Inner Peace w/ Dr. Reese
July 11, 2021

Just Stop w/ Gangaji

Just Stop w/ Gangaji

In episode # 103, Dr. Reese sits down with world-renowned spiritual teacher, Gangaji. In this conversation, they discuss how to directly experience emotions such as fear. They dive into the constructs of the human mind and go over the difference between positive thinking and no-mind. Gangji also tells her story and what Papaji taught her when she ended up at his front door in India. 


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--- Send in a voice message:

Dr. Reese (01:04):
Welcome to the podcast.

Gangaji (01:49):
Thank you.

Dr. Reese (01:51):
What is true knowing

Gangaji (01:55):
True knowing is really what can't be known or defined by the conceptual knowledge. Hmm. So the true knowing is truth. The conceptual knowledge can just take you in a circle with it. It can't really deliver it, but you can directly know true knowing because it it's your own consciousness.

Dr. Reese (02:27):
Yeah. How do we get to our true self to have that true knowing of the ultimate truth?

Gangaji (02:36):
Well, my teacher's teacher said be still and know yourself. My teacher Papaji said stop. When I heard that stop, I had to recognize how active my mindstream was, the narrative, how it seemed continuous. It was, I was always knowing something by that. I mean, commenting on what I was feeling, what I thought was happening, what I was picking up from other people or what it was just a continuous narrative. And that narrative is a course, a reflection of the evolution of the brain, of the human species. And it's beautiful in that, but it's also a trap in that, that, that we assume that will give us the truth. And it can only give us the commentary about the experience of whatever is happening and can't deliver what's underneath that, but in stillness and actually quieting the mind, Then it's obvious it's here. It's never been.

Dr. Reese (03:50):
Yeah. And there's so many people out there suffering from anxiety of anxiety and things of this nature. I, I have a, I have a whiteboard right here in my office and at the top it says fear is a projection. Fear is an illusion. Just as a reminder, in that commentary, in that narrative in our head, we can sometimes it can sometimes keep projecting these fearful thoughts. Right?

Gangaji (04:17):
Well, here's the thing, the way I, I see it is that fear and the other basic emotions, fear is probably the core emotion, but say anger or pity or what we call love. All the emotional states are in themselves actually kind of pure and just, just made into the organism. But then our commentary or our narrative that get at gets attached to particular states is the projection. And so that's we project, oh my God, this is a threat. Now it may be a threat. And in that sense, it's a wise projection projection, and it's good to get out of the way of a threat, but as you know, in your work, and as most people listening to this know that we often have that, oh my God, this is a threat. When there's no threat, it's just a, uh, a knee jerk reaction to a past narrative associated with fear. So I really invite people in my groups to open to the emotion and stop the narrative about the emotion, at least for a moment as an experiment, not because that's the way to live, or you should be doing that, or this is the practice. It's not a practice. It's a revelation that you can experience directly any of the emotions from the deepest despair to bliss. You can directly experience those emotions without a commentary. And when you do then there's the emotion is not the problem that there's a revelation direct revelation of what's under that.

Gangaji (06:10):

Dr. Reese (06:10):
So how do we get to that? How do we get that emotion without the thought the commentary?

Gangaji (06:17):
Well, I think first of all, and essentially, and always, it has to be the willingness, right? So, you know, with some emotions we don't like 'em at all because they feel so bad. And so we don't wanna experience more of that. We wanna get away from that. We wanna escape. So when there is at least hearing the invitation that you actually can directly experience whatever emotion is appearing in this moment, without deciding it should be this, or it shouldn't be that, or this is a negative emotion, or this is a positive emotion, just to experience it purely pure emotion. And by pure, I mean, absent the narrative. And so it takes a good deal of strength of mind because we are so conditioned to follow the narrative either to obey the, the message from the emotion or to disobey it or rebel against it or to fix it or to wish it weren't there. And so just to be willing to stop and experience, that's really what I'm talking about too direct to directly experience

Dr. Reese (07:33):
Directly experience

Gangaji (07:35):
That's it takes strength, but, and it, that strength is fed by the willingness. And I think the willingness is fed by the curiosity and the maturity of recognizing that we've been running from emotions and running toward other emotions so long that we are exhausted and that <laugh> to stop. At least for a moment is actually a welcome invitation

Dr. Reese (08:03):
Contemplation type.

