How To Feed The Hungry Heart

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Many people go through life with a strong desire for love, attention, recognition, and achievement. Despite receiving these things, they often find it difficult to feel content and fulfilled. Though they may temporarily satisfy their needs, the hunger for more persists. It is common to find looking forward to the future in anticipation of fulfilling one’s dreams. Many believe that tommorrow will bring them closer to their desired destination, whether it be landing a new job, experiencing favorable circumstances, or meeting their perfect partner unexpectedly.

When tomorrow arrives, it will be a new day, similar to the present one. Without understanding the significance of today and how to embrace it completely and authentically, our desired fulfillment remains elusive. In Zen teachings, this state is likened to taht of a hungry ghost – a person feasting at a banquet yet unable to savor the food, feel satisfied, or gain nourishment from it.

The good news is that we can learn to eat, digest and be nourished by all that comes to us. Zen practice is about stopping the merry go round of our minds and heart.

We take our attention off the prizes we think are waiting for us, off being good enough someday, and realize we’re good enough now. At this very moment we are that which we seek so fervently.

How To Take The First STep

Take a Brief Pause Already

Practice involves pausing our regular activities and routines to take a moment to breathe. We need to shift our focus to the present moment and become aware of, which is often taken for granted. By focusing on our breath, we can center ourselves and be fully present in the current moment.

Our very existence relies on the subtle yet vital act of inhaling and exhaling. It’s remarkable how often we overlook the significance of this fundamental process. This tendency to underestimate the importance of certain aspects in our lives begs the question: what other essential elements do we neglect to appreciate?

Exercise: Paying Attention

Consider for a moment what you pay attention to all day long. What seems important to you, what do you take for granted and hardly attend to at all? Write it down. Do not judge your answers. Be honest adn simple. As you keep track all week long, you’ll be amazed at what claims your attention, what you give your life force to.

Most of us spend our lives paying attention to the dreams created by our racing, scheming minds. We allow this Monkey Mind to rule us. The monkey mind is the mind that hops from person to person, job to job, desire to desire, thought to thought. It always wants more, never feels good and doesn’t now how to say thank you.

This mental chatterbox is notorious for its non-stop commentary, specializing in fault-finding, criticizing, and judging every aspect of our lives. At times, its vocal opinions dominate our thoughts, while at others, it temporarily subsides. This restless mind fixates on trifles, yet remains clueless about how to attain the very things it deeply desires.

To satiate our deep-seated longings, we need to develop the ability to identify and quiet the incessant chatter of our minds, shift our awareness away from it, and redirect our concentration towards what truly matters.

Exercise: Stop The Monkey Mind

Take some time to familiarize yourself with how the Monkey Mind is fucntioning in your daily life. Many our troubles are a result of this aspect The initial step involves developing awareness. Rather than despising, rejecting, or attempting to eliminate it, simply acknowledge its presence. By doing so, you diminish its influence. By cultivating a friendly relationship with this aspect of yourself, you assist it in calming down and assuming its rightful position. Through attentiveness and staying present, you will gradually reconnect with your authentic self. This part of you embodies truth, kindness, and clarity. As this aspect of yourself expands, the challenges of everyday life will undergo a transformation. Life will take on a renewed sense of freshness, and new opportunities will naturally present themselves to you.

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