My Hungry Little Ghost

Costly Buddha

Greed comes from a belief in lack.  It’s autonomic, like its precursor anger, there is some sensitivity in our nervous system to a reflexive belief in lack.  It probably came from our ancestors, they had no way of knowing if there would be enough food so we have developed an inclination to hoard and to hang onto things.  Also like anger, greed has either a story to tell or us a question to ask us.  We’re not getting what we want; or, do we do really believe that we are enough?

The more I witness my emotions, the more I am aware that the spark of anger precedes greed.  Anger may be called by numerous names;  it’s not always a hot passionate anger. Personally, I experience it as crankiness, impatience, anxiety, irritation, annoyance, frustration, and dissatisfaction.

For example, I may experience irritation that I’m not the most financially prosperous person.  Maybe I coveted another’s success.  Maybe I compared myself to another.  This lead to feeling that I am less than. This inner attack, completely from myself to myself, causes a reflexive defensiveness.  Like an autoimmune disorder, my ego’s actually attacking another part of my mind.  Paradoxically, there’s a desire to console the bruised angry part of myself with a bright shiny bauble.  One aspect is agitated, the other desires to soothe.  One time or another this, temporarily, “worked”.  The angry part was distracted.  But, the newness wears off.  The angry part resurfaced demanding gifts: a latte, a new skirt, another degree, it became voracious.

In Chinese Buddhism the Hungry Ghost is a revenant from someone who died traumatically, or has been neglected by their ancestors.  In a nutshell, they can be dangerous because they are permanently dissatisfied.  They haven’t found peace. However, I think of it as a metaphor for Now.  In this life there is often inability to find contentment, or as the yogi say santosha.

As I shared in my previous post, anger should be observed in its natural habitat. In the same spirit, it would behoove us to observe greed.  As mentioned, greed is often unaddressed anger.  There is an abrasion, an irritation, a tapping finger, a stomping foot buried at various layers.  I am not getting what I want!  I deserve this thing!  Argh!

As my dear teacher says, “witness everything!”  Pause, notice when you feel you can’t have enough.  It is that easy.  You just have to practice.  We just choose to ignore and be possessed by the feeling with trying to satisfy it.   Ask yourself, “will this bring me peace?” “Will this bring me closer to Joy?”  Use whatever term describes yourself when there’s no problem to solve.  If the answer is “yes”, I suggest you proceed. No one outside of you can answer this.  Watch the urges.  They are insidious.  They rear their ugly head in a split second.  One minute you enjoying a meal at the dinner table then the inner spoiled child wants another piece of cake.  It’s stomping its foot.  Will it bring you love? You are already the embodiment of love.  No piece of cake and add to that.


​Master  Peace


Slipping Away
So fleeting this awareness
So palpable sometimes
like a thing I can possess
and others it’s a wisp
breezing through my fingers
my strong, capable hands
try to grab hold
try to keep it close

my heart needs to
so it can find the strength
to take the next breath
please help me remain
convinced that it is all worth it
or that ALL is what I think IT is

Help me rend this idea
from the physical trappings
of a limited, falsely
entitled physical mind
and let the freedom
pervade every thought,
which is in and of itself
a tribute to a perfect time,
a perfect place, a perfect peace
that’s an indefinable wisp
breezing through my fingers


Part 8: 30 Days of Peace

Yoga is a Continuum of Theory and Practice


Part 6 of “How do you Qualify Yoga?”; this should have been Part 5. I accidentally skipped a section… Oops

We will, ultimately, put this whole series on its own page in the menu bar. In addition to guest contributors, we’ll be moving older post into pages that can more easily be accessed for future reading.

This is probably my favorite post in this series. It reminds me of a quote I learned almost twenty years ago, when I was a member of Siddha Yoga, “Muktananda, put down the book and meditate”.

We live in an amazing time where information is accessible instantaneously. If you’re like me, attachments are a real issue, a hindrance as the Buddhist described them, even attachment to more “knowledge”. I can easily find myself listening to an audiobook during my commute, taking numerous workshops, and trying out new techniques.

It’s not that this is wrong–it’s simply that it is, according to Ma Tri, “mere knowledge”.  Furthermore, the quest for acquisition is insatiable–whether it is material or intellectual.

According to the Yoga Sutra 1.7, there are three ways of gathering correct knowledge, “…there are three ways of gaining correct knowledge (pramana): 1) perception, 2) inference, and 3) testimony or verbal communication from others who have knowledge”.

Swami J goes further to explain, “…you should not believe what you hear, but should seek direct experience… The second part is that of reasoning, whereby you want that experience to be understood in the light of your own inference or reasoning. The third part is that you seek the validation through some respected authority or testimony [scripture]… When you can get these three to converge, meaning that experience, reasoning, and authoritative validation all agree with one another, then you know, and you know that you know…”

Swami J draws a metaphor of Yoga Meditation and mastery of an instrument.  A virtuoso knows the technique and theory; but, the also play from the heart.

My teacher will often appear cryptic when I ask a question, recently, when I was perplexed he said, “You’ll find it in the light of Atman”.  In other words, I needed to go inside–I am the one I am seeking after all.

Swami Rama described us scientists and encouraged us to “experiment” on ourselves.

The Buddha famously explained, his path was working for him.  But, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.

But, how will you know if you don’t go inside–often?