Awakening Is Endless

Today I speak with Gangaji. Gangaji is an American-born spiritual teacher dedicated to sharing the path of freedom through simple and direct self-inquiry. This year marks her twentieth year of teaching, as she continues traveling the world speaking to people with whom she shares her direct experience of the essential message she received from her guru, Papaji, on the banks of the Ganges in 1990. She is the author of the Sounds True book The Diamond in Your Pocket: Discovering Your True Radiance.

I spoke with Gangaji about what she learned while going through quite a difficult time in her life–the challenge as well of working with difficult emotions like fear, anger, and jealousy; the power of humiliation; and the endless nature of spiritual awakening.

Tami Simon: Welcome, Gangaji.

Gangaji: Oh thank you. I am really happy to be here, Tami.

TS: Gangaji will be offering a three-part online series with Sounds True called Facing Everything: Meeting Your Life without Resistance. And that begins on March 9th. And I think many Sounds True listeners know that in your own life in the past five or so years, you have faced a lot of things–things that maybe people may think that somebody who has had a great spiritual awakening in their life wouldn’t have to face. You know what I mean by that. And I think you know that it became public that there were difficulties with your husband, Eli, and that he had had an extramarital affair with a student and the complexities that go with that in terms of your long-term marriage. And I’m curious, to begin, if you could tell us a bit about what you learned about facing everything from this experience.

G: Well, I learned a lot. Because until this happened, things had been relatively smooth. I mean I am a human being, so there are ups and downs and I think we all have to face small things that are unpleasant, too, in different ways–whether in our body or just our environment or politics or whatever. But this was deeply personal, and I’ve been in this marriage for over thirty years now, and it was quite a shock to find out that my husband was deeply in love with another person and had been for three years.

It was a shock and it was really a good shock, although it felt horrible at the time, and I would have given anything to not have it. I’m a human being and I went through what we go through as humans. Shock is a kind of paralysis state, and then emotions arise. And I had all the emotions. I’m an emotional being. And I was furious and angry and I left my husband. And I was jealous and hurt and couldn’t believe it had happened. And I also recognized that it had happened and that there was choice in that. And then I could actually open to all those feelings and recognize that in the midst of all that, there was this untouched love for my husband, for the other woman, for myself. And just love for love. And that love was really untouched. And yet it wasn’t separate from the emotions. It wasn’t that the love took precedence, but it was there as silent awareness. It was the presence. And we made it through it. We did split up and then we reconciled. And then a year later, there was a public outcry and a scandal and so there was another level of facing everything that had been deeply personal and then this other was profoundly public and there was lots of negativity coming my way.

But you know, for years I’ve been saying to people that if you accept the negative as you accept the positive, that it’s just energy coming toward you. Then you recognize what’s untouched. This was a good testing ground for me. I had to see…how true is that? And I discovered it’s completely true. It was a very unpleasant time, but it doesn’t touch the truth of oneself. And from that came this phrase, “facing everything.” We actually offered a group a weekend or five-day with that title , “Facing Everything,” and the realization that if we have to be human beings, since we are human beings, rather, and we want to be awake human beings, really the only choice is to face everything. Otherwise we live in little bubbles. And some are pleasant and some people live in their unpleasant bubbles. But to face everything is to be willing to acknowledge that whatever arises can be met. No matter what we tell ourselves about what arises. Or no matter how much we like or dislike it, it can be met.

And when I use the word “meet,” or met, I mean, when we meet someone, we really are something, some emotions, some person, some state. We have to leave behind all definitions of what we think that person or state or emotion is and simply meet it as energy. And it’s a fire then. And it actually deepens. So I can say, now, on the other side of this, that was three years ago, well four years ago, and I discovered that affair. Our marriage is deeper and sweeter than ever. And I wouldn’t say my skin is thicker. It is actually more transparent. And I still have the capacity for heartbreak, but there is also a deeper recognition of the presence of love and silence that can really handle anything, and is really my invitation to anyone who is interested in this series. That is what we will be dealing with, ruthlessly and eventually, effortlessly. Meeting what arises in one’s life. I bring to that my own experience; it’s not just a theory. I’ve been through the testifier with this one.

