“The Realm of Hungry Ghosts”

If any of you have been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that Tara Brach is my inspiration and my meditation guru (in an unofficial capacity). If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t be training to become a meditation teacher, and my life would be significantly less mindful.

Beyond having some of the most peaceful guided meditations, my girl also does some amazing talks that help us really think about our actions and our thought processes. One of her recent ones, titled “The Realm of Hungry Ghosts” really resonated with me.

The realm of hungry ghosts sounds ethereal and abstract. But, what Tara explains and unpacks is the age-old concept that desire is the root of all suffering. In fact, desire is not the root of all suffering, it’s tied to existence and being. It’s as Tara says, getting caught in the desire is the real root of suffering.

As human beings we have attachments, addictions, and cycles that feed off themselves that eventually don’t allow us to feel for one moment that we’re exactly who we are supposed to be right now. Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly seeking out approval. Whether it be from our parents, from our bosses, from our friends, from our significant others, etc. The need to be continually satisfied, statements of “it’s not enough, I’m not enough, it’s not good enough” are frequently visited even if they’re not articulated as neatly as in those phrases.

But how liberating would it be to free ourselves of the desire to always be more than what we are right now? Or where we are right now? How freeing would it be to believe that we are exactly at the place we’re meant to be in this moment in time. How peaceful and calming would it be if we could instead of following our thoughts of “not-good-enough-ness” that we pay more attention to the space in between those thoughts. Somehow finding a way to acknowledge them and let them go in one beautiful fluid motion.

What if we stopped feeding our hungry ghosts, our dysfunctional attachments, our addictions, our need for constant reassurance, our negative self-talk?

Perhaps, those ghosts, could start to starve.

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