Newsletter, Volume 16, Number 1, Winter 2007


Letter from Barbara
Barbara Brodsky

From the Board President
Curt Fish

Volunteers Needed for Aaron Archives & Web Site

Right Livelihood Ads in DSC's Newsletter

Liberation in This Moment
Emrich Retreat - June 23, 2007

Christmas Story
December 20, 2006

Aaron Quote

Letter from Barbara
Barbara Brodsky

Dear friends,

I';m writing to you from a NC mountain top at Southern Dharma, where a week';s retreat has just ended and I have a few hours before my ride to the airport. Outside, crisp weather has colored the mountainside in hues of rose, gold and orange, with enormous gray boulders tossed in for contrast. Leading retreats like this is one of the blessings of my life, the opportunity to participate in many retreats and workshops each year and share the dharma with so many of you. I so enjoy the annual treks to these Smoky Mountains, to Puget Sound where we hold the Seattle retreat twice a year on Vashon Island, to the NC ocean retreat and, of course, to the softer beauty of the Michigan woods and eastern NC. But even more wonderful than the scenic beauty is the inner beauty of so many of you who express such commitment to living with more love and wisdom. You inspire and enrich my own dharma journey.

Also inspiring is the loving energy I see around me at Deep Spring Center, where our many volunteers allow the Center';s work to thrive. Welcome to our new Board members, Curt Fish (who has also taken on the job of President of the Board) and Simon Ha, and a continued appreciation to the continuing Board members, Delyth Balmer, Susan Klimist, Linda Longo, and Peg Tappe.

In my last letter here, I asked for help to produce our newsletter and many came forth to offer their services. Roann Altman continues as copy editor. Aurora (Rori) Stienstra is our new content editor. Maria Edelen, a long-time student (since about 1990) from Rhode Island is the layout editor, working from afar. Kathleen Sheridan is the production editor. Besides these volunteers, Vuyiswa Joy, Laurie Jackson, and Renu Rungta have volunteered to do layout and may help in a different capacity. Please forgive me if I missed anyone. It was heartening to see the response and know that this journal does matter to people. There are so many more volunteers serving all our committees - retreat, technology, library, bookstore, archives, web site and more. And, of course, our dedicated teachers: 21 at last count. If you would like to volunteer for any of our committees, please let Alice (our office manager) or one of the board members know.

By the time you are reading this newsletter, I';ll be preparing for what has become an annual trip to Brazil. This year John Orr and I were formally invited by John of God to be Casa guides and bring a group, perhaps 8 to 12 people. I';m looking forward to this experience of sharing the blessings of the Casa more deeply with others. For me, since the last newsletter with my story, hearing has increased a little. Along with thunder I now hear vacuum cleaners, car horns, slamming doors and other loud sounds. It';s a wonderful adventure. My heart sings each time one of these sounds reaches into the silence. I more fully trust that I already do hear, and that the body just needs time to catch up. I';ll be in Brazil for 5 weeks and will have an update in the next newsletter.

Until then, my love and blessings to each of you. May this season bring us all happiness and peace.


From the Board President
Curt Fish

November 2007

Deep Spring Sangha Members,

Each fall, Deep Spring';s board gets together for long-range planning and member transition. The board has changed significantly with the transition this fall. Four members have retired from the board, and two new members have joined. The retiring members are Sandy Wiener, Ann Barden, Diane Austin and George SanFacon. All have made important and much-appreciated contributions to Deep Spring, and all continue to serve on the Board Advisory Group and in other capacities. Thanks and metta to each of you.

The board now consists of 6 members: 4 continuing and 2 new. The new members are Simon Ha and myself. The list of board members is in Who Does What at DSC. We all welcome your input and encourage you to contact us or come to a board meeting and share your thoughts and ideas.

Looking ahead, there are a number of issues needing attention. First, our lease is up in June, so we';ll need to renew the lease or look for other space. You may recall that we signed an 18-month lease at the end of 2006, after deciding not to share space with Interfaith. We will be mindful of the visioning work done during this time as we explore the possibilities. Expect to hear more early next year.

On the technology side, we want to make the online, searchable Aaron Archives a reality. We have a plan in place but need volunteers to make it happen. There';s an ad in this newsletter that provides the details of who/what is needed. Please consider volunteering. We will also look into providing wireless Internet access at the center.

On the administrative side, we will continue to look for ways to streamline the process of publicizing events. We need clear criteria for classifying the various types of events, and a list of actions we';ll take for each. And, as always, we';ll continue to look for the most cost-effective ways to do all the things we do.

Just one more thing to bring into awareness: We are right in the middle of the giving season. If you have not yet received a letter asking for your contribution to Deep Spring, you will soon. Please give the letter your attention, and act with an open heart.

With metta,

Aaron Archives & Web Site -; Volunteers Needed

Deep Spring needs volunteers to bring the Aaron archives to the web. We want to make all of the Aaron material available on the web, and make it fully indexed and searchable. To do this, we need volunteers to help out.

Aaron Archive Coordinator
The coordinator oversees the process of indexing for Aaron Archives. Responsibilities:

  • Work with Barbara and establish indexing instructions for index volunteers.
  • Coordinate the work of the Index Volunteers who will do the actual indexing work.
  • Work with the web programmer to put the website in place; update the Aaron Archives as transcripts are indexed.

