Letter from Barbara

From the Board President
Sandy Wiener

On Consciousness

Chart: Stages of Consciousness

On Healing

Metta Sutta "Rewritings"
Susan Weir

Aaron Quote

Letter from Barbara

Dear friends,

As I sit at my desk looking out on the snow covered spruces of February, I note with a smile that when you read this it will be summer. Then another smile to myself, remembering last week, basking in the January sunshine in mid-summer Brazil. My story begins there. In January I returned to the Casa de Dom Inacio, run by Joao Teixeira de Faria, often known as John of God, seeking healing of the ears and eyes. Again I found myself asking, "What is healing?" We speak about no-self; with that in mind, who heals? I reflect on innate perfection and ask, "What heals?" Who wishes to heal this deafness and distorted vision that is also perfect? And yet there must be intention or nothing happens. Intention precedes change on this heavy density earth of ours, for we must know the destination in order to arrive there. The "who" becomes a bit superfluous.

During my first week in Brazil, one of the entities asked me, "Why do you wish to hear and see?" I knew it wasn't a challenge as much as a suggestion that I develop more inner clarity. My first thought was of the wish to hear the beauty of a child's laughter, the sweet music of a stream flowing over rocks, the sigh of the breeze in the trees, music; to see the beauty of the rainbow, the smile, the dew drop. But immediately I knew that wasn't enough. Along with all those sounds and sights are the harsh and difficult ones: the terrible screams of beings in agony; the roar of a tidal wave or erupting volcano; the cries of grief; the violence of a bomb dropped, limbs torn off and flying through the air.

At first, I said, I'm willing to see and hear it all, then realized that needed amendment. I want to see and hear it all. Only through intimacy with what some call the 10,000 joys and sorrows does the heart truly open. It's only here that we begin to know true compassion.

Can I then say that I want to hear and see to better know compassion? I spent several days with that question. The end isn't compassion, but unconditional love. Compassion is the path. And intimacy and presence are the companions to compassion.

Why do I want to hear and see? Is there a voyeuristic component, to hear and see so as to experience? I acknowledge that's part of it, a little greed, wanting to gain something, to be filled. But that part isn't willing to be intimate with the pain, only to survey it from outside. The motivation must go deeper, into that place that aspires to know unconditional love and to serve from that place of love.

The entity's question drew me to see the destination more clearly, the aspiration to service, to love, and the intention to open ever more fully to non-dual consciousness. Then I had to ask myself: Do I need physical vision and hearing to reach this goal? No. Then why do I want to hear and see? Here my heart finally opened deeply to the immense sadness of what has been lost, the beauty and fullness of life of which I seem to have been deprived by my lost hearing and limited vision.

But these are just sense experiences, joyful and beautiful, but non-essential. My meditation practice has led me to see such experience as simply "sense experience," and craving for it as craving, arisen from conditions, impermanent, not-self. There is true equanimity now, at some level. But I've also seen how, lacking hearing, I had withdrawn from intimacy through the years, with a subtle "sour grapes." It wasn't the deafness that created any lack, isolation, or reduction in intimacy with the world, but this slight withdrawal, holding myself separate for protection from the pain of the world. I now know it's always been my choice. In the decades since learning this, I've opened my heart and become more intimate with the world. What I now saw was the subtle separation that's still been maintained. Equanimity was real. Given that equanimity, I denied the sorrow that was also real.

Then what needs to be healed. Not the eyes. Not the ears. The separation. And that has never been "real" but an illusion. Recognizing the illusion, I open to the "ever-healed," to that which knows its divinity, wholeness and innate perfection.

As I reflected on this, the question returned: Why do I want to hear and see? For joy! It's not just that ego wants experience. Love invites joyful experience just for the wonder of it. I began to see how that intention needed to be honored, love's intention to ever more deeply know itself. I saw the part of me that felt some grasping, and could offer it kindness, and also the part that felt some shame at asking for hearing, thinking of it only as physical sensation. Both still arise in the human. Let them be, and turn to that which seeks, in joy and love.

As I open to the ever-healed, ever perfect, it's not in denial of present deafness and reduced vision. Both are real. I must know the ever-healed directly, as truth of the highest level, in order to use that truth as a template on which to build the present, heavier-body healing experience. Aaron described it using a memory. As an art student, I was sent into a museum to copy a work of a great master. I didn't use another student's drawing as the model. I went straight to the source. Here I go to the ever-healed as source and hold it as a model for the present heavy-body distortion.

The etheric or energetic level of the physical body cannot hold the healing on its own. It needs a model. Another memory: the years I practiced fencing, watching my teacher's moves and trying to replicate them. On my own, the move was less smooth. Back to copy it again, until it was fully learned. The physical body needs the etheric template; the etheric template needs the causal template, which goes directly to the cosmic template, the ever-perfect. Only in this way is the shift stabilized down to the physical again. Aaron's chart on stages of consciousness will give you more information about this. The same process happens in the emotional body. We experience anger, for example, and also rest in awareness, in that which is not angry. Both are present. The emotional body releases the anger, holding that "not angry" as a model, but without denial of the anger.

Through the weeks in Brazil, the intention clarified: to hear and see as Love more fully experiencing itself on every plane. The ability to hold open these various levels increases. The heart opens slowly, ever further. It's a great mystery to me, how it keeps going, and going.

I return home with right eye vision much improved. The entities tell me the work on the ears is progressing. I demonstrated my work with the tuning forks, vocally toning with each note of the octave as they had instructed me last year. I can now chant these 8 notes relatively on tune. I can "hear" them as vibration! "Right on track," I was told. "We will have you hearing more than tuning forks; please be patient."

More important is the inner healing on which the outer is based. I come home with a wonderful, joyful sense of intimacy to the world, no separation. It may come up again, but this time I'll know it and meet it with that spacious "Oh, you again," able to greet even the illusion of separation with an open heart.

I also know that the answer to "Why do you wish to hear?" will continue to evolve. That's part of the wonder of this journey, that it has no end place, but is a process of constant growth and opening, infinite passage into the Infinite! I'm much more willing to let go, and just see where the road takes me.

I wish you a joyous summer. Perhaps our paths will meet soon.

