Volume 15, Number 3


Letter from Barbara

Whole Shells or Fragments
Emerald Isle Retreat
April 22, 2006


Barbara';s Healing Story

Letter from Barbara
Barbara Brodsky

Dear friends,

I';m writing from my cabin deck in the woods, lake glittering blue through the trees. I hope you have all had a joyful and lovely summer. Once again we have a newsletter, short and simply laid out but quite adequate to convey the material. Thanks to our content manager, Delyth Balmer, who undertook the work to do the lay out for this issue. I wanted to share this beautiful talk from Aaron with you, and also some of my own healing journey. No pictures or exciting graphics, just basics, but it';s enough.

Many people have written me to express their appreciation of the newsletter, but none have offered to do the layout. Again, we face the future with uncertainty. The next issue would be mailed in December. But now we know you don';t need special skills, just a basic knowledge of Word or another word processing program and some hours to put the material together. Would you like to volunteer to lay out the coming issues, one or a year';s worth? It would be a great dhamma gift! Please let me know if you can help in this way.

With love,

Whole Shells or Fragments
Emerald Isle Retreat
April 22, 2006


Aaron: I am Aaron. My blessings and love to you. I hope you had a lovely day. I saw you building sand castles, swimming in the ocean, and deep in meditation. I saw some of you picking up shell fragments. How many of you found a piece of shell and thought how lovely it would be if it only had been whole? But of course it is whole, it is a whole fragment. You looked at it and said, “It';s too bad that the shell isn';t intact.” But the piece you held was perfect and the rest of the shell is scattered around the beach and in the sea, just where it needed to be. Was the fragment you held any less beautiful because part of it was missing?

Think about why you discarded it, or maybe you kept it. Barbara was about to toss out the first very beautiful fragment she found when I said to her, “Wait! Why would you throw it away?” And she said, “Because it';s broken.” And I said, “What difference does it make? Is it beautiful?” “Yes.” So she collected a pocket of fragments of shells.

Most of you have seen me do this exercise before. Here is the perfect sheet of paper, unwrinkled. (crumples it) Now is it wrinkled? (yes) Can you see the perfect sheet? Is it still there? It hasn';t gone anywhere. It just also has wrinkles. I asked Barbara to put this broken conch shell on the altar, to serve as your symbol for the retreat. Can you see the perfect shell? Is it still there? Wrinkled sheet and perfect sheet are non-dual. Broken shell and perfect, whole shell, non-dual. See the part that';s missing. Find the little pieces—they';re out there, scattered across the sand. It';s perfect.

The shell is no less beautiful because it is broken. It has suffered an experience of life, one might say, has become battered a bit, lost pieces of itself, and yet it holds together. It';s not crumbled into a thousand pieces, it';s intact. Is it really any different than any of you? All of you have brittle and broken spots, and yet you are intact and beautiful. Do you spend your time trying to find the little pieces and glue them together, or can you simply cherish your radiance and beauty and know your innate perfection, know that the whole radiant, divine self, is right there.

This thought goes quite deep. Once upon a time, you, other beings like you, were perfect unbroken shells. I';m going to talk a bit about Earth history now, an unlikely subject for a dhamma talk.

Take these words as history or simply as myth, as you like. There was a time on the earth plane when there was a great civilization known as Lemuria. The beings in that civilization knew their divinity. There was no forgetting of who they were as they moved into the incarnation. They knew their interdependence, each upon everything else. They lived in a deeply uncontracted state. They had a sense of being part of everything around them. Their structure was on a crystal base rather than the carbon-based humans that you are, so there was a different structure. The crystal can hold a much higher frequency. With the support of this frequency, beings were fully telepathic. There was no fear, there was no contraction, and there was no illusion of self. There was no dualistic fixation.

Even the dzogchen teachings talk about this—not using the name Lemuria as an example but simply saying, “In the time before time … great beings dwelt upon the earth without dualistic fixation, without any notion of samsara and nirvana.” The dzogchen teachings talk about how beings then fell into the dualistic fixation and became entrapped in karma. The dzogchen teachings don';t take it beyond that so I';m taking it a bit deeper tonight with this bit of Earth history or myth, as you prefer.