Index Volunteers
These volunteers get unprocessed Aaron transcripts electronically, read them, identify appropriate topic indices and process them according to indexing instructions given. The process might also involve using software help if applicable. Amount of time to be committed by each index volunteer is flexible.

Web Programmer
This volunteer is needed to develop and set up Aaron Archives in the form of a searchable dedicated website. An open source content management system, Mambo, is under active consideration for adoption for this website. It consists of Apache, MySQL and PHP. Existing user interface templates and functional add-ons are available on-line to work with Mambo. DSC needs a web programmer to put these together into a functional website. The archives on the site need to be searchable by keyword(s), index and topic. The web programmer needs to work with the Aaron Archives Coordinator.

Many thanks to Renu Rungta who has taken the role as Volunteer Coordinator. If you wish to share your time and talent with Deep Spring Center but are not sure what needs to be done, contact Renu at

Right Livelihood -; Advertise in DSC's Newsletter

Right Livelihood Ads Returning to the DSC Newsletter in the Spring

Let the DSC community know about what you or your business has to offer by placing that information in the newsletter. Any business or service can be advertised—within the spirit of DSC values, please. You can invite your friends and favorite businesses to do so as well. Business card-;sized ads are $25; larger ads will be priced accordingly. Contact Kathleen Sheridan for more information at

Liberation in This Moment
Emrich Retreat - June 23, 2007

June 23, 2007 Emrich Retreat, Saturday Night, Aaron';s Opening Talk Liberation in this Moment

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. … I hope you';ve had a good first day of your retreat. It was a beautiful day, the weather supporting your practice—not too warm, not too cold. Many conditions supporting your practice—good food, a comfortable place to meditate. It';s wonderful to have all these conditions together to support you and your sangha and your teachers.

And yet, some of you were suffering today. Anybody here who didn';t suffer at all today? It';s interesting isn';t it: such perfect conditions and yet there';s still suffering.

What is the meaning of suffering? What causes suffering? We spoke about coming home. Coming home to me means the release of suffering. It is that place where when I am there, conditions may still arise and pass away but I don';t suffer because of it.

… The teaching offered is what we call the Four Noble Truths. This is at the top of the handout that you';ve received, and through the week we';ll be looking at various parts of this handout.

The first, dukkha, suffering. The simple fact that suffering exists. Many of you have heard me define the work dukkha. The word “ka” means the hub of a wheel; the prefix “du” means off-center, so this is the wheel that';s off-center. Because it';s off-center, the cart lurches. It';s uncomfortable when it lurches especially when you expect it to run true. If you ride on a rollercoaster and it doesn';t lurch, you';d be disappointed. But for most of your life, you don';t want a rollercoaster, you want a smooth ride.

Dukkha is the uncentered wheel, that which comes up in your daily experience that is not the way you wanted it to be, and jostles you. The translation “suffering” is adequate but not exactly precise. So think of dukka as that bumpy ride, and right there with the bumpy ride, the preference for it not to be bumpy.

So we have suffering, the meaning of suffering, and the causes of suffering. This is simply the grasping for things to be different. Grasping and aversion are two faces of the same hand. Once the road is bumpy and you want it to be smooth, there';s aversion to it to the way it is and there';s grasping, wanting it to be different. This road just now is like corrugated tin, bump bump bump bump! As Barbara drove over it, the car shook, her whole body contracted for a moment, and I asked her, which is predominant, aversion or grasping? As she thought about it for a moment, she said, “They';re both equal. They';re both there together. Neither one is predominant.”

I think this is the way it is most of the time. Often attention goes more to one or the other, but they come together. Grasping for it to be different, aversion to it as it is. So many of you have asked me, “How can there not be aversion and grasping?” This is the heart of your practice, to come to that place where aversion is just aversion and grasping is just grasping. Liking is just liking; disliking is just disliking. Pain is just pain. Sadness is just sadness. They arise but there is no story about them, and no contraction.

When you go to the ocean and watch the waves roll in, do you label them as good waves and bad waves? Maybe big or small. Maybe stormy, maybe quiet. But not good and bad. Everything in your mundane experience rises out of conditions. I won';t go deeply into dependent arising here, but simply, there is mind-body contact, with the object, and sense or mind consciousness arises. A thought arises, a body sensation arises. Seeing, hearing, thinking, remembering, these are all kinds of consciousness. They';re pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. When they';re pleasant, liking may arise. When they';re unpleasant, disliking may arise. When they';re neutral, sometimes boredom arises. With like and dislike, states of greed and hatred may arise.

You';ve passed through this cycle of experience not only for 30, 50 or 70 years but for 30, 50, 70 or 300, 500 or 700 lifetimes. Have you had enough? These states of grasping and aversion just keep arising, along with the self-identification with them, and the suffering that results. When the conditions change, they pass away. You cannot change the conditions through force. You can take care of the conditions. For example, if you cut your foot, you can wash it and put a bandage on it. If you have a headache, you can lie down with a cold cloth on your head. These are acts of kindness, not fear. There';s no grasping here. It';s paying loving attention.

