Tag: barbara brodsky

October 23, 2017 Monday, Oakwood Retreat, Aaron’s Intro

October 23, 2017 Monday, Oakwood Retreat, Aaron’s Intro

Aaron: Vipassana is a beautiful practice. It’s a way of coming home, and finding out who you are beyond the mundane bodies –  the physical, the emotional and mental bodies. Your thoughts change from day to day, from moment to moment. Your body changes. Your emotions change. Your energy changes. You cannot pin an identity on any of these aggregates. Who are you when you’re not self-identified as the body, the mind, the emotions, feelings of being good or not good, and so forth, who are you? When all of these things pass away, what remains?

The word passana in Pali language means seeing, to see. Vipassana means a deeper, clearer seeing. It takes us past the surface, to really see things as they are. Because you are, all of you, radiant, beautiful beings, I hope it will help you to see yourselves as I see you, with that love and radiance. To know the deeper truth of yourself beyond the unworthy one, the bumbling one, the one who has to get everything right, the weak one, strong one. Who are you?

Vipassana is a path to freedom. I know that from my own experience and my own liberation through this practice. But we do not teach only the traditional vipassana practice. We mix it with what might be called pure awareness practice. With vipassana, we watch objects arise and pass away, arise and pass away. The thoughts, the itch, all the different objects that come. We watch with spaciousness and kindness. We are watching arising and passing away with mundane consciousness. When consciousness is gone, is everything gone? What remains? Let us call it awareness, openhearted presence. So we practice the linear practice of vipassana, and we also practice the immediate now of presence. At the retreat, we mingle the two.

Your path to freedom is a very precious thing for yourselves and for all beings. Your Earth right now is in a tumultuous time: a lot of pain, a lot of friction, fear, confusion. The only thing that will carry you through it is love. Put in the Buddha’s beautiful words, “Hatred never resolved hatred. Only love resolves hatred.” But we can’t say, “Okay, I’m going to love. No hatred here! No anger!” Ah! How do we love when your house has been washed away by a hurricane or burned down by wildfire? When dear friends have been shot by a sniper? When politicians are threatening nuclear war? How do we love? If you did not have the capacity, the innate capacity for this kind of love, I would not invite you to be here for a retreat. But I know— I don’t believe; I know you have this capacity. And because you are here, you have the intention to develop this capacity, to return love where there is fear and hatred. To return calm, centered, clear mind to the places of agitation and confusion. But be careful here: this is not a doing, this is just returning to pure being.

This is the heart of what we will do this week. I look forward to our time together. I love you all very much, and I am very grateful to you for being here. I could talk for 2 more hours or end here, so I will end here, because I want to hear from you at this point. My blessings and love.

Working with negative catalyst with loving kindness

May 3, 2016 Tuesday Class
Working with negative catalyst with loving kindness

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. We have one more class after tonight, but we’re coming to the close of this year, Vipassana and Mediumship. Our intention for the year was the deepening of the vipassana practice, and using that practice as a ground for whatever forms of mediumship were most appropriate to each: connecting with your spirit guides, your gardens, your cooking; connecting with your art work, your music, your dance, your painting; connecting with the light essence of yourself, so you could thereby connect with the light essence of everything. That connection will reveal itself in the soup, in the violin music, in the guidance from spirit.

We could teach just vipassana practice, and certainly that in itself would have great merit and value. We could teach just connecting with spirit, without the grounding of the vipassana practice, but I don’t think you could connect without that base.

So what I’d especially like to hear from you tonight is twofold. How is your vipassana practice touching your daily life and the issues of your daily lives? And second, to what degree are you able to use the ground of that practice and the coming into the open heart, that light connection, to what degree are you able to use that to reach out and connect out into the world, to the highest in everything? To your guidance, to your painting, to your soup, your garden, relationships, whatever. What works for you? Share it with others. What are the stumbling blocks? Share that, and perhaps others and Barbara have some suggestions.

I want to remind you that we are not doing this practice as “self improvement” because there is nothing to improve on the ultimate level. You are radiant, you are beautiful. We are doing the practice to help you remember and bring forth all that you are.

Barbara got an email this morning from a student in another place. She said when she meditates, she still feels herself pulled into negative thoughts, depression, anger, and so forth, and she feels like something spirit-plane is grabbing at her. But she’s trying not to respond. If she understands the instructions correctly, the work is not to get into a dialogue with it.

So I see that we have not really explained this clearly. To get into a dialogue with it is to listen to it, get caught by it, debate with it. That’s very different than simply saying, “No. I am a being of light and I am not going to be caught up in your negativity.” That’s not a dialogue, it’s a statement. So I wanted to make that clear. It’s very important that you find the courage and light in yourself to make such statements.

