As humans we are trained to lie. Lying is a major part of survival. To be willing to tell the truth is to risk losing everything. When you have made a choice to be committed to the truth, then the truth is a ruthless master. That commitment will expose every aspect of hiding and every justification of that hiding.
In the commitment to the discovery of the complete truth, there has to be a ruthless examination as to where we lie. What has to be faced is what you think the truth of yourself is, and how you have lied to yourself to cover it up. In discovering what it is we are denying, there can be a space—a space that is the conduit for discovering the deepest truth.
What is most usually being avoided is experiencing one’s own worthlessness. Most people suspect they are the worst thing imaginable, a creature of imperfection, ugliness and stupidity. Even if there is the thought or experience of oneself as a divine creature with superior knowledge and fullness of being, under that is the suspicion that there is nothing but a gnarled, irredeemable, lost soul floating in space, separate from God.
If you stop there—I am this raw, worthless, unlovable thing—it initially seems intolerable. We begin lying on top of it, or we learn affirmations, or get a makeover…anything rather than face the worthlessness. Yet it is not until that seemingly essential worthlessness is met and experienced all the way, that you can know the absolute truth of who you are.
First you have to tell the truth about what is truly wanted. What do you really want? Freedom and enlightenment? Really? Tell the truth. If you get freedom or enlightenment, what will that give you? Perhaps the answer is, “It will give me respect, or lovability, or fame, or eternal happiness, or power, or relief from the suffering of the world.” In telling the truth you can discover what is actually wanted. You discover what you want enlightenment to supply you with. It is often not a pretty truth, but it is necessary to reveal it to yourself.
That is not the end. There is more. If you are willing to tell the truth about what fame, or lovability, or power will give you, you get to the desire underneath that: It may be something like, “Everybody will love me,” or “People will finally see who I am and give me what I want.” And if you tell the truth about what that will give you, then you start to get close to what the essential yearning really is.
Are you willing to tell the truth all the way down to the depths? Are you willing to lay bare what it is your life is really about, where your attention really is in the name of enlightenment or peace? Are you willing to be humbled by seeing the mechanism that is really running underneath prayers for enlightenment and peace? This is the opportunity to meet the abyss; the huge hole that most avoid throughout life, the intimation that really you are worse than worthless, that you are nothing at all.
At this point the strong temptation arises to flees back to the emotional surface. There may be a brief recognition, and then usually back into the safety of the lie. The lie is more comfortable. It has more hope, more promise. We imagine if we are nothing we don’t exist, and that is horrifying. So we would rather exist as something worthless that perhaps may some day develop worth, than to exist as nothingness.
If you are sincere in your intention to really know the truth, and if you are willing for that knowing of the truth to give you nothing but itself—no fame, no recognition, no happiness, no release, no universal love—if you want the truth that badly, then you are willing to fall into the abyss; to meet the abyss with your full attention; to meet the truth that you are nothing.
The invitation is to just drop through all the lies. Drop your consciousness through them. Feel the burn, the pain, the ache, the horror, the delusion, the lie and the temptation to cheat with more soothing lies. “My God, I’m worse than all of that…worse than nothingness.” And there is the secret, the great revelation.
Meeting the abyss is the full circle. It is coming home, coming back to yourself. The extraordinary report that everyone who has met that abyss brings back to you is that the nothingness you are is awake, alive consciousness. Awake, alive consciousness, and in love. No-thingness is everything you have been looking for in defining yourself as somebody worth something, or somebody worthless. Everything you have been seeking is right here in the depth of your being, under all the lies. It is what has been both sought and fled from all along! It is the simplicity and purity of who you are, here now and always.
The limitless spaciousness that is consciousness, and the heart of that spaciousness that is your true nature, has the capacity to bear every idea, concept and feeling of who you think you are. Every limitation. Every hell realm. Every heaven realm. Everything. The heart can bear it all. No matter what your history is, no matter what your circumstances are, no matter how many lies you have told or covered up, in this moment, you have the capacity to come back to yourself and discover the complete truth of your being.
In April Gangaji will be holding a retreat at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY entitled, The Heart Can Bear It All: Through Self-Hatred To True Love. The retreat begins April 20. Click here for more information.