, "Your anger makes me very uncomfortable, have I done something to upset you? If so, can we talk about it?"

Now, if they say yes, they were angry at something that you said or did, your talking about it is the equivalent of letting the ice cubes dissolve. If they say "No, I'm sorry I didn't mean to burden you with my anger, but I'm feeling so angry at something else that happened," can you then begin to make space for their anger as well as for your own, in just the same way?

I wish I could draw for you the way I see your energy fields in these situations. When you rest in a spaciousness which does not get caught in that initial contraction, neither to condemn it nor to try to justify it, but just watches it, noting the conditional nature of it, letting it be. There is no adhering karma in that original reaction. There was no intention to harm. It's almost a reflex, like having a physician tap your knee, and the foot swings out. If you're sitting there and he comes up and taps your knee with a hammer, and your foot swings out and kicks him, you are not responsible. There was no intention to harm. In fact, he is responsible. If he is going to tap you in the knee, he had better check it to see that nothing is in the way of your foot. He is setting up the process.

When an outer catalyst touches you, the mind, the body, the emotions, will react. This becomes subtle. If you were loading your pistol, and someone came in and bumped your hand quite hard in such a way that the hand squeezed on the trigger and shot someone, you are not responsible karmically. The one who bumped you is responsible. This is very subtle. But if the same person bumps you, and in reaction to that bump, there is a strong fear that makes you swing, not even consciously aiming, but looking for what bumped you and then pull the trigger, then you are responsible. There has been a whole process of arising and fear and reacting to that fear. There is intention, perhaps not to harm, but to defend at any cost. Can you see the difference? It is quite subtle.

Most of you are not loading guns. You are far more likely to give out sharp words than bullets. So let us shift from bullets to words. So one has entered the room, slams the door and says, (pardon my language), Oh shit! ! A digression, several of you are giggling and thinking, "Oh Aaron does not really know how to curse!" I assure you I know how to curse in far more languages than you know how to speak! But I see no need to do so. "Oh Shit" will serve the purpose.

Slams the door and utters something foul, shouts it. You're taken aback. Your energy field's contraction is the equivalent of the knee kick or of the hand pulling on the trigger as the arm is sharply jarred. Your energy contraction is the reflex. Your decision to react to that contraction by turning and finding someone to blame for your discomfort and figuratively firing at them, is akin to taking the gun and turning around to look at what has frightened you to shoot at it. There is intention to harm there, and there is adhering karma.

The dilemma seems to be that when someone does dump their anger on you, how do you make enough space for it, for the fear that may arise, and out of that fear, the desire to unload that fear on someone else, to blame someone else, to move into a position of safety and strength. How do you create the spaciousness that does not get into this secondary contraction? This is where your meditation practice is vital, not only formal sitting practice but moment to moment mindfulness practice.

Observing this instrument, a very powerful place I have seen her practice repeatedly is in driving her car. There is that constant catalyst of a careless driver cutting her off, of one who is a bit lost slowing down, so that she is forced to slow down behind her and misses the traffic light, of somebody swerving into her path. She notes the contraction, the anger. She notes the desire, to beeeeeep her horn, and in some way attack the one who has caused her discomfort.

Here you get in touch with the (one moment, we search for a word) various simultaneous motivations to defend the self, that's just one small part of the motivation. To live one's life lovingly and in non-harm to others, that is a different motivation, and that in itself has its own motivations: to live in non-harm so that others will think you're good, so that you feel good, that's one part of the motivation. To do it, to live your life in non-harm, because it is the only way you can live your deepest truth, that's another part of the motivation.

You start to become familiar with the multiple motivations within you. You learn truly to look at those that you believe are good and bad. I use these "good" and "bad" in quotation marks; of course they are not good or bad, those are really labels for them. And you choose that which comes from a place of love. What this instrument does then, when she sees the contraction, for example of a driver who has suddenly cut her off as she was passing, pulling out of his right lane without looking, so that if she had not been alert, he would have pulled right into her, she feels the fear, she feels the anger, she feels the desire to retaliate in some way. She asks herself very consciously at that point to come back to a place of love for herself and this being. The practice she has learned to work with is to take a deep breath and say in a very kind way, "May you become a more careful and alert driver. May you drive safely." It's her power. It completely deflates ego's intention to seek for revenge. It puts you right in touch with your loving heart.

You can use the same technique when this person comes in the room with this slammed door and anger. You feel your energy contract, noting desire to get back at that which has caused you discomfort, desire to feel safe and in control again. Breathing in and aware of your tension, breathing out and smiling to your tension, and from that place, a very heartfelt wish that this angry person, "May you find peace. May you find that within you which is loving and joyful. May you find peace."

It is literally impossible to wish somebody well in that way and hold on to ego's anger. This is one to do often. Of course there are many. During our discussion, I'd like to hear from you what works with you to deflate that immediate fear and anger, and bring you back to a place of center. I hope you will share your techniques with one another. I request you, as homework this week, to watch this process in yourself. You would begin in the bathtub. One who I asked to do this, related how joyfully her husband participated! Has he ever been asked to do some mischievous prank that would bring her discomfort? He gleefully prepared a pitcher of ice water, poured it, and said, "Shall I get another?" So I think you can find a willing partner for this.

Then take it out of the bathtub. In the bathtub watch what happens, just play with it. Put ice cubes in your bathtub and see what happens when you pull back. Watch how they set up a, how that pulling back sets up a space, that draws the ice closer. Watch what happens when you try to push it away. See if you can feel how that same pattern happens with energy rather than water and ice cubes, and your reactions to the painful catalysts around you.

That's step 2. Step 3: Can you directly observe to the energy when you note the desire to retaliate and just know that as desire. May I find freedom from my tension. May I find peace. And then to the catalyst, May you find peace. Or be more careful, or whichever is appropriate. Does that diffuse it? I want you to begin to observe the energy flow and to experience for yourself the way it cuts karma when you refuse to get involved in an ongoing relationship with that first contraction. I would very much like to hear the results of your investigation next week.

This instrument also finds that it aids the process when she is feeling strong tension, to simply remember, even if it is an intellectual remembering, "I am spirit here in this body moving through this experience for a reason. Instead of fighting it, can I stay open and let it teach me." Sometimes she shakes her head and says, "Naw, I don't want to do that, or I'll fight it." But in her deepest heart, she knows she doesn't. She can watch even that which wants to fight, just noting: here's ego, here's fear. The more space you create by your awareness of the truth of your spiritual being, the easier it is to work with even heavy painful catalyst. My love to each of you. That is all.

Copyright © 2000 by Barbara Brodsky