April 2, 2019 Tuesday Dharma Path Class
Working with Chakras; Guided Chakra Exercises
Barbara: We have a sense of where you are with the practices we’ve been doing. I want to start with some time for questions. Aaron will incorporate when needed. Do you have questions about the homework you’ve been doing? I know that some of you are not getting the light practices, and some of you are, and that’s okay. No practice is meant for everybody. Aaron is going to bring some new things in tonight that he thinks will help.
The main point is not light so much as spaciousness and contraction, and the simultaneity of spaciousness and contraction. This means that the spaciousness is always there but sometimes we can’t see it. The practices that we’re doing help us to reconnect to spaciousness, which is there simultaneous with the contraction that does come. We’re not trying to get rid of contraction but to remember spaciousness.
As I was preparing for tonight, I was reading about what Aaron said about the chakras in Cosmic Healing and other places. He tells a beautiful story of living in a small village where there were terrible rains and a mudslide that washed homes away; mud filled the village; people were killed. In the center of the village there was a well, where the whole village and outlying people got their water. The people in the village decided they had to move elsewhere because their well was filled with mud. Aaron, the man he was in that lifetime, and some of the other people said no, our pure spring is here, it’s always been here; it’s just filled with mud. All we have to do is dig out the mud, and we’ll come to the pure spring. And it happened just that way.
I love this story, because in a sense that’s what we’re doing. Sometimes our lives are filled with mud, but the pure spring, the pure energy, the light, the spaciousness, the love, are always there. We have to dig the mud away.
Okay, that said, I want to open this to questions.
Q: Has Barbara been watching the March Madness (basketball tournament) with Hal?
Barbara: I’ve been watching basketball, yes! Michigan is out—what can I say? Michigan State, well, they’re our biggest rivals, but I guess I’m cheering for Michigan State!
Q: Have you and Hal watched the games at home or at the nursing home?
Barbara: At the nursing home. He’s not been home in a year. But our children are visiting for Easter, and we’re hoping to bring him home. The house is getting to a point of almost-readiness—lots of cleaning up to do, but within two weeks, hoping to have him home for a visit. He’s going to be so excited to see this house.
Are there any questions, or should we hold off on those and come back to questions later? (Back later.)
Okay… In that case, Aaron is going to incorporate…
Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron.
We have been talking about spaciousness and contraction. Contraction is normal for the mammal. I can’t show you my knee, it’s off the camera, but if you bang on here on the leg, there is a contraction and the leg pops up. Every time you breathe, the body contracts and expands. Contraction in itself, balanced contraction, is not a problem. Most of you have a pattern of long-held, unbalanced contraction. When something comes up that is discomforting, frightening, painful, you contract. But then you fail to notice that you contracted and to release.
Certain emotions, like anger or greed or fear, are habitual carriers of contraction. Contraction in itself is not an issue. But when you are contracted and do not remember to release the contraction, your energy field stays closed. Then energy isn’t moving through you. You are not part of the whole flow of light in the universe but closed off into your own small corner. That means you cannot positively impact others, and it means that you become more and more closed in and uncomfortable,.
We’ve been talking about awareness of light. For many people, when you are open and spacious you feel the light, you feel the energy, so these appear together. You are not trying to bring in light; you are inviting yourself to be aware of light, as a reminder that your whole energy field is open.
Tonight, we’re going to go directly to the energy field. (Someone retrieves a figurine from the shelf.) If you will, I’d like you to briefly hold it in front of the camera, fairly close… All of these lines are various energy meridians of the body—raise it up so they can see the feet, too. So, the body is filled with energy meridians. They are the energy pathways of the body. These various smaller energy meridians connect to the primary energy centers of the body—not meridians, but centers—known as chakras: a core chakra meridian is this: (pointing) base, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. Each one has a color related to it. Each one has a tone related to it.
Toning is one thing that can help to support the openness of the chakras. Again, asking your help… (requests an “F” tuning fork from the set). F is the tone of the heart center. I don’t know how well you’ll be able to hear the tuning fork. (taps it but no one can hear it) Can you hear it at all? No? Too bad.
Each chakra has its own vibration or sound, so, singing to the chakras can help invite them to spin and be open. I know that some instruments, like the iPhone, have a tuning fork app. People opening to such an app can find the notes they want.
Q: The 7 notes of the musical scale?
Aaron: Yes: base (chakra) is C, sacral is D, solar plexus is E, heart if F, throat is G, third eye is A, B at the crown, and C again above the crown. (Toning these notes). If you don’t have a good ear for precise sound, find something like that app. It will give you the whole scale. Tuning forks have the benefit to offer vibration too, but are not necessary.
Each chakra has a specific focus. Base is survival. The spleen chakra is safety and power related to survival, while solar plexus is more power also related to the world. Heart holds these lower chakras together with the upper ones. Heart is love. Throat is voice, speech. Third eye is vision—spiritual vision, let us call it. Crown is where you connect to the universe. And then, one more chakra, the one above the crown.
From Cosmic Healing, page 159:
Continuing from Cosmic Healing:
Each chakra has a closed position and a released position, almost like a water faucet. If it’s turned off, the water cannot flow. The con- traction of fear tends to close the chakras.
The lower chakras relate to the heavier, more physical aspects of being, and the upper chakras relate more to the spiritual realm. The lower chakras are of the physical plane, while the upper chakras are of the astral plane. Each of us is a pole, grounded in the Earth plane and carrying the very highest energy of the crown chakra. Sometimes we prefer to be more in the body and avoid the spirit plane, or more in the spirit plane and avoid the world and the body.
