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A Conversation with Gangaji

Join Gangaji and host Hillary Larson as they take a close look at the issues that we face in our everyday lives, one topic at a time.

In Let Yourself Be Found Gangaji shares a teaching story about what is discovered when we are willing to call off the search
In Let Yourself Be Found Gangaji shares a teaching story about what is discovered when we are...
Gangaji speaks to the maturity needed when we are confronted with significant life challenges.
Gangaji speaks to the maturity needed when we are confronted with significant life challenges.
In this podcast, Gangaji speaks about the natural integrity and vigilance revealed when we are truly willing to be humbled.
In this podcast, Gangaji speaks about the natural integrity and vigilance revealed when we are truly...
This month our conversation on the subject of racism continues. Taking us more deeply to the underlying fear that is the source of racism, Gangaji speaks about the fear of death and the fear of our own and others’ freedom. Recalling her early life in Mississippi, she shares the moment when her racist conditioning was first challenged and how that awakening set her on the path to discovering true freedom.

 

Listen to Part 1
This month our conversation on the subject of racism continues. Taking us more deeply to the...
This month Gangaji sits down for an interview on the subject of racism. Gangaji grew up in Mississippi, raised as a white southern girl in the segregated town of Clarksdale. In this interview, she speaks about how her own racist conditioning first began to be dismantled. She invites us not only to meet the cruelty and wrongs of the past 400 years, but also to meet the internal system of racism within our own minds today.

Part One of this interview covers the human patterns of denial, seeking power for survival, meeting the fear that perpetuates racism, and the possibility of serving true freedom for all beings everywhere.
This month Gangaji sits down for an interview on the subject of racism. Gangaji grew up in...
Reckoning with a Cruel White Legacy: In this historic moment, white people have an opportunity to redress the long, cruel legacy of racism in America. Author Ibram X. Kendi said, “The history of racism is a history of denial.” So that is where we begin with this episode: the resolve to end denial and face hard truths. In this recording from 1998, Gangaji recounts an article about Bishop Desmond Tutu. His commitment to truth and reconciliation in South Africa serves as an inspiration to us all.

“When you are seeking nothing but the truth, and in that seeking, you are willing to see everything, then closure is a by-product. Peace is revealed, harmony is revealed, to be your own self.”

 
Reckoning with a Cruel White Legacy: In this historic moment, white people have an opportunity to...
What is revealed when we stay conscious in the midst of great upheaval? When we are willing to inquire with an open mind, we can move beyond simply coping with disaster and discover a life-changing truth untouched by any loss. Recorded in March of 2011 following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, this monologue is relevant to the times we find ourselves in now, confronting a worldwide pandemic.
What is revealed when we stay conscious in the midst of great upheaval? When we are willing to...
Mistakenly, we define who we are by the roles we play in the theater we call our lives. Then we further define ourselves with our evaluations of how well or how poorly we play those roles. When Gangaji first met Papaji, he told her to stop everything. In her willingness to stop everything and just be, Gangaji saw past the roles (mother, daughter, spiritual seeker, wife, student) and recognized her true face. It is possible for all of us to recognize our true face—the truth of who we are. Then every role we are given can be played fully and authentically. We can live freely, resting in the truth of who we are.
Mistakenly, we define who we are by the roles we play in the theater we call our lives. Then we...
Together we are facing a global pandemic. It is something none of us has ever faced, something that is truly unknown. Naturally fear arises in uncertainty, fear that can lead to panic. How can we meet this moment with our natural intelligence?
Together we are facing a global pandemic. It is something none of us has ever faced, something that...
When we are filled with doubt and overwhelm, and all seems to be falling apart, there is the potential through self-inquiry to discover home. This enlivening exchange with Gangaji, recorded in Santa Fe in 1998, demonstrates how in our willingness to fall apart, we ultimately see what falls away and what remains—the home that is real.
When we are filled with doubt and overwhelm, and all seems to be falling apart, there is the...
Is your inner critic running your life? The inner critic tells us how we are not enough, how we should be more, how we should be better than we think we are. Thinking about what is wrong with us can eat up our lives and ultimately distracts us from the essential truth. In this episode of Being Yourself, Gangaji demonstrates how to confront the inner-critic without judgment, and finally end the war between ego and superego.
Is your inner critic running your life? The inner critic tells us how we are not enough, how we...
Where is your attention? Our minds are designed to recognize what is “wrong” and needs fixing. This aspect of our ego serves our survival as human animals. There is nothing wrong with this aspect of our ego, but if we only look for what is wrong and neglect to honor what is already whole and free, then we suffer unnecessarily. Wherever you find yourself, you can take this moment to shift your attention to what is right: the wonder of existence itself.
Where is your attention? Our minds are designed to recognize what is “wrong” and needs fixing....
"The Door is Open."