One might think this was a blissful situation, and indeed it was. There was no pain, there was only joy. Beings lived as long as they chose and, when they were ready, they simply released their crystalline structure, but there was no illness or lower vibrational breakdown leading to transition.

There was no work needed to maintain oneself. With telepathy, everything was simply invited and co-created. If there was desire for a new structure, a number of beings simply came together and envisioned it and invited it out of the crystalline essence of the Earth, literally shaping the blocks of crystal and levitating them into place. It was not considered work but done the way a child creates with blocks, out of joy.

Most people';s time was spent in creation: music, dancing, the visual arts, poetry, architecture. The whole essence of life was of co-creation. But you did not incarnate simply for pleasure. You incarnated for growth and learning, and especially the enhancement of compassion and wisdom. The fatal flaw for Lemuria, if I could call it that, was simply that there was no negative catalyst, no challenge. It';s very easy to love a sweet baby, a bit harder to love a negative person who';s constantly challenging you. They stimulate compassion. In Lemuria, lacking catalyst, compassion did not grow. Wisdom did not grow.

There were those who, after some time, began to understand what was missing but had no idea how to create it. Why bring negativity into such a heavenly realm, and how would beings bring negativity in? And yet, without such catalyst, what would invite the growth? So this was the dilemma, how to learn wisdom and compassion.

The slight discomfort amongst those few who perceived the lack became the gradual catalyst that led people into playing with the illusion of separation, fully knowing it as illusion, as one would act on a stage, playing the roles, pretending, “What if we truly were separate? What if we had different opinions and could not hear each other? What might it bring up?” So there was the playing with it, to try to draw forth these emotions so they could be met with greater compassion and wisdom. And yet, of course, it was a dangerous game because some people got lost in the illusion and moved into negativity.

Up until that time there was no unbalanced contraction. There will always be the contraction—the breath that goes in and out, the fist that opens and closes—but it';s a balanced contraction. But until that time there was no unbalanced contraction and no thought of “me” as separate.

There was, in your linear time, quite a long period of time where beings were able to play within the illusion without getting lost in it, but gradually beings did become lost in it, and lost in unbalanced contraction. At that point, the civilization of Lemuria began to crumble. As I said, take this as fact or as myth, as you please. At some point we slipped out of that knowing of non-duality and into the dualistic fixation in which there is samsara and nirvana, and we created two where there was only one.

It was not a misfortune that you did this; rather, it was a necessary step. Think about the young infant. It does not perceive a distinction between itself and the mother. What if it never perceived a distinction? What if it grew into adolescence believing that it and mother were one? Could it mature? It must go through the step of seeing itself as separate from the mother in order to grow. If it follows a path leading to enlightenment, it will eventually move back to knowledge of non-duality. So, blissful though that situation was in many ways, it was incomplete. It was necessary to move ahead, to experience the painful situation of belief in duality, and to live that experience of illusory duality before you were ready to transcend the experience of duality and come back to a now-mature understanding of the non-dual.

Gradually the civilization you know as Atlantis followed Lemuria. In Atlantis there were many beings that understood that the idea of duality was simply an illusion you were to play with as catalyst for learning, and had no ultimate reality. But there were other beings that increasingly forgot that it was illusion and moved into the belief in duality.

Civilizations followed civilizations, each of them increasingly dualistic. All understanding of the non-dual disappeared in 98% of the earth. Little bits of it remained, teachings that were preserved in far corners of the earth. Of course, because non-duality is an ultimate truth, it was available to be re-discovered.

Two thousand years ago in India, the teachings were very dualistic. There were gods, and there were men and women believed to exist on many levels, such as Brahmins, everyday people, and the Untouchables. There was a concept we would call para-atman, the ultimate Atman or divinity, but this was not considered to be within the self. Only through great purification could one finally transform oneself to be worthy to experience such external divinity.

Those who were considered most unworthy were the Untouchables, deemed to be so far from this experience that it could never be attained for them, or at least not for millions of lifetimes. And there was the belief that one was experiencing one';s karma. If one had taken birth as an Untouchable, for example, or even as a middle of the road being, there would just be a lot of suffering, and there would not be any possibility of freedom from suffering in this lifetime.

And then along came Siddhartha Gautama, and he said no, that';s not how it is. I do not believe such hopelessness and lack of freedom. I believe that freedom is possible for every being in this life because that of the divine, that innate perfection, Buddha nature, is within everything.

