I met Gangaji in 1993. She knocked my socks off. Last month, she knocked them off once again at the Hidden Treasure retreat at Kripalu.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet and work with Gangaji over the last 18 years. You might imagine I have heard what Gangaji has to say. Well, yes and no.
I have listened earnestly and received lifetimes of support. And still, there is always the possibility of hearing freshly. There is the possibility of hearing what has never been heard.
Gangaji began the Hidden Treasure
retreat with a series of processes that took each one of us through the graveyard of our stories. (I was reminded a bit of the ghost of Christmas past.) The opportunity was to identify any story I was telling, and see through it to the silent core of my being.
What was remarkable was to recognize a dusty old story I was telling--one I didn’t know I was still subtly telling.
It was like a background hum I stopped hearing long ago. Then suddenly, without any forewarning, it came into clear focus and it wasn’t at all pleasant.
“I am hideous,” I noxiously told myself. That was all. No other characters or plotlines. Just, “I am hideous.” (Admittedly, a very short story J.) I honestly didn’t know that this “elephant man” story could still play in my mind, but it had me by the proverbial throat that evening, filling my body with terror and shame.
After thrashing about in my bed for a while, at 3:00 in the morning, I put on some warmer clothes and went outside to place my attention on literal space, to the stars above. On the ground were fireflies mirroring the stars. It was undeniably lovely and softening.
In that moment, I asked myself, “Is there space for hideousness?” “Is there space for shame and terror?”
Yes. Yes, there is.
There is room for it all.
End of story.
In that instant, my attention turned away from a random story I was telling to the spaciousness of my being. I was freshly at home, where I always am! Just like the stars and the fireflies. In knowing who I am in truth, there is nothing to fear. No emotion, no thought, no loss can trample the truth of my being. The inherent, ever present peace of the open heart is the true sanctuary. Not that I can avoid pain as a human being, but when it comes, I can be true to the recognition—the heart gracefully, peacefully holds it all in love. For me that is living freely, living consciously.
I look forward to continuing this self-discovery with the sangha this weekend in the Bay Area, in the coming months with the global online group, and of course, in my own heart, for the rest of my days. If you have any draw to participate in the With Gangaji
series or weekend as we dive into the gifts of Hidden Treasure
, I encourage you to follow that call. No matter how long ago you met Gangaji, no matter how many times you met with her, there is a gift in offering your own vigilance to this individual and collective realization.
It serves each of us, all of us.
May all being awaken to itself.
With gratitude for all,
BarbaraHidden Treasure WeekendWith Gangaji Series
- next meeting November 6