How can you discover freedom and peace exactly where you are right now, in your current circumstances, without changing anything? This month reading a former prisoner’s letter, Gangaji speaks to the egoic prisons we live our lives in, and how it is possible to recognize the door to freedom that is already open.

Learn more about Gangaji's Prison Program.

 
"The Door is Open." How can you discover freedom and peace exactly where you are right now, in your...
We all play many roles in our lives: parent, child, student, seeker, teacher, boss, and many, many more. But what do we want our lives to be used for? In this episode, Gangaji shares her own experience of being in the role of teacher and addresses how the roles we play can serve the deepest truth—the truth of who we are.

Being Yourself host, Barbara Denempont, welcomes a special guest this month, Hillary Larson this month. Hillary shares her own experience of roles ending and beginning, and what her journey to the Amazon rain forest revealed to her about finding home.

Plus Hillary has a special invitation for you. You can join Hillary in supporting Gangaji's podcast and other programs through a matching grant. Find out how your monthly pledge can be doubled for a full year.

 
We all play many roles in our lives: parent, child, student, seeker, teacher, boss, and many, many...
What if the last obstacle to discovering true freedom and fulfillment is just a thought? Often hiding in plain sight, our common doubts— “I am stuck,” “I am separate,” “I can’t help it”—are how we create our reality and suffer unnecessarily. In this episode of Being Yourself, Gangaji offers a radical invitation and demonstrates how being aware of what we are actually thinking can open the door to freedom. We all have the capacity to see through our doubting thoughts into the vast simplicity of who I am—freedom itself.
What if the last obstacle to discovering true freedom and fulfillment is just a thought? Often...
One of the ways we commonly define ourselves is by our “problems.” In this episode of Being Yourself, Gangaji powerfully challenges the assumptions we have about our problems and what it means if we can or cannot find the respective solutions. If we can’t solve our day-to-day problems, does that exclude us from living a free and authentic life? What really is the last obstacle that keeps one from discovering natural fulfillment?
One of the ways we commonly define ourselves is by our “problems.” In this episode of Being...
When we let go of our worldly desires we often replace them with spiritual desires. When we want enlightenment what is it that we imagine enlightenment will give us? Really? In this podcast Gangaji dares us to set aside all our desires, for just one moment, and to discover what is here, completely fulfilled, and awake.
When we let go of our worldly desires we often replace them with spiritual desires. When we want...
Chasing success and avoiding failure are natural aspects of our human drive to survive. On the spiritual path, however, ending our struggle with avoiding failure offers a profound realization. This illuminating dialogue between Gangaji and a retreat participant gives us a fresh look at failure, perhaps one you have never considered. Gangaji challenges all of our assumptions and leads us to the recognition of what is deeper than either success or failure ... and is always here.
Chasing success and avoiding failure are natural aspects of our human drive to survive. On the...
“Enlightenment at the core is heart opening, and heart opening reveals wisdom. And wisdom is mercy. It’s impossible to be merciful to anyone else if your heart is closed to yourself.”

We continue the investigation into self-hatred with this episode of Being Yourself. Gangaji speaks to the necessity of “kissing the toad” if you truly want to be free of patterns of self-hatred and live a life rooted in self-love.
“Enlightenment at the core is heart opening, and heart opening reveals wisdom. And wisdom is...
This month, Gangaji begins an exploration into the many facets of self-hatred. Our first installment in a series begins with the egoic cycle of inflation and deflation. How do we get off this wheel of suffering? We are all familiar with feeling great and feeling horrible, but what does that have to do with who we are? This powerful monologue helps us see how the egoic structure works, and that is possible to stop perpetuating patterns of avoidance and patterns of grasping.
This month, Gangaji begins an exploration into the many facets of self-hatred. Our first installment...
We have looked at how we project onto the so-called “other” and the unnecessary suffering that projection generates. This month, we look at how we relate to ourselves as an object in our own minds, overlooking our true face.  Objectification also leads to unhappiness and suffering. In this episode, Gangaji offers the possibility to completely simplify our narratives saying, “The ultimate universal remedy to suffering is I AM.”
We have looked at how we project onto the so-called “other” and the unnecessary suffering that...
Projection is an aspect of our human minds that allows us to survive and to function, but projection can also lead us to suffer unnecessarily in all kinds of relationships and within our our minds. In the extreme, when we project fear and hatred onto the so-called "other", tragically it can manifest into horrendous violence. So what can we do as individuals? In this episode, Gangaji addresses how  we end the trance of projection and recognize what is here, now.
Projection is an aspect of our human minds that allows us to survive and to function, but projection...
In this podcast, we take a look what drives our desire for purpose and consider, what is our deepest purpose. In two powerful exchanges, Gangaji addresses how the deep fear of being nobody, and the search to be a somebody, becomes its own burden.
In this podcast, we take a look what drives our desire for purpose and consider, what is our deepest...
Gangaji speaks to the essential mistake we make on the spiritual path and offers her own resolution for the new year and beyond. Take a listen to Resolve & Resolution, a loving and passionate monologue taken straight out of the archives...
Gangaji speaks to the essential mistake we make on the spiritual path and offers her own resolution...
"Our magical thinking cannot change the universe." ~ Gangaji

