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Dharma Journal | November 2017 | The Deeper Gift of Vipassana is Freedom

Vipassana meditation leads to a deeper, clearer seeing. Aaron discusses how Vipassana meditation moves you into responding from your heart.

Video and transcript, the video is also closed captioned.

 

Transcript, there are a few edits in the transcript that are not on the video.

November 2017 – Dharma Journal
The Deeper Gift of Vipassana is Freedom

My blessings and love to you. I am Aaron. It is a privilege to be with you in this way. You know that these are not recorded the month that you see them but pre-recorded. Right now it’s a beautiful October afternoon. You will be hearing this in November. In between, we are headed to Oakwood Retreat Center in Indiana for a week of Vipassana meditation.

People often ask Barbara and me, “Why do we practice? What is Vipassana meditation? What are we trying to gain from meditation?” Such questions! Let’s start at the beginning. You are a beautiful and radiant spirit here in this incarnation to learn to respond with loving kindness to the earth plane catalysts that come your way. Sometimes it’s easy. People are loving you, praising you. Your body feels strong and healthy. The sun is shining! But if that’s the total of your experience on this earth plane, how would you learn to deepen in a loving, spacious response, when something is painful?

The past months I’ve read some to you from my new book. We hope that book will be published and available to you by early December. I made the decision not to share more directly from the book now but rather to go into something that is the ground for the book and without which you could not do the practices in the book.

First, what is meditation? You are meditation. It is your natural state – stillness, spaciousness. The sky’s natural state is spaciousness, but when certain conditions are present it fills with clouds and looks very busy. Water has fluidity, so it can move. But when no conditions are pushing it into movement it is still.

Your natural state is spaciousness and stillness when no conditions are pushing you into agitation. Without the conditions, however, you could not learn. So, there will always be that which pushes at you on the earth plane, giving you the opportunity to respond to that push – either with anger, with contraction, with agitation, or with spaciousness, letting your own unique light shine forth.

I said there are certain things that will help you to do the practices in the book, and one is to be able to discern the places where you’re contracted or agitated, where you are pulling window shades down over your light. And to discern the places where you are open – heart open, light pouring out. Vipassana meditation … this is not the only use of Vipassana, but it is an excellent practice for doing this work with such quality.

Present with breathing … the first two or three breaths may be very easy. Then there’s an itch. Attention is no longer with the breath. Itching … Which is predominant, the sensation of the itch or wanting to scratch the itch? You don’t have to figure out which is predominant. Your attention is immediately pulled to whatever is predominant. So first the itching sensation, and then wanting to scratch. It’s not the itch itself that is predominant. It’s tension. It doesn’t matter what’s holding your attention – the itching sensation or the tension. The focus is simply, “This has arisen into my experience. It is unpleasant. How will I relate to it? I can relate with kindness or with anger and tension. If I relate with anger and hostility, I create more separation from the experience and from myself, from my heart.”  This is vipassana!

When I note the intention to want to push it away, and instead of blaming myself for that intention, I breathe with kindness for myself – breathing in I am aware of the tension. Breathing out I hold space for the tension. I smile into the tension.  – then, and this is what I highlight in the book – then I begin to find the simultaneity of the tension, hostility, fear, discomfort, and aversion and the spaciousness.

You are all so deeply conditioned. When something pushes a button, you react. That’s how the human mind works. You’re a mammal. This is how the mammal is wired. But you are not an alligator, a wolf or a bird of prey. You are human. You may have been all of those in the past. Now in this precious lifetime you are human, and you have the opportunity not to be reactive. but to move into experiences and respond from your heart.

Vipassana – the word in Pali, passana, means to see. Vipassana means a deeper, clearer seeing. It gives you the opportunity to observe the habitual responses – the mosquito tickling the arm.  Impulse to slap. If I slap the mosquito and kill it, and then my neighbor’s dog comes into my yard and damages plants in my garden, am I going to poison him? When my neighbor’s child comes into my yard with his friends, making a lot of noise, am I going to shoot them? Habit depends upon habit.

When we watch the small habit to slap at the mosquito, we can note “intention to slap, aversion to the mosquito,” and then gently brush it away. We don’t have to kill it. This heightens the habitual tendency. We also don’t have to permit it to bite. When the dog is in the yard, go outside and say, “Go. That’s my garden.” You can even yell at him to make him run away – not harming him but making it clear. “No, you may not dig in my garden. No, you may not suck on my blood.” In this way, we can learn to respond compassionately and wisely to the physical, mental and emotional catalysts of everyday life.

