In Buddhism the Idea of the Hungry Ghost are spirits that are lingering around the edges of the mortal realm, trapped by their over attachment to the world, the hungry ghosts, or pretas, are in the grip of their unfulfilled desires. This is symbolized by their huge bellies and tiny mouths that can never satisfy their appetites. From (http://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/realm-of-hungry-ghosts/index.html) Likewise we all have these cravings as these hungry ghost and we all have something we get carried away with and that can enslave us. In my view of things, I have come to understand the biblical roaming lion that comes to kill and destroy is the fleshly desires and the scriptures have called this Satan. I will add that EGO does play a controlling part here but what I want to focus on is addictions, habits and desire because they all kind of go hand in hand.
It is a normal condition of the thoughts of man to desire and because of a physical body and the makeup of emotions we do suffer. Through experience of desire we have distinguished between what brings pleasure and pain. The wanting is not to suffer and this is the nature of us as humans in the flesh and it is the mind, body and soul working together to attain these things that bring less suffering. It is out of this idea of suffering and survival that we begin to want more to suffer less. This becomes our desire. This is the inner struggle and Buddha has stated that this desire is the one who builds the house.
In understanding what it is to suffer as Buddha has stated it is to desire, to help end suffering we must not desire. This is difficult because we want and need. Part of suffering for man is to find a way to kill the pain caused by suffering and in finding a way to numb this suffering for someone is addiction. Now keep in mind that addictions never start as addictions, they evolve. Part of this is to feed the body with drugs, sex, alcohol, gambling, shopping and food. The flesh is not in and of itself evil as to say bad. But it is the thoughts that man has as to use this body as a tool to end suffering or cause it. We feel and exist in the body and have learned what it is to hunger, to need and feel pain. But deeper than that, it is to satisfy the unsatisfiable as the hungry ghost. I would like to say that it all starts with a desire, a curiosity, a wanting to try something to help ease the suffering. Then for some, having tasted of it, can reject it or try it again. If satisfied with the results one can start making it a routine or habit. Once formed into their daily or weekly routine it can become an addiction and this addiction is what drives the force even harder. This addiction which you have created begins to consume your time, your health, your money and for some their family’s to the point of ruin and death. This root can run deep and create psychological and physiological effects.
Addictions can be simple as well, simple as just going to the local coffee places and getting the mochas coffee’s. Just once a week and then twice a week and finally daily, some even multiple times a day. Next the craving causes us to want more and the servings get larger with more chocolate added… etc. After about 6 months you begin to wonder why you have gain 30 pounds and then feel miserable because you look at yourself as fat and now you have to find a new routine of going to the gym to get thin and the process now starts again but with a new goal, to not suffer in being overweight. So as to help with suffering we can get caught up with self medicating actions that are commonly related to alcohol, drugs (includes cigarettes and prescriptions) and sexual release. I picked these because they are the quickest way to release stress and if not handled correctly these can become our addictions and when they do we become trapped and if not dealt with they can become our prison and we are now worse off than before. Mind you there are many things we do that are addictive but please understand the point here.
A Facebook friend posted, “We are free to do all things but without discipline we will be brought to ruin”.
I know there is a lot in the realm of human psychology and behavior, I am not an expert. I am merely conveying my thoughts and experience here. I know that a person can overcome addiction and some people cannot. Some have physiological issues or depression that goes a long with it and I would advise to seek professional help. I have overcome several addictions myself and still working on these keeping them under control. The temptation is always present but it is a choice to stand against these or submit to them is mine. I will say it is not a right or wrong doing, it is a condition many find ourselves in and it is what the scriptures try and warn us about in calling it a pit or rut we have fallen into.
Habits and addictions can be balanced and subdued. With the right mind-set progress can be made, BUT, it is a very slippery slope that can entangle anyone and without discipline eventually they can overtake you again and do worse. This is in a sense is casting out demons within us. I will say one of the biggest help in this is purpose. Find purpose to overcome. Sometimes addictions have come in the way in order to cope with our situation we have found ourselves in. We always want what’s better for us but are blind in the way of getting it. This is ignorance. The bible talks about attaining “Knowledge” which is information and “Wisdom” which knows how to apply it. The problem is we turn to quick solutions instead of doing the hard work sometimes. There are the 12 step programs and Celebrate Recovery programs that have help a lot of people, but there are some that feel they don’t need it and they can fight it by themselves. I say more power to you. I am this type of person as well and I will say it takes daily discipline and constant self checks and deep mental thought processing which goes along with a lot of inner self-seeking.
