Awaken Interview with Gangaji Part 3


Donna Quesada: So much of spiritual practice is about dropping the searching, and by extension, the attachments that we think we need

The things we think we need to present about ourselves or the things we think we need to have, to be happier, to be whole. Are all desires bad?

GANGAJI: Well, I didn’t know so much of practice was about that. That’s great…if I’d gotten that, that would’ve saved me a lot of time. Because in my experience, so much of my practice was really trying to acquire something, trying to get something better than what I have. So that’s beautiful. Thank you for that… what was the second part?

DONNA: Well, there’s so much about this notion of dropping desires, and dropping attachments. So I’m sort of, you know, I guess, playing devil’s advocate in a sense, are all desires bad?

GANGAJI: You know, I don’t think desires are bad. I think if you have the desire to be free, the desire to know the truth, to know yourself…that’s a supreme, holy desire. If you recognize that all the other desires are really, somehow, extensions of that…You know, if I got finished with my suffering, then I would know the truth. Or, if I get this relationship that I want, then I could be happy and at peace. Or, if politics goes away, I am sure it should go, then I would be at peace and the war would be over. So, it’s always a postponement of that primary and sublime true desire —I want to be free. I think we come in as babies wanting to know, Who am I? And we are told who we are and we accept that or we rebel against that. And finally, there’s enough maturity to actually really want to know the truth of that. Who am I, in truth? And that’s a desire and that’s a desire that allows that question to really be asked.

DONNA: You touched briefly on the political situation and we had a very highly publicized trial last week. I want to extrapolate from that and…just something we like to ask here, on Awaken, is about this masculine energy and a proper balance of it with the feminine energy…and I think that’s something we giving attention to these days. You know, this reclamation of the divine, the divine feminine. Could you speak to that a little bit? Do you think a lot of the problems that we see and that we have been seeing in the world, is due to the imbalance of these masculine and feminine energies? And what needs to happen, if so, to make that right?

GANGAJI: What is to happen, I don’t know. I’ll start with that one. And I think there’s a lot of wisdom in the recognition of the imbalance of, just as a species, our aggressive powerful tendencies to conquer, and to own…have really allowed us, as a species, to conquer the earth. And now, those tendencies are, I think, destroying the earth because there’s so many of us. And so, that imbalance of this natural, beautiful, aggressive male energy isn’t tempered by, you know, a sensitivity or an acceptance…just as things are, and a welcoming, so in that really big sense, yes. I think that we have to or we will perish as a species.

But I don’t know how long that perishing will take, you know? We could go through multiple dark ages before that actually happens. But I think as aware, conscious people, we have an opportunity now to see. Especially now, as we know masculine energies are not just in males, they are in females and males, and it is a beautiful energy—it is an assertive energy. And for me, it really gets stimulated when I see something I think is absolutely wrong happening in the political sphere. So then, it’s very easy to go to war with that. And it’s a fine line, it’s a razor’s edge because you can resist something beautifully and assertively without being at war with it. And you can really hate the outcomes of something without hating the beings who are perpetrating those outcomes. And that’s the edge. And I think we all fall off that edge because then you can fall into a kind of sleepiness, you know?…that you just want to withdraw from it. And if you are a recluse, I salute you! That’s a perfect way for you to live your life. But if you are engaged in the world, that is also perfect. And so, that’s more my issue.

I went on your website—on the Awaken.com website because I was curious about the website and I wanted to see what other teachers…and there was a clip there from Marianne Williamson and I’ve never seen her or heard about her for years, and I know people love her. And she was speaking at the World’s Parliament of Religions and it was this fiery, dynamic challenge and she had a lot of people off their seats, you know, applauding. She was a beautiful speaker, I loved it. And you know, there were a lot of people who also were not liking it, but that’s part of it. So to me, that’s part of the answer. Yes, let’s stand up and shout out and let’s also have the capacity to sit down and be still. That we have to, or we have been called to…it seems to me…to discover what balance actually is…and balance means that there is imbalance, but there’s a capacity to come to equilibrium. Whether we will make it as a species, I don’t know. Somedays it does not look promising, at all.

