Barbara Brodsky

Barbara Brodsky
meditation teacher
Deep Spring Center

Tottered on: 22 October 2007
Temperature: 72F
Ceiling: clear blue
Ground: maple leaves
Wind: SSW at 12 mph


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TT with HD: Barbara Brodsky


[Ed. note: Barbara Brodsky became deaf as an adult. So communication from Barbara to other people is by voice. In the opposite direction, communication is facilitated through a combination of lip reading, word-initial fingerspelling, or on-screen typing. On the occasion of this Talk, the role of interpreter was graciously served by Nicholas de Paul. His talk in this guise of interpreter isn't included as a part of the text below. So, where comments by Nicholas do appear, they're occasions where he stepped outside his interpreter's role.

Where comments by Aaron appear, they're occasions where Barbara is channeling Aaron, a discarnate entity, who is her constant companion. More background on Barbara's meditative teaching and on Aaron is available from the Deep Spring Center. In early 2008, Barbara will be in Brazil. ]



HD: So, let's hop aboard.

BB: Have you ever heard of a place called Friends Lake Community?

HD: Friends Lake?

BB: Friends Lake Community, out in Chelsea.

ND: Just north of Chelsea ...

BB: It's a Quaker-founded ...

HD: ... oh, Friends as in Quaker Friends, okay.



BB: Nicholas was the caretaker there for a couple of years and he built a great seesaw. We were looking for the picture--there's a picture of Nicholas and my husband on the seesaw.

ND: I may be able to find it while I'm here--I've got my computer and I may be able to find the picture.

HD: So it was bigger than this one?

ND: It was just about the same size, not nearly as slick.

HD: Oh, well, ... [laugh]

ND: It was made out of a log and a saw horse.

HD: So, a bit more natural, a bit more rustic.

ND: More natural, yes. And not as safe, because it was easy to fall off.

HD: So, it did not have a perfect safety record? People actually fell off? [Ed. note: The mounting of the totter has now proceeded from mere straddling of the board to actual balancing.]

BB: I weigh, yeah ...

HD: ... but I think in this position, though, we just about balance.

BB: Fun!

HD: Let me get your tottering portrait taken. Alright, ready? Here we go.



BB: So, if this interview doesn't get off the ground I can just slide backwards, and add some 'lift'!

HD: Right, exactly! In a manner of speaking. Alright.

ND: This could be a weighty conversation.

HD: Oh, yes, right. 1 2 3

ND: I was i-Chatting with her this morning--through IM ...

HD: ... uh huh?

ND: ... we do a lot of that. And I was mentioning to her that most people are teetering on the edge, but this morning she was on the edge of teetering.

HD: [laugh] Okay, that should be enough, enough to choose from. So, shall we actually get some teeter tottering motion going? Is this okay for you?

BB: I'm fine! I didn't know if I would be, or if I would be unbalanced. But it's fine!

HD: Well, you said that you have no balance left as a result of the ...

BB: ... Nicholas, I need you to tell me what ... [Ed. note: ND is shooting some video of the initial tottering.]

HD: So, do you want us to look at the camera?

ND: Nope.

BB: I'm not sure I'll try [Name 1]'s trick of holding my legs in front of me. But with my feet on the ground, I'm fine. [Ed. note: BB spies a pair of boots adorning a tree branch.] Shoes! Did somebody take their boots off and toss them over the tree, or?

HD: That would be me, yeah.

BB: They're yours?

HD: Yes. [Ed. note: BB eschews her earlier caution and lifts her feet onto the totter.] Oh man, well I think you ought to get a shot of her ...

ND: ... this is the woman with no balance.

BB: I should probably build one of these--it would be good for my balance.

HD: Oh my god!

ND: Go ahead and teeter.

HD: I don't want to ruin the safety record.

ND: Oh, she's hearty. Now, I'm going to be reckless, and try do both, I'm going to type and sign. I probably can't do it



HD: We'll see how it goes.

BB: So, do we now begin a balanced conversation?

HD: Sure. So far, I hope it's been an uplifting experience.

BB: Very little sinking.

ND: That is the essence of meditation--very little sinking.

BB: [To ND] Come this way a little, so it's closer. And toward me a little, yeah. Right, just right. So I can see both of you at the same time. So you're not out there, Dave's over here. Perfect.

HD: And we'll just experiment and if it doesn't work we'll try something else.

