The Fire of Inquiry
by Tania Manfredini

“What is my responsibility for peace?” I first came across this question while browsing through books after my first retreat with Gangaji. It was a Freedom Inside Retreat. I didn’t know anyone, I don’t even remember what prompted me to sign up for that retreat. Grace, obviously. As I was browsing through the books I was drawn to this little book titled “What is my responsibility for Peace?” That question landed in my heart and has stayed with me. I love being with this question. It cuts through the mind's excuses for why peace can’t be here now.

This question “What is my responsibility for peace?” is very much alive for me right now. It continues to strike deeper and deeper. Calling forth an inner fire and courage to look, to not become complacent, to stay awake. What’s alive now is this recognition that my responsibility for peace is to stop struggling, to stop suffering, to simply stop. To stop giving relevance to thoughts that agitate, confuse, deny. There was a time when there didn’t appear to be a choice. It seemed as though I had no power over thought and where it led. The I I believed myself to be was completely identified with thought. I am this thought, I am this feeling, I am this sense perception, I am this body, I am confined to this body, I am separate, I am lovable, I am unlovable, I am worthy, I am unworthy, I am sacred, I am profane, I am getting it, I am not getting it, I am a success, I am a failure. It goes on and on until it doesn’t. These thoughts still occur, but they are recognized for what they are. The gift of inquiry has been immense. To be able to question everything, over and over, as many times as needed. To stay with it. Who am I? What is this? What do I want? What will that give me? These are living, dynamic questions that bring all the confusion, torment, dissatisfaction home. These questions arise naturally now, they live here as beacons of light. They work for peace, freedom, love, truth. They are like potent medicine that goes directly to the root of the illness.

There is an end to struggling and suffering. This is what the Buddha discovered. This is what we are told and shown here in this lineage. Papaji’s laughter and smile, Ramana’s compassionate, loving, penetrating gaze, Gangaji’s clear, diamond eyes radiating confidence, joy and love, no matter what. Pure radiance. Peace is here.

This peace, this ease, this knowing that all is well even when it appears otherwise, this is Grace. Grace appears over and over again, revealing itself here.

The fire of living inquiry, I am so grateful for this. Thank you, dear Gangaji, dear Teacher & Friend. Thank you for living as truth, radiating, transmitting that which we are, pure love, pure radiance, pure peace.