DONNA: Yeah. Well I’m glad you had a chance to look at the site. You know, I had a chance to talk to someone who also calls Poonja, or Papaji, his teacher. I don’t know if you know him, Arjun Ardagh?

GANGAJI: Oh yeah, yeah!

DONNA: He was a student, as well, and speaks of Poonja. Anyway, in our last few minutes together, I would like to ask you about God and prayer. And also, we’ve been speaking of teachers. Maybe let’s start with that. Do you think we need a teacher, first of all? Can we find our own way?

GANGAJI: I don’t think there’s a formula. I know that I found out that I needed a teacher. I was certain that I didn’t need a teacher, but I actually did need a teacher. But I don’t think that it’s necessarily true for someone else. I mean, clearly there are teachers who say they didn’t need a teacher and I accept that and they seem awake. I got a different life with my teacher. I got life. I had a different kind of life, I was upside down, so yeah. That’s… who knows?

DONNA: And I brought up prayer because I know for me personally, that’s something I felt was missing from the Zen tradition. As you know, the bhakti element is not as pronounced as it is, and certain other types of spiritual practices. I think I will always be a little bit Zen because that’s where I started. And I love the discipline for many, many reasons. But that aspect of prayer, for me personally, is so life-saving, in that way…that I wanted to ask, does prayer have a place in your practice and do you think that it’s just simply different for everybody, you know? And if so, who do you pray to?

GANGAJI: I prayed a lot as a child and I felt like it really helped me, and I prayed to God and Jesus. I think for me personally, prayer is sublime. And I can say that I’ve never stopped praying. I may even say, “thank you, God,”like a prayer. But it’s so…It’s like a meditation. It’s just a release and the gratitude and the cry for help, all of those are…yeah, I think that it’s a way of focusing the mind out of its own powers into something that is bigger than can be known. Or, whatever you name that is secondary and God is a fine name…it’s just such a polluted name that maybe it is out of fashion. Yes, I am an advocate of prayer, I think it’s a powerful force.

DONNA: You mentioned meditation. It reminds me of a quote from my teacher, that “prayer is when you speak to God, but meditation is when God speaks to you.”I like it very much.

GANGAJI: That’s beautiful.

DONNA: Because there’s so much attention to getting out of our head, and coming into this moment; is that what God is? What do we mean when we talk about God?

GANGAJI: Well, you know…God. I mean, I really stand by that it is very polluted word. It means whatever you want it to mean. It’s like love or truth. Or I. It has so many different meanings and if we just are willing to look inside the word…what does that word point to?…some…Something huge, something limitless, something that’s not a something…Something that is not our object, that we’re the something of that. And so it’s humbling. The recognition of…Because I’m not…I wouldn’t call me religious,even though I have particular religious rituals like prayer that are still very sweet and tender to me. Or, even a believer in a God. But this mystery…this mystery of being, whether it’s purely biological, biochemical…it doesn’t matter to me. It’s still this huge mystery that is so wondrous and awesome and humbling, to be for a period of some years. Incarnate.

You know, we’re made of the earth, we are made of stardust…we’re…what a mystery! And we are conscious of it. I love the Tibetans always talking about this precious human birth and for a long time, I didn’t get that. What is precious about human birth? It seems like other animals are happier and doing good. And then I got this. I don’t know about other animals…seems like they have some kind of consciousness and maybe some of them have evolved consciousness, but as humans, we actually have the capacity to reflect. As you were saying, “what is God? Who am I? Where are we? What do we want?”And this is a precious human birth.

DONNA: What happens to this body when we die?

GANGAJI: I think it rots and is eaten by little creatures and goes back to earth and stardust, right? Little creatures and goes back to earth and stardust, right?

DONNA: But the soul carries on?

GANGAJI: You know, I don’t have belief systems about the soul. I have experiences about soulfulness, or old soul, but I wouldn’t put them into a belief system of what is.

DONNA: Fair enough. And finally, if you could, if there was one practice…if you had to pick one practice to give to someone as a kind of lifestyle…sadhana or something, what would it be? Would it be meditation or would it be something else? Something that can help us as humans in this life, which is challenging to be sure.