BB: Okay!

HD: First of all, welcome to the teeter totter.

BB: Thank you!







HD: You know, it's interesting, the situation were dealing with here in communicating, we have an extra layer that we have to get across in order to communicate. And that's very similar to the extra layer that exists for this discarnate entity, called Aaron, to communicate with other folks here on planet Earth.

BB: I think that's accurate.

HD: Yeah, so when you're having conversations--or I should say when Aaron is having conversations with folks mediated through you--you publish the transcriptions, which is a very similar enterprise to what I'm engaged in. So, I have conversations, and I record them, and I transcribe them. I try to leave them as intact as possible. In other words, I prefer not to change anything, but I do clean them up, so that they're readable. There are false starts, and oh's, um's, ah's, or people will say, "Hmmmmm, let me think ..." and sometimes ...

ND: ... one second.

HD: And sometimes when someone says, "Hmmmmm, let me think," that seems important to include, even though it might not read as clean as it would if I deleted it. So I'm wondering, are you confronted with those same kind of issues with Aaron's talk? Or does he basically deliver relatively clean prose that you don't have to fix up too much?

BB: There are similarities and differences. First of all, obviously I don't transcribe. I'm deaf. I can't listen to the tape and transcribe. There's a woman out in Seattle who does most of our transcribing. But there are also other people who do some transcribing and through these almost twenty years, a number of people have transcribed Aaron. When a transcriber, gets to know Aaron, she gets to know his facial expressions in a sense. It's not a videotape, but she feels the pauses--she types it in very well. When I get the transcript back, I review it with Aaron, but there's usually very little to correct. It's very clean.





ND: Do you have an electrical outlet out here?

HD: Uhhh, yes. There's actually one right inside the garage, and in fact, there might be an extension cord that would reach. It would be black. Feel free to rummage around, or move whatever needs to be moved. [Ed. note: ND disappears into the garage in search of an extension cord for his computer, calling out updates on his progress.]

BB: He's looking for an extension cord?

HD: Yes.

BB: It's a nice garage, I like the two stories.

ND: I don't mean to keep you guys from going ahead here.

HD: You know I think there should be--already plugged in perhaps--a black three prolonged extension. You might have to unplug something, which is quite alright.

ND: Yeah, well, I don't see any black extension cords. But I do have a 3-to-2 converter, so

BB: Nicholas! Nicholas, I've got my computer too, and my battery is charged.

ND: A converter--it's definitely something I should carry. Might you have something like that in the garage somewhere?

HD: Not a converter, but there should be a cord.

BB: Being deaf, communication becomes an interesting issue. I'll come back to what you were talking about, but basically any form of conveyance, whether it's speech, or hands ...

HD: ... or gesture ...

BB: ... is a means of expressing an experience. And we can't really give another person our experience--only the symbols of our experience, whether those symbols come in articulated speech, or in signs. I think my deafness has made me much more aware of this process, because I don't take just hearing people for granted--because they make an effort to convey things to me. It seems easier for me to go deeper into what is the experience behind this, and this is also my work as a meditation teacher. It's very hard to convey some of these deeper meditation experiences in words. How are we able to get into another person and really feel another person? I've been deaf for 35 years. Especially since my deafness, so very much of my life has been about healing.



HD: [to ND] How do you want to do this?

ND: I'll swap seats with you, if you want to take a look for a minute?

HD: You ready?

ND: Yep!

HD: Okay, go ahead and sit down.

ND: I got it!

HD: Alright, play nice!

BB: What, was the cord not long enough? [Ed. note: HD returns with a cord.]

ND: Ah, great!

HD: [Ed. note: BB strikes the most relaxed pose ever achieved on the teeter totter to date.] I would love to take a picture of that, if you don't mind!

ND: Me, too!

BB: Okay!



HD: Alright. Let me make sure I'm still recording. Yes, indeed. Yes indeed. Okay. Alright. We're re-mounting! Okay where were we? Based on that break that we just took, it's fair to say I think, that you have a very playful personality.

BB: I never grew up. Fortunately!

ND: That is why you are such a great teacher!

HD: So we were talking about ...



BB: ... yes, coming back to the question. I channel Aaron in two different ways. In one--we call it consciously channeling--I hear him, and it's much like what Nicholas is doing for you. I hear his thoughts, and find words for his thoughts, and say them out. And much as Nicholas is hearing your thoughts, you articulate your thoughts, he's finger spelling, and probably abbreviating, probably not giving me word for word what you say.

