I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

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I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Mehdi » Thu May 15, 2014 3:42 pm

Hello,

I had a revelation a few years ago when I stumbled upon the essence of Dhamma after longs years of spiritual search.
To make a long story short, I lived a very stressful life, and I shifted. I changed. Deeply. However, Now I am not able to get "really" excited by things anymore. I became somehow "jaded". Though i feel happy and peaceful inside. I often look thoughtful. Tough, I do laugh a lot and show joy, i am a cheerful person generally, I love to practice sport, eat good food... But still, I feel like I do not have energy left for all that "messing around" that occupy usual people's lifes.

Lately i was on a trip abroad with my girlfriend. It was an ordeal. First off, she wanted to visit everything compulsively. She felt like if she did not do every single thing that was described in the tourist guide she would not take advantage of the trip. As far as I was concerned, to be honest, I could just stay in the hostel and take rest, visit a few things around, and be happy and satisfied with it. She boldly told me I was good for nothing. because I was indifferent, and slow... She called me a vegetable. It did not hurt me, but it made me think. She might be right in some way. For example, I am still a bit ambitious professionally, but, to be honest, my motivation was drastically dragged down. I only work to make a living now, and my corporate work has no deep meaning to me. So i just do it. I feel like nothing is really important after all. I just concentrate on fulfilling basic needs and spiritual life. All the rest is flourish.

Question is
, have I become a "vegetable" ? My job makes me tired. I wake up way too early every day and sleep relatively late. I take secret naps during the working day because I feel too tired. So when I have free time, sleeping and meditating are my favorite activities. And i am not ashamed at all. I'm totally ok with it. I was just wondering if there was another way of doing things, should I pull myself together or just let go...
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 15, 2014 3:55 pm

Mehdi wrote: because I was indifferent,


Image

Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. It sounds like you just need some more energy; perhaps with a healthy diet, some exercise, or something else to improve your energy. Viriya (energy) is listed 9 times in the 37 factors of enlightenment (more than any other quality).
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu May 15, 2014 5:42 pm

If practising the Dhamma doesn't lead to world weariness, then you're not doing it right.

The Path to Nibbāna

“Surely the path that leads to worldly gain is one,
and the path that leads to nibbāna is another;
understanding this, the monk, the disciple of the Buddha,
should not rejoice in worldly favours, but cultivate detachment.” (Dhp v 75)

Associating with the worldly is tiresome. It is better to stay alone than to associate with fools. There is no end to sight-seeing, and pointless activities. If you're active and diligent in doing some useful work for social welfare that's excellent, but in the pursuit of sensual pleasures it's better to be lazy.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby waterchan » Thu May 15, 2014 6:04 pm

Mehdi wrote:Lately i was on a trip abroad with my girlfriend. It was an ordeal. First off, she wanted to visit everything compulsively. She felt like if she did not do every single thing that was described in the tourist guide she would not take advantage of the trip. As far as I was concerned, to be honest, I could just stay in the hostel and take rest, visit a few things around, and be happy and satisfied with it. She boldly told me I was good for nothing. because I was indifferent, and slow... She called me a vegetable.


I have nothing against sightseeing and a bit of sense indulgence, but having to do "every single thing that was described in the tourist guide" sounds extremely obsessive, if that is quite literally what you meant. As a Dhamma practitioner, it's natural for you to have less of an obsession, and that is healthy.

But your story leads me to wonder if this is a new girlfriend or an unplanned trip. One would definitely know and be prepared for the obsessive tendencies of their partner if one had been in that relationship for six months or more.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby SDC » Thu May 15, 2014 6:29 pm

waterchan wrote:But your story leads me to wonder if this is a new girlfriend or an unplanned trip. One would definitely know and be prepared for the obsessive tendencies of their partner if one had been in that relationship for six months or more.


Same thoughts here. Sounds like this is more of a case of you and her not being on the same page than a situation which requires you to question your practice.