But everyday life is busy. It’s hard to pay attention to everything. When you’re sitting in meditation there’s nothing you have to attend to, except what is arising in this moment, in this mind and body. We start with the intention to respond with love, with kindness and with harm to none but also with a compassionate “no” when appropriate.

If you’re sitting on the cushion in your living room or at the retreat in the meditation hall, and suddenly a flock of chickens runs through, you don’t have to grit your teeth and say, “I shouldn’t mind this.” (Inaudible) The chickens are in the house. Their droppings will be all over your carpet. Get up and escort them out and close the door. Kindness does this. Stillness does this. Not, “Get out of here chickens,” said with frantic screaming; just “Chickens, out you go.” Pick this one up and put it out. Pick that one up and put it out. Close the door.

You have many flocks of chickens running through your house every day, running through your human mind-house. How are you going to attend to them? With Vipassana we’re sitting still, and we see the thought come and then the intention to enact the thought, or to stop the thought. We may say, “No, no thinking.” But the conditions were present, and the thought arose. As soon as I noticed it, the thought has stopped. I just come back to my breath. The body is a different set of chickens:  neck pain, wanting to move the neck, pain, pain, unpleasant, tension. We feel the body closing up and creating more pain in the neck. Ahh compassion for this human. “Breathing in I am aware of the tension, aware of the pain. Breathing out I hold space for the pain.” Give it a minute or two to resolve a bit. If it’s still there, and it feels important to do so, gently turn the head a bit to release the tension. And then, as you close your eyes and come back to your breath, also become aware of tension that you habitually hold in the shoulders and the neck.

Thus, we return to the innate tension-free state of being, the place of spaciousness, of light, of awakeness, right there with the tension. The more you try to get rid of the tension, the more you may contract around the tension and create more tension. Vipassana practice leads us to freedom, first with these mundane reactions we have established for one or many lifetimes, such as an habitual way you hold the body. If there’s tension do you hunch your shoulders and clench? I doubt if you relax unless you have done a lot of practice. But right there with the tension is spaciousness. Where is it? Can you feel it?

The deeper gift of Vipassana, beyond responding increasingly kindly and wisely to catalysts in this way is what I would literally call freedom. We no longer find ourselves so deeply triggered by the annoying or painful circumstances of everyday life. We begin to know who we are, beyond those habitual energies, and to trust the world, to trust that you are already an awakened being, to trust that alive, radiant, awakeness of yourself and of everyone. You begin to speak to others – speaking more to that awakeness in the others – not to the personality so much as the spirit. You, yourself, begin to speak from this place of spaciousness. You begin to wake up, to know the truth of who you are. You are Buddhas. You are the Christ. You are the awakened one. You. And now with your Vipassana practice you have the opportunity to practice as is needed, in order to move into that awakeness and know it for certain. It is a beautiful practice.

I hope you will look at my instructions on the website, that you will try to attend Vipassana classes and retreats and practice, practice, practice, practice, because it’s the only way you’ll learn – with daily practice.

Thank you for this opportunity to talk to you. My blessings and love.

Daily Aaron Quote – Oct. 27, 2017

Life is inconvenient! Not finding liberation is going to be inconvenient. It’s okay, you’ll have another chance, no big deal. But here you are, why waste the opportunity? It’s important that there not be an ‘I should,’ or any kind of guilt approach here; just, here is a good opportunity. You can use it if you wish.

To receive daily Aaron Quotes: http://archives.deepspring.org/dailyquote/

To see more quotes: http://deepspring.org/aaron-quotes/

Dharma Journal | August 2017

Knowing the Ever Healed

Dharma Journal teachings from Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky.

Video is closed captioned.
Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky: ,June 6, 2017.
Monthly Dharma Talk

Transcription

My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. We are actually recording August right after July so the allergy symptoms are still here. I wish I could report to you it’s a month later and it’s all healed. You’ll have to wait until next month for that. But it will happen.

Last month I spoke about the relationship between contraction and body diminishment, illness, aging, and so forth. When I say contraction, I mean held contraction, not the balanced contraction with which the body must live. Once the body ceases to lodge itself regularly in unbalanced contraction, it can not only heal back to where it was before the present distortion occurred, but it can heal beyond that back approaching its wholeness.

There’s so much that your bodies can do; you have no idea. If you’re not able to heal in that way, you are not a failure. The original intention was only to use these challenging catalysts as learning experiences.

