Category: Dharma Journal

Dharma Journal | January 2018 | The Teaching of Impermanence

Recorded in Barbara Brodsky’s office. Aaron discusses impermanence.

Video and Transcript, the video is also closed captioned.

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Thank you for being with me now in your year 2018. Do some of you remember that shift from 1999 to year 2000? Do some of you re-member 1960, or 1950? Even 1940, or 1930? Yet, this flow of time is made up of moments, seconds, fractions of a second, and in one second, everything can change. In one second, the sun goes behind a cloud, and the snow begins to fall. In one second, two cars collide. In one second, a baby is born. In one second, a flower opens. All of this arising out of conditions, in each moment.

We talk about anicca, a Pali word which means impermanence; it means everything in this con-ditioned realm is constantly changing, and there is really no conditioned or mundane thing or thought to which you can hold. Everything changing. If everything is constantly changing, why are you so worried? Whatever is unpleasant now is going to be gone. Whatever is beautiful, and you’re holding, it’s will be gone.

In dharma class, we talk about the importance of living in this moment. This does not mean you cease to pay attention; you are constantly creating and co-creating the conditions out of which the next moment will arise, so you take care of those conditions. But all the planning in the world is not going to prevent the hurricane from passing through, the forest fire from sweeping through, the sickness of a loved one, or your stubbing and breaking your toe. Yes, you can be mindful and not kick that object. But sometimes you’re in the dark and you don’t see it.

There are two important points to balance, here. One is mindfulness and presence in each mo-ment, and one is the deep intention for that which is wholesome and beautiful in your lives and on the Earth. If you live in the moment with fear, “What if this doesn’t work? What if that hap-pens?”, your fear contracts your energy field. When thusly contracted, the light can’t pour out of you; equally important, you are armored, and the radiance of the outside world cannot pour in.

Notice I’ve said, ‘outside world’ and ‘into you’ as if there’s a duality, that which is out there and that which is within. On the relative level, there is a duality. This is not that. But on the ultimate level there is no duality. Everything is part of everything else.

When you look through the branches of a tree in the bare winter, as it is now, here in Michigan, you may see the clear sky. You see the black lines of the branches and the clear sky. They both exist but, being human, the everyday perception cannot focus on both at one time. So, the gaze shifts: branches, and sky. In any moment, one or the other will be predominant.

As you live in what seems to be a dual universe, present with this or present with that, objects arising and passing away, beyond all this arising and passing away, what continues? Is there an-ything that continues? Love continues! Awareness continues! The innate, let’s call it intelli-gence— by this I don’t mean mental intelligence, but the knowing heart; the innate intelligence of being; that which is connected to everything, it continues.

So, first we speak in terms of seeming dualities, like the tree branches and the sky. The tree branch, it will fade away eventually. The tree will decay. Even the sky may fade away. The sky is a conditioned object. Love and awareness do not pass away. Love and awareness are part of you— perhaps not a conscious part, right now, but yes, they are a part of you. You cannot lose them because they are not of the nature of conditioned objects; that is, they do not arise and then pass away related to conditions. They simply are. Don’t take my word for it, though. Begin to explore the nature of unconditional love in meditation. Begin to explore the nature of aware-ness in meditation. Observe Awareness, not consciousness, not mundane consciousness, but full presence. What is this awareness? What is this unconditional love, or where does it rest?

So, yes, we have impermanence on one level, everything changing. As we recorded this today, deep snow is falling everywhere. I’m looking out the windows here; snow on the branches, snow on the ground, flakes coming down. Tomorrow the sun may shine and burn away the snow. We can’t say the snow did not exist; it’s out my window, but it has no substantial reality. It comes and it goes, and it comes and it goes, again.

Some of you, as you are listening to this, may be feeling sadness, fear, anger, or confusion. Some of you may have pain here or there in the body. This is like the snow; it exists but it has no ultimate reality. That means you need to attend to the emotion or the physical discomfort, but not to give it power by making it something solid. This, then, is the blessing of the teaching of im-permanence. If an object or experience has the nature to arise, it has the nature to cease.

Why am I speaking of all of this? Many of you are troubled by what is happening in your world, at many different levels. The politics, the United States politics and the global politics, the envi-ronment, the wars, the wildfires sweeping through the land, burning trees and homes. The hurri-canes, the floods. You cannot turn your back on these. People are suffering because they have lost their homes. Perhaps even loved ones have died.

You must always do everything in your power to alleviate this suffering. But, holding fear of what has arisen as result of conditions and trying to fix what has arisen only creates more contraction and fear. It does not support release of suffering.

You can attend to these things— to the blizzard, to the hurricane, to the forest fire, to the auto-mobile accident, to the volcanic eruption, to the political hate-throwing – with an open heart. You can respond to these with a consciousness that refuses to be drawn in with fear, but instead comes forth to attend. It’s very helpful to remember, as it’s often said: This too shall pass. But you cannot hide yourself, and say, “Well, it will pass so I don’t have to pay any attention to it.” It will pass, and it still must be attended to.