HD: Okay, right.

BB: The second, and more usual way I channel Aaron is literally I leave my body and he comes into the body. He's fully in the body. One would say I'm channeling him, but I'm not really doing anything. I'm gone.

HD: So, where are you?

BB: I'm not sure!

HD: But you have no conscious awareness of being somewhere?

BB: I have no conscious awareness.

HD: So, you're not watching yourself while Aaron speaks through you?

BB: He is just beginning to teach me to do that a little bit. First I had to learn to get out of the way and let him use the body completely. And now, I'm learning how to come back in enough to be a backseat driver, so to speak. It's hard. It's easier to be gone than to watch him using the body, and not interfere. But first, I trust him completely. I know he would never say or do anything that's against my values. And even when I am watching a little bit, I have no memory of it. It's more like a dream--it comes and it goes. I don't really get the content.

HD: So when you come back and then read the transcript of what he said, it's like experiencing his thoughts for the very first time?



BB: Basically, yes. Except that he's usually talked some to me about what he's going to talk about, especially if it's a class that he's teaching, an on-going class series, for example. We've done some work together on that. Because he'll give a talk, for example, then he'll leave the body sometimes, give the body back to me, and for the second hour, I'll dialogue with the students. Because we've been working together for almost twenty years, I have a pretty good idea of what he teaches. He also always says to me he will not teach through me what I am capable of teaching myself.

HD: Now, wait a second. I'm not sure I follow that. He's not going to teach through you ...?

BB: If there's something that's new, that I'm not capable of teaching, he'll teach it to the students, he'll also teach it to me.

HD: Okay.

BB: His intention is to teach it to me, and get me to be ready to teach to the students. I think of a professor system, and the senior professor might teach other professors, but people who are not the department heads and not the most expert, and they become more expert. The instructors may not know as much. The TA usually goes to an instructor, not to the senior teacher. So, Aaron teaches people directly. But, he's here as my teacher. And his intention is to get me to understand the dharma, if I can put it another way.

HD: The dharma?

BB: To put it another way, he's a dharma teacher.

HD: Just clarifying.

BB: Do understand what I mean by dharma?

HD: Yes, I just wanted to make sure I got the right word.

BB: He tells us, in his final human lifetime, he was a Buddhist meditation master in Thailand in the 1500's. He is not self-identified as a Buddhist. He doesn't self-identify with any identity. He's not a Buddhist. He doesn't identify with any religion, but says that in this path, he found liberation from the cycle of birth and death. And that it's a viable path. So this is what he teaches. So he doesn't come to us as a spirit as some channels do, talking about beings in the Pleiades, or this kind of thing. His focus is, Who are we, Why are we here, How can we learn to live our lives with more love? Very down to earth.

HD: You know, I did a fair amount of reading on the Deep Spring website--in the Library--but I certainly didn't read anywhere near all of it. Because it's not light reading ...

BB: ... it's not light reading, no.



HD: It's not the kind of stuff you can skim. But I guess, my difficulty with a lot of the content had to do with this notion, this idea that the goal is to transcend the human experience--to break the cycle of birth and to death.

BB: I'm not sure that's an accurate statement of the goal.

HD: Okay.

BB: The goal is liberation from karma. We are pulled back into experience, whether it's the next moment's experience, right here, or the next lifetime--we're pulled back by karma. If I suddenly started yelling at you, it's going to create a very different atmosphere, it would be a different experience.

HD: Right! So, please, don't yell at me. [laugh]

BB: I won't! [laugh] But I want to de mystify karma. It's about--in its simplest form--if you want sweet fruit, you've got to plant a sweet fruit tree, not a lemon tree. If you plant a lemon tree, you're going to get lemons. We reap what we sow. As long as we are caught up in our habit energies of negativity, and sense of 'me' separate from everything else, we create that environment of fear, of confrontation, and separation. We talk about, How can we find peace on earth, How can we find peace in ourselves, How can we find peace in our own lives? We need to look deeply at the habit energies we carry of separation and negativity.

HD: So, you said the 'habit energies'?



