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Disappointment and Self-realization

Empty Swings and Chairs
Episode No. 235

Shambhavi lays out two kinds of disappointment: the disappointment we encounter as we start to wake up and the disappointment associated with Hungry Ghost karmic vision. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Question: I saw a quote that for practitioners disappointment is your greatest friend and very valuable. But I’ve been noticing a different type of disappointment I have with things in life in general. It feels Hungry Ghost-y. Can you talk about that?

Shambhavi: Yeah, that’s a great question, two different kinds of disappointment. So as in all things, there’s a continuum of all phenomenon that we experience in our lives. There’s a more enlightened version of something. And then there’s a more contracted, karmically-bound version of the same thing.

We’re disappointed in other people. We’re disappointed in circumstances. That’s the contracted version, and I’ll explain why in a minute.

Then there’s this other kind of disappointment that comes at different junctures in our spiritual life. That’s disappointment that our karmas are not actually how things are. In other words, we start to have more clear seeing. And then we can become disappointed in what we see because it represents that what we saw before was not actually how things are.

So we can get a temporary feeling of disappointment. But that’s actually leading to having more equanimity about how things are. When we get through that little sandhi of disappointment like—Oh being the best at things really isn’t going to solve my problems. My whole strategy that I’ve been employing my whole life of trying to be the best at everything is not actually going to bring me contentment. And it doesn’t actually even mean anything. It’s like oh [sad moan]—So there’s that kind of disappointment.

But then there’s this other thing that’s more on the contracted part of the continuum. It’s about perpetuating a feeling that nothing is satisfying. And that relates directly to Hungry Ghost karmic realm vision. Hungry Ghost is a feeling of lack, a feeling of missing out. It’s like karmic FOMO.