TS: It certainly sounds that way. So let’s take the example of meeting anger. I mean, the anger that anyone would feel in a situation like this. How do you actually meet anger? Anger takes us over. We go off on our rants and stuff. What does it mean to “meet” it?

G: Well, I definitely felt really angry, so first of all, feeling it. Anger is such a powerful emotion that it just empties the mind of any thoughts of “this should be here or this shouldn’t be here,” which is just really raw, naked anger. You know, I did my share of yelling and screaming and saying, “This shouldn’t be.” And then the anger is spent. Because even though anger is the most powerful perhaps of the emotions, or of the outward-going emotions, it is also superficial. Because under that anger was this despair that I had been living with someone whom I thought I knew profoundly but it seemed that I didn’t know. But I had been living a lie. And so there was a deep despair and, in a way, the choice then was do I stay in this anger, or do I actually open to meet what is underneath the anger?

And I just had enough experience to know to open to the despair. And the shock of that and really, the beautiful part of the shock of it is the humbling of it. That it doesn’t matter how enlightened you are. I mean the experiences of awakening that you’ve had. We are subject to heartbreak and that’s not a bad thing, because it humbles the mind. And whatever the latest incarnation of self-definition may be. And so I was humbled by this despair. And I often knew that I had a choice with despair. I could indulge it and dramatize it, or I could just really open to it. In opening to despair without following the tendencies of my mind, which absolutely did arise, to write myself out of a dramatic scenario about how this shouldn’t have happened to me and how bad they are to doing this to me, to not follow that. And just to return to my own pain. Then that pain itself is not the enemy. It is just an animal pain of hurt. And when that hurt is met without the addition of the dialogue of the story of what caused it, even though that dialogue may be legitimate, it may need to be addressed. But in that moment, just to open to the raw, naked heart, then there’s a discovery of what is unhurt. In the core of the wound, there is perfect wholeness. As I recalled just a moment ago, just the love was untouched. And from that space then, I could actually speak to my husband. I could actually speak to this other woman and say, “How did this happen?” You know? What part did I play in this? And as a human being, start to unravel how this could have come about, to take responsibility. But first I had to take responsibility for my own reaction, my own emotions. And then a response, a true response, could come.

TS: You’ve mentioned a couple times that there are choices–that you saw that there were choices that you could make at different points. I’m curious about that emerging of a choice point, if you could describe that more.

G: Well, I haven’t always been aware of choice in my life, of course. Over the course of my spiritual search there were certain pivotal moments where I recognized I was choosing to suffer. And then really when I met Papaji, my teacher, my guru, he said, “Stop!” At first I didn’t know what he meant, and I could have a whole internal conversation about how it was impossible to stop. But he was so clear in his saying, “Stop and choose to be free.” that I stopped telling my story about what I could choose and what I couldn’t choose. And so I had experience of choice.

And then when I got pushed, as life will push us all in one way or another, either in our relationships or just in the very fact of the ending of life. It’s really death that we are always shocked about, death that we are avoiding, death that makes us angry, and death that makes us despairing. But Papaji had invited me to face death. And so I had actually opened or met, if we are using the word, “met,” I had met my own death. And so I recognized that I had this choice to open. Before that, I would have said there was no choice, just the anger or the jealousy or the despair would just have to play itself out. And I had lived a life, much of my life, actually as an emotional person then, as an emotional type, in emotionality. And feeling it was choiceless, and I would have defended the choicelessness of it. And that was my identity.

