Volume 9, Number 1, January 2001

I often call you "angels in earthsuits" to remind you both of the divine inner essence and of the earthsuit which you wear, the physical body with its pains and illnesses, the varied emotions, impulses, thoughts, and confusion that pass through you. I remind you that you must find a balance, must attend to this relative body, yet not get caught in an identity with it but remember who you are. But it is so hard for you to remember. Your lives are filled with catalyst. When there is great fear, anger and distortion, it seems natural for the energy field to become contracted, and when it does become contracted, it is increasingly difficult to stay in touch with this divine essence. This is the nature of human experience. When fear takes you, you feel cut off from that remembering, but here is the most important place for that memory of truth, as truth and love are the only things which can speak convincingly to fear. This is the work for which you take birth: to experience fully as a human and learn from that experience and also, through the human, to express the divine out into the world.


From Aaron's Christmas Stories, December 15, 1999


Barbara's Letter

Barbara's Dharma Talk, August 15, 2000

Aaron's Pages

From Aaron's Christmas Stories, December 15, 1999, Wednesday Night Group

New Year's Talk, January 1, 2000, Saturday

On the Buddha's Awakening, May 17, 2000, Wednesday Night Discussion Group

Barbara's Letter

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was sunny and seventy degrees. This morning at dawn the blue sky was pocked with fleecy clouds, and the rising breeze sent gold and orange leaves spinning off the maples. I'll take my chain saw to the cabin today to finish laying in the winter supply of firewood.

I try to write to you about what's been foremost in my life in the passing months. This past summer there was frustration, impatience, and arising anger. We all experience these states, no matter how far we go on a spiritual path, but we do learn to make a larger container for them, to greet them with equanimity, with that "oh, you again" and a smile.

Last spring the laser printer broke, as did the desktop and laptop modems, and the monitor was flickering black and white, contents on the screen barely visible. Printer, modem, and monitor are attached to a Mac computer, equipment Hal and I bought for the family in 1992. It's done the majority of the DSC work, although the DSC organization does own a newer Mac laptop, bought so I can work on books and transcripts when away from my desk. I went to the Board and asked, shall I replace the printer, monitor, and modem? They decided it was time for a new computer, since so much of our work depends on this equipment-the passing back and forth of transcripts, editing, books, newsletters, flyers, financial records, mailing lists, and more, as well as e-mail connection with students. Because of my deafness, the latter is especially important.

We're an organization now. It wasn't as simple as going to the local Mac store, buying a computer and having it up and running the following week. First several knowledgeable Board members spent some weeks considering the needs and reviewing our options. Finally it was decided to switch to PCs in order to ease the translation difficulties we've had with transcribers, book editor, web site manager. Then came the decision of exactly what equipment and brand to buy, where to buy it, juggling price and service options.

So the summer passed. I worked from the laptop at the cabin and just didn't print anything, and had intermittent ability to log on and get and send e-mail. Here's where the frustration and impatience comes in!

As example, a phone call from a retreat committee member who asks me to make a flyer; I make it easily, drawing mostly on the old flyer with just a change of dates. Smile, "pleasant," happiness arising. It looks nice. But no printer! Call someone coming for a meeting. Yes, she can bring a disk to town, to the office manager who can print it on her home computer. Two hours later, a phone call from this person, whose car won't start; she can't come, can't carry the disk back. "Disappointment," spacious though. "I'll try to e-mail it to our office manager at home." Can't log on; the intermittent message "no server signal." But I'm deaf. I don't know yet, nor for another six weeks, that the modem is at fault, a loose wire. Suddenly I'm on. I try to send; "you have been disconnected." Shall I take the disk and drive forty minutes to town? After an hour trying to log on, I call the internet provider. One hour on hold, waiting to talk to them. I sit on my meditation cushion, eyes open, watching the phone screen "holding, holding … still holding." Follow the breath; "holding, still holding …" mind racing, "waste of time …" noting anger, anger …

Does this sound familiar? The specifics may vary, but life is like this. The Buddhist word is dukkha, the unsatisfactoriness of experience. Dukkha is not a Buddhist experience, but a universal one. No matter what we do, it's never going to work out perfectly, and if it does, we can't keep it that way. This is what Buddhism calls the first noble truth, that experience is unsatisfactory because we'll get what we don't want and not get what we do want. If we expect it to be otherwise, we suffer. This is the second noble truth, that suffering arises from our craving. "Kha" means the hub of a wheel, and the prefix "du" means on crooked. This is the wheel that is crooked on the axle so the cart lurches. If we grasp at it to run smoothly, we suffer. The word "noble" is used, not because this is something only for nobility, but because we ourselves are noble in bringing forth our love, energy, and wisdom to see what creates this pattern of negativity and to break through it.

