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.
I can barely see the paper for the tears I’m shedding. I am sitting on the floor in my jail cell, and it’s Mother’s Day. I have 3 boys, my love still radiates for them as if they were all still in diapers — they are 19, 21, 27.
Of course my heart is already wide open due to my thoughts for the day, so what an appropriate time for me to do my 1st four questions. I’ve already termed this period a sabbatical, not an imprisonment, because as long as I travel inwardly, I am as free as I will ever be, and I broke wide open when you told me on page 11, “I welcome you home to yourself.” I was undone ...
Plus you say the sanctuary is inside so I’m here with God already. Who ever knew that the refuge I seek I carry?
With radical humility and happiness, — MW
I am in receipt of your book, The Diamond in Your Pocket, and I am loving it. Then I pick up the course lesson letter and see JWG at the bottom. My surprise was enormous and I was humbled by Gangaji’s topic, Love.
I still have mountains to climb, but I have a parachute that allows me to glide from peak to peak or summit. “Love is the only answer to every question.” Love is the key. Love is truth. We are truth. We are comprised of infinity, ergo we “are” Love.
I seem to be incapable of accurately expressing my feeling and emotional experience to Gangaji’s answer to my letter. Her newsletter left me with an almost breathlessness. It brought me to tears more than once. Identification is same as labels. Be as the Hebrew Bible’s St. Paul who said, “in everything be content.” Walk only in love, light, and truth. An uphill climb in the prison system .
Gangaji’s words are like “OMG,” LOL.
Hello, this is my 1st time writing. I’ve been receiving the newsletter, and I will always find something that Hits Home. This time I read something that literally described my own very struggle. When I read this person’s response to the question, “What am I trying to control?” I envied this [expression of surrender] because it is this surrender that I feel is me allowing the thought forms of others to roam freely at my expense. To surrender, I then ask, “Why do I exist?” I find it hard to digest the idea of such an existence where I become as water as I navigate any landscape and my mind is the air where leaves blow on by. As novel an idea as this seems, I repeatedly ask myself, “Where does this go?” It’s easy for me to convince myself that each life I live is a unique journey in which something meaningful is to be achieved, leading me to the next. Realistically this makes life too grand to grasp, leaving me only with myself in the end. Maybe in time something will be revealed to me, moving me forward out of this darkness of doubt. For now, “I” need validation and “I” can’t convince myself otherwise. Thank you, —EM
When you allow your inner illumination to express itself freely, others start to notice their own inner illumination starting to activate. What a wonderful world this will become when more and more souls become aware of this marvelous mystery.
God bless you Gangaji, Foundation staff, and Volunteers! Namaste! —JB
Dear Gangaji, I want to say thank-you for your Foundation, it has taught me a lot about finding freedom, peace, love, and so much more. I received Book Two, and I highly appreciate it. It feels like a second-chance, an opportunity. There was something missing, trying to live, and trying not to make the same mistakes I never learn. I don’t want to fail. I believe everything happens for a reason. As time goes by, 8 years left, and I’m wishing it would go by fast. Trying to start over, start new, I been down this road before. How can I maintain, and drive not reckless, but to progress. Well, I take it one day at a time. Take care, sincerely, —UC
Gangaji, I have realized I am my own worst enemy and that even when I think I am using mindfulness and loving kindness, I am judging people without really thinking or noticing it. I see I have a lot more change and improvement to do, and that my defects are much worse than I thought they were. —LW
Gangaji Foundation, may I please get Book 2 of the self-inquiry workbooks? I really enjoyed the first one. I believe that it has helped me a lot. I’ve been studying and doing a lot of self-inquiry. It’s helped bring me a lot of peace. I’ve been locked up before, and this is the most peace of mind and soul I’ve ever had. Thank you for us these materials. —CC
Gangaji Foundation Prison Program,
Peace be with you, one humble soul to another. First, I greatly appreciate and honor the work that you do, hell inside a cage is my head and heart and reality for quite a while, not to bore you with the details, but a little content is necessary.
I’m 35 years old with over a decade in prison and many, many sanctions in jail where I currently reside, facing trial in two counties. That’s my illusion and fear, but a new path/story I am forging in courage and love. A friend, kindred spirit, kind soul, “who gave me this new insight to a new way of being,” also told me to write to you for the knowledge and beginnings of learning how to be a human being again. I know my thoughts, actions, emotions, aren’t who I really am, I am the witnesser behind these, such a profound and simple “TRUTH.” But sometimes this illusion called life gets and pulls my heartstrings.
I am currently reading a book about my energy from my heart “chakras, chi, soul, spirit” if you will. Very exciting stuff. My heart, I thought was broken, and I was so tired, deadly tired of life when I was arrested. “Poor me, the world’s out for me,” on constant repeat in my head. I’ve come to realize these “problems” are actually the universe giving me a chance to grow and stretch beyond myself, to my true being. Granted I’m not completely new to this knowledge, but it’s finally saturated my brain. I’ve slowed down, started meditating, eating better, praying more, giving, and having. I hope my letter brings peace your way and maybe a smile, cause love is being sent your way from me.
Any words, information, books, wisdom, letters, I would receive with gratitude and honor. Thank you again for your services to the planet as a whole! Sincerely, — JT
From the Inquiries
In this moment, what do you feel is in the way of experiencing peace? Are you willing to choose peace? Are you willing to choose who you truly are?
I feel the way to experience peace is to be at peace with myself and to let go of all hate and bitterness and everything that is keeping me away from peace. Holding on to resentment keeps me away from peace. Thinking about what others have and what I don’t have, keeps me away from peace. I thought that you have to always do good to have peace. Dwelling on my past keeps me away from peace.
Peace is already here. When I “stop,” I am at peace. Peace is revealed to be who I am. I am willing to choose peace. I am willing to choose who I truly am. —IT
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.