That which is best able to attend is this aspect of you is what I call awareness. So, let’s look just a bit at awareness. It is the place where you come together with everything, no separation. We sometimes talk about this in terms of interbeing. Behind me here I have a wooden altar. It looks like a shelf with legs. What is it really? It came from a tree. It’s a slice of wood from a tree. The tree grew out of the earth. The sun and rain and the soil nurtured the tree. So, looking at this altar ¬– I don’t know if you can see it here behind me— let’s use a visible example, because you can see this: a wooden statue of the Buddha (holding it up). Is it a statue? Yes. A block of wood? Yes. But it’s also the sun and the rain and the soil. It’s the wood from which it came, the tree. It’s the forester who cut the log, and the sculptor who shaped it. It’s all of those things, all part of each other.

When you begin to understand the world this way, you can embrace more fully that yes, everything is arising out of conditions and must be attended from a loving place. When necessary, one must say “no” with love. And yet, nothing is permanent so there is no reason to live your life with fear. Not only no reason, but no use. Reaction form fear only makes things worse. But you can’t say, “So, I will get rid of fear.” No. How would you get rid of it? “I will hold fear when it arises and bring it into my heart. I will remember: this fear has arisen from conditions. It is impermanent. It will pass. And when the fear passes, the radiant heart and radiant awareness, love, remain and will be present.” This is what brings happiness and an end to suffering, knowing that you are that radiance and awareness. You are that love.

As you step into this new year, watch the fear that arises about the Earth, about political situations, and about your own personal situations, and offer yourself the intention not to get trapped in that fear, but to remember, “It arose from conditions, it is impermanent. I will take care of the fear and of the conditions. And I will live with love.” In this way, you can truly make a difference in the world.

Thank you.

Dharma Journal | December 2017 | Celebrate Your Own Birth Into Awakening

Recorded in Barbara Brodsky’s living room. Aaron discusses ‘what does it mean to awaken’ and Vipassana meditation, also celebrating your own birthday into awakeing.

Video and Transcript, the video is also closed captioned.

Barbara – Hello, this is Barbara. We’re taking you on a little bit of a tour this fall – my cabin, and we’ve been in my office. Today, for December, we’re in my living room. This is where, in 1989, I started having people come for meditation classes and gatherings with Aaron. You can’t see I’m facing the fireplace, but I sat on a zafu in front of the fireplace, and people sat on sofas and chairs around the room – 5 of us to start, and then 10 and then 20, and we bought lots of folding chairs. So this was our original home, and a few of you will remember sitting by the fireplace with me and with Aaron.

I want to share some personal delights with you. You see the painting behind me. I had been teaching sculpture at University of Michigan, and making sculpture. Then I met Aaron and really shifted and became a medium and dharma teacher, and I told my parents what I was doing. My mother is a wonderful painter. In my living room here – you can’t see it – but it’s filled with her paintings. So, a few months later when I came to visit, she handed me this painting. “This is for you.” I felt so loved and so cherished for her to see deeply into what was meaningful to me and to paint this beautiful painting of the Buddha.

Maybe a year or two later my oldest son was on a year-long trip through India and Asia. He was in Dharmsala and sitting and meditating as close as one can get under the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha was awakened. Leaves fell on him. He thought, “Oh, this is the perfect gift for my mom.” So these are leaves from the original Bodhi Tree … well, not the original, but the tree that has grown up there from the seeds that took root from the original – one after another, after another, numerous lifetimes of that tree.

It’s December now, and I think December 20th Aaron will offer his Christmas stories. For many years we had a big Christmas tree here in the living room, and people sitting around – sometimes 20 or 30 people squeezed into the room – Aaron speaking from a zafu in front of the fire, sharing his Christmas stories. So I’d like you to picture that scene as he talks now. I’m going to move out of the body and let Aaron incorporate. Thank you.

Aaron – My blessings and love to you. I am Aaron. Thank you for being here with me. As you watch this in December, you’re entering the annual celebration of what you consider the birth time of Yeshua ben Joseph, Jesus, son of Joseph. We celebrate his birth, but equally important, celebrate the awakening of yourself, who also is the Christ consciousness, or Buddha nature. You’ve forgotten who you are. But I would ask you, as you celebrate his birth, to celebrate your own birth into awakening.

In November, I talked about Vipassana meditation and the power of this meditation to lead you to live your lives with more wisdom and compassion and finally truly to awaken. I trust this practice because it was the ground practice for me, for my own full awakening. I trust it because for others whom I have watched learn the practice and deepen in it, I have seen them awaken.

What does it mean to awaken? To know your true nature as truly an expression of the living Christ, the living Buddha, the living awakened one. The word Buddha … people call him the Buddha, but that wasn’t his name, which was Siddhartha Gautama. The story goes he was walking down the street after his awakening, and someone looked at him radiant and said, “Are you a god?” “No.” “Well, what are you?” “I am awake.” In that language, “I am a Buddha. I am awakened to Buddha nature, awake.” Christ has the same meaning. He was not named Jesus Christ. Jesus, – Yeshua, as I call him – who was awakened into Christ consciousness, the highest awakened consciousness, where karma is resolved, where each lives completely from the true essence of love, of wisdom.

