January 13, 2016 Wednesday with Aaron
The Practice of Clear Light
Barbara: When I was planning a trip to Spain in September I had felt DomInácio’s invitation to come to Montserrat monastery. I had a wonderful meditation with him there. He asked me to give him one day a week to sit with the Casa current and to let him work deeply on my ailing spine and knees in preparation for my visit to the Casa, which is in 2 weeks. I’ve been doing that regularly. Often I sit with the current. Sometimes I lie in bed or on the chaise in my office, where I put crystals on each of the chakras.
I have here a fist-size crystal that was on the base chakra. It’s a clear crystal with a lot of light in it. It is variegated, not solid clear, but clear with a lot of rainbow light showing. I’ve had this crystal for several years. When I got up this morning, and lifted it from the base chakra, the bottom of the crystal has two flecks of fairly strong red color. At first I thought I was bleeding, but it’s not on the surface, it’s inside the crystal. There were a lot of black flecks in the same corner of the crystal. The whole thing, the red color and the black flecks, have faded now. I’m going to ask Aaron to talk about this later, after his talk. I’m passing it around so people can see it. My guess is that they were using the crystal to remove some impurities from the body.
I never ceased to be awed at what happens as I work with these crystals and with the Entities! The red has definitely faded. I don’t think it’s gotten smaller so much as faded.
Aaron: My blessings and love to you all here… I am at fault for not having written a statement for my plan for tonight, as that usually is posted on the website. I simply never got to it. I didn’t send out a clear invitation. But I did at the beginning of the year speak about my idea of 2016 as the Year of Light, what it means to be light in ourselves, and to be a light in the world.
Among the Buddha’s final words: Be a lamp unto yourself. That phrase has many meanings. One means not to lean too heavily on others’ heart and ideas and so forth but to find your own inner deepest knowing. But also, and a less understood meaning for that phrase, is that each of you is literally a lamp, a light.(There are beautiful tiny Christmas lights on the altar, illuminating the room. Aaron has turned them off) If we turn these off, there is a completely different energy in here. Light lifts us up. But so often we look to the electric lights, to the sun and moon, to the flashlight, to the candle, and we forgetwe are light.
I want to start with a story, and I hope it will become a favorite, as my well-known Halloween story has become so. This is one I’ve never told before.
I lived very peacefully, growing up in a country, you don’t need to know the name of the country, but at peace with myself and my fellow men, and with the animals and vegetation around me, with life itself. My people were a very peaceful people.
I was training to become a shaman, and I was skilled at what I did. I had the ability to connect with spirit, to connect with the earth, with all the elements; to feel distortions in the energetic fabric within each being and with the energy connecting beings. I was able to support both the release of distortions and to support the loving connections, to support the inner radiance of each being.
Inner radiance for me was a metaphor. We did see light in people, but it was not the actual light. For those on the conference call, we have some beautiful lights run on copper wire. There must be 200 tiny lights glittering here on the altar, hanging over the Buddha, and draped down upon the shelf. I have never seen such exquisite miniature lights. The inner light I saw in people was not quite this visual luminescence; it was more energy an expression of people’s own inner love.
Our village was invaded by very brutal men. Older men were slain. Women were raped. Some young children were simply cast aside and killed. And men and women of perhaps 14 and up, but young and healthy, were gathered up and taken away. Others of this clan had attacked neighboring villages too. So as we were gathered together by them, perhaps 50 or 60 of us were taken as slaves.
It was late spring, and we walked through the entire spring and summer over a vast range of mountains to a land whose existence was completely unknown to me. Let me offer a digression here. I do not think in terms of words, I think in terms of thoughts, and I pull out words to frame the thoughts. Sometimes I have a thought and the word is elusive. So there are slips at times. It’s not that i don’t know what I want to say, it’s that the perfect word for it has not emerged.
Returning to my story… We arrived in a land not too different from my own, yet more arid, where we were sold as slaves. There I lived for the next 10 years. If I kept quiet and did my work, I was not treated too harshly. I was given a bare minimum of food, but still adequate food. I was not starved. I worked for over 14 hours a day, a lot but not beyond my capacity. I had a place to rest, and I made friends. Men and women were housed separately and fraternization was not encouraged. So my friends were men, and I rarely saw a woman my age.
At night we ate our dinner by fire. We shared stories. We went to sleep early, of course, because we were exhausted and a new day would come soon. We were not given a rest day but worked 7 days a week. These were not brutal conditions, and yet we were slaves with no freedom, little joy of life and little hope.
