Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/12/2014

Strange Day

I woke up this morning and nothing seemed out of the ordinary but as I sat in meditation feelings of remorse began to surface about things I have done and my mind to a turn towards darkness. The morning continued in this way as I prepared my kids for the day ahead and, even after we left the house, I as unable to shake this heaviness of heart and what feels like a strnage perversion of perception.

Looking for the cause of the strangeness leaves me with only one real explanation: the darkness of mind has been caused by my dwelling on remorse. In such a situation I am not quite sure what to do however. What was done was blameworthy but I have forgiven myself and do not feel I am wallowing. Nonetheless the strangeness persists. It occurs to me that maybe this is just dukkha and that there really is no magic bullet except to watch it arise, change and pass away.


  1. Do you ever repeat your mantram in response to disturbing thoughts? The way I see it, we experience whatever it is we give our attention to. The thoughts loom big in our perception because we are staring at them. If we focus somewhere else, then they recede. A mantram is a safe place to keep one’s attention; the inner vibrations arising from a mantram are healing and uplifting, strengthening and calming. If you have the presence of mind to turn to your mantram when disturbing thoughts arise, you might experience relief from the thoughts by redirecting your awareness.

    • Thank you for your kind reply. I have often turned to the use of a mantram or meditation word in the past but felt that, on this occasion, to have done so would have been an attempt to escape from the reality of the dukkha. It is difficult for me to know when to look and when to cultivate another, more skillful perception and is perhaps where the difficulty lies for many of us attempting to practice Right Effort as it manifests in appropriate attention (yoniso manosikara). Thank you for the reminder, however, that there is always more than one way to approach a situation. Mettaya!

  2. Yes, I can see what you mean about attempting to escape from the reality of the dukkha, and wanting instead to address it, that it may be healed and released. For me, I’m learning that once I become aware of the dukkha, just this awareness alone is the key to transmuting it. To become aware of any suffering is now the doorway to peace. Becoming aware of the pain, to acknowledge it, and then to let the energy out of it the same way I would let air out of a balloon–this is how I’m attempting to address my dukkha these days. To withdraw the attention I’m giving a painful thought means that I reclaim this energy to be directed toward something good. This act, in my mind, constitutes right effort. If I dwell in the impermanence, and am caught in an experience of suffering, my mind will not be available to contemplate the being that connects us all. For me, repetition of the mantram is a direct line back to my spiritual center, the mindfulness bell that tolls from within, now is the moment. Thank you for the conversation; it is helpful.

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