Aaron: The main information I want to impart tonight about the chakras is that they give you a doorway into the status is of your energy centers. I you find them off-balance, you may want to attend to them. Not to fix; to look at how they are and invite them back into balance and into openness.
I think most of you have or have read Barbara’s book Cosmic Healing. There’s a full chapter there about chakras. I hope that you can all find time to read that in the coming two weeks, or reread, if you’ve already read it. I’m going to do a guided meditation with you tonight taken from that book, so that you have a printed copy of it easily accessible. Barbara can also email out those pages of that guided meditation.
We are not in any way putting aside the importance of vipassana or pure awareness practice. We are simply giving you tools that you can bring into your meditation and into mindfulness, holding the highest intention to keep the body energy field open, connected to All That Is.
When you become aware that there is contraction, go to clear comprehension of purpose: what is my highest purpose? Is it to remain connected, or is it to armor myself? If it’s to armor myself, then know that will have a result. Being armored will cut off the flow of energy.
We’ve talked about the distinction between armoring and shielding. It’s appropriate to shield, and then to release the shield when it’s no longer needed. But if you walk around perpetually armored, your heart, your core, cannot move energy out, and you cannot receive. Still, as humans, you do armor yourselves. You do close the chakras. So, we will want to look at tools to help hold the chakras open.
We’re going to do several different meditations tonight. The first one is simply a meditation reacquainting you with the chakras. It’s a simple meditation asking you to envision light, to bring it into your body and then release it. We’ll start with that.
Guided Meditation: Chakra Light (Please also see another version, at the end of the transcript)
Find yourself a comfortable posture, relaxed, open. Above your head, visualize a brilliant red globe of spinning light. Invite it to drop down through the crown, the third eye, the throat, the heart, the solar plexus, the spleen, and into the base chakra…Feel it touching and energizing each chakra point. Breathing in, inhaling, feel that strong radiant red light, glowing in the base chakra. Power, connection to the universe, connection to life force, to being. Breathing in and feel it filling you. Breathing out… Breathing in more and more red light, and breathing out… And again… Feel it flooding all the way up to the crown of your head, out to the tips of your fingers and toes. Red light… Say thank you for this light of survival, of being, of existence. Letting it grow larger and larger with every inhale, until you cannot hold any more of it. Feeling it still wanting to pour into you. Thanking it, for this light has brought birth and survival, life, life force. Radiant red light. Now, gather that red light in from the tips of your fingers and toes, from the crown of your head, down into the base chakra at the pelvis. Feel it as a hot red ball of fire, there. Feel the power of it. Let it close into a strong red, radiant flower.
Visualize an orange light above your head, inviting that also into your being. Dropping down through the upper chakras, through the heart, through the solar plexus and into the area just below the navel. You can bring your hands there and start to feel this beautiful orange flower, the sacral chakra. This is where the red of pure existence rises up and begins to form a connection with the world. Breathe in and expand it; breathing out… breathing in, drawing more orange light down and into that spleen area… and again… Such beautiful orange light, filling your being, spinning… When you cannot hold any more, bring it in from the tips of your fingers and toes, from the crown of your head, compacting it down into this area below the navel. Thank it for what it gives to you. Feel it spinning there, alive. Life energy. Feel it connecting with the red ball that’s below it, the two of them spinning and supporting each other.
Bringing the attention up again, visualize a yellow orb spinning above your head, and invite it through the crown of the head, through the whole system and down into the solar plexus. Feel it spinning there. Breathing in, inviting it to fill itself, to expand, to flow through your whole system. Radiant, spinning yellow. Such a beautiful color. Breathing out, sending it to the tips of your fingers and toes, to every pore of your body. Breathing in more yellow… and more… Feel this solar plexus chakra begin to spin. Bring your hands to the solar plexus. Feel the energy there, if it’s helpful.
For many people on a spiritual path, there is some reluctance to bring energy into these three lower chakras. People seem to believe that they need to be in the upper chakras, but they’re not then in touch with the body. They are negating a part of their humanness. There is nothing bad about these lower chakras; they are essential for the human experience. But we want them to be in balance, not taking over the upper chakras. So many people on a very profound spiritual path do tend to push away the body. We see the story of the Buddha and how he ceased to take in food. He just wanted to meditate. He was not willing, at first, to take care of the body, and he almost died. If you want to wake up, in this human experience, you do need a body.
Visualizing red, orange, and yellow—the three orbs, there, spinning. I want to explain something about the chakras. When we say the chakras are spinning and connecting, picture what would happen if you have a bucket of water, are holding it by its handle and spinning it. The water goes to the bottom of the bucket because there’s centrifugal force. But if you had a small hole in the bottom of the bucket, the water would be forced out from the power of the spinning. When the chakras, all 7 chakras, are spinning well, energy comes from one chakra and reaches in to the next chakra. So when we say they are spinning, that also means they are connecting.
You can open your eyes to look at what my hands are doing. They’re spinning, and as they spin, they connect, the energy from one moving to the next. So, we want to the chakras to be strong and spinning in order to allow them to connect, so the energy can flow.
Red, orange, yellow, and we move to the heart center: green. Visualizing green energy and light filling your system, filling the heart, the heart chakra spinning. Breathing in more green light, and more, until it floods the whole body. More and more, until you cannot hold any more. And then, inhaling, draw it into the heart center, thanking it for its power and light. Such beautiful heart energy.
If you do this meditation alone, you would expand the time. I don’t want to spend a half an hour on it because we have a lot to cover tonight. So, I’m just giving you the basics of it; that will allow you to do it at home, spending more time to really touch and get to know each chakra.