We look up to these beloved teachers for their examples. Now it is your turn to do the work and become the awake one that you already are. I hope by the time you are seeing this, my new book, Path of Clear Light, will be published and available. In it I delineate some of the non-dual practices where, for example, that which is aware of fear is not afraid. That which is aware of anger is not angry. That which is aware of darkness and contraction is not dark and contracted but opened and radiant. You don’t have to get rid of anything, only to more fully realize the truth of what you are. You are love. You are light. Why are you so resistant to letting yourself know that?

As we celebrate Yeshua’s birthday this month, celebrate your birth into the fullest possible awakening in two ways. Watch the places of resistance to the deeper truth. “I am light. I am love.” Why would you resist? But my dear ones, if you are truly love and light, you may feel you must be responsible to be that 24/7. You are human. No one in human form can be that clarity 24/7. When the conditions are present, anger, fear, confusion, doubt – they will arise. The issue is, how do you respond to these? And this takes me back into last month’s talk.

In honor of Yeshua, if you hold him deep in your heart, in honor of the Buddha, in honor of any enlightened master, hold your intention. “What he has done I also can do. I can wake up, and I can express love, light, patience, generosity, goodness, tenderness.” I can express all of these beautiful emotions, not because I have finally gotten something from out there that allows me to do this but because this is also my true nature, just as it is the Buddha’s and Yeshua’s true nature. So, we can awaken to our own true nature and live it more and more consistently. There is nothing to get rid of. When there is fear or confusion, pause and breathe and remember your highest intention. Is it to get lost in the fear, anger, or confusion again and yet again, or finally to say, “No, I am not going to get drawn in.”?

Picture the image. You are walking by a marsh that is known to have quicksand in it. Somebody comes running past you carrying a bag. He says, “This is gold. They’re chasing me.” And he throws it far into the marsh and runs on. Ten minutes later, soldiers arrive. “Where did he go? He has the gold. Where is he?” You don’t mention the gold, you just say, “He went that way.” Now what are you going to do? It’s a lot of gold. If you try to walk into the marsh, you’re probably going to drown in the quicksand. You try it. You drown in the quicksand. It’s not a pleasant death. Next lifetime, similar scenario. Maybe he has something else precious – diamonds – he throws it into the marsh.

How many times are you going to go into that marsh, drawn by greed, knowing you will probably be trapped by the quicksand and will die, before you say, “I don’t need the gold, those diamonds. I don’t need any of it. I am free. Greed is no longer pulling me into the marsh,” and you walk on? It could be greed. It could be anger. It could be any emotion. Opening your heart, see the arising of whatever has trapped you. See your deepest intention for freedom for the highest good of all beings, to be the Christ, the Buddha, the Awakened One that you already are. Say no to whatever is luring you downward, “No, no thank you,” and move on. And then you are free – free of the old karma, free to live your life as an awake one, truly centered in love and in light.

This living of the Truth is the greatest tribute you can give to these beloved masters who came to teach you this. I hope you will listen to my Christmas stories on December 20th. There is much more I would share with you more directly about Yeshua and what he felt it means to be awake. Many long conversations with him and experiences with him taught me about awakeness, long before I ever full awakened. If he can do it, if I can do it, you can do it.

And the wonderful part is there is nothing to do— you are already awake – only to let go of the idea that you are still enslaved. And indeed you are enslaved if your mind has not resolved itself with the old stories. Let go of them and come to know your true being. You are light. You are love. Nowhere to go, nothing to do – just joy, wonder, presence, and being.

On this December day I thank my beloved brother Yeshua and my teacher Siddhartha Gautama for all they have given me to allow me to know that I am awake and fully to pass that knowing onto you. Thank you, and may you have a blessed holiday.

Dharma Journal – October 2017 – Part 2 of 2

Barbara Brodsky continues introducing her new book ‘Out of the Shadows, The Path of Clear Light’. This is Part 2 of 2, she will continue sharing the teachings in this book in the near future. Aaron dictated this to Barbara over the summer at her cabin. Sept. and Oct. videos were recorded at her cabin in August.

Video and transcript, the video is also closed captioned.

 

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

October 2017 – Dharma Journal
Out of the Shadows – The Path of Clear Light

My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. We’re still here at the cabin, with the lake in the background, and the woods. I hope you’re enjoying the energy here. I’m going to pick up on the book now, from where I left off, not in its entirety but excerpting  This is what I would consider section 2 of the book.

“Now let us consider the human experience. The human knows pain in the body, and in the mind. This pain is a reality, but not an ultimate reality. However, to declare it somewhat less real can be cruel. The human experiencing such pain knows the reality of it. For that human, in that moment, it exists. Compassion, which enters into the suffering of another, also know the reality of it.”

