This Moment Is The Doorway
Meeting with Gangaji Excerpt


"Surrendering to the inherent truth of the mortality of the body serves to push you deeper into what is here in this moment. This moment is the doorway that opens to the truth of omnipresent, omnidirectional Being."Gangaji

The ending of form is what is most feared, and most lifetimes are spent as strategies to avoid the end. As long as you pin your hopes on prolonging form, you are pinning your hopes on some idea of rescue from the end. By waiting to be rescued, you overlook the eternal, open cave of your heart. You overlook the radiant stillness of Being from which all clarity, all wisdom, all bliss, all peace, and all unending are naturally revealed.

It is fine that form ends. Surrendering to the inherent truth of the mortality of the body serves to push you deeper into what is here in this moment. This moment is the doorway that opens to the truth of omnipresent, omnidirectional Being. Your particular lifetime is some form passing through that. All form comes from that, passes through that, and returns to that. The body is over, just in a moment.

Recognize this, and even the passing phenomenon of your life can mysteriously be the herald of that which all is passing through.

There are a number of us who are facing death right now. Could you speak a few words to us about that?

I am always, only, speaking about death. Everything I say is pointing to that. When one is willing to experience death fully and completely, then the ultimate teaching is received.

The glorious opportunity of recognizing the inevitability of death is to directly experience the ending of the body before the body actually dies. No one can experience this for you. You can experience it for yourself right now. You do not have to wait until the decay of the body. You do not have to wait until some sudden event pushes death in your face. You can experience death now, and in that experience, you can recognize what dies and what cannot die; what is before birth, and therefore, not subject to death.

Do you have any comments on the source of disease?

The body/mind is the source of disease. When you are not identified with the body for even one instant, there is no disease. The body may be diseased, but there is no disease where you are.

There are a lot of metaphysical theories floating around about disease and where it comes from. Disease has been a teacher and a teaching, but I question sometimes, is it karma?

Karma is a metaphysical theory. With the theory of karma, the mind can latch onto events and have them make sense. In the West we have taken on the Eastern, metaphysical concept of karma, but our minds usually don't get release there. People usually think, "But what did I do? How can I get rid of it? How do I transmute it? What do I do with it?" The concept of karma easily becomes another source of the agitation of mind. The mind is always sorting for a way to put everything into neat categories. Life will not be put into any category. Truth will not be put into any category. True experience will not be put into any category, and if this disease is your teacher, it, too, will not be put into any category.

So is it about relinquishing the need to understand?

I am not speaking about relinquishing the need to understand because that would be false. You would just be repressing the need with another philosophical injunction, saying, "Now I'm going to relinquish all needs. That will keep me safe and neat and categorized so that I can be understood." The invitation is to be willing to be naked to the need, in the face of not knowing, in the face of death, rather than finding another theory which can only deliver a transitory semblance of knowing, and with that, and temporary semblance of rest. True rest is already present in the willingness to be naked, to be exposed, to not know, to be vulnerable beyond belief. The invitation is to experience the core of need. To experience the core of death. To discover, at the core, what dies.

Disease usually becomes the focus when it is obvious that the body will not have the health you thought is would. This is a moment of maturity, because this hard fact is true of all bodies. In the West, we have worshipped the body. It has been our god, and when it was bad to us, it was a god of vengeance. When it was good to us, it was a pleasure god.

There is a moment of reckoning where both the limitation of the body and the recurring need for fulfillment through the body is recognized. It is a moment of deep disillusionment and great opportunity.

We live our lives in the infantile illusion that some day the right mate, the right teacher, the right body, or the right life will give us what we need. then, with age or with disease, there is a realization, "The body is limited! What if I don't get what I need?" This is a deep shaking. If there is the willingness to be disillusioned, a willingness to nakedly meet that need, you can discover what it is you really want.

If you experience bad health you may first cry out, " I really want my health back!" In deeper questioning of yourself, imagine for a moment, if by some miracle good health does return, what then will that miracle give you?

A whole new set of longings.

Yes, so the need just shifts. The return of health gives you time to long some more, with the hope that someday the longing will be fulfilled through some activity, through some adventure, through some understanding. The possibility in this very moment is not to look for anything outside of that which is the core of longing itself. Rather than deflecting the longing toward an object, experience longing. this is a great secret. For a moment in a lifetime, there is the possibility to stop trying to fulfill the longing with some thing, some condition, some body, even some understanding. There is the possibility to meet the longing as it is. What a blessing!

