Choose life.
Choose a job.
Choose a career.
Choose a family.
Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, smartphones & electrical tin openers…
Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance.
Choose fixed interest mortgage payments.
Choose a starter home
Choose your friends
Choose leisurewear and matching luggage.
Choose a three-piece suit in a range of fucking fabrics
Choose DIY and wonder who the fuck you are on Sunday mornings.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing games shows, stuffing junk food and alcohol into your mouth.
Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves.
Choose your future.
Choose life
Trainspotting
1996

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The Hungry Ghost Realm
The Bhavachakra, the Buddhist Wheel of Life is a mandala – a complex picture representing the Buddhist view of the universe. The wheel is divided into 6 realms. Each realm is populated by characters representing aspects of human existence – our various ways of being. There is the realm of the gods, the demigods, humans, animals, hell and lastly, the realm of the hungry ghosts.

The inhabitants of the Hungry Ghost Realm are depicted as creatures with scrawny necks, small mouths, emaciated limbs and large, bloated, empty bellies. This is the domain of addiction, where we constantly seek, and rely upon, something outside to curb an insatiable yearning for relief or fulfilment.The aching emptiness is perpetual because the substances, objects or pursuits we hope will soothe it are not what we really need. We don’t know what we need, and so long as we stay in the hungry ghost mode, we’ll never know. We haunt our lives without being fully present.

My Hungry Ghost ‘phase’, circa 2002
The Sanskrit word for “hungry ghost” is “preta”,
which means “departed one”.

 

We all suffer and struggle with our very own version of hungry ghost syndrome, and some, if not many dwell much of their lives in one realm or another. Many of us may even bounce between the realms in the course of a single day. Reflecting on my own experiences a decade or so ago, I now realise I often moved back and forwards between them. I think my own ‘hungry ghost phase’ was an attempt to escape my own ‘hell realm‘ that I had created for myself at the time.

We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have desires & vices. As author & addiction specialist Dr Gabor Maté said “No society can understand itself without looking at its shadow side. I believe there is one addiction process, whether it is manifested in the lethal substance dependencies of my Downtown Eastside (Vancouver) heroin patients; the frantic self-soothing of overeaters or shopaholics; the obsessions of gamblers, sexaholics and compulsive Internet users; or the socially acceptable and even admired behaviours of the workaholic.”

As I’ve eluded to previous posts, we’re all pretty much addicted to something, and as my maté Dr Maté said, it doesn’t necessarily need to be booze and drugs.

The interesting thing is, and something as adults we can tend to conveniently overlook, is that even our most seemingly innocuous addictions & vices are not only self-induced, but we tolerate and justify them. Our very efficient brains have reframed these decades repeated behaviours as socialising or a self-reward – and that’s when we get stuck – because we find ourselves defaulting to these behaviours at every opportune moment…whether celebrating or commiserating, if it’s sunny or raining, if the kids are awake or asleep, or if we’re just plain exhausted.

Always hungry, wanting something different, but replicating the same behaviours day in, day out we miss out on the life that is right here.
Living a life of constant disquiet & absorbed in distraction, we fail to afford ourselves the precious resource of quiet reflection-time to ‘seek & see’ where & how we can recalibrate, and present ourselves with the life we deserve. A life we’ve actually chosen, rather than continually yearning for relief from distractions that just keep us insatiable and hungry for more, more, more…

Ask yourself: How many more summers do you have left to live?

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I’d love your feedback, so please do not hesitate to let me know your thoughts.
As always, please feel free to comment & share.

Anyone that wants to catch up via Skype, zoom, or smoke signals do not hesitate to connect with me via email on luke@myfutureself.com.au

 

Feel like being distracted?

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Thank you
Luke 🙏