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(Barbara begins by reading the following text, which was dictated to her by Aaron earlier. The recording began after several paragraphs.)
Aaron: All aware of what we call physical and emotional distortions. We try to “fix” them.
Let’s begin with, “What is a distortion?” To know “distortion”, we must ask, distorted from what?
It’s hard for most humans to visualize the “ever-perfect”. What is perfect weather for you? Warm sun, fresh snow, breeze for your sailboat, stillness. Perhaps the ever-perfect in terms of weather is the infinite possibility. What is the perfect place for you? Seashore, garden, mountains, river, desert, rainforest. Would you want any one place forever with no change? Again, perhaps the ever-perfect expresses in infinite possibilities.
There is Ground of Being, Source, Divine, God, Goddess, Unconditioned. In Buddhism, we have the term Dharmakaya, with “kaya” meaning “body.” Dharma is that which is, so we have the expression of that which is, Divine Body.
This Divine Body expresses in myriad ways. Think of the fresh, underground spring. It is pure from deep in the earth. There is no outer soil in it, no pollution of it. The moment it expresses out of the underground source, it is touched by a thousand things: air, soil, life forms of all sizes brought directly or by the breeze, and more. That ever-perfect pure spring is now changed. Does the sun upon it distort it? If we consider change as distortion, then yes, the sun distorts it., The freezing temperature that creates ice distorts it. The soil of the earth 10 feet from the entrance changes it. The child’s hand reaching in to scoop a drink changes it.
Is the pure water still there? Of course, and also something has been added or changed.
Let us call that change a distortion. It is not good or bad; it simply is changed in some surface ways, while still retaining its innate perfection. That innate perfection cannot be lost.
But 100 yards downstream, where cattle wade into the stream to drink, there are impurities mixed with the water from the spring, so you would not choose to drink there without first filtering the water, to return to the pure spring water. We would say that water is distorted, while remembering that the pure spring water is still there. You do not run around in a frenzy screaming at the cattle. You simply reach for your water filter.
Let us return to the Dharmakaya, as there are two other terms here that will aid your understanding.
Nirmanakaya means form body. It can be considered as the outer expressions of Dharmakaya. This Divine essence is constantly expressing in infinite ways.
“Let there be Light.”
“Let there be water.”
“Let there be earth.”
“Let there be man…”
Light, water, earth, human are all nirmanakaya expressions of the Divine. The rainbow as distortion of light; the wave growing out of the sea as distortion of water; the plant growing from the earth as expression of, or distortion of earth, sun and water; the thought expressing from the human; all are nirmanakaya expressions of the Divine.
Everything is expression of the One; everything.
Your Bible offers the idea that first came “the Word”.
In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God.
What is this Word? What is the first breath, the first expression of the Divine?
Buddhism offers us the term Sambhogakaya or “wealth body”. Everything expressing from The One is wealth, is riches beyond belief.
What about deadly tornadoes? What about cancer? What about the viper and other poisonous life forms? What about toxic hatred and prejudice?
Everything arises from conditions and passes away when the conditions cease. If these objects have arisen, it is because the conditions exist for them. When the conditions are purified, they will cease to arise.
Right now you think of these not only as distortions but as negative distortions, to be gotten rid of or fixed.
Watch a toddler attempt to build a tower of blocks. It is unbalanced and quickly topples. She tries again, and again. By trial and error, she learns what allows her to build higher, how to center the blocks. But if she has a tantrum and throws the blocks, weeps herself into exhaustion believing she is deficient in some way and cannot do it, then she cannot do it.
Watch the ballerina attempt a difficult move and stumble. She perseveres and learns what balance allows her to gracefully complete the movement. If she becomes angry, says “What’s wrong with me?” or “I must do this.”, tenses the body and exhausts herself, she cannot master the move.
Are these distortions – the toppling blocks, the temporary imbalance – negative, or are they teachers? The blocks and ballerina fall because of conditions. When the conditions change, the falling ceases. If it were not so, no learning would be possible.
So we return to the question, what is a distortion? Yes, sometimes it leads to real discomfort, but can we relate to it as an expression of conditions of which we are a part, and aim our efforts to understand, balance, and release the conditions while giving thanks for the learning, rather than as something imposed from without that is terrible and must be fixed.
I promised a talk tonight on healing. All that I have said is background.
(end of reading)
Barbara: Thank you for your patience. And with that I’m going to give you Aaron directly. What was remarkable about what I read was that he said, “Please simply sit at your computer and type.” There was absolutely no editing in that. He just said it and I typed it. I corrected typos, but that’s it. Thank you, Aaron. I will be glad to email that bit out to everybody who’s listening tonight.
Aaron will incorporate.
Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. I am Aaron. Thank you for your patience, as Barbara read those introductory words. I simply wanted to be in her body a shorter amount of time, to spare her body from too much high energy in it. And all of you out there, there’s nobody out there listening who is less than 8 days from their latest surgery (referring to surgery at the Casa in Brazil), am I correct? All right. So my energy is safe to let out yet I would still quiet my energy.
It’s a joy to be with you, and after a month of being muzzled at the Casa, so to speak— it’s not that they disrespect me or my energy or my thoughts, it’s simply that my energy can interfere with the energy of the Casa entities. The healing that you are doing down there is profound, and it is important for me not to interfere with that energy, for any of you, and also for Barbara.