What a relief!

What a relief. What a laugh! Yes, all of it. Revelation is beyond any doctrine or belief system. It is beyond anything, It is beyond, because it is so close. Revelation is closer than what can ever be spoken, because it comes from the truth of who you are. That truth is all you have ever longed for, all you have every needed. All that you have searched for in whatever you have achieved, whatever you have yearned for, is always only THAT WHO YOU ALREADY ARE AT THE CORE.

Recently some prisoners and I talked about the gift of disillusionment. In the outside world we think we can escape. We have plans for what we will do that we hope will give us what we want. But in this prison, that illusionment doesn't fly. The illusion may be clung to for a year or two, but pretty soon the reality sets in. It is at that moment true Self-inquiry can bloom.

I am not recommending prison, just a I would not recommend disease. On the surface of things, both prison and disease are horrible experiences. But in the willingness to meet the disease fully and completely, as it is, there is once again divine disillusionment. It is the disillusionment of the possibility of escape. The disillusionment of finding what you are looking for, someday, in some place. In all that disillusionment, you are welcome where you are in all the neediness, in all the pain, in all of the fear, in all of the despair. In the core of all of what you have been attempting to escape, the secret is revealed.

I was talking with a friend about fighting for my life, and I don't want to get that confused with wanting to die to Self.

I was speaking recently with someone who has lung cancer. It is in remission now, but the doctors say it will be back. He said to me, "I don't know this edge between surrender and fighting." All I could say to him was that from my experience, the truest fight comes from the deepest surrender. The clearest fight is when there is nothing to lose.

This friend asked me, "Why do you want to live longer?" I said, "Well, I guess it's to realize what I could realize right now."

Very good answer! Yes, the desperation that most people feel is for life to continue so that they can get more, be more, know more.

Yes, I become preoccupied with the body living.

I recently heard from someone else who is experiencing this specter of death, this ghost of death, coming closer. What a surprise this is! This specter arises from so deep in the psyche, so deep in the cells. It is an invitation to directly meet, to directly discover, who dies. Not abstractly, not theoretically, not as an exercise to get away from something, but to directly discover death.

Right now I'm working with a deep psychological remembrance of death, and that can also be confusing in terms of remembering the truth.

Truth cannot be remembered and cannot be forgotten. In the horror of whatever memory is resurfacing, there is that which has always been present. When these memories resurface in the recognition of what has always been present, then we are speaking of liberation.

Yes, I know that very much.

There, you see? You know this. You know that the horror is really in the denial of, or the mental spin around, what is feared, but in the direct experience of that horror, there is a direct recognition of untouched purity, innocence, freedom, and wholeness.

I want to know and hold that truth right now.

You are that truth right now. You are wholeness. The more you let go of any attempt to hold onto wholeness, the more you will recognize, "I am whole. I have always been whole." Ask yourself, "Who am I?" What has always been whole even in the worst experiences of fragmentation? What has always known itself to be whole?

Self-inquiry is the gift of Ramana. When Ramana was a sixteen or seventeen year old boy in India, he was overcome by an enormous premonition of death. He did not have much formal spiritual training, yet by some mysterious grace, he simply lay down and experienced the fear. Rather than run to his mother, rather than go to the doctor, he truly experienced who dies. In that experience, he awakened to what cannot die, and he realized it to be the truth of who he is. People would come to him and ask, "What do I do? What help can you give to be released from suffering?" He would say, "Simply be still, and in that stillness, ask yourself the question, "Who am I?" This is very simple, very direct, and infinitely potent.

At times of death or separation, how can one minimize the distraction of pain?

By discovering, right now, who you are. By discovering, in truth, who dies. By inviting death into your consciousness right now, and not waiting until the body collapses. NOW. Not later, when it might be more convenient, but NOW.

Invite it all right now. Meet death and death becomes your ally. Not met, death is your enemy. It is your ghost and it haunts you through every step of your life. Meet death now, and ride it deeper home every step of your life. This meeting with death must come very quickly, or there will be many justifications for postponing the meeting.