Gangaji (08:06):
Yeah. Not contemplation as working it contemplation as not knowing actually being willing to not know what this emotion means or what it says to be curious about where it is experience usually emotions. I mean, I guess they always have to be experienced in the body. So just allowing the attention to fall into wherever the emotion is being experienced without following the, the narrative about that. Like, oh, this is a good emotion. Oh, this is bad. Oh, this means I failed, oh, this means of the infinite variety of narratives because it's through the narrative that we miss the direct experience. And when we are willing to directly experience, then you see that actually fear is just energy. It's just energy in the body. And when you recognize that, then under that, there is this depth of energy and fear is meaningless. And then there is the capacity to go all the way home that's was initially what you said, you know, what is the absolute truth is here. Always. It has to be, to be absolute.

Dr. Reese (09:36):
How do we find where it is in the body? You know, some people say that fear tends to get trapped in the root chakra, but I suppose it could be anywhere right.

Gangaji (09:48):
Anywhere. You know, I would say it's usually in some, it can be in the chest or in the solar plexes or in the belly or root shock or wherever it's appearing, whatever we are calling fear and, and calling it fear is part of the narrative. So in the willingness to open to it, you have to be willing to not call it anything. Or what is this I am experiencing. And then you just let go of any label that appears what is the depth of it what's underneath of it. Then your attention has turned inward

Dr. Reese (10:25):
Self inquiry.

Gangaji (10:26):
Yeah. That's inquiry. That's right.

Dr. Reese (10:30):
Mm. Ruper Spira was on this podcast a little while ago. He said that self inquiry is probably the highest form of practice to get to your true self. And not that the other practices are bad or anything, but that this was the most direct. Would you agree with that?

Gangaji (10:56):
Well, self inquiry as my teacher presented it to me, which was really with the word stop, it definitely was. I, I had never encountered anything like that because it didn't give my mind anything to do. Hmm. I self inquiry is so rich because you are being challenged with your mind to not know. I mean, essentially if you're going to inquire, you have to first not know what the answer is, or it's not really an inquiry. It's like fake exercise. So in that sense, it's very scientific. When a scientist looks in a microscope, you may know the growth form of what you're looking at, but there has to be this willingness to discover what is really there and the microscope assist your eye in that. And the stronger the microscopes, of course, the, the more you can see that you didn't know before. But to me, the crucial part is to not know so that when you Inquirer, when you say, who am I, or what is this energy or whatever, it may be that, that do not know the answer beforehand that you're willing to discover the answer.

Dr. Reese (12:19):
Somebody may know the answer, conceptually,

Gangaji (12:22):
That's why it's the problem. This knowing business, it is conceptual. And it even may be correct, but if it's not experiential, right, that's the use. You just had memorized something.

Dr. Reese (12:35):
So if someone's feeling fear, not fight or flight, but mental fear, they're worried about paying their bills. Let's just say, and they're sitting there and they're, they're feeling it. There's anxiety. The heart is racing a little bit. If they stop check in with themselves, make the inquiry who is experiencing this fear. That would be what you're talking about. Sort of,

Gangaji (13:05):
I don't use that. That may be what was speaking about. And self inquiry teachers may use that, but I've found that the people I've worked with make that into a kind of, um, exercise. And there's a correct answer that comes. And sometimes with that correct answer, no one, there is the experience of this BLIS, but that's still, it seems to me leading with the, the concept or the mind,

Gangaji (13:40):
What I invite people to do is what are you experiencing would be my question and say, this person would say, well, anxiety and just worry. And it's like, okay, where is that anxiety and worry originating, where do you experience it in your body? And are you willing in this moment to not tell a story about that, just directly experience it. And so that can be of course, infinite numbers of responses to that. But one of the more common is, well, I feel it in my belly. Oh my God. Say, and, okay, that's great. So you just bring your attention then closer to that for a direct experience, the, the physical sensations, but those are generated by a deeper emotional experience. So if you are willing to attend to this deeper feeling or experience by then, we don't even want to be locked into calling it a feeling or an experience or an emotion.

Gangaji (14:57):
So energy often is what I say, just what is there, what is here? And sometimes it's a deeper fear, and sometimes it's not fear at all. Sometimes it could be, uh, grief. Sometimes it could be anger. Sometimes it could be some other emotion. And so often it is well, when I, when I open to that experience, that it's it's space. It's nothing there. So to me, the direct result of inquiry, however, it's, it's done is this spaciousness that is always present underneath anything that is happening mentally, physically, emotionally. And that that self inquiry is the quickest way home. I would say <laugh> but so that you are not doing an exercise, you're actually discovering you're, you're more an adventure. Well, what is this? I hate this. I want this to go away. Okay. That's fine. But if you just don't indulge that story right now, that narrative, and you're just open to what is here, you bring your attention into it And doesn't always click with the person, but quite often it does. And when it does, there's a glimpse at least of, oh yeah. It's it's all right. There's peace here.

