June 14, 2020 Sunday Evening, Dharma Path Intensive
Aaron on Living the Awakened Life, Living on the Bridge, in His Final Lifetime; Q&A on Balancing Karma During and After Incarnation
Year 2; Intensive
Aaron: My blessings and love to you. I am Aaron. I hoped to offer you an opportunity to observe the workings of the mind; the chakras; how the whole body, mind, and spirit are interconnected; and how, when you rest in the open heart, although perhaps unpleasant feelings or physical sensations may arise, there’s more space for them. The power of, not just intention, but, as we spoke of earlier today, inviting the open heart. Being present within the awareness mind.
We are learning to balance on the bridge. Thusly balanced, there will be pleasant and unpleasant experiences in the mind and the body, pleasant and unpleasant feelings, pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and sensations. The one who is awake, that is the core essence of your being, can openheartedly experience both the pleasant and the unpleasant without getting swept away into grasping and aversion.
Maturation of this ability takes a balance of wisdom and compassion. Compassion for all sentient beings who live on this heavier earth plane, heavier vibration. Wisdom to know that this mind and body, nama rupa, mentality / materiality, this combination that you are is only the surface of your being, and that you have the ability increasingly to come back to the radiant heart. You are the radiant heart.
So you begin to explore; you drop off that deeper truth of your being and become the ego, become the body, and self-identify into it, and then catch that that this is happening—not, “I’M doing this,” just, “Ah, ego is solidifying. Body is becoming predominant. The judging mind is back. Planning mind is back. Ahhh…. compassion for this human experience.”
This is really the core of the whole of the dharma path: to deepen in the ability to rest in the true self, with no denial of the personality self and the physical self.
Through exercises like this I hope to give you a taste of your ability, your true power, to come back into the center, into the heart.
One of you said you felt I was wrong to assign this exercise. You are free to feel that, just as I am free to offer it. You are also free, just as any time I offer an assignment, to say, “No, this does not feel right to me so I will not do it.” I have no problem with that. You’re not being naughty if you say, “No, Aaron, I won’t do it,” you are being true to yourself. And that’s beautiful.
Please do trust, though, that I always have a reason for what I assign. I have never assigned anything simply to please you or to displease you, but do my best to hope there will be some learning from it. Obviously, if we were gathered together live [the group is attending over Zoom] we would have done different exercises.
Coming to the end of this two-year program, at this time of Covid-19, this time of great challenge in your human experience, I hope you have been able to balance in the human experience a bit easier because of what you’ve learned. This is all any human can do: as much as is possible, to hold the heart open; to deepen in the wisdom of “everything arising and passing away, and not of the nature of a separate self;” to know that you do make a difference, a huge difference, in the choices that you make when you live from the wisdom mind and the open heart, heart-mind, and when you live from the fear center, knotted up. As a human, it’s never going to be perfect. You move into it as best you can.
After my enlightenment in that long-ago Thai lifetime, as some of you have heard from me, I spent those 10 years living in the forest, almost in isolation—occasionally with other monks; sometimes on my own for many months at a time; seeing people only on alms rounds once a day; taking my food and going back into the forest.
Then I came back to the monastery, where I had been the senior monk for so many years. I was welcomed back. I had a much clearer sense of what allowed me to keep the heart open, what allowed me to make skillful and wholesome choices. I did not become angry easily; fear did not arise. There was sometimes pain in the body, and I was able to greet it with spaciousness, work with it in a skillful way.
At the end of those years—this is a story I don’t think I’ve ever told—I was walking barefoot and stepped on a big thorn in the dark. It was not the first thorn; one walks barefoot, and thorns are numerous. There would be yet another. This thorn pierced deep into the center of the sole of my foot near the arch, very deep. I cried out from the shock of that deep pain.