My constant background thought was; how can I escape? I want to go home. There were two men who had been close friends in that village of my childhood and taken with me to this place and another man with whom I had become a good friend, not very close but a good friend in the years here. We four talked often, very quietly, about escape.
I woke one morning hearing bells being rung– loud, irritating-sounding bells – warning bells that warned of fire or some other disaster. Enemy were coming. Barbaric looking men rode into this city on horseback, killing and maiming. We as the slaves were more or less just pushed out of the way, as the barbarians were not particularly interested in us. They were not there primarily to gather slaves or plunder or any sort. It seemed they were more there to attack the people of this city, more for power or politics. Riches also, I’m sure, but that was beyond my knowing as a slave.
This battle waged around me for a day, and I realized, this is the time. Chaos is everywhere, men fighting. Who will notice what becomes of slaves? We had been planning for this for years. We had a small store of food, some clothes, a water bag, the essentials we might need, and especially some rope. I didn’t know what I might need rope for, but we had come over the mountains in summer and needed rope, so we assumed we might need it going back. But now it was late fall, winter approaching.
We slipped out undetected, and very easily made it into the forest. We walked for a week or two, completely unfollowed, it seemed. The days grew colder, the nights darker, and gradually the land ascended up into the foothills of the mountains. But now it was winter and snow was falling. These mountains had been treacherous and challenging in summer. Yet we knew we could not survive by staying hidden until spring. If we wanted to go home, we needed to cross the mountains.
Through these years I had the opportunity to practice some of my shamanic and healing skills. I very well understood the use of herbs, for example. I understood how to connect with spirit. I understood how to read the elements of the land and the energy.
So we climbed, and it grew colder. It began to snow. My senses told me that there was a cave not far above us where we might seek shelter, and an hour’s climb brought us to it, the falling snow fortunately covering our tracks. We entered into the cave. Among the other supplies that we had hoarded I had flint to create a fire. We had rags and tallow, animal fat, to make torches. So we went a little way into the cave, in beyond the light of the entrance, and looked around. Here would be shelter for the night. We would see what the morrow brought. But this was the first blast of winter, and it snowed for almost a week. It did not seal the entrance but it was very clear the snow was far beyond our capacity to traverse, perhaps chest and shoulder deep, and it would only grow worse as we climbed.
We had enough food for, I would say for 10 days if we were careful. We had hunted as we walked toward this mountain range. It was enough food that it would easily have seen us over the mountain in the summer. But here we were in a cave. We would die here because we could not hunt in snow that was chest deep. If we walked back down to the lower altitudes, we would probably be caught.
Lighting the torch, we could see what was really a clear path into the cave. How far would it go? We had no way of knowing, but we decided to walk. We each had a torch, but we lit only one, saving the others. We walked all day, the ground gradually descending; as it went down, the air became warmer. We walked.
It was not a comfortable walk. We could see by the skeletons found here and there that others had tried this walk before us and died. There were frequent branches off to one side and another, but this main path by the light of the torch seemed just a little bit smoother, a little bit warmer, so we followed this main path. Remember, we were skilled trackers, pathfinders, and outdoorsmen. We walked.
The first torch was burning out; we used the second. Each torch seemed to last for a day or two, and we dared not walk without it because there were places where there were precipices, or seemingly equal forks, where only by careful examination could we find which one was the true path. We walked.
We had used up two of our torches, and there came a time of decision. Do we go ahead and trust we will be through before the final torch burns out? Or shall we go back and take our chances in that winter landscape? We would not go back to captivity. We did not fear a clean death in the winter elements, but we would not go back and be slaves. We lit the third torch. We walked.
We decided to try to save our torches a bit. I mentioned that we had made rope, not the rope you have today, not refined rope, but rope made of vines and such, and I had quite a length of rope. So one man would stand where we had turned the torch out. The other three, tied together with 4 or 5 feet between them so that they could move a little to each side, would walk ahead very quietly in the dark. When they got to the point where the rope from the anchor person was fully extended, they would light the torch for just a moment to see if it looked like a clear path. And if it looked like a clear path, signal, “Yes, come!” And the last one would walk up and connect. And then we’d do it again, advancing perhaps 50 yards at a time, moving forward in this way in the dark. It was hard because rock projections would hit your head. Underfoot, other projections would trip you. There would be an unexpected turn, a place where it dropped down suddenly. But for three days we made our way this way using our two torches at either end of our 50-yard rope and progressing in those small incremental steps.