The lay life does require some engagement and in some cases sacrifice and compromise. If you frequently engage in an indifferent, borderline uncooperative manner then you may end up missing a very important lesson about selflessness, and unknowingly reinforce a good deal of selfishness.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby santa100 » Thu May 15, 2014 6:41 pm

Mehdi wrote:First off, she wanted to visit everything compulsively. She felt like if she did not do every single thing that was described in the tourist guide she would not take advantage of the trip...She boldly told me I was good for nothing. because I was indifferent, and slow... She called me a vegetable

In order to have a stable and long lasting relationship, you'd need a good partner who's willing to understand, support and care about you. From the highlighted parts above, even if it might just be her brief moment of anger, you should seriously take a closer look to see if she's really the right partner who's willing to support you and your cultivation of Dhamma practice in the long run. Else, confidently march on alone like a proud "rhinoceros".
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Aloka » Thu May 15, 2014 6:55 pm

Question is, have I become a "vegetable" ? My job makes me tired. I wake up way too early every day and sleep relatively late. I take secret naps during the working day because I feel too tired. So when I have free time, sleeping and meditating are my favorite activities. And i am not ashamed at all. I'm totally ok with it. I was just wondering if there was another way of doing things, should I pull myself together or just let go...Mehdi


I think it would be a really good idea (as David has already mentioned) to review your diet and levels of nutrition and also to have a daily exercise plan. You might then begin to feel more alert and energised.

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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Viscid » Thu May 15, 2014 7:21 pm

Pesala wrote:Associating with the worldly is tiresome. It is better to stay alone than to associate with fools. There is no end to sight-seeing, and pointless activities.

While this attitude is ideal for monks striving diligently toward Nibbana, it doesn't seem appropriate for those invested in lay life. Someone who has a simultaneous regard for radical dispassion and involvement in worldly affairs is in a state of conflict.

Mehdi seems lethargic. Such a lethargy could be rationalized as the result of an admirable spiritual practice, but such a rationalization may be dangerous, as lethargy should be remedied, not glorified. The difference between lethargic anhedonia and the dispassion of renunciation is in intent: If Mehdi put everything aside because he came to the rational conclusion that total liberation was the primary goal he wished to strive toward, then that's one thing.. but if his condition was unintentionally brought on, and is interfering with the life he wishes to live, and the relationships he wishes to maintain, then that indifference is a serious problem.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu May 15, 2014 7:56 pm

Viscid wrote:
Pesala wrote:Associating with the worldly is tiresome. It is better to stay alone than to associate with fools. There is no end to sight-seeing, and pointless activities.

While this attitude is ideal for monks striving diligently toward Nibbana, it doesn't seem appropriate for those invested in lay life. Someone who has a simultaneous regard for radical dispassion and involvement in worldly affairs is in a state of conflict.

I wonder why you removed the "Bhikkhu" from my name?

Whether one is a Bhikkhu or a lay person, one should strive towards achieving nibbāna, and one should avoid foolish worldly people who are only interested in the pursuit of sensual pleasures.

Especially in the choice of a marriage partner, one should choose someone with similar aims, or there will be lifelong conflict. It is rare to find a couple, even where both partners are Buddhists, who share equal devotion to the Dhamma, but at least if Dhamma practice is encouraged rather than being obstructed or scorned by one partner, they can get along together well enough.

In working for any business where the aim is to make money, there is conflict with the Dhamma from the beginning. A lay person may have little choice about that, having to take whatever employment they can get. However, girlfriends and boyfriends, and other close associates are a free choice. Unless there are already children, no one is under any obligation to marry an unsuitable partner.

It would be better to stay single than to marry the wrong person. I have seen many cases of couples who argue constantly, beat each other up, or go their separate ways. It's not a good marriage unless there is tolerance, harmony, and co-operation.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 15, 2014 7:59 pm

There's been some good advice for Mehdi in this thread. My favorites:

santa100 wrote:From the highlighted parts above, even if it might just be her brief moment of anger, you should seriously take a closer look to see if she's really the right partner who's willing to support you and your cultivation of Dhamma practice in the long run.


David N. Snyder wrote:It sounds like you just need some more energy; perhaps with a healthy diet, some exercise, or something else to improve your energy. Viriya (energy) is listed 9 times in the 37 factors of enlightenment (more than any other quality).


If you're tired and bored all the time, there's something up with your practice, your lifestyle, or most likely both. You've got to find the balance that's right for you and that means not going to extremes.

You're asking people on an internet forum who don't know you whether we think you're a vegetable. To me, that's extreme and indicative of strong doubt.