In the beginning it was just a belief, but he went out and did his work, meditated, and found what he was seeking—liberation for himself, and the truth through his own experience that this awakened nature, this innate perfection, is available, is within each being. Rather, that you each are within the innate perfection of the universe, are one expression of it. It is within you and you are within it. It';s everywhere. No duality.

On the altar we have the book, In This Very Life. It';s a beautiful title. U Pandita Sayadaw is saying liberation is possible today, in this very life, even this week. I don';t want to set up a lot of grasping and craving for it, but it';s right here and now so why settle for less?

You are following a very beautiful path. You have moved through the illusion of duality in this and in past lives. You have struggled with believing the divine is out there and separate, believing you were not worthy to experience it, and then you have come to understand it';s here, it';s everywhere. The duality in which you have believed is a concept that you may transcend. But you cannot transcend it mentally, you must transcend it experientially.

You are at the forefront of a massive shift in consciousness in the Earth. The Earth is coming full circle from the knowing of the non-dual and resting in immature innocence, then tumbling off into darkness into the belief of duality with the catalysts of fear, greed, hatred, and so forth. You have been learning how to not succumb to such negativity. Learning first through relative reality, simply the decision, “I do not want to be mired in hatred,” but not yet knowing what to do about the hatred in yourself and in the world.

You have come around full circle, and suddenly as you come up the other side of the circle, you begin to see the possibility of non-duality again. But you cannot enter that innocent non-duality of Lemuria. You are not innocent anymore. In the Biblical sense, you have tasted that apple in the garden. The knowledge of—I do not like the word “evil,” but the knowledge of positivity and negativity, the knowledge of expansion and contraction, the knowledge of love and fear, is within you.

The work now is to transcend negativity and fear but also and equally important, to transmute it. Your work is not to get rid of negativity and fear but to find the perfection in it, to find that which is whole and radiant and beautiful. When you look at yourself and see all the cracks and brokenness, to know you are perfect, just the way you are, and that the core of love and goodness, of generosity and kindness, of compassion, of wisdom, are your innate being and cannot be lost and have never been lost.

It is not easy work. It takes enormous courage because your practice asks you now to look deeply at the wrinkles and not to take them personally but rather to accept them as gifts, whether they are emotional wrinkles of negative thought, the physical wrinkles of body distortion, or the mental wrinkles of outmoded belief, to take these as gift.

Many billions of years ago, you or your ancestors undertook this journey to maturity, wisdom, and compassion, the hero';s journey. Let me illustrate this journey by telling about my final human lifetime, for it is the journey you are all on.

The being that I was, was a monk, a meditation master in Thailand, much respected and loved. I had the ignorance to believe I was fully enlightened. My life was peaceful and joyful. I loved to share the dhamma. I had equanimity about almost everything. I had the capacity to work with that which created tension and not make stories about it. So if an emotion, thought, or sensation was a bit sticky, I would stop and work with presence with what had arisen, find the space around it, rest in that spaciousness, and know that whatever emotion or body pain had arisen was impermanent and not self. So emotions and discomfort still arose and there was temporary aversion to discomfort. But it did not stick for long. The aversion itself was seen as just another object arising, impermanent and not self.

But then there was an event in which a beloved disciple was killed by an angry man who meant to kill me. The disciple stepped in front and intercepted the spear that was meant for me. I understood the ways that I had contributed to the anger of the one who threw the spear, that I was not blameless, but that my attachment had helped create the situation, and I saw my grief for the loss of this young man whom I loved as a son.

I saw then how far I was from enlightenment. So I left the monastery where I taught and wandered in the jungle for many years, living a very solitary life. About 10 years later in a very bad storm on a dark jungle path, a large thorn tree tumbled down on top of me, pinning me to the ground, face in the mud. My skin was scratched but I was not impaled or badly injured. There were long thorns, big thorns on both sides of me. They caught in my clothes. They were pressing and just barely breaking the surface. I could not move.

It was pouring. I was very uncomfortable, cold, wet, with a bit of pain. I was not afraid; I knew somebody would come along eventually and find me. I knew I could survive there a day or two if I needed to. So I was somewhat at peace. It was just discomfort.