In the morning when it was time for the alms round, I could barely walk. I was the master of this monastery and I was—I say this without pride but simple fact—I was much beloved. I did not want to worry the others. I knew that such a thorn could, even once it was withdrawn—and I had withdrawn it and soaked the foot—but I knew that it could fester and cause difficulty. I thought I was thinking of others, not to worry them, so I kept it to myself. For three days I gritted my teeth and forced myself to go on alms round, walking on this foot. People looked at me and said, “You look like you’re in pain.” No, I was okay. I was not being truthful. Can someone who is fully enlightened be untruthful? I thought that I was withholding some of the truth to spare others’ feelings. But this was not a wise thing to do.
Then I began to run a fever. Finally, I had to acknowledge what had happened with the thorn. A healer was brought in from the village. I almost died. I almost lost the foot. Was this the action of an enlightened being? My point here is that, although I was to all extents fully awakened, I still had blind spots. The predominant one is that I still put others before myself rather than holding us equal. So, there was an effort to spare others and to carry the pain for myself rather than to trust others’ ability to also carry pain, to carry, in this point, their concern about me. It was also not a very enlightened thing to push away their help.
I could see repetition of ancient patterns, when I meditated on all of this. It took a month or more for the foot to heal, so I had ample time to meditate with this delusion, unable to walk. The difference between this experience for me then after the awakening and what it might have been before, is that there was no intention or even ability to perpetuate any of the stories. There was simply the ability to go into meditation and watch how some of this ancient karma had not been fully released.
Now, at this time, yes, I was awakened but I was not an arahant. That came at the time of release of the body. Let me phrase these things carefully. I have never moved into complete arahant experience because to do so would mean the release of (not just release of self-identification with) not just the physical and emotional but the mental body. And if I were to release the mental body completely and move on, go beyond, I could not talk to you in this way.
I would say I’m not attached to being able to talk to you. If I left completely, you would be fine. I have no karmic need to remain in order to be of service, no need to be loved or to be the good one or the one who helps people. I do it for joy and for love. But from a place of free will choice, I choose not to fully let go of the mental body. And thus, certain old thoughts can arise. The release that would take place with that going beyond, fully beyond, release even of the mental body, that release cannot happen fully because I maintain connection with the mental body. It’s not a burden to do so. If it were released fully and I went beyond in that way, there would, on these higher planes, still need to be recognition and balancing of old karma that was not fully balanced. So, the work that I do here gives me the opportunity to serve you, and also to fully release and balance this old karma.
This incident was one such opportunity. It was a very priceless experience, a very humbling experience, to see that I did not attach to any mind or body states, that there was no real grasping or aversion, even to remain alive. There was the intention to live in the most wholesome way, not in order to please others, not to be loved, but simply because this is what one wants to do, to live in the most wholesome way.
But I had to learn what “wholesome” meant. And that there are never certainties. And that I would choose to—not had to but chose to—forgive myself for doubt or uncertainty, forgive myself for confusion. Not hold it against myself.
This time in that lifetime is where I learned fully to live from the bridge. You’re doing it in a different direction. You have not had that fully awakening experience yet, but you are learning to live from the bridge because of the radiance of your heart, because of the depth of your practice, the deepening wisdom.
For me, that pre-awakening experience was quite a struggle, letting go of what had happened with my beloved brother and with my beloved disciple. Acknowledging my part in that pain. Most of you know this story. If not, you can find it on the Deep Spring website. Spending that 10 years almost completely in isolation. Seeing where there was still active, unwholesome karma, and what helped it to release. Then finally this experience on the forest trail under the tree with sharp thorns. Thorns again! A tiger growling around my body, kept away by the thorns. Fear arising. Then equanimity arising. And then finally the full awakening experience. But I still had to come back from that and reflect and understand, now that these insights have taken root within me, I still had to learn to live them. How to live the awakened life, how to live from the bridge.
Each of you will come to the various kinds of needed experiences for fulfillment of your heart’s desire, to become fully awake, most fully of service, to be an expression of love. Each of you will come to it through your own karma and karmic circumstances. What I can give you is my experience, helping you to trust YOUR experience as I honestly share my experience.