And then came the terrible day when we used the last of our tallow and there was nothing down there to burn. We gathered together and ate our meager meal. I bid my friends to rest while I meditated and asked the spirits, our guides and guardians, for support. What should we do?
Through the night I prayed much less for myself than for my friends, my brothers, whom I loved, that we might come to safety. I felt an enormous love coming up into my heart. I felt as I sat there as if I could almost see the path radiating in front of me, even though it was dark. I sat and I prayed, and my heart was filled with love and with light, light at that point still being a metaphor for me.
But gradually, as I looked around, I began to see, you can’t call it light, not in the sense of the lamps, but a vague light, a vague shimmering. The path itself seemed to be shimmering. One of my friends awakened, sleeping right there at my feet, and said, “You are lit up.” He awakened the others. They looked at me and could see light radiating out– not radiating, that’s too strong a word– very gentle light emitting out from the heart chakra and from the third eye, almost like a flashlight shining forth. Very soft, but enough light to light the way.
How could this be? I was somewhat of a master in many shamanic forms, but creating light? And yet it was undoubtedly so. When they pointed it out, I became afraid and the light went out!
The first one said to me, “Whatever you were doing, go back to it.” And we all began to chant there and pray. Again I opened my heart, and again the heart chakra opened and light shined through this flesh, just a gentle soft light. Then I brought my attention up to my head and my intention to see, and gentle light shined through the third eye. As that light shined, the path again picked up a very soft glow. So we began to walk.
It was vital that this happened at this point because where the path had been slowly descending. Now it turned uphill, and it became steep in places. We would have fallen to our death numerous times those next two or three days if we had not been able to see. But each time we could see enough.
When we paused, I sat in meditation with my friends and began to teach them this practice of light. Let us call it the practice of clear light. You know that there are practitioners who can sit outdoors in bitter cold and bring heat up into the body. This is not any different. The light is there; one can invite it. So we began to practice together, this practice of clear light.
This was the beginning of my deeper understanding of the simultaneity of relative and ultimate, for this cave was pitch black in conventional terms and yet light was there. Where there is,… there are too many ingredients to list them, but simply loving intention, life, joy, non-contraction, hope, praise, gratitude, non-identification with fear’s stories, where these are, light exists. And we are never separate from that light for an instant if we remember we are the light that we seek; if we do not manifest it for selfish reasons but only for the highest good.
The way was much longer than expected. Fortunately there were underground streams, little waterfalls. We had abundant water. We had some dried food that, with our rations severely cut, would be enough to see us through.
The path slowly began to rise again, and we found ourselves, one glorious day, coming into a chamber that was far lighter than the light that we, all four of us, were now emitting. What we had found, at first was not a doorway; there was light streaming in between cracks in the ceiling. Then we still had to go a bit further in the dark. But it was clear we had arrived. And eventually we did emerge through a doorway and our homeland lay before us in the distance.
We still had a long walk. We knew this territory. We walked for several weeks to where our people had lived, in mountains. There, within the arena of our spiritual practices, I was given the opportunity to teach this practice of clear light. Not as a way of finding your way through a cave– that’s a practical application. But as a way of finding your way through the darkness of everyday life. The chaos and fear, the grief, the anger. It’s a very powerful practice.
This year I intend to teach a lot more of this practice. So many of you are ready for it now. So it will be a joy to share it in our classes and in our times together.
That is the basis of my talk, or at least of my tale. Let me go on to talk a bit more about the practice of clear light.
Let us begin this discussion with awareness of the fact that nothing can be that is not already. There is already light. There is already love. It may not be visible. It may not be apparent. It may be so far submerged that you have lost touch with it completely, but of course it’s there.
Your spiritual practice is basically a remembering of who and what you are, of your radiance, of your divinity, so that you can bring it out into the world. Your world is not an evil place that must only gradually be shifted so it reflects kindness. Your world is a place of loving kindness, a place of loving intentions, a place of joy; of which most of you have lost sight, so that for an eternity you’ve been on a treadmill trying to plow your way through the mud that gets deeper with every roundabout, your feet going deeper and deeper into this illusory swamp.