The third truth is simple and clear: there is an end to this dukkha, to the entire chain of suffering we create for ourselves. When we see things as they are, the suffering stops. The computer is just a computer, not out to get me. Machines break down. Work isn't done as easily as we would like. This is just how it is. When I know that, I let go. I attend skillfully to the needed work, but grasping falls away. This freedom is on a mundane basis and also on a supramundane one. As we break the chain by understanding our patterns in everyday life, we also break the chain of karma, which keeps us repeating these patterns, literally "becoming," coming into new incarnation and doing it again, and again. It's like the movie Groundhog Day. We keep coming back to the same situation; we just can't get it right as long as we don't see the big picture.

The fourth noble truth is the path out of suffering, what Buddhism calls the Eightfold Path, which involves moral awareness, deepening mindfulness and growing wisdom. My intention here isn't to delineate the path in detail, just to share how I experience dukkha and the cessation of it.

I sat there that morning watching all the anger, frustration and impatience and also wondering why, with all my spiritual practice, these states still arise. But if the conditions are present, unpleasant mind and body states will arise. To think it "should" be otherwise, is just more dukkha. If we step on a tack, there will be pain and a drop of blood. We don't say "I shouldn't bleed; I shouldn't hurt." We acknowledge, this is how the body is. We attend to the wound.

If the conditions are present, such as the broken computer system and certain still unresolved mind states in myself, then anger will arise. No "it shouldn't." Just, "here is anger," and I can attend to it skillfully, neither suppress it nor take it out on others. No blame, no judgment. I can attend to the catalyst (get the computer replaced) but there will be a new catalyst along in no time! The work is not to make things perfect but to relax with the imperfections, smile and attend to them without all the stories of "not fair" and "why me?"

What are the conditions out of which such anger arises? For me, it's usually an internal expectation, "I should be able to do this," which is just a self-judging story. When I note that arising story with kindness, I create the conditions in which anger will quickly dissipate. If I hold onto the story, then mind runs to blame, of myself or of others.

In the spaciousness of that big mind, we can see our patterns, and even our attachments to our patterns. What happens for me is that when the critical mind arises with its stories and I don't buy into them, I come to the direct experience of helplessness, and sadness too. I can't make things happen just because I want them to. I can't stop them from happening just because I don't want them. This is our human condition. No suffering, just how things are. When I accept that I'm a participant in a larger drama, and not the creator of the whole drama, I can be spacious about the fear of what I can't control, about sadness of what will be lost. While I'm still in the same fix, unable to keep away the unpleasant and to hold onto the pleasant, there's no suffering. I just know, this is how it is! It's not a negative attitude. I attend to the situation as skillfully as possible and don't ruminate about it.

So the summer provided a wonderful ongoing catalyst, annoying enough to keep bringing up the old patterns, yet noncritical enough that there was no major harm done. Just a small irritation, a reminder to keep mindfulness watchful for arising stories, to name them and let them go. As the weeks passed, I became very relaxed. Can't log on? Okay, go for a swim. It'll work later. And it did … sometimes. Critical to do it now? Then get in the car and drive the disk to town. My choice. No stories left to provoke anger.

As I write this (on the Mac desktop), the Deep Spring office desk holds our new computer equipment. In the next week or two the files will be moved and people will teach us how to use these new machines. We have a desktop computer and monitor for the office, a laptop of the same brand (for easy switching of files via a cable) for me to use here in my personal office and at the cabin, a laser printer, and even a scanner to ease copying tasks and make it easy to provide material for classes and retreats. This wonderful equipment will serve me twice, once in the teachings of the summer and once in the soon-to-be ease of our work. I assume a new "teacher" will be along. I feel better able to greet it with a smile.

And now a request to all of you. The Board chose and bought these new machines with an eye to the future, buying equipment that will do all our office chores, maintain mail lists, hold our extensive archives and books, not only now but for many years. Without such equipment we really can't work. The summer has taught me that too. We dug deep into our Deep Spring Center pocket and pretty well emptied it, but it did seem the responsible choice, really the only choice if DSC's work is to continue. Now we turn to you. I ask personally and on behalf of the Board, and all of us who value these teachings, for your donations to support this work. This year we need not only the smaller donations you make to support the newsletter's printing and mailing, but a larger donation which supports this equipment purchase so we literally can continue. Besides the new computers, your donation also pays for the web site, phone and other office costs, and for our part-time office staff person (our only paid employee; all of the rest of us are volunteers). Please give as generously as you can. Beside such donations we have no income, since all our work is offered freely.

