Just Like You
Each week we receive many letters from prisoners who are part of Gangaji’s Freedom Inside Course. Here are some recent excerpts that offer those of us on the outside, real inspiration and insight into the possibility of true freedom, regardless of circumstances.
Thank you for making yourself available all these years, it was almost six years ago I saw your video of the satsang with an inmate from Colorado. When you walked into the room, I knew you, as I know myself. I felt that closeness, openness that can only come from the intimate truth of self.
Since then my path has become straighter, life simpler, easier, and with more joy and love. I have experienced much.
Now I find I am aware of this wall I created, separating me from self, from others, from joy, love, laughter. It is a phantom. The more aware of it the weaker it gets. My internal dialogue is much quieter, and when it speaks, often I can just dismiss it for the phantom it is.
Now, here, I am confronted daily with this choice I seem to be unwilling to make, this final choice. I feel I am very close, close to something intrinsic breaking, but too often I allow confusion, fear, and indecision to stop me. I still cling, but the more I am aware of this, the weaker it seems to be, as if merely by looking, watching, it is seen for what it is, and it is breaking.
I have gone through some strange phases, a seeming uninterest, depression, and things that used to carry such importance have lost their hold, the need to hurry, stopped by the strange feeling I was drugged and couldn’t physically move so fast, and many others.
Perhaps the most significant was visual information, experience, that I experienced happening, literally in a world within me, the experience, that all the love and joy I have ever felt originated, not from outside, but within, and that when I remove the labels from emotions, they all seem to originate from the same source, are one, the same. All emotions are love in disguise.
These experiences have broken down much of this construct. I feel so close.
Finally, as all this clears away, I feel I am getting a sense of two destinies, one the truth, another where I end up if I deny self, and further I find I am getting glimpses of God’s purpose for me, I can almost see it. It’s like all these things are just on my peripheral visions, unfocused, but getting close to come into focus.
So there I am. I feel close to something profound.
Thanks again to everyone there, and putting a light to this path, to the self.
PS– I have come to understand I am at my best when I am uncomfortable and realize I feel unsafe. Ha Ha. And to be content in that situation. —JW
As always, I am so very grateful for all of you there at Freedom Inside. Your service and compassion have been paramount in my self-discovery. I cannot begin to express my sincere emotional bond that I feel we share due to having joined one another on this path of life. It’s as though I am remembering a long time passed, beings I have missed. (Self.) It’s quite hard to explain, but given the fact that you yourselves have made your own discoveries, I believe that, or hope that you understand what it is I’m trying to express.
In short, thank you, thank you for all the discoveries you have enabled me to find, by if nothing more than embracing my presence. It’s a sense of comfort to know that I’m not alone, in an otherwise lonely place. — W.F.
From the June and July inquiry worksheets:
How do I punish myself? — from M.S.
I no longer punish myself. When I make what is perceived as a mistake, I accept it and move on. I don’t see a reason to linger on things, nor to be so critical of myself for not being perfect. Why would I want perfection? Becoming refined to a point that you have no flaw, you miss the beauty in the flaws of all things. Instead of seeing beauty through imperfection, you instead see everything that is wrong with this world and everything around you.
What cannot be awarded and cannot be revoked? — from W.F
I realize that all life is, is this very moment, therefore it cannot be a reward or punishment, it just is. Having come to this realization, and discovering that all I am is the breath, how can anything else matter. If I continue to focus my energy on the now, I’m able to avoid the trap of the ego that has lured me into believing that life is a series of rewards and punishments, causing me to feel that I must “do” something to have a life, to “find” happiness, but that’s wrong. All I have to do is just be, completely be in this moment. I am so grateful for seeing the truth that suffering is chasing an egoic perception.
What is here? — from M.S
Here is a moment, a place where I stand. There isn’t sadness, anger, grief, fear, mental or environmental noise. Here is where these things have an opportunity to express themselves, but it isn’t here. What is here is beyond all of this. If I say that anger, grief, fear, etc., is here, I am living in a moment that no longer exists, in which case I’m there and not here. Here is that point which is undisturbed by anything simply because it is.
Nothing else is here but the moment of being here. Yes, I can sense a presence that is unmoved. It’s strange because although I experience everything, it doesn’t consume my day. How is the best way to put it? While the hurricane of life rages on the surface of the water, I am seven miles deep into the ocean.
Some days my mind does get clouded for a time, but as I look at how my mind is clouded, it clears up and is no longer clouded. I can recall at first these moments would take almost an entire day to get through, but now, as I discover the path to peace, these moments cease within a thought’s time. The struggle is when I dwell on that moment and set the mind on cruise control.
From M.M. — “Beauty Beneath the Life”
Let me start by saying, you are beautiful just the way you are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Only the ego tries to convince you that this or that is wrong, but pay no heed to the ego. The ego is not who you truly are. The ego shoots doubt darts into the mind, then we start telling the story of who we think that we are. This story is not you. You are the Self, Consciousness, Pure Awareness. The same Self in you, is in everyone and everything. These bodies are just temporary disguises for the Self. That Inner Self is the Beauty Beneath the Life. When you realize the Self in you that “I” that you hold on to and follow, and on the enquiry “who am I?” then you will see and realize that Self, that Beauty, in everyone. Upon this realization, there is no one to hate, for love radiates from you to everyone, human and animal alike. This Love, this Beauty, feels and is better than the ego, sorrow, and our “me” story. Rest in this Beauty, live in the Beauty, breathe in this Beauty, meditate on the Beauty. The Beauty is who you are, grasp it and never let it go.
With a multitude of blessings and love, — M.M.
I want to first thank you for “stopping” your “story.” By doing so you have helped many, including me, stop the stories that keep us bound to “doing” and redoing our lives in hopes of finding, receiving, or getting something to make us happy. To fulfill us.
Papaji gave me something by not giving me anything, when he said, “You already have everything you heed.” If something can be given, it can be taken away. If you can find something, it can be lost.
I have been corresponding with a student from the Gangaji Foundation named Scott. We really study well together.
I just read your biography Just Like You. Thanks for allowing your story to be told. By doing so you allowed me to see that I’m just like you and my life-long search is over. I had the same doubts and concerns but after seeing how you dealt with them, it helped me also stop them.
I still live my story every day, only now I know who I am and that I’m not the person being played in the story. Life is fun now, not complicated. Thank you!
I will be released next year, and I’m coming to a retreat as soon as I can! I want to see the Self in others who are aware of who they are.
Sincerely your servant, —S.H.
Read more from our community blog. Interviews, essays, letters, and more from people just like you.