But the habit energy that most of you carry is that when a condition arises that';s unpleasant, strong aversion comes, and the grasping for it to be different. When an experience arises that';s pleasant, some grasping comes, and aversion if the experience changes. Upon this grasping and aversion is built the whole story of the self. I am not saying you don';t exist. I bless you, I love you, each unique and beautiful individual one of you. You certainly exist. But all the stories about who you are, are simply stories.

Many of you carry the story that you';re unworthy. I think if I asked for a show of hands, every hand would go up. Some of you would raise two hands. (Laughter) You carry the story that you';re unworthy; it';s a story. If I ask you to reflect on it, you might think about the kind and generous things you do and say, “Sometimes I';m worthy.” Worthy and unworthy are myths. Sometimes you';re more generous, sometimes there';s more fear and you';re more stingy. But not worthy or unworthy.

Even with something like generosity, some of you might say, “Yes, I';m a generous person,” and then think about it and say, “But, today when there was just one cookie left on the table, I saw other people walking toward it and I wanted to take it. I had not had one. I stepped back and let somebody else take it, but I wanted it so I';m not generous.” Are you generous or are you not generous? It';s all a myth. Sometimes you';re able to enact that natural generosity more easily than other times.

You keep creating these pictures of yourself that solidify into a belief: this is who or what I am, good or bad. For those of you who see a good and helpful self, sometimes you suffer even more than anyone else because it';s so hard to maintain that, always to be the giving one, the helpful one, the kind one.

When are you going to release this whole idea of who you are in order to find out what you truly are? You are radiant spirit. You have a personality. You have certain traits, certain habit energies. But the innate being is simply divine radiance. Love.

So many things that come in your life that are difficult—body pain, loss, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, times of confusion, times of doubt, fear—these all will come in their time. The practice is to note that they have arisen and stay present with the direct experience without the stories. What is the experience of doubt, without any stories? How does doubt feel in the mind and body? Can you be present and know doubt without stories around it?

How about body pain? Some of you may experience different kinds of chronic pain. When it comes, what sorts of stories start? When that particular pain experience arises or any difficult physical body sensation, does mind have you rushed off to the ER? How often does this happen? If not to that extreme, at least the fear “Oh no. The headache is coming, the stomachache is coming. It';s going to ruin my retreat.” It';s a story.

What is the experience of loneliness without stories? Can there be loneliness without stories or is loneliness itself a story? I';ll leave that to you to think about. From my experience, there can be aloneness. But loneliness is a kind of story. And yet you can experience that feeling of being cut off, feeling separate, yearning for contact. And these experiences can come as direct experience without stories.

In my final human lifetime in Thailand in the 1500s, when the monks came into town to ask for alms, my mother always knew when they would be coming and would prepare food and bring it out to the road. She considered this part of her devotion, something that was very precious to her to do, and my father also when he was at home; more often he was working the fields at the time the monks came. But I would go with my mother and watch her put whatever we had, sometimes just the simplest rice and a tiny bit of flavoring for it. Sometimes a richer meal. She would give them the best of what we had.

I remember at about age 8 taking notice of a monk that came every day whose body trembled. He had what I suppose today you would call Parkinson';s disease, perhaps early on in that disease, but he would hold his bowl out and his hands would shake. And when he walked, his body shook a bit. I had seen him come before without the trembling so it seemed that the illness had just taken grip of his body to the point that trembling had begun. And I thought to myself how much he must be suffering.

The custom, when one gives alms to the monks, one does not look in their eyes. It';s not me giving it to you, but one is giving to the monks, to the whole monastic sangha as expression of the Enlightened One. So it is not meant to elicit the typical human emotion of, “I';m going to give you this; now I feel proud of myself, that you';re going to eat.” That';s set aside and there';s just a very deep, generous giving that transcends giver and recipient. The food and medicines and robes are offered to the monks, and in return the monks offer the teaching and their practice to support the community where they live.

So I never looked in this monk';s face, just could see his trembling. Years went by. He must have had a sudden decline because the next time I noticed him carefully was about at age 12. He was assisted as he walked by two other monks; he no longer came every day but only once or twice a week. The others, I suppose, brought food to him on the other days. He held out his bowl and he was very shaky.

I went back in that day after seeing him and said to my mother, “He must be suffering terribly.” And my mother said to me, “Tomorrow, or next time he comes, look in his eyes.” And I said, “No, I can';t do that.” She said, “You have my permission. Look in his eyes.”

So when he came again, perhaps the next week, and I put rice in his bowl, and I dared to look up into his eyes. Therein was such love, such peace, such spaciousness and joy; it was totally the opposite of what I expected to see. Here was a man who was totally at peace. This confused me—how could he be at peace with this decaying body? So for about 6 months, every time he came, I looked into his eyes. I swam in those eyes. Those eyes enthralled me and I certainly understood that I was learning something so I valued this experience. He also was not supposed to be looking in my eyes, but he would look back and smile at me. For those 6 months, we never spoke, but it was very clear to me, here is a man who is at peace. Here is a man who is not caught up in his decaying body. How is this possible? It';s at that point that I determined to become a monk.