Dr. Reese (16:43):
Yeah. There's no, there's no lion chasing you or

Gangaji (16:46):
That's right in this moment, there is peace.

Dr. Reese (16:48):
And so, uh, could someone go right into the inquiry of who am I right there in that moment?

Gangaji (16:56):
Well, you can in at any moment, I mean, I don't have it, uh, regulated in any particular way and I don't use it in any way. It's just like our conversation here. We are actually discovering how we can meet here. I don't teach inquiry as teaching the question, who am I, that question, you know, is, does come up sometimes, cuz it's so profound and it is the essence of it. But because it is so profound and because it has been around for a little while, it's become corrupted by our mind streams, by our narratives, just as the words, God or peace or love or any of them are pointing to the sublime truth. But we corrupt them with our narratives. And so that's why with Papaji and Papaji said, just stop. It's like, oh, all my words I had learned, cuz I had been practicing about 20 years in different practices and it's oh, just stop. It was like a cool shower. First of all, you know, it was so refreshing that I didn't have to name it and know it and do it and do it again and do it right. And

Dr. Reese (18:16):
So what, what did he mean by he's saying use the term stop.

Gangaji (18:21):
He used it with me. It wasn't like he was very free form. He didn't, I mean, it's not like he didn't say things twice, but they were never the same thing. He said 'em twice. Yeah. It was always the, the experience in this moment. It was never about what we should bring to this experience and what we should overlay on top of this in terms of inquiry or absolute truth. It was really all about stop, whatever you're doing. That's what he was saying to me and discover what is always here. See what comes and goes and see what is always here. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I said, you know, it's so simple. It's so absolutely simple.

Dr. Reese (19:07):
It's so simple. It's hard.

Gangaji (19:09):
<laugh> <laugh> yeah. It's so simple. It's really hard. Yeah, because we are attuned to complication. Sure. In its way, you

Dr. Reese (19:18):
Know, we, we, we start that stream. Those streams of thoughts start around, you know,

Gangaji (19:25):
Some months, right. I mean <laugh>

Dr. Reese (19:27):

Gangaji (19:28):
Before we speak,

Dr. Reese (19:30):
Especially, you know, kindergarten, five years old area, we start going to school and we start interacting with kids and teachers and we start solving problems and it just grows and it grows. And by the time you're 20 years old, you're a thinking machine.

Gangaji (19:49):
And you know, there's, there's a real beauty to that because we can look at what's come from that. And it's, it's really beautiful. It's just that it's limited. And it doesn't deal with what is always here. <laugh>, it's, it's dealing with what you know, can be brought here. What may be lost from here, what can be gained? And so I, I never wanna make that wrong. It's not wrong. It's just that in the infatuation with that or the addiction to that, we lose sight of this perfect piece of now being oneself.

Dr. Reese (20:31):
It's kind of like eating, eating is such a gift that we get to eat and have nutrients, but some people just don't stop. They just eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, or eat the wrong foods.

Gangaji (20:44):

Dr. Reese (20:46):
And so thinking is kind of similar, right? We're thinking the wrong thoughts or we're overdoing it or we're getting, I had one teacher say it's vomit. <laugh>, it's just vomit. You know, <laugh>, it's like

Gangaji (21:01):
More, but it was the same thing. Push your play away, you know, stop following that thought it becomes an obsession.

Dr. Reese (21:10):

Gangaji (21:11):
And, and an addiction. And so the willingness to stop in a moment, again, not as a practice or as a religion or just as an experiment to recognize, whoa, I am full before thought. And then if you wanna think you're free to think, but you don't have to think you're not compelled to think you're not compelled to, to judge, to evaluate, to measure. Yeah. And just experience.

Dr. Reese (21:45):
In other words, we have the gift think and we can use that consciously to create, to drive a car to Engen, you know, make a building, uh, teach a class.

Gangaji (22:04):
Beautiful. Yes. But we have thought ourselves in a box <laugh>

Dr. Reese (22:08):
Yeah. Right.

Gangaji (22:10):
And we wonder how to get out. And that's when pop and Papaji just, it's just, uh, we still, what has never been boxed in?

Dr. Reese (22:19):
Can we ignore our thoughts? Can we watch them and just ignore them?

