FEBRUARY 19, 2019 TUESDAY, DHARMA PATH CLASS
THE LIGHT IS PART OF THE DARKNESS, THE DARKNESS IS PART OF THE LIGHT; EXERCISE IN GIVING AND RECEIVING; PATH OF CLEAR LIGHT; NON-DUALITY PRACTICES
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Barbara: Aaron reminds me I will not be able to talk well, me as Barbara, later, once he’s incorporated. He’s suggesting I share a little of my Casa experience.
Two things I would share. I got there on a Sunday morning. Spirit had said to me that they would want to do at least one or several interventions, but they would do them at night, right after dinner, and then I could sleep for 12 hours and take care of my group the next day. That 12 hours would be enough. So, sure enough, after dinner that first night we had a group circle, and suddenly— (sound effect!) And I said good night and went in to bed and slept until quite late, through breakfast the next morning. I could feel them working on my back.
I asked for help with two things. One was opening my heart to Hal and my present situation. Moving through the grief and— I think I shared the image, that I felt like I was caught in a riptide, being pushed out to sea. I realized I couldn’t get myself back to shore— shore being things as they were. So, then I was trying to reach the other shore— things as I envision I’m going to make them be. That’s just another place of grasping. That I needed to let myself just drift out to sea and float there. And if necessary, to sink. Not to drown— I have a long snorkel tube, miles high. I can sink as long as I need to sink. But not to try to go anywhere, just to be, and sink down into all the experiences— the love, the loss, whatever it might be. And just allow myself to see the franticness of this year, and asking, where is peace to be found? Where is love to be found?
I can’t share the variety of experiences, just that there was a profound letting go. I realized I’ve been juggling so many balls as if they were hand grenades, and if I dropped one it would explode and destroy this, destroy that— I’ve got to keep them in the air! And realizing I just had to let go, had to say, “I put this one down. I put that one down. That’s it. I will not give them any more attention for now.” At a later point, if it seems like they need attention, I might pick this one up and put that one down. But no more, “Got to keep them all up in the air!” And it was such a relief to let them go. A lot of personal insights into my psychology and karma and the need to keep them all going.
I think the big question for me is, what does love ask me to do? Not, what does fear ask me to do— what does love ask me to do? What does love ask any of us to do, in this crazy world of ours today, and in our lives? So, there was a profound experience of letting go. I slept 8 or 9 hours every night, something I haven’t done for a year. I swam every day in a beautiful crystal-clear pool with a pink flowering tree. I don’t know what kind of flowers, but it rained petals on the water. Very beautiful. Blue sky— we had beautiful weather. Because current was short, at 4 o’clock after current I could go down to the pool and sometimes swim, sometimes just float there, looking at these pink flowers above me, floating in warm water— ahhh….
A lot of time looking at spaciousness and contraction. Aaron is going to talk more about this tonight. The way we can almost experience spaciousness, but we’re so caught in contraction that spaciousness seems like something over there, that we have to get rid of the contraction to get to the spaciousness rather than finding the spaciousness that’s right there in the contraction. I’m not sure I can explain this, but this is part of putting those grenades down and not trying to juggle them.
A great deal of letting go. When you get to my age, you have some idea of where you want your life to be going, to have gone. Letting go of all old beliefs— it should be this way or that way— even old aspirations. To just rest there in the middle of the ocean and see things as they are. And open to possibilities, accepting possibilities, letting the beautiful ones come in and letting the not so beautiful ones bounce off and drift away.
So, learning— control is the wrong word. Control is an effort based in fear. Learning to co-create my life from a place of love rather than trying to control it. I think that’s the biggest shift.
I had some very big sores on my hand for over 6 months, that a friend thought were probably skin cancer and said my doctor should look at them and freeze them off. And I asked the entities for help with them. You really can’t see them anymore. You can feel a little rough patch, it’s fading. Thank you to spirit for that. I actually had one on my nose, too, that’s healing.