In this month's episode of Gangaji's new podcast, Being Yourself, Gangaji challenges our deeply held concepts about hope and hopelessness. Sharing a very personal story she illuminates how hope can become an obstacle in our lives. What if giving up hope could show you a deeper freedom? Would you be willing to let it go?
"Our magical thinking cannot change the universe." ~ Gangaji In this month's episode of Gangaji's...
This month on the premiere of Being Yourself....
....the archetypal and very human experience of feeling separate from God, truth, love, each other and even from ourselves.
This month on the premiere of Being Yourself.... ....the archetypal and very human experience of...
Six years ago, we started on a journey and we called it A Conversation with Gangaji. The original question was, what if you could sit across the coffee table from Gangaji and ask her anything you wanted? We covered everything from relationships to money to death to sex to suffering to enlightenment. We started the first episode with the topic of chronic pain and ended our last conversation with the question, what do you really want? Together we got to listen to Gangaji always point to the deeper truth of the matter. And when all the questions were finally asked, all it really was about was finding home.
Six years ago, we started on a journey and we called it A Conversation with Gangaji. The original...
There's a lot of debate, and perhaps some strong opinions, about what it means to take the spiritual bypass.  It doesn't necessarily mean addressing every emotion that comes up. But it also doesn't mean pretending everything is fine when it's not.  When Gangaji says you don't have to process everything or fix yourself in order to be free, what exactly does that mean?  Would you take the bypass in order to be free?
There's a lot of debate, and perhaps some strong opinions, about what it means to take the spiritual...
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...
What does your life stand for?  What do you really want?  If the answer is freedom then what does that look like? Does the answer you come up with match your life, how you live your life? Is there something you’re holding onto that keeps you from truly realizing what it means to be free? These are potent questions. And what happens in this particular exchange with Gangaji is different because it is the beginning and end of all conversations.
What does your life stand for?  What do you really want?  If the answer is freedom then what does...
It was the middle of the night.  Harriet Watson was driving down a dark, snow-covered road alone, barely able to see what was in front of her.  Suddenly, she was startled by a loud thud.  In the moments that followed, her life would change forever.  From the frustration of a life of rigid rules and beliefs to the experience of profound freedom, this story is a testament to the trustworthiness of life.
It was the middle of the night.  Harriet Watson was driving down a dark, snow-covered road alone,...
With rare exceptions, human beings are innately good. Being in alignment with that goodness feels spacious.  We can be greedy, cranky, critical, jealous, but being good? Now that’s seems like an infinitely better way to go. The problem is that being good can be a trap unto itself. Does our capacity for a deeper awaking rely on our willingness to cultivate this goodness within us? Or are we inherently good, without doing a thing?
With rare exceptions, human beings are innately good. Being in alignment with that goodness feels...
Control might ultimately be an attempt to fend off our deepest fears.  It can show up in all sorts of ways in our everyday lives.  It can interfere with relationships.  It can also be exhausting.  Some people are self-described “control freaks.”  For others, control can show up in more subtle ways.  Fessing up to our control issues is a pretty tender thing, but when the source of it is finally met,  the possibilities are endless.
Control might ultimately be an attempt to fend off our deepest fears.  It can show up in all sorts...
When trauma happens, it can change the trajectory of a life. It can color how we see the world around us. We can retreat. We can act out. And we can certainly spend our lives running from it, managing it or even trying to heal it. How do we come to terms with even the deepest of wounds without suffering from the identification as someone who has been hurt or wronged in some way? This episode takes a surprising turn and is one of the most revealing conversations so far.
When trauma happens, it can change the trajectory of a life. It can color how we see the world...
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...
Gangaji has always said that inquiry isn't theoretical, it's about real life. This episode is a perfect example of that. Gangaji experienced a serious injury recently. She's going to give us an update, but we're also going to take this as an opportunity to continue our conversation on the body. Difficult things happen to people, no matter the level of their awareness, so how does that play out with someone like Gangaji? How do we face our fear of losing when unexpected things happen in life? Gangaji addresses all of the above, and more, on this new episode of Gangaji Radio.
Gangaji has always said that inquiry isn't theoretical, it's about real life. This episode is a...
Six years ago, we started on a journey and we called it A Conversation with Gangaji. The original question was, what if you could sit across the coffee table from Gangaji and ask her anything you wanted? We covered everything from relationships to money to death to sex to suffering to enlightenment. We started the first episode with the topic of chronic pain and ended our last conversation with the question, what do you really want? Together we got to listen to Gangaji always point to the deeper truth of the matter. And when all the questions were finally asked, all it really was about was finding home.
Six years ago, we started on a journey and we called it A Conversation with Gangaji. The original...
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...
It's easy to experience silence or stillness in the midst of deep meditation or in a moment of appreciating the beauty in the world. But what about the times when we're upset or angry? How about the times when our sense of well being is swept up in whirlwind of fear or sadness? How do we know that who we really are is silence and why is it important? We'll also be talking about difference between space and spaciousness, where intelligent thought comes from, and much more.
It's easy to experience silence or stillness in the midst of deep meditation or in a moment of...
A lot has been said about the subjects of karma, fate and destiny. Is the course of our lives predetermined? How is it that some people seem to live a life of abundance while others face huge difficulties? Most of us have probably experienced a bit of both. Is it possible to change our karma? What is the difference between choice and choicelessness? In this episode Gangaji also shares her thoughts on responsibility and the power we have over our karma.
A lot has been said about the subjects of karma, fate and destiny. Is the course of our lives...
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?
In October of 1998, a talented musician named Craig Johnson, along with millions around the world,...