In our group together we spent a lot of time with Barbara, not with me, talking about “what is healing?” What heals? Who heals? Emotional and physical distortions do arise. These have a relative reality, and yet we also recognize the ever-perfect.
We come back to that clear spring. The pure water is there, and the distortions are there. We don’t throw out the water; we filter it. When emotional and physical distortions arise in the human or on the earth, in terms of the environment, for example, we need to take care of the distortions. But so often the response to distortion is a held contraction.
Let me explain what I mean by “held contraction”. When I open the hand in response to something offered, the hand closes around it and brings it in; it has to contract to do this. But it doesn’t squeeze and tense up. It simply brings it in. It lays it back down. The hand opens again. When you breathe, the lungs contract and expand, contract and expand. This balanced contraction is part of living. Even your earth contracts and expands, contracts and expands.
But if you contract and then hold a contraction around that contraction, what happens? (Demonstrating, throwing balls of socks) Q, tell me what happens for you. (inaudible) And where is the contraction now? Is it still in your body or is it released? (inaudible) Wonderful. Is it still there or is it released? Released. Can you feel, both of you, the slight reverberations of it even though it’s mostly released? Q is saying she feels it even though she’s not had a ball of socks thrown at her. Released… reverberating.
My original intention was to throw it at the camera so pour internet friends could have the same experience, but I’m told it would damage the camera, so I’m going to ask you to run at the camera with this. Just run at the camera with it… (she does so). Again. I don’t think they can see you running so much as… come right up at the camera. You don’t have to come with a ball of socks. But run right up so you’re filling the camera… Friends on the internet, can you feel that?
I remember some years ago at Deep Spring when we had a glass window going directly to the outside. We had some people go outside and throw snowballs at the window while others stood right inside with their faces against the glass. What happens when somebody throws a snowball and your face is right here? You know it’s not going to hit you. We’re not talking about ice balls. The snow is soft. It hits the glass and it dissolves. But you startle. You contract. Does it release?
Contraction is a normal human experience. When we hold a contraction around the contraction, building stories, “What if it was something solid? What if it hit me? What if it damaged me?”, then we create stories and contraction around the contraction. (demonstration with socks)
Can you feel that? Now hold the intention for spaciousness. These contractions are part of the human experience. There are constantly things coming into your energy field. Physical objects, energy objects, emotional objects, they’re constantly coming and going. What are the stories that you hold about these?
I’d like you to try something, here. Throw some socks at me… Do you see any contraction in me at all? No. Throw some hard at me… There’s no contraction because there’s no self. There are no stories. The socks and I are one, I could put it that way. Nothing external to me is hitting me, so I don’t have to create any history or stories. These are just socks, or they’re just bacteria, or they’re just angry words, or whatever it may be that’s striking me. On the one level I am a separate, unique entity, and on another level, nothing is ever separate. How could anything be separate? So how could there be anything outside of me that would hurt me? If I believe there is something that can damage me, then I’m going to react and try to push it away, fix it, change it.
I do need to attend to it. If instead of socks there was rain dripping on my head, I would put up an umbrella. This is kindness to myself. I am not armoring myself with the umbrella, I am shielding myself temporarily. There are no fear-based stories. I am taking care of myself. But there’s no contraction to it, I simply put up the umbrella. No harm in the rain.
Can you feel the difference between armoring and shielding? Armoring carries multiple layers of contraction, and because it carries contraction and repetitive contraction, it becomes a karmic movement that literally embeds itself in the cells of the physical, emotional and energetic bodies.
When there is this kind of repetitive reaction to contraction held in the body, the body forms what we call dis-ease, that is, a lack of ease with the experience. When there is such lack of ease and it’s repeated over and over, well, what happens if I were to do this (squeezing the hand)? Eventually I’d injure the fingers, yes? Could I do that for hours without creating bruising? Would there be changes in the cellular tissue? Of course.
If I recognize that this is happening and say, “Ah, I do not intend to cause damage. I release it.”… (demonstrating) So the socks come. They hit me on the forehead. “Oh, socks!” Maybe it’s rocks instead of socks. Then I will want to shield. But there are no stories.
I want to be careful, here. You do not create disease in yourself, so don’t get caught up in a story, “Oh, look what I’ve done. I’ve created cancer,” or depression or whatever else. Any physical, emotional, or other ailment has a multitude of causes— genetic, biological, environmental. You did not create that ailment. However, whatever you are given, you respond to it in certain ways that either compound it or invite it to not stick.
If I covered myself in Velcro and you threw these socks at me, I’d be covered with socks. When you are Teflon, it all falls off. So how do we become Teflon? By mindfulness of the accumulation of stories. A familiar one: I’m unworthy, or I should be more loving, or I should be more capable. Another kind of familiar story: My immune system is weak, I am prone to sickness. These are stories. They can become self-fulfilling prophecy.
Why would you want to that to happen? So much of this is simply karma. You’ve built up these stories repeatedly through eons, and built up a self-identity with them. Who are you without them? Who is Barbara without her deafness? Well, she’s worked for years with this question and has completely released the stories, but it was not easy. Who are you without your feelings of unworthiness? If you were truly not unworthy, what might be asked of you? If you were truly strong and vibrant, what might be asked of you? If you were whole, what might be asked of you? What might you ask of yourself? What impossible things beyond what a human can do? To be perfect. You are perfect. And yet in the human form you can never be completely perfect, except that the imperfection is perfect. You don’t realize that. You are beautiful just as you are. So many of you move into stories of unworthiness because you see yourselves as imperfect!
