October 19, 2016
It's easy to think that a sudden and profound awakening has more meaning than more subtle awarenesses that happen over time. It's like a thunderbolt versus an onion. It's natural to want to compare the two but the question is, are those comparisons worthwhile? Could it be that it's the ordinary moments that are the true openings to realizing who we are? Could these moments be the final call for us to stop trying to fix ourselves and realize what has been here all along?
September 21, 2016
This month we wanted to give you another opportunity to hear an episode we particularly loved from 2014. It examines our addiction to the endless stream of considerations and evaluations we call thought. What happens when we are willing to give that up, to be clueless, vulnerable, exposed, and yet conscious. There is a great discovery that cannot be thought.
August 17, 2016
Pro-choice, pro-life, pro-guns, anti-guns; racism, immigration, sexuality, financial equality. The debate around different social and political issues has stirred a heated debate for many. What if our disagreements lead to hate, even if our hate is a result of those who say hateful things? Who's right and who's wrong? What happens if we throw away the requirement that we have to agree with each other at all? In the midst of these heated emotions and passionate opinions, is there room for love and respect?
August 16, 2016
To bring our conversation from August's episode, When We Disagree, full circle, we've included this special bonus clip. This monologue from Gangaji's compilation Being in Peace shows us where war originates from within ourselves and how it is then projected out into the world. In this lucky lifetime, Gangaji points to this rare opportunity to call off this war on ourselves and finally be at peace.
July 20, 2016
At first glance, giving up hope doesn't seem like the best idea. After all, isn't hope what helps us make it through difficult times? We hope for good health, financial stability and fulfilling relationships. We hope for a life without suffering, where our most sincere wishes can come true. What would life be without hope? If we didn't have hope would we risk falling into some sort of abyss? Is hope what keeps us afloat or is it actually something that contributes to our suffering? This month, we're looking at the surprising obstacle that hope can create, as we discover what is possible if we are willing to let it go.
July 6, 2016
Carole Downing: Teachings from Grief
Trained as a hospice nurse, Carole Downing held the act of tending to people as they died as an honor and a privilege. In her early forties, the mother of a young son, the unexpected death of her husband forced Carole to face death in a way she had never done before. What she learned in the midst of her grief is a lesson for us all.
June 1, 2016
Shame is probably one of the most avoided words in the English language. And no wonder. It seems dark and sticky and secretive by it's very nature. Shame can arise from anything from abuse to sex to doing something we feel embarrassed about to simply being in a human body. The story of shame can wind its way through every part of our lives. What happens when we finally stop to face our own experience of shame? The answer could be both liberating and life-changing.
For more on Guilt and Shame, join Gangaji's next live Webcast on Saturday June 4. Learn More
May 18, 2016
Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought you looked too fat or too thin? Does the way you feel in your body ever feel frustrating or even intolerable? This month Gangaji is joined by author Geneen Roth. She is known to millions by her New York Times #1 Bestseller Women, Food and God. Together they get at the root of this sometimes painful relationship we have between our self-worth, what we look like and our relationship with food.
April 20, 2016
There's Ram Dass saying that goes, if you think you're enlightened then go spend a week with your family. Family relationships can evoke the most explosive emotions. A certain kind of remark or tone can come from anyone else and mean nothing, but with family, in an instant, we feel like we're ten years old again. The bonds that began in our earliest memories of childhood have the power to influence how we relate to life in general...who we marry, what we do for a living, where we live. The question is...Can we all just get along? And.....do we even need to?
March 16, 2016
We will all lose someone we love in the course of a lifetime. There will be that moment when we face the stark reality that we will never be able to touch or hear or be with that person ever again. It is in those moments when grief surges to the surface, using all its force to gain our attention. If we fully meet this grief, is it possible to discover something that we may have not known before? Some may ask where people go after they die because they seem gone, but is that really true?
February 17, 2016
If you enter the word “spirituality” as a google search, you'll come up with about 145 million results. Clearly there's an abundance of blogs, youtubes, retreats, etc. to help us on our spiritual journey. But if you find one person who changes your life in profound and unmistakable ways, do you keep searching or does finding that teacher, once and for all, end your search? What is the difference between taking advantage of a plethora of offerings or overindulging? When it comes to finding a teacher, are you in an open or a committed relationship?