I began to meditate. Then into my peace came a sound of footsteps that I immediately recognized as a tiger. She had smelled my blood. I could hear her breath. She was seeking a way to get at me. What would go first? Would she eat my foot? Would she get an ear? What would she eat? Mind started to build stories.

I could see the fear mounting in me and the sense of separation: me, tiger, thorn tree, all separate. I determined that if I were to die that night, it would not be in fear. So I came back to my practice, just breathing, watching the experience of fear. Mind watched hearing, which was the predominant way of knowing the presence of the tiger, hearing her breath, hearing her footsteps, hearing her scratching at the tree, hearing her growl. The ear organ touching the sound, and “hearing, hearing.” There is nothing unpleasant in that hearing, just a growl, just padding footsteps. The unpleasantness was with the idea that came—she will eat me. Fear.

As I practiced, all sense of separation dissolved. Like this shell. What';s missing here is scattered on the beach, or it';s been washed back in the ocean, or it';s in the sand in your shoes, or perhaps you swallowed a piece of it. Nothing is separate. I understand I am already in the tiger and she is already in me. My face is in the mud, the mud is in me. The tree that has pierced my skin is in me. There';s nothing separate here, and nothing to be afraid of. I could hear her franticness, wanting so badly to get at me. I began to do metta for her and for myself, this human lying in discomfort, not knowing if it would live for another hour.

In that moment of lovingkindness and deep wisdom, all duality dissolved. There was such deep seeing into how we create the idea of duality and move into this dualistic fixation, move into the illusion of a separate self. And yet there was also knowing that there must be compassion for the human who was experiencing something difficult. We cannot deny the reality of the human.

At that point the mind completely let go. There was only love. If the tiger ate me, it was just me eating myself. There was nothing to gain, nothing to lose. I relaxed completely into an infinite space of love.

I was no longer sending out the energy of a prey. There was still the blood smell, but somehow I was no longer prey and the tiger gave up and went away. Hours passed and finally some monks came down the trail, just at dawn. They lifted the tree off. They helped to wash the scratches on my back. I walked with them on their morning alms round. We held out our bowls and received some food to eat; life went on. There was nothing remarkable, just some alms and some time to rest. Then I knew it was time to resume teaching, to resume contact with others.

So it was a profound enlightenment experience, a profound experience of release of any idea of duality. And yet, even as I returned to the places where monks gathered, was welcomed, resumed my teaching, negative thoughts still arose sometimes. So it was not the complete enlightenment of the arahat. It was deep enough that there was no more karma to move me into a new birth, but I still had to work with it. If there was a very foul smell, “smelling, smelling, unpleasant,” aversion would come up because it was conditioned in the mind and body. My daily practice, every moment of the day, became watching of any arising of aversion or grasping and noting the shift—as the experience of aversion arose, for example, the shift into a self, contracting energy, me and that, creating the illusion of separation. Then came a pause to note and say, “Ah, creating separation. Here is the mind. It';s just mental.” But there was no longer a separate being to be caught in the belief of that experience, just mind seeing the conditioned thought. So that was the practice thousands of times through the coming years.

Gradually there was a great diminishing of episodes where mind touched into belief in the aversion or grasping. In other words, some aversion or grasping would come but increasingly there was the ability immediately to know, “Ah, here is aversion.” See it as an object and see the immense spaciousness around it. Not get caught in it. So it didn';t happen instantly. But the power of that experience was such that each time aversion arose, for example, as aversion had arisen to being eaten by the tiger, mind would bring back the memory of the experience, and remember that this idea of “me” versus “that” is just created in the head. It wasn';t an intellectual exercise; rather, it was resting in what I knew for certain and then being able to release that which was obviously not real.

By way of example, imagine if you were walking on the beach and you saw in the ocean what looked like the Loch Ness monster, and you thought, “Oh, there';s a monster!” You decided you must run up to the house screaming, “There';s a monster!” Mind notes, “Stop. This is just fear. Oh, it';s just a group of birds resting on the water, and they briefly appeared in an unrecognizable form.” You';re willing to take that which you know to be true from your own experience and not get caught in the stories of old conditioning. “Monster” is a story. When a story comes up—“I could lose my job,” “So-and-so hates me,” or “I am unworthy,”—there must be the willingness to stop and say, “No, it is not wholesome to let this story play. My deepest experience teaches me that if I lose my job, I will be safe. Something else will come up. If so-and-so is angry at me, that may be so, but it';s okay, it';s workable. And I am not unworthy, nobody is unworthy.” There';s a willingness to investigate each experience, not to get caught in the stories.