Blue. Blue light coming into the throat chakra. Breathing in, let it expand through the whole body, to the fingertips and the toes, to the organs, to the skin. Such radiant blue light. Spinning, becoming stronger. With each inhale, taking in more blue energy and light, and drawing it into the throat and through the whole body. And then, breathe it up into the throat chakra, as much as it can hold. And feel now the red, orange, yellow, green, and blue chakras spinning together.
Indigo light coming into the third eye, filling the body. With each inhale, drawing more into you. Feel the power of it… And drawing it finally into the third eye and connecting it to the other chakras…
Violet light coming into the crown chakra, filling the crown and flooding the whole body. Put your hand on the crown of your head and feel this beautiful area of spaciousness. Inviting light… And then, when you cannot hold any more violet light, let it shrink into a flower in the crown, spinning and connecting to the other chakras.
And finally, about 6 inches above the crown, white light spinning. Feel it spinning up there. You can raise your hand above the crown of your head. Move your hand in a bit of a circle. Feel it moving. Just 4 or 5 inches; not too high. Drawing that energy so that this whole channel of light—red flower, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, white—radiant, open, filling you with energy.
When I say so, I’m going to ask you—not yet; keep it going, keep them all spinning—and when I tell you, you’re going to open as if it’s a fountain. Send all of these colors up and out through the crown like a fountain of light pouring over you. Try that now. Inhale and the with the exhale, send it out… Feel its light cascading over you, cleaning the whole core chakra system…
Hopefully you’ve felt a little bit, at least, of this energy moving through you, a little change in your energy. I’m going to look at you; you can nod if you felt this at all. Have you felt any opening, some of you? I want to know so I can get a better sense of whether people are getting this or not, and where I need to focus. Some yes, some no; that’s fine.
These are the core chakras of the central chakra system. There are also back chakras. D, would you come up here for a minute? Stand here with your back to me… Okay, so between the base and where the spleen would be, there’s a back chakra. One here between the spleen and solar plexus, solar plexus and heart, heart and throat, throat and third eye, and—I can’t reach it, but up there. Not at the top where the crown is, but more…
So, there are many chakra systems. This is a core chakra system and back chakra system. The statue that we showed you and all the meridians drawn there are relating to various chakras or energy centers through the body. Tonight we are concerning ourselves with only the core meridian systems and chakras.
Now, why are we focusing on this? If you are to live life with joy, with connection, with passion, with awareness, you have to be present. If you cease to be present by closing down all your energy meridians, you are choosing to not participate too much in the world. Free will—it’s your choice. But then you say to me, “Aaron, I feel so isolated. I feel so shut down.” Well, yes! Do you want to do want to do something about it, or say, “I feel shut down.”? You can do a lot about it.
This meditation that we just did, you might find this, if you have a little extra time, a good way to start a vipassana sitting. Just spend 10 minutes looking through the chakras and becoming aware of whether any seem to be more closed; which ones are more open. I repeat what I said earlier: many of you are going to find that the upper chakras are more open than the lower chakras.
Barbara sent out information last night. I’m not going to repeat that information; that’s not a good use of our time. So, please read that information about the different functions of the chakras and the kinds of issues that arise when one or another chakra is closed. This is part of your homework, please.
Let us go to the question of how we work with it. I’ll use Barbara as an example, here.
This being, maybe 20 or more years ago, she was sitting here in front of her altar, meditating, relatively openhearted, but feeling somewhat tight and contracted. She was aware that there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness. She was at that point—let’s take it back probably 25 years. She was still working with some of the anger at her deafness, some of the anger at Hal’s anger at her deafness, some of the feeling of being shut off by her deafness. She felt a strong intention to open, but she didn’t know how, so she began to reflect on feeling the energy in each chakra, and where they were closed. It was easy for her, at that point, to move into a deep meditation—strong access concentration, a lot of light and energy; as long as she didn’t come down into the body. But she knew she was avoiding her body, didn’t want to be in the body. Not surprisingly, the solar plexus was very, very closed; a lot of anger, heaviness.
In meditation, I suggested she lie on a cushion here on the floor, and she began to just move through the chakras, feeling where the tension was, where it was closed. Feeling how strongly the solar plexus was blocking the base energy, life force energy, from coming up into the heart and upper chakras. So, she was blocking a sense of joy of being, of existence, of power.
Over a period of 2 or 3 weeks, as she meditated with this, she began to see images. At first not taking it as a past life image, but then eventually understanding it as such. She didn’t want to accept, “Oh, this was a past life.” She said, “Oh, that’s nonsense.” She believed there were past lives but not that she could see them. But gradually the images became so strong she had to ask, what is this image? The image she saw was of herself as a Native American, long, long ago, having fought some battle and been taken captive. Tied to the ground—arms tied down; legs tied down with stakes into the ground. Hair tied back so the head could not move. At first, she thought, “How cruel,” and then she started to realize this was a common way of testing and executing one’s enemies. You did not kill your enemy; you simply tied them to the ground, and then cut from below the heart down through the abdomen, slightly pulling the skin apart, and left. The idea was that if this warrior truly had power he could heal the wound, pull himself up and go free. But of course, nobody could do that.
There were birds of carrion flying around, and because the ancient warrior could not move arms or head, or any part of the body, they began to land near, and then to probe into this wound. Barbara felt how the warrior she had been was filled with so much anger; really, hatred. Day after day Barbara came in to meditate and worked with this vision. What do I do about this? She became aware of the importance to be able to say: Yes, I am going to die. I accept that I am going to die, and I will not selfishly hold this body to me. I will share everything that I can of this body; in this case, for this warrior literally sharing the body with the birds, feeding the birds as a final act. This was a very important step for Barbara in several ways; in healing the relationship with Hal and with her deafness and in becoming a trance medium and doing deeper mediumship work – expanding her teaching, in sharing herself with Hal and her children, with her students. Learning that she doesn’t have to hold onto anything. That everything truly is freely given, and what that means.
