“If you are willing to take an instant to withdraw attention from whatever your internal dialogue is, to withdraw energy from whatever the latest point of view about your suffering is, it is immediately obvious what is here: the fullness, the richness and the love of oneself as conscious life.”
Quoted came from this article on Gangaji’s web site:
Responsibility and Vigilance
For the tenth anniversary of 9/11
I share this message from Gangaji
With love and heartfelt compassion
For all humans affected by the events of that day
Victim, victimizer, and witness
Thanks to a new subscriber for pointing me to this video clip, and to another subscriber for the transcript for this video, which I have copied from their comment to appear below the link.
“Any thought that you have had about yourself, however deflated or inflated, is not who you are. It is simply a thought. The truth of who you are cannot be thought, because it is the source of all thoughts. The truth of who you are cannot be named or defined. Words like soul, light, God, truth, self, consciousness, universal intelligence, or divinity, while capable of evoking the bliss of the truth, are grossly inadequate as a description of the immensity of who you truly are.
However you identify yourself — as a child, an adolescent, a mother, a father, an older person, a healthy person, a sick person, a suffering person, or an enlightened person — always, behind all of that, is the truth of yourself. It is not foreign to you. It is so close that you cannot believe it is you. Instead, you have taken on the conditioning of parents, cultures and religions as the reality of yourself rather than what has always been with you — closer than your heartbeat, closer than any thought, closer than any experience.
The truth of who you are is untouched by any concept of who you are, whether ignorant or enlightened, worthless or grand. The truth of who you are is free of it all. You are already free, and all that blocks your realization of that freedom is your attachment to some thought of who you are. This thought doesn’t keep you from being the truth of who you are. You already are that. It separates you from the realization of who you are.
I invite you to let your attention dive into what has always been here, waiting openly for its own self-realization. Who are you, really? Are you some image that appears in your mind? Are you some sensation that appears in your body? Are you some emotion that passes through your mind and body? Are you something that someone else has said you are, or are you the rebellion against something that someone else has said you are? These are some of the many avenues of misidentification. All these definitions come and go, are born and then die. The truth of who you are does not come and go. It is present before birth, throughout a lifetime, and after death.
To discover the truth of who you are is not only possible; it is your birthright. Any thoughts that this discovery is not for you — now is not the time, you are not worthy, you are not ready, you already know who you are — are all just tricks of the mind.
The most important question you can ever ask yourself is Who am I? In a certain way, this has been an implicit question asked throughout every stage of your life. Every activity, whether individual or collective, is motivated at its root by a search for self-definition. Typically, you search for a positive answer to this question and run away from a negative answer. Once this question becomes explicit, the momentum and the power of the question direct the search for the true answer, which is open-ended, alive, and filled with ever deepening insight.
Of course, the external world tells you who you are. Beginning with your parents, you are told that you are a particular name, a particular gender, and that you play a particular role as a child in the family. The conditioning continues through your schooling. You are a good student, a bad student, a good person, a bad person, someone who can do it, someone who can’t do it, and on and on. You have experienced both success and failure. After a certain stage, early or late, you realize that who you are, however that is defined, is not satisfying.
Unless this question has been truly answered, not just conventionally answered, you will still be hungry to know. Because no matter how you have been defined by others, well-meaning or not, and no matter how you have defined yourself, no definition can bring lasting certitude.
The moment of recognizing that no answer has ever satisfied this question is crucial. It is often referred to as the moment of spiritual ripeness, the moment of spiritual maturity. At this point, you can consciously investigate who you really are.
In its power and simplicity, the question Who am I? throws the mind back to the root of personal identification, the basic assumption I am somebody. Rather than automatically taking that assumption as the truth, you can investigate deeper.
It is not difficult to see that this initial thought, I am somebody, leads to all kinds of strategies: to be a better somebody, a more protected somebody, a somebody with more pleasure, more comfort, and more attainment. But when this very basic thought is questioned, the mind encounters the I that is assumed to be separate from what it has been seeking. This is called self-inquiry. This most basic question, Who am I?, is the one that is the most overlooked. We spend most of our days telling ourselves or others we are someone important, someone unimportant, someone big, someone little, someone young, or someone old, never truly questioning this most basic assumption.