BB: If somebody says something angry to you, how do you usually respond? Do you tense up? By habit, I mean simply the habits we have, the ways we have naturally reacted to different situations in the world. If, when I'm in a group of people, people turn around and start knocking me a bit, telling me where I messed up and criticizing me, do I tense up and fight back? Or do I relax and listen, and try to understand where they're coming from and what they're saying?

Nicholas, let me use you rather than Dave as an illustration of this, because he's on the other end of the seesaw. [Ed. note: BB and ND engage in some shoving back and forth ... really proving the safety of the totter.] If I push Nicholas, okay, is he going to fall backwards? Okay, push back! Sometimes, if somebody pushes you, you tense up and you push back. This is our habit. And it goes very deep. So, push me! Sometimes, people push ...

ND: ... raaaaahhhhhhr!

HD: Now, now, calm down!

BB: Sometimes people just flop over backwards, or--push me again--I can just relax and come back. Let him push if he wants to. How to do we develop the ability to let the world push us, without armoring ourselves, or without collapsing? So, it's about other people, it's about body pain, it's about stress. How do we really learn to relax and be present, not have to avoid the difficult experience, not get caught up in it as, Me, I have to conquer this! Just be relaxed and not wigged out by it.

So, coming back to what Aaron is teaching and what I am teaching. As we understand the habits that we have that don't work, and find a way to be more open-heartedly present in the world, we change the karma. When we change the karma, first of all, we stop suffering in the way we've been suffering. There's much less stress, and there's much less fear in our lives. We're just there. Open hearted. We still have to take care of things that are a challenge. But they no longer overwhelm us. It's just, this is how it is.

HD: Nicholas, are you encouraging us to teeter again?

ND: I'm encouraging you to teeter!

BB: Sometimes up, sometimes down.

HD: You know, there's subtle teeter tottering and then there's dramatic teeter tottering ...

BB: ... Dave, let me say one last thing. So, the focus on moving beyond, it doesn't mean getting out of this world, it means learning how to be open-heartedly present in this world. And it so happens that when we do that, we no longer create the karma that draws us back into another lifetime--if we believe in that there are other lifetimes. But if we don't, then we've still learned how to live our lives a bit more lovingly!

HD: Right. But, I guess what I wonder about is, if we think about this lifetime as an opportunity to make mistakes--possibly learn, become more evolved, that we're going to get another chance--that it lessens the importance and urgency of acting correctly in this lifetime. Or, that's just the reaction I had as I read through all lot of the material.

BB: I think you're right. We can be more spontaneous, less in control, more playful, as it were. But when we make mistakes, we get hurt occasionally, and other people get hurt. So, it's not giving ourselves permission to not be heedful of what we do, but to feel free enough to experiment.

ND: If anything, it frees up one's ability to be more aware.

HD: To be more--what did you say?

ND: To be more aware.

BB: So we become more spontaneous, more playful. But also, in a sense more careful. Because the more mindful you are, the more aware you are of the sacredness of the life around you, and the desire not to do harm. But the desire doesn't come from a place of fear. It comes from a place of caring.

HD: One of the things that struck me from what I read on the Deep Spring website, the focus that Aaron talks about is on alleviating suffering. He talks about that as being the main focus of what he's striving to do. I wonder if you have followed any of the local politics surrounding some of the pro-Palestinian groups here in Ann Arbor, and their interest in alleviating suffering of Palestinians [Ed. note: HD was speaking fast enough that ND required some time to catch up the interpreting] ... I'm not sure where I started!



ND: You were asking if she's aware of local Palestinian groups very interested in alleviating suffering.

HD: Right. And I wonder to what extent--ahh, I'm not even sure how to put this--it seems to me that here locally there is a lot of suffering on both sides of this issue. For example, on this People's Food Co-op boycott effort, on both sides there seemed to be a lot of mental suffering, perhaps spiritual suffering, caused by the conflict about whether we want a boycott or not. And this mutual community suffering was taking place in the interest of alleviating the very real physical suffering of a group that is thousands of miles away.

BB: I don't hear question, just a statement. Are you asking how I feel about this?

HD: Well, I was just wondering why your reaction is to strife in the community, in the Ann Arbor community, surrounding this issue.

BB: First, we need to take a look at the difference between pain and suffering. Pain is a given in our lives. If I step on something sharp here on the ground with bare feet, there's going to be pain. If somebody I love dies, I'm going to feel pain, emotional pain, physical pain. Pain happens. Suffering is optional. We suffer when we take a strong position around something that's happened and close ourselves off. Being very attached to it being our way, and not able to hear other people, as soon as we close ourselves off, separate from others--I'm here, your here; I'm right, you're wrong--we suffer.