So, by many days of meditation as Barbara knowing that warrior as part of herself, Barbara and the warrior together developed the ability, instead of holding on to rage, to be able to say, “Take what is needed. I give freely.” Of course, he died. He was going to die anyhow. What does it mean to fully open the heart and offer oneself to the world in love? For Barbara, it was the start of the true healing of the deafness; of true compassionate opening to herself and to Hal for the challenge it brought into their lives.
Now, I’m not suggesting Barbara can fully do that; none of you can, you’re human. But gradually you learn to live the commitment to be of service in the world, to live fully, giving of yourself, and receiving fully. Until you can give fully, you cannot receive. We talked about that several classes ago, the importance of giving fully in order to receive fully, receiving fully in order to give fully.
This is just one example of a way working with this chakra helped Barbara. She began to explore the way that the solar plexus chakra was not spinning, and energy was not flowing through. There was vital energy at the base. There was upper chakra energy. But the heart, solar plexus, spleen, and really even the throat, were all somewhat closed down. What was her highest purpose? She moved back and forth between knowing her highest intentions; working some with forgiveness—with herself, for others; working with compassion. A lot of vipassana sitting and spending time with this karmic ancestor, helping him find peace.
What is your intention? What intentions has it been hard to fully realize? What blocks those intentions from realization? How can you use the chakras to give you information, to find out where there is closure? Looking at the chart of chakra issues—“Aha, maybe it’s about this chakra, or that chakra.” Chakra issues, intention, and commitment, out of love, to see what needs to be seen. To see into some of the old issues that have closed some of the chakras. To invite them to open.
So, gradually you invite this opening until the energy is flowing well. You will find when the chakras are open, you are uncontracted. Or conversely, when you release contraction and open into spaciousness, it helps the chakras to be open.
I am not trying to push you into work with the chakras; it’s just one more tool. If it’s a useful tool for you—and you won’t know until you try—then practice some with it. See in what ways it helps you to awaken, to be more fully awake in this body, in this awareness, in this joy and spaciousness. Does it help?
Remember that the chakras do not function independently but all together. Picture it as a group of linked rubber balloons. But instead of one opening that you blow through in each balloon, each balloon has two openings, connected to the chakra above and below. A red balloon, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, white. The white balloon at the top is open to the Unconditioned. The red balloon at its far end is open to life force, vitality. Each is filled with energy and light of its own color. When squeezed, a rainbow begins to flow!
Since the balloons are all connected, if you were take one balloon and squeeze it and close it off, or almost close it off so just a very little bit of energy flows through, you can see how it shuts off the flow. Wherever it’s closed it can’t flow through.
You have so many deep, loving aspirations, to be of service in the world. And as humans you still do have a lot of fear and old karmic patterns that hold you back. It is not sufficient to hold an intention, “I will stay open.” You can’t order yourself to stay open like that. If there is closure it’s because there’s a cause for that closure, and that cause wants to be attended to. It may be sufficient to simply see it and know—again, simultaneity; yes, it’s closed, but I know it’s also open — and to feel the openness of it, and that’s it. If that works for you, wonderful.
If there’s something heavier there, some deep wounding in this or a past lifetime—I shared a past lifetime of Barbara’s and her story. But it could be just this lifetime. Someplace that is crying out for compassion, or even for forgiveness, that is crying out for letting go, for healing. As it heals, the balloons begin to interconnect; the energy flows. And then it flows out of you and into the world, and you can do the work you say you’ve come to do because you’re no longer coiled up tight, with blocks.
Some of you will find this to be a beautiful practice. Some of you will find that it just doesn’t interest you, and I have no argument with that. If it is helpful, work with it. If it is not helpful, then lay it aside. But do at least spend a little time with it in the next two weeks, especially to explore: is there any one chakra that is especially more closed? Can I feel it energetically, or can I simply conjecture, looking at the issues that concern the chakras, what supports the blockage? If there’s an issue about, for example, fear of power, do you then keep the base and spleen chakra closed, not allowing power to come into you from the earth, from the world, because you’re afraid you may misuse that power? You do not have to see a past life in which there was abuse of power, just to recognize that it probably happened, that fear of repetition stops you from fully claiming your power, and to find that part of you that can hold power wisely.
If you’re afraid of speaking words that will harm other people, do you choke off the throat chakra? Then one might do some forgiveness meditation, asking for forgiveness for any harm you have done to others through speech; offering forgiveness for any harm done to you by others through speech. Just inquire. Familiarity with the chakras and awareness of when one or more are partially blocked, not spinning, is just a path of deeper self-awareness.
Please remember, we are not fixing. Simultaneous with the closed throat chakra is an open throat chakra. Simultaneous with a closed base chakra is an open base chakra. In order to get to that which is already open and has always been open, you may want to look at certain issues surrounding the closed chakras and ask, where is healing to be found? What needs to be understood or released?
This next piece is important. When you ask that kind of question, I don’t want you to go after, grasping. Begin to see what is closed, what old karmic tendencies are pushing you one way or another where you do not wish to be pushed, and then trust your vipassana practice. Simply come into sitting. Another name for vipassana is, of course, insight meditation. And there are many levels of insights. Some are very profound—insight into the nature of mind and body, into the nature of arising and cessation of all conditioned dharmas. But there are also the more personal insights. “Oh, I didn’t realize how angry I was.” Letting go, opening. “How afraid I was, how confused I was. Ah, I see it.”