January 20, 2016
The right book or person or opportunity shows up at just the right time. You meet someone unexpectedly who says just what you needed to hear. What are these moments of synchronicity? Are they just coincidence? Or has your intention or desire attracted these things that have somehow shown up in your life? Is there something beyond manifestation? If the peace and fulfillment we are looking for is available to us any time by inquiring inwardly then what is the role of positive thinking and synchronicity?
December 16, 2015
It's often said that if one is certain of the love that lies within oneself, the choice to be in a relationship or to be single is freed up. Then relationships are no longer centered around insecurity and identification. Some people feel better when they're in relationship, but that's not entirely a good thing if they're rooted in dependency. Some people are more accustomed to being single, but what if that's not by choice? And what about the feeling of loneliness we sometimes feel no matter who we're with? This month, we're asking, what does it mean to be alone?
November 18, 2015
When it comes to relationships, fear of abandonment can lead to all sorts of forms of self-betrayal. In trying to manage this very human fear, we can sometimes ignore our own knowing, all in the name of not being left. Ironically, these subtle or not so subtle attempts to escape being rejected actually result in our own abandonment. Telling the truth about ways we betray ourselves is ultimately liberating, but what do we do when we are betrayed by the person we are in a relationship with?
Gangaji shares her own experience when it comes to this inner and outer betrayal.
October 14, 2015
This month, we're looking at the subject of love and attachment. What is the difference between the two? We can love a partner, a parent, a child, a pet, a teacher. But what happens when we're attached to the object of our love? Does this attachment keep us from experiencing something we don't want to face, or is it the vehicle that helps us discover what love truly is? In reality, how much control do we have over what or who we love? Whether you're in a relationship, hoping for one or you find relationships difficult - this conversation is for everyone who has ever experienced love.
September 21, 2015
He is a hip hop artist whose words and music have provided a message of clarity, optimism and peace to millions. For over 25 years, she has pointed us to freedom by inviting us to look deeper than our thoughts. What happens when two people from very different backgrounds come together to talk about skin color? This month, Prince Ea sits down with Gangaji for a special feature of A Conversation with Gangaji. Where does racism come from? How do we face the truth about our own prejudices? In these turbulent times, is it possible to transcend our differences?
August 19, 2015
How many times have we been betrayed by a lover, a friend, a family member or an institution? How many times have we witnessed others being treated unfairly, people we care about or even people we don't even know? And what about the state of the planet? Perhaps it's built into us as humans to want justice. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. But when we get caught up in this desire to remedy unfairness, what is it that we're actually looking for? What is the deeper question when it comes to our search for justice?
July 15, 2015
Have you ever asked what it means to just be yourself? The answer to that might seem easy, but maybe not. Have you ever thought to yourself, "I'm not quite myself today." What does that mean? Maybe you feel like you have to be a different person in different situations. Are you your sex, the different roles you play in life, your successes and failures? For some us, we can be so practiced at who we think we should be that the question of being our true selves is surprisingly perplexing. It could also be the most important questions we can ask. What does it mean to be yourself?
June 17, 2015
Aging is sometimes called the great humbler. Some embrace it. Some dread it. But most of us vacillate between loving the good parts and resisting the reality that our bodies and brains have a limited shelf life. What does that mean for our quality of life? Aging is an involuntary invitation to seeing how we are attached to who we want to be and where we are afraid to let go. But if we shift our attention in a certain way we might find our ideas about aging aren't quite as concrete as we thought.
May 25, 2015
When a strong emotion like anger or fear or sadness pops up there seems to be an automatic impulse to get rid of it, or at least to try and manage it. It's as if these feelings of ours are something dangerous, something that might overwhelm us, or at the very least, something that interferes with our lives. Is there a way to transcend these emotions of ours? What if we choose not to do anything with them? Is giving up the habit of trying to escape them a doorway to liberation?
May 20, 2015
Emotions are what allow us to connect as human beings, sometimes in ways that are surprising and humbling. They can make us feel euphoric and expansive or lonely and isolated, and everything in between. Emotions have inspired the most exquisite works of art and provoked the most unthinkable acts of violence. These emotions of ours sometimes feel like they have a life of their own. How do we not identify with these waves of anger, sadness, fear or even exhilaration? How do we stop in the midst of that momentum and come from a place of true knowing rather than reacting? How do we remember that these emotions are not actually who we are?