In this way, you live your wholeness. Are you going to be all that you are, or are you just going to be this little confused fear that has arisen? Play on the words, wholeness and holeness. You live the entirety, not the hole.

As that life continued, it became easier and easier, as it will for you. All of you have had deep experiences of truth, not necessarily as deep as that enlightenment experience, but that will come also, for you. But each of you knows from your own experience exactly what I';m talking about, the tendency to play with the stories and indulge in the stories rather than to choose your wholeness and divinity and beauty and radiance.

There are many ways we practice with this; we will be talking about these practices through the week. The most important one is this seeing both the wrinkles and the Ever-Perfect unwrinkled sheet of paper. You do not deny the negative thought or the body discomfort. Acknowledge this is present—sadness, pain, fear, aversion, grasping. This has arisen. Right there with fear is that which is not afraid. Right there with anger is love. Right there with grasping is the mind that lets go. It';s not one or the other; it';s both. I don';t have to iron the paper before you can see the unwrinkled sheet; it';s right there.

The question is simply, how attached are you to the wrinkles? You';ve created a self-identity on the wrinkles. Are you ready to let go of that self-identity, know it as the ground of suffering, and come back to remembrance of your innate wholeness? For some of you, that';s terrifying because you wonder, “Can I live up to that?” If right there with fear is fearlessness, can I live with fearlessness in the face of something that';s frightening? If right there with anger is love, can I express love and rest in love even when there is anger and discomfort in me? But there';s such strong habit energy to use the anger for power, to use the fear for power, rather than to turn to the greatest power, that place of love and innate connection with everything.

Each broken shell fragment is just that big (holding a small fragment), but when you put them together, you have a beach. When you rest in the non-duality, there';s nothing outside of you. The tiger can no longer eat you: it is you. And if it eats you then you have simply become the tiger. No problem.

Practice well this week and find some liberation now, in this very lifetime. Thank you for this opportunity to share these thoughts.

Barbara';s Healing Story
Barbara Brodsky

Many of you know that for the past 4 years I';ve gone to a healing center in Brazil. While I';m still deaf, I';ve found many kinds of healing and would like to share with you something about my experiences. The Casa de Dom Inácio, in central Brazil, is headed by a man named João Teixeira de Faria, often called John of God. Medium João, as he is also called, serves as a channel for many healing entities that work through him to do what often seems to be miraculous healing. Approximately 31 different entities incorporate into his body, one at a time, to do the healing work. João was born in Brazil, just over 100 miles from the Casa. He has been doing this work for almost 50 years. It is through his dedication and vision that the Casa has come into existence. At the Casa, literally the lame often begin to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. Those with diseases such as cancer, MS, and AIDS often find healing, as do those suffering from depression and mental disorders. Others, coming free of major disease, simply find release of negative emotions and clarity to their spiritual paths. While the healing seems miraculous, João remains humble. He says, “I do not heal; God heals.”

I made my first trip to the Casa in January of 2004 with the hope they could heal my deafness. I lost my hearing in 1972, just after my first child was born. In childbirth, the nerves were oxygen starved and died, leaving me deaf and without balance. Doctors in the U.S. said there was no cure.

For decades I lived with the situation, learning to lip read and relying on a walking stick for balance. At first I sought many “cures” but soon let go of the grasping for a cure and learned to live with this body as it is. For more about this phase of my experience, see Being Bodies, edited by Lenore Friedman and Susan Moon (Shambala; 1997: 35-42).

In 2003 someone “accidentally” sent me material about the Casa, a mailing list onto which my name had crept. I Googled “John of God” and was riveted by the energy from his photographs, which felt so familiar. Immediately, I knew it was important to go. I had no idea how to do that. I looked up Abadiânia and could not find any reference to it in maps of Brazil. How do you book a trip to a place that';s not on a map? And my husband was concerned about my heading off alone to Brazil. My son decided to accompany me, and I looked on the web sites and chose a guide with whom I felt a strong resonance.