So, drop this question, “What’s going on here?”, as you would drop a pebble into a pond and let the ripples open out. Don’t try to figure out an answer, but simply drop the question lightly, and then come back to your formal practice. Just the willingness to ask the question will open doors, will provide you with information that you may need.
So, I see I’ve been talking for an hour, now…
(The group takes a break; Aaron will return to move in a related but different direction.)
Aaron: Once again, I greet you in love and light. I am Aaron. So let’s take these chakras a bit further. Here I’m going to read something from Cosmic Healing. It’s a guided meditation that you can either look for in the book, or Barbara can email it out, so that you can start with it immediately, not wait for it to be transcribed. It will give you a chance to practice with it.
First, I ask you think about something painful that happened this week, something that led to feelings of sadness or anger, fear. It could be something personal, or something you heard on the news. When you bring this memory into your thoughts and into your body, can you feel any chakra or area of the body—if not the chakra itself, the chest or the belly or the throat—any part of the body that seems to contract with this thought.
If you have thought of something and can feel a place where that thought is more or less sticking a bit, when you have that, give me a thumbs up and hold it there for a minute, so I can tell there are at least a number of you with it…. Okay, thank you. Now bring one hand over whatever part of the body, specifically a chakra, or just a general area of the body where it seems to be contracting with that thought…
Hold the heart open to this difficult emotion. Simply bring kind attention to that feeling of closure. Breathe more of the appropriate color into the chakra; or several colors, if several chakras are involved.
Remember, you are not fixing anything; you are simply, out of kindness, inviting balance. Breathing in, I am aware of tension in the heart or in the belly, in the throat. Breathing out, I hold space there. I invite color and light. Breathing in, I am aware of tightness. Breathing out, I envision and feel the innate spaciousness.
If it’s one specific chakra that seems most impacted, go to the chakras above and below it. For example, if the throat is closed, go to the heart and the third eye and begin to invite them to spin, like the balloons I described, bringing energy up to the throat, down to the throat. Then a hand at the throat providing opening. (I’m using the throat, here, because you can see me doing it on the Zoom screen.) Not fixing; fixing will carry its own contraction. Taking care of. If you had a child who came to you saying, “I have a bellyache,” the first thing you might do is just hold and rock the child, and gently massage the belly. Or, “I have a headache,” bringing gentle energy into the head. You are your own child, gently bringing energy in.
I would like you to keep doing this until you can feel—and this is important phrasing—right there with the contraction, the innate spaciousness. Right there with blockage, openness…
As you begin to experience even a bit of shift, a bit more openness, say thank you. “Yes, I choose this light, this spaciousness. Ahhh…” perhaps opening the arms, breathing in. Deep breath, literally expanding and filling yourself. If you have any experience of light, draw light in to the place that was closed. Whatever may help to balance.
What am I after, here, is not your opening something that is closed, but finding that which is innately open right there with the closure, at which point you take care of the closure, but you also open your heart and know openness, spaciousness, light.
You might note to yourself, “My highest intention is to offer love to myself and all beings, to live my life in service to all beings. This contraction keeps me away from this intention, so I take care of the contraction, inviting it to show its innate spaciousness and light.” But if it doesn’t want to yield in that way, that’s okay. Don’t force it.
So, working very gently around the contraction. I’m thinking of a knotted muscle. If a friend comes to you with a very tight muscle, back or shoulder, you don’t push hard, which would be too painful; you gently massage around it a bit and help invite energy and movement through it until the knot releases itself. The contraction has no ultimate reality; but for right now, it’s painful.
Bring your attention back to that original thought—something that was frightening or painful or sad. As you bring your attention back to it, is there a bit more space with it? Has it opened a little bit? I’m going to be quiet for a few minutes and let you explore with this. Most of your eyes are closed, so you do have privacy here. If you’re feeling some opening or spaciousness, give me a thumbs up. If you’re not at all, give me a thumbs down, so I get a sense of how people are doing with this, what you’re experiencing.
(The group does this for a couple of minutes.)
If the thumbs are down, still experiencing contraction, simply note, “Breathing in, I am aware of the contraction. Breathing out, I honor the contraction as a statement of some kind of pain or fear. I do not force the contraction. I hold the contraction in the light.” So, see what happens then. Again, you’re not trying to fix the contraction but to see what supports your coming back to spaciousness and ease.
Your thumbs up will give me a sign that there’s more opening. Your thumbs down will give me a sign that there’s still quite a lot of contraction…
Some up, some down. Of course, you’re human—that’s how it works! No fixing, just opening the heart, holding yourself as you would a child who has stumbled and skinned his knee, and is now sitting on your lap, crying. It’s a tiny scrape; it really doesn’t even need to be bandaged, or even washed off; just a little red skin. But it hurts; he’s crying. Holding him and rocking him until he feels better. Holding yourself in this way, with this thought…
(pause while the group does this)
Let us envision together, now. I don’t know of any mass calamity of this past 24 hours, fortunately, but certainly somewhere on this earth there must have been a bad fire where people were burned or even killed. Let’s use this together as an image. A burning house. People crying out for help. Feel wherever in your body there is contraction, as you envision this and hear their cry for help. Wanting to help. Feeling helpless. What can you do? They’re not right here next to you. All you can do is offer love and light and hold them in your heart and wish them well.
You can do these things best, can offer these things most fully, when your energy field is open. But if it’s closed, that doesn’t mean that you cannot offer, only that less of it can come through.