When we can move ourselves out of that position enough to hear others, eventually we'll come to some consensus. We'll start to really hear each other's views. There may still be pain, but we won't be suffering in the same way we were before. From my perspective, this is what we're all on Earth to learn--how to really hear each other. How to get out of the small self, and really connect with each other. They are suffering because they are so 'opinionated', if I can put it that way, and so closed to others' views.

ND: May I try a re-frame of in this question? Is this accurate: it seems puzzling that people wanting sincerely to alleviate suffering are suffering in order to do so. Is that fair?

HD: Yeah, okay.

BB: They are suffering, because they only see one way to alleviate other people's suffering and they are attached to their way of doing it. Can I tell you a short story?

HD: Sure!



BB: This goes way back to maybe '61. I was picketing outside a nuclear sub plant in Connecticut.

HD: In Connecticut?!

BB: No building and launching of nuclear submarines! I was young, and I was committed to non-violence--I was 18, 19. So, a man who worked at the sub plant, who was a little bit drunk and angry that we were picketing, came up and started pushing me.

HD: Physically pushing you?

BB: Physical pushing. Pushing me hard enough that I fell to the ground. He started kicking me. But it was clear immediately that he wasn't intending to break bones, he was just humiliating me. I was lying on the ground covering my head. I was terrified, I was scared. I was angry. I was angry at myself. Why can't I love him? The passivist ideal, well, I couldn't do it. So, I was angry at him for doing this to me. I was angry at myself. People pulled him off. He said to me, I'll see you next week if you're not too scared. And I knew I had to come back. You were going to say something? Go ahead!

HD: But the people who pulled him off, they were right to pull him off.

BB: Yes, his coworkers pulled him off.

HD: Right, but they were correct to do so.

BB: Yes!





HD: And it would not have been okay for them to say, Well, she is experiencing pain, but whether she suffers ...

BB: ... they were angry at us, too, but they saw you can't kick this 19-year-old girl. They pulled him off. They knew he was drunk, so they pulled him off.

HD: Right, but what I'm saying is, it's not okay for them to say, Look, we see that she is experiencing pain that this drunk man is causing her, however, we need not act, because whether she suffers is up to her. Suffering is optional for her--her experience of pain is the only thing that's a given.

BB: But it's never okay to harm another person with intent to harm. To be compassionate toward another doesn't mean that we say, Go ahead, kick me! It's not compassionate to let somebody kick you--it's bad karma for them! Let me finish the story.

HD: Okay, I'm sorry, I interrupted the story.

BB: So week after week we went through this. It was seven weeks. Each week he would grab my sign and throw it on the ground, he would push me. I wasn't deaf then, I could hear.

HD: What did your sign say?

BB: My sign said: No more nuclear subs! From my perspective, I couldn't see that this was these people's livelihood, and they had families, and they didn't know how they would support their families, and they were scared. From their perspective, we were attacking their livelihood. The political aspect of it was way beyond this scene. Every week we had this crowd gathering around us to watch this. The seventh week, lying there on the ground, I had this thought to myself, You know, I'm not so bad, I've been doing this for seven weeks, I've been letting him to express his fear and concern, I haven't hit him back--can I just give myself that little bit of kindness? And in thinking that, I really felt my own fear, how intense it was, not just for myself, but for the world. And how afraid he was. I had not understood that.

Somehow my body went from a tense stance--closed up, and confrontational--to relaxed. He felt a shift in my energy. I looked up at him for the first time. He said, Why do you keep coming back? I said, Why do you keep coming back? He gave me his hand and I stood up. He said, Let's go and talk. So, he did what he needed to do until he was ready to hear somebody else's view. He needed this chance to release some of his fear and anger to come to a place where we could talk. And I needed to get to a place where I could talk. And a huge shift happened.

We were still picketing there every Saturday, but also a group of the peace group and his colleagues started to gather together at the local pizza place, and spend the afternoon talking. How could we envision a world at peace? And more practically, What options are available for you men to find work to support your families? Really hearing each other. This is how we change the world, and this is how we end suffering. We learned to hear each other. The local group that's so caught up in this, they're so attached to their own view that they can't hear another view. There's no communication going on. From a place of fear we can't communicate.