Imagine yourself walking on a path after heavy rain, and the mud is ankle deep; there are thousands of you walking on it. Ankle deep mud becomes knee deep mud becomes hip deep mud, churning it up and churning it up. On either side of you, the ground rises up into a grassy bank, but you’re so accustomed to walking in the mud that you forget, “All I have to do is take a few steps to the right or to the left, step up to where the grass and flowers are growing sweetly. I can step out of the mud any time I wish. It’s only my old habit that keeps me plowing through this mud.”
The waking up is the moment of remembering: perhaps there is something other than the mud! Perhaps instead of fighting against the mud I can say, “That’s enough,” and just take the 5 or 6 steps that carry me out. It will be hard. The mud clenches to the feet, even pulls your boots off. The mud is metaphor for old habits that do not want to free you. But a few steps up and suddenly you’re on that sweet-smelling grass. Then of course you’re lured back to the mud. Why? Just habit.
Perhaps you’re walking along on the grass, the muddy path turns one way, and you don’t see any way to go straight without getting back into the mud. Once you’re back into the mud, you forget you can step back out again.
So much of it is habit. Let’s just call it karma. This is the way that the human has learned to think for millennia, that life is or should be a fight, that if it’s not hard, something’s wrong– why? Why should it not be easy and joyful?
So the first step is to remember: life does not have to be hard work. That doesn’t mean there will be no work, but the work is different than you think. It’s hard work also to walk for miles in that sweet-smelling grass, and you do need to keep walking, but you are aware of the blessings. At a certain point you can settle down and sleep in the grass. You can even stay there for a week or a year. But eventually you’ll want to get up again. And walking takes energy. So no, we’re not just all going to go lie on the beach. And if we did, we’d still have to fish for our food.
The shift in thinking is the release of the idea everything is against you and you have to fight for what you need, rather than knowing, everything is supporting us and we welcome it with such gratitude, and co-create with the universe, for the highest good of all beings everywhere. We welcome this abundance with such joy, such gratitude; we learn to trust this abundance. We are not separate from it.
You are here to learn. Sometimes the uphill struggles are part of the learning. So sometimes it does seem to need to get a bit more arduous in order to allow you to recognize your deepest resources. If I had not been caught in that dark cave, I would not have remembered how to bring forth this inner light, and how to teach it to countless others, who have taught it to countless others. I’m not the only one who is teaching this, Today I am one of many, and am a relatively small figure amongst the illuminated beings in the present world. But I needed to learn it, so I needed to be in an uncomfortable enough place that I would remember/ learn it.
Life challenges you. What is it challenging you to learn? It is not trying to oppress you. It is inviting you to open to something new and yet ancient, to literally remember your wholeness. Remember your harmony with the earth and all that is, and that this is how you were made. This is the human being, made to live in joy, in harmony, and with ease; not the ease to lie all day on the beach, the ease also to get up and catch the fish. But when you’re living in harmony, you simply invite the fish and the fish will say, “Oh yes, it will be my joy to come and feed you,” and they leap up on the beach at your feet. Then if you want to cook them, you still have to go and gather wood to light a fire, or eventually remember how to invite the fire to spark forth.. The trees may or may not say, “Oh, we will leap to your feet and start a fire of ourselves.” Perhaps that’s a little more of an advanced stage! For now, the fishing can be a joy, and the lighting of the fire can be a joy. And you express deep gratitude to the fish and deep gratitude to the woods and to the fire. The fire that warms you, the sea that cools you. Everything is given. Why would it be otherwise? Is it time to stop living your life as a battle?
So these are the teachings I would like to move more deeply into this year. It’s interesting, as I look through all of my teaching here to Barbara since 1989, there are many things I said to her then that she understood only on one level, really on a linear level. Many things I said to many of you that you understood only on that level. But now many of you are deepening and ready to understand these teachings on a nondual level.
There is literally nothing to fear. You are love and you are light. When you know that light within you, it cannot be dimmed. You are a Divine spark of Light. The human can die. The light of that individual expression of itself can be dimmed. But the essence of what you are cannot be dimmed.
How do we speak to the terrorists of the world, to those filled with fear and hatred? Only love resolves hatred. This is the truth, ancient and forever. Quoting the Buddha in “Dhammapada” , of course. How do you learn to bring forth that level of love in a world that’s constantly pushing at you? How do you learn to trust your own inner light to literally light up the way, as my heart did in that cave?
