“You are naturally already who you are. But when you continually try to avoid, fight, deny or dramatize the pain or suffering in your life, you overlook what is always free of that.”
The real consequence of overlooking who you truly, naturally are, is that you get caught in the painful trap of “the story of me.” Whether that story is relatively positive or negative, you may find yourself consumed with trying to escape the pain and suffering you are experiencing, or attempting to seek greater pleasure. Seeking any form of escape keeps us on the wheel of suffering rather that simply stopping and being ourselves.
Together we have an opportunity to inquire into what perpetuates this “story of me." If you are willing, you can actually open to what you have been avoiding, what you have been overlooking—your own wholeness.
Willingness is central to self-inquiry. Your willingness to tell the truth and to pay close attention to your own direct experience is essential. Self-inquiry is not about what you think you should be experiencing, but what you are actually experiencing. Even in the face of resistance, you can open the door of your own willingness by simply being willing to completely experience resistance.
During the time you are focused on this inquiry, put aside or suspend any judgment. There is no correct or right way to feel. As you relax with each breath, different feelings may arise, your breath may slow down or speed up; it is all alright. In truth, there is room for every feeling, every experience.
For our purpose of discovering natural fulfillment, there is no incorrect or wrong answer. It is a capacity that you already have — the capacity to tell the truth. You can recognize and note such simple truths as “my gut is tight,” or “my head hurts,” or “oh, my gut is relaxing.” In recognizing the tightness (or any experience) without making the tightness right or wrong, your mind naturally can open.
As you read this page, give yourself permission simply and easily to be here completely. You are here, but you can bring here all of your thoughts of someplace else, and all of your hopes of getting someplace else, so that you are wholly here. You are developing a meditative or self-reflective mental muscle. This mind muscle supports the recognition of your capacity to discover endlessly deeper, more fulfilling ways of living. You are recognizing the natural fulfillment that is inside.
If anything feels too much at any time, you can just pull back. You can take a moment to simply stop. To be in stillness with it all. You can pull back and relax. You can recognize where there may be tension. You can suspend any judgment of that tension and simply be here, fully and completely and more deeply inside.
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Gangaji is the author of The Diamond in Your Pocket, Freedom & Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe, You Are That, and Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.