But in meeting my teacher, he had just suggested that I inquire into stopping and opening. And I found that it’s here, that opportunity is here. So when these very strong emotions would appear, that choice was not present in saying that now this emotion won’t appear, it was choiceless when they appeared, because things were triggered in my subconscious or in my habit of habits or my fixation. For me, it wasn’t choices, they appeared. But at that moment then, I knew from my own past experience that I could just stop talking to myself about how wronged I had been. And that was actually easier than meeting the pain, it seemed. So it was a hard choice, or a ruthless choice. But in the willingness to make that choice, then that is what I mean when I say, “open.” So it’s not choosing what arises; it’s choosing what you do with that.

TS: So when something difficult is happening and an emotion that seems like it’s sweeping us away is arising, and we’re hooked in the thinking, thinking, thinking, the story that “I’m going to kill him,” or, you know, “I’m so afraid, ” over and over. How do we break that sort of record player in our mind that is just going over and over and we’re in the feeling?

G: Well, that’s the essential question. I think the first thing is that you have to be willing to hear yourself, or to overhear yourself. You have to be willing to at least recognize, my god, I’m having the same conversation with myself that I’ve had a hundred times today about how horrible it is or how horrible he is or they are. And that there is some juice from that conversation, even some sense of power in that conversation because it generates this very strong emotion, anger. There’s no sense of power in despair. And we would often rather feel angry for the sense of power it gives us than the despair. So in overhearing myself, and you know, I’m not saying that immediately I would feel this choice, I would yell and scream and then I would hear myself. This is so familiar. And it was not just familiar from this particular horror that had happened in my life, but it was familiar from all I can remember of my life. What I’d said to my mother, what I’d said to other lovers, what I’d said to the world, what I said to my government when it had betrayed me. So it was this righteous anger. And the choice was then the willingness to lie down, and just feel that. Not even try to change the anger. But just to feel it without the dialogue. And that is the choice.

The how-to is just to first recognize that there is a dialogue and it’s not a creative dialogue; it’s the same old dialogue. So it’s really keeping one stirred-up without resolution appearing. Once you overhear yourself, then there is a possibility. That in itself is humbling.

TS: Okay, so I hear myself, I’m sick of it, I’m humbled. I lie down. I’m still with you. I lie down, and I’m still hearing myself and I’m more humbled. But what breaks that?

G: So if there is no notion of it being broken, you know, you’re not trying to get on the other side of it. If you’re lying down so you can get finished with it, that’s not really meeting it. That’s actually making some kind of subtle war against it. So you’re sick of being sick. But what I’m suggesting is that there’s a possibility to just be sick, to just lie down and to die to a future and die to the dialogue of the past. And in that, the meeting is just here. And the outcome is the discovery rather than a decision, “This will be the outcome. I will lie down. I will meet this, and I will be done with it.” It is more, “I will lie down and I will meet this and I will discover what is here.” And maybe it’s more anger. Maybe it’s more despair, more fear.

But whatever is here is an opportunity then to discover what this is. What is here? When we’re attached to this outcomes, “I will get rid of this; this will never happen again; I’ll get to peace and love,” then we’re being led by out thoughts, rather than letting our thoughts follow the direct discovery. And that’s really the whole point of this series: that we can have profound understandings, but if those understandings then start to direct our lives, then they actually limit our lives. The capacity to discover then makes way for more profound understanding. But then it’s not the understanding that is leading; it’s the capacity to discover. So we don’t know what would happen.

Let’s say when you lie down, you’re having this conversation; you’re sick of it. You don’t know. And the willingness to not know is really the willingness to have an open mind. Let us see, maybe you’ll still be sick at heart when you get up, but you’re just seeing, you’re discovering without a preconceived outcome on the other end. And that’s essential with anybody or anything.

TS: That’s very helpful. I want to go back to something you said in your meeting with Papaji, your teacher, that in that experience of being with him, and the exchanges that you had, that you met your own death. Can you give me little bit more about that? Help me understand what that was like, meeting your own death?