“How do we respond to these human challenges with wisdom and compassion, without taking pain, fear and contraction as permanent, and as owned by the self. What is this self who is experiencing, we first might ask. In Dhamma discussions, we sometimes speak of no self. No self does not mean you don’t exist. It simply means that what you are is the expression of many conditions, all coming forth in this moment. None of these expressions can be called self, nor can their totality. Nevertheless, something does exist.”

“We do not say, this set of conditions would appreciate a certain set of conditions on that set of conditions. We use the shorthand, ‘I would like some salt on my soup’. ‘I’ is a concept, summarizing a set of conditions. ‘Salt’ is a concept, summarizing a set of conditions. ‘My’ is a concept, summarizing a set of conditions. ‘Soup’ is a concept, summarizing a set of conditions. But we all understand what is meant by the phrase.  In the same way, when we think, ‘I would like this discomfort to go away’, ‘I is a concept.  ‘Discomfort’ is a concept. When we personalize such concepts, and make them into a self-identity, we suffer. I am not the discomfort, but it has arisen from conditions, and it must be attended to.”

“The one experiencing these concepts is the mundane realm experiencer. The conscious mind, sometimes called the small self. There is also the level of awareness, the one who witnesses the mundane consciousness, the higher self. For the human trained in mindfulness, the small self, or mundane consciousness, is the aspect of mind that relates to whatever arises, that attempts to fix or control that arisen object in order to somehow become comfortable again. When a challenge arises in the mind or body, and the human attempts to deny it, that denial takes energy. If the human attempts to fix it, that attempt takes energy. The contraction of denial, or fix, gives energy to the object that has arisen, ironically, holding it more firmly in place. How ironic that denying our troubles is like trying to outrun our shadow on a sunny day!”

“If a strong wind blows, the tree that bends and sways, dances with the wind, will survive. The tree that is rigid, will snap and break. The question is not whether things will push at you, but how you relate to that push.”

As an aside, many of you who have worked with me for years know that this has been a heart of my teaching. How to dance with the push. Continuing.

“Imagine a sudden, heavy downpour that wets and chills you. Will you stand outside, ranting in anger at the weather, or will you seek shelter? You could scream to exhaustion at the cold and rain, thusly depriving yourself of the energy to find a place that is warm and dry. Until you lie soaked and shivering on the Earth. What benefit derives from such fear-based reaction to what we experience? The habitual reaction to a push is one of the mammal: fight, flight or freeze. But, you came into the incarnation to transcend such ancient patterns, and demonstrate the ability to live from the heart.”

“Fight, freeze and flight impulses involve contraction. This contracted state arises out of conditions. It is impermanent. It is not self. By that I mean, contraction is not the Unconditioned essence, but is merely arisen from conditions, with no ultimate reality. The fact of contraction is not a problem, but a teacher. A vital practice when mindful of contraction is to ask, ‘right here with contraction, where is spaciousness? Right here with darkness, where is light?’”

“Yes, I am equating spaciousness unto light. When you harden yourselves with contraction of body and mind, how can the radiance of the Unconditioned shine in? How can your inner radiance shine out? Here is an essential starting point. While light and spaciousness are direct expressions of the Unconditioned and can never be lost in the ultimate sense, still you must retain a connection, and not turn your back to the sun.”

As an aside here, this takes us to the heart of our human experience, our habitual reactivity to the push. Hardening, closing out the light that would shine in, and closing out your inner light. It is essential to begin to recognize the parallels of light and spaciousness. It’s the next step.

Returning to the reading.

“In the empowering words of the Buddha, ‘If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it’.  You have free will to choose, spaciousness or contraction. Darkness or light. You came into the incarnation to know your divinity, and remember the ability to live from your light. The purity of the human heart sees the impulses that drag you down, and knows them for what they are. An impulse arises from conditions, and has no ultimate reality. There is no need to be enslaved by it. But what if you reacted from unconscious habit to the storms of life, to the rain and winds? There you lie in the mud soaked, and shivering. What next? Awareness notes, wet, cold, disappointed, angry, afraid. Whatever is predominant. One greets these unpleasant mind and body states with compassion.”

Again, an aside: this is the heart of it. There is so much habitual reaction, when disappointment, fear, anger, pain arise, to contract and push them away. And contact with your innate compassion is lost. The essential practice is to learn to relate with what arises, from the heart, with compassion, even while there is fear and anger. Not denial of the fear, anger or negativity, not denial of the pain, but right there with the true aversion to what has arisen, compassion for the human.

I continue to read.

“This expression of free will to choose what is wise, and compassionate, is the heart of human learning. It means you have the ability to say no to eons of old, habitual patterns that have pulled you down into the muck. I repeat again, please listen closely, you have the ability to choose to live in the light.”

“I understand that at first, to choose thusly can be terrifying. As long as you merely react and continue to believe you have no choice, you hide in the belief of powerlessness. What if you truly are powerful beyond measure? You say you desire power, but you also desire to be loving, so power often frightens you, because the most intense emotions are not yet purified. There is fear you may backslide and enact those emotions. You then perpetuate the perceptions that seem to prove you are powerless.”