With love,

From the Board President
March 2006
Sandy Wiener

To our wonderful Sangha members,

This is my second quarterly report. I am glad to say I am learning quickly, with the help of many people.

The most important matter I can take up is the ongoing work of the two committees looking at our future. One (the Sharing Space Committee consisting of Gisela Wilson, Corty Cammann, Peg Tappe, and three people from Interfaith) is examining the pluses and minuses of sharing a space with the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth. The second is the Other Options Committee, which is looking at staying where we are or finding larger space on our own; it includes Mary Grannan, Carol Blotter, George SanFacon, Hugh Danville and Bilha Rivlin.

The two committees, which are in the early stages of their work, reported their progress to date at the March 12 Sangha meeting. The findings coming out of the Committees' work and the subsequent decisions of the Sangha are, quite clearly, important to Deep Spring's future. Please keep Deep Spring in your thoughts and prayers so that we come away with the best possible plan for our upcoming years.

Another important matter discussed at the Sangha meeting is our budget for this year. As it appears now, the budget approved by the Board at its February meeting shows a deficit of several thousand dollars. Deep Spring is evolving and trying out a different approach to the flow of funds (cf. dana article last issue), and there have been changes in how retreats are costed. As we proceed, we find many unknowns, which are reflected in the budget.

The Board does not believe that the year will end with such a projected deficit, but we are being conservative in our projections. Money is available to cover any shortfall. But we are also thinking of new ways to raise funds for DSC. We invite all Sangha members to suggest and volunteer in helping to execute new ways to raise funds for DSC.

Two other matters are noteworthy. One is the burgeoning number of classes being given by increasing numbers of Deep Spring teachers, including, as I mentioned in my last report, in Chelsea, Toledo and even Mexico.

The second matter is the reinvigorated Social Activities Committee, led by Linda Longo. Check out our Web site to see the many new offerings to enjoy one another's company.

Finally, our beloved guiding teacher, Barbara Brodsky, has returned from her third trip to John of God in Brazil, full of interesting stories and of optimism for her progress in hearing and seeing. Her classes and talks are listed on the Web site. Come and listen: it's quite a gift!

Thank you all for your many contributions to Deep Spring Center, including your participation in the wonderful plethora of activities.

With metta and love,

On Consciousness
Excerpt from Spiritual Inquiry Class
September 21, 2005

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. It's a joy to be gathered here with you once again, to share this time together.

The way I want to begin this year with you is to review the stages of consciousness that we covered last year, just to make sure that everybody understands these stages. Then within the stages of consciousness, to see how the bodies relate. (Teachings continue with On Healing article.)

There are three states of consciousness: gross, subtle, and causal. And within those states of consciousness are different stages of consciousness. When you think of the states of consciousness, it's important not to think of a linearity but rather a round ball, opening out. The gross state of consciousness is always surrounded by the subtle state, but if you're totally engrossed in the gross state, you won't be aware of the subtle state. The causal state of consciousness surrounds the subtle, but if you're focused in the subtle or gross, you don't see it. This is true for most humans: you center down into the gross state of consciousness, the physical body and the mundane level of mind, and only occasionally in your meditation practice do you break through. And you don't always connect that outer space with the direct mundane experience, but of course it has to be connected. So we're trying to get beyond any duality and begin to understand that gross, subtle, and causal are one whole, like the nut in its shell.

Let's look first at the stages of consciousness. There are many articulations of them. I would draw from some of the most common ones here. These labels are not my own but are amongst the most traditional labels. The magical and mythical consciousness are the level of consciousness of the young child. The child in some ways is still deeply connected to its power. We think of the magical consciousness of the child as being immature, but in some ways it's very mature, just distorted. For example, the child may become very angry at something and just when it's angry, somebody in the family becomes very sick. The child truly believes that he or she created the illness. We tell the child, "That's not rational. You can't create the illness in the other." This is what we call magical consciousness. But the child is also connected to its deep power, and it knows that at some level it can create anything. It may know that it was angry at this adult, and then the adult perhaps had a heart attack. It had nothing to do with the child on the rational level, but the child's magical consciousness says, "I did this!" with great fear, shame, sadness, and also rejoicing at its power and afraid of that power.

Mythical consciousness comes into the child a bit later, where the child really connects with the archetypal myths. They're not fully rational, it's not a personal magic as on the magical level, but it's personal myth taken into its connection with the archetype.

This evolves into rational consciousness. In rational consciousness, everything is based on what's logical. There's no possibility of intuition. There's no room for the way things feel, just what can I detect from my own senses? Many of your politicians are very much ingrained in rational consciousness. Visionaries may suggest to them, use your imagination, think "beyond the box" as it is sometimes said, but they can't. They're just not ready to do so. Show me, I want to see it, feel it, taste it, smell it. Only that. Rational consciousness certainly has its uses, but it's fairly limited.

This is all within the gross state of consciousness and the active body here is the etheric body. The etheric level, the whole etheric template and all the etheric bodies relate to the gross state of being: magical, mythical, and rational consciousness. The subtle state begins to open. It's not like flights of stairs where you get off on an elevator and you're on one floor and the next floor and the next floor, but rather like a winding stairway. You approach the next level. You come to it and you go a step, and two, and three steps beyond. It's a movement.

How many of you interpret your dreams or reflect on your dreams sometimes? This is the subtle level of consciousness. Vision logic consciousness. Remember, it's still logic, there's still the rational as part of it. But there's also the opening into all that that cannot be seen, but only filtered through the non-material senses. So the move into subtle consciousness is the move into trust of the non-material senses.

This is the beginning of the opening of the astral body. Astral and high astral. I'm just drawing a rough map for you here, don't worry too much about these bodies, as yet. Vision logic consciousness opens further into psychic consciousness. Psychic, as in the way that you may hear your own guidance, that you may within meditation envision something clearly, have a clear-seeing of it even though materially it's not there. The opening of the psychic level.

And further on, fully into the subtle level. No human can exist on that level cut off from the gross level. There are a lot of people in institutions who are trying to do that, to live on the psychic level, for example, in denial of the gross level. But both are real. We can't prefer one to the other. It's just as unbalanced to stay lost in the gross as to stay lost in the subtle.