G: Well, you know, it seems to me that everything we fear is death of some kind. Whether it’s the ultimate death of the body or it’s the death of health or the death of a relationship or the death of my latest inflated self-definition, the death of our planet. It’s the ending and that’s what we fear. I met Papaji; he really invited me to let everything die, which was really an invitation to let my identity die. We fear that if our identity dies, who we are is no longer here. Because it’s true that when we let our identity die, who we think we are is realized to not be here. It’s just an illusion. It’s held together by thought energy and it’s powerful and it’s a lens for viewing the world and there’s even really nothing wrong with it. It’s just not the truth of who one is.

So to me, death is really essential to discover what it unaffected in the death of who you are. So in my case, by meeting the death of this relationship and the death of my illusion of how our relationship is going, I was actually forced into a real moment of fighting that, of not wanting that to happen and despairing over the reality of that, that it had happened, and then surrendering to that. It was over, and in that moment of surrender, there is just a lightness of being, this freedom. And that what’s I had experienced with Papaji. It’s not really a moment that can be remembered. But it’s a moment that when life presents you with particular circumstances you can discover.

You can stop generating the story of the past and stop generating the outcome for the future. And in that moment, there is just lightness, there’s just beauty, with no notion of you as separate from that and no notion of you as anything other than that.

TS: One of the things that is curious for me, and I’d love to know what your take on this is: which is you and Eli both have experienced in your life these dramatic spiritual awakenings. And Eli wrote a book on sudden awakening, and we’re hearing about your own experiences with Papaji. And yet, after these experiences in awakening, events happened in your life where there was clearly at least some level of not truth telling, or not paying attention, or you can go on and on. Not that the details matter, but something that someone from the outside will say, “That doesn’t look very enlightened,” or something like that. So how do you understand that? What is awakening if after awakening such ignorance, for lack of a better word, is prevalent, is there?

G: Well, Papaji said, “Vigilance is necessary until our last breath,” because there is a power of mind that is huge, and that power is a power to denyor to inflate or overlook and so many other powers. And when Eli and I got back together and actually began to deconstruct our marriage of thirty years. We had been together many years before we met Papaji and during Papaji and after Papaji, and in our teaching, separately and together, we could see that underneath there was this ground of absolute and love and commitment to love and commitment to truth. And on top there was this companionship and deep empathy for each other and understanding each other and liking each other. And in the middle of it there was a very subtle war that had been going on, and had been started, really, at the initiation of our relationship back in the 1970s. And that war, because we were ignorant of it, even when we began to deconstruct it and look at it, I saw that there were signs of it all the time but I had rationalized it. I thought, “This is just the way he is, this is just the way it is.” And the truth is that I was deeply fulfilled in my life so it didn’t matter to me that there were rough edges. And I overlooked them. And they began to fester.

And so in this middle area, the area of relationship, the area of the world, we weren’t enlightened. We were both enlightened in the most profound and deep way,;we were both fulfilled. And yet there was a way that had not risen to the surface to be met. And that’s what had to be seen. We had both individually and together prayed for anything that was left to come forward. And it did. It came forward. It hit us in the head to get our attention. And it wasn’t good news but it is good news. At least the invitation was answered. And so when you say how do I understand that? I would say that I understand that awakening is endless.

I’m not particularly psychologically oriented but in the willingness to tell the truth and then finally tell the truth where you have been lying, where I had been lying, there’s a deeper and deeper clearing out of the lies, whether they are subtle or gross, ignored, or denied. I had done that with so many aspects of my life, but I hadn’t done that with my relationship. I had made a truth with my relationship because I was happy in my life. I didn’t need my relationship to give me anything. But that relationship was still flawed in certain ways that needed to be exposed.

I mean, I can’t say I was thrilled that they were publically exposed, but that was part of it too–because there was a public persona that also had to be met. So I had to meet within myself a kind of public humiliation and disgrace and hatred from people and lies that people would say about me. So to meet that was deeply strengthening. And so I would never wish it on anyone, and I don’t think it was a good thing. It’s like cancer or something. You don’t need it to wake up to the preciousness of life, but when it comes, you do wake up more deeply to the preciousness of life as well as the possibility of mind and thoughts to co-opt and twist understanding–so that my fulfillment, which was true and hadn’t shifted at all, was a way I actually used to look at what was not working in my personal life.