My heart was no better than yours. You can do the same thing. Anything I suggest that you can do, or tell you I did, you can do. You are no different from me. But first you have to hold the intention, “It’s time to pick myself up out of this muddy track. I’ve had enough of this muddy track. Now I’m going to walk in the flower-strewn meadow.” I will meet you there.
So let’s take a minute to stretch, here, and then we’ll open the floor to questions.
I welcome your questions…
Q: What does it mean to manifest light in a selfish way?
Aaron: You really cannot manifest light in a selfish way. The ego can take the light around you. You may even use that light to support others. But it’s not coming from within. Only the clear self can allow the light that is already within to shine forth.
So if I come in with a bowl of fruit and I take a few of the choice pieces off for myself and then look at it and say, “Well, there’s more than I can eat here. Would you like some fruit?”, the ego in a kind way is offering the fruit to others. But it’s from a place of self, the giver, the doer. *I*will give fruit to others. It’s a kind thing to do. Others will enjoy the fruit. But it bears less good results than if I see the bowl of fruit and say, “or “Oh, there are three pieces here and eight people, but it can be shared.” There’s no thought of what do I want first and then I will share, but, “Oh– here,” offering out constantly from this place of emptiness and love.
It bears good results not only in that it gives people the benefit of the fruit, but in that it creates a whole new karma of connectivity, of interbeing, of joy. It releases any karma of fear and holding.
So to manifest light, to shine light– I take the torch and I say, “Here, do you want some light? I’ll shine it on the path to benefit all.” To manifest light can only come from this clear space.
Let’s not only use light, which is harder to understand, but kindness. I can offer kindness to people. “Can I help you? Are you hungry? Would you like a snack?” Well, it’s kind of me, it’s generous. There’s at least some degree of ego doing it, but still it can be very kind. But it’s very different than the complete openhearted, “Everything I have I give out freely. I have no need to fear and to hold onto it. Whatever I need will come to me. I give it freely.” So I manifest abundance in that way. So I’m using kindness as one step easier to understand than manifesting light.
Does that make sense to you, how we might manifest abundance and then move on to the next step of manifesting light?
Manifesting light is not really a clear term. Making available the light that is already and always been manifest, is a clearer way of saying it; to make it available. Not I; but love makes it available. And that’s what I did in that cave. Only I didn’t know the light was there. I was as surprised as the next person. “Where did this light come from?” Then I remembered, or realized, it’s always been there. And then I was able to begin to understand what allowed it to shine forth.
Q: It seems like there could be a possibility of idiot compassion where you don’t accurately assess your own needs, and the impulse to be generous becomes a problem.
Aaron: Bingo! Good one! The thing is, this is not compassion. This is simply a surreptitiously driven ego that doesn’t want to acknowledge that it wants to be somebody who’s generous, who’s skillful, who’s kind, who perhaps has the desire to be seen as generous, skillful, and kind. And by others, perhaps not even that so much, just, “For me I have to be generous and skillful and kind or I don’t feel good about myself.” But it’s still about me.
But when I see that movement to being a “somebody”, recognize it, and start to balance it, there’s no longer a distinction between you and me. Both our needs are requested to be met, and if it’s not meeting my needs, it’s not meeting your needs. If it’s not meeting your needs, it cannot meet my needs.
Once we are more awake, we know that. The challenge is that we are not all yet awake, so we must walk this path gradually, investigating generous giving and then asking, how did that feel? Is there some part of me that held back? Is there some part of me that had to give, even though it hurt me? With mindfulness we begin to understand what’s driving us, to let go of what has been driving us for lifetimes, and to find the place where innate compassion comes forth and speaks or acts.
It’s such a gradual transition that you don’t see it at first. But there comes a point where you know it just feels right. There’s no question in your mind what should be done. You know what to do. And the knowing what to do is not always about giving; sometimes it’s about saying no.
So it takes moving back and forth, speaking and acting and reflecting. Taking it into meditation. Understanding any places where there was subtle contraction in that speech or action, and what the ground for that contraction was, which is almost always the imbedded notion of the separate self. But we’re not as stuck as we seem. It’s not that we have to be completely awake in order to speak and act from that place of innate compassion. But that each time we do it, it helps us to awaken more and be able to do it further.
Q: Why does it seem to take a big challenge or trauma to do the most learning?