(added when reviewing the transcript; dictated by Aaron): The way we say no is also important. There may be fear in the presence of this psychic intruder. In your vipassana practice you are learning to experience unpleasant sensations and thoughts and “serve them tea,” not to react to fear with so much aversion; but if aversion does arise, to relate openheartedly to that aversion. Thus, it is not sufficient to say “NO” while contracted into aversion and to ignore the aversion. The very act of opening your heart to yourself and the aversion or fear, will repel the unwanted visitor who thrives on fear and reactivity to it! But; one more “but”: you are not doing this to repel that negative visitor, but because of your deep commitment to love! It is this ongoing commitment to live with loving kindness that becomes the anchor.  (end of addition)

I was going to give a talk tonight, and if we have time after everyone has shared, I still may do that. I wanted to give a talk based on the Wizard of Oz. You’re all Dorothy, wanting to go home. You’re all looking for a heart and a brain and courage. You’re all caught up in the illusion. What works? So we’ll see how our time goes, whether I’ll talk more about that or save it, perhaps for next Wednesday’s Open Aaron talk.

That’s all from me. Let’s open the circle to sharing.

(sharing not transcribed by request)

Aaron: So there is light and joy, and as you know, there is negative energy as well, within you and out there. That which is more of the negatively polarized persuasion wants to promote fear and negativity in the world, contraction. It doesn’t like the lightness of joy. When I say “it,” I don’t want you to think of some demon out there, but of any kind of negativity, your own from your own self, or external to you. There is a fear of opening into too much light Better not to try it, keep myself small, stay safe and less vulnerable. The other fear for the human, what if do open and then I lose it? What if I can’t maintain it?

This relates to what I said earlier from the student who wrote to Barbara. The need not to get into a dialogue with the fear-based, grasping energy, but simply to say, “No, I see you for what you are. At some level you are based in fear.”  There is grasping for safety or release. This is a very different grasping energy than going into a store and very playfully, joyfully saying, “I love those earrings. I’m going to buy a pair, just one pair.” And there’s nothing else you need in the store. It’s not based on need, it’s based on joy.

But when you can feel the subtle contraction of the grasping, as soon as you feel that contracted state wanting to be free of the visitor, have no dialogue with it, no, “I’ll bargain with you. If you go away I’ll do this or that.” Just, “No. I remind myself of my true being. I am light. I do not need to act out of fear. I do not need to be controlled by that which is contracted and fear-based in myself…”

(recording briefly halted by FaceTime request)

If you have connection with your guides, or if you feel my closeness or the Mother’s closeness, Jeshua’s closeness, the Buddha’s closeness, reach out your hand and say, “Help me. Support my remembering, ‘I am a being of light, and I am protected within this light.’ The love that surrounds me holds me in such a loving container. I do not need to be afraid, and I do not need to be reactive to the negative voices. Fear has arisen. Breathing in, I am aware of the fear. Breathing out, I smile to the fear, and I hold the Mother’s hand, Jeshua’s hand, my (Aaron”) hand, not because I need it, I am complete, but I hold it because it helps me feel safer for now.” And we’re happy to do that, to help support you in that way. What we are doing is supporting the whole opening of love on this earth plane through each of you. Supporting each of you in your choice to open to love in this way.

(sharing)

I am not and never will be a doomsayer. People come to me and say, “Is the world going to collapse? Are we all going to blow ourselves up?” You have free will. You can do that, or you can not do that; what do you wish?

But when there are enough of you who are deeply intended to live consciously with love, and to attend to the arising of negative thought in the self, to attend to negative impulse as arisen from conditions, and know that it needs to be attended to; – you can’t just bury it or it gains power, and you can’t act it out; what do you do with it?  – when enough of you are really committed to living in this way, it brings balance to those who are much more negatively polarized.

This upcoming presidential election will be very interesting because the candidate from one party is quite negative. And I think so many people are being pulled to him, a surprising number, because suddenly this voice of negativity, that’s been in the world forever, has a new leader. Instead of feeling, “I can’t express my hatred, my prejudices; my fear” people feel empowered to express their hatred because there’s somebody coming forth who is publicly expressing hatred. Try to trust that this is happening not to destroy the light but in reaction to the light, and the increasing power of the light. Because there is so much more light in the world today, that which is negatively polarized is bonding together and trying to strike back.

Quoting the Buddha: hatred never resolved hatred. Only love resolves hatred.

You can’t go to this candidate and try to resolve his hatred face to face. But each time you respond kindly and with love to any small negativity in your world, to whatever it may be— in yourself, in others, wherever— each time you do that, you bring that energy forth more and more fully and make it more available in the world.

Do you know the story of the Hundredth Monkey? Monkeys would grab their food and put it in their mouths and eat it. One monkey in this tribe in an isolated place saw that his food was sandy. And he was by a stream, so he rinsed his food off in the stream. “Mmm, not sandy!” Another monkey looked at him, watched him do this. Saw that it was a good idea. Then there were 10 monkeys washing their food. Then the whole tribe was washing their food.

The next monkey 100 miles away did not have to see it. Energetically the idea was spread was and blossomed forth, so that the idea was picked up here, and then there, and then there, until worldwide, when their food was sandy, monkeys were washing it.

The idea of living with love is the same. When we live with this kind of love, it changes everything. It changes us and those around us, but it also energetically changes everything in the whole world. So this is why the sangha is important.