Sometimes when there is a group energy like this you may want to—although we cannot literally hold hands, you may want to hold your hands out and feel the energy of the others in the circle. Receiving energy through the left hand and passing it on through the right. Sending it around in a chain. Feeling the fullness of your energy willing to participate in this offering of love and healing. Visualizing together this house burning down, people fleeing, people crying, people injured.
Part of us doesn’t want to be present; it’s too painful. Finding the strength in the circle around you:
Breathing in, I am aware of your suffering.
Breathing out, I offer love.
Breathing in, I am aware of your pain.
Breathing out, I offer comfort.
Breathing in, I am aware of the darkness that you feel.
Breathing out, I offer light.
I hold you in the loving heart of the Eternal, God, Goddess, of the Unconditioned itself, the heart of that place free of arising and passing away; the heart of Love. In that space I hold you in the light.
I hold you in my heart, in our hearts.
Through all of our love, may you begin to experience healing and comfort.
May you begin to experience ease and well-being.
May you be safe and free from the intensity of such pain.
May you be happy and find peace.
No force, here. Simply invite yourself to participate in this circle of healing and energy.
Now gently explore your energy body system, and physical body too, and see whether you feel at least some degree of spaciousness; whether you experience a sense of light, of energy, of joy or gratitude…
And then, please return to the original thought of something that was painful this week, that brought contraction, anger, fear, sadness. Look to see if there’s a little bit more ease with that, if your energy field feels more open, if your heart feels more open, if you simply feel more connected.
Again, out of curiosity, give me a show of thumbs up, thumbs down: is this helping? For many of you, yes.
You have enormous power; you forget that. When you align yourself with the power of love that is innate to you and all beings, to the deep compassionate wisdom of the heart, you have enormous power. Awareness of the chakras can help bring forth this power—liberate it, so to speak. So, practice a bit with this, this week. You may open your eyes.
Some of you may literally experience some degree of light; others will not. Some of you who had a hard time experiencing light when we talked about it before may find with the flow of energy you experienced some light, (inaudible). No right or wrong, here, it’s just exploration with the fullest intention of living in the open heart, living with awareness, living with more emptiness of the separate self. Living with love.
I thank you. I’m going to open the floor to questions, now…
You are so beautiful, all of you. Of course, I see you on the screen, but I also see light pouring out of you.
Q: Something I never thought about before. When you were talking about the back chakras, if you’re working on opening—or, when you’re energizing the front chakras and checking whether they’re open or closed, do you also work on the back chakras? And do have to visualize where they are? Are the colors the same or different? Anything like that.
Aaron: Actually, front and back chakras are the normal verbal articulation of this, but it’s inaccurate. The front chakras are placed a little bit in front of the spine, the back chakras a little behind the spine. But the flow is not from crown to third eye to throat to heart; the flow is crown—-energy flows into the third eye and it also flows to the chakra between the crown and third eye. And then it flows from that chakra—it comes through. They keep going back and forth.
If there is a blockage, for example, between the heart and throat, energy will often find a way around it by going from the back chakra above the throat, back and forth a bit, to get down through the heart. Energy finds a way, but it’s much more pleasant and is of fuller energy when it’s open. But you don’t have to think—you can at a certain point think about the back chakras. You can explore to see if there’s a particular back chakra that’s more closed. But for the most part, for now just pay attention to the front chakras.
At the intensive we’re going to spend some time working with a very beautiful book, that’s written by a Zen master, Roshi Jiyu Kennett. It’s called The Book of Life, in which she introduces certain mudras.
Mudra is usually a certain hand position, but here it’s an energy touch mudra. We’re going to work in pairs with several basic mudras to explore the energy system and chakras, for a few hours one day, to get a better sense of where there is blockage, for each of you, and what helps to open that blockage. Again, we’re not doing this to fix anything, but because all of you come to me saying, “I want to be of service, Aaron. I want to be a light in the world.” Well, good! Wonderful! Then let’s see what may be dimming that light. Maybe there’s too heavy a lampshade over part of it. So, we’ll pay some attention to this, and also give you a tool that you can work with on your own, at home.
Q: This is regarding clear light meditation. So when I am doing clear light meditation, things open up and I’m really relaxed. But I’m waiting for the light. Am I barking up the wrong tree, or just being open is enough? I’m taking it literally.
Aaron: So, you’re relaxed and open and waiting to feel the clear light, but you’re not feeling it?
Q: I’m not sure…
Aaron: If you’re relaxed and your heart is open, that’s probably it.
Q: Well, that’s what I thought, but I want a light!
Aaron: Some people will see it as light. Other people might smell it as roses, or might hear music playing.
Q: (laughing) All right! I keep looking for a light!
Aaron: If your experience is like that, that’s fine. Don’t go after the light. Rather, ask, is there anything that’s creating shadow, here? If there’s no sense of shadow, then that’s probably light. Light, relative to what?
Again, at the intensive we will spend a fair amount of time, actually, doing pure awareness meditation, practice deepening in resting in pure awareness. I’m going to lead a guided pure awareness meditation probably next class, to give you all more instruction in it. But we’ll spend a lot of time, hopefully in pretty weather, sitting outside, looking up at the sky. And many of you will experience a lot of light, as you rest in pure awareness.
Our intention is not to get something—“Ooo, I want some of that light!” “Me too—did you get light yet?” Our intention is simply to find that innate radiance of being that’s already there, that helps us know: ah, right here, this is the awakened mind. There’s nothing distorting it right at this moment. Just resting in this spaciousness, clarity, light, spacious energy, open heart.
So, each of you will experience a different part of it. You all know the blind men and the elephant story…
“I’ve got this thing that feels like a tree trunk. This must be an elephant.”
