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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...
Perhaps it is something that every human being experiences at some point in the course of a lifetime, even if it's only once, even if it goes unrecognized. Gangaji refers to it as “the essential experience”. It's a moment when any identity with ourselves as a set of feelings, thoughts or circumstances is somehow absent. It can happen in nature, in the midst of a trauma or even when nothing in particular is happening. For some people this “essential experience” ignites a call to a bigger life. But the desire for it can also perpetuate the search for what is already here.
Perhaps it is something that every human being experiences at some point in the course of a...
In April of 1990, Gangaji (then Antoinette Varner) could never have imagined how drastically her life was about to change when she met her teacher, H.W.L Poonja (Papaji), on the banks of the Ganges river in India. She also could never begin to imagine the number of lives that would be changed as a result of that meeting. Taken from the previously unreleased pilot interview of A Conversation with Gangaji recorded back in 2011, Gangaji describes one of her most profound moments of awakening and the impact it had on her daily life. At the core, this conversation allows us to see what is possible in our own lives.
In April of 1990, Gangaji (then Antoinette Varner) could never have imagined how drastically her...
In a world where being in control and looking good are often equated with success and stability, telling the truth can be a very daunting thing to do. It requires the willingness to expose sadness, anger or fear. It is the courage to admit to the times we have betrayed ourselves and those around us. Although it can be painful, it is also hugely liberating. But is there more than the feeling of freedom that comes with telling what Gangaji refers to as the “relative” truth? Is there an ultimate truth? Beyond any concept, what exactly is the truth?
In a world where being in control and looking good are often equated with success and stability,...
Thoughts come in the form of an endless stream of considerations and evaluations. They are fueled by our hopes, dreams, insecurities, successes and failures. These thoughts seem so much a part of us that sometimes it's hard to imagine they're not real. But if, even for a moment, we stop following our thoughts, what is left? What is it that is actually trustworthy? Is it our intuition? And what about those of us who find ourselves living in our heads? What if our thoughts, no matter how convincing, ultimately are not true?
Thoughts come in the form of an endless stream of considerations and evaluations. They are fueled by...
How many times, in the name of being liked, have we withheld what we really wanted to say? How many times have we betrayed ourselves so we wouldn't be rejected or judged? Being “nice” potentially blocks us from intimacy with the people closest to us, not to mention ourselves. And what about the parts of us we just plain don't want anyone else to see? Our question this month is, what are the possibilities if we dare to let go of the strategy of being nice?
How many times, in the name of being liked, have we withheld what we really wanted to say? How many...
Although there can be great peace that comes with yoga, meditation and other rituals, there is one question that often goes uninspected when it comes to living a conscious life. And that is, what are the mantras that take up the other hours of our day, the ones about our finances, our health, our relationships? If we tell ourselves the truth, what are we really practicing between our practice? This month we are also talking about the relationship between having a spiritual practice and waking up. And finally, is there a true remedy for a racing mind?
Although there can be great peace that comes with yoga, meditation and other rituals, there is one...
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 have no fear of death while others brace against it, either consciously or unconsciously. If we do the best we can in life, if we live a conscious life, is it possible that we can somehow increase our own potential for a good death? Is there such a thing as making the wrong decision when it comes to death? As we struggle with subjects like prolonging life and assisted suicide, Gangaji opens the door for us to inspect our deepest fears around our own mortality. When we put all spiritual concepts aside, what does it mean to have a “good” death?
Some people have no fear of death while others brace against it, either consciously or...
From the time we are born we are bombarded with countless messages that tell us that in order to be fulfilled we need to be different than who we are. In our everyday lives our attention is directed to how we look, what we feel, what we have and how we behave. But how do these unavoidable aspects of life keep us engaged in the endless cycle of thinking we are actually a "thing" that constantly needs to be fixed? If ultimate peace is not found in losing the next pound, solving the next problem, making the next dollar or understanding the next teaching then where is it?
From the time we are born we are bombarded with countless messages that tell us that in order to be...
The act of forgiving another, not to mention oneself, is a great power. Forgiveness has the potential to annihilate even the most intense feelings of betrayal and isolation. But what about situations that seem impossible to forgive? What is the cost if we are unable or unwilling to forgive? And what is revealed when we are willing to experience the pain underneath "should forgive" or "can't forgive"? This month we're talking about the complexity of betrayal and what's possible when it comes to forgiveness.
The act of forgiving another, not to mention oneself, is a great power. Forgiveness has the...
Going back through human history, there have been individuals who have had profound spiritual awakenings. As a result, they seem to possess a deeper understanding of what we might call God or stillness or presence. They are sometimes called “enlightened beings”. They stand before us as proof that we too can connect to this essential part of ourselves. For more than twenty years, Gangaji has said she's just like us, but how do our beliefs that she is different, that she has something we don't have, keep us from the exact thing that we are searching for?
