I am thinking about hunger this morning.
David Hinton, an American poet and Chinese translator, wrote a book called “Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape”. I read the book both voraciously and laboriously (it was quite scholarly in sections).
He talked about the ancient Chinese poets and how they sought to inhabit the constant-flow-of-things. He also spoke of the hunger which drives the world and the ways we seek to fulfill it.
Hunger is no stranger to any of us. Even if our plates lie heaped in fruits, vegetables, tasty morsels of meat, whipped cream desserts, we often experience hunger for creativity, love, peace, happiness. We maneuver through our days attempting to satisfy an inner ghost who wants, wants, wants.
More, more, more, the mind whispers.
Much of this life I experienced waking up with a deep inner hunger. It manifested as restlessness, not-knowing-what-to-do, a deep pang in the heart buried beneath everyday ritual and manifestation.
In younger days I often drove to town to eat breakfast. It seemed the only temporary appeasement to that fierce hunger for something which could not be satisfied by eggs and toast. Usually it found wings when scribbling in a notebook, sipping coffee, attempting to express the inexpressible.
In recent years, intensely observing human mind and nature, it appears that so many of our actions fuel from hunger. The mind wanders restless, seeking to create the next new experience, the next new love, the next appearance.
It’s our gift. The energy moves us forward into the dreams we create for ourselves.
Yet, this hunger is also our burden, especially when it beats fierce and strong like a roaring lion in our chest. It demands appeasement. It wanders through unconscious fields and devours the sheep within us.
Is there a hierarchy of hunger, I wonder? Is there a way that hunger matures within us? Can we make a place for it, a valley of allowing?
Is hunger mostly unconscious in our youth, beneath our understanding and guidance? Can it be met as a friend, perhaps even lover, coaxed into the sunlight? Does it turn from crawling to walking like a babe?
Can our raw hunger be transformed into a hunger for *what is*? Can it dance between dreaming and presence without turning it into a demon? Can the lion of it prowl on our inner prairies, majestic, unafraid, turning us again and again and again toward what matters so dearly?
I want to ask your experiences with hunger, but it seems like many of us protect this inner rawness so fiercely. It’s rarely mentioned, even to ourselves. Our vulnerability quivers here in this place where hunger can not be met by anything of this world. We cover it up with words, paragraphs, explanations, rationalizations.
I sit here on Hunger Mountain this morning and feel it. The lion roars.
The day beckons forward.