After I was committed, many changes began to happen. I understand now that once I had made a decision to go, the entities began to work with me. The first step was to look at the possibility of hearing. It seems wonderful but I had to be honest with myself. Deafness was also an escape from some unpleasantness. If someone was angry, I could avert my gaze. When the world news was unpleasant, I could stop reading the captions. If my children were noisy, I just looked away. After three decades of deafness, I was used to living in some degree of seclusion. And I saw the deafness in many ways as a gift, one that had led me to my life';s work as a dharma teacher and medium. What would it mean to hear? What would I lose?

The year before the first visit was intense, as I looked at the intention to hear and what hearing meant in a deeper way. By the time my flight took off, I felt ready. On that first trip, the entities told me they probably could help me. It would take time. I would need to return. That was fine.

Three months after that first visit I was in a terrible accident, tossed with my small surfboard against the ocean floor by a large wave. I was drowning, unconscious, with full-blown near death experience, in that tunnel with brilliant light at the end. Loving energy was with me. Some level of awareness watched from above as the body slipped from terrible pain into unconsciousness. There was a moment of choice, to go further into the light or remain in the body. It wasn';t fear that drew me back, but love, and understanding that my work here wasn';t finished. When I made that decision, I felt spirit';s voice directing me, “Swim toward the physical light.” I regained enough consciousness to reach the surface and cry for help. As hands grasped me, consciousness ceased again and I was pulled unconscious through the surf and onto the beach.

Many bones were broken, including facial bones, and my vision was severely diminished. A blood vessel was ruptured in the retina. Now I wasn';t only deaf but blind in one eye, with poor vision in the other, and in severe pain. Yet in those moments in the ocean I had made a decision for life. And the body would heal; neck and back were not broken, which I knew was a gift from the entities. I had felt them with me in that moment of impact. That year I focused on healing the broken bones, and exploring what it meant to choose life and fully embrace it. I could feel the entities'; energy and support in my meditation.

My next trip to Brazil was in February of 2005. Again I asked for healing of the deafness and also of the vision. I went there with 20/200 vision in one eye, 20/100 vision in the other. I returned home a month later with the better eye 20/20, the other 20/50, and immense gratitude for the world that was returned to me. Choosing life! My happiness was short lived. After three months, the retinal specialist in the U.S. said there were irregular blood vessels in the right eye that must be removed by laser surgery. I allowed the procedure and was immediately back to 20/200, and bleeding resumed in the left eye. More months of steroid injections and cataract surgery to remove the cataract caused by the steroid injections brought no vision improvement.

These months led me back to the question, what does it mean to heal? It';s not only the body that heals, but the healing is about karma, and my entire relationship with the world. To hear and see fully is to be completely intimate with the world. Yet we all protect ourselves, armor ourselves in some ways. I find as a meditation teacher that for many people, separation is the greatest pain. We separate from the world, from those around us, and from ourselves.

When I returned to the Casa in January of 2006, one eye was totally blind, and now, two years after my first trip, there was still no change at all in the hearing. In 2005, the entity had asked me to buy a complete octave of tuning forks and sound them near each ear daily, to “hear” the sound waves and chant the tones. I was an expert at this now, able to recognize the vibrations and sing on tune. But I still couldn';t hear normal speech, or even thunder or a firecracker. As the trip approached, there were doubts. Am I deluding myself? Should I give up?

Early in the 2006 visit, one of the entities asked me with such compassionate eyes and expression, “Why do you wish to see and hear?” It brought me full circle to that early reflection about allowing full intimacy with the world. I knew it wasn';t asked as a challenge so 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 an amendment was needed. 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. It';s only love that allows us to be fully present to others and ourselves, only love that can bring forth change. Compassion is the path. And intimacy and presence are the companions to compassion.

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 everything. 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 sense of limitation I';d developed from my lost hearing and limited vision.

There is equanimity now, at some level. But I also saw how I had withdrawn through the years, with a subtle “sour grapes.” There was failure to trust the true possibilities of connection, to trust the capacity of the heart to love and to hold pain with love. Deafness was just the scapegoat. Then what needs to be healed? Not the eyes. Not the ears. The separation. 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. 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.

