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.