Everything you do with love is perfect. But everything you do with fear is also perfect, as long as there is a mindfulness that sees the flow of that fear, chooses not to perpetuate it but steps back. Balloon—Pop! Pop! Eggs—“I can’t break eggs!” (sound effect) Contracting, contracting. We keep coming back to the question, who is contracting? Who is having these thoughts? Who am I? What am I? Letting go of the ego, the self-identification with it, identification with the body, identification with preferences or judging mind; letting go into the fullness of what you are. And then you are awake. And I will stand in the center of that bridge with you, and we will rejoice together and offer our love out into the world to help release suffering wherever it may be. To help all sentient beings continue to grow with wisdom and the open heart.
This is what I offer you. I offer it out of love. And as I would if I, like T, were a chef preparing wonderful food, but not taking any offense at the people who go by and say, “No, I don’t like rhubarb, or don’t want it today. I prefer not to have this or that today.” Her response, not, “What’s wrong with my food?” but, “Fine, take what you like. Take what will serve you.” We all know that everything T cooks is wholesome, but some of you may have a taste for this or that and not a taste for something else. It doesn’t make the food of any lower quality.
Everything you offer from your heart is beautiful. What you offer from a place of fear also helps others to learn, but it can cause pain. Your choice will be to come back to that bridge center again and again, balanced between the relative and the ultimate, heart open, mind clear and aware, deep presence and love. When you cannot do that, to offer forgiveness to yourself, and then to take the time to reflect, what blocked this? What would I choose to practice here? How would I choose to open in order not to repeat some unwholesome action or speech? No blame, just reflection.
This is the way of the enlightened being. Each of you has that enlightened, that awakened being as your core. It is to that aspect of you that I speak. But also, to the trembling human, filled with uncertainty. I love you just as you are. And I appreciate the profound efforts you each make to continue to open and grow. I hold you in love, and I thank you.
(tape paused while reading Zoom questions) Questions not available.
As long as you are human, there will be a mental body. What we’re speaking of here is non-attachment to the mental body as self, non-identification with it. As long as you’re in a physical body, if you step on a thorn there’s going to be pain. There may even be aversion to that pain. But it doesn’t stick as karma if there’s not a self with its stories, “Why did I step on a thorn? Why wasn’t I more mindful? Why was the thorn there in the first place? What shall I do? Oh no, I was planning to walk a distance tomorrow; I won’t be able to.” —Anger. For the being who is more fully awakened there will still be discomfort. There will still be thoughts, even thoughts of unpleasantness.
Sitting in my kuti that night, foot throbbing from the thorn, there was no story of, “I am bad. Why did I do that?” There was no anger, there was no contraction. There was not fully the ability to see the part of me that was separating self and other and wanting to spare others by taking harm on myself. This was some part of the ancient karma that, even through the awakening experience, still needed to be resolved more fully and balanced.
I was able to balance it by deep mindfulness of the situation, of any harm I was doing to myself by holding the pain to myself; of any harm I might do to others by throwing the pain at others. And finally, to releasing that last little bit of karma—very thin—of distinguishing self and other in practical terms. So, at one level I was already awake, and on another I was still enacting some of that old karma. But because of the fullness of the awakening experience I could not continue to perpetuate that old karma, which meant I had to pull back and meditate, see what still had a grip that needed to be released.
For those of you familiar with the stages of enlightenment, in the very final stages there is a reviewing consciousness in which there is awareness of not only the karma of the present life but of the karma of many lives, and seeing the patterns, and just letting them go. There’s no longer a driving force to fix anything, to take this onto oneself or thrust it on others. The only driving force is love. But there’s the ability to see where the old habitual tendencies have twisted slightly and are still just attached a little bit; and move through it.