Gangaji (22:23):
Well, you know, I know that there are meditation practices that teach that, um, to watch your thoughts, but, but then there's this watcher in there, the thoughts and that watcher itself is a thought, I mean, that's, as you were saying, you know, well, who is watching these thoughts? So that still has to be addressed this. So for being with Papaji and, and watching him deal with different people, it was a way he would take people through, through having a very simple thought like, oh, I have to go to the store later today. So that's a natural thought doesn't cause any problem. So you have that thought and then you allow that thought to fall back into from when it came in his language. So you, you start, you know, with the last word of it, cuz that's closest to the void. So today store go to have I and what's left. Hmm. So in that way, there's you see that the thoughts are empty or have no substance. It's really not a thing marching across your brain. And it can just fall back into itself, collapse back into, and then you are left with, um, the indescribable.

Dr. Reese (24:08):
Right? So we could, I mean, we could watch like as a TV show, we could watch our own mind.

Gangaji (24:15):
You can unplug it too though. That's what right. It's like many times are we gonna see the same soap opera, you know?

Dr. Reese (24:21):
Right, right.

Gangaji (24:22):
Know the middle. I know the end. I know what it makes me feel like

Dr. Reese (24:26):
I've seen this episode,

Gangaji (24:28):
I've seen it enough unplug just like pushing the plate away. Just recognizing that it's become poison. Another thing Papa used to say is you're feeding at the, at the graveyard, stop trying to get your nourishment from the graveyard. Then there's an invitation if you are going to think, but you think something fresh and alive and you recognize if it's an old dead thought and you don't have to go through the whole scenario that that thought dictates.

Dr. Reese (25:08):
Right. We just took a sip at the same time.

Gangaji (25:09):
Yes. We're in sync.

Dr. Reese (25:11):
<laugh> Papaji. Let's talk about 'em real quick. You know, I, I read in your bio that you were, you were really on a journey. You, you, you experimented with Zen Vipasana. I mean, you were going down these paths and then boom, you met Papaji and that was it.

Gangaji (25:34):
Well, I, I loved those paths, you know, the different Buddhist paths, primarily some Western understanding and new age understanding. And I, I always felt benefit from everything, but I also felt that something wasn't being addressed, I had a really good life. This was in the late eighties. I was happy in my relationship. I was happy with my work. I was loving being, living in California. And, but something was wrong. There was something that still in any moment I could just be suffering with no reason, just some kind of, not anxiety, more angst, you know, just like fear was a part of it, but more just, oh my God, is it the group? There is this miserable creature. And so none of my practices had actually gotten that far in, I hadn't done therapy of any kind, but I knew I needed a teacher. <laugh> always, before I knew I didn't need a teacher <laugh> I knew that I could do it by myself and I could, you know, go around town, find out what's on, learn to meditate.

Gangaji (26:55):
I could do it by myself. But then all of a sudden I recognize that I can't do it by myself. There's something I don't know. That is still as strong as it ever was. And I need help for that. And so I really prayed for a teacher, just prayer to the universe help I was asking for help. And then within six months of that through a miraculous series of events, my husband and I were at Papa Juice's door. And my husband Eli had met him and, and got him and saw that this is the real thing and had come back to California and get me. And we had gone back to meet him. And so we were knocking at his door and he opened the door and there's this huge presence. It's very SIM, there's a picture I keep, I don't know. Can you see that?

Gangaji (27:51):
Yeah. That smile. Yeah. And on open, I guess hands are open that he said, welcome. Come in. And I saw this name was really beautiful and this light and this strength, he said, what do you want? And the word freedom came up. I could have used any number of words, you know, release happiness. But freedom came up. He said, you're in the right place. And I knew that was true. I knew I could just rest there. And I was in front of a teacher, the teacher I had prayed for, or that was likely, I, I didn't know for sure, but it was a teacher and I had prayed for a teacher and I'd never expected to go to India. And here I am in a foreign land at the doorstep of this teacher. And that's when I said, tell me what to do. Just tell me assuming he would give me some practice or something to do or a mantra, or I didn't know about self inquire then, but I would have assumed that he would've taught me how to ask, who is needing to find something to do. Instead he said, stop doing anything.

