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Epiphany

The Bridge Between Love and Hate
February 15, 2017,
Episode 3

In October of 1998, a talented musician named Craig Johnson, along with millions around the world, was rocked to his core by the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard. It was a hate crime, a hate crime against gays. In the years that followed Matthew Shepard's death, although they never met, he and Craig would become brothers in the deepest sense.  At the core of Craig's story is the question, is love present in the midst of the unthinkable?

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At some point in our lives, we will experience a loss of innocence. Whether that disillusionment is with ourselves, our family, or with life itself, there is a choice that arises in the midst of loss. Will we fall into cynicism and self-betrayal? Or will we meet the pain of that loss directly and in that, discover the innocence that was never lost.
At some point in our lives, we will experience a loss of innocence. Whether that disillusionment is...
“You are free to discover yourself as Truth. You are free to rest in that Truth. You are free to be happy, regardless of your body, your thoughts, emotions, or circumstances.”

In this month’s podcast, Gangaji begins with a clear exposition on how it is absolutely possible to discover yourself as Truth, no matter your past history. Then in the lively exchange that follows, she speaks to how we deny the truth of ourselves and instead, cling to an identify rooted in our thoughts, emotions, and relative circumstances. Do you dare give up your self-denial?
“You are free to discover yourself as Truth. You are free to rest in that Truth. You are free to...
“There is no problem with pain. There is pain. If you are seeking something to avoid pain, that’s the suffering. That’s the search that must be called off.”

It takes effort to avoid our emotional pain. We can try to avoid it, but ultimately the common strategies of withdrawing, protecting, and dissociating from feelings of hurt actually turn emotional pain into unnecessary suffering. This lively exchange taken from the Gangaji archives offers a clear demonstration of how we can recognize the strategies we use and then choose to give up the power to suffer.
“There is no problem with pain. There is pain. If you are seeking something to avoid pain,...
“If you stop thinking about how to get out of the body that may be painful or how to keep the body that is pain free, you get to experience the truth.”

Physical pain is an essential aspect of life that serves the survival and well-being of the body, but we can easily turn that necessary pain that alerts us to injury and illness into unnecessary suffering. What is the difference between pain and suffering? What can physical pain reveal to us when we meet it directly?
“If you stop thinking about how to get out of the body that may be painful or how to keep the body...

Where is the life you want?


As much as we can fear death, we can also fear living a full and vibrant life. In this exchange, Gangaji helps a woman get to the root of what keeps her fear of vibrancy running. This conversation demonstrates how each of us has the capacity to discover how to live a true and full life.

Where is the life you want? As much as we can fear death, we can also fear living a full and vibrant...
“The strategies and avoidance around the experience of “not being” or death are what keep you from the experience of eternal life.”

As a young boy of 16, Ramana chose to stop running from what he feared and turned to face death directly. In that moment of inquiry, he opened his mind asking, “Who dies?”  All of us share that same opportunity to stop running and inquire into what we fear most—the end of “me.” In the willingness to investigate death itself, we can discover what cannot die, we can truly rest in the peace that is present here and now.
“The strategies and avoidance around the experience of “not being” or death are what keep you...

“It was a fire. It was really a fire because it was a razor’s edge. All of sudden there are these huge groups. And if I identified even the slightest negatively or positively…I am sliced on this razor I am living on. It was really a necessary fire. I had to be quiet. I had to be still.”


This month we share the soundtrack to a special 30th anniversary video honoring the community of volunteers and donors. The video begins with Gangaji’s first meeting with Papaji in 1990. After Gangaji speaks about her earliest experiences of teaching, we see what unfolded through community efforts in the years that followed. Includes featured music from Jami Sieber, Kirtana, and Amber Terrell.


“It was a fire. It was really a fire because it was a razor’s edge. All of sudden there are...
Gangaji speaks about the role spiritual practice plays in our lives and invites us to discover what we are practicing when we “get off our cushion and the chanting stops.” What do our spiritual practices give us? What do we hope they will give us? What can they never give us?
Gangaji speaks about the role spiritual practice plays in our lives and invites us to discover what...

“It’s a lie that any thing gives you fulfilling, true, deep joy. Joy is your nature.”


We can feel deeply conflicted when following our hearts doesn’t line up with what we or others think we should be doing. When we reach the proverbial and often frightening “fork in the road,” we have a choice to be true to ourselves. Gangaji begins this meeting speaking about the difference between being normal and being natural, and then shares one of the key “fork in the road” moments she experienced in her life.


“It’s a lie that any thing gives you fulfilling, true, deep joy. Joy is your nature.” We can...
Universal, absolute awareness is who you are.”

How is it possible to be “certain” of who we are? In the wake of an essential and undeniable experience of our true nature as pure consciousness, doubt usually arises—“Did that really happen? Is it real?” Then, we often look to our thoughts for the answer. In this powerful dialogue, Gangaji helps us see past the efforts of the rational, conditioned mind to grasp to the doubtless recognition of what is always here.
“Universal, absolute awareness is who you are.” How is it possible to be “certain” of who...

“The error is that you are not what can be thought, or perceived, or felt. You are that which all thoughts, all perceptions, all feelings, appear in.”