So, that’s about it from me. I’m going to pause and let Aaron incorporate…
Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Hello to you all (on Zoom screen)— I need to wave this way while I look that way… (camera and faces on screen)
We’ve been looking at what might seem to be opposites, as Barbara stated— spaciousness and contraction, masculine and feminine energy, receiving and giving. My focus has been to help you experientially understand that in every giving there is receiving, and in every receiving, there is giving. In every contraction there’s spaciousness, and in spaciousness there must be contraction. It’s not here (pointing) and there (pointing) and we balance them, but the they inter-are.
It is vital for you to experience this in the simpler forms like giving and receiving before you can explore it in darkness and light. For many of you, darkness feels like negativity, light like positivity, and you are trying to enter into that realm of the positive, push away the negative. But they need each other. Contraction needs spaciousness and spaciousness needs contraction. But it is not a contraction with which there is self-identity; it is seen simply as ripples of contraction. It is integrated into the spaciousness, darkness integrated into the light— bringing out highlights, we might say.
These next 3 months, I want to bring us back to Path of Clear Light and to working with the light, knowing that the light is part of the darkness, the darkness part of the light. Entering into the light with no fear of the darkness that is there within the light. Entering into spaciousness without holding a wall against contraction.
Barbara spoke a bit about her experiences at the Casa. I’m going to share something for her, taking it one step further. She was sitting in the current room and had a very deep experience of the Light. She had an image of walking through a beautiful flowered grove with loving beings expressing very rich light and love. Beings around her were guiding her. And at the far end of the path she could see an exquisite radiance that was almost unbearable to look at. She felt the heightening vibration in her body as she approached it.
As she approached, she began to have an experience of seeing her body not just as this immense light that it is but seeing ripples of shadow and darkness, and she froze. She said, “I cannot approach the light any further until I get rid of the darkness. I said no— use the energy of the darkness to brighten the light. “How?” she asked. She sat for a while with me and just chanted that “metta, karuna…” chant, opening her heart with compassion. She began to see two groups of beings— let us call them the victims and the persecutors. She was simply the observer, not part of either group. But she saw how the “victims” were suffering terribly— were experiencing body pain, emotional pain, grief, fear, anger, deep anguish at the loss of their lives and loved ones. Anger arose in her at the other group that she saw as the “persecutors”. I asked her to shift her focus to them, and she began to see how much they were also suffering. They weren’t the winners in this situation. If anything, they were the ones that were suffering more because they were trapped in a place that was seeking power, seeking to keep themselves safe at all costs; hardening themselves so that they were armored against the light. Whereas, many of the “victims’” hearts were cracked open, and very much experiencing the light, even in their sorrow. So, she began to see how important it was to have compassion for the ones that were doing the harm to others.
Then she said to me, after about half an hour of meditation, “Aaron, if I have compassion in this way for them, how do I say no to them?” And I pointed out to her, only compassion can truly say no. Hatred can never say no because it just evokes more hatred. She began, as she sat there in the current room, seeing, on the one hand, people were filing through the line, and she was in the front row so they were filing past her. On the other hand, she was experiencing inwardly this flow of beings reaching out toward that radiance of the Divine, and that those who had cracked open the armor to some degree were able to go forth and be welcomed into that light, as close as they were able to go to it. And those who were more of the darkness, doing harm to others, could not allow themselves to approach that light, and that this was the heart of their suffering.
So, after my invitation and suggestion she could really see them as one being after another— eyes closed, of course— but just seeing this line flowing. Beings that looked like soldiers with hard faces, saying to each one, “May you open your heart. May you go to the light. May you release any tendency to protect yourself at the cost of others.” She had a very interesting meditation, then, for about an hour, as these beings went past her. Obviously not the beings in the line, but the beings that had appeared in her meditation. Each one stopped and looked at her, and she was simply saying, “May you be well. May you be happy. May you commit to cease to do harm. When your heart opens without harm, you can go to the light.” And she could see some of them needing to turn away, and some of them shifting, becoming lighter and more transparent, and moving on to the light.