“The first step then is to know that you have free will. You always have choice. That choice is often between listening to the many voices of fear, or to the voice of love. You must learn to listen carefully. Fear often seems to scream loudly. Love comes as a whisper. Only the heart’s awareness can hear that whisper, but it is always there, if you will learn to listen.”

“So you move through your human life, asking how to discern this whisper through all the loud voices that seem perpetually to echo in your head.”

“If you move to the exit of a dark cave, have you any difficulty discerning where there is light, and where there is darkness? You know the direct experience of light. With the cave and bright sunlight, the distinction is clear. But sometimes there may be confusion, within the shadows, for the eyes that mingle light and darkness.”

“How do we know the light within the fields of darkness. I am going to repeat that. How do we come to know the light within the fields of darkness? It is not so difficult.”

End of reading for today.

The next section of the book will begin to go into specific practices, to center yourself in light, even when you are experiencing darkness, pain, fear, anger and other negative experience. How to ground yourself in that light without denial of the negativity. The book moves more directly into what I call the practice of Clear Light after these preliminary practices as part 3, and part 4, moving into the practice of Clear Light.

I hope by this time that you are seeing this, October I presume, the book itself may be available. So some of you may enjoy reading the book even as you watch these Dhamma dialogues and hear some of my thought about them. Once we have the book available, I will read a bit more quickly and spend more time talking to you about the practices, which will be important as we move more directly into the clear light practice. I will also be asking you to practice what I’m suggesting, not just listen, so it becomes a firm ground for you, and you can access it.

My blessings and love to you. Thank you for being with me today.

Added in mid-October. Editing and production are taking longer than we expected. Aaron will not read more from the book, but offer a different topic in November and December. The book should (hopefully) be available by early December.

Dharma Journal | September 2017

Part 1 | New Book by Aaron – Out of the Shadows: The Path of Clear Light
Dharma Journals for September and October – Aaron will be sharing part of his new book to be published this fall.


Dharma Journal teachings from Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky.

Video is closed captioned.
Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky at her cabin: August 31, 2017

Barbara: Hello, and welcome to my cabin. This is Barbara. Aaron will incorporate in a minute. This beautiful cabin is where I’ve spent my summers for 20 years. For the most part, this is where I’ve written my books. Sitting here with the view that you can see around me, with screens on three sides, and skylights above, I feel like I’m sitting in a tree house in the woods. It’s a very inspiring and beautiful place to write. It’s also very quiet, with peaceful energy. I’m glad you’re here with me.

When you last saw me, I was suffering from hay fever, and that has passed. I am healthy and happy, and in love with my woods.

Now it’s time for the September Dharma Dialogue. This summer Aaron dictated a book to me much the way he dictated Human over 20 years ago. At the beginning of the summer he said, “Will you take dictation? I would like to write a book.” Each day he spoke a few pages and I typed them out as he spoke. The end result, about 3 weeks ago, was a book called Out of the Shadows: The Path of Clear Light. I find it very beautiful. My thanks to Dan Muir, Roann Altman and Nicholas de Paul, who have worked with the editing and the creation of the book. Many others helped too, but these three especially.

Aaron said to me last week, when we discussed the fall Dharma Dialogues, that he wanted to go through the book over the fall. It’s not a long book. Like Human, just a few words on most pages. He said he’d like to start in September and go through the four months, September through December, each month doing a portion of the book; literally reading the book and talking about it so he can share some of his thoughts about it with you. So that’s the plan; that’s where we are today.

Enough said from me. I’m going to invite Aaron to incorporate and do whatever he plans to do. It’s been such joy writing this; I can’t say writing; taking his dictation, hearing his thoughts on this book, and watching him create the book. He always knew exactly where he was going. We didn’t have to reshuffle big blocks of text. It just flowed. He knew exactly where he was going. And as I thought about it afterward, the book really is almost a syllabus of his 30 years of teaching. Through those 30 years, I never knew where he was going, but he did.  It has unfolded so beautifully; the book really picks it up from the beginning and goes right through.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy this and find it valuable, as I did, and join us for all four parts, as this comes together. I’m going to pause now and let Aaron incorporate.

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. As Barbara said, welcome to our woods, which inspired part of the book. I call it, The Path of Clear Light, and the radiant light has inspired me. Right now, the sun is coming out. I don’t know if you can see it behind me. It’s fascinating to watch the play of the clouds and the sun, the light streaming through the trees. When the sun goes behind a cloud, it’s still there, but the woods grows dark. And then the sun emerges from the clouds again and the woods grows bright. We can see the whole show and it’s beautiful.

