“No part of you is ever excluded from wholeness.”
Humans are born with the curiosity to seek to understand who we are and how we fit in with the other creatures around us. This capacity to identify ourselves is part of our survival strategy. We are conditioned to collect and process information from everything around us, and from that we formulate our personal identities.
By the time I met my teacher, Papaji, in 1990, I had formulated some very good identities. The ones I deemed not so good, I kept hidden. I assumed that they would dissolve or disappear when I met the right teacher. I hoped I would be left with an immaculate realization of truth. Truth was what I was searching for.
When I asked Papaji how I was to find that truth, he told me, “Stop searching.” It was clear he wasn’t instructing me to stop moving, or stop eating, or stop living my life. He meant to stop my search for identity, including the search for a shinier, more spiritual version of myself.
He was instructing me to stop searching for myself with my mind, to stop relying on my thoughts for my identity. My mind knows how to be active as much as anyone’s, but Papaji blew my mind open in such a way that I could be conscious of mental activity. Once you become conscious of your own thoughts and mental patterns, you can follow that mental activity if you like, or you can stop that activity. Most people, including “spiritual” people, are mechanically following their mental activity because they are still searching for a formulated identity to give them the fulfillment they long for. True fulfillment can only be found in the realization of who one is as the all-inclusive totality of being, not an aggregation of endlessly shifting parts.
Stopping the search for identity is no small matter because we have a lifetime invested in that search. For many people the search itself becomes a religion, complete with its own dogma.
I am inviting you to stop searching for yourself. Not as another dogma but as an experiment in self-inquiry. Stop thinking yourself, stop formulating yourself, stop worshiping who you think you are or should be, stop hating who you think you are, and discover what has always been here as the truth of who you are.
Receive yourself totally—your beauty, your madness, your brilliance, your stupidity, your divinity, and your humanity—and recognize that there is never a moment when who you really are is separate from all of life.
No part of you is ever excluded from wholeness—not your personality, not your struggle with difficult emotions, not your history, and not your life circumstances.
Finally, you are enough. When you stop trying to fix who you are, are you willing to accept the whole, to be intimate with the whole?
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.