May you be well.
Peace,
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby seeker242 » Thu May 15, 2014 9:54 pm

Mehdi wrote:
Lately i was on a trip abroad with my girlfriend. It was an ordeal. First off, she wanted to visit everything compulsively. She felt like if she did not do every single thing that was described in the tourist guide she would not take advantage of the trip. As far as I was concerned, to be honest, I could just stay in the hostel and take rest, visit a few things around, and be happy and satisfied with it.


Just thinking out loud here. :smile: Did having to go out of the hostel and go see things, make you unhappy and unsatisfied? If so, why? Did you have a preference for staying there and not doing much? And because your preference was not being met, it became an "ordeal"? If it really doesn't matter, then why would it matter if you stayed there or went sightseeing? Was there "aversion" to going sightseeing? If so, why? Was there clinging to the preference to stay at the hostel? If so, why?

I don't know if you are a vegetable or not. Not enough information from an internet post. :smile: But, what I do know is that if there is dukkha in a particular situation, there must be clinging to something, somewhere in that situation. Did having to go sightseeing cause you to experience dukkha? If so, why? Those are the questions I would be asking myself personally.

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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby manas » Fri May 16, 2014 4:39 am

Hi Medhi,

it's possible to be calm and relaxed even amidst the bustle of life, too. Sure, many of us Buddhists prefer a bit more peace and calm, but it feels pretty good when you learn how to be calm even amidst noise and bustle.

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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby pegembara » Fri May 16, 2014 4:41 am

Mehdi wrote:Hello,

I had a revelation a few years ago when I stumbled upon the essence of Dhamma after longs years of spiritual search.
To make a long story short, I lived a very stressful life, and I shifted. I changed. Deeply. However, Now I am not able to get "really" excited by things anymore. I became somehow "jaded". Though i feel happy and peaceful inside. I often look thoughtful. Tough, I do laugh a lot and show joy, i am a cheerful person generally, I love to practice sport, eat good food... But still, I feel like I do not have energy left for all that "messing around" that occupy usual people's lifes.

Lately i was on a trip abroad with my girlfriend. It was an ordeal. First off, she wanted to visit everything compulsively. She felt like if she did not do every single thing that was described in the tourist guide she would not take advantage of the trip. As far as I was concerned, to be honest, I could just stay in the hostel and take rest, visit a few things around, and be happy and satisfied with it. She boldly told me I was good for nothing. because I was indifferent, and slow... She called me a vegetable. It did not hurt me, but it made me think. She might be right in some way. For example, I am still a bit ambitious professionally, but, to be honest, my motivation was drastically dragged down. I only work to make a living now, and my corporate work has no deep meaning to me. So i just do it. I feel like nothing is really important after all. I just concentrate on fulfilling basic needs and spiritual life. All the rest is flourish.

Question is
, have I become a "vegetable" ? My job makes me tired. I wake up way too early every day and sleep relatively late. I take secret naps during the working day because I feel too tired. So when I have free time, sleeping and meditating are my favorite activities. And i am not ashamed at all. I'm totally ok with it. I was just wondering if there was another way of doing things, should I pull myself together or just let go...



"For a person serene in body, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I experience pleasure.' It is in the nature of things that a person serene in body experiences pleasure.

"For a person experiencing pleasure, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my mind grow concentrated.' It is in the nature of things that the mind of a person experiencing pleasure grows concentrated.

"For a person whose mind is concentrated, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I know & see things as they actually are.' It is in the nature of things that a person whose mind is concentrated knows & sees things as they actually are.

"For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.

"For a person who feels disenchantment, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I grow dispassionate.' It is in the nature of things that a person who feels disenchantment grows dispassionate.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Crazy cloud » Fri May 16, 2014 4:45 am

Mehdi wrote:Hello,


Question is[/b], have I become a "vegetable" ? My job makes me tired. I wake up way too early every day and sleep relatively late. I take secret naps during the working day because I feel too tired. So when I have free time, sleeping and meditating are my favorite activities. And i am not ashamed at all. I'm totally ok with it. I was just wondering if there was another way of doing things, should I pull myself together or just let go...


But is your boss and your company all right with this secret?

And btw; there is always someone watching you, so there's no such thing as a "perfect crime"

Be well :)
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri May 16, 2014 8:58 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. It sounds like you just need some more energy; perhaps with a healthy diet, some exercise, or something else to improve your energy. Viriya (energy) is listed 9 times in the 37 factors of enlightenment (more than any other quality).


