“There is an unknown territory where blame and opinion and stories of heroes and villains are all just on the surface. If we are invested or attached to the surface, we never get to have the experience of a true deep dive inside. You are here to loosen that attachment. You are here to dive. You are here to find what you really want.”
How is it possible to end our patterns of suffering? It is only possible if you’re willing to have the power of observation activated. It gets activated by your own desire for truth, your willingness to inquire how you suffer, and your ability to discern when that suffering is unnecessary.
This word “unnecessary” is important, because there is certainly suffering in the world. There is pain in the world for all forms of life. This personal observation is not about getting something right so that you will be free from suffering. That freedom would be conditional. The freedom I am pointing you to is the freedom that is already alive within you in this very instant, regardless of conditions. Inner freedom is not reliant on your doing anything. It is the inherent truth of who you are.
Our emotional stories are the center of our suffering, and we need to spend as much time as needed to discover how to break free of their hold. Emotions and the stories we tell ourselves about those emotions are the material of our inner prisons. The inner prison is unnecessary; in fact, the inner prison cannot survive true self-inquiry.
Are you imprisoned by the stories you tell yourself? Do your emotions run your life? I am here to challenge your emotional and narrative imprisonment, and to invite you to a deeper recognition of truth, one that proclaims your actual freedom. It’s hard to see that we have choice in emotional and narrative matters, and yet we do. The essential choice is discovered in your willingness to tell the truth to yourself.
Most of us have never developed a strong enough mind to self-reflect, to ask a question such as, “What am I telling myself in this moment?” “What have I told myself for the last decade on my life?” Those questions are the beginning of self-reflection and self-reflection strengthens the mind. Inquiry builds the muscle of self-reflection. More and more, it will be natural for you to simply recognize, “I’m telling myself the same old story.” The story, “I am wrong or they are wrong” or “I should be punished or they should be punished” or “I should be somewhere else, they should be somewhere else.”
Recognizing that, there is a moment that is yours to choose. It’s a moment of opening. Whatever the feeling underneath the storyline, whatever the feeling that energizes the storyline or keeps the storyline in place to protect you from your own feelings, it’s all suspended and you directly experience whatever is here. You dive into that and under that. You may discover sadness under fear or anger under grief, or joy under fear. There’s no correct agenda for what you will experience.
In your willingness to directly experience what is appearing without telling any story about it, you will develop deep strength of mind. You will experience your true heart, your pure beingness—radiant and always free.
Write your responses to these repeating questions. Take 5 to 10 minutes for each question. Ask yourself the question repeatedly and write down all the responses that arise. Don’t edit yourself or judge your responses. You don’t need to show your responses to anyone. With a two-part question ask the first question, respond, then follow that by asking yourself the second question.
“Investigating deeply into what you really want opens the door to discovering the truth of who you really are.”
Thank you for participating in Gangaji’s 3-part course. In part two we will focus on meeting the emotions underneath our stories. Check your email for a link to Part Two.