We look at the seeming distortions, the physical, the emotional, and we either contract around them, creating ripples and more ripples and still more ripples, or we notice the ripples and let them go. A favorite image of mine is this. If I had a big bowl of water sitting on the table, filled to the top; if I shake the table a bit, the water will slosh over the side. “Oh, it’s spilling! Stop it!” And I put my hand down on the top to try to still the water. Can I still the water in that way? Of course not. Let it be and it will become still, because stillness and movement are the nature of everything. Everything has the nature of fluidity and movement, even a rock, and everything has the possibility of stillness.
When anger arises in you and you say, “No, I won’t be angry,” can you feel how those ripples create more anger? “Ah, anger has arisen in this mind and body. Try this: Breathing in, I am aware of the anger. Breathing out, I hold space for the anger.” It grew out of conditions, and it will pass. I don’t have to be afraid of it, and I don’t have to enact it. It’s just energy. An itch has arisen. “What bit me? What am I going to do about it?” I can scratch it until I bleed. Or I can just note, “Here is an itching sensation. Ahh, this is part of the human experience, that there may be some kind of itching. This is how the skin is. If necessary I’ll wash it off with something appropriate.” Or simply remember the perfect skin that is free of itching right there with the itching. There’s nothing to fix. When I release the idea that I must fix something because something is wrong, distorted, or bad, I can come back to the ever-perfect. It still may feel better with some treatment though, and that is fine; the relative experience right there with the ultimate.
Barbara has been working a lot the past 6 months, with skin cancer in the face. There were 2 surgeries here in the United States, both fairly extensive, maybe 40 stitches with each surgery, pulling the face back together, and after each one they felt all the cancer was removed. She went down to the Casa asking, what is the nature of the ever-perfect skin and what is this distortion we call cancer?
The distortion arose because of endless hours through decades, sitting on her sailboat in the sun with no skin protection. This is how the skin is. It will react. Human skin is like that. She did nothing bad; simply, this is how the skin is. But as long as she was tensing around it, she was blocking the possibility of the skin’s completely releasing all the cancer tissue.
At the Casa they did two fairly extensive invisible surgeries on her face. Lying in bed after the first surgery, Barbara asked me, “What do I do?” And I said, why do you feel you must do anything? Trust it is gone. But there was more than one surgery. With the second surgery, she said, “if it was gone, what brought it back?” I said, there was more they were not able to get out the first time. Trust it is gone. There is nothing you need to do to fix it. Trust the ever-perfect nature of the cells here. Her primary work with the skin cancer now was to simply relax and know the ever-perfect skin; to see the perfect skin, free of any malignant tissue in it. I asked her to invite the body to release anything that was not needed, and to know it was already so. Also to thank the Casa entities for the surgeries they did to remove any remaining malignancies.
As soon as you believe, “I’m doing something wrong. I need to fix this.”, you’re returning energy to the “distortion”. If you say, oh, there’s no distortion, there’s no cancer, there’s no sadness or grief or fear, likewise you’re giving energy to it because you are denying it, and that denial is a form of giving energy. But when you can recognize this distortion has arisen out of conditions, it’s impermanent, it’s not of the nature of a separate self (that means it’s not me, it’s simply something that has touched me temporarily and I release it). I will not even think about it again, I release it. But if it’s necessary to take care of it, I’ll take care of it, which is putting up the umbrella to shield from the rain. I release it. Can you feel how there’s no energy contraction in that? There’s no fear in that. There are no stories, “What if it doesn’t get better? How do I fix it?” There is just, “Ahhh, I release.”
In some ways it’s easier to see this with emotions. I’d like you all to think of something that has happened to you in the past week and out of which anger has arisen. Think of the incident and how it felt. Perhaps you were afraid or sad or felt vulnerable or hopeless. How did the anger feel? Can you feel the tension of it in the body?
Now think the compounding thought, “I shouldn’t be angry.” Can you feel how that escalates the anger? “I won’t be angry.” Can you feel the continuation of the tension? Or let’s try denial. “No, I am not angry. I am assuredly not angry.” Can you feel the tension in that? It’s like a thousand little bits of energy bouncing around inside of you. Let us call this experience of anger a “distortion”.
That which is aware of anger is not angry. What is this awareness? Right there with that denial of the anger, can you re-open to that which is not angry? Think of the situation in which anger arose, perhaps an encounter with another person. Think of the person around whom that anger arose, and what you love about that person. Say, “Thank you,” to the other person. “Thank you even for being in my face and awakening the feeling of anger in me. Thank you for reminding me of what an open heart I have, the possibility of joy and forgiveness. Thank you for being you, who sometimes shakes me to anger.”
When you offer real gratitude— bring your hands together this way— can you maintain the anger when the hands are together? Say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Can you feel yourself coming back to the true self, back to love? For love is the true self. Feel yourself returning to that truth. Thank you, thank you. Where is the anger now? Where did it go? There may still be reverberations of it, but it’s not sticky anymore. You’ve made yourself Teflon. The anger is pouring off.
Because the emotional body is a bit more fluid than the physical body, it’s easier to see it and do it with emotions. But the same principle applies with the physical body. Certain things seem to attack the physical body, and we see it as a solid distortion and take it into ourselves with the idea, “I must fix this. I must change this. This is bad.” Rather than, “Oh, thank you. Here is a teacher.”