April 15, 2015
Sometimes there seems to be a little competition that goes on within ourselves between confidence and doubt. I'm good at this but not so good at that. I'm smart. I'm attractive. I'm able. But sometimes it feels like I'm not. If doubt is nothing more than a bad habit and confidence is fleeting and somewhat superficial, then what's deeper, more trustworthy than both of those things? Is there a place within all of us that is rooted in a certainty that transcends both confidence and doubt? And if so, how do we find it?
March 18, 2015
It's irritating at the very least when someone assumes what you're thinking or feeling, or what you need to do. Perhaps you have someone in your life right now who is just certain they know what is true for you. In an extreme way, perhaps it's even an abusive relationship. Do we ignore their projections? Do we not take them personally? Do we stay or do we go? If we find that projections in general aren't ultimately based in reality, then how do we find solid ground when it comes to relationships?
February 17, 2015
How many times have we been triggered by friends, co-workers, family members or acquaintances in some way that seems separate from us? Perhaps we've found them controlling, needy, critical, arrogant or self-absorbed. Are they simply displaying difficult parts of their personalities or are they are mirroring back to us some part of ourselves we'd rather not see? Projections and assumptions cause all kinds of trouble in relationships. Getting at the root of them can open up all sorts of possibilities.
January 20, 2015
The sense of freedom and intimacy that happens by the sheer willingness to be vulnerable can be life-changing, somethings in ways we could never have expected. It takes courage to let down our defenses and expose the ways we feel wrong or afraid or embarrassed. But what about the times we are caught off guard, when we are put on the spot in ways that are not by our own choice? This month, Gangaji looks at voluntary and involuntary vulnerability and what role they play in living a fuller life. How can the willingness to be exposed put an end to suffering?
December 10, 2014
Alanis Morissette is known by million by the way she so rawly communicates the human experience through her songs. But over the years, she's also been willing to share her spiritual journey with all of us. In this very special episode of A Conversation with Gangaji Alanis Morissette talks to Gangaji about success and failure, the difference between pain and suffering, and the deeper meaning of living life dedicated to the truth.
November 19, 2014
When we really stop and look at our lives there's a lot to be grateful for, even when it doesn't appear to be obvious. What's also true is that gratitude comes and goes. For some, gratitude seems to come easily. Does that have to do with one's upbringing or are some people just born that way? And is it okay if we don't feel grateful at times? How does one experience gratitude when life feels hard? Rather than seeking it, is gratitude possibly part of the fabric of who we truly are?
October 15, 2014
Our question this month is: What do we do when we are faced with the unthinkable? Perhaps it comes in the form of a difficult diagnosis, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or just witnessing man's inhumanity to man. How do we find a sense of love and peace when what we are experiencing feels like struggle? How do we know when to hang on and when to let go? And do people who have had profound spiritual awakenings experience difficulty differently than others? Gangaji's answer to that question is both surprising and humbling.
September 17, 2014
In our everyday lives, we have ideas about what we like and what we dislike. We notice moments when we've made a mistake. But there's another voice that whispers in our ear. It's the voice of the critic. It's the judge. Gangaji refers to it as the super ego. It's the task master who speaks with the authority of God. It tells us we should be better, smarter, happier. It's like a club that we not only beat ourselves with, we also inflict this voice on others, whether it be outwardly or in our own heads. The question is, how do we put down the stick of the super ego, this God voice, and live our lives in peace?
August 20, 2014
Perhaps it is something that every human being experiences at some point in the course of a lifetime, even if it's only once, even if it goes unrecognized. Gangaji refers to it as “the essential experience”. It's a moment when any identity with ourselves as a set of feelings, thoughts or circumstances is somehow absent. It can happen in nature, in the midst of a trauma or even when nothing in particular is happening. For some people this “essential experience” ignites a call to a bigger life. But the desire for it can also perpetuate the search for what is already here.