She’s experienced similar things in the past. For example, at places like Omega, and in Toronto when Joao was there and she was asked to be the anchor for the current and was sitting right in front of him, so the line was filing past, him 10 feet away in front of her, and the line going through. She was able to see each person, to get a sense of their openness or armored-ness, their karma, their energy. And simply with each one, inviting them to the highest energy possible as they came up to the incorporated entity. So she would spend hours doing that, and understood how to do that.
That experience set the stage for her to be able to do this, where there were not actually people going through. The line was going through, but she was not in attendance to the line, for the most part, but just to these images.
There are billions of souls out there. When you wish them well, when you offer them your love, and also say, “You may not harm others. I invite you to forgive yourself for harm you have done to others, and to commit to do no more harm, but to live in love,” so many beings are ready to open to that invitation. It may be a new idea for them, that they can do it. We’re talking about communicating on a level of one soul to another. Some of what may present itself to you will be out of your own past history and karma. Much of it will be beings with whom you have never had real life contact. And yet, of course, they are you. These are souls that are coming through. And as we talk about transmutation of this Earth into light, each soul that is able to crack open its armor, even a little bit, let its own light out and receive light, each soul that can do that brings this whole earth plane into a higher vibration and into the light.
I’m thinking of one particular current, but really it occurred in several of the currents, this experience of almost sitting at the gate as people approached, watching those who flinched and turned away, and saying, “No, you can do it.” Even walking some further ahead— taking a hand energetically and walking them ahead into the light, where a higher Brother or Sister of Light would take the hand and lead them on.
I hope this image is helpful for you. It was transformative to Barbara because it helped her to understand the true power— not that she has personally, but that Love within each of you has to transform the world. That so many beings are living in horror, in hard-armored shells of regret, of fear. And each of you can make a difference. It may be easiest for many of you to simply start with those “famous people” in your own lifetime. Seeing— this needs to be, not an, “I’m better than you” idea, but seeing that that person is armored and simply saying, “The light is so beautiful. Would you like to walk into it with me? Can we drop our differences and walk together into the light?” At a certain point you feel that person fade away— either the light receiving them, or them backing up and that’s was far as they could go for now. You do not push them. But this is an extension of the Vision is Mind practice.
I wanted to share that experience. When I asked Barbara to share, she shared only so far, the more superficial. But I wanted to share this part of her experience.
Let us go on with our evening. I’m going to guide this in such a way that you can work on your own or with a partner. If you’re choosing to work with a partner, if you’re in a room with a friend, then simply do it live rather than in your imagination. Here in this room you can move your chairs if you wish, so you’re comfortably facing each other…
Hold your hands out. If you have a live partner, one of you hold your hands out to receive and one of you, for the moment, is the giver. How does it feel to receive? Watch any part of yourself that is not fully open to receive. I described Barbara’s meditation; how she was offering blessings and love to souls, and some of them could not accept it, shrunk back from it. It was too much light for them, so they hardened, contracted, and pulled away. You cannot force it; all you can do is offer.
When the offer is made to you, can you see— perhaps it 98% of you that’s open and desirous to receive, and there’s 2% that’s hardened a bit, closed off, shielded. Maybe it’s 60/40. I am not asking you to try to fix the part that’s contracted, only to bring it into awareness. To bring your hands out and imagine yourself receiving. Receiving a very precious gift. Feel it come into your hands. Take all the time you need. And then gently bring it up into your heart. It can take several minutes to be able to fully receive this gift. Imagine something incredibly beautiful, a very radiant crystal or gem. A beam of sunlight. A flower. A loving fairy. The first sprout for a redwood tree. Whatever you are being offered, feel yourself receiving it. Bring your hands in slowly and bring it to your heart, as you are able without rush.
The one who is giving, if you’re doing this live with another person, when you feel the other person is ready, actually place the crystal (or whatever it may be) in their hands. For the one who is giving, in that situation where there are 2 of you in a pair, feel any hesitation, any contraction. This is something so precious to you. There may be great joy in giving it but be aware of any tension around the giving. It may simply be a tension of, “Am I doing it right? Am I doing it too fast?” Just be aware of any tension and contraction. I’m going to be quiet for a few minutes while you do this…
There is no rush to move past this first stage, but I want to introduce the second part, and then you may work with it at your own pace. When you have fully received and brought this up to your heart, cherish it. Give thanks for the gift and feel the light surrounding you, surrounding the giver, surrounding the gift, and then offer the intention to pass it on. Received; the new intention is to give.
