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“I am here to support you in discovering the open door that is your own intelligent heart.”
Where the Mind Cannot Go
by Gangaji
March 29, 2024

 “A split second of the mind truly stopping reveals the peace beyond understanding.”

The Right Use of the Mind

Participant: Hi Gangaji, this is a continuation of our conversation yesterday. You are going to slap me when I say this, but it’s okay if you do. I am here for it. Yesterday, I think I thought my way out of thinking.

Gangaji: Now this is a thought worth thinking! This kind of thought is enlightened thought, enlightened mind. It a result of a true investigation into the deepest truth.

Something you said yesterday stuck with me. You said, “What you want most is not separate from who you are.” So, I let that rest, because it didn’t make sense to me immediately. In these meetings, we talk a lot about self-inquiry, but to me self-inquiry seems to be a process of the mind. If you are saying that we can’t actually think our way to awakening, then how does self-inquiry, which is a practice of the mind, fit in? What became really clear was that self-inquiry is just the process that leads you to the precipice of actually realizing that there isn’t a way to go from here.

Yes, which was really the crucial part of our conversation.

It’s as if I have a flashlight in one hand and a microscope and some binoculars in the other and I’m looking for a needle in a haystack with a bungee cord attached to my back. I am looking and searching for a shiny tiny object, but I’m never going to find it because it isn’t a shiny tiny object; it’s something that has never been seen or imagined. So, what is the use of a sharp mind or a bright light if you don’t actually know what you’re looking for or what it is supposed to feel like, and you can’t even imagine it?

Well, it takes a very sharp mind to be able to say that.

It seems like an exercise in futility because no matter how much you think your way through it, you can’t actually know what you are thinking your way to.

That’s right. That’s intelligence speaking.

Then I thought about bungee jumping, and how you can’t actually see the cord attached to your back. So if my mind and thoughts are arising from something that is deeper, and I am inherently still attached to whatever that is, then wouldn’t it be far easier to just stop pulling my weight against it and flailing around trying to find that needle in a haystack? If I just let go, then the elastic cord will naturally snap me back.

Exactly. Perfect insight. Why would I slap you for that?

Because I thought my way through it.

You thought your way to the precipice, and then you stopped this game of tug of war. It takes a mature mind, a harnessing of intelligence, to be able to recognize that when it comes to realizing the truth of your being, the mind has its limit.

Even though all the great spiritual masters talk about this truth, it didn’t make sense until I thought my way through it.

You used your intelligence to see the truth of the matter, just as philosophers have throughout time. That’s the right use of the mind. First, there arose within your mind, from your heart, some deep desire to know the truth. Then of course you did what you knew to do, you tried to figure that out. But what you are speaking about today is the key. You have the intelligence and the honesty and the self-respect to tell the truth: “Oh I can’t get it.” Yes! Then it gets you as it's always had you.

Thank you.

Whenever I use the word “stop” or suggest that for at least a moment you stop your train of thought, it doesn’t mean that I am anti-thought. Thoughts are an incredible, miraculous, mysterious arising of consciousness. But if the thoughts are spinning uselessly, trying to figure out what can never be understood by the mind, thoughts generate suffering.

This is an invitation to recognize that your thinking mind can surrender to your pure intelligence. You have that capacity. Whatever your past, whatever your practices, whatever your intellectual power, you have full capacity to discover that your mind comes from pure intelligence, and that intelligence is pure consciousness, infinite awareness, the deepest truth of self. All that stops you from immediately discovering that is some attachment to the power of your thinking. It’s not that the power of your thinking is wrong, but you will never recognize the source of your mind until you are willing to surrender that power, to stop the tug of war. You can simply be willing to see what happens when you stop pulling and allow your awareness to sink deeper into the depths of being. Deeper than any concept of enlightenment or un- enlightenment, deeper than any concept of me or you.

 

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