Gangaji (29:11):
And it was so shocking cuz I had never heard that from a teacher stop doing anything. Cause, and then it sounded very dangerous to me, right? If I stopped doing anything like my practice or watching my breath, whatever, eating correctly, I have a far out, I took it that I would regress back to some state that I had worked years to pull myself outta. So it was not an immediate, oh, okay. I'll stop. It was a, a fear, a terror. But I knew I had prayed for this teacher and here it is. And so am I gonna as an experiment then? Okay, I'll stop. And after some time I was able to just immediately when you stop, I mean, whatever the situation, the grocery line in front of a, a guru or by yourself in any moment you, you stop and there is what you've been looking for. <laugh>

Dr. Reese (30:18):
It's just, yeah, there it's there the whole time.

Gangaji (30:20):
Yeah. It's just so close and we keep looking over it. You know, we, we look for objects rather than the subject,

Dr. Reese (30:29):
Right? How long did you stay with Papaji?

Gangaji (30:32):
Just that time. Just uh, six weeks. And then I left for a few months and then came back and I would come back, go back to see him every year

Dr. Reese (30:41):
For a while.

Gangaji (30:44):
But really that was the essential time. There were a couple of times where I would ask him questions because at that time it was just a small group around him, five people or 14 people. And then as the, after Osho died, a lot of, uh, Osho disciples started coming to see him. And so the groups just exploded and there hundreds of people there, and I never asked him another question in that, but I was just there to, to see him. And uh, sometimes he would invite me to come by his house for tea or something like that to just be with him. He had answered my question. And so it would've been really disrespectful for me to continue to ask him the same thing. Not to say that stuff didn't come up for me. Of course it did, as it does for most everybody. Yeah. All kinds of, um, reasoning why I couldn't stop or it couldn't be, it couldn't be the simple, you know, so, but that was my own stuff. Like what is, I wouldn't bring that to him.

Dr. Reese (31:47):
Yeah. And now you're the teacher.

Gangaji (31:51):
Well, I play the role of teacher <laugh> you know, right. One of my rules.

Dr. Reese (31:56):
Yeah. Could we use the word stop as a correcting mechanism when our mind goes into stream?

Gangaji (32:04):
Absolutely. What I noticed though, after some years of using it and telling people to use it, telling the same story that people started doing it the way we were told to stop when we were younger, stop you stop that. <laugh> you bad mine. You stop that thinking. Yeah. And then that has to stop. <laugh>. So stop for me really is open. It's really opening the mind cuz the mind has to close somewhat under conceptual thought. It's focusing, there's a beautiful power. We have to focus on multiple thoughts, but to just open, to just surrender, to let it all just dissolve in this moment, I realized was often closer to the mark. Then the word stop. Cause of just the connotation stop has in our minds.

Dr. Reese (33:04):

Gangaji (33:04):
But it's a beautiful word, nevertheless. And <laugh>, if you can use it easily and freely, without it becoming a concept that then keeps you suffering unnecessarily, then yes. I welcome people to use it.

Dr. Reese (33:21):

Gangaji (33:22):
Everything can become a concept. Everything can, will be taken by the mindstream and made into an object. And so that's part of the vigilance. If you surrender, if you open, then it's not stop and it's not go it's It's not here. It's not there.

Dr. Reese (33:46):
It's nothing

Gangaji (33:47):
<laugh> it is. It's not something. And, and then it's not nothing. If nothing becomes the concept.

Dr. Reese (33:59):
What about cuz many people say that our thoughts can become reality. You know? So what about a negative thinker that creates negative energy? Next thing you know, they stub their toe or <laugh> yeah. Or they get no offender bender because all day they've been in this, this mental funk of vomit, if you will.

Gangaji (34:24):
Well, I think it's, it is absolutely clear that our thoughts create our experience of reality and certainly they can direct reality

Dr. Reese (34:36):
Direct directly or just mood.

Gangaji (34:39):
Well, I think the mood, you know, if you're in a bad mood, I was sick one day and I hadn't realized I was sick. This was before COVID and I went to the co-op, our local co-op and all of a sudden, everybody looked really ugly to me, these trolls, this was mid-winter you know, and people were all bundle up and then I got his, oh, I must be coming down with something, you know, it's like, so it affected my whole worldview and I'm sure it bled out some, I probably wasn't as courteous as I should have been to the checker, you know it's so it does bleed out. We are. So limbically connected with each other that whatever we are experiencing is not just here it's it is going outward, positively or negatively. So I, I know there's some truth in that. I mean, I, I always recommend if going to think, to think positively rather negatively, because you just suffer more with your negative thoughts and you generate more suffering with negative thoughts.