Who are you, really? How do you know that is who you are? Is that true? Really? If you say you are a person, you know that because you have been taught that. If you say you are good or bad, ignorant or enlightened, these are all just concepts in the mind. All of them are forgotten every night when you fall asleep. Whatever can be forgotten will never deliver certitude. In an instant of true and sincere self-inquiry, what can neither be forgotten nor be remembered reveals itself as who you are. All that is required is that you stop trying to find yourself in some definition.
When you turn your attention toward the question Who am I?, perhaps you will see an entity that has your face and your body. But who is aware of that entity? Are you the object, or are you the awareness of the object? The object comes and goes. The parent, the child, the lover, the abandoned one, the enlightened one, the victorious one, the defeated one — these identifications all come and go. The awareness of these identifications is always present. The misidentification of yourself as some objecting awareness leads to extreme pleasure or extreme pain and endless cycles of suffering. When you are willing to stop the misidentification and discover directly and completely that you are the awareness itself and not these impermanent definitions, the search for yourself in thought ends.
When the question Who? is followed innocently, purely, all the way back to its source, there is a huge, astounding realization: There is no entity there at all! There is only the indefinable, boundless recognition of yourself as inseparable from anything else.
You are free. You are whole. You are endless. There is no bottom to you, no boundary to you. Any idea about yourself appears in you and will disappear back into you. You are awareness, and awareness is consciousness.
Let all self-definitions die in this moment. Let them all go, and see what remains. See what is never born and what does not die. Feel the relief of laying down the burden of defining yourself. Experience the actual non-reality of the burden. Experience the joy that is here. Rest in the endless peace of your true nature before any thought of I arises.”
The choiceless truth of who you are
is revealed to be permanently here permeating everything.
Not a thing and not separate from anything.
This is from Ganagji’s CD “The Moment of Choice,” recorded at one of her retreats (or perhaps it was a satsang)
Comment from retreat participant:
I have questions from yesterday. Right now I really don’t feel a question now unless I started generating them.
This is a very good point. So there’s a neutral space there, where you know you have to go into the past to generate a question, or to generate a story or a problem, or a history. It’s a point of choice. This is the point of choice. It’s excellent to see that!
Generally, you know what you choose. Generally, we choose to go into the past, to create a history, a problem… cause it was such an important problem that if we just don’t generate it, well, what does that mean about the importance of it? And so, since there is some investment in the importance of it, we go back into the past, and this is called “rebirth.”
This is the choice of being reborn, with your problems, with your miseries, with your questions, day-by-day. Once you are aware of that choice, then you recognize exactly what is required. There’s actually some effort… there’s some attention on what was… there’s some further investment of time, energy and attention… and then we have a question, we have a past, we have a problem… we have searching for the answer, or the alleviation of the problem… or the end of the story.
But the search follows the rebirth. And the rebirth follows that moment of choice—and choosing to be reborn as sufferer—rather than choosing to simply be here, being nobody, being nothing.
Yes, you see the moment gets very strong. And with the strength of the moment there can be some—”Oh, but, ahem, ‘I could really disappear here, and then the whole importance of my life will be of no importance’…”
But you have to understand that’s going to happen anyway. You really will disappear. And even though you may make great contributions, finally they’ll disappear, too. I mean, what, they’ll last 2500 years? 3000 years? 4000 years? Maybe a million years? … if you make the greatest contribution. But in the scope of time, a million years is not that big a deal.
So the question becomes: Are you willing, in this moment, to not be reborn? Just right now. Forget what you think about rebirth, reincarnation. Just right now, to not be reborn. To just be here, unformed.
You see the pull is strong. And yet there’s always that choice. If you choose to not be reborn—just right now—then you can definitely recognize what is unborn. What is still alive, without history, without question, without story, without suffering, without problem, without searching. What is still alive… and the vastness of it… and the peace of it.
And you can recognize that as yourself—having nothing to do with birth. And in that recognition, then even rebirth is no big deal. If you are willing to be true to that recognition, then be reborn 1000 times a day, what does it matter? It’s being reborn—the story, the history, the problems even—the questions are being reborn in who you are: the vast intelligence conscious of itself As You.