What we offer in return is the opportunity to participate in the gift of sharing these teachings of clarity and kindness. I find that to share these out into the world is the greatest joy.

Aaron's weekly talks are now available by e-mail at no charge. If you'd like to receive his weekly talk and occasional talks from retreats, just send an e-mail to the Center at info@deepspring.org. In the subject box please put "Aaron's talks" and include your e-mail address.

I wish you all a joyous holiday season and a new year of good health, happiness, and peace.

With love,

Barbara's Dharma Talk, August 15, 2000

Southern Dharma Retreat Center, Hot Springs, NC

(This is the first third of a longer talk. It is the last evening of the retreat. A student has just fallen and suffered an injury that required her to be assisted to a car and taken to the hospital for an x-ray. From the porch of the meditation hall, we watched prayerfully and lovingly as the car pulled away.)

Barbara: I want to talk about support practices that can help bring our meditation practice into balance, especially the brahma vihara practices. These are the practices we spoke of this morning: metta (lovingkindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy) and upekkha (equanimity). I'm going to start at the end with upekkha, and give my talk in reverse. Upekkha feels most relevant to the moment.

Nothing is certain in life. One minute you're fine, the next minute you have fallen. One minute you're content, the next minute some forceful anger or sadness has come up; you're crying, you're afraid, you feel uncertain. In one moment people are praising you and then they're angry at you.

There is only one certainty: when we're experiencing one thing, within the next 24 hours the opposite is likely to appear. We have certain preferences. We prefer not to feel pain. We prefer to feel joy, not to feel sorrow. We prefer gain to loss. We prefer praise to blame. We prefer people's high esteem of us to feeling in disgrace in front of others. But it always will swing back and forth. We can't hold on to the praise. We can't hold on to good feelings. We can't hold on to joy. Equanimity, upekkha, is about coming to a place where wisdom deeply understands how it shifts, that pleasant experiences are the results of conditions and that we literally cannot hold on to them. Unpleasant experiences will happen and they, too, will pass. We begin to know that what we experience is okay at a certain level. That doesn't mean that it's okay at every level. We don't want pain, nor to break a leg. But at another level there can be a sense of equanimity. "This is how it is with me." The closed mind that grasps, "No, I want it to be another way" invites such suffering.

These that I just named are called the eight worldly dharmas: praise and blame, fame and disgrace, joy and sorrow, gain and loss. They can be very powerful teachers, especially teaching us about equanimity and also deepening our wisdom about how things come and go in our lives. Everything arises because of conditions, falls away when the conditions change. That's not a negative observation. It's just how things are. If I say to you, "The leaves are going to change color in another six weeks, then they're going to fall off the trees and the trees will be bare," that's not a negative observation, that's just how things are.

is about coming to this space
where we can really open to and accept
what's going on in our lives.

We start to understand that we can't hold on to praise, to joy, to good feelings in our mind and body. It doesn't mean we can't appreciate them when we have them. It doesn't mean we don't work to nurture the conditions that will bring them about. It's very valuable to invite the conditions that will bring about a healthy body, that will bring about joyful experience, that will bring about our opening to the things we want for ourselves and our loved ones. But as soon as we're attached and grasping, there's suffering.

Equanimity is about coming to this space where we can really open to and accept what's going on in our lives. Upekkha is the space where suffering ceases. Three of you have sent me notes asking, would I tell a little more about how I became deaf and what it's been like. I'd like to talk about it in relation to upekkha.

Twenty-eight years ago, when my first child was born, my hearing and ears were normal. Six weeks after the birth, I woke up with a feeling of tightness in my ears, my hearing a little bit diminished, as if I were getting a cold. Suddenly, within 24 hours, I was overwhelmingly dizzy, so dizzy I couldn't read or focus my eyes at all. I couldn't stand up, or even sit. And the hearing was completely gone. The doctors think that hay fever, or allergy, perhaps an allergic reaction to hormones from childbirth, created congestion that blocked the blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood to the middle ear, and the nerves became oxygen starved and died. This is the middle ear with the semi-circular canal that affects balance and of course also hearing.