Gangaji (35:47):
But I, I think it's a limited instruction. It's it's, you know, you can, we can all feel it. If you shift a negative thought to its positive version, then there's relaxation. There's more breath. There's energy, there's more flow and you're not suffering. And so that's great. That's beautiful. And I was doing that when I was in this space before I met Papaji. But if for one moment I didn't correct something. I mean, I just saw, there was just this field of negativity waiting for me. <laugh> to take a break from my positivity, which just rise. So something hadn't been addressed, there was some identity with myself as a suffering creature as unworthy or whatever may have appeared at any particular time that hadn't really been met.

Dr. Reese (36:48):
No mind or nothingness is higher than positive.

Gangaji (36:53):
Mm yes.

Dr. Reese (36:53):
Because positive is the us one side of the coin. And on that other side is the negative, right?

Gangaji (37:00):
Yeah. That's my experience.

Dr. Reese (37:02):
So the no mind is taking the coin and throwing it in the river and being done with it. <laugh>

Gangaji (37:08):
And amazingly the result is positive. <laugh>

Dr. Reese (37:13):

Gangaji (37:14):
Maybe it's like waiting the coin. It's really, if you don't care what the flip is gonna be, if you can meet your negative emotions, just as openly as you meet your positive emotions, then it's the result as positive. That's the, that's the beauty of it, but you can't really teach it that way because then people just are looking for the positive. And so they're still avoiding the negative or the negative is bad and they're running from the negative or any number of mental strategies that we do. So it's good news. There's no mind this empty, this, this possibility of stopping or losing everything, having nothing. I don't know what else to call it. I mean, it's maybe it's plus plus positive rather than <laugh> just the new a friend and just the normal plus.

Dr. Reese (38:10):

Gangaji (38:11):
Cause the negative,

Dr. Reese (38:13):
It takes work to get there. It takes willingness, like

Gangaji (38:17):
You said, it takes willingness. And in that you learn the skill of overhearing yourself. Cuz at first I think we just have these thoughts and we are unconscious of them and they affect us, but we are unconscious, mentally unconscious. So in the willingness to overhear what your narrative is and maybe not change it, just overhear it. Then you see that any particular thing generates usually some habit of mind, uh, habitual narrative. And that's where then the juice is where you can stop where you don't have to follow that thread where you can unplug the show because clearly if it's a, a reoccurring negative thought, it's you already know where it's gonna take you, you know where it's coming from.

Dr. Reese (39:20):
Just stop. <laugh>

Gangaji (39:22):
Be still

Dr. Reese (39:23):
Just stop, be still and stop, stop and be still

Gangaji (39:27):
Really just experience what you're feeling. So figure anger or anxiety or worth just what if you're just open, open to that rather than the discussion about that in your mind.

Dr. Reese (39:43):
Right? Right. So you are human <laugh> you just told your grocery store co-op story.

Gangaji (39:49):
Yes. I'm very human. I have opinions and emotions and good days and bad days.

Dr. Reese (39:55):
<laugh> you're also, you're now in your late seventies and we're in a pandemic. How, how do you deal with, you know, the body getting older? And I mean, COVID is to have this so-called scary virus come outta nowhere. You know, I know my parents were scared they're in their seventies. I mean, it's a lot to deal with. How, how did you take it?

Gangaji (40:25):
It got my attention, you know, definitely I took it seriously. And um, my husband and I are both older. I I'm pushing 80 and we're both high risk for different reasons. So we quarantined ourselves and we wore mask and we, you know, got the vaccine when it was available. So I took it seriously. But on the other side of that is I've really enjoyed this downtime of not having to get on airplanes and to actually meet people by zoom because I've been having full out retreats and, and meetings with people that I find to be very intimate, via zoom. And my, I I've loved it. I've been at, this is the first time I have been for a year straight at home since the 1980s really we've been traveling to teach in Europe and Australia and different parts of the us for years, for decades. And so we've loved it. <laugh> I have to say once we took it seriously, we did what we knew we could do and, and then we even enjoyed it. So

Dr. Reese (41:46):
There's so there's so much health anxiety out there. It's arguably the most anxious thing you could be fearful about. And there's so many people out there with diseases and illnesses and maybe somebody who got COVID and how, how can somebody deal with that with the stop method? <laugh>