GANGAJI: Well I know what initially began my awakening, or put it on a different level, and that was an experience with nature. The willingness to actually be with the ocean in a particular way, or be with a mountain side, or sky, or a tree, or a plant. I grew up in a rural area. But I never had an understanding, or an experience of the oneness of nature…the consciousness of this whole thing. And so, that was a breakthrough for me…to realize that I am not just located here, but whoa! And that was reflected also in relationships with other human beings, where there was love. So, I would say, if I had to give one bit of advice to anybody, it would be: Find where you love. Find where love is awakened.

DONNA: Nature can give us that. It’s the infinite. I think it’s the infinite I think…vastness.

GANGAJI: And immediacy at the same time.

DONNA: And what would you like to leave our readers, or our viewers, with? What are you up to these days, is there any writing or anything you’d like to point them to, or is there anything else you’d like to share?

GANGAJI: I’m not writing anymore. I feel like, Whoa…I’m finished with writing,which is great. I have a website, if people are interested, they can always go on the website.

DONNA: What is your website?

GANGAJI: It’s Gangaji.org and it’s g-a-n-g-a-j-i. And I have events. I’m not traveling as much as I was in the past, but I’m still going to events, doing an event at Multiversity in California and different places. But really, my message to everyone is that when I say, “trust yourself,”I’m not suggesting that you trust your thoughts, or your emotions, or your conclusions or your activities… but, trust that impetus that somehow has risen in you, to know yourself, to know truth, to live truth and to discover that everywhere. Trust that and it puts you in the right place. With a teacher or without a teacher, it is all secondary to that. That’s the true teacher, the satguru.

DONNA: That’s something not taught in schools, whether that’s intuition or whether we call it a gut instinct, we’re not taught that.

GANGAJI: I think intuition and gut instincts can be wrong, too. Because then we flip onto the other side of that. And if I feel it, if I think it, then it must be so. So then, there’s a humbling of that. We see that everything, where we are located, is subject to mistake. But, there is something inseparable from the successes or the failures of our gut instincts or intuition, that is at peace and free already. It is already who you are.

DONNA: Well Gangaji, once again, I want to thank you for sharing your time with us today.

GANGAJI: Oh, you’re a delight!

DONNA: Thank you! So are you! I’ve enjoyed our time together, immensely.

Source: AWAKEN

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The Path of the Divine Feminine – Igor Kufayev

Published on 23 Jun 2018

In this discourse, spiritual teacher, Igor Kufayev sheds light on the theme of the Divine Feminine, the path of energetic transformation of Consciousness.

Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine by Lama Tsultrim Allione (Author)

Through her own story of loss and spiritual seeking, paired with mandala meditations and rituals, bestselling author of Feeding Your Demons Lama Tsultrium Allione teaches you how to embody the enlightened, fierce power of the sacred feminine—the tantric dakinis.

Ordained as one of the first American Buddhist nuns and recognized as an incarnation of the Mother of Tibetan Buddhism, Lama Tsultrim has a unique perspective on female strength and enlightenment. In Wisdom Rising, she shares from a deep trove of personal experiences as well as decades of knowledge as one of the preeminent teachers of the mandala of the five dakinis.

Dakinis are a type of Buddhist female spirit comprised of five families, each with a set of unique qualities, as well as an encumbered pattern or emotional block that gets in the way of your true brilliance: Buddha dakini—ignorance to the all-encompassing wisdom; Vajra dakini—anger to the mirror-like wisdom; Ratna dakini—pride to the wisdom of equanimity; Padma dakini—craving to the wisdom of discernment; Karma dakini—envy to the all-accomplishing wisdom.

As a Buddhist nun, Lama Tsultrim yearned to become a mother, ultimately renouncing her vows so she could marry and have a child. When she subsequently lost her first child to SIDS, she was overcome with grief and unsure of where to turn for guidance. She once against found courage through Buddhist female role models and meditations, and, using the mandala of the dakinis, she transformed her pain into faith.