When Barbara came out in May to prepare the cabin for the summer, I asked her, may we create this book? She was delighted, of course, and I thank her for that. I did not take up her whole summer but an hour or two a day, dictating to her, and more time in her meditation, talking to her about what I was dictating. This is some of what I want to share. Although the book stands alone, and does not need any additional text, there are things that might enrich it for you

So, I’m going to read. I’m going to offer pauses, as some pages only have a few words. Then you may pause and reflect before I move on to the next page. I’m also going to add a few thoughts, that, as I said, may enrich the book for you. As you read the transcript, please be aware this is not the final formatting of the book, where there may be only a few lines on a page, and text centered.

Today there is much reading but later in the season, when the book is available, I will offer more elaboration on the text and practices.

Out of the Shadows: The Path of Clear Light

Contraction and spaciousness

Darkness and light

Fear and love

All conditioned objects

(let us call them dhammas, a more elegant term)

arise when the conditions are present for their existence

and dissolve when those conditions cease.

Contraction, darkness, and fear

Are such conditioned objects.

They will cease when the conditions out of which they arose have dissolved.

They have no ultimate reality.

The rainstorm will arise when the atmospheric conditions are present. When those conditions pass, the sky will clear. When clouds pass away, we experience the blue sky.

When contraction passes, what remains?

When darkness passes, what remains?

When fear passes, what remains?

Awareness, spaciousness, light, and love

do not arise and cease.

However, they do seem to come and go

into and out of your human experience.

They are direct expression of the Unconditioned. That means they are always present, although not always perceived.

What is a direct expression of the Unconditioned? When you see sunlight shining on the ground, you know the sun is shining, even though your back is turned to it. We might say this perceived light is a direct expression of the sun. However, in this case, both are conditioned objects. The sun exists due to mundane conditions, so its light also exists due to mundane conditions.

Awareness, spaciousness, light and love, as direct expressions of the Unconditioned, need nothing to exist except for the Unconditioned itself, the Eternal. Thus they do not arise and cease, and are always present, though not always perceived.

When awareness, spaciousness, light or love are not experienced,

this does not mean they have passed away,

only that they are not in your field of experience at this moment.

The consciousness that may recognize these dhammas is not open.

Turn your back to the window.

Has the sun ceased to shine just because you no longer see it?

Of course not. Only a perspective has changed.

This is only a metaphor, because as I noted above, the sun is a conditioned object, meaning it is impermanent. The very nature of the Unconditioned is that it is eternal and cannot be destroyed.

What is the Unconditioned and why should you care about it? It is the primordial purity out of which everything expresses, directly or indirectly. It is home! It is the essence of the Divine, of love and of light.

This, as an aside from the book. We’ve come this far in the book, and I know you understand me. But now it gets a little more complex, because we say God is love. We think of the love of the Divine. But please consider:

But the Unconditioned is also the ground out of which the distorted expressions of darkness, fear, and contraction arise. So the Unconditioned Divine essence is the ground for all things, whether contracted or uncontracted, distorted or clear. It is sometimes called the All Ground.

If we acknowledge the non-dual aspect of the Unconditioned, meaning it contains all opposites, or seeming opposites, then darkness must also be an expression of the Unconditioned, although not a direct expression.

The same is true of anger and hatred, of grasping and contraction. Since there is no duality, these are also expressions of the Unconditioned, but they are indirect expressions.

This means the existence of all indirect expressions of the Unconditioned depend on the Unconditioned, and also mundane conditions out of which such objects arise: fear, self-centered thought, the mind that judges, and more.

Now, stepping aside from the book for a moment. If God/Goddess/Divine/Eternal is non-dual and contains everything, the pure expressions of it arise as love, as spaciousness, and all the beautiful experiences that the human has. But because it is subject to the play of conditions, spaciousness subjected to something frightening can lead to contraction. They are non-dual. When contraction releases, the spaciousness is back.

So, as I’ve been teaching for so many years, when anger, fear, any kind of negative thought or body contraction arises, simply hold it in love. There’s nothing to fix. In this way you come back to the innate spaciousness, love, and light.

I’ll read again.

I can only use a mundane or conditioned realm example of the non-dual nature of such expressions. Water has the quality of fluidity. It is not harmful of itself. Air has the quality of spaciousness. It is not harmful of itself. But if winds blow the water to huge waves, those waves may erode the land, sink boats, and cause death.

Another aside, we’re just past Hurricanes Harvey and Irma— not even past them Many people are still suffering, the floodwaters high, people homeless, water flowing through the streets. There is nothing negative about the water. There is nothing negative about the hurricane-force winds; it’s just air. But when they come together, these elements of water and air have created a truly calamitous experience for people.

We do not blame the air. We do not blame the water. We simply know this has all arisen out of conditions. Certain mundane conditions were in place, and so the hurricane arose. People were in a danger zone, so danger arose.

What can we do? We can hold it in love. That’s all we can do. We can hold it in love. The more we’re able to keep our hearts open in love and light to the truly terrible conditions and suffering, the more our energy of love and light can help support healing, rather than add to the contraction and fear.

I return to the book.

