I have often spoken about what a precious time this period on the earth is. A time of quickening, of awakening, a time where ordinary people like us can actually awaken to the truth of our selves. We don't need to be extraordinary in the sense of sainthood, or karma, or spiritual practice, or deprivation, or brilliance. There have been enough extraordinary people who have gone before us. They have pointed the way so that now there is a real possibility for ordinary people to wake up.
At this time, with events around the globe, we surely recognise that the hope that affluence protects us or even that democracy can protect us is an illusion. All of a sudden, the whole world is very close, and this closeness is often uncomfortable and generates distrust in our world and each other. As a result, the call to awakening is even more urgent.
Awakening is now essential, as we can no longer live as we have lived. We can no longer think and act as we have thought and acted. Our planet can no longer support our old ways. The call to awakening now is the recognition that the patterns of hatred and blame that go on in our minds and are reflected in the world can stop.
And we can't wait for anyone else to stop. We don't know what the final result will be of stopping these ancient, destructive patterns, but each of us knows we have the opportunity to stop the cycle. Each of us can take personal responsibility for the awakening that is much more than personal.
It is time to stop the battles within ourselves and in our worlds (our families, our communities, our nations, our planet.) The war between ego and superego, the wars between my religion and your religion, my colour and your colour, my gender and your gender, my opinion and your opinion can end. We can disagree and experience differences in peace. We can evolve.
Wars are apparent in the world, but they start with each of us, individually. At this point in time we who are reading this are extremely privileged to not be facing starvation, to not immediately be facing bombing, to not be facing torture, to not be facing being ostracised or stoned for attending meetings of our choice.
We are extremely privileged and we can use that privilege to give some time to stopping the cycles of destruction. Or, our privilege can be trivialised. We can continue our old ways and spend our precious lifeforce and time to notice what we don't have. We can be focused on always getting or attracting more. We can continue to blame "other" and particular circumstances for our lack of fulfilment.
This kind of thinking, of always wanting more, has a horrendous momentum. It is the momentum that finally leads to war. But this huge and powerful momentum is nothing in the face of conscious enquiry. In a moment of conscious enquiry, the momentum to want, to blame, to hate, and to make war all disappears in less than a second.
To consciously enquire, we must be simply willing to stop following all the thoughts that are based on our prior assumptions. We must be willing to be still, with no thought, and discover what is here. We finally must discover what is always here.
Even if the familiar habits, the familiar hopes, and the familiar self destructive thoughts somehow mysteriously arise again and again, enquiry is always available to set the mind free.
These old habits will continue to arise as long as there is some hope that if this thought is indulged - and those generated from this core thought - this time it will deliver just what is wanted: "He or she will love me, I will love them, they will always treat me well, I will always treat them well, the world will be at peace, everybody will be rich, everybody will be happy. I'll just go into this pattern one more time."
The invitation from my teacher and his teacher is absolutely radical. It is to stop right now. Stop all blaming, all fantasising, all replaying, and all hoping. Take full responsibility to recognise what is at peace right now within you, what needs nothing from the past or the present or the future to augment that peace or even prove that peace.
Stop and discover what is fulfilled in itself. And in the next moment, be true to that - not as some theory or abstraction or even belief, but as a surrendering of the seductive, false, hope-generating thoughts in order to see what is always here. Meet whatever emotion, circumstance, fear, or hope that may appear without resorting to the habitual pattern of making war with it or indulging it. Meet it all to discover what is always present.
If we tell the truth, it is really pretty simple. I invite each of you to take the responsibility of the world into your heart. Not the burden of the world, but the ability to respond to all is at the centre of this invitation. Now. Not tomorrow when you've done something more or less. In this moment.
I'm not suggesting you fix anything. I'm inviting you to take the totality of the universe into your heart, and in the willingness to take the totality into your heart, to see if your heart has a limit.
Enquire into the vastness of your heart. Do you find a limit?
Gangaji and her husband, Enneagram teacher Eli Jaxon-Bear, will be touring the East coast for events in November and December. See www.leela.org