My teacher didn’t ask me to be a Sadu or to be on a mountain. He pushed me back into the world and to live the life of a regular person. To do my own grocery shopping, to make my bed, to walk down the street by myself. So in that, so many aspects of my life have come up to be examined. Examined first cognitively with the thinking mind–but then finally examined by what I mean by an inquiry or meeting, which is simply opening to it. And I would say with myself and with most people, it’s really some form of self-hatred that we’re running from. Some form of the sense that at the core we are worthless and unlovable. And so, you know, when this marriage crisis happened, there that was, waiting for me. I had messed up my marriage somehow because I didn’t believe this happened in a vacuum. I knew I was a part of it in some way. For me I had to be willing to discover how I was and what deals I had made with myself to overlook this. And so, it’s endless. And vigilance is necessary until the last breath.

TS: This idea that awakening is endless: not all spiritual teachers who talk about spiritual awakening or enlightenment…it’s described that there is the before and there is the after. And you know, even in your story with Papaji and meeting your own death, it seems like there was a kind of before and after but then there is after the after and after the after and after the after. I’m wondering what you might have to say about that, that there was some kind of fundamental change but yet it’s an ongoing process at the same time.

G: Yes, I think that’s really well said. You know, we think it’s one or the other but it’s a whole, and so it’s both. And I’m sure most of us can look in our lives and see that there had been at certain points, certain crossroads, that had been fundamental shifts in our lives. And when I met Papaji, that was the most fundamental shift that had ever occurred to me. It turned everything right side up. And then there was more; there is more. I know someone asked me, a couple of years after I was teaching, “Are you fully realized?” And I said, “I haven’t found the end of realization.” So I would have to say that there is always room for more. And really, I like the way you said it; it’s both.

It’s a fundamental shift and it’s a before and an after and then there’s an after and an after. And even, I’ve heard that Jane Dunn, whose son was with Nisargadatta and did some translations for him said that, on his death bed, he was saying, “Forget those books I wrote; they’re nothing. I’ve really discovered it now,” because our discoveries are enlightenment. Our experiences are just so profound at the moment and then the next discovery makes that discovery seem more superficial because there isn’t an endless depth. And that’s really good news actually. It’s startling news.

For many years after Papaji, I didn’t have a sense of my self, as person. There was no one here and then I had sense of reincarnating into this body as a wife, and part of this crisis was, it seems to me, part of that reincarnation, to see how is it as that a wife, a mother, and a woman and an aging woman. Even though I don’t identify myself a woman; I am in a woman’s body. I am living that life. And so to find what’s true, in the midst of that is the after, and the after and the after.

TS: I want to try a kind of working investigation on you, and see what you have to say about this Gangaji, which is: as we’ve been talking in this conversation about emotions and all these various emotions that come up and how to work with them and meet them, it seems to me, more and more, that from spiritual practice and from the spiritual life, the ability to be an intelligent emotional being, a fluid emotional being, is one of the greatest capacities to come and if that’s not there, then I kind of wonder what’s happening with the person’s spiritual practice. I kind of relate it to this, as it seems to me that in our culture, even with people who are profound spiritual practitioners there’s a lot of confusion about emotion. I guess that’s what I’ve been observing. And I’ve been observing that other people seem to really have a fluidity or facility with working with their emotions. And there are only a few people who seem to fit that category. So I’m just curious what you have to say about this.

G: Well, I believe in different points of view. I mean, I’ve heard certain teachers say that they no longer have emotions. And I have to assume that that is legitimate if that’s true. And there’s room for that.

TS: See, I don’t presume that there’s room for that.