We don’t want the broken bone, the cancer, the deafness. We don’t want these things; of course not. And I’m not saying that you have created or are holding onto them. But what happens when you relax and begin to go to the place where the cancer is not? Where the broken bone is not?
T had an experience at the Casa that some of you heard directly from her. She had arrived at the Casa with a broken toe, and it seems that it healed within a week, not the 6 weeks that were determined it would need to heal. How does this happen? There were no stories about it. There was nothing to perpetuate it.
Picture the cells, the ends of the broken bone. They want to merge back together. But your doubt, your fear, keep them shaking. They can’t really meet each other. They can’t really merge because they’re bouncing around. But when you say, “Thank you. I feel the wholeness.” and allow them, then they will heal. When Barbara relaxed and said, “This release of cancer cells is complete; the skin is whole.”, then it can heal. Nobody can heal you without your permission. Actually nobody can heal you, you heal yourself. But nobody can support that healing for you without your permission. And if there is somebody inside trying to fix, you’re giving energy to the distortion rather than knowing the perfection.
There is so much more to this. It relates both to the emotional, mental, and also the physical “distortions”. There is no such thing as a distortion. Let me rephrase that. There is no such thing as a bad distortion. Yes, there are distortions. But what is a distortion? If I am walking and I want to go from A to B, a distance of a few miles, and there’s a trail that goes straight; a boring road, just through grasslands, straight from Point A to Point B. Somebody says to me, “Do you know there’s a high peak over here. We can climb this mountain, have a beautiful view, and then come back to Point B. And there’s a river over here that’s beautiful. We can go down by the river.” You might say, “Oh, but that’s a distortion of the path.” Well, what is a distortion? If I choose to climb the hill, if I choose to see and wade in the river, is that a distortion? I am simply following a different path.
The body moves into what we think of as physical distortions because at some level you’ve chosen to climb the mountain or to wade in the river, to have the experience of that. Once you have the experience of it, you can come back to the original path. Are you going to stay on that high hill or with your feet in the river forever? Let it go. You still want to get to Point B. And what is Point B? Point B is the knowing of your wholeness, fullest expression of that wholeness, the knowing of you power, of your radiance, of your beauty. It is the knowing of your truth, that you are divine and have never been apart from that divine for even a moment. The illusion that you were separate from it is simply illusion held in the mind and has no ultimate reality. Awakening to this truth of your being is the fullest healing, to awaken to knowing who and what you are. To awaken to your innate perfection. Simply to awaken.
A favorite sutra of mine: the Buddha is addressing a group of monks. He says, “Abandon the unwholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. If such abandoning led to pain, to suffering, I would not ask you to abandon the unwholesome. But it leads to goodness, to joy. Abandon the unwholesome. Cultivate the wholesome. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. If such cultivation led to suffering, I would not ask you to cultivate the wholesome. But it leads to joy, to peace. Cultivate the wholesome.”
Why would you do anything but that? To cultivate the wholesome is not to contract. Such cultivation comes from the place in the heart that aspires to. “I choose.” You as humans have been given free will. “I choose.” I choose love, or I choose fear. Which one will you choose? Will you continue to immerse yourself repeatedly in the stories of fear, or are you ready to choose love?
Barbara read from my notes at the beginning. I spoke of the child building with blocks. What if there was a parent sitting next to the child and each time the child put a block on a bit out of center, the parent quickly adjusted it? The child would never experience the frustration of the blocks toppling. The child would never have the opportunity to learn how to balance things. How about the dancer? If somehow she was on puppet strings and a master hand was adjusting her every move so she did a perfect pirouette and perfect balance, she would never learn how to adjust to imbalance.
This takes the whole picture one step bigger. Why are you here in incarnation? I tell you, you are perfect, you are already perfect. Are you here simply to enact that perfection and never make a slip? You might say, “Oh yes, I’d like to do that.” Are you here to learn compassion? When challenging mind and body states arise, they can help you to learn compassion, compassion for the human in whom these have arisen. That does not mean we want to perpetuate the challenging mind and body states. Rather, we want to learn the compassion so that the challenging mind and body states become unnecessary because the innate compassion is shining through.
You are compassion. You are love. You are light. You are beauty. You are perfection. You continue to doubt it, and you keep the cycle going. Doubt, fear, anger, all creating more and more challenges, like the child building with the blocks who finally slaps the whole thing across the room. But the child has courage. After a while she goes and picks up the blocks and she starts to build again.
Most of you do that. If the child believed, “I can never build a pile of blocks,” would she try to build again? And yet some of you believe, “I will never learn to love. I will never truly shine out my radiance. I can’t do it.” If you believe you can’t do it, you can’t do it. Are you ready, I will not say to believe, but to know otherwise? To know if it were not possible you would not be invited to do it? If you were not already love, you would not be asked to be love. It would be impossible. But you are already love. You are simply letting it come forth. You plant the little seeds for flowers in your garden in the spring. Do you say it’s impossible that a rose or a zinnia will grow out of the seed? It’s just a tiny little seed— how could a flower grow out of it? You trust, “Inherent in this little seed is that radiant beauty, and if I water it, give it sunshine and fertile soil, it will grow.” Why do you think less of yourselves? Your innate perfection is already there.
So what, then, is healing? I’m not sure I can answer that for you. As soon as we talk about healing we are caught in the distortion rather than the innate perfection. So maybe we need to change the terminology. How about if instead of saying, “I choose to heal”, we say, “I choose to open to the ever-healed. I trust the ever-healed. This is my free will choice. I choose to express my innate perfection because this is the gift that has been given me. And as I express that perfection and model it in the world, I make the possibility of such expression possible for others. I pass on the gift. To know that within me which is love, even when anger or fear arise. To know that which is strong and healthy, even when the body seems broken or damaged.
