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.
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.