“Oh no, you’re wrong. I’m touching a long, snake-like thing— that’s an elephant.”
“You’re both wrong. There’s a wall—that’s an elephant,” he says, holding the side.
What is your elephant?
Trust yourself, Q, and all of you, trust yourselves. I am not saying you’re all experiencing the totality of light and spaciousness; only, if you don’t trust the taste of it, how can you go further?
(Aaron reads the question off the screen, away from mic.)
Q: A contraction was related to a chakra, but then I looked for another contraction and it seemed like it was just floating in space, not related to a chakra. This is usually how my practice is. Do I ask the same questions as intended for the chakras?
(there is both noise around the mic so words were missed, and Aaron returns to speaking for himself; so, not sure if this is part of the q or Aaron speaking—>) relatedness to a chakra and know it doesn’t seem to be related to a chakra, let it go.
Aaron: Maybe it’s related to some old karma, old thought. Just a habitual pattern. If there’s no relation to a chakra, don’t try to find one. No, let me read the question further.
Q: Is it important to examine the feelings and where they come from, or just recognize the feelings and work with the spaciousness and contractions within the chakra?
Aaron: There’s no need to try to figure out what is causing contraction. There’s no need to pin it down to a chakra. There’s no need to pin down, oh, this is a feeling of sadness, or fear, or confusion. Sometimes there will be clarity; sometimes there won’t.
I find one of the most helpful things is simply to ask: what do I need to know to more deeply fulfill my intention to express love in the world? To live with non-harm to all beings? What do I need to know? And then sit.
If there is some feeling that you have not been allowing to surface because it felt too uncomfortable, and you give it permission, it will surface. And, as your practice deepens, you will see it so clearly arisen out of conditions, impermanent, and floating away. But if it doesn’t float away but has grabbed you somewhere, then you can begin to acknowledge, oh, it’s holding me. It’s holding me in the belly, or the throat—what is it I don’t want to say? If in the base chakra, what power am I afraid of? But again, you don’t go after that for an answer. You simply note that this is related. Restate your intention to live your life with love, passion and wisdom, for the highest good of all beings and harm to none; and to see what blocks that intention so as to more fully release it. And then trust your practice and most loving intentions.
The answers will come in a million different ways, anywhere from a deep insight, to some interaction with another person, where you say, “Oh, that’s what this is about,” to a profound meditation experience of emptiness of self, where you have the deep insight, “Oh, what was all this stuff, all these stories, about?” All these stories about a self, but there’s never been a self. Ah, I can let this all go.” Different insights. Whatever is useful. As you open yourself and hold the intention, it’s important that the intention is for service to all beings than “Me, I’m suffering. I need to fix this.” That’s not really going to get you out of suffering. That’s probably going to mire you deeper into it. So, trust your practice and the beauty and radiance of your hearts.
Q: What is the difference between karma related to a chakra and karma not related to a chakra?
Aaron: Karma will always be related to a chakra. A chakra will always react in some way to karma that is still being held into what seems a separate self. Thus, one way to help unfold the karma and release it is to go into the chakra and release it, as the story I gave you of Barbara and the work she did, that Native American ancestor. The karma was being held in the chakra because it wanted to reveal itself so as to release itself. At some level she was holding the strong intention to be of service, but still afraid of, “Will my needs be met?” She had to get past that before she could go further. The karma that was most deeply expressed in the issues came from that past lifetime. So, attending to it opened a lot for her and released the karma. Does that make sense, Q? (Yes.)
Q: Are chakras both receptors and transmitters of energy? Is the energy within the chakra a form of awareness?
Aaron: Two questions. “Are chakras both receptors and transmitters of energy?”—yes. “Is the energy within the chakra a form of awareness?”—give me a minute with that one…
The energy within the chakras is energy. It is an object. Awareness, citta, perceives the object. The next question will be how awareness relates to the object, and this is where karma comes in. If there is a strong habitual self-centered way of relating, based in fear and contraction, then that’s how it will relate. If awareness becomes aware of the habitual way, and that this habitual way is not of the nature of a self, that it’s just habit, just repeated reaction, suddenly it’s free. However, it may take several recognitions of this sort before there’s any real sense of freedom. Is there further question?
Q: Let’s say that the energy is coming from the very highest chakra. So, are you saying I’m aware of that, or is there a unity there of subject and object are both one? The energy of the chakra is awareness itself.
Aaron: I’m not fully understanding your question. Energy is a thing. At the very highest level it becomes a direct expression of the Unconditioned, but it is still a thing. It is not consciousness but an object of consciousness. The way it is related to depends on habitual patterns, karma. It also depends on the nature of that thing. If it’s a very pure thing, a very pure, high, clear energy, depending on your karma you may relate to it by opening to it, your whole energy field expanding and opening around it, or you may relate by saying, “Oh no, it’s too high an energy. I can’t deal with it. I’m not worth of it.” This is where both awareness and mundane consciousness come in.
We note energy can be a direct expression of the Unconditioned, just as can sound (nada), luminosity, and so forth. But these are still things, not consciousness.
I see that it’s 9 o’clock. I love this discussion. I promise us more discussion time next time. I wanted to get through some of this on the chakras, but next time we will work more with pure awareness practice and some questions. We have two more classes before the intensive. I want to work with you on the elements at more depth, so we’ll see what combination, the next two classes, putting together some work with the elements, pure awareness practice, and some questions.