I choose to express the ever-healed. I choose to know that that seed is what I am.” You’re not surprised when you plant the rose seed and it grows into a rose. Why should you be surprised when you water this radiance that you are and self expresses as a radiant and beautiful being? You are whole.
I want to leave us plenty of time for questions. There is so much more I could talk about here, perhaps to be saved for another time. Let me add one thought here. We talked about the three kayas, and the sambhogakaya which emerges from the Dharmakaya. That very first expression, the Word, could be known as the first expression of the Dharmakaya. Sometimes when you’re caught way out in left field, as it were, spinning in circles around the seeming distortions, the first step is to come back to the ever-perfect. To know that which is not distorted in the self right there with the seeming distortions. It may be hard to find that ever-perfect within the Ever-Perfect, within the Unconditioned, within God, because you feel you cannot get there. But can you see yourself shining out from this ever-perfect? Here is a poem that Barbara shared in class 10 days ago:
I am the place where God shines through
For God and I are one, not two.
I need not fret nor will nor plan,
God wants me where and as I am.
If I’ll just be relaxed and free,
She’ll carry out her plan through me.
You are the place where God shines through. Trust that so that you don’t become so lost in the idea of brokenness.
So what do we need to do now to allow people to ask questions?
the Q & A section is only very lightly reviewed.
(question not taped)
So the question, if I am understanding it correctly: an illness will be in part karmic, environment, physical, mental, emotional. How do we know what part it is, what it is?
Why do you need to know?
Q: I think some of it is maybe to release the guilt that we feel, that maybe we caused it. So that when we’re healing, it may be when releasing the karma— this is a difficult question. I hope that Aaron can sort through this.
Aaron: Let me use an illustration here. We have a very pure stream, water pouring out from an underground spring, and from various mountain streams pouring into a wider stream. The water still is clear and pure. As it moves downstream, it goes through a city in which there are sewers dropping cleansed but still distorted water into the river. There are factories putting water into the river. The end result is that 20 miles beyond the city the water is quite toxic.
We want pure water. Several things are necessary. To identify the sources of the toxin, and here, using Barbara, we need to know there were certain causes that resulted in skin cancer. There was certain karma that resulted in certain changes. There were certain beliefs. It’s helpful to understand the various things that have a part of the distortion. And yet, if we approach it with, “I’ll fix this one, and I’ll fix that one, and I’ll fix that one,” can you feel the contraction, the tension?
What if we start with knowing the ever-perfect water, or the ever-perfect healthy body, is here? I choose to know and magnify this ever-perfect body, to appreciate it. If you picture a dark stream with much pollution coming into it, water darkened; how can you know what comes from where? Look instead at the innate radiance of the water; then you see a little bit of darkness coming in. Against the radiance you can see the darkness and you can attend to it. Oh, here is a place where this factory is sending pollution into the river. We’ll attend to that. We’ll have the factory clean up what it sends into the river. It cannot send pollution in. Here is a place where farmers are treating the soil with various chemicals and it’s running off the banks and into the river. We need to attend to that. Can you feel the difference between knowing the perfect river and then attending to the sources of distortion, vs. thinking of the whole river as damaged, and that only if we repair all the damage can we get the river back in good form again? There’s more tension in that mode. You’re starting with the darkness rather than the light.
When you know the body as perfect then you begin to experience the causes of the distortion. I want to use Barbara’s back as an example. I think a personal example is helpful, and I don’t want to use anybody else here as example. Barbara was in a severe accident 13 years ago and there was bad damage to the spine. Whatever karma, it helped create that accident, but we don’t have to address that right away. Where is the perfect spine?
If we think of the various physical or emotional distortions as a problem, become immersed in them and start to think about what’s causing the damage, and how do I fix it, we become more and more contracted into it, giving actually negative energy into it. Using Barbara’s back as example, there’s no denying that there were severe spinal problems. They were causing a lot of pain. It was increasingly hard, almost impossible, for her to walk. The doctors at the university wanted to do some very serious surgery, which might or might not cure the problem.
I asked Barbara to start with knowing the ever-perfect spine. The spine had been perfect before the accident. For a period of 10 years it kept getting worse and worse after the accident. But if the spine was perfect 15 years ago, it was still perfect at one level. I asked her to imagine walking, climbing mountains. I asked her to watch the places where fear contracted in her spine, the places where when there was contraction, the lower spine closed in, pressing more on the nerves. I asked her, every time she felt that, to expand with mind and breath.
At the same time, in meditation she reflected on karma, different kinds of karma. Ancient karma in which there were injuries to the spine, and the anger she held. Just offering forgiveness. Knowing that she also had injured others, and asking forgiveness. Doing the things that help release the karma. So, addressing it on that level not as a fix-it but openheartedly. To attend to the karma. To attend to the physical causes. And third, simply to know this back is perfect. To know, really know and feel the place that’s free of distortion in the back, where she can dance, where she can move freely, where there’s no pain. Not to stand up and say, “What if it hurts?”, but, “Of course the spine is perfect.” To say it even if there was pain.,
She had to take these pieces together, to attend to the karma and to be willing to look. She didn’t see all the specific areas of karma, but each of you has injured others and been injured. Forgiveness heals karma. “Whoever has harmed me in these ways, I offer forgiveness. Whoever I have harmed, I ask forgiveness.” Really feeling that forgiveness coming to you is powerful. Also, watching the subtle karmic tendencies with imbalance. For Barbara, when the body felt imbalanced, she would close in like that and then hold tension in that part of the spine. So she spent 2 years learning how, when she felt imbalanced, to breathe and open the back. And again, when she walked and there was imbalance, feeling the body close in, do it again. Mindfulness. Opening the back.
