I started an online leadership course on the 3rd of January and I finished it yesterday. I was so excited about finishing the course so I could add a new certificate to my collection. I went through the course visualizing my name boldly written on my certificate that I forgot I was learning. I was absorbing the leadership models they taught, I memorized it actually but I felt like I would only be a fraud until I got the certificate to prove that I learnt something. The actual knowledge probably came along with the certificate.
But then, I finished the course and till evening my certificate never showed up. I was not comfortable. I was so restless because of it and I sent a mail complaining about it and till now I haven’t gotten a response from them. I still couldn’t get myself to be comfortable about the situation so I took a long walk listening to music along the way. By the time I was done, it became very clear why I felt unease. It was simply because my ego was hungry. It was disappointed. What did I even need the certificate in the first place? Post it on social media and have the satisfaction of people probably look at me as busy or have something they don’t have, blah blah blah.
It took my mind to something I once read about a Chinese Buddhists belief in hungry ghosts. Buddhists being very rich in imagery say a hungry ghost is a creature with a big empty stomach and a thin long throat and a pinhole-sized mouth. “Hungry ghosts are unable to take in or assimilate what they desperately need. The problem lies in their constricted throats- which cannot open for nourishment. They wander aimlessly in search of relief that is not forthcoming.”
I have always argued that the human being has selfishness inherent in her nature. We all get visited by this hungry ghosts, it all lies in how long we allow them to stay. If internalized cripples our being, making us blind to the fact that what we already have might be enough and we never stop to be grateful for it. We just got a job, we are thinking of a higher position, we have a partner and we are bothered about kids etc. The ego- in itself- does not want to be second to anyone and all it cares about is attention whether it comes in a positive and negative way.
I held on to that course to make me feel good about myself atheist temporarily but the hungry ghosts come crying when things don’t go as they planned? I decided to also post this as a creative, it applies to my life as well, what happens when you put your hopes on a project you pick up and people don’t appreciate the work you put out there. You are a writer but the internal longing for more pushes you for a more form of validation a sort of permanent proof like a creative writing course to feed your ego and stabilize its hunger and then you realize when you’re done that it is not enough. Then another cycle of endless longing and attachment begins. Everything is not always about you in fact if you don’t succeed at something, people will only talk about it only a couple of days, months, at most a year and then everyone returns to feeding their hunger ghosts. This little revelation made me feel better yesterday and I hope it makes whoever is reading this- probably feeling stuck like I was- feel better