HD: When you look at that situation--I'm thinking specifically of the vigil that is maintained every Saturday outside the synagogue--what fundamentally is different about that action from when you were holding a sign outside the nuclear submarine facility?

BB: What we were doing there was not useful, either--as long as we were attached to our own view and unable to hear them. Once we became able to hear them, then there could be communication. Both sides don't have to hear each other at the same time--one side has to be ready to hear. When one side is ready to hear, the other side will talk and talk and talk until finally they're ready to hear. How long can you talk before you finally stop and listen? Maybe it's weeks. Maybe it's months. But eventually, you're going to stop and listen.



HD: Well, you know, of all the things I did read on the website, the part that I did find most comfortable, I would say, was the sub-chapter heading Cosmic Humor. And there's the question that's posed to Aaron--it's almost like the kind of question that you give to a Magic Eight Ball, you know, the thing you shake up--and the question was, What happens to all the socks that go missing in the laundry?

And I don't know if you know enough about me to know that I am very interested in laundry--no, I'm wearing socks--I see you looking at my socks. So, the answer that Aaron gave--which I assume was at least a playful, light hearted answer--had to do with with the socks spinning into the higher levels of density.

Now, what I have constructed for myself in my basement is a pedal powered laundry spinner. So, to spin my clothes dry, I use my pedal-powered laundry spinner. When I read that, I thought, Here's something I can actually identify with! The idea of the socks actually spinning into a state of higher density. So, the next time I spin my laundry, I'm definitely going to think about the possibility that if I pedal hard enough, I can spin them up to where Aaron lives. So, was that answer meant in a playful, joking way just as Aaron's way of saying, Look, that's not really a serious question! Or was he really offering that as truthful explanation, that that's really where the socks go!

BB: We could ask Aaron, if you would like!

HD: You can ask him right now?

BB: If you would like Aaron to come into my body and answer that, he will.

ND: Has Aaron been on a teeter totter before?

BB: He's on it with me now, but he says he doesn't weigh anything.

HD: [laugh] Well, you know, I have some counter weights over there, you see the barbell weights that I use to even out the balance sometimes

BB: I will answer briefly, but I'm serious that Aaron would be glad and come into my body and talk to you if you would like him to.

HD: Sure.

BB: I hear him, he's with me all the time. So he's been listening in on our conversation. That question, that was actually asked by--do you know [Name 1]'s partner, [Name 2]?

HD: He's an artist, yes.

BB: It was asked by [Name 2], who wears beautiful socks, and actually kept losing them. Aaron was answering both seriously and playfully because, of course, they don't wear socks on non-physical planes. But everything has free will.

HD: Including socks?

BB: He was just playing with the answer to talk about free will. Aaron, do socks have free will? He says, you have free will about what you do with your socks.

HD: [laugh] That's somewhat of an evasive answer, wouldn't you say?

BB: He says he would be happy to speak to you directly, if you wish it.

HD: And what would that entail? I'm a little wary.

BB: Okay, no need to do that then.

ND: Basically, she just closes her eyes, Aaron talks in a slightly different voice, then she comes back.

HD: Okay, I was concerned that something was going to happen to me

ND: She won't fall off! Or, she won't throw you off.

HD: [laugh]

ND: It won't eject you up in to the stratosphere.



HD: Alright. Although, that could be interesting. [Ed. note: BB closes her eyes. A takes over a few moments later]

A: Nicholas, my greetings and love to you. Thank you for your help today. Dave, nothing to be wary of! I am simply a different entity, and now I've come to this body. Oh! So I can play, and go up in down! [Ed. note: Not since Dale Winling tottered has equally enthusiastic tottering taken place.]

HD: Ohh, jeez!!

A: Perhaps a bit more agilely than Barbara! In answer to that question, I was playfully reminding my friend, [Name 2], that to try to control anything is a violence. A form of violence. You co-create. The socks don't really have a will, of course. So in that sense, it's a playful answer. But if you decide that you want your socks to stay intact in order to control them in that way, why not tie them together when you wash them? If you do not tie them together, then they may go in different directions. Let's use that more as a metaphor. If you want your life to go in one direction and if you're not careful, it's going to go in a different direction. You have free will. How will you use that free will to co-create with others, with the universe, for the highest good, not just for your own selfish needs? But, it was a playful question, and one can often teach better with humor. Do you have a question?