Aaron: Let’s go back to our illustration of the path through the woods. Once upon a time it was at the same level as the woods on either side. There was some grassy edging. The whole open passageway was ten feet wide, but people walked in one central area and gradually they wore down a path that bore into the soil so it was 6″ lower, then a foot lower. Now to step up on either side of the path is stepping up onto a high bank. It rains. The path becomes muddy. Hundreds of people walk through it. The mud is churned around. It’s worn down through the years. Now it’s two feet up on either side. To step out of it, you have to climb out. It’s not just a side-step anymore.
Here we come through the woods on this, what was once a level 10′ wide swath of grass. We’re walking in the center of that 10′ swath, sunken down 3′ in mud up to our knees. You look on either side of you. What was level path is a high step up and thorns have grown up on those previously grassy banks. It no longer looks so easy to walk there. Saplings have grown because nobody has walked there, tree roots.
How deep does the mud have to get before you finally says, “That’s it. I’m going to step out of this.”? Once you step out, you might take a scythe with you and clip down some of the weeds. But you’re going to be very wary of not creating another trench. You choose a path that’s lovely, and then you choose another path that’s lovely. You don’t create any more trenches. Let us consider “trench” the habitual notion of separate self. Basically you’re not going to get out of that trench until it becomes too hard to walk there. When walking through it is too unpleasant, you’ll get out, otherwise you’ll stay.
Let me ask here a personal question. And you don’t have to answer this to the group, although you are free to if you wish. Think about what finally brought you to make a shift in your previous relationship and step out of it. If there had only been a little suffering there, would you keep trying? There was a point where you said, “That’s it. This isn’t working. It’s time to step out.” It was very painful to be in, and painful to step out. But once you stepped out, you found there were other beautiful things in life that you had forgotten.
Does that answer your question? Of course we could talk about this for weeks. That’s a short answer, not the long answer. But the way your life is set up is that you have certain intentions. You keep coming to things that challenge the fulfillment of those intentions. In order deeply to fulfill the intention, you have to meet the challenge. In meeting the challenge you usually have to go beyond what you thought of as a prior limiting belief. Then you begin to discover and live the fullness of what you are, not just trod this small muddy path.
Or maybe it’s dry season and the path is packed and there are birds in the trees. Pleasant walking. There’s a bank on either side with flowers. But you’re still stuck in that path, still in a rut of limiting beliefs..
Barbara has a cabin in the woods at Friends Lake. When she first moved into the cabin 15 or more years ago, there was a path coming from the parking area, up to the top road, along the road a short way and back down her driveway to her cabin. She thought, I want to make a path that cuts across from that main path to my cabin so I don’t have to go up and back down. I said to her, do you really want a path? What if you go through a different way each time so that you don’t create a new path but simply work to keep fallen branches, poison ivy, and other such obstacles out of the way there, so that you can walk through any way you like?
She thought it was a wonderful idea. But eventually a path became carved. Now it’s a sharp path. It’s not a bad path, but it’s a very distinct path. And the other ways are not so open anymore. There are fallen tree limbs, poison ivy, and such. The more there are barricades in the other routes, the more Barbara and others cling to the path. It’s not bad. In this case it’s convenient. But think about that as a metaphor for your life. Are you wiling to go out and clear up the tree limbs that have fallen so you can walk where you like, or are you just sticking to the known path? What do the tree limbs represent? Perhaps the uncomfortable relationships, the uncomfortable feelings, the times of confusion, the times of strong uncomfortable emotion. It’s not so easy to keep attending to those, so you just walk the one known path. But it limits you.
Other questions? (No.)
I told Barbara I would talk about the crystal. The red and specks are definitely fading even as we have been sitting here, but are still distinct. I’m speaking through Barbara and she also will read this in the transcript, so I’ll talk to her a little bit about it here, that she may read it later.
Barbara, you had the intention to healing, and out of that intention you invited direct connection to DomInácio, who said, “I support you.” He asked you, as I asked you, to consider the simultaneity of the body distortions and the ever-perfect. He noted that his work was not to fix anything but more fully to release the barriers to knowing the ever-perfect, including releasing certain challenging distortions like strong pain, because it’s harder to really rest in the ever-perfect when there is strong pain.
As you have noted, Barbara, there have been ups and downs these few months; times when the body seems to be getting so much stronger and more pain-free, and then times of extreme pain. So, from my perception, incorrectly doing a physical therapy exercise on Saturday triggered the recurrence of these very strong muscle-spasms and pain. It’s related to the nerves in the back, to the spinal stenosis. It’s related to everything; the whole body works together.