In countless ways, we search for a “better” identity to replace who we think we are. This month, Gangaji speaks to the trap of misidentification. How is it possible to see your true face? Where are you looking for yourself?

“The error is that you are not what can be thought, or perceived, or felt. You are that which all...
“This is not psychotherapy. This is not anti-psychotherapy. This has nothing to do with fixing you. This has to do with discovering fully and completely what is always here and was always here in the worst moments, in the best moments.”

In this monologue recorded during a recent retreat at Fallen Leaf Lake, Gangaji delineates the crucial difference between psychotherapy and self-inquiry and the distinct purposes they serve in our lives.
“This is not psychotherapy. This is not anti-psychotherapy. This has nothing to do with fixing...
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When a strong emotion like anger or fear or sadness pops up there seems to be an automatic impulse to get rid of it, or at least to try and manage it. It's as if these feelings of ours are something dangerous, something that might overwhelm us, or at the very least, something that interferes with our lives. Is there a way to transcend these emotions of ours? What if we choose not to do anything with them? Is giving up the habit of trying to escape them a doorway to liberation?
When a strong emotion like anger or fear or sadness pops up there seems to be an automatic impulse...
Our question this month is: What do we do when we are faced with the unthinkable? Perhaps it comes in the form of a difficult diagnosis, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or just witnessing man's inhumanity to man. How do we find a sense of love and peace when what we are experiencing feels like struggle? How do we know when to hang on and when to let go? And do people who have had profound spiritual awakenings experience difficulty differently than others? Gangaji's answer to that question is both surprising and humbling.
Our question this month is: What do we do when we are faced with the unthinkable? Perhaps it comes...
In our everyday lives, we have ideas about what we like and what we dislike. We notice moments when we've made a mistake. But there's another voice that whispers in our ear. It's the voice of the critic. It's the judge. Gangaji refers to it as the super ego. It's the task master who speaks with the authority of God. It tells us we should be better, smarter, happier. It's like a club that we not only beat ourselves with, we also inflict this voice on others, whether it be outwardly or in our own heads. The question is, how do we put down the stick of the super ego, this God voice, and live our lives in peace?
In our everyday lives, we have ideas about what we like and what we dislike. We notice moments when...
It goes without saying that great value can be found in therapy and other forms of self-inspection. There is huge relief in facing our dark sides, healing our deeper wounds and finally feeling emotions we have been running from. But is there a way that we can work on ourselves and still miss the deeper freedom that we are actually in search of? Our conversation this month is, where does therapy end and and self-realization begin?
It goes without saying that great value can be found in therapy and other forms of self-inspection....
Some people might experience it as insecurity and for others it might feel like outright self-hatred. The desire to protect ourselves from this feeling of unworthiness shows up in different ways. There are those who try to outrun it by building themselves up in the hope that no one will see their flaws, while others tear themselves down as proof of this not-enoughness. Either can be seen as an avoidance of actually experiencing the core of what we perhaps fear ourselves to be. What would a happen if we gave up on trying to be "enough"?
Some people might experience it as insecurity and for others it might feel like outright...
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Episode #7
Stevie Leppard had everything anyone could want on the outside, lots of money, fancy cars, a successful career, but on the inside his own self-hatred felt intolerable. Suicide seemed like the only way out. It was grace that would eventually save him, but it was a fierce grace.  How Stevie would go on to meet Gangaji is just part of his amazing story.
Stevie Leppard had everything anyone could want on the outside, lots of money, fancy cars, a...
Episode #5
When you see Kim Rosen on stage performing poetry, she exudes a distinct sense of certainty. But the truth is that for a period of her life she suffered from a particular type of fear that was profoundly painful. Her prayer to be released from it's confines would be answered two different times. And both times that grace came in the form of a poem. In the end, Kim’s story wasn’t about making her fear go away. It was about meeting it and doing life anyway, in a most extraordinary way.
When you see Kim Rosen on stage performing poetry, she exudes a distinct sense of certainty. But the...
Episode #4
Kenny Johnson was trapped in a life that seemed impossible to escape. You could call it a kind of hell. More than twenty years in prison, sometimes just fighting for his life. What he wanted was just to be free. What happened to him was beyond his wildest imagination. This month's epiphany story is about amazing grace. It's about discovering light in the darkest of places.
Kenny Johnson was trapped in a life that seemed impossible to escape. You could call it a kind of...
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Mica Carew comes from a long lineage of medicine women. Her grandmother taught her that if you quiet the mind you can hear another person's body.  And from the age of nine, that's the medicine she practiced.  In her twenties, she turned her back on her native medicine.  It was a sincere and desperate prayer for help that took her on a journey she never could have imagined.
Mica Carew comes from a long lineage of medicine women. Her grandmother taught her that if you quiet...
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Trained as a hospice nurse, Carole Downing held the act of tending to people as they died as an honor and a privilege.   In her early forties, the mother of a young son, the unexpected death of her husband forced Carole to face death in a way she had never done before.  What she learned in the midst of her grief is a lesson for us all.
Trained as a hospice nurse, Carole Downing held the act of tending to people as they died as an...
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