The bubble of me is made up of my body, my thoughts, my worries, as well as my hopes, dreams and desires. In and of itself, it's neither good nor bad. It's just part of being human. But sometimes there can be a preoccupation with this bubble of me, which perhaps is a distraction from a deeper anxiety. In this conversation, Gangaji also looks at the bubbles we create around our political, social or spiritual beliefs. Is it important to reach beyond our own bubbles? And if so, how do we do that?

The bubble of me is made up of my body, my thoughts, my worries, as well as my hopes, dreams and...
When we feel backed into a corner, asking for help can be difficult. In fact, it can take an act of courage to do it. In those moments when we call out for help, if we let go of what that might look like, is there a guarantee that our prayer's will be be answered? What about other categories of help, like giving help? When does offering help serve and when does it interfere? When is it actually a distraction? When we move beyond our daily hopes and fears, is there a final prayer just to be free?
When we feel backed into a corner, asking for help can be difficult. In fact, it can take an act of...
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...
To say that the US presidential election of 2016 has created a firestorm around the world would be an understatement. While some people are happy with the outcome, the election of Donald Trump has left many shocked, angry and in fear of the future. In this special episode, Gangaji responds to some of the questions and reactions that have naturally come to the surface. Do we have the capacity to bear the fallout from this, no matter what side we're on? Important questions for the sobering times we find ourselves in. Some of us feel blindsided. Where do we go from here?
To say that the US presidential election of 2016 has created a firestorm around the world would be...
It's easy to think that a sudden and profound awakening has more meaning than more subtle awarenesses that happen over time. It's like a thunderbolt versus an onion. It's natural to want to compare the two but the question is, are those comparisons worthwhile? Could it be that it's the ordinary moments that are the true openings to realizing who we are? Could these moments be the final call for us to stop trying to fix ourselves and realize what has been here all along?
It's easy to think that a sudden and profound awakening has more meaning than more subtle...
Pro-choice, pro-life, pro-guns, anti-guns; racism, immigration, sexuality, financial equality. The debate around different social and political issues has stirred a heated debate for many. What if our disagreements lead to hate, even if our hate is a result of those who say hateful things? Who's right and who's wrong? What happens if we throw away the requirement that we have to agree with each other at all? In the midst of these heated emotions and passionate opinions, is there room for love and respect?
Pro-choice, pro-life, pro-guns, anti-guns; racism, immigration, sexuality, financial equality. The...
At first glance, giving up hope doesn't seem like the best idea. After all, isn't hope what helps us make it through difficult times? We hope for good health, financial stability and fulfilling relationships. We hope for a life without suffering, where our most sincere wishes can come true. What would life be without hope? If we didn't have hope would we risk falling into some sort of abyss? Is hope what keeps us afloat or is it actually something that contributes to our suffering? This month, we're looking at the surprising obstacle that hope can create, as we discover what is possible if we are willing to let it go.
At first glance, giving up hope doesn't seem like the best idea. After all, isn't hope what helps us...
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...
Shame is probably one of the most avoided words in the English language. And no wonder. It seems dark and sticky and secretive by it's very nature. Shame can arise from anything from abuse to sex to doing something we feel embarrassed about to simply being in a human body. The story of shame can wind its way through every part of our lives. What happens when we finally stop to face our own experience of shame? The answer could be both liberating and life-changing.
Shame is probably one of the most avoided words in the English language. And no wonder. It seems...
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