Believe me, there was no equanimity! It was very traumatic. I had a newborn baby, a first child. My husband was somewhat panicked and I don't blame him. He couldn't talk to me. No hearing, no reading notes! He didn't know what to do. Nobody could tell me what was going on. We went to the hospital but they said they didn't think they could do anything for me beyond giving some antihistamine. Since I was nursing the baby and I didn't want to stay in the hospital and leave the baby behind, I came home. I spent a month flat on my back in bed. My mother, and then a nurse, came to take care of us.

Dukkha, in bright flashing neon lights! I wanted it to be different so badly. I had no understanding of how to soften and be open with myself and the situation. I was filled with rage. Why me? And there was nothing to do to divert myself from the situation. I couldn't read, I couldn't watch television, I couldn't listen to music. My friends would come and sit by my bed but I couldn't talk to them. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't lift my head from the pillow, literally, without drowning in vertigo.

The time went by slowly. The dizziness subsided to some degree. I regained the ability to focus my eyes and to sit up without nausea. I had to learn to walk again. I started by literally rolling out of bed to the floor and crawling down the hall to the bathroom, knees chafed on the hardwood floor. I crawled to the baby's room. Holding on to his crib, raising myself on my knees, I could lower the side of the crib, lift him down and feed him, change his diaper on the floor, put him back in bed, and crawl back down the hall to my own bed. Relearning to walk, I went through all the stages a toddler goes through, staggering, holding on to the walls. I just had to learn to do it. There was no equanimity at all, there was no compassion, there was no metta. I just said, "I'm going to do this."

I was teaching sculpture at the University of Michigan at that time, and this happened at the beginning of the summer. I was determined that by September I was going to go to the classroom and teach. I did it, and I give myself credit for having done it. But the cost was very high. I separated myself completely from myself. No compassion. No kindness at all. I just told myself, "No self-pity. It doesn't do any good. Get in there and do what you have to do."

Because I did that I was able to be a mother to my sons, this first child and two more, and it's possible that if I had fallen apart then my whole family would have fallen apart. The baby needed me, my husband needed me. I do give myself credit for the strength I had. But I know if there had been more wisdom, I could have handled it without denial of my experience. It took me many years to learn this. For many years I coped so well but never opened my heart to the pain.

For many years I coped so well
but never opened my heart to the pain.

Not surprisingly, my life got narrower and narrower and narrower. I had three beautiful children, a loving husband. We've been married now for 32 years. I had wonderful friends. I had work that I loved. But it was so painful to go into a place where people were talking to one another. One to one conversation was fine, but groups were dreadful. I had been a member of Friends Meeting and I stopped attending Meeting for Worship. Although it was mostly silent, it was just too painful to be in a situation where occasionally people would stand up and talk. And I was too angry at God, filled with the question, "why me?" In conversation in social gatherings words felt like knives being thrown at me. My friends learned to finger spell. They would try to include me. It wasn't what was happening out there, it was what was happening inside me. So much anger that I couldn't allow myself to feel, so much grief.

It took me many years for change to begin. I had to get down to the bottom of the hole and say, "I can't go any farther; this is unbearable," before I could begin to allow myself to investigate this suffering. Those first years my path was just control, self-discipline, and denial. Such suffering will either break the heart or soften it. Before we can reduce the barriers, there must be some foundation for trust. For me that foundation was the desperate desire to break through the prison I had created.

I began to see
that the roots of suffering were not in
my deafness at all. They were in wanting things
to be different than they were.

I had blamed my deafness for my situation. Slowly I began to see that the roots of suffering were not in my deafness at all. They were in wanting things to be different than they were. They were in my anger about my deafness and at myself for my helplessness at fixing this deafness. As I opened my heart to myself, the deafness became just deafness and I could deal with it. It was unpleasant but no longer devastating. I understood how it had arisen out of conditions. I didn't create it. Neither did anyone else. It wasn't punishment because I was bad. These were just stories. Everything fell into place. Deafness was deafness; grief was grief. Anger was anger. The stories about them all fell away. No one and nothing was "good," "bad," "adequate" or "inadequate." There was just deafness, and the sadness of being cut off from normal human communication.

As everything opened up, I found myself able to be with groups of people. Instead of feeling words were knives being thrown at me, feeling an "I" that was central to the experience and at fault, what I started to see was just, "there's somebody talking and here's somebody who can't hear." At last I was able to cry for that "somebody" who can't hear, to allow myself to grieve. And finally there was peace, knowing it was no one's fault, not taking my non-hearing situation so personally, just holding the pain in the open heart.

