Tag Archives: Gangaji

Facing Problems and Fears

Thoughts on Facing Problems and Fears

What is the best way to face our problems and fears? We are told many ways not to face them. Do not dramatize them, as that makes them bigger. Fighting them also makes them worse. If you push them down, swallow them, or run from them that makes them bigger too.

Everyone knows ways to run from things. We can use drugs, over-working, alcohol, relationships, games, or other entertainment. We can use food, illness, denial, anger, humor, or neurosis. It becomes obvious that running is rarely a good idea.

By facing them properly we are told, the fears and problems dissolve and you see that they never were anything at all. At least, that is what Gangaji and other great teachers tell us. It sounds good but quite frankly the author of this post just isn’t there yet. Are you?

Let’s Explore

Ultimately we lose everything. Everything we fear must eventually vanish, but we also lose all we hold important. Our jobs, our homes, health, our mates, our children, our possessions, our friends, and our pets; we lose them all eventually. Nothing lasts forever and no one gets out of here alive.

We understand these things intellectually. They are obvious. Still, it is not so easy to actually live these ideas at the higher spiritual levels. Instead, all those things become even more problems and things to fear.

We can remember Ramana Maharshi, in “Who Am I?” We grasp the realization that we are not our bodies. We realize that we are not our thoughts and emotions. We are not even the air that we breathe. We discover that we are is that force which animates or allows all those things.

Can’t that just be another intellectual layer? A person can say I’m not this body and the problem is only an illusion, but if the fear or problem remains, the process is only another layer or a cheap mask at best.

The intellectual realizations may calm us in many instances. But how do we know we are really succeeding? How do we know we are facing problems and fear properly? The answer would be when they no longer consume us or cause, fear, worry, anger, or any other negative emotion. The answer is when we stop replaying them within our minds, in a repetitive loop.

Somehow we are to live, love, and experience both good and bad, but yet let go once the experiences are over. We are not to attempt recreating things the great teachers tell us.  But we do try. We experience fun, love, or joy and we try to recreate it. We have a special moment with someone and try to relive it. A couple has a special moment with the first child, they try to replicate it for the second child. Often it is not the same. Sometimes it is a disappointment. Clinging to happiness, we are told, chases it away. Misery appears as the joy vanishes.

We also recreate problems and fears. We humans like revisiting them too much to let go. We do it constantly. We worry. We obsess. We replay our fears and problems over and over in our minds. It’s almost a bit masochistic, isn’t it?

Some people carry their problems, pains, and fears so proudly they tell everyone they meet.  You would think they were medals of honor they received for heroic deeds. They can’t stop trying to relive and recreate the problems, the fears, or the pain. It becomes their identity. Still, embracing them and clinging to them is not truly facing them. “Emotionalism is the avoidance of the deepest emotions,” Gangaji tells us.

We also try to recreate spiritually. Meditation is an example. If we achieve a great feeling or realization, we keep trying to get it back. The chase almost always ends in frustration. We are told that we are not to do that. Krishnamurti instructs not to expect anything when we meditate. If you are expecting, you really aren’t meditating. You are chasing, or running. Trying to relive the past experience is not meditating. Furthermore the more you chase that blissful feeling, the more it eludes you. Only when you let go and let go of the grasping and expecting are you meditating he tells us. Many of the great teachers go on to tell us that life is the same way.

Problems, fears, happiness, life, and meditation seem to have some commonalities. Running from any of them seems futile. Nothing is gained. Clinging to them does not bring happiness or solve things either. It is opposite. Clinging to any them makes you feel worse or backfires.

It seems like you need the same approach for all of them. There seems to be a middle road that is difficult to find.   Do not cling. Do not run. Do not overanalyze. Do not recreate. Do not expect. Do not force. Do not fight. Do not judge. Do not justify. Do not regret, Do not repress. Do not hold grudges. Do not blame. Do not hate.

There seems to be no escape. The only way to approach fear and pain is with a calm level mind. “No matter how much you try to run away from hurt, you still experience it.”  Gangaji



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Gangaji – what do you want?

What do you really want? Do you know? Could you possibly only think you do? Maybe thinking about it seems as a waste of time. There are so many responsibilities.  “It’s just pie in the sky.” Life dictates too many other obligations.

Suppose you are in a group of people instructed to make personal want lists. Many want a better life, a better job, more money, a new car, to be happy all the time, or to find love. Others want status, fame, power, enough money to quit working, or maybe a better sex life.