Take your time. Does the energy change from receptive to giving? Does contraction come from either part of it? Don’t try to analyze it, just be present with the experience of spaciousness and contraction. My hope is that you will be able to feel the flow of energy and spaciousness and contraction. It is like the energy of the breath. When you breathe in slowly with a deep inhale, the chest contracts a bit and you have to exhale. Everything opens again, but if you force the exhale more and more out, eventually the lungs contract again. Then it shifts— you begin the inhale, and everything relaxes as the breath comes in. There is a natural flow of contraction and release, contraction and release, which is a very basic part of mammal experience.
The trouble begins when you start to take it personally with “I shouldn’t contract,” rather than seeing that contraction is just part of the flow: into contraction and releasing to spaciousness; into spaciousness and moving into contraction. Giving and receiving. Giving and receiving. And feeling both spaciousness and contraction as you give and receive. Not negating one part, and not believing that either part takes you further from the light.
For now, there is a linear path— giving, then receiving; giving, then receiving. But eventually I hope you will be able to feel the simultaneity of giving and receiving, the neither can exist without the other; that there is no before or after to them.
Ahead of you, experience a light so vibrant, of such high vibration that it is like the flame to the moth. Knowing it will ignite in the most profound way; draw you into itself so completely. Burn away any ego and separation. It will be ecstasy, and also, agony, as the ego self dissolves into the flame. This is what you are constantly working with— approaching that place of release of separation, emptiness of self. Resting in that exquisite container of love and awareness of the Unconditioned itself.
The ego is terrified. The heart knows that it wishes to go home. We cannot force the one who is terrified; we just keep inviting. And a helpful part of this is simply watching the giver and receiver until they blend together; the contraction and the spaciousness until they become one.
Give yourself permission to back away, if you need to. Give yourself permission to go even further than you believed you could. Remember that while the ego can temporarily die, what really dies is the self-identification with the ego, and that you, the essence of you, cannot be destroyed.
Begin to experience this also as light and darkness. Seeing the radiance of that divine essence of God/Goddess/Unconditioned. Seeing the ripples of shadow in the heavy personality self and the heavy physical body. But the essence of you is light, and the essence of you as human is to have these ripples of shadow. We do not try to get rid of the shadow but to hold space for it. And then, when you are ready, if you are ready to take a few more steps toward the light, allowing yourself to open more and more fully into that exquisite radiance. To dissolve into it. To receive it into the self and let it burn away the shadow. But you are in control and may hold onto the shadow for as long as you wish. There is no right or wrong to it.
In this room, I can feel the energy coming higher and higher. Those who are here, I think you can probably feel it too. Just enjoy it. There’s nothing you have to do with it. But ask yourself if you are ready to allow the armoring to fall away so that your whole body, mind, and spirit may merge more and more with that radiance. I’m going to be quiet for a few minutes.
Some of you are experiencing increasing radiance around you. Try to feel that radiance within you, as well. No boundary between yourself where the skin ends, where the mind ends, and the radiance. You are That. Receiving that radiance and giving it back… and receiving it again… You become an amplifier for the radiance, an amplifier for pure awareness, pure love, the awakened heart.
Many of you are experiencing a very high vibration, very strong light. But most of you are also experiencing at least small ripples of contraction, of negative thought, self-negation, thoughts of doubt or inadequacy— not constantly, but they come up occasionally. Even the fear, as the light gets more intense as you approach it, “I can’t go any further or it will destroy me.” Setting limits.
Now we move one. I would ask you, at this point, to turn your attention to some habitual negative thought, such as the thought of not being as fully adequate as you would like to be, not being as generous or wise, not being as lovable or as loving. Try to see this habitual tendency, including the contraction that comes with it— not trying to push away the contraction. We’re going to use this contraction as a teacher.