He was still alive at the time that I moved to the monastery, not old enough yet to ordain. I was given the great blessing to be one of his caretakers. He could no longer walk. He could no longer feed himself. But he taught me so much about peace. He said to me, “This body is impermanent. There have been many bodies; now there is this one. The body arises and passes away.”

He was in great pain and I asked him, “How can you stay openhearted and peaceful with that pain?” He replied, “The pain is just pain. The unpleasantness of the pain—yes it';s unpleasant. It';s just unpleasant feeling. This is the way conditions are right now.” He was so clear that in essence this pain and the way the body was, was part of the balancing of old karma. He was unafraid of it. He wore his pain and his limitation as a gift and a blessing, giving it to everyone he met to show them there';s nothing to be afraid of. The body will decay. Don';t live only in the body. And yet he did live very much in his body; he was a very earthy kind of monk. By that I mean that he took delight in small things, would see a butterfly or a flower and would stop and look, and it would bring joy. So he did not disdain the body, but he was not self-identified with the body. He was at peace. He was my first teacher in that lifetime and I owe him a lot.

Through perhaps 2 years until he died, I had the blessing to feed him, to clean and bathe his body. When he reached a point where he could no longer talk, I would simply bask in the radiance of his eyes, in his peacefulness. And when it was time, I learned to release him without attachment.

I was speaking about suffering. Clearly, this man with a seriously decaying body was not suffering, and yet all of you here today, most of you with relatively healthy bodies, certainly well-fed today, with pleasant weather, you';re all suffering. What are you going to do about it?

I wish I could bring this teacher to you. I can only bring you his story.

Watch what arises. Know if it is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Watch the stories that arise based on it, starting with like and dislike. Watch the body and the way it contracts. Liking can stop with liking; it doesn';t have to go any further. Disliking, also. That which is aware of dislike is not caught up in it, is not caught in aversion. That which is aware of liking is not necessarily caught in grasping. Watch when it shifts into aversion and grasping, which you can tell immediately from the contraction in the body. Use the simple note, “contracting” or “tension.”

Remember these specific words: that which is aware of contraction is not contracted. Right there with that impulse energy contraction, knee-jerk kind of contraction, that';s so deeply habituated, can you find that which is not contracted? How do you find that?

This is not like a treasure hunt where you have to go and dig. It';s rather like having dropped your keys and they';re lying right there glittering on the ground. All you have to do is retrace your steps. Where did I misplace this? Where did I misplace my peace, my ease, my spaciousness? It';s not hidden from you in the conventional way of hidden things, only you';ve forgotten how to look for it.

How many of you, when you experienced a moment of deep ease, joy, and spaciousness today, took note of that and said, “Ah, here is ease. Here is spaciousness. Here is joy.”? And how many of you let that moment go past, maybe noting it with half of your attention? “Oh, that was a bit of ease. Good.” Stop, it';s precious. Don';t let it go past. Stop and rest there with it. Here is ease, here is joy.

So your practice must not be trying to avoid negative emotions and searching for this hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rainbow is spread out across the sky; are you going to spend your life looking for the pot of gold or are you going to sit back, enjoy the rainbow, and realize the pot of gold is right here; it comes with the rainbow? It';s not somewhere out there, but right here. While I see the rainbow, I have the pot of gold.

You already are enlightened. Your divine radiance and beauty is right here. Your open heart is right here. Your freedom from suffering is right here. Right here in this moment.

You start to discover that which is beautiful, which is really the expression of the divine pouring through you, and you start to see the habit energies that have so deeply taken hold and created such suffering for you. Have you had enough suffering? You need to ask this to yourself. You have a choice. The habit energy goes deep, but when you notice how it';s arising with suffering, you also know, “I have a choice here. I can perpetuate this story or I can make the decision to let it go.”

One of my favorite sutras begins, “Abandon the unwholesome. One can abandon the unwholesome.” This is the Buddha talking. “One can abandon the unwholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. If such abandonment led to suffering and pain, I would not ask you to abandon it, but it leads to good, to happiness. Therefore I ask you, abandon the unwholesome. Cultivate the wholesome. You can cultivate the wholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. If such cultivation led to suffering, to pain, I would not ask you to cultivate it, but it leads to good, to happiness. So I ask you, cultivate the wholesome.”

I leave you with that. I would ask that it be written on a sheet of paper and hung up here on the wall. “If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it.” Please take that with you into your practice.

My blessings unto you all, and thank you for spending this evening with me and letting me talk with you.

Christmas Story
December 20, 2006

We have just lit Chanukah candles with Aaron talking about the meaning of the holiday and various meanings of light.

Aaron: I am Aaron. So much light radiates from this circle. It';s very beautiful. It makes me very happy to see you gathered here in this way because you come here bringing forth your own light to enrich the world with it.

Tonight once again I share memories of our brother Jesus, or Jeshua as many call Him. Some others here knew Him also, in that lifetime. Tonight I would tell some childhood stories. I am running out of new adult stories to tell, as the times we were together as grown men were limited.

At the time of Jesus'; coming, the earth was in a time of great darkness. I cannot say it was more filled with fear or hatred than at other times, but there was less recognition from people of their own light and less ability to bring forth that light in the world.