Subtle consciousness opens into causal consciousness. The first experience of the causal level is what we call Christ or Buddha consciousness. Of course, in non-Christian, non-Buddhist countries, it's given a different name. But that's a common term for it. This is the first level of consciousness where one fully opens into the divinity of one's self and of all that is, and begins to see divinity in a less dualistic way. I say less dualistic because there is still something that observes. There's not full knowing of the self yet as fully non-dual with That Which Is. But there's a deep seeing into the nature of this highest level of being, just the very small bit of the observer that's separated and watching it all.

Causal consciousness moves into high causal and what we call non-dual consciousness, and it's at that point that every possibility of a dual self and other collapses. There is only That Which Is in all its many aspects.

So the more you expand, the less you hold identification with the personal self. And yet you are still responsible for this personal self and must take care of it. But as you expand out, you start to know the enormity of what you are, the power of what you are. In a sense, you come back to the very young baby with its magical consciousness, but matured at this point, having moved out from the knowing of power into the knowing of the ability to hold this power in a loving way and co-create with it. So the baby simply knows the power and backs off from it, wisely so. The very mature adult knows the power and knows the potential of that power, bursting outward.

This takes us into being and non-being. Do you know the lines from the Heart Sutra? "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." What do they mean? How can form be empty? How can emptiness have form?

Envision a cup, a bowl. Is it empty? It's filled with space, it's filled with air. If we were to pour water in it, the air would have to go out.

In order for there to be a container of water, there's got to be a container. If we had a hose and just brought it in and kept hosing, it would fill the room. The room would become the container.

If we were to pour tea into the cup, which is the cup of tea? Is it the vessel or is it the tea? Without the vessel, can you have a cup of tea? Without the tea, can you have a cup of tea? They co-participate with each other.

We speak in meditation practice of the conditioned realm. Within this conditioned realm, everything arises out of conditions and ceases when the conditions cease. It's very easy to see. The water and the cup arose out of the conditions that there is water coming through the plumbing and into the faucet. The faucet was turned on, the cup held below, and now we have a cup of water. I don't want to affirm or deny a Big Bang theory for the start of the universe; let us just recognize that something cannot come from nothing. There's got to be something in order for there to be something else.

Everything arises out of conditions, it's impermanent. When the conditions are present, it will arise. If a little ant crawled on your leg, there would be a tickling sensation. When the ant goes, eventually the tickling sensation will stop. If another ant comes along, it may tickle again. It all arises from conditions. The tickling sensation doesn't come from a self. Rather, there are nerve endings and the tickling sensation is a result of the presence of the ant, the nature of human skin with nerve endings, the presence of a consciousness that's able to perceive sensation, and out of that comes the sensation of tickling.

We speak also of the Unconditioned, that Unborn, Undying, that which exists without conditions. And yet, is this a paradox or not? I've just said nothing can exist without conditions. Nothing comes from nothing. From what did the Unconditioned arise? We need to phrase it in a different way. We can not say it arose. So we come back to a very conventional phrasing, That Which Is. Unborn, undying, is simply existent. We sometimes call this Ground of Being, or That Which Is. In some religions they may call it God, or G-d, in others they may call it Unconditioned, or Divine. Many names for that which cannot be named.

Out of this essence of being, let's look at your charts, the lower chart, cosmic template. This simple being and doingness, is That-Which-Is. Everything is possible because that is. Because That-Which-Is is, everything is possible. For those who do not believe in any kind of God, or that there is anything beyond the conditioned realm, I have no answer because I cannot prove the existence of That-Which-Is. But when you begin to trust the direct experience of higher consciousness, you touch it directly, and then you know it. This is.

Anybody who has ever experienced the energy in one's own or another's body, something you can't see as you see blood moving through the veins if you have the right tools, or blood seeping through a wound in the skin, you have experienced at the subtle level. What is this energy? Where did it come from? It's an expression of what I'm calling That Which Is. The blood is also an expression of That-Which-Is, but different in that it is known directly through the physical senses. The experience of energy is more subtle.

Some of you have seen what we call Ground Luminosity in your meditation, the innate radiance of everything. The aura is one small expression of Ground Luminosity in energetic expression. That-Which-Is gives off a certain radiance, and it gives off a sound. People call it nada, the sound of silence. How many of you have heard that sound? A few. Some others of you probably have and simply don't know the name. This is the sound that is behind all sound. When you're sitting very still, you begin to hear a sound much like cicadas singing in the background. It's not a sound that arises and falls away. Rather, it's a sound that always exists, but you come to hear it and then come away from it. It is like looking out the window into the daylight and then turning your back on the daylight. The daylight remains. You come and go from it.

This emptiness is full, it's alive, it's vital. It's the match at the moment when you struck it, before the flame bursts out. Do you know that moment? You strike the match and there's a tiny pause before it bursts into flame. That readiness and potential, which is grounded in That-Which-Is, expressing itself into the world in so many ways. It takes form.

That form is nothing but the emptiness out of which it expresses. By emptiness, we don't mean void, simply That-Which-Is, empty of any separate self. That non-dual core of being that we come to know through its expressions as energy, as sound, as light, as scent like honeysuckle, a very powerful scent. Taste. Those of you who are energy workers, do you know the energy that I am talking about? Let's call it core energy. It's not the movement of the energy through this or that meridian; it simply is the ground: it's the place where you are when you center yourself. Do you understand what I'm saying? A few yes, a few no. I'm approaching this with as many different metaphors as possible because some of you will have seen the lights, some will have heard nada, some will have experienced the energy.

Under "cosmic template" in our chart, the Ever-Perfect, we can touch it but cannot connect it to the relative plane. It's as if a film goes across. Picture a pure spring of water underground. Where does it come from? It's just the groundwater of the earth. There is the place just before the spring reaches the surface where it retains its perfect purity. As soon as it bubbles out of the depths, it touches the air, it touches the soil, it combines itself with other things, but while it's underground, it's pure spring water. If you reach in with a pot to dip out water, you also bring the whole earth plane with all its impurities into the pure water. You can't touch it directly and retain that purity. But its outer expression is readily available.