But the body can heal. I want to use Barbara as an example, here. I don’t want to bring her back into the body to talk, so I will talk for her, for a few minutes. When she first lost her hearing, the nerves that were damaged were the nerve from the ear to the brain that carries sound impulses, and also nerves in the semicircular canal in the ear that control balance. Since those nerves were destroyed she had no balance.

For those first months in the beginning, she literally had to crawl from one room to another in her house. She could not stand for the first several weeks. Then she got to a point where she could stand up and hold onto something. Eventually she developed a very stiff-legged gait, like you see sometimes in a toddler who is just learning to walk. Body tense. You can’t see my feet here, but the feet pointed out, with(demonstrates) a lot of tension with each step. This is 45 years ago. The body had decades to move into this unbalanced distortion, and I’d really say, fear of falling. So she developed a habitual mode of walking that held the pelvis locked in, the knees locked in. She turned her feet outward, what you might call a duck walk, so she wobbled from side to side when she walked. This was her way of coping with imbalance.

It did not occur to her to relax and find the balance right there with the imbalance. This is true whether we’re talking about balance or lack of congestion in the sinuses, or finding the freedom from allergy right there with the allergy. Whether we’re talking about grief and finding that which is not filled with grief right there with the grief; that which is not afraid right there with fear. We are not getting rid of anything. To get rid of something carries aversion and contraction. Rather, when we note with real honesty and compassion, here is fear, here is grief, here is anger, here is lack of balance, here is body pain, and then we ask the question, right here with the pain, where is that which is not in pain? Right here with imbalance, where is that which is balanced?

Some of you have read in Barbara’s book Cosmic Healing her story of being on retreat in Canada, at a place where there was a lot of snow. During the night I asked her to dress warmly and go outside with her walking sticks to help her balance. Then to lay her walking sticks aside and stand. Her balance is from her eyes and from her feet on a firm surface. With the snow, there was no firm surface. In the middle of the night with thick snow falling, there was no visual balance. She said, “Aaron, I’ll fall.” I said, yes.

She accepted my suggestion; went out into the snow, and put her walking sticks aside. Snow about thigh deep. She plowed through 10 feet of snow from her door into the trees, laid her walking sticks aside, and fell. Of course, it was soft. I knew she would not hurt herself. She picked up the walking sticks, got herself standing again. I said, “Now do it again.” Falling, falling.

She began to see, after some repetitions of this, that falling was not the problem but letting herself fall. What does it mean to fall? To let go of control? To simply allow the body to be as it is? Falling. She knew she was not going to hurt herself. She knew she could get up okay. The fear, as she started to see it, was a very old fear of needing the be the one who was upright, who kept control of things, who could handle things. She saw that the deafness and the lack of balance led her to a place where there was fear, “I won’t be able to handle things. I won’t hear what’s said. I won’t have balance. I won’t be able to walk.” And that rigidity impaired her ability to truly listen. The deafness was not important. To truly listen. To move freely, relaxing the contraction.

As she lay there in the snow after the 6th or 7th fall, just crying for a while with compassion for this human, who had found it so hard to be a human who could fall, who had to remain upright, to take care of herself and others, with that realization, two things happened. She began to hear people in a new way, lip-reading as she had before but without the contraction that said, “Am I getting it all?” Just hearing, just present. She was more able to be present with herself, too, and with her emotions. Her balance began to improve because she was no longer afraid, “What if I fall?” It wasn’t a fear based on fear of physical injury but on concept; not being the one who would fall.

Fast forward, now, perhaps 30 years. Again, practicing being present in the already perfect body, and looking at the stiff, awkward gait that she had, how much body pain it brought. She had the good fortune to connect with a very skillful teacher of Feldenkrais method, but he goes way beyond that. His name is Dale Jenson, and I mention his name because with joy I share with you that Barbara, Dale and I will be co-creating a workshop through Deep Spring on September 23 on just the topic I’m talking about today. Coming to know the inner balance and perfection; to allow the body to recognize and rest in that which is ever-healed. And then to allow that inner, ever-healed to teach the outer body to live the ever-healed. I’m very much looking forward to the workshop, but I will not talk further about that today. I want to stay with this topic, knowing the ever-healed.

So, Barbara began to see the ways she was habitually, unmindfully self-correcting the lack of balance with tension, and to ask, how else can I invite balance? With our friend’s guidance, she began to see the ways the body could move more skillfully. To begin to find the innate balance in the body. Certainly, having Dale there was helpful. It’s very helpful to have such a skilled guide with whom to walk this path. But for those lacking such guidance, mindfulness is your guide. Become mindful of the contractions in the body. Begin to ask – whether it’s imbalance or chronic body pain in some part of the body, or whatever the ailment may be – right here with this particular ailment, this pain in my neck, shoulders, back, this lack of balance, this anger, right here with this, where is that which is free of this distortion? How can I more fully center and rest in that which is free without so much identification with that which is caught?