July 16, 2014
In April of 1990, Gangaji (then Antoinette Varner) could never have imagined how drastically her life was about to change when she met her teacher, H.W.L Poonja (Papaji), on the banks of the Ganges river in India. She also could never begin to imagine the number of lives that would be changed as a result of that meeting. Taken from the previously unreleased pilot interview of A Conversation with Gangaji recorded back in 2011, Gangaji describes one of her most profound moments of awakening and the impact it had on her daily life. At the core, this conversation allows us to see what is possible in our own lives.
June 18, 2014
In a world where being in control and looking good are often equated with success and stability, telling the truth can be a very daunting thing to do. It requires the willingness to expose sadness, anger or fear. It is the courage to admit to the times we have betrayed ourselves and those around us. Although it can be painful, it is also hugely liberating. But is there more than the feeling of freedom that comes with telling what Gangaji refers to as the “relative” truth? Is there an ultimate truth? Beyond any concept, what exactly is the truth?
May 21, 2014
Thoughts come in the form of an endless stream of considerations and evaluations. They are fueled by our hopes, dreams, insecurities, successes and failures. These thoughts seem so much a part of us that sometimes it's hard to imagine they're not real. But if, even for a moment, we stop following our thoughts, what is left? What is it that is actually trustworthy? Is it our intuition? And what about those of us who find ourselves living in our heads? What if our thoughts, no matter how convincing, ultimately are not true?
April 16, 2014
How many times, in the name of being liked, have we withheld what we really wanted to say? How many times have we betrayed ourselves so we wouldn't be rejected or judged? Being “nice” potentially blocks us from intimacy with the people closest to us, not to mention ourselves. And what about the parts of us we just plain don't want anyone else to see? Our question this month is, what are the possibilities if we dare to let go of the strategy of being nice?
March 18, 2014
Although there can be great peace that comes with yoga, meditation and other rituals, there is one question that often goes uninspected when it comes to living a conscious life. And that is, what are the mantras that take up the other hours of our day, the ones about our finances, our health, our relationships? If we tell ourselves the truth, what are we really practicing between our practice? This month we are also talking about the relationship between having a spiritual practice and waking up. And finally, is there a true remedy for a racing mind?
February 19, 2014
It goes without saying that great value can be found in therapy and other forms of self-inspection. There is huge relief in facing our dark sides, healing our deeper wounds and finally feeling emotions we have been running from. But is there a way that we can work on ourselves and still miss the deeper freedom that we are actually in search of? Our conversation this month is, where does therapy end and and self-realization begin?
January 15, 2014
Some people have no fear of death while others brace against it, either consciously or unconsciously. If we do the best we can in life, if we live a conscious life, is it possible that we can somehow increase our own potential for a good death? Is there such a thing as making the wrong decision when it comes to death? As we struggle with subjects like prolonging life and assisted suicide, Gangaji opens the door for us to inspect our deepest fears around our own mortality. When we put all spiritual concepts aside, what does it mean to have a “good” death?
December 18, 2013
From the time we are born we are bombarded with countless messages that tell us that in order to be fulfilled we need to be different than who we are. In our everyday lives our attention is directed to how we look, what we feel, what we have and how we behave. But how do these unavoidable aspects of life keep us engaged in the endless cycle of thinking we are actually a "thing" that constantly needs to be fixed? If ultimate peace is not found in losing the next pound, solving the next problem, making the next dollar or understanding the next teaching then where is it?
November 20, 2013
The act of forgiving another, not to mention oneself, is a great power. Forgiveness has the potential to annihilate even the most intense feelings of betrayal and isolation. But what about situations that seem impossible to forgive? What is the cost if we are unable or unwilling to forgive? And what is revealed when we are willing to experience the pain underneath "should forgive" or "can't forgive"? This month we're talking about the complexity of betrayal and what's possible when it comes to forgiveness.
October 15, 2013
Going back through human history, there have been individuals who have had profound spiritual awakenings. As a result, they seem to possess a deeper understanding of what we might call God or stillness or presence. They are sometimes called “enlightened beings”. They stand before us as proof that we too can connect to this essential part of ourselves. For more than twenty years, Gangaji has said she's just like us, but how do our beliefs that she is different, that she has something we don't have, keep us from the exact thing that we are searching for?
September 18, 2013
What if in reality there is no God; that despite our spiritual beliefs and practices we discover that they are no more than mental concepts that somehow comfort us as human beings? What if peace and stillness are merely the result of the sophisticated inner workings of the brain? Are God and the brain the same? At the end of the day, the answer to that question may not even matter, but actually facing the core of our doubt might be the most important thing we ever do. Where is God? Where is stillness? What is true?