Picture yourself in a dark tunnel. You have a torch, a radiant lamp within the heart, that can burn outward and light the way, but it can only light up when you are not contracted with fear. Here you are in this dark tunnel. You';re afraid. It';s spooky. There are eerie noises. It';s dank and damp. So you want to light the lamp and you contract more and more, saying, “I must bring forth light!” And of course, then you can';t do it. Only when you relax into the true radiance of yourself does that light effortlessly shine forth. So the earth at that time was filled with people who had not yet learned how to relax into their own radiance and truth.

I first heard of His intention of coming a long time before He actually arrived, while in the lifetime in which I was Aaron, a very old man at that time of hearing, and yet still a vital man, for I had been trained in the ability to rejuvenate myself and live far beyond the expected human lifetime that you carry today. A beloved brother of spirit came to me in meditation and told me that in his part of the world, they were preparing for the coming of this blessed one, paving the way, so to speak. That brother was both an Essene scholar and teacher and a shepherd in the mountains. He invited me, if I was ready to leave my present incarnation—and I was, it is maybe hard for you to believe but I was close to 500 years old—he invited me to leave that incarnation as Aaron and come into a new birth with him as my earthly father. He believed the simple people who lived in the hills, the shepherds, the farmers, had more ability to open their hearts to the light, to their own radiance, as they were less influenced by the greed and fear of the cities, and more open to the natural world. He was very old and wanted to train someone to work with him and continue his work. I agreed. I had been thinking it was time to leave that incarnation of Aaron, time to move into a new way of service in the world.

So Aaron passed on, and I came into a new birth as a baby named Nathaniel. When I was 4 and 5 years old, there was much talk of the readiness of Him to come. My father took me with him to the Essene school at Mt. Carmel, where I was too young to participate in any formal training but sat and listened and heard the preparations that were underway for this bringer of the teachings of light.

Then one night when I was 5 years old, I sat with my father and many of the shepherds on a hillside and watched this radiant star in the sky. The whole earth seemed to vibrate with a higher energy. There was music in the air. The dark night was filled with light, and I was filled with a deep sense of peace, joy, and well-being.

We did not go down to the place of His birth that night but stayed in the hills with our sheep. But in the coming days, I had the opportunity to go with my father. We carried with us an orphaned lamb, to bring Him as a gift. I was permitted to hand it to His mother and father and to hold Him, and I could feel from Him a sense of love, a sense of profound peace. It';s very hard to express it in words.

He did not cry in the way many babies cry. I';m sure when He was hungry or was uncomfortable, He gave voice and let it be known. But mostly He simply radiated peace, and He met your eyes in a way that most babies do not meet your eyes. He seemed to see deeply, to focus, when He looked at me.

I held Him and there was such deep joy. And then—you know His history—for His safety, He was taken away and I did not see Him again for some years. Since my father was a part of the Essene school, when He came back we were part of the larger family that greeted Him and His family. There were other boys, perhaps closer in age, but perhaps that first meeting or our past karma created some kind of energetic bond between us, because we became immediate friends, though certainly He had many friends. Even though I was 5 years older than Him, He was in many ways older than me.

Because I was older and knew the shepherd';s life, when He was 6 and I was 11, I was permitted sometimes to take Him into the hills where I watched the sheep and we would spend some time together. His wisdom touched me deeply, even in those early years. I watched Him as a young boy struggle with things we all as humans struggle with: ego, desires, pride, grasping, and anger. Most of us almost intuitively, when anger arises, or grasping, think, “No, I shouldn';t feel that.” But He was different.

I remember, I would say we were 6 and 11 and this was one of our first trips up into the hills alone. I was used to being there alone with my sheep but He was allowed to come with me for a few days. As we walked, we passed some children beating a dog, and He became angry at them. I could see He wanted to take the stick away and beat THEM. I recognized them as neighborhood bullies. I took Him by the hand; I was responsible for His safety, remember. And I wasn';t about to let Him try to beat up the neighborhood bullies. I was not going to bring Him home with a bloody nose and a black eye.

So I took His hand and led Him on. He said to me, “I want to hit them back! I am so angry!” And so we sat. We had passed safely away from them. They had stopped beating the dog as we simply stood there and watched. I was older than them, so they were enough intimidated that they stopped. The dog ran off.

We sat there. He simply began to breathe. His fists were clenched. “I am angry! I am angry! I am angry!” And then slowly His features settled into a slightly more peaceful expression, and He said to me, “I am learning not to hold my anger, not to be my anger. But it';s very hard, Nathaniel.” He asked me would I help Him, so we sat there together. His fists were still clenched and He was breathing hard and He said, “I release it.” Not, “I force it away,” “I release it.” I had the feeling it was like somebody who had dirt stuck to his hands and was simply washing them under a running stream, saying, “I don';t need this dirt, I release it.” It';s not that the anger is dirt. I';m not trying to make a comparison there. It could be a strong scent of flowers. There was simply the willingness to hold it under the running water of lovingkindness and release it.