You can do it. I promise you, you can do it. There’s a beautiful quote form the Buddha, from a sutra in which he’s addressing some monks. He says, “Abandon the unwholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. Cultivate the wholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it.”

Please take that into your hearts. Begin in this next month to look at some area of the body or mind which is caught in some unwholesome habitual pattern that causes pain for you and others, without trying to fix it. No fix-it; no fix-it! Just heart open to it. Right here with this chronic pain, where is that which is not in pain? Right here with this ongoing impatience, where is that which is patient? Right here with anger, where is that which is not angry? I’m not saying get rid of the impatience, get rid of the anger, get rid of the pain. No. Hold space with compassion for these, and instead of focusing only on this discomfort, while it is here, where is that which is not in pain? Turn your head from staring at the pain and anger to looking at that which is free of pain, free of anger, which is joyful and openhearted. Even just for a moment, begin to see how it feels.

The second part of my instruction today, and I think we’ve covered this in a past dharma dialogue but I’ll touch on it again, the beautiful practice of clear comprehension. I’ll introduce only the first parts of this practice.

Clear comprehension of purpose. Ask yourself, “What is my highest purpose?” Here is the anger and here’s that which is free of anger. Is my highest purpose here to perpetuate this anger, or to begin to open to that which is not angry? Is my highest purpose to perpetuate this terrible pain in my body, or to open to that which is free of pain?

Be honest with yourself. Sometimes there is an intention to hold onto the anger because it seems to give you power. Sometimes there is an intention to hold onto pain, for whatever reasons. But once you know your highest purpose is to release these, then the second step is clear comprehension of suitability. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do resonant with that highest purpose?” If it’s impatience and I’m building on the story, my mind repeating over and over, impatience or anger, and my highest purpose is to be more loving, to open my heart, then repeating the stories is not conducive to opening to the highest purpose. It’s as simple as that. If the highest purpose is to be free of body pain, then contracting the body in this way is not conducive to releasing the pain in the body.

Clear comprehension of purpose. Clear comprehension of suitability. And then we look at what choices we have. Remember, you can stay fixated on this, even trying to fix it as a way of being fixated on it, or you can change your focus to that which is innately whole and radiant and say, “I choose this.”

Then ask for help. You may ask your guides for help. You may ask your friends. You may ask those who you see for different kinds of emotional or body healing. “Help to support me in releasing that which I know is negative.” But at this point you’ve made a clear decision, “I’m ready to release it,” or at least I’m beginning to be ready to release it, rather than, “No, I need to hold onto it.” It’s that “I need to hold onto it” that holds you back from opening to the innate healing and the experiencing of wholeness, which is your birthright. And I wish this for you, to know your wholeness. You are love. You can do it. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you today. I hope to see some of you at our live  and on-line workshop on Sept. 23.

Forty Seven Stories of Jesus

Forty Seven Stories of Jesus
You probably have never heard
by Aaron, channeled by Barbara Brodsky
edited and arranged by William Atork

$12.00 + $4.00 shipping
(US shipping, contact Deep Spring office for international shipping)
Place Your Order

 

For everyone who has ever said or wondered, “What wold Jesus do?”, here is your answer. Pure and unblemished true-life examples of how Jesus felt about and treated other people, exactly as He encountered them during His time spent living among us.

These stories offer insight into the purity, love and selflessness with which Christ lived. As you read, you can easily plant yourself into each story, and you will be asking yourself not what Jesus would do, but what would YOU do in that situation. You will be awakened to your own divinity and challenged to treat all people with greater understanding, love and compassion.

William Atork

Barbara Brodsky is a dharma teacher who leads meditation retreats and spiritual inquiry workshops worldwide. In Ann Arbor, Barbara is the founder and guiding teacher of Deep Spring Center for Meditation and Spiritual Inquiry which offers non-denominational spiritual teachings and practice. She has been practicing meditation since 1960 and teaching since 1989. Her teaching draws from dual roots in the Buddhist and Quaker traditions. Her Buddhist training is in the Theravadin and Dzogchen traditions. She became totally deaf in 1972; living with silence has greatly influenced her life and teaching, as have years of active involvement in nonviolent action for social change. Since a surfing accident in 2004, Barbara is blind in one eye.  Barbara is also the channel for the spirit, Aaron, and, with him, offers personal spiritual direction sessions and group workshops. Eight books of Aaron’s teachings have been published. The newest is, The Aaron/Q’uo Dialogues: An Extraordinary Conversation between Two Spiritual Guides.

