When I am triggered to engage in an activity that is harmful to myself or others, to do the habitual thing that always leads to suffering, how do I refrain?
First, I need to identify the trigger. For me, it’s usually an impulse, a thought with a juicy, seductive nature that lures me in. I call her my hungry ghost. She wants poisonous foods, or to be angry, to be perfect, or to engage in a loop of negative self-talk and toxic judgement.
First, I need to pause and breathe; be an unattached witness; bring mindfulness in….turn to my star.
Where is my star?
My star is within.
What will bring me toward my star?
Being fully present.
What is my real need that’s not being met? What do I really want in this moment?
Be a witness…. What am I really feeling underneath the impulse?
I’m feeling bored, lonely, tired, overwhelmed, sad or angry.
Will engaging in this harmful activity really satisfy my underlying needs?
No, it never does.
What will satisfy my needs?
To feel connected, loved, purposeful, engaged, worthy.
How is feeding my ghost going to bring that about?
What is the inevitable result when I feed her?
The continuing loop of shame and self-loathing.
How do I break the loop, the habit?
Embrace my hungry ghost. Meet her with loving-kindness and compassion. Hating my hungry ghost only strengthens her power over me.
Be a witness. Be present. Take a moment to breathe and ask myself the questions above.
Then go do something else.
Take a walk, meditate, tell someone I love them, eat something alive with nutrients, get off social media and pick up that book I’ve been wanting to read, take a nap. Do anything that truly feeds my soul.
This is the practice to heal my hungry ghost. I vow to nurture myself this year and to find balance.
What is your vow for the year to come?