August 20, 2013
There are so many aspects that make up a human life: where we live, who we choose for a partner, what our spiritual beliefs are, how we want to raise our children, what political views we support. The list is certainly different for each of us. However, the least discussed and most vulnerable conversation we could have might be around the subject of sex. From sexual intimacy, to shame, to the tangle of addiction, today we're talking about facing the rawness of humanity and what that has to do with discovering the truth of who we are.
July 17, 2013
This month we're asking the tough and less obvious questions about how we cause our own suffering. Is there a way that we knowingly or unknowingly receive something from our suffering? Is it even possible to suffer if we are taking full responsibility for our own lives? When calling off the search means putting an end to victimhood could it be that the freedom we desire is truly in our own hands?
June 19, 2013
Some people might experience it as insecurity and for others it might feel like outright self-hatred. The desire to protect ourselves from this feeling of unworthiness shows up in different ways. There are those who try to outrun it by building themselves up in the hope that no one will see their flaws, while others tear themselves down as proof of this not-enoughness. Either can be seen as an avoidance of actually experiencing the core of what we perhaps fear ourselves to be. What would a happen if we gave up on trying to be "enough"?
May 15, 2013
This episode takes a look at what it is we put our trust in on a daily basis. When we rely on our thoughts, emotions, circumstances and who we think we are then we fall victim to the roller coaster of life, because all of those things are subject to change. There is also the doubt that naturally comes from betrayal. Gangaji addresses the question of how we find what is truly trustworthy in the face of our everyday lives.
April 17, 2013
Money is woven into our very sense of survival. We ask ourselves questions like: How will I make it? How can I keep it from going away? And once I have it, how can I get more? Being human requires having money to pay for what we need, but in this episode of a Conversation with Gangaji we'll take a look at the possibility that the root of the financial insecurity that most of us experience, whether we have a little or a lot, may not be about the money at all.
March 20, 2013
It's absolutely normal for human beings to search for happiness. We all go about it in our own way. For some, it's the perfect job or being in a loving relationship. For others it is living in a beautiful house, becoming a parent, reaching for the next peak experience, or simply ending the pain we can feel inside ourselves. In this episode, Gangaji suggests that in our search for personal happiness, we overlook the happiness that is already here. Is our willingness to be unhappy the key to discovering the happiness we were searching for in the first place?
February 20, 2013
Love can be blissful and in the next moment it can be unexpectedly painful. How is it that we sometimes reject the exact thing we are longing for? Can a heart be healed once it's been broken? Is there hope for fear of commitment? What are we willing to give up in the name of love?
January 16, 2013
There are countless types of addictions. Some are deadly and some are so engrained they go almost overlooked. But whether our addiction is to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, technology, relationships, or even the subtle addiction to thought itself, they are all guaranteed to result in suffering in some way. In this episode, Gangaji addresses addiction from all sides. We will take a look at the physical component, what is discovered when we don't give into the force of a craving and how addictions serve as a distraction from the discomfort that we perceive is too hard to face. Is it possible that addiction is actually a doorway for us to return home?
December 18, 2012
The stress of everyday life presents endless opportunities for fear and anxiety to show itself. Whether it’s acute or chronic anxiety, it’s natural for us as humans to want to control it in the hope that it won’t get bigger. So we tell ourselves to “just let go”. But when does the idea of just “letting go” become a trap in itself? In this episode, we explore panic attacks, stress and the possibility that fear itself is just an illusion.
November 14, 2012
In this episode Gangaji takes a deeper look at depression, as well as some of the common questions that surround it. Is depression anger turned inward? Is it an expression of a deeper spiritual awakening, as in a dark night of the soul? Gangaji's exploration into the core of despair reveals something that we might not know is there.
October 12, 2012
All of us will at one time or another be confronted with some type of acute or chronic pain, both emotional and physical. As humans, it's normal to try to search for ways to get rid of it, or at least find some relief. In this first episode of A Conversation with Gangaji, we look at the possibility of going underneath the pain to discover what is truer than the experience of pain itself. What happens if, for a moment, we don't try to fix it?