Keeping your agreement with him, you came to him this morning asking for help with this pain. You held your intentions before him before you lay down to meditate with the current. He chose this crystal because he knows the crystal’s capacity, and had you put it just above the pubic bone, at the base chakra at a point where it was close to the spinal area, the impacted nerves and so forth.
DomInácio, you, and the crystal all agreed to co-create a gradual release of the distortion in the body. “Distortion” looks contracted. It often gives off a dark light and energy. Crystal has the capacity to pick up such distortion, to take it into itself, almost like it’s doing tonglen. It breathes in that dark energy and then gradually it will release it.
I suggested to you after you arose today not to soak it in Casa water because it would be too extreme and it could implode the crystal; to let it sit in sunlight so it could gradually release, and in a day or two, when it’s ready, then we’ll put it in Casa water to release more. But some of the distortion may not completely release. The crystal has agreed to carry it so you don’t have to.
It’s much the way it is when you do tonglen. You breathe it in and you release it. And yet something in its passing is left within you, not to create distortion in you but as the ground for compassion.
You are serving the crystal here. The crystal is deepening in its ability for compassion. So I wouldn’t worry about whether it releases or not. But literally the black flecks you saw and the two red streaks are the material imprint of that contraction and distortion as the crystal has soaked them in and allowed them to settle into itself, to help release them from your body.
I can’t ask you if there are any questions because I know you are not hearing this right now. We will discuss it after you read the transcript.
So, are there further questions here?
Q: Just the other day I received a message from my cousin out of the blue. In it he said, “My ultimate dream is to quit my job and become your office manager and we do humanitarian work, and for us to serve and know happiness through service.” And he continued his email message… So I read the email. It was loving. And yet I was picking up on fear. And the parts in me, there was the pushing back against it. So it was an experience of hearing that message from the place in him that was ego-based, the ego parts in me bristling back, and also the love, the undistorted place in him, and that’s in me. And I wasn’t quite sure what was going on with all that! … It was just different frequencies and they were jarring.
Aaron: When there is strong intention to live and act from a clear and loving space, there is a commitment to ongoing meditation practice, to give yourself both mindfulness in the moment and the time in daily deeper practice to note anything that’s unclear, and hold the intention to release it. It doesn’t mean it will instantly release. But you start the process of releasing.
Everything happens gradually. If you know that you’re coming to the place where there’s that deep pit of a trail, knee deep in mud, when you leave your house that morning, you take the scythes with you so you can cut some of the leaves on the side. So you plan it so you’re not going to have to walk through the mud. But there’s not a smooth trail yet. It may be weeks before you’ve cleared enough of the growth on the side. Perhaps you will need to come in with some truckloads of dirt and fill the pit that formed, adding gravel, wood chips, whatever, leveling it out. It takes work. But it cannot happen without intention.
We watch various elements of this. Where is the intention coming from? Is it more in the ego? What part of the intention is clear and beautiful and pure? What part is more ego-centered? Seeing that part that is more ego-centered in this intention, what’s driving that? Some fear. What is the ground for that fear?
We can look at this two ways. On the one hand we understand that the one who is fully awake no longer has those fears or ego-driven intentions, and yet the path to awakening is a gradual one. We’re not yet awake. Can we be patient and loving with those ego-based fears and not give in to them, not be snared by them? But each time they come, note them. Can we find what is beautiful right there with the ego-based intention? There’s fear in that and what else? Where is the love in it?
If we look at it and say, “No, no ego-driven intentions here,” we may throw out the beauty of the intention as well. When we look at it and say, “Ah, I see the ego and fear in this and I also see what’s beautiful. I am going to focus on what’s beautiful but not deny there is some ego and fear,” what is the ground for that? How do I clarify that, right here in this moment with that which is beautiful? Just choosing that which is beautiful can clarify a lot of the ego intention, a lot of the ego’s energy.
So we keep moving back and forth, back and forth, with mindfulness, always looking at what was chosen, what was done. What are the results? Not asking, “What are the results?” with fear, but asking from a very openhearted place, what are the good results here? And what are the places that are still snaring me?
Your cousin has offered you an opportunity to do such work. Honor yourself that you are doing it.
Q: I considered <unclear> not just action but the contraction in the energy field.