I would guess that David is right. I remember someone coming to this forum with similar, but more severe complaints of indifference. He complained that he could barely feel anything. People advised metta as a way of "reviving" the heart, which I would also guess it's a good advice.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 16, 2014 9:40 am

First of all, if your girlfriend cannot appreciate you and the level of your practice, perhaps she may not be the ideal partner to accompany you on your Dhamma -journey.

Secondly, it may be that your striving to transcend the samsaric plain, you have over-exerted yourself to the point of ennui and everything is blunted, monochromic and dull.... Consider the Sona sutta....

Thirdly, do not take advantage of the laxity of supervision at work.
You abuse the good nature of your employers.... You may be 'totally ok with it', but unless they condone your actions, you are stealing.
Stealing work-time and payment for what you SHOULD be doing.
Rather, regulate your rest at home, more skilfully.

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Mehdi » Fri May 16, 2014 10:35 am

Thank you all for your answers.
Just for the record, I am a sports person. I practice powerlifting and martial arts many times a week. And I watch my diet, to be clean and healthy. My weariness comes from the fact that I have the impression not to get enough sleep, waking up too early, commuting to work, coming back tired. This is a common story... Not to mention I get bored at work, and have an office job that has nothing exciting or stimulating per se. I do it cause I (think) I need it to make a living. I tried to do something I love and started a home-based activity, but got broke. So here I am again. I hold no grief. I accept my situation and am grateful for what I have.

I share what P̶e̶s̶a̶l̶a̶ Bikkhu Pesala said. Worldly things do make me weary indeed. From the early school years I always felt like that. I preferred to observe the sea, or flowers, alone, rather than getting involved in stuff that did not make any true sens to me.But as Viscid said, I am still involved in lay life, and though a monk life seems attracting to me, I know I am far from being ready for that. SO, clearly, I am in a state of conflict :/

A precision about my girlfriend. She is always abroad so we only see each other two times a month or so. This was the first trip we had. I was expecting this to happen, though, so no big surprise finally, I saw it coming. But it still was an unpleasant experience. To answer seeker242, I was ok with visiting. But I was not willing to wake up early, almost skip^breakfast, run along the city sights, etc. However I was accepting to do it for her. Fact is, this was not brought up "nicely". When I expressed my views I was almost yelled at. She was really fearing her holidays to be spoiled. So it was more of a communication issue (the way her desire and craving were expressed) and the unwillingness to compromise and cooperate.

As I stated it in my other post, I know I am not with the right partner right now. I am with her through spite. Why...
First off, being single means being abstinent, and sexual desire is really one of the roots of craving that are the most stubborn. Please don't judge me. This has been a lifelong battle for me. I have "needs". I know this doesn't feel very Dhamma-compliant. But I'm working on it. If I wait for the '"right person" I will remain abstinent for a long time, that is sure. I have to concentrate on values over good looks because I think I won't have both (just being realistic. I guess...).
Secondly, she is so attached that all my attempts to bring this to an end failed. I feel disarmed when she looks so sad. I really feel torn apart. Many times, I told her that this was not getting us anywhere. As i am writing this I feel a bit ridiculous and I apologize as this might sound so trivial.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:if Dhamma practice is encouraged rather than being obstructed or scorned by one partner, they can get along together well enough

santa100 wrote:the right partner who's willing to support you and your cultivation of Dhamma practice in the long run

Hail to that. Is there a Dhamma dating site ? :p

Mkoll wrote: You're asking people on an internet forum who don't know you whether we think you're a vegetable. To me, that's extreme and indicative of strong doubt.

lol. I did not ask this on facebook or Yahoo answers. It's dhamma wheel, not a random forum :) So I am expecting feedback from people sharing my path and more experienced into it. That's just something that I've been experiencing progressively : Disinterest of (most) worldly things. Sincerely.
I just love to observe nature. All the rest makes me yawn. I do love a few things, like composing music on my computer, and exercising. I am also very attracted to beautiful women, but I see this more as a big flaw to tackle (^^). All in all, I'm a rather cheerful person and I do enjoy life. I did not reach "the point of ennui where everything is blunted, monochromic and dull" as TheNoBSBuddhist states it. Far from that. But i feel like I've stepped off the running train and everything around me goes waaaaay too fast. I need rest, good sleep, I am less reactive to stress, but less responsive too, like I have less liveliness somehow, like being too slow.