So, when you have come to point where you feel this, even a subtle contraction pulling you back into the limited solid self, instead of that, “Oh no, we won’t have that,” kind of thinking, I want you to just bring your hands palm to palm, and say, “Thank you, teacher.” No fear about what has arisen. But if there is fear, the fear is also the teacher. “Thank you, teacher.” However you experience this— as contracted energy, as darkness, as fear, as armoring— “Thank you, teacher.” Without trying to get rid of this teacher, remember the light that you have been moving toward, and also say thank you to the light. And a very deep statement of your intention: “I choose liberation. I choose to release identification with the small self and open to the fullness of the awakened mind. I choose love.”
These ripples of disturbance are just that— small ripples on the surface of a sea. The sea, miles deep— calm and radiant. And when the wind blows, there are ripples of disturbance. They are not you; they have never been you. Whatever comes, “Thank you, teacher.” And watching how these ripples of disturbance simply come because you are here in a human body, and they have no ultimate truth. They are simply arisen from conditions, they will pass. As you allow them to move through you, shift your attention back to the light, back to spaciousness, back to the open heart. “I choose this awakened heart. For the highest good of all beings, in service to all beings, for the end of suffering, I choose the light.” And in this way, you may be able to cease to shrink from the light when it feels too intense, but to keep moving closer and closer to it. Allowing it to burn away any impurities to that you begin to know more fully who and what you truly are.
Light and darkness are not dual any more than giving and receiving, or contraction and spaciousness. Again, I’ll be quiet for a few minutes. Go through this saying thank you to the teacher that appears, knowing it is simply arisen from conditions, and, without trying to get rid of it, choosing to refocus your attention on light, on love, on spaciousness, on the awakened heart.
From the depth of the spaciousness of the heart, please join me in chanting the chant that many of you have done with me. I know you cannot hear each other (you’re muted), but those in the room, please sing it aloud, and those at home, just sing it aloud as well. Hearing us, sing with us—
May the blessings of God rest upon you
May God’s peace abide with you
May God’s blessings illuminate your heart
Now and forevermore…
(repeated several times)
Let us pause here, give you a chance to stretch, and then we’ll come back and talk about this. Thank you— 5 minute break…
Now I want to read to you a bit from the opening pages of Path of Clear Light. I know you all have either the book or an e-copy of the book, so I’m only going to read a bit. But I hope in the coming two weeks you will read through the book and pause at any place that raises any contraction or confusion for you. Just, not try to force it, but invite in insight and the heart opening around these words.
Some formatting is lost below. Aaron reading, with pauses.
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
when those conditions cease.
Contraction, darkness, and fear
are such conditioned objects.
They will cease when the conditions
out of which they arose
They have no ultimate reality.
The rain storm 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,
When darkness passes,
what remains? When fear passes,
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 expressions of the Unconditioned.
That means they are always present,
though 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 conditions,
so its light also exists due to conditions.
Light and Love,
as direct expressions of the Unconditioned,
need nothing to exist
the Unconditioned itself,
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 the moment.
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 your perspective has changed.
This is only a metaphor,
because as I noted above,
the sun is also 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.
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 seeming opposites,
then darkness must also be an expression
of that Unconditioned,
though not a direct expression.
The same is true
of anger and hatred,
of grasping and of all contraction.
Since there is no duality,
these are also expressions of the Unconditioned,
but they are indirect expressions.
This means that the existence of all
indirect expressions of the Unconditioned
depend upon the Unconditioned
and also depend upon the mundane conditions
out of which such objects arise:
fear, self-centered thought,
the mind that judges, and more.
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 in itself.
Air has the quality of spaciousness.
It is not harmful in itself.
But if winds blow the water to huge waves,
those waves may erode the land,
sink boats, and cause death.
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 direct expressions
of the Unconditioned —
Light and Love.
Within you is also the potential for destruction.
When the direct expressions of the Divine 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 experiences.