Of course I'm speaking here as a metaphor; that pure spring is not the Unconditioned. But the image holds true. The spring corresponds to emptiness, the empty that is full, ready to burst forth into expressed being. "Form is emptiness; emptiness is form."

This emptiness that I was speaking of, empty of any separation but not empty of essence, it IS, it's vital, it's alive, it's full, it's rich, it's explosive. It's everything. But not yet in form. "The earth was formless. And then a form was brought forth." So the Biblical teachings tell us. This is a metaphor for the whole co-creation of life on earth. Emptiness into form. And what is that form but the emptiness itself? What is the water from the fresh spring, even though it has been touched by the pollutants of the mundane world, but the fresh spring water?

If the spring bubbles up from the surface and tumbles in a stream down the mountain, if you walk down the mountain and 15 minutes downhill you're thirsty but cattle have been wading in there, the water is muddy, it doesn't look pure, are you going to have to climb back up to the spring? Where is that perfect water? Of course you want to filter it; you don't want to drink the mud, you want to drink the water. But the perfect water is right there: where else would it be?

The That-Which-Is expressing into form, the That-Which-Is retains its innate perfection. The outer form is given by the conditions of the mundane realm. Your work as human beings is to be a bridge. Am I repeating my words of last year? I do want to remind you. Your work is to be a bridge, to hold that Ever-Perfect, and to hold the mundane, and to bring them together. You cannot live in the Ever-Perfect and you cannot live without the Ever-Perfect. You are a bridge.

So your spiritual work is to know the form and the emptiness and to break through any idea that they are dual with one another. This is all this handout is about, bringing in together the gross consciousness, the subtle, the causal, and that beyond the causal, and getting to know the different bodies as you experience them in your daily life so that you are more aware of when you are functioning within the mundane body, when you're functioning within the astral body, for example.

Dreams are usually part of the astral level of being. If you perhaps had a dream that you were naked and you woke up, did you get up and put on some heavy clothes? Of course not. You knew it was a dream. You were functioning on the astral level in the dream, and now waking up on the bed, your nightclothes are just right. This was a dream.

This is a very simplistic example. But you can see that it's important to know when you're in the etheric level and when you're in the astral level. You can't take one for the other.

Do you know what lucid dreaming is? It's that point in the dream where awareness is able to say, "Ah, this is a dream. The dragon is chasing me and I'm dreaming. I can keep running in terror. I can stop and turn around and say, "No, I'm not playing this game any more." It becomes very clear to the dreamer this is a dream. Awareness distinguishes the body that is at the primary level of experience in that moment. We begin to direct our dreams, to take command of our dreams. Dream material still arises from the astral level, but it is not the mundane mind but the superconscious mind, that beyond the astral level, which is able to address the dream material and bring it into balance.

When you do it on the dream level a few times, then in your daily life there can come a change in relationship with those figurative dragons that are chasing you, negative people in your life. For example, you learn how to say no to them as you did in the dream. So you practice in the dream.

My point here is simply that it's very clear when it's mundane and when it's astral. It is less clear, perhaps, beyond the astral. Have any of you had what you commonly call a transpersonal experience? Maybe I should ask it differently: has anybody not had such an experience? You don't really have to answer; I don't want to put you in a place where you may feel embarrassed. But I think all of you at some point have had an experience that we would call transpersonal experience or a transcendent experience.

When you have that kind of experience, suddenly you experience the physical body still there and the astral body, but you know the immensity of being and your interconnection with all that is.

Excerpt from the Heart Sutra:

O Sariputra, form is no other than emptiness,
emptiness no other than form.
Form is emptiness, emptiness form.
The same is true of feeling, thought, impulse and consciousness.

O Sariputra, all dharmas are empty.
They are not born nor annihilated.
They are not defiled nor immaculate.
They do not increase nor decrease.
So in emptiness no form, no feeling, no thought, no impulse, no consciousness.

No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;
no form, sound, smell, taste, touch or objects of mind.
No realm of sight; no realm of consciousness.

No ignorance nor extinction of ignorance,
no old age and death, nor extinction of them.

No suffering, no cause of suffering, no path to lead out of suffering;
no knowledge, no attainment, no realization
for there is nothing to attain.

Chart on Stages of Consciousness
State Body Stages
High Casual or
beyond the causal plane
  Non-dual awareness
Causal Causal Christ or Buddha Consciousness
Subtle Astral (end of vision-logic) Psychic
  High Astral Subtle
Gross Etheric Magical, Mythical, Rational
  Low astral Vision-logic (opening to the subtle)

Cosmic template -; the ever-perfect. We can touch it, but can't connect it to the relative plane.

Transpersonal body -; the place where we connect with the universe. Has 2 levels, cosmic (Causal state) and non-dual consciousness (High-causal state). This last is the Dharmakaya and contains everything else.

Astral template -; ties together the etheric and causal. Visually, the energy bands go in both directions, literally tying together the Dharmakaya and Nirmanakaya. This template could be considered the sambhogakaya template. It includes all the bodies below.

Celestial body -; this is at the high end of the subtle bodies, or the beginning of the causal state. It's a higher level of the Higher Etheric body, but similar. This is considered the emotional level of the spirit plane, involved with such higher emotions as compassion and unconditional love. These emotions can only be deeply experienced from a place of no-self. It's named for the celestial chakra that opens from the crown.

Astral body -; the subtle body that connects the physical, mental and emotional bodies (gross state) with the transpersonal (causal and high causal). Third eye chakra.

Etheric template -; This is the first entry to the subtle state. It carries the template for the causal level of the mental, emotional and physical bodies, but is not based there. It is still subject to distortion. It is part of a network with the ever perfect template (cosmic), the astral template, and the lower template which is the etheric template.

Higher Etheric body -; the energetic level of the combined mental and emotional bodies

Mental body -; usual meaning; this also has an energetic component. "Mental Body" is not the just thoughts, but the energetic background to the thoughts and the expressed ideas.

Emotional body -; usual meaning; the auric fields of the emotional body follows the outline of the physical body. "Emotional Body" is not the just emotions, but the energetic background to the emotions and the expressed emotions.