Please do not think I am preaching here, I try to stay away from the religious side of this as much as I can, because religion has been a big stumbling block for me in the area of guilt and shame. I have found a narrow way here which I seem to think is the most practical approach and not wishful thinking. From the beginning of this blog the main point was to find that narrow path which leads to that higher realm on the mountain. That place which is in you, “to succeed”. We need to shut out all the outside influences and sit quietly and with no thought seek that which is in and when you find it the truth will be revealed. That is what I am trying to show you here in each post. IT IS YOU and we are at war with ourselves. Some will lose this battle and this is a sad and grievous thing. We have lost a lot of famous people and a lot of family members and friends to the war within. (You’ll be missed Mr. Williams and Ms. Winehouse)
I am not saying we are a hopeless creature, it is quite opposite. The more I find who I am the more wonderful I see what I am. I AM ALL THINGS rolled into one being. I am Good and I am Evil. I am Flesh and I am Spirit, I am Happiness and I am Sadness. I am Salvation and I am Destruction. I AM ALL. I am in Control and I am out of Control. I am Careless and I am Mindful. Sometimes I feel like I am this nuclear power that needs to be held together through peace within myself or I will be blown apart and out of control like this pulsation “orb of energy” that can bring destruction to myself or others through actions or words. But that’s the beauty in knowing this, “I am aware of my wholeness”. We need to stay focused of that center that is within. Like the eye of the hurricane we must stay centered and calm even though the storm is around us, this is the safe place in the center within the eye. If you meditated then you know what I am saying here. We need to seek a balance within us to see this peace. This is the Lion and lamb lying down with each other. This is the flesh and spirit being one in peace. As Shakespeare put it from Hamlet,”To thine own self be true”, and from the Greek, “Know Thyself”. Know your strengths and weaknesses and keep them in check.
So in the lower realms we want and desire what the flesh thinks it needs. It all comes down to stimulation of the senses. In Mark 9:47, Jesus stated if your eye causes you to sin pluck it out, if you hand causes you to sin cut it off. Now again do not take this literal like some Christian do. Some people have self mutilated themselves because they misinterpreted the scriptures or where told to by their leaders to do so. Jesus was talking about the same thing Buddha was and it is DESIRE. In the same sense the eye is what we see and want the hand is what the flesh wants and takes. Like the two thieves that were crucified with Christ on either side, so are the physical eyes that see and rob from us. Christ also said in this same scripture, “It is better to enter the kingdom of God with “THE ONE EYE” than with both”. So the idea is to see inside of us instead of what’s outside of us. If we stop looking outwardly then we can stop longing for what we want in order to satisfy the Hungry Ghost. That’s all Christ is saying.
In the letters Paul writes he himself is afflicted in the flesh. Whether or not this was a physical defect or an addiction of sort at the point of his conversion many scholars have debated this but it is still unknown, but Paul did anguish over it. He knew of the higher realm and stated he struggled in the flesh. Romans 7:18-19 For I know that in me, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19;For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. We’ve all been here; we’ve all had to deal with or are still dealing with these things… addiction, habits and desires. Some of us still do and I still have addictions, habits and desires. I struggle with all the temptations of the flesh and have conquered some which had enslaved me and will no longer affect my health. Others I am still trying to find balance and release. It is a matter of balance. It is a matter of self-discipline. To strengthen the mind to control the flesh.
Here are a few scriptures to point to this… 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
1 Peter 1:13-16King James Version (KJV)13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
NIV 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled.
Romans 7:20-26 KJV. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21;I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22;For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:23;But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24;O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?25;I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
I add this; The loins of your mind are the lower aspects of the flesh and the base chakras energies. Sober is to be clear minded with no preconceived idea or blurred thought. When water is still, all the sediment will sink to the bottom, and it will become clear. That’s why water in scripture is used to represent thought.