Barbara has been featured in two episodes of the NPR radio show, This American Life Miracle Cures, episode 262 and The Other Man, episode 212 . She is a contributor to numerous anthologies and journals. She was also one of the featured teachers in the internationally acclaimed documentary, One, the Movie, directed by Ward Powers, 2005.

Dharma Journal | July 2017

Healing

Dharma Journal teachings from Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky.

Video is closed captioned.
Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky: ,June 6, 2017.
Monthly Dharma Talk

Transcription

Barbara: Hello to you all. For something different today, we’re starting with me, Barbara. I guess I could say, “My blessings and love to you all.” Aaron will say it later. We want to continue with the theme of healing. What is healing? Who heals? If everything is already perfect, why do we need to heal? This touches the whole combination of relative and ultimate.

Aaron asked me to start today because I’ve been sick for the past month with very bad hay fever— allergy, eyes weeping, nose congested, coughing. You can hear it in my voice. Anyone who’s been there will recognize the feeling. It’s a first for me, and I can say I really have sympathy for people who experience allergies regularly.

For some reason this spring season, my body was much more susceptible to the allergens in the air. I became very sick with it; not sick in the way of life-threatening; just very uncomfortable, very unpleasant. A lot of “how do I fix this” thinking. So, it’s been an excellent, though uncomfortable and unloved, teacher. Aaron has been saying that which is unloved comes as teacher; well, this certainly did.

My first experience with it, for 2 or 3 weeks I just kind of left it alone and tried to ignore it. But it kept getting worse, beyond the point where it could be ignored. Finally, a week ago I went to a doctor. This is a month into this allergy. I was pretty sure it was allergy and not a cold, but the doctor confirmed it. She gave me some medicines, which have not done anything. So, 2 days pass, 3 days pass— when is this medicine going to kick in? Healer, heal yourself.

You can hear that my voice is very raspy. I have big circles under my eyes, which are watering. This is how the body is. Sometimes it’s functioning perfectly; sometimes it’s not functioning so well.

I am choosing to work with it with a combination of allopathic medicine and spirit and homeopathic medicine. With spirit’s guidance this week, I’ve been doing several things. Spirit asked me to picture myself under a waterfall. Clear, pure water pouring over my body and in through my head, washing out the sinuses, washing out the eyes, washing all the congestion away, washing all the allergens away. After 10 or 15 minutes doing that, the head is clear. The next suggestion came from my friend Tavis, whom many of you saw with me in the last workshop. Filling these sinus cavities with light, just drawing it up. Now that they’re cleansed, bringing light in. Filling my eyes, all the sinuses, everything, with light.

Then Stage III: Spirit asked me to imagine a veil of mist surrounding me, very radiant, really brilliant, almost light-like mist. Aaron has talked a lot recently to you and to me about the distinction between armoring and shielding. I’ve been watching how I was armoring myself by tensing against the very unpleasant physical symptoms, trying to hold space for them and be stoic. Ignore them; eventually they’ll go away. I saw that I was armoring myself because I was contracting. One cannot ignore something without contracting. When we’re not willing to be present with it, we contract. Staying open, shielding, not armoring, from a very loving place. Shielding myself against these allergies, so that when they hit this fine radiant mist shield they are repelled and go away.

So, Parts I and II are cleansing and healing the symptoms that are there. Part III is not drawing more allergies into the body. Well I’m happy to say finally that for the past three days it seems to be working. It’s helping. We’ll see where it goes.

At this point Aaron will come in and talk. He wanted me to provide you with some background. Thank you for hearing me. I’ll pause and Aaron will come in…

Aaron:

My blessings and love to you. I am Aaron. Barbara has given you the background. Yes, it was a perfect teacher because there was no need for fear. It was unpleasant but she was not going to end up in the hospital with some serious ailment. She’s not going to die from this. She was just uncomfortable. When I say, “just uncomfortable”, I say it with compassion. Uncomfortable is uncomfortable. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. I don’t want Barbara to be uncomfortable. Nevertheless, she is in a physical body and sometimes there will be discomfort.

I want to start today with one primary idea about healing and wholeness, and about one of the causes for illness. As soon as something hurts, there will be fear and aversion. As soon as there are aversion and fear, there will be contraction. When there is contraction, everything closes down. The whole system closes down.