Are you ready for this meeting? Good. Then say, "I am ready." See how the suffering, the fear, and the questions all come from postponement. You say, "Let me think about it a little more. Let me consult some more people about it. Let me read a few more books. Let me figure it out." Well, I say, the time is now. This whole planet may be finished tomorrow or even tonight. Who knows? Possibly you have at least a few more moments. Take one of those moments and meet death. Then whatever moments are left in this experience of incarnation are beautiful moments, true moments, deathless moments.

I've heard you recommend the dropping of all techniques. I had cancer and now I'm

completely cured. I healed it. Not from medicine but from various other techniques, so what about using techniques for healing?

Be free to use whatever you like--Western medicine, Eastern medicine, or New Age medicine--just don't mistake the body for who you are. This mistake is the cancer of the spirit. To heal this cancer, no power or technique will help because all techniques assume you are the cancer. When you are just willing to stop, to see who is suffering, to discover who is searching, then this disease of the soul is revealed to be an illusory and tragic game of pretense and denial. True healing occurs in stillness.

By stillness, do you mean no thoughts?

At least not the thought, "I am the body." This thought implies, "I am separate from consciousness." This thought is the disease, and it is just a thought, with no substance, no reality. You are not separate from the body, and you are not limited to the body. The body has no existence without you. You exist fully with or without the body.

There have been plenty of people whose bodies were healed of cancer, and they still suffered greatly with this deeper soul disease. There also have been plenty of people whose bodies have not healed of cancer, and they are free of this deeper disease. They are happy. They are fulfilled. It is fine for the body to be healed, and it is fine for the body not to be healed. Ultimately, the body will not be healed.

At one time I was very concerned with the body, and I worked in the field of health. I had a big poster on my office wall that said "Health is Freedom." I believed that if I could just get my body to health, or if I could just get another's body to health, then there would be freedom. After a few years, I recognized this belief as the huge lie it is. I experienced many bodies that were not healthy at all, but I couldn't say that there was a lack of freedom there; and just the same with bodies that were healthy, I couldn't say that there was more freedom there. I took the poster down, and I took my shingle down, and I said, 'I don't know. I don't get it. Where is freedom? I need help." I had thought freedom had to do with health, but what it has to do with is wholeness, and there is no possibility of making the body whole. It is forever falling apart, as is its nature, as are all bodies, plants, animals, and pieces of the Earth, forming, dissolving, and reforming. I realized I would not find wholeness in what is inherently partial, I would not find permanence in what is inherently impermanent, I would not find eternity in what is inherently transitory. In that recognition, there is wisdom revealed. I didn't know where to look, but I knew that where I had looked had revealed itself to be a mistake.

When you stop looking, there is a natural cessation of a large part of mind activity. You are then available to really see, to really hear. You are available to see what is always still.

My best, beloved friend died this March. We were both students of Advaita Vedanta, and we used the Gita to guide us in his dying process. I read in the Gita that a wise man does not grieve. I knew that I had to let him go, I could not keep him, so I sat with him, and he left. It was peaceful and dignified, and I know he's fine now.

And what about the one who is left behind?

That's the interesting thing. People kept saying, "I'm really concerned about you," and I just kept speaking the truth: "I am seated in the Self, and this is just fine. There is no grief, because I know the truth." That lasted a day. After that I was really shocked and confused at the anguish and the heartbreak I felt.

Well, this is an example of the damage that wise men can do. I don't know if it is the translation of the Gita or the person who actually wrote the Gita, but "the wise man does not grieve is a very limited perspective. It is not the full truth. The conclusion is true, but it leaves out the essential, exquisite truth of the unlimited capacity to grieve fully, completely.

I say, "The wise person knows how to grieve and from that, does not grieve." If you subscribe to a belief that the wise person does not grieve and then grief appears, you might think there must be something wrong. This is most dualistic. You are speaking of Advaita Vedanta, which is a non-dual teaching, and yet the result you are reporting is dualistic. When grief appears, meet it fully and completely, and recognize that which includes all emotions, all states.

A horrible experience appeared in your life. You met your friend's death fully, and you were enriched unbelievably. Grief, also, is an enriching vehicle. All of incarnation is an enriching vehicle. All of incarnation is the Self, and the emotions and thoughts and bodies that appear will attach to the Self and detach from the Self. The Self experiences all as Itself. You experience grief, and therefore, it is proof positive that the wise person is not afraid to grieve, is not afraid to live, is not afraid to die. If fear of death arises, the wise person is not afraid of

the fear of death. Do you understand? We have thought we understood much, and in that understanding, a very narrow little place has been created, which is where the so-called wise person lives--but who would want that?