Be discipline against lusts and rise up to the higher things of the mind which are all things Christ, please understand this that the higher mind is the Christ and anointing and if you have read my posts “holy” is not to be good but to be whole as in one or connected as one or complete. To seek God is to seek self. Jesus said seek ye first the kingdom of God. He also said the kingdom was within you. So seek that which is in you. Go into yourself and seek you. So meditate and reach the mind. The truth is the real consciousness of who you are and that consciousness is connected to the consciousness of the cosmos or universe which is God and it is this consciousness is which Adam fell from and is the fleshly death.
Addition, Habits and Desire defined; (wiki)Addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors According to many addiction specialists, potential addictions can include, but are not limited to, drug abuse, exercise addiction, food addiction, computer addiction and gambling. Currently, however, only substance addictions and gambling addiction are recognized by the DSM-5. Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs). (wiki)
(wiki) A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously. In the American Journal of Psychology (1903) it is defined in this way: “A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience. Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are sometimes compulsory. The process by which new behaviors become automatic is habit formation. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioral patterns we repeat are imprinted in our neural pathways, but it is possible to form new habits through repetition. (I added this to fit the complete thought; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”) As behaviors are repeated in a consistent context, there is an incremental increase in the link between the context and the action. This increases the automaticity of the behavior in that context. Features of an automatic behavior are all or some of: efficiency, lack of awareness, unintentionality, uncontrollability (wiki) (wiki)Desire is a sense of longing or hoping for a person, object, or outcome. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as “craving” or “hankering“. When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item or person, and they want to take actions to obtain their goal. The motivational aspect of desire has long been noted by philosophers; Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) asserted that human desire is the fundamental motivation of all human action. (wiki)In Hinduism, the Rig Veda’s creation myth Nasadiya Sukta states regarding the one (ekam) spirit: “In the beginning there was Desire (kama) that was first seed of mind. Poets found the bond of being in non-being in their heart’s thought”.
(wiki)In Buddhism, for an individual to effect his or her liberation, the flow of sense-desire must be cut completely; however, while training, he or she must work with motivational processes based on skilfully applied desire. According to the early Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha stated that monks should “generate desire” for the sake of fostering skillful qualities and abandoning unskillful ones. While desires are often classified as emotions by laypersons, psychologists often describe desires as different from emotions; psychologists tend to argue that desires arise from bodily structures, such as the stomach’s need for food, whereas emotions arise from a person’s mental state. Marketing and advertising companies have used psychological research on how desire is stimulated to find more effective ways to induce consumers into buying a given product or service. While some advertising attempts to give buyers a sense of lack or wanting, other types of advertising create desire associating the product with desirable attributes, by showing either a celebrity or a model with the product. The theme of desire is at the core of romance novels, which often create drama by showing cases where human desire is impeded by social conventions, class, or cultural barriers. The theme of desire is also used in other literary genres, such as gothic novels (e.g., Dracula by Bram Stoker, in which desire is mingled with fear and dread). Poets ranging from Homer to Toni Morrison have dealt with the themes of desire in their work. Just as desire is central to the written fiction genre of romance, it is the central theme of melodrama films, which use plots that appeal to the heightened emotions of the audience by showing “crises of human emotion, failed romance or friendship”, in which desire is thwarted or unrequited. (wiki)
Luke 21:34″Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. (niv)
Mark 4:19 But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. (niv)
I add from a previous post, If caught in a tree or thicket, to set oneself free, one can only cut one branch at a time. So just like life’s problems and habits. Cut one at a time. Soon you will be free. Do not become overwhelmed by your dilemma but work in persistence and cut out what you can one at a time. Some branches are big and strong and may take a long time and may require a lot of energy to cut and break. Others are easy and small. But to see the changes that you want you must start doing it.
Nothing happens by itself. I have come to believe that God is the consciousness and the nature of the cosmos. But more than that God is a divine intelligence that we can see around us. The laws that force all things to do what they do. The Chinese call this the Tao or Dao. The way. We need to work in harmony with each other and take care of each other.