Because of her deafness she has no inner ear balance, so she walks without balance. For 45 years she has had no inner ear balance. When you don’t have balance, you tense up. The body doesn’t trust itself. Part of the karma for her was needing to learn, “I am balanced. I am perfectly balanced. Right here with the imbalance is perfect balance, and thus I don’t have to hunch the body over, bringing pressure in the places in the spine that are damaged.” And certainly those 50 years of hunching also added to the spinal problems.
She needed to release those distortions, attending to the karma, knowing the ever-perfect back. Then at the Casa they were able to literally repair the places where the spine was closing in and pinching the nerves. But they could not do that, let’s say they could not expect to hold it in place, until she did her own work. At the Casa they say, “We’ll do 50%; you do 50%.” Her 50% was to recognize the karma, although in this case not specifically in detail, and to recognize the habitual tendency.
For Barbara, this work involved coming back to imbalance. Standing erect, trusting the body. In her book Cosmic Healing, she speaks about a part of this exploration with me during a retreat 20 years ago. I sent her out into a snowstorm. I asked her to close her eyes. She said, “I’ll fall.” I said, “That’s fine, fall. The snow is 2 feet deep.” It was midnight. She went out in the snow. She fell. She got up, closed her eyes, and fell again. Falling, landing, was not hard; the snow was soft. Letting herself fall. What does it mean to be the one who must be upright?
So the karma, being upright, the lifelong habit of being the one who is upright. Can you feel the tension, “I must be upright.”, both in the physical meaning of that and the broader meaning? The one who takes care of others, the one who must stand tall. The one who takes care of everything. Upright. What does it mean to let yourself fall?
This was a beginning of the healing. Each step of the healing was necessary to the further steps. The important thing was to hold the intention, “I come to know myself, the wholeness of myself, and to express this wholeness in the broadest sense I can. I choose to express the wholeness of myself. I choose to release whatever negates that knowing of wholeness.” If you work with it in this way, knowing of the karma will come genuinely, a little at a time, as is necessary and useful to see it. Not, “I need to fix it,” but insight, and then a new insight, and a new insight. And trusting the insights. Knowing the wholeness of the body and trusting the wholeness of the body so that the body can walk, can dance, can do whatever you wish it to do.
I’m not sure if that answers your question.
Q: It helps a lot.
Aaron: Let us go on, then, and hear other questions.
(They pause for technical issues.)
Aaron: The wonder for me is most of the time it works. So we can be patient. Do we have another question?
Q: I’d like to know how to protect one’s body from EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radiation.
Aaron: I would suggest, I cannot say you can absolutely protect, but envision a shield— not an armor. Armor will not allow loving energy in. Armor blocks everything. Envision that which you do not want to penetrate the body, whether it’s electromagnetic radiation or somebody’s anger or anything, just imagine a gentle shield saying, “No, not that. Not that.” It’s pouring rain; put up the umbrella. Do it with love, with spaciousness. Hold the intention, “I bring into this body all that is wholesome, and I say no to that which is not wholesome,” whether it is electromagnetic radiation or anything else. Simply that.
If you hold this intention, you’ll find ways that you can do this. You know how to do it, many of you, when there’s angry energy around you. It’s the same thing. Thank you. Other questions?
Q: What is our role for or with others? Does seeing the ever-perfect in another help this?
Aaron: Absolutely. And if you see only evil in another, that is a way of harming another. When you recognize the ever-perfect in the other, it’s very supportive. Many of you have had darshan with the Mother. You know how the experience of her unconditional opens your heart and changes you and allows you to be what she sees in you. But if somebody looks at you with hatred, despises you, it closes you in and you cannot trust that you are radiant and beautiful. When you see the beauty in others, it helps them.
Part of your work is to understand what blocks you from seeing that innate perfection in others. Perhaps it is partially because you are afraid to see it in yourselves? And this doesn’t mean everything the other does is wholesome. Sometimes another may attack you, throw anger at you, throw socks at you. You learn how to say no with compassion and still find that which is beautiful in others.
This to me is perhaps the most important thing that I learned from Jeshua, and it’s a whole different talk. But for Jeshua, what was so inspiring was that no matter how negatively a person acted, he knew how to get past the negativity and open into that which is beautiful. Because he saw that which was beautiful in the other, the other would often bring forth that which was beautiful, dropping away the negativity. Whereas if he had attacked that person, they would have brought up more negativity as defense.
Q: When I feel light and love pouring through me, it is much easier to relate with catalyst. I’m paying attention to certain kinds of fear that arise and I shut down. The perspective shifts into a more contracted state. I reflect on my intention and feel the heaviness, and it’s hard to know the ever-perfect. What is resting in the ever-perfect? Do you experience the energy in the body? Because in that moment my predominant experience….
Aaron: …I am trying to understand your meaning: “It’s hard to rest in that ever-perfect.”
Q: Or Barbara. When you say, “rest in the ever-perfect or know it”, what is the experience of knowing, when I am so strongly feeling fear?