Physical Etheric body -; This is the first energetic level of the physical body. It is the first layer of the aura. It is the energetic level of the gross state; the physical structure cannot exist without this energy field.

Physical body -; the actual, manifest physical form at a level of the single cell, and collection of cells we call "body."

On Healing
Excerpt from Talk in Brazil
January 16, 2006

We come together with a question, what is healing? Given that there is that Ever-Perfect, what is there to be healed? And yet, you are all here because you seek healing or seek to support the healing of others. This takes us to the deepest place of understanding. I use the three kayas, as the basic articulation of it. You understand those kayas. You understand the relative and mundane level, and the supramundane level, and the bridge that holds them together. I could give you a one-line answer to "What is healing?" It is the movement of the mundane into the expression of the perfection of the supramundane. For some people, that would be enough answer. My intention with you is to go considerably deeper.

What is it that you are here for? What is this healing and how do we best come to it? We begin with the obvious, the statement of the four bodies: physical, emotional, mental, and spirit. Each body has various levels, from the etheric through the astral and on to the causal and cosmic. (See chart.)

The physical etheric body is the energetic level of the physical form body. The emotional and mental bodies are also at the form level. The higher etheric body is the energetic level of the emotional and mental bodies. These are all on the etheric plane.

So we have the form level, or Nirmanakaya*, synonymous names, with the physical, mental, and emotional bodies, and the etheric template of those bodies. Then we have the higher etheric body, which is the energetic level of these, followed by the etheric template, which is the first entry into the subtle state. (See chart.)

[* Nirmanakaya: Kaya means body. Nirmana is form, thus, Nirmanakaya is form body. The other two kayas we'll mention are Dharmakaya, the truth body or, in this chart, cosmic template. Sambhoga means "wealth." There is a sense of a bridging or transition in Sambhogakaya. It contains both Dharmakaya and Nirmanakaya.]

Beyond the etheric plane we have the astral body/astral plane and the causal body/causal plane. These are the expressions that flow out of the ever-perfect. They are all subject to distortion.

I hold this water bottle. Look, if you will, at the scene before you through the transparent bottom. There's distortion created by plastic and water. The Ever-Perfect is there and there's nothing less than perfect about the plastic and water, and yet there is a distortion when you look through. I use the word "distortion" not as something negative but simply as a bend, as when you hold a flashlight to water and watch the beam. As it hits the water it seems to bend because of the heavier density of the water. There's nothing bad about that: it's simply the effect of the heavier density.

As we come down from the causal through the astral and into the etheric, the density becomes heavier and there's more distortion. You are further from that Ever-Perfect template.

Have you ever played the old children's game "Whispering Down the Lane?" You have a line of children, and one whispers something to the next one, perhaps "I love ice cream," and the next one says to the third one, "I love to scream," and the third one says to the fourth one, "I loathe to dream," and the fourth one says to the fifth one, "I loathe Doreen." Ongoing distortion! Each one gets it and changes it a bit.

Think of your various bodies as a set of whisperers. The causal bodies pick up information from the Ever-Perfect but they cannot feed it directly down to the form level. Rather, it has to go down step-by-step-by-step. If each of these bodies is clear, what is transmitted comes out clear in the form body, which perceives the Ever-Perfect and expresses it. But that's not what happens for most humans. It is distorted by beliefs, by spirit-level karma and karma stored in the body at a cellular level. The whole message becomes distorted.

So again, tackling that question, "What is healing?" It is the resolution of distortion so that the form bodies can get a direct message from the Ever-Perfect.

You know that there is an Ever-Perfect level of the form and emotional body. What prevents you from manifesting it? If you see that there is distortion and hold the intention to manifest the Ever-Perfect, then why is the distortion perpetuated? If you drew this plant (pointing to plant) and you looked and you said, "No, I've got the leaves a little too broad," you would erase it, you would correct it and that would be it. You still are not seeing the plant but only the impression of it through contact, consciousness and perception.

But what if you were looking at that plant through 14 different mirrors, some of them with the fat kind of lenses as you find in the Fun House, or colored lenses, so that you couldn't really tell what was true? What if you perceive the distortions and you know Mirror 7 makes things fat, Mirror 9 makes things too bright a yellow? You try to correct for those distortions that you know. But you still are guessing and the guesswork is influenced by your old belief systems. You cannot see the plant, only the mirrors and old myths about how it should look.

How do you make a direct relationship with the Ever-Perfect level of the three heavier bodies? You can begin to do that in meditation, but there's a difficulty. At the cosmic consciousness template, the Ever-Perfect template for all four bodies, there is what I would call a layer of thin, transparent film. You cannot break through it. Use the image of a deep, pure underground spring. The water is absolutely pure. It's encased in hard rock so there's no soil to crumble into it. It's absolutely clear. If it has access from the surface, impurities can enter. There is a thin film over the top. You can push into the film without penetrating it, so that you can look around and see what it's like under the surface, but you can't get into it.

If you stand on the outside and look in, you're in the situation of the person looking in the mirrors. How do you get to know that Ever-Perfect level? Take a guess. Meditate. In meditation, as the heavier bodies dissolve and self-identity dissolves, you enter into that space that can see clearly into the Ever-Perfect and bring out what is seen. This of course is the sambhogakaya, connected to Dharmakaya and Nirmanakaya.

To put this on a more accessible level, the work is to come to know the ever-perfect while still holding space for the distorted expression. Let's use a physical distortion, Barbara's deafness, as example. These ears don't work; there's some kind of distortion. She also comes to know that which is not deaf, literally. There is still that level of Ever-Perfect where the ears can hear. She regards that perfection and then observes the belief systems that have held her trapped in the idea that the ears are deaf and that she has to fix the ears to become non-deaf. This is a "going somewhere" as opposed to resting in this moment where there is no deafness. As long as she is striving to become non-deaf, she is giving energy to the perception that she is deaf. But denial of the deafness is not the answer. That also gives energy to that which is denied. The work is to hold both, to acknowledge the deafness and rest in the ever perfect.