Karma first needs to be understood, seen as it is. Then, from the perspective of emptiness, the karma is gone. It releases. In that awakening experience, it releases. Then the balancing happens in various ways. For me, the balancing in that lifetime came through cherishing the way that others were cherishing me, allowing them to cherish me fully. Dropping away any false pride, any sense of not wanting to impose on others. Just being fully present. When there’s no self or other, nobody is taking care of anybody. It’s all revolving constantly.
Then in the rest of that lifetime, after that experience, once the wound healed, the way of balancing that karma was the constant flow of giving and receiving until giving and receiving ceased to have meaning. There was no more giver or receiver. This was the balancing. Giving fully of myself and receiving fully. Giving and receiving.
For other situations, there would be different forms of balancing. If one had done harm to others—for instance, in that lifetime I had done harm to my brother through refusing to understand his need and the depth of his pain, and to offer him the help he needed temporarily. After that awakening experience and coming back to my monastery, then, within that first year, I set off with several monks to visit my brother and ask his forgiveness. Forgiveness releases karma.
He would not forgive me. He was still very angry at me. But I understood his anger with a compassionate heart. I could not force him to forgive me. I could only hold him in my heart and accept his anger. But not allow him to harm me with his anger, because that would be a way of creating harm for him. If I allowed his anger to harm me, that was impacting his karma—his anger.
After awakening, or even on the road to awakening, one continually looks at the places of distortion and asks, how may this best be balanced? Where is love, here?
I don’t know if that answers your question. If not, please ask further…
It did not answer your question, but it gave you food for thought— is that what you’re saying? Do you want to repeat the question in more detail?…
(reading Zoom chat; chat question not available, about Yeshua as an awakened being and about karma)
This is probably my error of speech, and I ask your forgiveness. One cannot move into 7th density until one has balanced the karma. The balancing of the karma is essential for that move. You cannot fully release the bodies if everything’s not balanced. However, to become a high 6th density being like Yeshua, he retains the mental body. There’s nothing within him that needs to be balanced, there’s no karma. But holding onto the mental body, he has to be very sure of himself, of his ability to stay centered in the truth of what he is, or he could create new karma through that mental body, as I can.
This is why I must tread very carefully. I’m not afraid of creating new karma. I know that I could do it. I know I’ll catch it before it pulls me back into a human lifetime again, and that I can balance what needs to be balanced. It would invite learning. I have been, for all these years since that awakening experience, able not to get strongly pulled into karma. But if I am slightly pulled in, it shows me this is something that still needs some attention. Then I can spend some time to attend to it.
Once you move on, releasing all the bodies, moving into 7th and then even 8th density, there’s no self to balance karma, so it needs to be balanced before you move on. But it’s part of the whole process, and it’s nothing that any of you right now needs to worry about.
The key here is the willingness to hold the heart open to oneself and others. To honor all beings equally; to be mindful of any place where you have done harm, and immediately to ask forgiveness and not hold a sense of pride; to be mindful when others have harmed you. If you have hardened your heart at all against others, to offer forgiveness.
It will flow. Does that answer it?
Your heart is so open, and you are moving so beautifully through this path of awakening. Just stay in each moment and trust your experience and the power of your loving heart. That’s all you need to do.
(reading Zoom chat)
Q: Even if you drop the mental body, release the mental body, then you would still have to balance karma, if karma needed to be balanced. How does one balance karma if there is no mental body?
Aaron: Okay, there’s a misunderstanding, and I apologize if that came from me. If you drop the mental body but are not yet fully into 7th density—this is hard to explain in words…. YOU cannot drop the mental body. Rather, the mental body falls away because there’s nothing to hold it in place. “Nothing to hold it in place” means there is no longer any karma to hold it in place. So there is no karma to be balanced.
There is a borderline where the mental body is, let’s say 99% released, but there’s just the slightest friction because there’s still something that needs balancing. There’s nobody left to do the balancing, there is just the energy of love, of presence, that raises into such a high vibration that it burns away the karma. But it cannot do that if the balancing that’s needed is because of pain that somebody else is carrying because of you. So, in that situation, you could not have moved that far into the release of these bodies.