Aaron: This is the fruit of meditation. You do practice, all of you do, but with repeated practice, it’s like, I spoke of Barbara’s balance. With repeated practice you become more balanced. One doesn’t climb up on a tightrope and immediately walk across. One must practice.
In meditation one finds oneself at times in a spaciousness, a light openness, uncontracted. The Casa is especially helpful because the energy is so high, and you’ve all experienced the transformation of that high energy. You really feel the ever-perfect when you’re there. But you don’t have to be there to feel it.
In meditation, objects arise and pass away. What remains? We keep coming back to, what remains? What is the center from which objects arise and into which they pass away? What remains?
It’s experienced as sound, as light, as energy, as joy. For each of you there may be a different predominant piece of it, but each of you will find something into which you can tune to remember, “This is it. I come home. I come home.” Chanting, OM…. Bringing the hands together and helping to bring up that energy. Feel yourself in a cylinder of light. Simply hold something that’s deeply loved in the heart. These are all ways of bringing yourself home. Whenever you’re pulled out of that space by anger, by fear, when there is mindfulness that says, “I choose to come home.”— not “I must come home,” but “I choose, I invite,”— reach out your hands and find the guides who will support you, whatever speaks to you of love. Hold a lovely crystal. Look at a beautiful picture. Look at a picture of a great Master; look in those eyes. Whatever will help to lead you home. Begin to find the devices that do help to bring you home. And it will differ for each of you.
Remember it is possible to come home. Not being home is a matter of habit. Like Barbara’s contracting her spine, it’s a place where you go because it’s habit. “I choose to come back, again and again, until it becomes stable.” If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it.
Q: With the vipassana practice, when I am feeling fear, and I feel some right now, and I want to run away from it, in that moment, do I come home or sit with that experience of contraction?
Aaron: That which is aware of fear is not afraid. You rest in the simultaneity, knowing, and with compassion and so much tenderness for this human that is afraid. No trying to get rid of the fear, no denial of the fear. “Breathing in, I am aware of the fear. Breathing out, I hold space for the fear.” Right there with fear, where is love? In this moment, where is love? Invite yourself into something that speaks of the heart of love. The mother’s embrace, the Mother or your human mother. The love of a friend. Some generous thought or act. Something that opens the heart. Right there with fear, so that without trying to get rid of the fear you say, “I choose not to be focused into fear; not to give so much energy to the fear, not even by trying to get rid of the fear, which is another way of giving energy to it. I choose to rest more in that spaciousness and light.”
And this is really the heart of my talk tonight: resting in that ever-perfect which is accessible to all of you. Each of you knows how to find that space. If you are not there, simply be mindful: I am not there. I feel locked out of it. I choose not to feel locked out of it. Help me. OM…. What do I love? Look at a flower. Look at a picture of a beloved face. What do I love? What in this moment will bring me home? Practice the Tonglen or Metta with the self to gently draw yourself back.
Know that you have a choice. Don’t force it. In other words, don’t try to force away the fear, the negativity, the contraction, but right there with contraction, where is spaciousness? Breathe, right now… Feel the spaciousness. Can you feel the potential for spaciousness?
Q: Yes. My habit is to breathe in fear!
Aaron: Look in my eyes. Right here, looking in each other’s eyes… I am fully accepting of your fear. I am not afraid of your fear. I have space for your fear. Join me in that space…
We are not getting rid of the fear. We are breaking through the fear to the space beyond. The fear is just fear…
Can you feel that? Can you feel that? Look into my eyes. Feel my love. We could try to bring me up closer so you can look into my eyes…
Can you feel how much I love you? (yes) Even if there is fear, even if there is contraction, allow yourself to feel how much I love you. And let that love become a resting space wherein all healing can happen…
You are so beautiful, and I love you…
Let that be the greater reality without trying to fix or get rid of anything. You are love. That’s all you need to know. You are love.
This is the only reality; all the rest is illusion. You are love. But the illusion comes as a teacher. We’re not trying to destroy the illusion, only not to be so caught up in it. To trust the greater reality. You are love…
Thank you all for your presence tonight.
Q, I see you are limping. You were limping a bit when you walked in.
Q: If you say so. I don’t feel like I am limping.
Aaron: May Father John look at you a moment? Will you like to come up? We can continue this and others can watch or not. Father John is going to incorporate.
You are welcome to stay online and watch. Father John is going to incorporate and look at something that he sees askew with Q. I believe a month or two ago there was some pain and he attended to it, am I correct?
Father John: Blessings to you, son. Come, please stand up, let me see. Turn around, turn sideways a bit, turn this way, come this way to the side please. Just letting the curious out there see what I’m doing.
Son, I want you to bend the body, keep the back straight and simply shift the body that way, now the other way. Can you feel the tension in here, as you shift? Do you feel that? Do it again, please. This side of the body is longer than this side. The hip is tightening up on this side.
Q: There is an artificial hip.
Father John: On that side. Your body is reacting to the artificial hip, I think favoring it, afraid of trusting it.
Q: I dislocated it right after the surgery.
Father John: I am taking care of you, but what I want you to do is this. Stand on this leg, lift the other leg. Now put your foot down again. Now the other way. Can you feel how much surer you feel? (yes) So I want you to practice at home holding on to something, a counter or whatever. Simply putting weight on the leg that feels stronger, then shifting to the other leg. And remembering that this hip is strong. Don’t try to bend your leg or push in any way, just let it bear your weight. And watch the trusting or not trusting of it. And then let me take care of it physically.