HD: The question, then, was posed in a playful way? Not in a, let-me-see-if-I-can-trap-you kind of way? Or, as in, Okay, let me see if you know the answer to this?

A: Yes, he was posing the question playfully. He and I often have humorous exchanges with one another. I've known [Name 2] for close to twenty years.

HD: And, just acoustically, there was one phrase--I'm not sure I will hear it back on the recording correctly, either--I think you said, Of course, socks have free will?

A: Everything has free will on one level. And yet inanimate objects do not have the same ability to express that free will as an innate objects. I'm trying to answer your question simply.

ND: Without bringing in Heisenberg.

A: Exactly. On the most simple relative plane, a sock is just a sock. And on another plane, it's knit cotton--something that was growing, was organic. Did the cotton plant have free will? At what point do we allow for free will? Can we pay attention in life to everything as if it is sacred?

HD: I think that would be exhausting.

A: Not really.

HD: To be mindful of everything that we encountered in that way??

A: Not really. Do you have children?

HD: No.

A: You have a cat.

HD: I have a cat, yes. You saw the cat, right.

A: If the cat is sick, do you pay close attention to what's happening to her? If she starts to cough, do you hear it?

HD: Yeah.

A: You attend to it. If she were crying and whimpering and sounded like she were in pain would you hear it--even during the night?

HD: Sure. Well, during the night, mmm, probably.

A: Okay. As one lives with one's intentions, if you start with the intention to live your life with harmlessness, with good to all beings, and in interconnection with all beings, then you begin to develop the attention, the mindfulness to do that. It's hard at first. A baby determines to walk. But his first two steps, he takes two steps and he falls. He staggers. He totters.

HD: [laugh] Right!

A: But eventually, he gets a bit more sure footed, and finally he's running. If he said, now I'm going to run, at age 11 months, he couldn't do it. But by two or three years, he's running. It's the same thing. It's not exhausting unless you decide, Now I'm going to do it perfectly. Right now, today! But as you hold the intention to bring more and more of your life into your caring heart and to tend to it with the same love that you give your cat, or a loved one, everything becomes your loved one. Your socks are loved ones, you take care of them.

HD: There some things though, that I'm certainly more attached to than other things. Like this teeter totter, for example. I'm emotionally attached to it for all kind of reasons. More attached, for example, to any pair of socks I might have.



A: Okay! That simply means that if lightning strikes this and shatters it, you will suffer more then if you lose a pair of socks.

HD: That's true.

A: When you're attached, you suffer. But that doesn't mean that you don't love and enjoy. Try to understand the distinction between attachment, which has a base in fear, and enjoyment, which does not have a base in fear.

HD: And the fear is the fear of losing it?

A: The fear of losing it, or the fear that somehow you will be injured if you lose it. That you won't be the same. If you are the 'teeter totter man' where would you be without your teeter totter? Well, who would you be?

HD: Yeah, that's a good question!

A: So, there's that self-identity. As you get caught up in that self-identity, you suffer. Once you relax and understand that first of all, you can always replace it, and second of all, if you didn't replace it, you could probably put two facing swings here, and become the 'swing man' instead of the 'teeter totter man'. You start to open up and see, it's okay. However it is, I can live with it. Then you're free to enjoy it, and there's no fear, no attachment.

HD: That might be a good final word. Is there anything else you had on your mind today?

A: I would like to return the body to Barbara, so that you can ask her that question. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you, Dave.

HD: Likewise.

A: Nicholas, my blessings. [Ed. note: BB returns.]

HD: Welcome back.

BB: Aaron spoke to you, I gather?

HD: Yes.

BB: Did you work out the socks?

HD: We worked out the socks. We also worked out what I might do if something happens to the teeter totter.

BB: He still can't get me to let go and wear mismatched socks! I'm less attached then I used to be.

HD: So, do you have anything else on your mind today, Barbara?

BB: No, I've enjoyed speaking. I enjoyed seesawing, teeter tottering. I'm delighted to find that I have the balance to do this! I was literally afraid that I would fall off. Not afraid, but concerned that I would fall off it.

HD: Well, it's not far to fall.

BB: Not far to fall! But you saw me looking at the front steps, I have no balance. But this is good!

HD: Alright, shall we dismount?