You know enough of my teaching to remember what I teach about emotional distortion. Right there with anger is that which is not angry. Right there with fear is that which is not afraid. You don't attempt to fix the fear so you can finally get to non-fear. You don't attempt to conquer the anger; you hold loving space for the fear or anger and rest in that which is not afraid, not angry. Awareness holds the space of non-anger even while emotional consciousness experiences anger. You see the vastness of that which is not angry and you believe in it, you know it. First you believe in it and then you know it. And then when anger comes, it's just anger. There's no contraction to fix or to get rid of it.

This, interestingly, is easier learned with emotions than with the physical body. With the physical body, if there's a broken leg—you're running, you fall, snap! The leg is broken. It's no different. Right there with the broken leg is that which is not broken, and when you hold to that Ever-Perfect, you find the leg very quickly knits itself. There are cultures in which this is done in less than an hour. People sing to the leg and bring it back to its original wholeness. The singing is a way of recognizing the ever-perfect template and inviting the leg on the outer physical level to remember that template and restore itself to that pattern.

So, so much of distortion is based on the belief systems. Within those belief systems are the limits that you set for yourself. Then we would say that healing is the transcendence of the belief systems that have held you to the limited state of expression of non-wholeness. You look/live beyond that and truly express the wholeness.

To do that, there has to be a deep insight into intention. If the intention is based on fear, there will be grasping and contraction and it won't work. It can't be based on bargaining: "I'll do this or that and then this or that will happen." It won't work. The intention really must be no less than the highest intention to reflect the divinity that you are, as fully as possible into the world for the good of all beings. To do less than to reflect that full divinity is a disservice to oneself and to all beings. So it challenges you. This is the ultimate service, to express one's unlimitedness. And ironically, the ultimate service to self seems to be to express one's limitation, to hold one's limitation.

What if we very badly needed to lift a heavy container of water. These flowers will die, they are parched. Here's a heavy bucket. I am strong, but I don't want to intimidate you so I pretend to be weak. I may actually believe I'm weak. Oh, I can't lift that! We'll lift it together, but I'm still not strong enough … the flowers are dying. So holding to that limitation is a disservice. It would also be a disservice to boast my strength, then drop the bucket halfway through the watering. This is ego! But when I express the fullness of my being and am courageous enough to express my unlimitedness, it serves all beings.

Healing of the physical is impossible without healing of the etheric level. Even if the etheric level is cleared, it cannot hold that clarity unless it is using as model a clear astral template. Usually this is not so; thus we have the "whispering-down-the-lane" effect. The astral template takes the cosmic template as model. The distortion must be cleared all along the line if the clarity is to be maintained on the form level, whether it be of physical or mental body.

The body energy patterns are conditioned by karma, genetics, environment, and more. Energy often slides back into old patterns as long as there is no change beyond the etheric body. So working on the etheric body is not enough. The works needs to happen at the astral and causal levels.

The causal template is the place where change can be held. This template is of the causal and astral bodies. One never forces, but invites, the causal template to more firmly hold the patterns of the cosmic template, and reveal those patterns to the etheric level, which in turn reveals it to the physical.

Think of a young animal who has suffered deep trauma that has brought forth distorted patterns such as backing away from loving attention out of fear. You repeat the positive feedback each time the creature approaches. At first the fear remains alongside of the movement to come forth. Slowly a new pattern is ingrained until the old memories literally die away.

As we work with the cells themselves, and the energy patterns that hold the cells at a certain vibration, these changes will occur, literally changing the tissue at a cellular level and changing the causal template, so if the cells are damaged, they replace themselves according to that new template. It is all at a substantially higher vibration. The same is true of the distortions of the emotional body.

You ask why some people who do not understand this heal? Many beings come here at different levels of spiritual awareness. The farmer may come with a hand badly mangled in farm machinery. He's upset. It's painful. He can't feed his children. The doctors in the hospital have stitched up his hand and put it in a cast but it's not healing right. The entities in their compassion simply heal it. The karma that led to that mangled hand in the first place is still going to have to be resolved by this man in this or a future lifetime, but for now, his highest intention is not to resolve his karma, it's to feed his family. This is his free will decision. The entities work with you where you are.

Many beings come here with very deep spiritual understanding and with the highest intention for both physical healing and for the resolution of the karma that helped create that situation. Fast healing of the physical may both not be of the highest benefit, and may not be possible because of the held beliefs that must be resolved. Healing would impose something the body and mind are not yet ready to sustain.

When Barbara first came here, if the entities had said "you want to hear, that's easy" and healed the deafness, there's so much that Barbara would not have learned. She understood what I'm saying on a conceptual level two years ago, but she still had work to do to internalize it. She had not yet come to fully believe in that within her which hears. Now she does. Now that is no longer a restriction, there's no longer grasping, she is fully resting in that which hears while holding lovingly that distortion which doesn't hear, and this is the place of healing. It doesn't matter whether it's on a physical or an emotional or a mental level. It is the release of the distortion through making so much space around this distortion, holding it so lovingly, and resting in the Ever-Perfect until the distortion has no more nurturance and fades away.

There's one more step that's of vital importance. The body deteriorates and has a heavier energy. There is an Ever-Perfect level, but at times the body may have deteriorated past the stage where it can easily be restored. Regard, for example, somebody with cancer that has attacked many of the organs. Even if the cancer could be fully released out of the tissue, the organs are not functioning. There is no shame in not being able to fully heal the body. If somebody has lost a leg, even if one comes fully to know and express out into the world the perfection of the body, that doesn't mean they're going to be able to grow a leg back. It's very important that people not feel ashamed or that they have failed in some way because they do not bring forth physical healing. The deeper healing is the knowing of one's innate perfection.

A one-legged man can express that perfection far more radiantly into the world when he knows it, regardless of the lack of the leg, than can somebody whose body is intact but who is very concerned over the little warts and scratches and sees his self as imperfect. The healing begins with cognizance of distortion at the form level, be it the physical form, the emotional or the mental form level. These are all nirmanakaya. Understand that Nirmanakaya is not just the physical realm but also the form of the emotions, the form of the mind and thoughts.