I watched Him in some awe because I had not yet learned how to do this. I understood the technique but I couldn';t do it. So I watched Him transform Himself, and within a few minutes become peaceful. And I asked Him, “Where did the anger go?” He said, “Love took it.” Just that. A 6-year-old';s statement: “Love took it.” We each have that ability to give our anger to love and to allow love';s clean water to wash it away. Love took it.

So He came to teach us about the innate radiance of our being and that we did not have to self-identify with the darkness and negativity that came upon us. And we did not have to be afraid of them and feel ashamed when they arose, but simply to know, these negative energies will arise when the conditions are present for them. I don';t have to be afraid of it. Literally, I offer it out to the cleansing waters of love that flow through the heart, and it will release. And if it doesn';t release quickly, that';s okay, too. It will release when it releases. We are not hurrying it along. Rather, we are focusing upon the predominance of love, the power of love, not focusing attention on the negative expression.

When He was a boy about that same age, some of us were practicing with a slingshot, hitting our rocks against a post. He was perhaps the youngest. This was at Mt. Carmel, and we were up on the hill behind the school and living area. He drew the sling back and let it go. The rock missed the post, and we heard a squawking noise, a cry, as the rock went into the brush beyond the post. He went to look and saw His rock had hit a bird that was nesting there, and whose presence we had not known.

He was brokenhearted. He picked this creature up in His hands and held it. It was bleeding a bit; the stone had not hit its head but its side. It looked to be in pain. And such a feeling of shame and despair arose in Him. He began to shake. I could see Him begin to get into a kind of ego-centered story, “I';m bad. Look what I did. I wasn';t careful. I should have looked first. It';s my fault.” He realized what He was beginning to do. And then He did the same thing that He had done with the anger but a year earlier, He sat down and said, “This is also anger.” And He began to breathe with it, but He was trembling and He was still holding the bird. Slowly I saw Him calm Himself. His facial expression changed and He began to smile, releasing here the shame, the self-anger. He held the bird very tenderly for quite awhile until He was calm, and then He took it to His mother.

I can';t tell you what happened, whether that bird was simply somewhat in shock and not really physically injured, or whether His healing power and love affected the bird, but they told me that later that day, the bird simply flew off out of the container they had placed it in, flew away seemingly unhurt. I can';t help but think it was because of the power of His love. Because He was able to love Himself, He was able to offer the same love to the bird. Can you see that if He had been angry at Himself for hurting the bird, He would also have been angry at the bird for being in the line of His stone? He would have needed to blame, to blame Himself, to blame the bird. But because He did not need to blame either, He was able to release blame and simply rest in the truth of the power of love. And however it may be, the bird recovered and flew away.

What He was learning in these early years was the power of surrender: the surrender of the ego self to the greater self; the surrender of the small personal self to the radiant, unlimited, loving aspect of being, which is not self but simply Being, capital B. So He was learning how to release ego in order to express the divine self, which is what He came to share with the world.

Some of you have wondered about His death, when He could have easily escaped, why did He not do so? You';ve read the lines in the Bible, “Take this cup from me, but if that cannot be, Thy will be done.” There';s an interesting balance here. We must open our hearts deeply to the personal self, the relative human, because this is how we develop compassion. But we must self-identify not only with the relative human but know the greater being of which we are a part, know our divinity.

I think He was able to take the final step of His life so gracefully because it';s what He had practiced all of His life. Not just the release of negative energy, not just the surrender of the ego, but also the integration of the human and the divine. This is not just for Him. All of you share this birthright of divinity, all of you. What He did, you can do. Each of you is capable of expressing that radiance and light out into the world, and this truly is why you are here and why you come back again and again, each time learning to do this with more skill, to bring more and more lovingkindness, wisdom, and compassion into your earthly movements and thoughts.

Just before He began His time of teaching, we talked. He knew the time was coming. He had been preparing Himself all of His life for it. He did not know where it was going to take Him. This was before He had disciples and was out in the world teaching. At that point He was still simply Jesus, Jeshua, as I called Him, and I was Nathaniel, two young men sitting together and sharing our feelings and our fears. He said to me, “I have been preparing all my life to do this work, and I';m afraid. I don';t know if I can do it.” And we talked then about what I';ve been speaking to you about tonight, the lifelong lessons He had learned about how to transcend the ego self and its doubt, fear, anger, greed, and other feelings, and rest in the divine radiance.

The ego is an interesting thing. Think you of a cup. If the cup is full, you can';t add anything to it, it';s full. But if you pour off some of the contents of that cup, then there';s space for more to come in. So much of our learning is how to release what is in the cup that we have held to through fear, so that the cup is an empty vessel, so that the heart is an empty vessel able to receive. You are unlimited but as long as you think of yourself as limited, you cannot receive because you think there';s not enough space inside.

So that night we talked, and He, in a sense talked it through. He said, “I know that the space is unlimited. I know that the divine radiance is what I truly am. And yet, there is fear.” And He began to see that just because there was fear did not mean that He could not act upon the divine radiance and truth. The fear is just fear. That which is aware of fear is not afraid to open deeply and rest in Awareness.

Here, we begin to find compassion for the human who is afraid, rather than shame at being afraid or condemnation of the human who is afraid. If there is fear, it simply means certain conditions have arisen and there is fear. He had prepared all His life for His work and knew it would be done if it was His Father';s will and for the highest good. How did He learn this? Here are a few stories.

