The Hungry Ghost

7698002802_b7995efa67_zA hand clenched leaves no space for anything else. That thought has been taught to me repeatedly until it became accepted fact. When I rebel against life and grab on, wanting it to stay the way it is, nothing is accomplished except the narrowing of my life experience.

Over indulgence in wanting, wishing and hoping moves me either into future tripping or on a tour of the past. Nothing alive is to be found in either. This moment, who I am now and what I have currently is where living is found. Stated many times, I will always continue to express such thinking for it brings me back to the “now”.

When we’re in a state of wanting mind, we’re never satisfied, no matter what we have. If we attain the object of our longing, we simply replace the old desire with a new one. If we achieve revenge, we feel worse than we did before. The problem is that wanting mind is rooted in the incorrect belief that something outside of ourselves is the key to lasting happiness so we look there for the solution. The reality is that no emotion or state of being, however strong, is permanent and that happiness can’t be found outside of ourselves only within. Buddhists call this phenomenon of endless wanting and dissatisfaction the “hungry ghost. Ronald Alexander, Ph.D.

It is a uniquely human condition to desire. It caused the creation of civilization itself, brought a need to express in art and writing and started most any worthwhile endeavor. Want precedes doing. Longing comes before finding. Aspiration foreruns accomplishment. Feeling nourished follows craving. Happiness i soften recognized by a yearning sated. Flourishing is always a product of making peace with struggle and difficulty.

Sometimes we must confront painful options or make difficult choices. On occasion, flourishing is playing the hand we are dealt as well as we can, given imperfect and even undesirable circumstances such as family crises or financial distress, job loss or illness – the new reality for increasing numbers of people. Flourishing is different from happiness and it doesn’t always feel good. Many of our most painful experiences – unrequited love, loss of a beloved relative, professional failure – clarify our values, sharpen our determination and deepen our compassion. Jeffrey B. Rubin

Gone is the belief that being joyful and cheerful should fill me all the time. Can you believe I once thought that was possible?!?! Accepting the trials, challenges, heartaches and uncertainties are always predictable parts of life has been a huge step. And I don’t mean the usual acknowledgement of issues I used to make (as almost every one does). It is in seeing the greatest hurts and difficulties as teachers of cherished wisdom that I began to find contentment.

Being happy and flourishing is a state of contentment, even if what is happening is not what I want or would choose. Throwing off unhappiness and accepting all of life as one package has turned being alive into an exceptionally enjoyable adventure.

Unhappiness is a dangerous thing,
like carbon monoxide.
You don’t smell it,
you don’t taste it,
it’s formless and colourless,
but it poisons slowly.
It seeps into every pore
of your skin until one day
your heart just stops beating.
Bella Pollen