I finally understand that this was the deeper healing, which the entities understood the need for long before I did. They didn';t create the wave accident, of course. Our lives draw us where we need to be, and one experience or a parallel one will come. But they helped me to use that experience to cease to armor myself in any way, to open my heart to the world and to myself. In their wisdom they didn';t just “fix” the outer symptom, which I know they could have done, but asked me to heal the inner wounds.

Later on in that visit I asked one of the entities, Dr. Valdivino, if there was any karma that still contributed to the deafness and blindness. He replied with such compassion in his eyes that it made me weep: “I am helping you with the karma.”

These insights were a needed first step. That year they smiled at my tuning fork demonstration and said the work was right on track. They are working on the ears. Please be patient. Interestingly, while I do choose to hear, I no longer need to hear, because I hear it all now through my other senses. The barriers are gone. I am complete, and hearing will be a wonderful extra gift!

I returned again for a month in January 2007. When I came to the Entity to ask about the present status of the work on my ears, he said, “You will hear; be patient.” A sore on my lip, a result of the accident almost three years earlier, was bleeding profusely as I stood before him. It had been bleeding for four days. After three years of intermittent lip bleeding, my doctor at home had said it needed to be treated, the lip incised, the artery cauterized, and the lip stitched. He had put off proposing this because of the scarring, hoping it would heal on its own. I had an appointment in February to have the work done. So the Entity took one look at the lip and said, “That I can help with now.” In 10 minutes the bleeding stopped. A small scab formed. Within three days it fell off and the lip was perfect, and has remained so for these many months. My primary care doctor at home saw it in February and said, “Maybe I need to go to Brazil!”

I sat in the current room that week, with the lip not bleeding, and pondered what had happened. I had seen so much real physical healing, but not experienced it personally. Now I had this proof. What did this mean to my trust in his statement, “You will hear”? I know he didn';t heal the lip to teach me faith; he healed the lip to heal the lip, out of his compassion. But it did teach me faith. I will hear! As I sat there reflecting on this question, I heard what sounded like an odd tone of tinnitus, the inner ear noises I often experience. But this came from outside of me, not from within. It was a loud rumbling sound. “Thunder,” came the thought. “It is thunder.”

Weeping, I ran outside to dance in the storm, reveling in each boom that these ears had not heard for 35 years. There were many thunderstorms those two weeks, and I rejoiced with each one, with many people coming to join me as I danced in the rain. Thunder is loud; softer sounds of speech have not yet come, but I know they will.

Now, July 2007, I';m preparing to go with my husband and collie for a long walk. This ability has also been a gift of the entities. Seven years ago I had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in my knee. The knee was never stable after that, and through the years became increasingly painful, so I was limited to short walks, and with pain after. I had not asked the entities for help with this, thinking to focus on the ears and eyes. This January the entity asked me, ever-respectful of my free will, “We can repair the knee; do you wish it?” They told me I would need to stay off the leg for a week, then limited walking for another four or five weeks, up to the 40 days the healing might take. “Yes,” I replied, “Yes!” My first week at the Casa in January 2007, they did this surgery at the same time as they worked on ears and eyes. I went back to my room and slept for almost 48 hours. The knee was sore at first. I stayed off it. Now, four months later, it';s entirely pain free and stable for the first time in a decade, and once again I can enjoy long walks.

Increasingly, my visits to the Casa lead me to the question, “What is healing?” Our meditation practice leads us to investigate woundedness, and to come to know the “ever-healed.” At that ultimate level there is nothing to heal. Yet on the relative plane there are wounds, both physical and mental. There is karma too, though on the ultimate level even karma disappears. For me the deepest healing is the integration, to know the “ever-healed,” to know our innate perfection, yet to have compassion for the humans that we are, who sometimes become so lost in delusion that all we can see is the imperfections. There is nothing to fix and yet we must always attend to the real experience of suffering, and with love. So the deepest healing is of the duality; there is no longer “either/or,” perfect or imperfect. Right there with the seeming imperfections is the perfection. Right there with pain is that beyond all pain. Right there with fear is love. Right there with deafness is that which already hears those 10,000 joys and sorrows.

The entities gave permission to me and John Orr to bring a group to the Casa, which we will do next January. I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about healing through supporting the work of those who choose to accompany us. May we all find the healing that we seek.

Copyright © 2007