Picture, I’m trying to think of something that works smoothly with gears… just a wheel. If you put the brake on, the wheel can’t turn anymore. If you force that turning, it grinds as it turns. This is what happens in your bodies when you contract. And all of you constantly contract. Let me clarify this. When I say, “when you contract,” I don’t mean the kind of contraction such as the opening and closing of a hand to lift an object. If I want to put something in my hand, the hand will then contract around it. When it comes in, then the contraction will release. With your breath, there is constant opening and closing of the lungs in contraction. This is what allows the breathing. But it’s a balanced contraction. This is very different than clenching.

As humans, you have the habitual pattern to clench, and that clenching wears down the gears, if I may speak of them that way, wears down all the parts of the body so they age. I’ve mentioned to you that in my lifetime as Aaron, 2500 years ago, I lived over 500 years. The body parts did not age drastically. They aged a bit. I was constantly able to rejuvenate them because I did not pass my time in a contracted state. When something arose that was unpleasant, I knew it as unpleasant. I opened my heart to it. I held spaciousness for it and eventually it would pass. I’m not saying I never contracted and held that contraction, but such was rare.

This is what enabled me and many others like me to live such long lives. Such practice was well-known back in those times. It’s something some of you, at least, learned in Lemurian times. Uncontracted; spacious; to rest in your innate spaciousness, not only of the mind but of the body.

When there is some physical discomfort, the predominant reaction for the human is to contract. Try this. Take your finger and push. Can you push with your finger without contracting? I don’t think so. Now do it again. Breathe and feel the pressure, hard pressure with the finger. Breathing in, I am aware of the pressure. Breathing out, I hold space for the pressure. Feel two different forces; the body pushing, like lungs expanding, and the ego behind the push. See how after maybe 30 seconds or so the pressure shifts to just be pressure. Maybe a little bit uncomfortable and painful, but just pressure. Then let it go.

One can learn to experience discomfort of the body, of the emotions, of the mind. One can learn to feel the original contraction, note the contraction, and come back into the uncontracted, resting in awareness, resting in spaciousness.

Living in this way, the body is less likely to pick up physical ailments. The mind is less likely to go into extreme negative and fear-based stories. This is something you not only can do but most of you came into the incarnation to learn to do this. Why? Why bother to learn it? Because you are here in incarnation to learn kindness and compassion, to learn unconditional love, and that includes love for the being that’s feeling discomfort from this finger-pressing life-style. Uncomfortable. Discomfort from the runny eyes or congested nose. Discomfort from the sadness, or even grief, from fear.

You learn this first with yourself, and then you are able to extend it out into the world. Thus, the ailments of the physical body, and the uncomfortable emotions, these are not so terrible that we seek to get rid of them. They are teachers. Thank you, teacher. (hands drawn together, palms touching) Some of these ailments can be devastating. The loss of a loved one. The being told that you have a probably fatal illness. The extreme fear if you feel your life is threatened, or the lives of your loved ones. We are here to learn to keep the heart open when these objects arise. To note the original contraction and not hold the contraction but invite spaciousness and the loving heart. To invite the return to unconditional love, and trust of your path. I’ll talk more about that in another session. Today I just want to stick with contraction and spaciousness.

When Barbara was first armoring herself, being stoic, it created contraction in such a way that she became increasingly vulnerable to the allergies. So, instead of reducing the number of symptoms of discomfort, it built up on itself. Healing began as soon as she was able to just relax and say, “This is how it is. Thank you, teacher. What have you come to teach me? I open my heart to you,” and to do this without fear, trusting the experience. She was not inviting the experience; not saying, “Sure, come on— more and more allergens.” Just, “I trust the experience and I will learn from it.” Opening. Once she was able to be more open, she able to do the exercises that she described to you. Literally washing out the body. Inviting light to fill the sinus cavities. And probably most important, the shielding. Not inviting more allergens into the system. You can’t shield this way, (demonstrating great tension of the body); immediately you’re armored. Shielding. “I release this. I do not choose to bring this into my body. I release it.”

This is the most important point I want to make with you today. You are not here in a physical incarnation to avoid catalyst but to learn from catalyst. Sometimes it will be joyful catalyst, sometimes painful catalyst. Whatever it is, invite it in.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you.
I will close with a beautiful poem by Rumi, The Guest House.

The Guest House by Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks, from The Essential Rumi,
(San Francisco, Harper SanFrancisco) 1995, p. 109

This human being is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.