This is both about my own story and about the power of upekkha and of these practices of metta and karuna. I can't separate the brahma viharas. Metta and karuna fostered upekkha. Upekkha fostered metta and karuna. In this case, not so much of sympathetic joy, although that developed too, just looking at people who could hear and starting to develop a sense of joy for them; looking at my children and the wonder of their being able to play music. The pain was still there, but joy was there too …

Aaron's Pages

From Aaron's Christmas Stories, December 15, 1999, Wednesday Night Group

This is already represented in the Library: DSC Books: Christmas Stories section. Please click on this link to go there.

New Year's Talk, January 1, 2000, Saturday

Barbara: It's New Year's morning around 11:30. Aaron was speaking to me early this morning and said he would like the opportunity to share his thoughts with a wider group and have me record them so that they could be transcribed. With that introduction I'm just going to be quiet and see what Aaron has to say.

Aaron: I am Aaron. Good morning and my love to you all. It is a great joy to speak to you this morning. I thank you for pausing in your morning schedule to hear my thoughts.

This date of January 1st, 2000, is quite arbitrary, of course. The only thing it means is that it's 1000 years since January 1st of 1000, and a 1000 more years since the first January 1st of this Christian calendar. So what you're celebrating is the passage of a thousand years, any thousand years.

The important thing to me about this commemoration is that it brings to the fore a new hope, and the blossoming into manifestation of a rising intention among beings of good will, that all on this globe-animal, plant, and human alike-may live in peace.

Let me explain to you why I feel this intention carries more weight today than it did 100, 500 or 1000 years ago when certainly beings also prayed for peace. The primary work for second density, that is animals and higher plants, is self-awareness. The plant form is self-aware only in that each tree, for example, will seek the sunlight and not worry too much about whether it shades out its neighbor. It is self-aware but does not really have consciousness. The animal begins to have consciousness. Your dogs, for example, are each distinctly aware of what they experience as a self. They would protect one another if an aggressor attacked one of them, and yet they will also fight each other over a morsel of food. They are self-aware. They are learning the laws of love because of the love in their lives. But they have not yet begun any way to move past fear and to express themselves in ways that support everyone rather than just the self or the beloved. Undoubtedly if one of the humans in their family were attacked, they would defend that human even at cost to themselves. This is part of their growth, part of their learning. But this beloved human is part of self for the dog, one human seen as separate from others.

The most primitive humans followed this same pattern, moving into self-awareness. With self-awareness comes fear that the self will be harmed or its needs not met, and with that fear comes aggression. In any being that thinks first of "me" and "mine," there will follow this whole process of arising of fear, mindless reaction to the fear, or perhaps trained reaction to the fear, as aggression. With fear, anger will arise. The energy field will become contracted.

This whole pattern of learning had a purpose. You cannot transcend fear until you understand and acknowledge fear. You cannot transcend ego until you acknowledge ego. But the purpose of the lesson was not merely to experience aggression and ego-centeredness but to teach transcendence. The enactment of fear into the world, as greed and violence, was a side path from the main pathway of learning.

Twenty-five hundred years ago a great teacher was born into this world who sought to understand the nature of human suffering. He saw that suffering was the result of fear brought into the expressions of anger, greed, and hostility and resultant from the whole notion of separation of self. He was the first to penetrate into the truth that such fear and notion of self were only results of certain kinds of thinking and experience and were not ultimate truths, the first to reveal a path whereby one did not need to react to such fear by closing off more into a self and by expressions of greed and hostility.

The Buddha laid out a beautiful path and was a unique voice in a violent world with the statement, "In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible." He was not creating a truth, of course; he was simply revealing the truth of the power of love.

He is not the first teacher of love in the world; certainly not. But he was the first loud and clear voice of love and of truth to follow many millennia of self-centeredness, fear, and aggression. Five hundred years later he was followed by the one you know as Jesus. While the Buddha taught people to act in kindness and compassion toward one another, and illustrated this kindness and clarity in his own life, He taught practices whereby man could open compassionately to pain and could master his impulses through wisdom. Jesus took it in a different direction. He taught "Love one another. Turn the other cheek." He was willing to go to his death with forgiveness in his heart. His living example of forgiveness in the face of pain was profound. The Buddha taught the power of compassionate wisdom; Jesus taught the power of selfless love.

They planted seeds, these two great teachers, and other great teachers as well. I do not mean to leave anybody out but for the sake of brevity will stay with the Buddha and Christ. Most of you were not ready to enact these teachings 2000 years ago. Some of you had just become self-aware. Your universe still centered upon "me" and "mine." You were picking up tools and ideas and you needed time to experience their many facets in the world. Through those centuries, your intention to harmony was heightened.