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 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
The aspect of mind we normally use
in everyday life
can know only conditioned objects
and cannot directly 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
that can lead us 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.
And I will stop there, at the beginning of book page 16.
So, what is this about? How do we tie the meditation in with this? All of you, through your day, go back and forth into contraction and spaciousness. As seekers on a spiritual path, when you find yourself caught in contraction and negative thought, in anger, greed, shame, and confusion, you contract further. The self becomes further armored, and further away from that which you seek, which is liberation from this whole concept of separate self.
We’ve worked with many practices through the fall— vipassana, of course; the Brahma Vihara practices; some pure awareness; practices such as the Vision is Mind and Seven Branch Prayer, and others. All useful tools. Now, I’d like you to start working with non-duality itself as practice by practicing the giving and receiving and experiencing that giver and receiver are one. Note contraction and note the spaciousness right there with contraction. Rest in spaciousness and note the subtle ripples of contraction without getting caught in a self-identity with them.
When any kind of unpleasant or uncomfortable catalyst comes and you find yourself contracting, just note “contracting” and say, “Thank you, contraction.” See in what ways that opening through “Thank you” can help you move past the pattern of self-condemnation— “No contraction! I shouldn’t be contracting!” Just, “Thank you, contraction.” That which is aware of contraction is not contracted. Watch the arising contraction as ripples on surface of the sea and reopen to spaciousness. Begin to watch this with mindfulness in your daily life, the subtle moments of contraction and the reopening. Contraction, and reopening; contraction, and reopening. What is your natural state?
Without pushing away contraction, negative thought, or anything, can you say thank you to it, open to it as a teacher, and let it go, clearly choosing to align yourself with light and with love? To invite the awakened heart-mind?
Repeat to yourself as is useful, your intention to be of service to all beings and to do harm to none; your intention to awaken, to help all beings awaken. The bodhisattva mind, bodhicitta, awakened consciousness. You might want to consider the bodhisattva vows. I do not consider these vows in terms of, “I must keep this vow,” but bodhisattva statements of intention. A beautiful formulation of it that I have learned: “All beings, one body, I vow to liberate.” Let’s say, “I intend to liberate.”
What does it mean, “I intend to liberate all beings.”? How can I or you liberate all beings? If you liberate yourself, it helps all beings to find liberation. It’s as simple as that. We reflect each other constantly. The more open and light you are, the more others can pick that up.
“All beings, one body, I hold the intention to liberate, as a support in liberation.
Endless blind passions I vow to uproot.”
I’m not going to use the word “vow,” so:
“Endless blind passions I hold the intention to uproot.
Dhamma gates without number I hold the intention to open.
The Great Way of awakening I hold the intention to attain.”
While knowing that on the ultimate level, there is nothing to attain,.
Think about what these words mean to you, and see if this taking of the statement of the bodhisattva intentions can also be a support on your path. Knowing your intention is very important, very powerful.
This is what I would ask you to practice in the next two weeks. Look deeper at any notions of duality, at where the self separates. Know it as illusion. Come back to that which is connected to everything. Come back to love. Remembering the intention to help move this Earth into a higher vibration, to transition into a higher consciousness.
This is why you came, so don’t tell me you can’t do it! You registered for this school because you had passed the earlier stages and knew at some level, “I am ready. I am ready to move on, and to bring all beings with me. All beings, one body, I hold the intention to move with into liberation and to support the liberation through my own inner work.”
I’m going to stop here and leave our last 15 minutes to questions…
Q: When we were doing the giving/receiving, when I was receiving I could feel crying, which often happens in Remembering Wholeness, places like that. When giving, I could feel a rush of energy going to Q, which did not feel right… like maybe even a pushing— rushing to Q rather than a gentle giving. It didn’t feel right. Like too fast, too much giving, too rushing giving.
