< return home

Reading Room

How Do You Realize The Self?


Many of the people I encounter sincerely want to realize the truth of their being. They ask me, “What do I do? How do I do that?” Paradoxically, this desire for true freedom can only be realized if you don’t “do” anything to realize it.


There are practices where you do mantras, visualizations, prostrations, or some kind of selfless service. All of these practices are designed to still the mind so that it is not obsessing on what it needs to reveal true fulfillment. Practices are excellent for honing the capacity of the mind to focus and to surrender. Let us acknowledge that our spiritual practices have served us, that they are gifts from masters who have come before us. But let us also recognize that the truth of who we are is here now, and that all our practices have been ways of searching for what is already here, of trying to hack a path back to our own hearts.


The problem is that any attempt to go somewhere implies that you are not already there. In fact, any activity you undertake to achieve this is an obstruction to the deepest recognition of what has always been fully realized.


In this moment you can realize what does not need to be practiced to exist. This is the easiest, simplest, and most obvious truth. What has kept it a secret throughout the ages is its absolute simplicity and its immediate availability.


This simplicity is difficult, because we are taught from childhood that to achieve something we have to learn what the steps are and then practice them. This works beautifully for any number of things. The mind is an exquisite learning tool. But self-realization, as well as the deepest inspiration and creativity, come directly from the source of the mind. Realization does not come from any doing; it comes from surrendering the mind to the source. Being is not a practice. A practice involves some technique, a right way and a wrong way, a belief in getting someplace, and a reward or attainment. In the truth of absolute stillness, none of that applies.


By the time I met my teacher I had attempted many spiritual practices. I had experienced moments of beauty, of transcendence, of true knowing, and yet the underlying longing accompanying the thoughts, the underlying, “How do I get it? How do I keep it? I’ve got to find a way,” was still operating. When I met Papaji, he told me to stop. He extended to me an invitation that I am happy to extend to you. This moment, stop right where you are. Stop all effort to get whatever it is you think will give you fulfillment, whatever it is you think will give you truth. All that is required is one instant of truly stopping.


The invitation to stop is absolutely radical, and stopping is absolutely effortless. You can stop, right now. You can take full responsibility for the recognition of what is already unconditionally at peace within you right now.


Adapted from Diamond in Your Pocket, Uncovering Your True Radiance © Gangaji, 2018


Join Gangaji for a live online meeting on Sunday August 12 at 11 AM PST. The conversation will be about effortless realization that is beyond practice. Learn More