Posted by: Cathy | October 31, 2012

Hungry Ghosts

On today, the spookiest day of the year, I wanted to talk about a concept I learned from meditation teacher Susan Piver: Hungry Ghosts.

The Hungry Ghost is one of the six realms in the Buddhist Wheel of Life. The realms are as follows:

Heaven – Jealous Gods – Human – Animal – Hungry Ghost – Hell

The easiest analogy for the Hungry Ghost in modern popular culture may be the character Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. He is so obsessed with his Precious Ring, he can think of nothing else. It is about craving something you can’t have; like an addict, even if you can get some of your drug, you will never be able to get enough of it. You’re stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting, chasing, and wanting more. The illusion is that the object you desire will somehow complete you or make you happy. But only you can decide you are complete, or choose to be happy.

I bring this up in my coaching blog because goal-attainment can slip into a similar cycle. Having goals for yourself or your career or business is great, but meeting those goals won’t make you complete or permanently happy. I would love to publish a novel one day, but the day after that happens I still have to wake up, walk the dog, do some laundry, and decide on another goal to reach.

To be successful, you need to realize that you already are complete, and know that you can always be happy.

* An apple seed is complete in and of itself. If it finds itself in some nutritious soil, it can grow into a sprout. If the sprout gets plenty of water and sunshine, it can grow into a tree, then flower and produce more apples. Each stage is complete in and of itself, but it grows and evolves into something new. Just so, you are complete exactly as you are, but you may grow and evolve depending on your environment. And a changing environment provides the most opportunity for growth.

* Happy is a state of being, not having. You can’t have happiness, but you can be happy. It’s a choice.

So stretch yourself, challenge yourself, set wonderful goals; but remember that you are not your goals, you are not your projects. You can be complete and happy just as you are.

Happy Halloween!

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Responses

  1. Wow, excellent post today. This might be my favorite blog post yet, I really think you made some great points. The idea that “you can’t have happiness, but you can be happy.” Is perfect. I hope I am making that choice in my life as well. Thanks for your insight 🙂

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