I had to give it up. I saw that the grief was there, and it had to be accepted.

So the text is wrong. Yes, it is true! You will read many texts, and from your deep experience of truth, you will see that the translator got it wrong, or through the generations it got twisted into some kind of dualistic understanding of what the "real" self is and what the "false" self is. When you are simply where you are, all is included, and all is enriching.

The misunderstanding could be because it was primarily men who wrote these texts for other men. If you look at it closely, it could be seen as a masculine survival strategy. If men are grieving, they can't be in battle effectively. Many of our revered sacred texts have to do with the relationship of man to battle.

There are times when it is appropriate to repress grief; there are times when it is appropriate to beat your chest with grief; and there is the everlasting time of simply experiencing grief as it is, now, in truth, at the core. Then you have taken the masculine way and the feminine way and you have merged them into no way at all.

I still miss him terribly. That still comes up.

Yes, but is it a problem? Isn't missing him actually a way of expressing love?

I don't mean it to sound trite, but I see him as the Self, and I know he is everywhere.

He is the Self. You simply miss the form that the Self took in this moment in time. When grieving is allowed, simply allowed, you see that missing is not missing like you thought it was when you tried to get rid of it because it shouldn't be, or it hurt too badly. When you really grieve, then you are not attached to missing or not missing. You are free.

At first, we don't want to grieve because it feels bad, so then there are all kinds of attempts to numb ourselves, or to work it out, or to get rid of it. Then we hear of spiritual texts or of a spiritual life, and we don't want to grieve because we think it is not spiritual. You can see the damage that is done in misunderstanding and misinterpretation and mistranslating. Don't believe it. Don't believe anything. See for yourself. Retreat from all beliefs both positive and negative. Retreat from all past experiences both positive and negative, and be as you are. Then, for an instant, you will understand That is not before and not after.

My Mother is getting ready to leave the Earth, and she's taking care of her papers. I really don't understand death or know anything about it. I am just feeling it, and it feels so powerful and transformational for me. I know that your father also recently left. Could you speak a little bit about the healing and transformation that happens?

When I came back from my father's funeral, someone said, to me, "So, are you grieving?" I said, "Yes, I am grieving, but it is not for my father. I am grieving for the people who are still living in ignorance." There is much to be grieved for in this world, but it is not necessary to include death in that.

What you are speaking of now is sensing the power of death coming toward you. Death is all around. Wherever there is birth, there is death. Invite death into your heart.

In our culture we speak of death and have images of death as the grim reaper, the specter that should be shut out. We have demonized death. In that demonization, we have lost the gift of meeting death, the truth of death, which is the truth of birth, and which finally reveals that which is untouched by birth or death eternal Life, uninterrupted Consciousness.

A meeting with death is your opportunity now. It is the opportunity of everyone who has some sense of the immortality of parents or of children or of their own body. Call death and meet it. It is a beautiful meeting. It is a transcendent meeting. It is a meeting that frees you from the illusion that you are contained in a particular lifetime.

This time with your mother can be a time of rejoicing. Why else do you think death exists? If there were no death, what a missed opportunity this would be to experience what does not die, what is untouched by ill-health, birth, death, coming, going, and appearances. Death is a powerful utility for realization.

There is so much time wasted in the fear of what ends, of what dies. So much time is wasted in anticipation of the return or the beginning, all the while overlooking the inconceivable present. What a blessing that we have come together to confirm this in one another, to invite and challenge one another in the ever-deepening realization of that. Not to settle for some superficial or even deep realization, not to settle for anything that is not endless, boundaryless, limitless, not to settle until all is discovered to be That.

The feast is waiting, and it is found in the core of your being, closer and deeper than any thought, emotion, sensation, or circumstance. The realization of that will never happen later, will never happen then or when. It can only happen now. This is a truth that must get in. Anything else is simply made up in the mind and supported by plans, arrangements, schedules, hopes, and the belief that any of that is real. Only what is untouched by past or future or any concept of present, is where true revelation is.

Dive into the core of your being, and see what is closer and deeper than any form, any mind state, any conclusion, any philosophy, any theology, any cosmology, or any experience. THAT is awaiting you.

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