In response to sharing about life changes causing her to feel lost, where to go, what to do:

Aaron: What if I gave you a packet of seeds in a plain white envelope, and I simply said to you, “These are good seeds. They will either bring good food or beautiful flowers or some of each. Maybe one variety only, maybe 100 different seeds. Here, plant them.” Can you see the part of you that says, “Well, I want to know what I’m planting. Should I plant this bigger seed here or over there? What will happen? How do I control it? Will it be a wild garden? How do I tame it?”

They are good seeds. Just put them in the ground and give them love. If the pumpkin vine threatens to overcome the violets, dig out the violets and move them. It’s okay. Ask the violets if they’d like to be moved, rather than imposing your will on the violets.

Spontaneously present in each moment with things as they are, and then asking, not as an ego, but co-creating, what needs attention here? Watch the part of you that wants to control, the part of you that is based in and says, “No!” You’re so habituated, all of you, to being the one who’s controlling. You did not come into incarnation to control but to co-create. And it’s such a hard thing to learn. Then you swing to the opposite, saying, “If I can’t control then I surrender. I have no participation.” Co-create. That means participate. That means hearing everything, from the other person to the smallest seed, and asking, what are your needs? Then freely offer your own needs to the mix.

Some of you find yourselves overwhelmed. “There’s so much to do, so many things to listen to. I can’t deal with it.” Well then limit it a little bit. Don’t try to do so much. Because you don’t want to fall into a pattern of being so busy that you can’t co-create. That negates your whole choice of coming into the incarnation. And you do have time.  What takes the time is all the ego voices saying, “Oh no, I should do this. I should do that,” that gets you so busy and wrought up. If you just do it, it’s easy. But it does take time and love and attention to release some of those strong  ego voices, the voices that have controlled you for such a long time. The old patterns.

That wonderful poem from Hafiz— the line about being dragged behind a farting camel.  (quotes poem) I will replace it in the transcript.  Correct version:

Cast all your Votes for Dancing    Hafiz

I know the voice of depression  Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life   Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now  And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way  And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun From your prayers and work and music

And from your companions’ beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun  From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved

And, my dear, From the most insignificant movements of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins That may buy you a moment of pleasure,

But then drag you for days Like a broken man  Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now. Learn what actions of yours delight Him,

And what actions of yours bring freedom and Love.

Whenever you say God’s name, dear pilgrim, My ears wish my head was missing

So they could finally kiss each other And applaud all your nourishing wisdom.

O, Keep squeezing drops of the Sun From your prayers and work and music

And from your companions’ beautiful laughter.

And from the most insignificant movements of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,  Be wise. cast all your votes for Dancing!

You’re all being dragged. Are you ready to stop? And you ARE ready to stop or you wouldn’t be in this class. You are stopping, and that’s beautiful. But each of you has your own camel letting out stink right in front of you, or sometimes sitting on your lap. So, just continuing to pay attention.

But the important thing is co-creating. Always remembering, when you feel yourself contracting, stop and say, “I am trying to push this through. I, ego, is trying to push this through. The higher self chooses to co-create. In what ways can I co-create?”

What blocks co-creation? Fear? The ego thinking, “No, it has to be this way.”? Ah, is that so? Letting go of fear. Or just holding fear and giving it tea. Coming back to the heart. Again, I choose to co-create… And of course there is fear in your choices as well, but you keep losing the undercurrent of love that made these choices. Try to trust it.

(sharing)

Homework:

We have one more class. I would ask you all to work in a committed way with your vipassana practice, in these two weeks. Take some notes, keep short journal. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few sentences. Are there certain objects that are coming up as predominant for you in meditation and daily life? A lot of contraction, or spacing out, or sadness? Super high energy or low energy?

If so, and for each of you there’s going to be something that’s a repetitive object that’s arising, ask yourself, how do I relate to this object? Is this object something I want to keep in my life? And if not, why is it sticking? In what way am I holding onto it? What if I observe how sticky this particular object is and offer the intention to co-create more space around it? To say no to it, as the person who wrote to Barbara, as we told her. “No, I am a being of light, and I am not going to be pulled into darkness. I speak to you with respect. You may keep your darkness, but you may not draw me into darkness. I am a being of love, and I hold Jeshua’s, the Buddha’s, the Mother’s, Aaron’s, my higher self’s, my guides’, I hold these hands. They are with me and support me.” Like the Buddha with his, “As earth is my witness…” gesture on the evening of his enlightenment, the statement, “As love is my witness,” and whatever personification of love exists for you. “As love is my witness, I will not be pulled into deeper negativity. I do not choose that. I choose spaciousness.” Just try it.

Not 24/7, you’ll overwhelm yourself. But with whatever predominant object keeps arising. Whatever it is that’s really sticky, in these next two weeks: anger, sadness, sleepiness, whatever is pulling at you. “No. I have energy. I have love. I am energy and love. I hold myself open.” But not saying no with fear. Not getting pulled into a dialogue with it. Openhearted.

(sharing, recording ends)