The power of intention is profound. I was truly awed through these past 24 hours by the enormous force of prayer for peace, for understanding, for kindness, which circled your globe. I do not think there has ever been a greater outpouring of prayer for peace from this whole globe. What I perceive is that so many of you around the globe are ready for what I consider the most Earth-shaking change the world has ever known, which is the shift of consciousness from me to us, the us being all-encompassing. All sentient beings, everything from the gnat to the human to the redwood, the seas, the earth, the skies, are in that us.

What I perceive is that
so many of you around the globe are ready
for what I consider the most Earth-shaking change the world has ever known, which is the shift of consciousness from me to us,
the us being all-encompassing.

The environmental crises of past decades have awakened many of you to your interconnectedness in ways that might not have come just through spiritual practice. For there to be a radical shift in the way you live your lives, all beings need to be touched by awareness of interconnection. Interestingly, the spark for awareness of interbeing is self-awareness, me-centeredness, and fear. It is out of fear that you learn love, for fear is a distorted expression of love.

Environmental awareness is practical. If you destroy your environment you can't survive. Through that appeal to the self, you learn to treat others first with care, albeit selfishly derived care, and then slowly with respect and finally with cherishing.

I think beings on this Earth are now on the gateway of this learning to cherish, not just to take care of, not just to respect, but finally to cherish. You are ready to move from me to us, from mine to our. I see this as the primary training that must be offered around the globe. Spokespersons, not only within religious or philosophical frameworks, but schoolteachers, scientists, foresters, farmers, people in every profession and of every interest must begin to practice us. And those of you who understand this us bear the responsibility to teach it to others. People are ready to hear this.

It is going to change your civilization. I do not suggest that there will suddenly cease to be aggressors who practice hatred and fear, who murder and steal, but there will be real transition. My dear ones, think of your hand. If you have a sore, an infection in your finger, which is red and painful and throbbing, you never really think, "I must cut the finger off. I must kill the finger." You hold that finger lovingly and ask, "How can this finger be healed? How can it be brought back into the light, into wholeness and health?"

The tyrants in your world are the infected fingers. When you cease to think of me and them and instead think of us, you will begin to treat these tyrants in such a way as to draw them back toward health, toward sanity. When you treat all the starving and abused children of the world not as them but as us, they will not develop into tyrants. It's a formidable task. No one says it will be easy. And of course you do not have to do it perfectly. The power is in the intention. If tyranny continues here and there, it will continue, and beings will continue to bring love to those places of darkness. The shift is that as more and more of you begin to respond in the world from a place of deep understanding and compassion and the wisdom which sees that tyranny only furthers tyranny and hatred, slowly the shift will come about.

So I think of this as the "us" millennium. You are here at the dawn of it. I do not think it will take a thousand years for your civilization to learn deeply the lessons of us because if you continue to enact me, you're going to destroy yourselves. There is already enough wisdom that understands this that it will not permit it to happen.

You know that I am telepathic and also that I will not read thoughts that are not offered openly. I speak here from the power of this past day and a half, seeing the prayers and hopes of all mankind. Do you know how strongly this message of hope and love outnumbers the messages of fear and hate?

You are powerful, and it is time for all beings to claim that strength, to create the world you envision. It will not be easy because fear is still present. You know you must begin by addressing that fear in yourself. "Abandon the unwholesome" does not mean to destroy it so much as to refuse to get caught up in it, to see how negative mind states arise and not take them so personally but have the wisdom to know that they arose because certain conditions were present for their arising, and come back to the centered and loving heart which does not need to enact the fear, greed, and hostility that might arise.

So many of you are ready to do this and to bring these lessons out in to the world. Not me and mine but us and ours. Cherish every small bit of life, however it expresses itself. Know that the hand cannot be whole unless each finger is whole.

There is more I could say but I have promised a short talk and I think I have already exceeded my allotted time. Cherish one another. Each of you works in different areas. No one area is more or less important than another. People must learn to cherish their environment, to communicate with one another, to find their own spiritual paths. Your teaching grounds are wherever you are, amongst your family and your friends and your workmates. Some of you may feel that your work is more directly pointed in the direction of us and universal peace, but I suggest that no work is more important than any other.

Be a Buddha, one who is awake. Be a Christ. Have a sense of being fully wherever you are. Teach through your own lives and rejoice in this opening into the millennium of us.

On the Buddha's Awakening, May 17, 2000, Wednesday Night Discussion Group

Copyright © 2001 by Barbara Brodsky