When we were perhaps 10 and 15, we were on a several-days ‘walk to climb a mountain. Three other boys were with us. Jeshua was the youngest, and I was the oldest. We walked 3 days into the wilderness, and up, and up; it was an arduous climb. One of the boys fell and sprained his ankle. It was clear he could not climb; he could not walk. What were we going to do?

We had come to close to the top of this mountain, and it wasn';t that we could go home and then set out again the next week; we were all going different directions. It was as it would be at the end of your summer holidays; we were all going in different directions. It was then or not at all.

I said I could not allow Jeshua to go on without me. I was responsible for Him, as the oldest and the youngest. And I did not feel I could leave one of the 12-year-olds with the other 12-year-old, the injured one. Yet, part of me was saying, “But we have to get there, we have to get there.” So I was still trying to figure out how we could climb this mountain and Jeshua said to me, “It doesn';t matter. We will just stop. Why do we have to climb the mountain?” He had been the one who was most eager, “Got to get there! Got to get to the top!” But the boy was injured. He said, “We cannot leave him.” And I watched Him working with the ego that said, “Oh, but we';ve got to get to the top!” “It doesn';t matter,” He said. “We can';t leave him alone. We';ll just stay here with him.”

The boy was too big for me to carry. We had adequate food because we had several days'; journey back. So we just camped. And as I had assumed, after we did not return on time, people came out looking for us. And, of course, an adult was able to carry the boy. By then, 4 days had passed and his foot was beginning to heal.

As those 3 days passed, each of us kept looking at the peak, which was in sight, maybe just 3 hours distant. Couldn';t we go up? There were 5 of us—2 stay with the one who was hurt and 2 go up, and then the other 2: couldn';t we do that? We watched the ego, “Wanting, wanting, wanting.” And Jeshua was the one who kept saying, “No, no, let it go. It doesn';t matter. Let it go.” It was so powerful to watch His centeredness and assuredness. It doesn';t matter; let it go. And yet I know in a different situation, if it had mattered, He would have been able to say that, not from a place of grasping, but to allow that radiance to come through and find a way to bring it forth.

So He learned how to release the ego needs, not to be reactive to it. But also He learned how to carry on and fulfill the deeper heart';s direction. I give you that as a different story.

It was the last time that He came up to the hills with me. We were older now. He was a teenager and I really a young man. It began to snow during the night, a cold wind blowing. We had rounded up the sheep knowing the weather was going to turn. But one lamb was missing. I gathered the sheep but I said to Him, “One is missing, but it doesn';t matter; we must be in shelter.” And He said, “It does matter. That lamb will die.”

So He was able to let go of the trip to the top of the mountain, which His ego wanted to do, but when it came to a lamb';s dying, it does matter. At this point, He was a teenager and I was no longer in charge of Him, as I was when we were young. He said, “I';m going out to look for it.” I said, “I';m worried about you, you could get hurt.” He said, “I could get hurt, but I';ll be careful. If I don';t go, the lamb will die.”

We compromised and went together. I herded the other animals into a sheltered place, used some rope for a makeshift pen, and then we set out to find this lamb. It wasn';t a pretty kind of snow but more like sleet: wet, heavy, cold, with an icy wind blowing. You couldn';t see very far in front of you. We were both wet and shivering. Each time I started to say, “We need to stop,” He said, “No, we will find him.”

He was smaller than me and I would imagine He was colder than I was, but He didn';t let that deter Him. This is not so much about whether we go on or hold back; it';s about whether we act from a place of love or a place of fear, the fear dictated by the ego. Love told Him, stay with the boy with the sprained ankle, and love told Him, find the lamb. We did find that lamb. I remember Him lifting the very wet, cold creature who had fallen into a small crevice and couldn';t get itself out, lifting it and tucking it under His robes, warming it with His body and carrying it back to our encampment, to the fire where the other sheep were. He held it against His body until it was warm, and then gently returned it to its mother. It was a late spring storm, unusual at that time of year. The next morning the sun came out, and dried up everything. The lamb was happy and playful. He simply smiled at me as we watched this little lamb play and He said, “It did matter.”

He came to teach us how to bring light to the world. He did not talk about how to bring light to the world, but demonstrated it. He had to learn it for Himself. Although He was born with the capacity, as all of us are born with the capacity, He had to learn for Himself just how to do it as a human being. That is, how to find the light that always shines in the darkness and help express it forth into the world; how to trust the light of His own loving heart. He did not do this with any contempt for the human nor any minimization of the human, but with full cherishing of the human.

He taught me that we always have a choice. We do not have the choice of what will arise in our minds and bodies. We have a choice about how we will relate to it, and that we always have the choice to relate with love. To me this ability to love is the deepest meaning of His life. He came as a light in the darkness to teach us how to be lights in the darkness. We always have the choice between light and darkness, fear and love.

At the start of our evening we lit the Chanukah candles that are just dying down beside me as I speak. At this time of year, the days grow short and there is darkness late into the morning and early in the afternoon. At dusk you kindle lights. Beside their other symbolism, these lights may remind you of this truth of your being, that you are light and that you do not need to be afraid of the darkness because you always have a light at your disposal. No matter how dark it gets, you always have light. The Light within you is like the Temple lamp that burned long after the oil should have been gone; as long as you believe in it and know it, your Light will never be extinguished.