Tantric Buddhism developed the mandala as a mediational tool for transformation—a map for integration and wholeness. And through the mandala of the five dakinis, we learn how to embrace the fierce feminine energy of the dakinis. Rather than trying to remove or repress their patterns in our lives, you will instead discover how to transform them into wisdom through meditation, sound, visualization, and other practices. Both practical and inspiring, Wisdom Rising guides you to explore an ancient yet accessible path to enlightenment.

Lama Tsultrim Allione

Lama Tsultrim Allione is founder and resident lama of Tara Mandala, located outside Boulder, Colorado. She is author of Women of Wisdom and Feeding Your Demons. Born in New England to an academic/publishing family, she traveled to India in her late teens and at the age of twenty-two, was the first western woman to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. After living in the Himalayan region for several years she returned her vows and became the mother of three, while continuing to study and practice Buddhism. She has been awarded the international “Outstanding Woman in Buddhism” by a panel of distinguished scholars and practitioners in Bangkok, Thailand.

Talk by Lama Tsultrim Allione at Stanford University

“Dakini Wisdom: Tracing the Emergence of the Feminine Principle and the Role of Women in Buddhism”

What is the Awakening of the Divine Feminine? ~ Nikki Starr Noce, M.D.

Many of you may be feeling the energetic shift that has been happening on the planet that is affecting humanity on a large scale. Many people talk about the awakening of humanity into greater consciousness. Some describe this as a “spiritual awakening.” What this means is being mindful and aware about the life we are creating. It’s about giving greater meaning to things and knowing that our actions affect others and create our future.

Part of this awakening of consciousness includes the awakening of the divine feminine (and the divine masculine too). I’d like to highlight the awakening of the divine feminine, because for so long the feminine has been suppressed in all of existence on this Earth, and in some cultures it still is today.

If you look at the common religions of the world today, there has been no place for women other than as nuns or as mother figures of the great men who were born to do great things. Women have rarely held leadership positions, and even today women do much less so compared to men. But this is changing.

Feminine doesn’t only have to do with females, nor does masculine only with males. Within each one of us lives feminine and masculine. Certain traits and ways of being can be categorized as masculine versus feminine. Focus, for example is masculine, while multitasking is feminine, and these are traits that serve both men and women, though typically women embody more feminine traits and men more masculine.

Long ago existed matriarchal societies where women led and made much of the decisions. During the most recent millennia, our society has been driven by males with very masculine force. The use of war and destruction to create was, and still is, a big problem that doesn’t allow for harmony and peace to prevail on the planet. There is great strength in gentleness too, but the ideas of compassion and kindness seem foreign to most people when it comes to business and politics.

There has been so much doing and busyness (both masculine approaches) to creating the modern day world we see today, which was built on top of Nature instead of in harmony with her. Many have forgotten their connection with the Earth and have forgotten how to simply be. The focus on money as the end result, instead of more love, has led to much dis-ease and suffering on the planet.

Subconscious to many women, there is an undercurrent of anger at the masculine, for what has happened on the planet over the last thousands of years, which took the form of feminism. From genocide to the pornography industry driving human trafficking, to the lack of women’s rights, slavery, war, the destruction of Nature, the list goes on. It’s more challenging for women to do such things compared to men because we women are naturally more in touch with our feminine side and the Earth. However, even for us, much of our feminine has been dormant because there has been no space for it during these overly masculine times.

Thankfully, the awakening of the feminine divine is happening. It’s about awakening even more compassion, softness, gentleness, surrender, flowing, creativity, beingness, empathy, vulnerability, understanding, patience, beauty, thoughtfulness and nurturing. It’s about connecting back to the Earth, each other and all beings and things, healing our wounds, forgiving what has happened while making conscious choices about how we wish to create our future–together.

It’s about honoring and being in devotion to both the divine feminine and the divine masculine in its balanced, healthy, complementary forms. Men and the masculine are equally as important as women and the feminine for the evolution and continuation of our planet. When this happens, balance blossoms–flow with direction, discipline with compassion, unconditional love, presence with multitasking, strength with gentleness, graceful will, etc.

Source: Nikki Starr Noce, M.D.

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