G: Well, okay. As a working presumption, I would presume that, okay fine, that person doesn’t have emotions and it’s not my experience. But I know that there are realms of experience maybe I haven’t touched on. So I know for myself, there are emotions present. And I also know for myself that there’s no problem with that. That they don’t have to change; they don’t have to go away; they don’t have to transform. And I have the capacity to just meet them as they are without judgment, without the need for them to change. Then in that there’s a discovery of this beautiful world, the natural fluidity of all phenomena. And then emotions are just more phenomena.

I’ve used the analogy of weather before, and they are like that. They can be huge, or they can be calm and sublime, and they are associated with certain events in our past and certain events that occur to us. But they are moving and they are moving in the field of what is always here. So we can, from my point of view, allow everything, since everything is here. And then discover what’s in the core of everything and then the emotions no longer have the power to tyrannize us. That can make us uncomfortable, but they are not in charge then. And they can still be in charge if we are fighting them and denying them and associating them, because they are still the object. But if they are just this fluid movement of sometimes pleasant, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes nothing much, sometimes horrific, then it is part of the mystery and wonder of our lives, of incarnate beings.

TS: Now I want to ask you a question about the theme or one of the themes of the new book that I know you’re working on. The subtitle of the manuscript is “Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.” And this was very curious, because of course, I’ve heard you and other non-dual teachers talk about, “Drop your story; there’s no need for your story. Your stories are just your thoughts about what’s happening. Just drop your story.” And now we’re finding the truth in our life story.

G: Yes. That was fun. Yes, I really…this book is just coming out of me. And I realized, over these twenty years of speaking to people, how there’s been an institutionalization of this “drop your story,” and for me that was the most profound thing that Papaji said. And in saying that, I realized what was absolutely true and alive of my story was myself.

But if we didn’t make an institution of that, it becomes deadened. And so, I’m living a story. We’re living stories as human beings; that’s how we communicate; that’s the way we pass on knowledge; and that’s our experience. And the planet has a story; the cosmos has a story. And in the core of each aspect, each minute aspect is the essence that the story comes from. And so, in the midst of our story, if we stopped telling the story, just in the midst of it, we discover the essence. And then the story actually contributes to that discovery. So my intention of this book is that it support the dismantling of this institution of “drop your story” and have that be an aliveness. That in the midst of your story, you stop for a moment and you are still and you experience what the emotions that your story had generated and you experience what’s present as a result of your story. And then discover where that takes you, if you need it, because we’re back to meaning, again, of course.

TS: Now you use this phrase in the manuscript that we can see our life as a “teaching story.” So how do I do that? How do I see my life as a teaching story?

G: Well, you take it where it is, without wanting it to be different. Maybe even you don’t even have to do that. So even wanting it to be different, that’s a part of your story. But you enter it objectively. I think I said earlier that you overhear yourself. In this sense, you detach enough that you see that you have perspective on your life story. And you see what it is teaching. Is it teaching “yearning for truth?” Or is it teaching “denial of truth?” I know everyone listening to this has a story of searching for truth. And that’s a beautiful story. And then, if you’re willing to look at that story, you can see at the very beginning of the arising of the search for truth that was actually the result of truth.

The truth was here at the beginning. And then the story itself can show you, in its different aspects, the different phases of truth or the different opportunities in that moment to realize truth, and even how you have realized truth. And either perhaps as we habitually categorize that or deny that or trivialize that in some sense. But to be willing to incorporate that into the sutra of your life, then the teaching is here. Life is the teacher. And with human beings, with our capability for language and storytelling, it teaches through story. But we have to be willing to hear and receive it.

TS: Well how do I relate usefully and intelligently to my life story without falling into a bunch of abstraction and imagination, you know, just living in story land? Which is what you previously advised against?