Water, air, the sun, sunlight, and everything else that exists are expressions of the Unconditioned. You also are an expression of the Unconditioned. And within you are the direct expressions of the Unconditioned: awareness, spaciousness, light, and love. Within you is also the potential for destruction. When the direct expressions of the Unconditioned are distorted, and mundane forces creep in, then darkness, contraction, fear, and pain may arise.

Herein lies the power of free will and choice. It is the reason for your human experience. The soul grows through intention to enact the expressions of love, light, and spaciousness in service to all beings, and to cease to enact that which is grounded mainly in service to self. Such intention is not easy for the human, for the human is deeply habituated to service to self, and must grow through eons of old conditioning.

Spaciousness, light and love are not the Unconditioned itself but are direct expressions of the Unconditioned. They can lead us to the Unconditioned.

Here a moment of pause, aside from the book. As I read this to you, I am aware, as I was when I dictated it, that there is a lot of repetition. Remember that you are reading many of these things one page at a time, with pause for reflection. I want this to go deep into your heart and consciousness, not just your intellect, and thus I chose to repeat.

Reading…

The aspect of mind we normally use in everyday life can only know conditioned objects, and cannot know the Unconditioned. But direct expressions such as light and spaciousness have a mundane aspect that our everyday mind can perceive. These expressions serve as a doorway to the Unconditioned. Only awakened consciousness, what we may call pure awareness, can know the Unconditioned directly.

Please read on for further explanation that will aid in understanding.

There are many levels of consciousness. Detailed discussion of them is not within this book. But very briefly, please bear with me for a page.

Every consciousness takes an object. The sense, such as eye or ears, touches the object, and seeing or hearing consciousness arises. The same is true of touch, taste, and smell, and the mind that touches thoughts.

Mundane consciousness, the consciousness associated with the five senses and the mind, is capable of perceiving only mundane objects. However, we may also experience a supramundane consciousness capable of perceiving objects that are above and beyond the mundane, objects such as love, light, spaciousness, and the Unconditioned.

The human lives mostly in mundane consciousness. Then how can we know the Unconditioned directly?

One way is through profound meditation states, when the supramundane consciousness is open. But most people never or only rarely touch those states.

To create a further complexity, when one is deeply resting in the Unconditioned, one usually has little interest in or appreciation of the mundane realm.

Imagine pure water in a deep underground spring. If you could shrink and dive through a long channel into the heart of the spring, you could directly experience that purity. Your entrance in it can slightly affect that purity. Could you carry that perfect water up to the surface for your loved ones, or for your later use? As soon as you bring the water to the surface, you have exposed it to earth, air, and all the impurities of the outer world. It is not the same water.

Or, more correctly, it IS the same water but with mundane realm impurities added. The water at the surface is a direct expression of the spring, with the additives from the conditioned and mundane muddy world.

Just as you must drink the ever-so-slightly tainted spring water from the stream, and cannot drink directly from the underground source, so in mundane consciousness you can only experience direct expressions of the Unconditioned such as spaciousness, light, and love, as reminders of that primordial purity, to know that it is there.

One must know the Unconditioned if one aspires to live from that ground of all things. We can enter the spring through meditation. Awareness rests in the innate perfection of the Unconditioned, free of grasping, and then intention aspires to maintain resting in that radiant reality, even while surrounded by and relating to the mundane realm, with its many distortions.

A skillful way to live is to learn to be in both spaces at once, and to develop awareness of the expressions of the Unconditioned. They are like a road sign that says, “Home: This Way!” Then you know where to turn. The sweetness, radiance, and beauty of these signs of the Unconditioned serve as a beacon, always available when we know where to look.

When those signs are missing, their lack is noted. That consciousness serves as a warning, “Moving into distortion. Take great care.”

The Unconditioned expresses as light and spaciousness. It expresses as loving kindness and compassion. It expresses as boundless generosity. It expresses as joy. It expresses as peace.

These direct expressions of the Unconditioned, while not the Unconditioned itself, are ultimate realities that cannot be destroyed but only pass from our consciousness for a while.

So that is Section I of the book. In October, I’ll read parts of Section II, that goes on to help you with practices to recognize these ultimate realities within yourself, right there with the contraction, the fear, the negativity, and so forth. And how to remind yourself, “I choose the light, not the darkness. I choose kindness, not negativity. I choose love.”

And when you are not choosing, not to berate yourself for that, but simply to recognize, “Whoops! I’ve slipped off the path,” and climb back on.

In the later sections of the book I will offer some very specific practices that will help you. In those Dharma Dialogues, I will offer more discussion than just reading.

Thank you for being with me today. My blessings and love to you, and may this path of clear light bring you home. I love you.

Dharma Journal – May 2017

Dharma Journal teachings from Aaron channeled by Barbara Brodsky

Transcription and closed captioned.

The Three Kayas: Part 2

 My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today.

 Last month I spoke about the three kayas and staying connected with the pure heart, but without fear of connecting to the world. Sometimes it’s not fear of connecting but fear of losing that center, but you can never lose this space of divine consciousness within you.

