Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hungry Ghosts: What we crave most we lack within....

[post by Cliff Harvey]


Image from zendirtzendust.com
In Buddhist mythology there is a  forlorn  figure  known as the 'hungry ghost' (or Preta).
In the Tibetan tradition this figure is usually shown with a tiny mouth and an enormous belly, symbolizing his insatiable hunger - a hunger that can never be satisfied,  no matter how much he tries to consume.

This is a metaphor for the futility of trying to satisfy our cravings for what we lack within.

When we lack self-respect, unconditional love of self or self appreciation for example, we try to get these from the people around us. And we tie ourselves up in a never ending cycle of needing attention, craving the gestures that show appreciation and seeking constant validation.

I discuss the ideas of extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation in Time Rich Cash Optional: an unconventional guide to happiness. And just as motivators that are solely external are ultimately unfulfilling, seeking the extrinsic quenching of what we lack within is just as self limiting and frustrating. We simply cannot fill a void of lacking within with validation from without. We may try...but the void remains unless we cultivate our intrinsic strength and honour ourselves with love.

When we cultivate a strong sense of self-worth, love and appreciation, our happiness is no longer predicated on the futile quest for validation from those around us, and instead simply 'is'.
In this 'space' we vibrate at a higher level of happiness and compassion.  We are more able to appreciate and enjoy when people do show us respect and give us gestures and gifts of love.
By releasing our attachment to 'needing' these things (and constantly craving more) we can truly begin to be more present in the moment of receiving with love and appreciation, not need and desire.

And this is when we can truly say, without pretense "Thank you. I love you" and have that be enough...

Blessings
~ Cliff