It’s gradual. A little bit is released. You come back, a higher vibration moving into a higher density, that awareness seeing what’s still a little bit sticky. Let me try to give you a metaphor, here.
You have been walking through land covered with dust and thorns. You were invited into the Hall of Radiance and Beauty, and asked, “Please bathe yourself before you come in, because if you are still carrying this dust, these thorns, and you bring it in with you, it’s going to burn and be very uncomfortable.” You cannot harm the Dharmakaya into which you carry it, but you will harm yourself, because in the light of that high energy, the dust will burn you.
So you bathe yourself. You purify, you release. Then you move further into this invitation to the mountaintop, to the radiant light. You get closer and closer, and you become aware that there’s still some dust. Release it. You may become aware that some of that dust is connected to a relationship somewhere. Perceive the need to go back a step, ask for forgiveness. That’s part of the release. If the other does not offer forgiveness, the important thing is that you have asked and have done everything in your power to balance any harm you have done.
But, as in the case of my brother in the final lifetime, he would not forgive me. That did not stop me from going further. And I had no need to come into a new human lifetime to balance that karma with my brother. It is enough to ask for forgiveness and to do what is necessary, whatever you can, to help the one you have harmed, to bring them through. To that level, making the attempt to help the one my brother was to heal.
Now, some of you know I again can relate to that one who was my brother in that lifetime. But my liberation is not dependent on his attaining liberation because we cannot create liberation for another; we can only support their path. I have no karmic need to come back and save my brother. But my heart, out of love, comes back and will offer my brother, and each of you with whom I have had relationships with in past lives, offer you what I can. That does not impact my state of liberation; that’s up to you. I offer you the opportunity to forgive me if I have harmed you in a past life, as I have long since forgiven you if you harmed me.
Reading again from what Q wrote: “How is it that just sensing the Dharmakaya is enough, at least for now? You said we are coming from the bridge, from the other direction than you in that lifetime. Can you speak to why we are coming from a different direction? Is it because we are prioritizing collective service?”
Aaron: No. I came to awakening from the profound experience of the Unconditioned, which experience is a great washing away of the impurities. And then one still must come back and balance. You come still questing for that experience. Inherent in the questor/ seeker is the one who is karmically still seeking; not yet aware that it is and has always been divine. Thus, you come seeking the innate perfection that has always been what you are.
The balancing can happen in many ways. For example, if there was still karma holding me in any way, my teaching that I’m doing now would help to balance it. Service helps to balance karma, as do forgiveness and loving kindness.
I went from the experience of a profound awakening experience to cleaning up what remained. You’re coming to it from the work of cleaning up what needs to be cleaned up, step by step, and heading into that awakening experience. That’s the only difference.
Does that answer the question?
Neither one is better than the other. Some will come to it from one direction, some the other, depending on your karma and the opportunities offered.
(reading Zoom chat)
Q: How is karma resolved after the death experience, before potential rebirth?
Aaron: On the other side—without the physical body but there’s still a mental body, there may be an emotional body—after the transition you and your guides eventually will sit and reflect together: what is the active karma that still needs to be released? What next incarnate experiences might best serve, both in service to others and in the resolution of karma? What here on the non-human plane might help?
You may be given opportunities to practice acts of loving kindness of healing, to give of yourselves in wonderful ways. If there is a tendency toward over-cherishing the self at the expense of others, undoubtedly you will have a multitude of opportunities to experience that stickiness in the experience between lifetimes, and to practice. If there is lack of cherishing of the self, you will practice that, balancing by doing.
You cannot fully resolve it there, for the most part. If it is almost resolved, you can. But for somebody who has been filled with hate, you will need to come back into a human lifetime to work with it.