The first thing you notice is that many of those goals are vague. What is a better life? Let’s say you want more money. Suddenly a strange man approaches.  “Here ya go mate, have a twenty-dollar bill on me.” Then he gives you the money. Let’s say another person wants love. “Here you go, take this puppy. She’ll love you and be your most loyal friend.”

Those outcomes fit the definitions of the goals but may fall short of what was intended. You need to be specific. Isn’t that what the self-help experts tell you? Of course, it is. Next, you clean up your goal list and they send you on your way.

Now that the goals are specific, let’s go deeper. Gangaji suggests you ask “What will that give me?” In Code of the Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley asks the similar question. Next, he instructs you to separate ends goals from means goals.

For example, take the goal – I want money. That is primarily a means goal says Lakhiani. You use the money to get something else. You need to ask yourself some questions. Why do you want it? What for?  A person might give this answer. “I want money to travel, so I can see new places and meet lots of people.” That is an ends goal. But maybe you don’t need money for that. What? Are you crazy?  No, I’m not. Maybe what you need is the right job.

Picture of Gangaji
Picture of Gangaji on 2003 autobiography

Maybe you need to get out of your current rut and find a job that lets you do more of those things. You may not travel the world, but maybe you can travel the country, the state, or even just the city and surrounding areas. That could be a huge start. It sure beats sitting in a cubical or standing on an assembly line. You will certainly meet more people. You may have to cut your cost of living, but if you are happier isn’t it worth it?

I think you get the idea. A college degree is a means goal. The job you want is the ends for that goal.  Means goals are as important as ends goals. There are times and places for both. It is helpful to know the difference. Knowing the desired end prevents you from an endless pattern of means goals that never lead to an end. Knowing the desired end can save you time and make the difference between drudgery and happiness.

This sounds great. You are specific, and can now separate the means from the ends, and sometimes find quicker ways to your goal. Then what? Could there be more?

Let’s say you want to meet people. You want to help people. Maybe you want security. A $90,000 per year job and 1.5-million-dollar brokerage account may represent security. The perfect soul mate will bring you joy and love. That dream job may give you fulfillment. Helping people may give you purpose.

But wait! Could there be any Deception? Could we still be confusing the end goals with means goals at a deeper hidden level. Could your end goal be a means goal in disguise? And once we reach our goals, don’t we always just want something else?

Everyone wants love, happiness, significance, spiritual meaning, or some kind of enlightenment. Many people want security.  We are lead to believe our goals will give us those things. The questions Gangaji asks are “Are those things really dependent on an outside circumstance? Or are they already within you?”

Is a marriage partner required for love? Could that goal simply be another attempt at seeking happiness externally? Could that concept of love be a boxed-in or limited view of love? Beware of the ego here. It will quote you some psychological so-called facts to convince you that what you think, or what society teaches is correct, only to keep you on a never ending quest.

Gangaji says you already have it within you. Love and peace come from within you. If the final answer to your goals is to be at peace or to rest in the truth, then it is possible now and in this moment. Peace, love, and rest have nothing to do with those other external things. And can you really find security in the outside world? And isn’t peace, love, happiness and joy the ultimate end of all goals?

Gangaji instructs us that if we discard our preconceived ideas, or most of what society has programmed into us, we can find many of these things regardless of any internal or external circumstances. In other words, we can short-circuit the whole progression because we already have it within us.

Ramana Maharshi Picture
Ramana Marharshi

Ramana Maharshi at beginning of “Who Am I?” states that all beings desire to be happy and that happiness alone is the case for love.

Let us fast forward to question 24 of that work – What is Happiness?
Answer:
“Happiness is the self. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out it experiences misery. In truth when its desires are fulfilled it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is self. (As opposed to the object.)

“The mind moves without rest going out of the self and back into it. A person in the hot sun feels cool when he sits in the shade of a tree. Someone who keeps going from the sun to the shade with no good reason is a fool. A wise person simply stays in the shade.”

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Books worth checking:
The Diamond in Your Pocket – Gangaji
Code of the Extraordinary Mind – Vishen Lakhiani

Free on the web:
A free copy of Who Am I?  Ramana Maharishi
A Quick Look at the Story of Ramana Maharshi

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Attention Writers

Is your setting weak? Is it missing convincing elements?  Are you having trouble getting started or filling in the details?

Maybe you just want to learn more about setting or need a few ideas.

Picture of book by Paul Nieto - Elements of setting and worldbuilding

Click now. Only $0.99 at Amazon.
Free on Amazon Prime