All kinds of events, big and small, happen : good, bad, tragic, amazing.
When something – anything, almost – happens, there is an emotional response. Happiness, grief, sadness, anger, joy, fear. However, what I’ve noticed, is that many of the beautiful business women I know, tense up and try and move away from the emotions that rise up if they are outside of a certain threshold of comfort. Especially the less desirable emotions – like grief, shame, and anger.
Emotions tend to trigger a sense of wobbly insecurity, creating a cascade of thoughts and fears that amplify, or drown out, the original emotion, making us even more uncomfortable as they pull us out of the present moment.
- What if I don’t get the gig?
- What if it doesn’t get better than this?
- What if it’s always going to be this way?
- It’s too much.
- Is someone going to hate it? Will I be criticized?
- I’m not good enough.
And on and on.
Here come the ghosts.
In eastern thought, hungry ghosts are beings who are driven by insatiable desire with no hope of satisfaction. They are unable to appreciate the present moment, they are so desperate to get more of what they want, in their attempt to escape the pain of the past. They look outside of themselves, endlessly seeking an outward fix for a need that can only be addressed internally.
Ugh. Sounds horrible.
But we all respond like hungry ghosts to some degree or another – we all have our preferred distraction that we use to put distance between ourselves and our emotions. I personally have used reading, work, shopping, alcohol, cigarettes, exercise, yoga, meditation, knitting, food, and probably more – to distance myself from truly experiencing feelings and their attendant beliefs.
What I have seen in my clients, and experienced myself, is that feeding the hungry ghost repeatedly denies us true freedom. When we are feeding the ghost, we don’t make choices based on our authentic, heart-felt desires – we make choices based on unconscious ripples of emotion (often fear) based on false assumptions and beliefs that we pointedly ignore.
When we feed the ghost, there is never enough.
We think, when I get x, THEN I will be happy. When I make THIS much, then I will feel secure. After I get married, then I will have self-esteem. Once my business is doing well, then I’ll relax and have fun. An endless searching and grasping for THE THING outside of us that will finally bring us a sense of peace, abundance, prosperity, okay-ness, and safety. Feeding the ghost becomes a habit, a pattern of distraction that becomes painful in and of itself.
Because it never brings us what we want.
An internal problem cannot be solved with an external solution.
The more we feed the ghost with endless distractions the more painful and empty we feel. And though it may not feel like it, honestly, this is good news. This cycle points us in the direction of ourselves, in the direction of freedom. We ultimately have the choice to create a different experience. We have to choice to either distract ourselves from this moment, or tend the needs of this moment.
We are given an opportunity, every time some ‘thing’ happens that surfaces a strong emotion. We are given a chance to change our destiny and choose to feel what needs to be felt and look deeply at what we really believe. When we stay with whatever is happening in the present moment, that is where our healing and our power are. That is where our deep and abiding contentment live.
Don’t feed the ghosts.
Be compassionate. Be fearless. Be willing to lovingly practice as you kick the ghost habit. This is where freedom begins and success flows from.
Namasté to you, business yoginis!
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