From the sambhogakaya level, become that pole that I have spoken often about, touching the nirmanakaya form level and seeing the distortion, and seeing also the thoughts about the distortion, such as shame about it or fear about it, or grasping to conquer it, and so forth. We talk often about a practice in vipassana, Proper Object, where there is, for example, the itch and then the urge to scratch the itch. The itch is one object and the impulse to scratch it is another; the broken leg is one object and the relationship with that broken leg is the next object.

So one sees the physical, emotional, or mental distortion, and then one sees how one is relating to that distortion and works to learn to relate to it with more spaciousness and more kindness. Only then can one begin to reach for the Ever-Perfect. If you go to the Ever-Perfect too soon before you have established a kinder relationship with the distortion, you hide out in the Ever-Perfect and do not engage in a willingness to embrace the distortion and the relationship with the distortion.

Coming to that place where one sees one's fears, one starts to see how one has held oneself in limitation. What if I did not have to be perfect? What if I could speak out my truth? And so forth.

This is a very important area to work with. One must acknowledge the discomfort. Many, many years ago, after Barbara worked with and resolved the rage at her deafness and began to consider healing, she spent over a year in which she addressed what was an equally difficult question: what if I could hear? She had to acknowledge the fear, all the things she did not want to hear, the pain of the world, the screams of the world, to be able to say, "Yes, I'm ready to be intimate with both the joyous laughter and the agonized screams of the world. I don't need to hold myself separate from that any more." This is the recognition of one's moving into limitation and one's ability to transcend that limitation, to drop it off.

So, of course, these compassionate entities will help you wherever you are. If you go in and just say, "Fix me," they'll do the best they can but will also try to impart the awareness you're not really resolving the karma. But each case is individual. Somebody who has cancer might not have the luxury of time to say, "Well I want to resolve all the karma," just, "Let's resolve the cancer. Then I can get to the karma." Each person has free will. What is it you want? Another may wish to head directly to the karma. One question to ask is if there is contraction, are you using one choice to avoid another. There is no right answer, only to follow the loving path of the open heart.

Q: We talked about the film, the veil, touching the Ever-Perfect. When we cross over, when we leave this body, do we penetrate, and go right through?

Aaron: My dear, I wish it were that easy! Your illusions go with you. Whatever limiting beliefs, physical, mental, emotional distortions not yet resolved, are carried with you.

H: I understand that after death on this plane that we carry with us all experiences into the transition. I'm wanting to know if that resting place is the Ever- Perfect?

Aaron: It is but you do not know that it is because you cannot see it if, after you leave the body, the distortions and sense of limitations are still primary, if there has been no clarity about the distinction between the nature of mind and objects of mind. If you can know the Ever-Perfect during the incarnation, then you will know it after the incarnation. It will be much clearer between lifetimes. But if you have not permitted yourself to know it in the incarnation, how could you recognize it out of the incarnation?

This is one very important reason for learning to know that divinity and perfection, that radiance, while still in the incarnation because then when you leave the body you're awake. You catch that radiance; otherwise it just goes by.

I would liken the situation to a dream experience. There may be a moment as you fall into the sleep and dream state where there's some cognizance that you're dreaming. There is a brief moment of knowing you're dreaming and then you're gone. The dream is so impelling, you're gone. You're caught up in it with all its joys and woes, one moment sweating and groaning, then grasping at delight. There is no awareness that it's a dream. As you move through that transition, there is a moment where that full radiance becomes open to you. If you have trained and know how to hold that space of clarity and not get lost in the dream quality of the between state, then there's a very different experience. All that comes past you in that transition is recognized as conditioned objects, as thoughts, forms, and so forth, nothing solid. You rest in the innate perfection. But there must be training to recognize that moment and stay with it. This is why complete enlightenment is possible at death even if it has not been found in the lifetime as long as there is good preparation for it. You learn to recognize the Ever-Perfect and you are able to rest there.

Let me give you a simple metaphor here. Let's say that you are very, very thirsty. You have not had food or water for several days. It's easier to live without food than without water. You are very thirsty. Suddenly doors open and there in front of you is a banquet table with wonderful aromas, some of the most exotic, beautifully prepared food you've ever seen. Your favorite fruits and meats and vegetables, everything that you most love to eat. And there's also a simple pitcher of water. You see the pitcher of water. That's what you need. Can you stay attuned to the pitcher of water with all these aromas coming at you? Easily!

This is the value of vipassana practice because we learn to see objects arising and passing away and to see the contraction, grasping, or aversion with those objects as objects in themselves, not building any self identity with what arises. Grasping is just grasping; aversion is just aversion. There's no fear of what has arisen. One is not pulled off center by it. In meditation, if you are with the breath and suddenly there are bells ringing, you note, "bells, bells, hearing, pleasant," and come back to the breath. Then there's shouting, "hearing, hearing, unpleasant, unpleasant." Even the arising thought, "I wonder what that is?" is noted, "—ah, thinking." The impulse energy comes up. "Let's go see. Ah, impulse." But one stays centered and on track. One doesn't get pulled away. As you develop and deepen in the ability to rest in awareness in this lifetime, then during the transition, you're able to rest there and hold that Ever-Perfect.

It is not so hard to know the Ever-Perfect; it is not so hard to touch it. What is much harder is to come to know all the habit energies that have held you into denial of the Ever-Perfect and of the self as expression of that Ever-Perfect, to recognize these energies and not build more identities, but to let go and return to the deepest truths. There is such strong habit energy to hold the self small.

So, healing really is the perfect exercise to teach you to hold the balance between relative and ultimate. Think of healing as a training ground. There's nothing else that can teach you this in such a vital way. When there's pain in the body and mind and you yearn for healing and freedom from that pain, you have the perfect catalyst to invite the learning to hold that balance, to bring compassion to that which is pained, to hold the Ever-Perfect, and open into the fullest expression of that Ever-Perfect. Releasing 10,000 lifetimes of habit energy and the belief that you are small, that you are flawed, limited, you finally know the innate perfection. Then karma is resolved. Nothing pulls you into rebirth.

I would say something about that film over the Ever-Perfect. Let's use the image of Van Gogh's painting, Starry Night. Do you know that painting? Yes. We give you all brushes, palettes, and canvas, and say, "Okay, here is the painting. Please copy it." Are you going to make a perfect copy? Some of you will make a better copy than others. Some will make a more accurate physical copy. Others will better capture the mood. Nobody can copy it perfectly. Here the output depends somewhat on your skill, so that the metaphor is flawed.