Aaron: These are two different things. Just remember there is no right or wrong to these practices. There will be psychological factors, karmic factors, many different kinds of factors. Be mindful of what has arisen— any resistance to receiving; any grasping at receiving; any resistance to releasing; any push to release. Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t say, “Oh, maybe it shouldn’t be this way; what am I doing wrong?” Just, pushing, contracting. Then, make the clear statement from your heart, “I hold the intention to enter into a place of more spaciousness and to understand the non-duality of giving and receiving, of contraction and spaciousness. I invite guidance. I invite insight. My intention is to help this giving and receiving to flow smoothly and easily. My intention is to live in spaciousness. But when, as is inevitable, contraction arises, not to contract around the contraction, just to observe it as a conditioned object. There’s nothing to fix. Thank you, contraction. Thank you, teacher.” And watch it— pushing— “Thank you, push. Thank you, teacher.”
When you begin to relate to what has arisen in these ways, you relax about it and begin to open more firmly, to find stronger ground in the already present awakened mind. It’s there, it’s already there. You’re not trying to get it; you’re remembering it and opening yourself to it and, in so doing, releasing eons of old negative fear-based conditioning. That’s all; nothing to fix. “Thank you, teacher.”
Q: In the Tao Te Ching, the first poem, last stanza, reads, “Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. This source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness, the gateway to all understanding.” So, my question simply is to ask you if you could comment on what this means.
Aaron: Darkness and light are non-dual. Right now, we’re exploring the path of clear light. When all of you are more firmly grounded in that light and in the non-duality of light and darkness, then we will shift, probably next fall, to the exploration of the path of sacred darkness. And we will find that these two paths are non-dual. First, I want you to be more grounded in the light and not reactive to the darkness, before we begin to explore the darkness in more depth.
Q: Tonight in my experience I had an image or understanding that I’d like to share. We’ve been using the words negativity and distortion, and I had another term that came to mind, which is compression. And the sense I had was, what we think of as the distortions are actually waves in the light that give the sense of motion of light. And that’s helping me reconcile the idea of duality.
Aaron: Thank you. I think any word you wish to use that’s useful to you is fine. Negativity may bring up too many connections that cause contraction for people. This is part of the reason why I like the word “distortion”. There’s nothing bad about a distortion. If you shine a flashlight on the surface of a lake, the beam of light will seem to bend when it hits the water surface, because there’s a different density there and it bends. There’s nothing bad about that, but it’s a distortion of the true direction of the light.
Find the term that works best for you, and I think eventually you will move beyond language and just begin to feel it as an energy, a subtle shift in energy that takes you from the true direction of resting in the light. It doesn’t need words, but any words that help you are fine. Compression, contraction, turbulence— whatever helps. Thank you, Q.
Any last question, here? And are you clear what I want you to practice in these two weeks?
Q: Could you restate the assignment?
Aaron: Rest in the light! When you find you are not resting in the light, note it! Don’t try to fix it, just note it.
And then ask yourself: right here with the turbulence or compression or distortion, where is the light? State your intention: I choose to return to the light, for the highest good of all beings.
State this bodhisattva intention, if that resonates for you, or whatever does: “I choose to live with love. I choose to raise my vibration and stay connected to the light. I choose to move past self-identification with eons of old conditioning that has helped me become trapped in the small ego self. For the highest good of all beings and the alleviation of suffering, I choose to awaken.”
Better yet, “I choose to reopen to the already awake state, where I already am.”
In your vipassana practice, watch subtle patterns of contraction and spaciousness and how you create dualities about this. “This one is good; that one is not good.” “Thank you. Thank you, mind that creates dualities.” I have nothing against the discriminating mind. The discriminating mind, however, does not judge. When judgment arises, know it as judgment and come back to clarity. So, definitely work with your vipassana practice daily, and whatever other practices help support.
When you see places of long-held contraction, working with Vision is Mind. And we’re going to take that further in the coming months, too; we’ve only done the first two parts of it. Coming back to that.
Coming back to working with any of the Brahma Viharas that help. Coming back to just resting in awareness. Practicing joy.
Whatever works, whatever supports your movement from a place of closed-in to a place of infinite boundary-less awareness.
(laughing) That’s all I want you to do! Just that!
To quote the Buddha: if it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it.
My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron and I will release the body. I love you all very much.