William Penn became a Quaker. He was used to wearing a sword. He asked, ‘Now that I have made the commitment to be a Quaker, when do I have to stop wearing my sword?’ The answer was very simple; ‘Wear it until you can’t wear it any more.
Here you are in the human form. You have come for the most part willingly but sometimes with some reluctance, yet knowing that you must come, that this is the work you deeply choose to do, even if it’s going to be difficult. An image that comes to my mind is the baseball player who plays in the outfield. He’s doing fielding practice. Is his coach going to keep sending him one easy ball after another? What kind of practice would that be? He’ll send him a few easy balls to warm up, and then some hard ones to challenge him. Otherwise he’s not going to learn anything.
You have all picked up different kinds of patterns and these are your life jackets. The obsessive mind is a certain kind of life jacket. The obsessive mind is the habitual tendency, the mind that grabs something and runs with it, and the outflow of that tendency is the specific form it takes such as planning or despair or anger. The first step is in knowing you have a choice. Knowing, ‘I’m stuck in this particular life jacket right now. It’s very old. I’ve seen that not only does it not keep me afloat but it tends to drag me down. I am not going to wear this anymore.’ …You do not need to cling to the life jacket, it’s safe to take it off. But you must be willing to remind yourself, ‘Fear is present. It is safe to let go of this old rotten life jacket.’ Of course you need to see it as old and rotten. Otherwise you’re still stuck to it.
Some people ask me why we practice. Why not just rest in Awareness, since the noting of vipassana can enhance the illusion of a self? Why not just rest in emptiness? Fine, if you are there, stably there, able to never fixate on objects that arise, never to experience any contracting emotions. I personally do not know a single human today who has arrived at that level of pure being, pure presence. For the rest of you, you practice. This is not a denial of the perfection of your true nature but a reminder that that nature still needs to be revealed.
I like the question, ‘What do I need to know?‘ It’s just a question tossed out to yourself, to spirit. There is an intention, ‘I am willing to see what I need to see, to help unfold this place of confusion and stuckness.’ The intention is offered from a place of kindness and the wishing of well-being for all. When you set such an intention, you may begin to gain insight, sometimes in your dreams, or just through momentary insights as you go through your day, and, of course, in your formal sitting practice.
I want you to know that the work I do is my joy. Each of you has work that you do to try to help the suffering in the world, to try to bring kindness and love into the world, and it is my great joy to have the opportunity through Barbara to do this work.
At that point where one says, ‘I am feeling overwhelmed by this,’ one can withdraw. There are two skillful means of withdrawing. One is literally to withdraw, just go into your room and close the door. Sit and meditate, do metta practice, listen to music. Do something that’s comforting and that helps you to re-center yourself, to come back in touch with that part of you that’s loving. The second means is that you can literally, energetically, set boundaries, asking spirit to help you. You can use the archangels or whatever element of spirit resonates with you, the Christ energy, the Buddha energy. This allows a compassionate statement, ‘that’s enough.’
Many of your pets are learning not to enact their fear with negative action in the world. We see this in such a simple thing as the animal who is brought to the vet for an examination. He has learned to trust humans enough that although he’s terrified, he doesn’t bite. When this being moves into 3rd density, he is far less likely to be reactive to difficult catalyst in ways that cause harm. He doesn’t bite because he loves and trusts the owner, and from the owner he is learning a certain amount of self-restraint, to be present with what is, even when it’s uncomfortable, without needing to strike out against it. The more that animals learn this in 2nd density, the more they can come into 3rd density with a wisdom and kindness that is not possible for the animal that comes into 3rd density without this intermediary step of beloved household pet.
Can you plant the seeds today that will flourish tomorrow, truly creating a millennium of growing peace and understanding? Here is the possibility of a world of aware of the deep interconnection between all that is, of deepest reverence for every expression of the divine; here is the increasing ability to say no to distortions and help invite deeper understanding of those distortions but without hatred.
Every time you walk through a doorway, every time, pause and take 3 breaths. Ask yourself, ‘What is my highest intention right now?’ Then ask, ‘Can this doorway lead me to the expression of that highest intention?’ Walk through and let it bring you back to kindness, to be kind to yourself and all beings.
After enlightenment The Buddha thought to himself, ‘Many people could not see what I’ve seen. I would waste my time trying to explain it. Maybe I should just stay in this grove.’ But compassion sent him out because he realized, ‘There are some with just a little dust in their eyes and they can see if the dust is washed away. And this precious dharma will wash it away.’
To manifest in the world begins with intention and conscious thought. What do you wish for yourself? ‘May I abide in well-being and freedom from affliction, freedom from anxiety, freedom from hostility and ill-will, and may I maintain well-being in myself. May my heart open and flower. May I love and be loved. May I find the healing that I seek. May I find the ways to live in harmony with others and them with me. May I be free from suffering. May I be happy and find peace.’ Now offer those same intentions for the world.
At the Casa de Dom Inacio, the Entities’ concern is more spiritual than physical, so they work to bring forth physical change but they understand that if they bring forth a physical change immediately and the person loses the catalyst for practice, they may not heal the karma and they will simply re-create the disease. It’s not hard to heal the physical disease; it’s hard to shift the karma.