Anyone else who needs some help here before I leave the body? Please come.
Several more people come up to Father John. Then Aaron returns to the body, says good night, and the session ends.
Insight | Vipassana
All levels of meditators are welcome! No registration necessary. Offered as dana; donations to Deep Spring Center are appreciated.
Sitting meditation for one hour from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Followed by a half-hour of mindful sharing.
For more information, please contact Deep Spring Center at 734.477.5848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sundays, 10:00 am – 11:30 am – Weekly
Insight | Vipassana Meditation
All levels of meditators are welcome! No registration necessary. Offered as dana; donations to Deep Spring Center are appreciated.
Sitting meditation to start the day! Please enter and depart in silence. (Instruction is not provided.)
For more information contact Deep Spring Center – 734.477.5848 or email@example.com
Tuesday, 6:30 am – 7:15 am – Weekly
Summer Silent Vipassana Retreat
Be a Lamp Unto Yourself
June 13-15 or June 13-19, 2015
The Buddha said “Be a lamp unto yourself.” How do we access that lamp and live from our deepest heart and truth, with wisdom and compassion? The primary focus of the retreat is to deepen vipassana practice and gain insight into how to bring what we learn into practice in the world. We will also include heart centered practices like Lovingkindness meditation. The retreat will be held in silence except for instruction and discussion periods and daily dharma talks.
We also will focus on the simultaneity of everyday and Ultimate experience. For example, how do we hold ourselves and others compassionately in our hearts when fear or anger are present, and also rest in that place that is truly empty of fear or anger but with no denial of them on the relative level? What allows us to express our deepest inner being and what blocks it? The Entity we call The Mother may incorporate in an optional session one or several afternoons,. to help those who wish to participate to come into this heart centered space through sharing energy and a few words.
Registration deadline is May 29, 2015
Date: June 13-15 or June, 13-19, 2015
Where: Emrich Center, Brighton, MI
Level: All levels
Cost: $525 for 7 days (6 nights) and $310 for 3 days (2 nights); includes meals and lodging.
Full payment is due June 5, 2015. Your payment/deposit is refundable minus a $25 cancellation-processing fee until May 15, 2015; after that it is refundable only if someone on the waiting list takes your place.
If full payment is not received by June 5 your place may be reassigned.
Tenting is an option, cost is the same. All tenters also have a bed reserved for them.
ONLINE REGISTRATION – 7 days (6 nights)
ONLINE REGISTRATION – 3 days (2 nights)
Registration and Information
Check in opens at noon, the retreat begins mid-afternoon Saturday, June 13 and ends Friday, June 19 after lunch. The 3-day retreat will end after the dharma talk on Monday evening. Experienced meditators, with permission of the teacher, may conduct a self-retreat.
The retreat will be held in noble silence, with instructions for beginning and advanced meditators and will include evening talks, optional group meetings and opportunities for private interviews with teachers. Mindfulness throughout the day will be the intention, with alternating periods of sitting and walking practice.
Special rates for young adults:
Deep Spring Center would like to support young adults (18-30) in the cultivation of their meditation practice. We offer them special rates of $115 for the 3-day retreat and $220 for the weeklong retreat. These discounts are given on a first come first served basis. Please contact the retreat registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org before signing up online.
Scholarships are available; inquire if you need financial assistance.
Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have alot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have complete peace and freedom and your struggles with the world will come to an end. – Ajahn Chah
What is a Meditation Retreat?
A meditation retreat is a wonderful opportunity to experience our own inner being while sharing in the support of others. Mindfulness throughout the day will be a focus, with alternating periods of sitting and walking practice. The retreat will be held in silence, free of conversational talking.
A typical day at retreat includes instruction for beginning and advanced meditators, numerous perious of sitting and walking meditation, optional small group meetings or private interviews with the teachers, optional group instruction or discussion with Aaron each afternoon, optional yogo, a rest or personal periods, and an evening dharma talk.
This kind of retreat may not be appropriate for all people. If you have concerns about your emotional stability under the pressures of a deeply introspective meditation experience, please discuss your concerns with a Deep Spring teacher prior to registering.
If finances are a concern, please let us know. Scholarships are available. Registration fees cover room and board. Teachings are offered on a dana basis.
Insight Meditation (vipassana) is a simple and direct practice: the moment to moment investigation of the mind/body process through calm, focused awareness which allows us to experience sensations, emotions, thoughts and consciousness with greater clarity and balance. This frees our mind from conditioned patterns of self-centeredness, negativity and confusion, and opens our heart to deeper wisdom and compassion. This process of opening compassionately to ourselves moves from the sitting period to the whole of our lives. Each moment is practice for our growth toward wholeness and harmony.
The meditations derive from Buddhist traditions but no special religious beliefs are necessary to their practice. Along with vipassana, we will work with the practices of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, and with Pure Awareness meditation.
There will be separate instruction periods to meet the needs of students with different levels of meditation experience.
Location and Schedule
The retreat will be held at Emrich Center, southwest of Brighton, Michigan. This
26-acre retreat facility lies within 5,000 acres of rolling, wooded state land. Wildflowers abound in the Emrich meadows; butterflies are around each bend; deer graze on the lawns; the state land holds serene walking trails and beautiful vistas.
A clean lake offers refreshing swimming just a short walk from the meditation hall. Tenting is permitted.