I promised some suggestions on how to come back into that space in those times where the world has gotten to be too much for you; when you’re constantly rushing around doing this, fixing that, and it seems that the need is never-ending. The need is never-ending. Can you really do more if you let go of the essence of being and become another lost soul screaming for help?

Last month I spoke of the sambhogakaya, or wealth body, the bridge between the divine and the outside mundane world. When we think about a bridge, we think of the whole span of the bridge, and it doesn’t matter if you’re here or here or here on the bridge. But it does matter. The closer you are to the Dharmakaya side of the bridge, to the awakened heart, awakened consciousness, the more stable you are as you walk across.

Think of it as walking out of a very well-heated house on a bitter winter day. There’s a long vestibule. You step through the inner door and immediately it’s cooler. But you’re not freezing yet. You walk, and you walk, and you walk, a 100 yard hallway. The outer door is open. You begin to feel the cold. Perhaps there is something you must do right at the end of the hallway. Last month I used the image of the person who had fallen in the river and needed to be rescued. Well, here’s somebody at the end of the hallway shouting for help. You don’t pay too much attention to the cold. You walk down there and you do what is needed for that person. Then you return to the warmth. Are you going to sit there shivering together at the end of the hallway?

Let’s pretend it’s a child who has fallen and skinned his knees. He’s hurt, he’s bleeding, he’s afraid, and he’s shivering. You will want to pick him up and carry him back toward the warmth. Why would you stay at the end of the hallway by the open door where the winds are screeching and the sleet pouring in? Come back to the warmth.

Some of you have the idea that you can only serve in the world if you jump through that further doorway to suffer with those who are out there suffering. Your suffering does not help anybody, it only adds to the suffering in the world. Come home, come home.

The first step is repeatedly to remember: I can come home. I choose to come home. And also, when you start to feel dispersed, fragmented, and lost from that pure heart, know when you’re losing touch with it. Stop. Time to come home. Coming home can be as simple as: breathing in, I am aware of fragmentation, contraction, and fear. Breathing out, I hold loving space for these experiences. I re-enter the heart of love. I choose to re-enter the heart of love.

Maybe you’re in a conversation with someone who has very opposing views to yours, and he is becoming very angry, starting to flail his arms around and contort his face, using crude words; you feel yourself being sucked into his anger. “I choose to stay connected to love.” Only love can heal. Fear cannot heal. “I choose to stay connected to love.” So, intention in this way is a vital part of the training. Remember to keep re-connecting to your intention.

Trust in your ability to come back to the pure heart, is another part of this. However many times you have fallen off the edge of the hallway and into the blizzard, freezing and needing to scream for help; look at those experiences and remember: I have the capacity to return home.

I’d like you to visualize something for me. Maybe we’ll call it a very short meditation. Imagine yourself sitting in what I call the Dharmakaya, the Unconditioned, the Divine or Christ consciousness, and imagine it as a beautiful cavern of magnificent colors and lights. Beautiful melodies are playing. Imagine yourself sitting right in the cave doorway. As the divine breath breathes itself out, we may remember the line from the Bible: In the beginning was the Word, and the divine breath. Ahhh; feel that breath, ahhh, and with that breath, ahhh, the creation of the world. You move out with that breath.

But, my dear ones, what exhales also inhales. Come back home. Come back home. Why would you have need to do otherwise? So, the second part of the mindfulness is to begin to watch for the places where you begin to forget to come home. Is there an “I should”? “There is so much pain, I should stay out there, no matter how distracted I am becoming”. Is there some kind of a martyr complex in you, something that only feels, “I am only doing good if I am in pain.”? That doesn’t make sense to me. You are love, and you are loved. There is no reason for you to suffer, and your suffering does not benefit others. Quite the contrary, your modeling non-suffering is what helps others most.

Ahhh, and then drawing the breath back in, coming back into the divine heart, and knowing yes, I am whole. Practice with it until you can flow out easily and flow back. Flow out and flow back. You can learn how to do this. It’s not too hard.

Learn how it feels to rest in that space just at the doorway of the Dharmakaya, the beginning of that bridge. Feeling radiating light around you; high energy; the heart open with love, joy, and connection. You may have to do this first just silently in your meditation until it becomes a stable resting place. Then as you venture further out into the world, begin to notice that the further you come from that divine heart, the shakier the footing gets. Go only as far as you feel comfortable, and come home. Do it again, another day, and come home. Gradually you will begin to find yourself more comfortable venturing further out.

Yes, there is enormous suffering in the world. But, as with my earlier image, if you jump off the shore into a raging river to save somebody, and your rope lets your swim a hundred yards downstream, it’s likely going to be beyond your capacity to come back.

I am not suggesting that you work from fear but from wisdom that knows your present capacity, and then is able to keep expanding that capacity. Eventually, yes, you’ll be able to simply swim your way back up the 100 yards of river without the rope. But for now, know what is real for you what you are capable of, and give yourself practice at doing it successfully without losing touch with this pure heart, without losing the radiance and love.

I will pause here. We’ll pick this up again next month. There’s much to add to this. Thank you for your attention.