Gangaji (42:06):
Yeah. You know, I think it's really a stop chasing the symptoms. Finally, it's be because our bodies hurt when there's, you know, they just hurt sometimes. And sometimes they're hurting for a specific reason. Sometimes you're just tired and sometimes it's something that needs to be attended to, and sometimes you just need to kick back. But the anxiety that you're speaking of when it's unnecessary, well, let's say the anxiety is always unnecessary. The symptoms may be necessary to get your attention, to get the help that you may need. But the anxiety is the unnecessary suffering on top of that. Yeah. And it's of course, a fear of death. We are made with a fear of death and it is the most profound fear to meet just as we started the program of, uh, being willing to stop the narrative about death and how you can keep it away and just, uh, meet it in this moment, this, this fear, cuz it's, it comes with the machine of the human being. It's not like you've done anything to get it. It's, it's part of our survival mode to have this fear of death. So in that sense it's intelligent, but when it becomes, uh, a source of anxiety, it's uh, just unnecessary suffering.

Dr. Reese (43:36):
Right? I think the Buddha, yeah. I think the Buddha called it like the second arrow or something like that. The

Gangaji (43:42):
Second arrow that's good.

Dr. Reese (43:44):
Hit with two arrows. You're already getting hit with one <laugh> so why, why get, why get hit with a second <laugh>

Gangaji (43:52):
So you're already living there's and you're afraid of dying. Yeah. Yeah. It's a real opportunity for human beings too, to recognize that we, as a species know, we will die. And we also deny that and fight that and ignore that and are anxious about that. So to know that and to experience the fear of that, to meet that yeah. Directly to die before you die

Dr. Reese (44:23):
And yeah. And how come you think there's not as many women out there teaching this stuff. I've noticed that and many teachers, I remember OSHA distinctively saying that women have a better chance of enlightenment than men because they're so in tuned, I mean pregnancy, pregnancy alone is a very in tune. Yeah. Yeah. So certainly, But yet there's not a lot of women teachers out there there's way more men than women.

Gangaji (44:57):
Well, I really don't know the answer to that, but I would say just off the bat that women aren't as ambitious as men.

Dr. Reese (45:06):

Gangaji (45:07):
I'm sort of a tomboy kind of woman. So I would say I'm more male, like in that sense of putting myself out there. But I think women, if, if we are looking overall and we're looking at this birth giving and what women, even as second class to men, the surrender, I'd say there's been a lot of enlightenment there for a long, long time, a lot of deep wisdom, but it wasn't, uh, put forth because you know, you could be declared a witch, not that long ago and burned at the stake. I mean really that long ago it's just

Dr. Reese (45:51):
A hundred years ago.

Gangaji (45:54):
Yeah. So, but I don't know the real answer. That's just what I, what I speculate.

Dr. Reese (46:02):
Right, right. And you have a nonprofit organization, right?

Gangaji (46:08):
Yes. The goji foundation right. Is not.

Dr. Reese (46:12):
Yeah. Okay. And how, how does that work?

Gangaji (46:15):
Well, uh, it, the nonprofit aspect is just part of, we don't make a profit <laugh>, you know, we get funds, we charge for meetings and things, and it's funneled back into the organization and to different projects. We have one of which I'd love to mention always is the prison project Where we correspond, we used to go into prisons, but now that's not possible, but there's a, a correspondence with a number of prisoners and a newsletter that goes out to a number of prisons that just, that started early in my teaching. And it's just deepened and continued. And it's really an important aspect of the goji foundation. Yeah. As well as retreats and meetings.

Dr. Reese (47:02):
Yeah. That's great. I've done a few talks in prisons in my past and definitely, uh, uh, a forgotten demographic of people that need help too.

Gangaji (47:13):
And, and I appreciate it so profoundly. Yes. The ones who come, the ones who are attentive, you know, are, are so ready.

Dr. Reese (47:24):
Right. If only everyone can learn how to kind of watch their mind and know that they're not their mind, they're not their thoughts.

Gangaji (47:38):
It's a mystery. You know, when someone is ready, I think there has to be something that just either you catch it from someone else or there's something that grows in you that you really wanna know the truth. And it's that desire that then starts to consume or subs the other desires that you wanna know the truth more than you want anything. And that's trustworthy that leads you to the truth and people like you and like me are here to support that in other people and to fan the flames. Hmm. But finally, it's within the seeker that this, this flame consumes the lie and reveals the truth.

Dr. Reese (48:30):
The more we watch our mind, obviously the better we'll get at it. Right. Will it eventually just turn off?

Gangaji (48:41):
Well, I mean, there are people who go into yo states where there there's no mind and I I've spent periods of time where there was no thought yeah. If you want to, it is, it's not that the mind is the enemy. It's just the way we have been taught to deal with it. As reality is an era. And it's a tragic error because it causes unnecessary suffering, but the mind can be beautiful. Right. It can be a source of creativity.