Going back through human history, there have been individuals who have had profound spiritual...
What if in reality there is no God; that despite our spiritual beliefs and practices we discover that they are no more than mental concepts that somehow comfort us as human beings? What if peace and stillness are merely the result of the sophisticated inner workings of the brain? Are God and the brain the same? At the end of the day, the answer to that question may not even matter, but actually facing the core of our doubt might be the most important thing we ever do. Where is God? Where is stillness? What is true?
What if in reality there is no God; that despite our spiritual beliefs and practices we discover...
There are so many aspects that make up a human life: where we live, who we choose for a partner, what our spiritual beliefs are, how we want to raise our children, what political views we support. The list is certainly different for each of us. However, the least discussed and most vulnerable conversation we could have might be around the subject of sex. From sexual intimacy, to shame, to the tangle of addiction, today we're talking about facing the rawness of humanity and what that has to do with discovering the truth of who we are.
There are so many aspects that make up a human life: where we live, who we choose for a partner,...
This month we're asking the tough and less obvious questions about how we cause our own suffering. Is there a way that we knowingly or unknowingly receive something from our suffering? Is it even possible to suffer if we are taking full responsibility for our own lives? When calling off the search means putting an end to victimhood could it be that the freedom we desire is truly in our own hands?
This month we're asking the tough and less obvious questions about how we cause our own suffering....
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...
This episode takes a look at what it is we put our trust in on a daily basis. When we rely on our thoughts, emotions, circumstances and who we think we are then we fall victim to the roller coaster of life, because all of those things are subject to change. There is also the doubt that naturally comes from betrayal. Gangaji addresses the question of how we find what is truly trustworthy in the face of our everyday lives.
This episode takes a look at what it is we put our trust in on a daily basis. When we rely on our...
Money is woven into our very sense of survival. We ask ourselves questions like: How will I make it? How can I keep it from going away? And once I have it, how can I get more? Being human requires having money to pay for what we need, but in this episode of a Conversation with Gangaji we'll take a look at the possibility that the root of the financial insecurity that most of us experience, whether we have a little or a lot, may not be about the money at all.
Money is woven into our very sense of survival. We ask ourselves questions like: How will I make it?...
It's absolutely normal for human beings to search for happiness. We all go about it in our own way. For some, it's the perfect job or being in a loving relationship. For others it is living in a beautiful house, becoming a parent, reaching for the next peak experience, or simply ending the pain we can feel inside ourselves. In this episode, Gangaji suggests that in our search for personal happiness, we overlook the happiness that is already here. Is our willingness to be unhappy the key to discovering the happiness we were searching for in the first place?
It's absolutely normal for human beings to search for happiness. We all go about it in our own way....
Love can be blissful and in the next moment it can be unexpectedly painful. How is it that we sometimes reject the exact thing we are longing for? Can a heart be healed once it's been broken? Is there hope for fear of commitment? What are we willing to give up in the name of love?
Love can be blissful and in the next moment it can be unexpectedly painful. How is it that we...
There are countless types of addictions. Some are deadly and some are so engrained they go almost overlooked. But whether our addiction is to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, technology, relationships, or even the subtle addiction to thought itself, they are all guaranteed to result in suffering in some way. In this episode, Gangaji addresses addiction from all sides. We will take a look at the physical component, what is discovered when we don't give into the force of a craving and how addictions serve as a distraction from the discomfort that we perceive is too hard to face. Is it possible that addiction is actually a doorway for us to return home?
There are countless types of addictions. Some are deadly and some are so engrained they go almost...
The stress of everyday life presents endless opportunities for fear and anxiety to show itself. Whether it’s acute or chronic anxiety, it’s natural for us as humans to want to control it in the hope that it won’t get bigger. So we tell ourselves to “just let go”. But when does the idea of just “letting go” become a trap in itself? In this episode, we explore panic attacks, stress and the possibility that fear itself is just an illusion.
The stress of everyday life presents endless opportunities for fear and anxiety to show itself....
In this episode Gangaji takes a deeper look at depression, as well as some of the common questions that surround it. Is depression anger turned inward? Is it an expression of a deeper spiritual awakening, as in a dark night of the soul? Gangaji's exploration into the core of despair reveals something that we might not know is there.
In this episode Gangaji takes a deeper look at depression, as well as some of the common questions...
All of us will at one time or another be confronted with some type of acute or chronic pain, both emotional and physical. As humans, it's normal to try to search for ways to get rid of it, or at least find some relief. In this first episode of A Conversation with Gangaji, we look at the possibility of going underneath the pain to discover what is truer than the experience of pain itself. What happens if, for a moment, we don't try to fix it?
All of us will at one time or another be confronted with some type of acute or chronic pain, both...
More Podcast Series

The much loved A Conversation with Gangaji, hosted by Hillary Larson. Listen

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