G: Well, it’s really, how do you fall in to that abstraction and the distancing? It’s one of the tools for separation. If the story is intense, usually we want to escape it. We want to get away from it and that’s natural, that’s human, so that doesn’t have to be made wrong. But there’s a possibility of actually not escaping for a moment and it might even be appropriate to escape, to change your life story, to leave your life story, but for a moment, to not escape, to simply open to the totality that is present. There is a possibility, then, to experience what’s at the core of every moment of your story. However it changes, negative or positive, there is this living presence of silent awareness. And then the story is actually a pointer back to that rather than the way we normally use it, which is a distraction away from the discomfort, or a dramatization of the discomfort. So it’s a willingness to use it to point back, to be a pointer of inquiry. Where does it come from? Where did the story start? Well, what’s the field it grows in, rather than what are the fruits, what is its origin?

GS: And of course, if we were to take your story, we need specifics. And that’s also what I hope with these three sessions that we have that people will participate, and this will be concrete and not abstract so that we will have conversations or dialogue with people so that their particular life story, how is it a teaching story? I mean, I’ve just shared how this very painful aspect of my story was a deep teaching story for me. And I would hope that everyone would be willing to share in that way because it supports us all.

TS: You know, I notice, Gangaji, sometimes when you talk and you point to meeting an experience or going right to the core of something, that it’s almost like this explosion happens in me when I listen to you. Do you know what I mean? Kind of like some kind of explosion. And I wonder if you have any reference point for that or if that makes any sense to you?

G: Well, it sounds very good to me. It sounds like that you aren’t listening abstractly, that you’re actually listening from some deeper part of yourself. And it does explode. It’s a hard listening, then. You aren’t listening just from your powers of cognition and categorization and understanding. You’re listening from a deeper place. And that’s the mystery, that’s how we can all serve one another. And actually not just sharing our stories, but sharing the possibility of the resolution of our stories so that whatever substories appear in the broader story, it’s all serving this whole story of the human species and the story of ourselves on this planet at this time, and this crucial time of our very shaky existence. So I count that explosion as very good.

TS: Okay. I just have one final question for you, Gangaji. I know 2010 marks the twentieth year that you’ve been teaching.

G: Yes.

TS: And I’m curious when you think of this arc of twenty years, how your teaching is different now than when you started. What might be a few different characteristics of how you are as a teacher?

G: That’s interesting. Someone was just speaking to me about hearing some of the early recordings from the tapes and they said my voice was very different, that I was much firmer. And my explanation to her was that when I first started teaching, people were saying, “Who are you? What are your teaching credentials? Who are you to say that?” And there was a way that I was sort of, not forcing myself onto the scene, but saying that I have something very important to say. And as a way, I sense, in my voice, in my presentation, and in my offering, I really just relaxed more.

Papaji told me that the people who were ready to hear this will hear it in some mysterious resonance, and that that’s trustworthy. And I had discovered that more and more over the years, and with that, that I really have nothing to teach. It really is support. There’s certainly no dogma to what I have to say and no particular thought form that has to be followed. It’s really always an invitation to inquire and discover for yourself. And I’ve discovered, in my teaching, that that is trustworthy and that people have that capacity. And if they have the interest for it, then it is endless and it is such great joy. So I’m attending satsang or I’ve been giving satsang, as we are all attending.

TS: Wonderful. Thank you, so much, Gangaji, for talking with us here on Insights at the Edge.

Gangaji, again, thank you so much.

G: Oh, I totally loved it. Thank you. Wonderful interview.

TS: And you were so vulnerable and straightforward. And real. I really appreciate it.

G: Well, what else?

TS: Thank you.

Gangaji is the author of the Sounds True book The Diamond in Your Pocket . And she’ll be hosting a three-part, online event where you can call in and ask your questions and dialogue directly with Gangaji. It begins on March 9th, and it’s entitled, Facing Everything: Meeting Your Life without Resistance. And the first part is on meeting fear. The second part is on the heart of self-betrayal. And then the third part is on letting the world into your heart. And if our listeners would like more information about Gangaji, they can visit her website at And of course, for the book, The Diamond in Your Pocket, or to sign up for the online event, please visit us at Many Voices, One Journey.

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