Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Like Hungry Ghosts*

"Like hungry ghosts*, they come creeping in the night, using other people as their food. Darkness and ignorance are their true friends" -- a simple mind

In the war of hearts how do we harm
one another? Are things really so difficult that it is necessary that we battle and injure one another? Must we engage in forgiveness, like a band-aid, ever at the ready? In the way of the West, we live "east of Eden". Cast from the garden, the darker forces of the world engage in every opportunity for confusion and obfuscation in the bid to gain the upper hand of ones' souls. The Evil One, enticing, hitches up like Pinocchio to a wagon, pulling it along in dark bidding. Donkeys they are, on a path of disaster.

While dramatic in its depiction,
a number of bible stories expose the work of the world, in its darker paths as one of gloom and despair, not unlike animals hitched to an eternal wagon, slavishly pulling it about the heavens. The ancients clearly saw the folly of such a scene. The forces of evil pull us away from the light, from what is for the good. And that brings the wonder of the Christ story to western minds. The Christ story teaches us forgiveness which penetrates the dark, the unconscious, the forgotten places; places where we hid away shame, somber and unfeeling. Free by this redemption, we are retrieved to leap with love.

Authors Allender and Longman write in their book, Bold Love, "One reason that we are so easily blinded by the vital importance of forgiveness is our penchant to deny" that we struggle, that we war with our self and with others. We will value forgiveness when we see the purpose of its relation to the Divine; it becomes the foundation for the comprehension of the goodness that divinity offers, and hope for the fallen.

When a lonely, alone feeling overtakes us in the dark of night some turn to others for a quick, easy escape. They think like the donkeys in Pinocchio there is an easy route out. But there are no shortcuts.
Relationships are messy. While we may see that "plank in your eye," we cannot always perceive the very same plank in our own. Thus writes authors Allender and Longman, "harm comes from those who use anger to harm us... to insult... to assault us... but minimizing the assaults of others rarely, if ever, enables us to deal with anger."

There is the passionate, driving desire for more... desires to possess... through rarely satisfied in a way that acknowledges the loneliness, the empty ache inside... Often the resulting emotion is anger or rage. In the case of children, for example, they are vulnerable and dependent upon adults for their well being. The abandonment of a child is abuse; "the profound omission of involvement, or the equally destructive commission of shaming a child is abuse." paraphrased

The parent betrays a child by means of abandonment and shame. The family unit is demeaned. Children such treated may come to find other means to stave off loneliness or aloneness. Some find it in food, others in cruelty, others in deviant behaviors. Still the aching hole remains. Often a murderous rage simmers within their souls. Some find temporary, though false, relief in relationships. As adults they engage in the "use of other people as food for their empty souls." Like hungry ghosts, they lust to gain satisfaction for their lack.

If we can see for one second, remove
our own "planks", we are imbued with the light of the Creator, a desire to glory in the Divine, and that brings us full circle to the value of forgiveness for those whose anger, murderous rage and contempt have been harmful.
That we may find redemption and a new, clean heart to begin again, to accept good and reject evil.
"You want something, but you don't get it; you kill and you covet." James 4:2

* The psychological terms "codependent" or "love addict" are also used; here, "hungry ghost" is preferred for its clearer, more spiritual meaning.

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