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.
When you contract with ownership of the thought or physical sensation, perhaps a simple cramp in the leg or some other momentary pain–‘Oh!’ then tension and fear arise, and then stories. So often we see people sitting; the knee hurts and mind runs off fantasizing how we’re going to have to take you off to the hospital for leg x-rays! Your leg is going to be ruined! You’ll never be able to walk again! The retreat is spoiled! All because there’s a bit of leg pain or back pain, whatever. It’s just the stories of fear.
To love someone or something dearly does not cause suffering; it simply is love, an open heart, intimacy, a passionate love. But when there is fear that ‘My love will not be fulfilled,’ or ‘I cannot hold on to what I love,’ when there is fear and grasping then there is suffering. The being that understands impermanence and notes, ‘I cannot hold onto this forever. I can cherish it while it’s here,’ he or she does not suffer.
As wisdom and compassion develop and deepen, and also the ability to stay present in your lives, some of you find the Buddha’s path very helpful and some of you are more drawn back into your own religions to explore there, how to bring in kindness instead of hatred. ‘In what ways can I find realization in this religious path with which I resonate?’ It doesn’t matter; the paths are all leading to the same place.
Spirit has said, if you come with a little cup, it will be filled. If you come with a bucket, it will be filled. If you come with a huge tub, it will be filled. What is the capacity? What you ask for, Love will give. But you also need to be prepared for what you’re given because it will demand work of you.
The work of any Light Center is not just to provide a physical home where people may come together, but it is instead to provide a place for practice of the skills of being a light being. That’s the meaning of light center. It’s a place that draws beings of light and invites them to manifest that light. Each being is given that opportunity and each will be found to have their own unique radiance that enriches the whole.
Karma attaches to the emotional and mental bodies and it moves with you from lifetime to lifetime. Whatever insights you have as you move through the lifetime and the transition at the end of this lifetime, you do not lose them. Whatever you deeply understand stays with you. Whatever negative habit energies you have that are not released, they also stay with you. You do not lose anything, not the wholesome, not the unwholesome.
When you learn that you are not your body, not your thoughts, not the feelings of pleasant and unpleasant, not the impulses, not consciousness itself, and you discover what you really are, you are vastly empowered because you are not the small self, you are part of the Unconditioned. You are divine, you are radiant, you are whole. This challenges you because you are used to living your lives as small and limited. What does it mean to be infinite? What does it mean to be powerful? What does it mean to be whole?
Be aware even if you participate with a group of people in some kind of rally for peace, that it is not you for peace against those for war. Almost nobody is for war. It is you who choose this means for peace, speaking to those who choose a different route for peace. Perhaps they are choosing that route because they haven’t yet learned how to release their old habits, fears and beliefs. They’re caught in their own belief that force is the only way. Force will not change their minds.
It’s hard to maintain anger at another person and authentically offer the wish, ‘May you have well-being, may you be happy.’ Try it next time anger arises. Try it with the self too, when self-criticism arises. ‘May I have well-being. May I be happy’.
I could say that the goal of your sitting is liberation, or we could simply say it’s love, unconditional love. On the short-term level it’s non-reactivity to catalyst; learning not to slap at the bug, not to yell back at the angry words; to say no when appropriate when somebody speaks at you abusively, but to say that ‘no’ from a place of love. If an insect is about to burrow into your arm, you learn to whisk it away gently so it’s not harmed. ‘No, find something else to eat, please.’
Subtle judgment is caught up in the story that contracts and says, ‘I’m not good at this’ or, ‘I should be able to do it better.’ I might look at it and say, ‘I can do it better.’ That’s not a judgment. I know I CAN do it better. Can you feel the difference? ‘I should be able to do it better.’ Tightness, tension. ‘I can do it better,’ is a relaxed and spacious perception.
If you focus only on the imperfection, you cannot see the beauty. If you deny the imperfection, you live with delusion. The imperfection is perfect. Attend to it so it does no damage and let it be. What a dull world this would be if you were all alike in your theoretical perfection!
If you can stay in your job with love, and feel that you are learning something and teaching others something, and if it is not too challenging, too overwhelming, then there’s reason to stay. If it feels like everybody around you is stuck and you are simply being absorbed into this angry field and don’t feel that you are ready to deal with it, feel that you’re simply spiraling down into the anger, then perhaps it’s time to look for a loving job situation.
You have all been born or at least are living now in this country. What is the group karma in this country? Many of you have been deeply rooted in a rationalistic thinking, materialism, logic. You’ve learned to distrust your intuition, to distrust your heart. And many of you are drawn repeatedly into incarnations in this kind of climate, where there’s a lot of material grasping and the brain measures decisions rather than the heart. Those of you who are drawn to this kind of inner work are on your way out of that kind of thinking. Some of you are already out of it and chose this incarnation to help your brothers and sisters here who are still stuck in it. That’s your way of balancing your karma.
Watch what pulls you out of balance and add what’s needed to bring you back again. This is a dance which you learn, swaying to the movement of the winds of the world, deeply rooted in your true being. This essence of being knows what is needed. Trust this innate wisdom and goodness in yourself. Trust that which I call the angel.