Tara Brach talks about Working with Addiction. She started with the story of the Hungry Ghosts. Attachments and addictions are hooks that pull us away from awareness.
Working with addiction mindfully is a powerful way of getting to the root of the pain that rests beneath whatever addictions someone might be struggling with. Tara Brach explores this in her talk, ‘Working with Addiction,’ opening up with insights into the Hungry Ghosts.
The term ‘the realm of the hungry ghosts’ comes from Buddhist cosmology, which reflects the state of never being content, of endless desire, or of a chronic sense of something being missing. In this state, there is an unconscious sense that a need is not being met, so we end up engaging in habitual behaviours or substances in an attempt to fill that need. From sugar to shopping to sex, there are numerous ways we might try to fill this longing. This is the hungry ghost within us.
Working with Addiction
Becoming mindful of our own hungry ghosts is the first step to mindfully maneuvering our way to the other side of addiction. Depending on our personal experience and the severity of the addiction, we might require professional support in this process, in addition to our personal self-exploration of what lies at the root of the challenge. The first step is a deepened sense of self-awareness and presence, which we can harness by exploring a variety of mindfulness exercises that enhance our awareness of the present moment and the energies within us. Loving kindness and self-compassion exercises can also fuel our personal growth during this recovery process in soft and soothing ways.