Aaron: As we become more mindful, we see that faster we notice the contraction in the energy field, the smaller the reaction. You’re meditating and suddenly there’s something tickling your arm. Maybe just a moth or a little ant, maybe it’s a wasp, maybe it’s a mouse walking down your arm; who knows? Spider, who knows? The impulse– “No, I will not swat at it, no. I’ll open my eyes, see what’s there, and do what’s appropriate with it, and then I’ll come back and sit.” But when one is back in that pit of a path. It takes a lot of doing to get away from the swatting.
The more attuned you are to the arising of even subtle contraction as catalyst for movement, for action or speech, the more quickly you become free of that kind of movement. It may be the same movement. If I see a spider on my arm, I’m probably going to want to get it off. If I see there’s a wasp walking down my arm, I’m probably going to want to get it off. The difference is, is the energy one of hatred or of kindness. “Oh, this creature is caught indoors and he may want to be free also. I’ll take him to the door. I’ll release him.”
And gradually when something tickles, we do move into a, “Oh, let’s see what it is,” not (swatting) and then, “Oh, what was it?” So habitual patterns shift gradually. It takes patience. It takes work. Perhaps dedication is a better word than work– effort, endeavor. Just because there’s a fear contraction doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just old habit. Where is the good in this? Where is the light in this?
Walking through the cave– fear. Where is beauty to be found here? Where is goodness to be found? For the highest good of all beings, I’ll touch this open heart. Not thinking, “Oh, I’ll create a light,” *I* will create a light with MY heart. Just, “I open my heart, because myself and my comrades are going to die here if there’s no solution. And I want to hold us all in love, whether we live or die, and not give into fear.” And out of opening my heart, the light that’s always been there shines forth.
Does that answer it, at least a bit, for you?
(new)Q: I would like confirmation about something that I suspect. So as we do this work where we put more space around contractions and then don’t choose to react to them, and they dissolve and no longer arise, does that mean we are allowing more light to be present?
Aaron: Yes. Always when there’s less contraction, there’s more light. Let me phrase that differently. When there’s less contraction, there’s less density. The light that’s always been there is increasingly able to shine through. Contraction is dense. When it opens up, the light that’s always been there can shine forth.
Q: And it’s habitual karmic patterns that create this density?
Aaron: It’s habitual karmic pattern to contract against uncomfortable experience rather than simply to breathe and open with it. As soon as that shift occurs where you realize, “I am the one that’s closing myself in,” then almost immediately it’s open again. It still takes practice, but you’ve shifted everything by that one moment of clarity.
It’s that old question; we ask, “Do I still need to do it this way? Maybe I don’t have to do it this way anymore.” What have you been doing over and over that’s creating suffering? Maybe you don’t have to do it that way anymore.
Now if the ego picks that up and says, “Oh, I can do it this way instead,” trying to force things, it’s not going to improve the situation. But if the heart comes in and says, “Oh, I see how much fear there’s been, how much contraction, confusion, sadness, anger,” (breathes) ” Awareness chooses to come back into the spaciousness of the loving heart,” not denying the confusion, sadness, fear, and anger but no longer locked into their stories. Suddenly I’m up on that grassy swath and I didn’t even have to mow it. It’s open. It’s always been open.
So that’s another trap, thinking, “If I get out, I’m going to have to mow the grass on either side.” Well, it is and it is not an illusion. If you’ve dug yourself deep into this path, it’s going to take effort. And the effort could be likened to having to mow the grass. Having to climb up the steep slope. It’s not as easy as it was before the pit dug itself. But once you start, you find that it goes very quickly, if you practice in a skillful and openhearted way and don’t fall into the trap of saying, “Well it’s still hard so I guess I’m not being skillful and openhearted.” Blaming yourself, criticizing yourself, do not help. Just note, “It’s still hard. There’s probably something here I don’t fully understand. I ask for help. I open my heart. I release obstacles. I hold the reality of the ever-perfect right here in this moment while acknowledging that while I’m knee-deep in mud.” It will come together. It took a long time to dig that deep pit of mud. So the first steps out onto the grassy bank may be hard.
I want to offer thanks and blessings to this space, that whoever next moves into this space will enjoy this high energy and the love we have left here. That our efforts to transmute the vibration of this space may bear wonderful results for whoever inherits it. I thank this space for welcoming us. And I know our space with Interfaith will also be beautiful. I’m truly looking forward to that and grateful to Interfaith Center for the invitation.
My blessings and love to each of you. I’ll say goodnight.