Gangaji on Emotional Wellness: How To Feel Softer On The Inside When Life Treats You Hard
“We know or somehow we are mature enough to tell the truth of how miserable it is to shrink the heart down and then to try to keep out all the threats. At a certain, mysterious moment you are just willing to say, ‘Okay, I surrender. I give up. Let it all come in.’ In that moment, what a revelation of the capacity of your heart to include everything. Everything. All the pain of the world, all the pain of the past, all the pain to come, the necessary pain that is part of life, the unnecessary pain that is part of avoiding pain. All of it. All of it. Then your heart is not just your heart and it’s not the beautiful muscle of your body, or even your emotional heart. It is the core of the world. It is the universe itself. It is life itself, knowing itself as the capacity to hold all of life. That’s the possibility.”
Life can be hard, stuff happens, things change. People die, or almost die or threaten to die.
And you think you’re doing quite well, thank you very much, dealing with all of this, and then you go to your massage therapist for a session.
You get on the table, you get settled.
He starts working you over, and…
… he tells you what you’ve really been doing with your emotion. He tells you where you tucked your feelings (for safekeeping or whatever!!), or where the leftover emotion landed in your body — instead of letting it go.
Lucky for me, I have a massage therapist who has a lot of space for people to do whatever they do. Around him, it is easy for me to laugh it out, cry it out, or groan it out. Good for me, good for him. God bless him.
WebMD will tell you all about the effects of stress on our health. They say that stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The internet has a lot to say about stress. But our bodies speak the loudest.
I’m an emotional person, so this “what-am-I-doing-with-my-emotions” thing has been with me for a good long while. While the subject is not new to me, my clearer awareness is — and it’s always changing.
Learning to navigate the impact of certain emotions, like fear or grief, is something that every human on the face of the Earth deals with sooner or later. Like you, I’m more aware and awake than I was yesterday or the day before that. Good for me, good for you. “Practice makes progress” says David Roth, singer-songwriter.
There is a remarkable, funny, and compassionate woman named Gangaji, who (with a tender smile) teaches “just STOP” — don’t resist the emotion, just go into the center of it and see what’s there. She is big on investigation. If you go to one of her Public Meetings or Retreats, there is occasionally a chance to go up and talk with her on stage. You can ask a question, which then becomes part of her discussion, and your question becomes useful to everyone else in the room.
I have had the opportunity to talk with her publicly several times, and it is a deep and satisfying experience. She sits with you and helps you look into, and feel into your inquiry. It was the experience of having her hold my hand (even though she wasn’t physically holding my hand) while I walked into uncharted (for me) emotional territory.
Gangaji is so still.
She has all the time in the world for you.
And so, because of her, I walked where I had never walked — into the center of my fear and frustration.
And what did I find?
Nothing at all. Not a shred of anything.
There was silence in the middle of what I had labeled fear, and at the center, at the core, fear felt no different than love. They both felt peaceful and essentially the same.
Everything felt peaceful and “made of nothing.”
It was a “free to be” kind of nothing. Chains dropped, boundaries flew somewhere else on little wings, feelings of restriction vanished, all thought disappeared.
And there was nothing except peace.
You can hear Gangaji on the radio — https://gangaji.org/radio/.
The great good news is that love is free and it has not gone anywhere. In all of these aeons that you have been hiding from love, love is still here, it is still open, it is still waiting for your commitment, still waiting for you to say, “Yes, I give my life to the truth of love. I vow to let love live this life as it will, for better or worse, for richer or poorer.” The love that you search for everywhere is already present within you. It may be evoked by any number of people or events. A mountain can evoke this love. A sunset can evoke this love. But finally, you must realize you are this love. The source of all love is within you. — Gangaji
“My teacher told me to stop where you are, just stop. That is really, basically what I offer you. I guarantee that if you are willing to investigate for yourself, you’ll find, in the heart of the matter, peace. There may be pain right before the moment of investigation, and there may be disbelief or denial of what’s found. But if there’s a willingness to stop following any thought, you will find even deeper peace and fulfillment. Finally, you will recognize you are discovering the truth of who you are. You are not really finding peace and fulfillment, those are just the byproducts. You are finding yourself.
What is always here is here now. What is always here is the only thing that is permanent. If you want anything else, you want something that will disappear someday. So it is very wise to want what is always here. Then you want yourself.” — Gangaji