we’re actually contributing to what we don’t want.
Ahm… This is a question about relationship with the world…
Ahm… The world seems to be getting much darker.
And, despite the efforts of myself and others, who are… lightworkers, friends to Light… Ahm… I don’t see much of an effect…
… in a… in a… positive direction…
Ahm… So I do feel… defeat…
… ah… hopelessness; despair.
And when you open to those feelings, rather than just telling the narrative of those feelings, where do you find them?
Do they exist without the narrative?
Is this a trick question?
[Man and audience burst in laughter, Gangaji smiles noddingly.]
It’s a question that reveals the trickery of the mind. It shows how the trick is done. So, as long as there’s a narrative –even the narrative of light versus dark– there’s one to win and one to lose. There’s a war. And in the experience of losing that war –just like [referring to a previous questioner] in losing the marriage– there are these feelings that come up… Naturally. Natural feelings.
But when we add to those feelings by continuing the narrative into the future, or replaying the past… especially with how it should be, or for what our agenda is for it to be… Then we are unnecessarily suffering, and unnecessarily adding to the darkness, in the world.
So when you have these experiences, as you report, and I’m inviting you in this moment to see: Do they have any substance, without the narrative? Or is the narrative generating the feelings?
Well, despite my own interpretation of the narrative, there are many other people [turns with a gesture to the audience], many people here tonight, that are experiencing a lot of pain, from… the circumstances that are…
Yes, but for right now, it’s just you up here.
So, it’s not about how many are on your side, or how many are on the other side.
It’s in this… ruthless kind of self-inquiry.
If you are not telling the story, of the war, and losing the war… Are these feelings of darkness there? This personal despair, and anguish… Can those feelings exist without a narrative to generate them?
In your own experience. As a… just… reflection.
I don’t know?
Well, what do you see? [smiling]
It’s a scientific investigation we’re doing here [audience and man laugh]
You’re turning the microscope on, and you’re recognizing, Oh, there’s a narrative, and this narrative… – you know there are feelings with that narrative– So if I just stop the narrative for the moment, are the feelings still there? Are they feelings that exist on their own, or do they have to be linked up with a narrative?
I think so! Yeah…
Well, like what? What do you experience right now?
In your chest, or your solar plexus, or your belly… Is there any emotion, or feeling that’s there?
Just ahm… Pressure?
Pressure… that’s a physical…
Yeah, warmth… That’s physical. So, if you go a little deeper, is there… Is there an emotion, or is there… a contraction, or is there… space… or…
There’s space! Is it peaceful space?
[Nodding emphatically] It’s peaceful space.
It’s peaceful space. It’s here. Independent of a narrative. Right? It’s here. You weren’t telling yourself a story about peaceful space. Right? You just investigated. And here was peaceful space. It’s what you work for! You… you love it! You want it. But when we get caught up in what our mission is, and we are suffering with it, we don’t recognize that we’re actually contributing to what we don’t want. Rather than being true to this space. And finally that’s all you can do. Just be true to this light… to not betray it, by an agenda.
‘Cause who knows, who knows what the world wants, or the cosmos… Maybe, you know, they like to blend up, light and dark… Who knows…
But you know, for yourself, what you stand for; what your life is; you said it, it’s a lightworker.
Then don’t go to the dark side!
[Gangaji and audience laugh, man blushes with understanding]
‘Cause that’s the trap; of course:
But we wanted to win! I didn’t… I want the Light to win!!!
But that in itself is already… dark!
Are you willing to lose, and still be for the light?
[Man nods emphatically]
Then loss itself, is part of the light!
Then you find out the light that’s not subject to “light and dark”, the light that’s found even in the dark…
Then you’re being true to yourself.
[Man looks completely relaxed and grateful]
Thank you, thank you! Such a relevant question… So happy you brought it up here.
[whispers even more quietly while standing up and leaving platform; camera focuses on Gangaji]
This really is: Dare we? Dare we be radiant in the face of the horror of the degradation of our planet, and political systems, and families, and streets… We feel like we are disloyal! You know, We need to be suffering! But then we’re just adding to the suffering. Are you willing to work for stopping the degradation, to work for enlivening neighborhoods, or relationships, without having to suffer unnecessarily. To really be true to what it is, who it is, that it is.
That has, way before we met, already claimed your lifetime.
I’m just here to… to just bring this angle into it, in this meeting, that if you aren’t trying to get anything from this war of light and dark, there is just light.
If you are willing to experience the pain of loss; that pain itself, loss itself, is light.
If you are willing to meet dark within yourself –meet it! Without fighting it or following it…– dark itself is light. It’s a beautiful light.
It’s a rare position, you know. Usually, it’s been allotted just to these special human beings like Buddha or Christ, or Swami Yogananda, or Ramana…
It’s for you now. It’s not a rare position! You are needed in this expression of what has lived your life. Others can’t live it for you. And if it means defeat, like a marriage, then defeat becomes the catalyst for the deeper recognition of what is closer than any defeat. What’s beyond even the notion of defeat. What cannot be defeated because it’s always here.
Then we’re not speaking of identity. Identity becomes just another object. Good identities, bad identities…
We are speaking of freedom.
Speaking of you. Who you inherently and naturally; truly and finally; are.
Dare to be true to that.
Everything is at stake. Everything is your life. How is it being lived? What is it contributing to? Whatever its intentions, what is your life contributing to? In this moment; this night.
Nobody can answer that for you.
But you have the capacity to look, and see. And in that moment, you tell the truth about what you want. How you wanna live. What you want your life to be for.
It’s true relationship. It’s a mature relationship. It’s what brings us together.
I thank you for your attention.
May all Being live in happiness.
Om shanti shanti shanti
Gangaji transcribed by Leon Hieros
What is personal death?
Asking this question and pausing to look inward – isn’t personal death a concept? Isn’t there a thought-and-picture series going on in the brain? These scenes of personal ending take place solely in the imagination, and yet they trigger great mental and physical distress – thinking of one’s cherished attachments an their sudden, irreversible termination.
Similarly, if there is “pain when I let some of the beauty of life in” – isn’t this pain the result of thinking, “I won’t be here any longer to enjoy this beauty”? Or, “No one will be around and no beauty left to be enjoyed if there is total nuclear devastation.”
Apart from the horrendous tragedy of human warfare – why is there this fear of “me” not continuing? Is it because I don’t realize that all my fear and trembling is for an image? Because I really believe that this image is myself?
In the midst of this vast, unfathomable, ever-changing, dying, and renewing flow of life, the human brain is ceaselessly engaged in trying to fix for itself a state of permanency and certainty. Having the capacity to think and form pictures of ourselves, to remember them and become deeply attached to them, we take this world of pictures and ideas for real. We thoroughly believe in the reality of the picture story of our personal life. We are totally identified with it and want it to go on forever. The idea of “forever” is itself an invention of the human brain. Forever is a dream.
Questioning beyond all thoughts, images, memories, and beliefs, questioning profoundly into the utter darkness of not-knowing, the realization may suddenly dawn that one is nothing at all – nothing – that all one has been holding on to are pictures and dreams. Being nothing is being everything. It is wholeness. Compassion. It is the ending of separation, fear, and sorrow.
Is there pain when no one is there to hold on?
There is beauty where there is no “me”.
― Toni Packer, The Work of This Moment