But where there’s just a little bit of karma, there’s the opportunity on the non-physical plane to resolve it, and then, probably, to come back to a human lifetime just to check it out— is it really resolved, once I get back into this heavy density mind and body and forget the deeper truth?
Q: Breaking the eggs today, I had a profound integration of the fact that harming myself or others is absolutely part of the experience of incarnation in life here. It is unavoidable.
Aaron: Here on the human plane, it is unavoidable that you will harm yourself and others, yes. Deepening in the intention to do no harm deepens mindfulness, and you begin to see the nuances of the karma and to release old patterns. And as I said, forgiveness—giving forgiveness, offering it and receiving it, releases karma. And also, for each of you, just looking at the habitual patterns and a free will choice of letting them go.
It’s easy to see it when you’re not in a body. It’s easy to say, “Oh, okay—I can let go of that.” But then you come back into the veil, unable to see clearly, and if the habitual tendencies that are destructive in some way are still strong, it leads you back into the whole flow of that karma again. On this human plane you keep resolving the karma, balancing the karma. Then, in between lifetimes, you look with your guides at what has been fully released and what still is sticky a bit. At a certain point, it can be more fully released without taking new rebirth.
There are many subtleties here, and I can’t give you any precise, “This is this, and that is that.” Just feel it out with your heart.
Back to what Q wrote: “I had a profound integration of the fact that harming myself or others is absolutely part of the experience of incarnation in life here. It is unavoidable, and even necessary.”
Yes, because this is what wakes you up.
Are there other questions?
Q: In the book Testimony of Light, examples of opportunities to deal with pretty significant negative karma in the in-between lifetimes realm.
Aaron: Yes. Testimony of Light is a beautiful book that I would strongly recommend to all of you, by a woman named Helen Greaves, and available I believe on Amazon, at least in electronic form.
So you work on it on the between-lifetimes experience, and then you come back to earth and see how you’re doing. You move through the transition again, and you again regard the places that were really fully released, and the places where there’s still karma holding you, attaching, a stickness. You just keep going with it.
For some of you, there may be a profound, deep and sudden enlightenment experience that washes away much karma. But you still have to live it to see if everything that created the stickiness is gone. And then as you check it out, to find, “Ah, here’s a place. I’ve got a little patch of Velcro right here and the dirt is sticking.” Clear it off and remove the Velcro. “Here’s another one.” Wash it off, the old habitual patterns.
(A note about Helen’s books being available in paper form on Amazon.)
For most of you, the work is simply to hold the highest invitation in your heart to live without harm to any sentient being. To live with love, and to move further into the realm of love. And then to be mindful of where you have slipped. Check it out. Explore what the karma might be about. See if the chakras are open or closed where something is being held that wants to be released. Ask for help from your guidance. Just keep moving forward.
If some of you are holding a deep ambition to become fully awakened and putting that ambition ahead of the highest love and service to all beings, the highest living in non-harm, then you’re still stuck in the karma of grasping and ambition. There’s a “somebody” who grasps to awaken.
Coming full circle, you are already awake! Get that—you are already awake! Now, relax and begin to live this awakenedness. Stop efforting so hard. Relax into the radiance that you are.
Q: Do we have agreement with certain people to resolve karma in this life before birth?
Aaron: Yes, absolutely. But just because the other person cannot do it, if the other person cannot do it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You are not dependent on the other person to resolve their side of the karma. You still can do yours. It’s easier if you both can do it together, but not always possible.
Barbara and Hal have that kind of agreement, resolving karma. They’ve come a long way. If one gets ahead of the other in this resolution, it doesn’t have to hold the other back. It just creates some additional challenges for the other.
Before birth, you create a pre-birth plan based on your karma, and since there’s no certainty that you and Person A or B will come into incarnation at the same time and come together, you have multiple plans in mind. And then it will depend on what happens in the lifetime.
If you plan with somebody, there’s a good chance that you will be drawn together, but it’s not a certainty.
End of talk