If I have that Starry Night and a mirror and hold a mirror up to it, the representation in the mirror will depend on the clarity of the mirror. If the mirror is distorted in such a way that it elongates everything, it would change the painting in that way. If the mirror is flawed with flecks so that there are spotted areas, it will change the painting in that way.

You cannot break through the film into the Ever-Perfect when you approach the Ever-Perfect with a belief in distortion as ultimate reality. Let us look at the broken leg. You look at the Ever-Perfect where there is no broken leg, a leg that was never broken. It's always been strong and intact. But there's disbelief because the leg is throbbing and you know it is broken on the relative level. If you disregard the throbbing, you cannot bring healing because you are in denial about the relative presentation. If you regard only the throbbing, you cannot bring healing in any rapid way, because there is a contracted energy that sees only the distortion, feels urgency to fix the distortion, and ignores the innate perfection. Only by holding both can you move into a direct experience of the ever-healed and the "to-be-healed."

Metta Sutta "Rewritings"
Susan Weir

The Sunday morning continuing class has been working with the metta sutta. Everyone re-wrote the first section as it is true for them.

This is what could be done
By (me) when I am skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
I am able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in my ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let me not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.


The universe accepts me and has a place for me just the way I am.
I live in the present, freed from past regrets and future concerns.
I find joy, contentment, and fulfillment in each moment.
I derive satisfaction from the mindful completion of daily tasks.
I use my abilities to help myself and others respond to life's challenges.
My words and actions are merciful and compassionate.
I refrain from judging myself and others.
I am open to and appreciative of the inner beauty and goodness that exists in all beings.
Courage and curiosity overcome fear and lethargy.
Peace and love are my friends.


As I move away from small self, and into greater awareness,
Released from clinging, spared further suffering,
I shall find that I become more capable and natural in right action,
More loving and gentle,
Confident in abilities and humble in awareness.
My wants will be few, and easily satisfied.
I will accept duties carefully and gladly, bearing them with ease, fulfilling them with loving awareness.
Ever more aware of the transient nature of all things, I will remain at peace, acting with wisdom and skill.
As awareness continues to grow, I will no longer commit even the smallest acts and thoughts motivated by clinging.


This is what we are doing
Those of us skilled in goodness,
who practice the path of peace

We are willing and honest
Straightforward and gentle in speech
Humble and proud, not humiliated or conceited.
Contented, easily satisfied with more and with less.
Unburdened by our duties and quick to laughter.

Happy and centered, and wise and skillful.
Not arrogant but grateful in nature.
Let us not do the slightest thing
That we would later regret and have to make amends for.
Let us not avoid the slightest thing
That would bring happiness to ourselves and to others.


The Metta Sutta: me interacting with the rest of the world.

I find a way to fully come into wholeness. Each crossroad, test, knowing, ends in recognition of good. And eventually, goodness is the choice, each time, every time.

Peace is in my life. It is the air I breathe, the sound I hear, the thought that takes voice. Gentleness is the lens I see thru, the filter for my eyes.

With contentment at the base of my processing-calmness flows into my being. There is no manipulation. There is nothing, no one to be manipulated. I step into the honest space of this very moment. Ahh.

This way of being makes me no better than any other, just close to home. Our home.

The ease of stepping into big mind is like wrapping in that soft, warm blanket. And asks nothing more.

As I stand in this place, I look around-and there is … a nod, a knowing, a wonderment, a gratitude, a fragile holding of that fleeting fullness we will find again.

I make eye contact with those who walk before me and bow. And no one needs to take credit for this exchange. The wholeness swallows our separations.


Knowing my true nature,
Skillful in thought, speech and deed
Content and humble,
Unperturbed in the life's storms,
Peace is my way,
On my way to Dhamma,


Here is the essence of a wise person:

They are without pride.
They are without aspirations of the future to provide escape from the often initial discomfort of experiencing the present.
They accept their imperfect selves.
They are content in this moment.

The wise person will pay no attention nor respond with negativity to the messages of our culture and the puffed up. Their observations of the world will cause them to be strenuous in doing good without emotional hindrance.


This is the nature of my deepest being, my inner wisdom is skilled in goodness and at peace with life as it is.

I have a set of talents and abilities to contribute to the world, I give them freely and ably.

Accepting myself where I am grounds me in integrity and without the need to hide myself or be other than who i am.

Gentleness in my interactions with others allows love and understanding to grow.

Life unfolds in its perfect way. Knowing this results in contentedness. There is no longer any need to have my own way or to have my views prevail. There is nothing to demand from others.

Being centered in the present moment allows me to perform my duties without stress or worry.

Wisdom sees the difference between needs and what is excess, remembering the old saying" enough is enough, but too much is never enough".

I aspire to be mindfully connected to the inner peace and wisdom that is always available, freeing me and those around me from the demands of the ego/mind.

I know and experience the result of mindful living as freedom from regret for past actions.


This is the path that I am walking towards my true nature: the wisdom in my true nature is buoyant in goodness and at peace with life as it unfolds moment to moment.

What talents and abilities I have I give them to the world without regard to personal gain. In gentleness and clarity, I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

Knowing and accepting myself where I am mirrors the compassion I have towards everyone else. This is the ground of being that I share with all sentient beings. Joy flows from this ocean of wholeness; it unburdens our mundane lives and enriches us even in our most frugal ways. No excesses needed.

Grounded in the peace that comes from my true nature, world worries would come and go, I remain calm and resourceful with practice and skills. Bathing in the radiance of the inner wisdom, I am set free of my small mind.

Mindful living is the gateway to freedom from regret for past actions.


This is what i try to attend to:
when cleverness is put aside, then just knowing how things are right now—and being honest about it—brings peace.

It really isn't necessary to run away or search again for an idle moment.
Enjoying both the more and the less, let me not reproach what
comes this way on its own.

Aaron Quote

The work, then, is
not just to get through infancy and childhood
and become an adult.

The work is to maintain
what was beautiful and free about the child
without denying the maturation.

~ Aaron

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