Raghu is joined by Dr. Gabor Maté for a conversation about the Hungry Ghost Realm of addiction and healing from trauma with compassionate inquiry.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts (Opening)
Having worked as a doctor in Vancouver, BC, which has one North America’s worst drug abuse problems, Gabor Maté has been exposed to so many patients suffering from addiction. He and Raghu discuss the connection between addiction, in its many forms, and what Buddhist philosophy refers to as the Hungry Ghost Realm.
“The hungry ghosts are depicted as these creatures with large empty bellies and small scrawny necks with narrow gullets and small mouths. No matter what they do they cannot ever fill that emptiness inside, and that relates to me as the realm of addiction.” – Dr. Gabor Maté
Raghu dives deeper into the Hungry Ghost Realm along with the other realms of Samsara on Ep. 168 of the Mindrolling Podcast with guest David Nichtern.
Healing Trauma, Breaking Addiction (09:50)
Gabor talks about the role of trauma in addiction. He shares his own traumatic experiences being a Jew born in Nazi-occupied Hungary. Raghu and Gabor also discuss the ways that trauma and suffering are handed down from parent to child.
“What the addiction really is, is the attempt to solve a problem in your life; the problem of not knowing how to handle the distress or the difficulty of life. So my question around addiction is not why the addiction, but why the pain and now we are looking at trauma.” – Dr. Gabor Maté
Listen to Gabor speak more about addiction and recovery with Chris Grosso on Ep. 38 of the Indie Spiritualist Podcast.
The Pursuit of Desire (25:15)
In the book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Gabor writes about the drive behind addictions. He and Raghu discuss how the energetic charge behind addiction is more about desire than attainment.
“In the addicted mode, the emotional charge is in the pursuit and acquisition of the desired object, not in the possession and enjoyment of it. The greatest pleasure is in the momentary satisfaction of yearning.” – Dr. Gabor Maté
Equal Parts Honest and Compassion (29:50)
Gabor talks about how we can look at ourselves in an honest and constructive way by practicing compassionate inquiry.
Psychology of Spiritual Seeking (37:25)
The spiritual path is a way to transform some of the wounded natures that we all grow up with. Gabor speaks about this and the risks of spiritual materialism that come along with it.
“The psychology of spiritual seeking is a delicate balance. There has to be an openness and a curiosity, but that drivenness you have to watch. That drivenness itself gets in the way of what you are seeking.” – Dr. Gabor Maté
Getting Real (45:00)
Gabor and Raghu close with a conversation about getting real with ourselves and the need for authenticity.