I am looking for a good balance between dispassion, and not losing my inner energy and sinking into lethargy, as Viscid stated it :
Viscid wrote:lethargy should be remedied, not glorified.
If Mehdi put everything aside because he came to the rational conclusion that total liberation was the primary goal he wished to strive toward, then that's one thing.. but if his condition was unintentionally brought on, and is interfering with the life he wishes to live, and the relationships he wishes to maintain, then that indifference is a serious problem.

Do I really have to chose ? :) I mean, I came to the rational conclusion nothing worldly is really worth the hassle. And that complete detachment is key to happiness. However, as Bikkhu Pesala stated if, I am clearly in conflict. I still need to find balance as a lay person.

Modus.Ponens, how can metta revive my energy ?

PS : Crazy Cloud, no, nobody knows about my nasty little secret. I lock myself down in the men's room lol. But I guess a few colleagues guessed what was happening lol. I have to sleep early to avoid this. @TheNoBSBuddhist, to be honest, I am not working in family small business, it's a big investment corporation handling billions and I really feel like an insignificant drop of water in their ocean. Like an anonymous employee with a barcode on the neck. I do long hours, no breaks, and commuting. It's not like my micro naps will ruin the company. But I get your point. In order to feel "full" I need to wake up a 9. which is the time I am already in front of my computer in the office. Sleeping earlier means having less free time at home, and having only 2 or 3 hours of personal time in a day. This makes me cry inside, really. I am subject to the schism between work life and personal life. I feel like the time I spend in the office is stolen from me lol. I accept it as a necessity, no problem with that. You have to give in order to take. But I can't help trying to get the most of my free time and I end up sleeping too late every night. Is this a form of craving ? Do I have really to choose between being mostly a slave to the corporation and society / and living free and poor like a monk would do ? no other options here ? :)
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri May 16, 2014 11:44 am

I'm sorry, but I didn't read your whole post. But to answer your question, metta (to yourself and others) generates a lot of joy. When you're joyful, you have more energy. The more metta you cultivate, the more joy you'll have. Therefore, more energy.

But that's not the fundamental question in my opinion. It seems, from your first post, that you're very bored. Indifferent. I don't think renounciation and abundant joy are mutualy exclusive.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby waterchan » Fri May 16, 2014 11:51 am

Mehdi wrote:...and having only 2 or 3 hours of personal time in a day...


No wonder you need regular nookie. Ever considered finding a job that is not so soul-draining, even if it pays less? Sounds like living a "Dhamma-compatible life" as you put it, is the least of your problems. This is just plain overworked.
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Re: I embraced Dhamma and turned into a Vegetable

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 16, 2014 12:26 pm

"I burn my candle at both ends,
It burns both day and night;
But oh! my foes, and ah! my friends -
It gives a lovely light! "

Having read your last post, I can summarise in a short phrase: you want.

You want the best of ALL worlds.

You want to be able to indulge in sensual pleasures, to the utmost satisfaction, but you are prepared to use someone to your own ends, even if you know she is not your ideal partner. That's abuse of privilege and is disrespectful and frankly, to my mind, despicable.
You answer your own need for sexual gratification by stringing the girl along.
Audacious and misguided.

You complain about your job, and reason you are a mere drop in the ocean to them. Meanwhile, you occupy a post you detest in order to earn a salary that some impoverished unemployed hard-working person may give their eye-teeth for. And don't delude yourself that they barely notice you: if there was no need for you, they would dispense with your job altogether.

You mis-manage your time to your own detriment, because you want to have your cake AND eat it.

You say you wish to devotedly follow the Dhamma and transcend worldly attachments (I paraphrase) but actually, you don't seem willing to commit to sacrificing aspects of your life which are superfluous and materialistic.

You are your own worst enemy, and until you sort your priorities and re-assess your View, Livelihood and Concentration, I'm afraid I am of the opinion that your dedication is far from either serious or committed.

Forgive me if I sound harsh, but I cannot find other way to communicate my impression.
I wish you well, with Metta.

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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