I';ve talked to you about those times when I briefly traveled with Him during His brief years of ministry. It was a short period, and I was with Him just on select occasions, so there are not that many stories to tell. I don';t think there';s any story I haven';t told at least once, of those adult years.

I know I have told this but perhaps just to a few of you. It is a story of knowledge of Light. We were walking, a small group of us, and it was necessary to cross a pass in the hills. The night was cold and dark. We could have stopped where we were, found some kind of shelter. It did not seem imperative that we go on. He said to us, “I feel called to continue. You may stay here, but I feel called to walk on.” And He couldn';t say why He felt thus called, just, “I need to go on.” Well of course if He was going, we were going.

This wasn';t a high mountain but it was steep, a large hill. It was a very dark, cloudy night, with a bitter wind blowing, and we climbed up into rocky terrain at the top. As we reached out of the trees, strong wind blew on us. And again we asked Him, can we seek shelter? “No, no, we need to go on.”

Perhaps a half hour passed at the top, crossing this rocky terrain, and suddenly the faint sound of a human cry, and we followed on toward that sound. There around a bend in the trail was a young man who had fallen and had a broken leg. He had despaired, had really thought his life was at an end. Then he heard voices and began to cry, to call to us.

Jeshua could not have heard him 2 hours earlier in the trees, but He was so deeply attuned that somehow He knew something up there needed Him, and it was important to go. Because He was so attuned to His own light, and so open and accepting of the darkness in Himself, He was deeply attuned also to the light and darkness of the world around Him. He was not afraid of the darkness in the world around Him, only committed to serve it with light.

So intuitively He understood something needs me up there. I need to go. I would not go so far as to say He was telepathic. It wasn';t that He was receiving some inner message, “I broke my leg. I need help.” It was more a deep inner knowing, a feeling, something is in pain up there and calling me to come to it. So He was willing to go, to put His own comfort aside and to go.

Each year I talk about some of the things that have been most meaningful to me, the lessons that I learned from Him, His humility, His deep commitment to service. So this is another side. His deep sensitivity to the light and commitment to the light, and that at some level He knew He had incarnated as the bringer of light, giver of light.

When you find yourself in darkness, you can think of Him, that';s fine. But even more important, think of the light within yourself and that you are also a bringer of light. This divine radiance is with you always; you cannot lose it. Then it doesn';t matter what arises in you, fear or any other kind of negative thought; it';s simply a negative thought. Stay focused on the light, and you cannot lose your way. And this is what He came to teach.

This reminds me of one last story, this one when He was a little boy. I';ve told this to some of you before. Again we were out in the hills with the sheep, and again it was a stormy night. I was trying to make a fire, and I couldn';t get the wet wood lit. I was trying in a mechanical way to make a fire with a flint. And He looked at me, this wise 6-year-old, and He said, “Nathaniel, just make the fire!”

He was not yet formally within the Essene school; I was. I had been studying manifestation. I knew the lesson. I knew how to create fire. I knew how to create a light in the darkness, to manifest it. You have to know that you can do it. You have to know that the light is already there. You are not creating the fire; you are simply inviting the already-existent fire to express itself.

So there I was striking at my flint and the wood was damp, and He said, “Just make the fire!” Finally He got impatient with me. He pushed me out of the way and said, “I';ll do it,” and there was the fire.

I knew I could have done it, but I didn';t fully believe that I could do it. He had not been trained how to do it, He knew. The fire is there; just invite it. Let it express. The light is there; bring it forth.

So, my love to all of you. I wish you a blessed Christmas, a joyful Hanukah, Kwanza, or whatever holiday you are celebrating, and a new year of deep growth and fulfillment, joy and service, and of good health. May each of you bring this inner life to ever-greater radiance in the new year. This is why you have come.

Barbara mentioned that she met today with the makers of the film “One,” Ward and Diane Power. While they were filming her 4 years ago they had asked her, what is the purpose of life? Today they got to talking about the answer she had 5 years ago and the answer she had now. She said her answer had changed in these 5 years, that she';s become more certain that the purpose of life is simply to learn how to love, to move into the higher consciousness of love and bring it forth in the universe, because there is darkness in the universe, and only by holding this radiance through knowing your divinity can you bring the light forth that cancels the darkness. It takes only a moment of light to brighten darkness that has lain there for thousands of years. This is the purpose of your lives, to be light.

May your Light shine brightly and forever. May all beings be blessed by your Light.

I return the body to Barbara. Thank you for being with me tonight.

Aaron Quote

Each of you begins as what I call a spark of God,
just a small bit of that energy and light moving into self-awareness.

You perceive an illusion that this self that is aware is separate from that of which it is aware
and you begin to believe, “God is out there”!

Thus begins your journey.

The only way out is through the illusion of separation.
This illusion is not a burden that you must carry, but a gift.

Would you remain that small spark forever or would you blossom into a brilliant sun in your own right?

The passage must involve a journey.

September 23, 1994

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