Dr. Reese (49:16):
Yeah. I mean, I mean the stream, the,

Gangaji (49:20):
Well, the stream of suffer

Dr. Reese (49:21):
The unconscious. Yeah. The subconscious mind essentially.

Gangaji (49:24):
Yeah. But even that can be beautiful. It's when it causes this unnecessary suffering.

Dr. Reese (49:31):

Gangaji (49:32):
That, and when you are ready to be free of that, when you want something more than your identity as generated by your mindstream, then I think that in itself is the evolutionary Cain. And you, you start to tune into it, whether it's teachers or nature, all of a sudden, you, you read something you read 10 years ago and it, it makes total sense in a way. It didn't then a readiness that

Dr. Reese (50:10):
Is it possible to get to our true self, this enlightenment, if you will, where we're not overthinking obsessively, is it possible to get there without changing our, our lifestyle that much and still being out in the world, in the marketplace?

Gangaji (50:30):
Well, for me, it's, it's not possible to get there because you're already there. It's already here, right? You really aren't getting anywhere. And that's the stopping that brings us back to the stopping because our, our spiritual conditioning is that we are gonna get somewhere higher or better deeper. And, and that's the truth, but it's, the verb is wrong to get, to get implies that, that we are not already that. And so when you stop for a moment, then that verb getting doesn't doesn't have its power and you can realize what is here. That's always been here. Hmm. Cause that's what you realize when you wake up anyway, it's like, oh, oh yes, this is, this is always here.

Dr. Reese (51:30):
And then you can continue in the marketplace just like normal

Gangaji (51:34):
As you like, you know, I think it's, it really affects different people in different ways.

Dr. Reese (51:39):

Gangaji (51:42):
Like normal never really was not in the marketplace. The marketplace came to him, but he didn't speak for a number of years. I think 11 years just absorbed in the

Dr. Reese (51:54):
Bliss. You talking about Ramana.

Gangaji (51:56):
Yeah. Yeah. She,

Dr. Reese (51:57):
Yeah. Yeah.

Gangaji (52:00):
But that doesn't have to be the goal, you know? It's

Dr. Reese (52:04):
Like he was young.

Gangaji (52:05):
He was 16.

Dr. Reese (52:06):
Yeah. He, yeah. So that was probably his first instinct was just <laugh>

Gangaji (52:11):
It's a mystery. You know, that that's what was true for him.

Dr. Reese (52:15):

Gangaji (52:16):
He was following an inner command.

Dr. Reese (52:18):
Well, Papaji was in the marketplace

Gangaji (52:20):
And Papaji was completely in the marketplace, even though he had years within that time where he would retreat, he, you know, was a father and a husband and a, you know, he was human being. Yeah. He had so did Ramm. I mean, there are as an account, uh, by one of his attendance and he's just reporting on how cranky Ron Morna could be at the end. Of course, he was suffering from cancer and he was totally crippled with his arthritis and he was dying essentially. But it's like, people were like, oh, no, Rama could be cranky. <laugh> you know, just, it blew some illusion that we have. That's, that's really pretty childish, like of what heaven is or, or what God is or what a Saint is. And because we are self-hating organisms, as well as everything else, we don't have room for the human to be in there, but the human is here.

Dr. Reese (53:26):
Yeah. It's really about the mind. Yeah. Is, is, is all we're working on here is yeah.

Gangaji (53:33):
That's right.

Dr. Reese (53:35):
Everything else is the same. We're still

Gangaji (53:37):

Dr. Reese (53:38):
We can still bleed

Gangaji (53:41):
Still bleed. That's right.

Dr. Reese (53:44):
So where can someone come find you say hello and see your work?

Gangaji (53:49):
Well, the website is always the best place these days. That's I'll spell it because people have a hard time with the name. It's G a N G a J and all my information and schedule and connection to meetings. And I do monthly meetings. And then I also occasionally do weekend retreats all through zoom now and, uh, one day or one meeting events. So there's a variety of offerings.

Dr. Reese (54:23):
Yeah. This has been a, a pleasure to talk to you today.

Gangaji (54:27):
Oh, Kevin, I'm so glad that we got to connect.

Speaker 2 (54:32):
Thanks for listening to inner peace with Dr. Reese. If this episode opened your heart, feel free to on social media and tell your loved ones, also be sure to subscribe. So you never miss an episode until next.