Thank you all, and good night. My blessings and love. I am so filled with joy at the beauty of the work you are doing, your deep commitment to do this work. People come to me, saying, “Aaron, what’s happening in our world? There are so many terrible things happening. What do we do about it?” You are doing it in taking care of yourselves in these ways and deepening in your practice. In truly, I don’t want to say waking up, but coming to know that in the self, which is awake, and stabilizing that through vipassana, and through all these practices. You are doing the best thing that can be done for the world. What you learn here will also have more mundane expressions in the ways you react to people in the world. So, thank you. It brings me much joy, and it’s why I came to teach you. Thank you.
I’ll release the body to Barbara…
June 9, 2004
Barbara: Aaron is asking you to sit straight with the spine straight so that the energy can flow more cleanly from the crown to the base chakra. Last class we worked with sound, chanting OM, resonant with each chakra. Tonight we’re going to work with the chakras, visualizing light.
Aaron: Feel yourself sitting in a brilliant, radiant light, so that the light is shining down on the crown of the head. Breathe in that light, drawing it in through the body and into the base chakra with the inhale. As you exhale, send that red light out into the body from the base chakra, down the legs to the toes; down the arms to the fingers. Breathe in more red light. Exhale, filling the body with red light. Inhale red. See it as a brilliant red color. Breathing in, drawing it to the base chakra. Breathing out, allowing waves of it to flow out into the body. Intense red light. And again. And again.
Feel the energy movement of it in the base chakra. Keep breathing it in and then releasing it into the body until it feels like the body cannot hold any more of it. Breathing in, filling the body with red light. (Pause to do this.)
When you cannot breathe in any more red light, with the inhale draw it up from the fingers, toes, up the arms and legs into the base chakra so the base chakra is a spinning orb of red. To help it spin, let’s offer the chant as we did in the last class. Try to feel the vibrational frequency of voice that resonates with this spinning chakra and helps it to spin faster, cleaner. (Chanting OM…)
Leaving the base chakra spinning, envision brilliant orange and draw it down to the second chakra just below the navel. Breathing in orange, and as you exhale, let it flood the body. Breathing in orange again, bringing it down to the second chakra. And with the exhale, filling the body with that orange radiance. Do it at your own speed until you feel the body saturated with this color. (Pause to do this.)
Then draw this orange light back into the second chakra. There is just a small bit of awareness left with these chakras, aware of them spinning. A red orb, an orange orb. And now feel yourself sitting in yellow light and draw it down to the solar plexus area, third chakra. Breathing out, releasing yellow light through the body. Breathing in more yellow light, from the source. The body filled with yellow light; just a small bit of awareness in the spinning red and orange orbs. Two brilliant lights spinning in this large expanse of yellow. Until the body cannot hold any more of the yellow light. Let it go wherever it wants in the body: fingertips, toes, ears, eyebrows, nose tip, everything yellow.
As you draw it back into the solar plexus chakra, let’s chant with this one again. (Chanting OM…)
The note that is right for Barbara may not be the exact note that is right for you. Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to match her voice but to match the resonance of your own third chakra. (Chanting OM…)
Three balls of spinning light. Bring in green, and bring it down to the heart center. Feel it filling the heart with the inhale, and with the exhale, the whole body filled with different shades of green, a radiant rich green. Filling the body. Bringing in green through the crown. Exhale and fill the body with green. Breathing in; exhale. Green. Green. Feel the richness of it. Feel the heart filled with it.
When you cannot hold any more, with the inhale draw it into the heart. Drawing in blue through the crown, drawing it down to the throat chakra. With the exhale, the body is filled with blue. Inhale blue. Exhale, filling the body. Some small bit of awareness noting the 4 spinning globes of red, orange, yellow and green. Not overly absorbed in them, just knowing their presence. Inviting blue to join them. Fully saturated with blue. Draw it back into the throat chakra. Feeling the throat chakra begin to spin. Let us sing to this one. What I’m doing is chanting with the chakra’s frequencies. (Chanting OM…)
Leaving this blue orb spinning, bringing in indigo, a blue-violet color, into the third eye. Breathing out and filling the body with that color. Breathing in indigo again. More and more of it filling the body.
The body saturated with indigo and then draw it up into the third eye, a spinning globe. Aware of these 6 spinning chakras, perfectly aligned, perfectly balanced. Draw purple light into the crown chakra. Breathing out, filling the body with purple light. Breathing in, filled with purple, until the body can hold no more of it. And then draw all into the crown chakra.
Barbara’s voice range does not cover the whole octave. Those of you who can chant this higher note that reverberates with the crown chakra, please do so. Barbara will need to chant it in a lower octave. (Chanting OM…)
These 7 globes all perfectly aligned, the energy field open. And finally I would ask you to visualize a brilliant white light about 6 inches above the crown of the head. White and yet filled with color, like ice glittering in the sunshine. Feel the intensity of that color. Radiant as the clearest crystal, and yet having a quality of whiteness. (Pause to do this.)
Allow it to align with the others. When we are all ready, not yet, I’m going to invite you to send all of these colors up the central channel and out through the crown of the head, touching into that white globe above the head, and then erupting out from that, falling over the body and shoulders like a waterfall, as if you had turned yourself into a fountain. A white light has the crystal-like quality, the clarity and brilliance of white and each of these colors passing through.
Breathing in the readiness to do this, breathing out, send it out from the base chakra, slowly, letting each color rise up. The base chakra pushing the others out, pushing up and out and out, exploding out through the crown of the head and through this brilliant white radiance above the head. Exploding out and pouring down over you as a shimmering waterfall.
You may have experienced that it does not all leave, you’re left with a core of light of each color, the chakras aligned, spinning, but no longer feeling super charged. I would hope that you now feel alert, relaxed, at ease.