“Truth remains independent of any image, any concept or any thought.” ~ Gangaji
This post previews, How Will Your Life Be Used, from Gangaji’s book Freedom and Resolve: The Living Edge of Surrender. The full book is available as a free PDF download. Learn much more about Gangaji on her StillnessSpeaks teacher’s page. And check out our previous posts You are Already Whole, part 1 and part 2, and Vigilance as Deep Surrender. Text from Gangaji’s book is italicized.
How will your life be used? is Gangaji’s central and opening question. She describes typical ways we believe we should live our lives; accumulation of things both spiritual and worldly, with the hope that we will be saved from the perils of death.
Accumulation doesn’t work, nor do our efforts of trying to make life fit our image of ourself. We consistently act to change those around us, or let them know how they don’t fit into our image.
“How much time is spent looking to see how others are not conforming to what you think they should be doing, or how they should be doing it?”
Gangaji turns toward Truth, stating that surrendering to Truth is the greatest challenge….“if you have any image of what truth is, that is not truth… Truth remains independent of any image, an concept or any thought.”
Surrendering to that which is “untouched by any idea evaluation or conclusion, past, present or future” is the most profound and difficult of challenges – but also the most critical.
“It is to discover who you are, closer than any image of yourself, any sense of yourself, and deeper than any experience you have ever had… The challenge is to be true to that, to be true to the source of all thought, the source of all sensation, the source of all imagination, without understanding it…, grapsing it…, and getting it.”
Gangaji relates her early meetings with her teacher Papaji in India. She recalls learning that all her images of bliss, heaven and God were “worthless” and that “the bounty of heaven” was right there in the simple modest room she met with Papaji.
“It was very good for my Western mind to be stopped in that way, and I can remember the subtlety of then attempting to make myself over to fit the new image. I stopped wearing all make-up. I didn’t look in mirrors. I liked the new humbleness and wanted to be finished with western ideals.”
Papaji however, showed Gangaji that she was “attempting to grasp a (new) image of truth and look like that image.”
Gangaji realized that as the eras of her life had come and gone, she would try to fit her self-image into which ever era she was living “whether it was to look like a hippie, or to look spiritual, or to look like an intellectual–all the time knowing that was not quite the truth. Truth cannot be ‘looked like.'”
Weaving ourselves into and out of images seems to be what our minds do: “Attempts to model truth are continual entrapments of the time mind, which knows only images, concepts and ideas. When we speak of freedom, we are speaking of what is inherently free from any image, concept or idea. That is who you are.”
Gangaji wisely points out that it takes a great deal of effort to maintain our ideas and concepts about ourselves, others and the world. We don’t notice the great amount of energy we exert propping up these concepts because they feel so normal. What a relief it is, to let them all go!
“…what is offered to you by your own Self, is to wake up to who you are, and to let this lifetime be used by that awakening, with no idea of how or when or what…You have the opportunity to listen, to investigate, to discover for yourself, and to choose.”