seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:02 am

So I get into access no problem and feel great, and sometimes even into jhana, during meditation. It's fantastic. however what am I supposed too do when I get down in the dumps in a normal part of the day?

For example: today I was stressing myself out, worrying about this and that, really down. Then I meditate, straight into access and then, a bit later, jhana, mega bliss.

problem solved and I'm out of the funk. But isn't there some way to fix mental stresses when we can't sit and meditate? like at work or out and about?

essentially it comes down too: how do we deal with negative emotion according to the suttas? or heck I'm interested in any methods, sutta, commentary, personal experience, etc.

I've got a lot of practice in letting go of bad thoughts, but sometimes the emotion left behind will not go away. like I'm worried that someone hates me or some other non sense, I let go of that thought but then, even in a thoughtless state or a state with totally different thoughts, the negative emotional feeling remains, sometimes for a while. what then?
Last edited by johnny on Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: Between meditation sessions?

Postby reflection » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:17 am

In my experience deep calm meditations will naturally effect the mind for a long time, sometimes even days. So that's one way to practice for results over the entire day. Another thing is to keep mindful throughout the day. See when a tendency of worry or stress arises, know it's impermanence and let it go with whatever means you do that in your meditation also. So this is something that is also very much supported by the sitting practice.

Also know that it's not really about 'getting rid of' or 'solving problems'. In a way it is of course, but if you expect meditation to always solve your emotional problems instantly, as you've noticed, you'll walk into a block. Because at times an emotion can and will stick, it won't go away. And a tactic of shoving it away will not work. It's at those times that we can try to see why we are attached to these emotions. Recognize that, find a way around. Often different emotions need different approaches for different people. Sometimes the approach is to just sit with the emotion, just sit it out. It may last for days, but it won't last forever.

:anjali:
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Re: Between meditation sessions?

Postby johnny » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:14 pm

reflection wrote:In my experience deep calm meditations will naturally effect the mind for a long time, sometimes even days. So that's one way to practice for results over the entire day. Another thing is to keep mindful throughout the day. See when a tendency of worry or stress arises, know it's impermanence and let it go with whatever means you do that in your meditation also. So this is something that is also very much supported by the sitting practice.

Also know that it's not really about 'getting rid of' or 'solving problems'. In a way it is of course, but if you expect meditation to always solve your emotional problems instantly, as you've noticed, you'll walk into a block. Because at times an emotion can and will stick, it won't go away. And a tactic of shoving it away will not work. It's at those times that we can try to see why we are attached to these emotions. Recognize that, find a way around. Often different emotions need different approaches for different people. Sometimes the approach is to just sit with the emotion, just sit it out. It may last for days, but it won't last forever.

:anjali:



thank you!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby TravisGM » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:14 pm

I think Id have to agree, meditation itself isn't meant to escape problems, rather, to be with them in their entirety.

I like to think that the reason why the Middle Way taught by Buddha isn't as popular as, lets say, McDonalds is because of its difficulty and honesty. Buddha taught meditation as a way to be with reality, not escape it. Although you never said you like to escape reality, I can't help but think you are attempting to with meditation. If you stress out about things, then be with the stress. Don't escape it, but let it pass on its own time.
Sometimes I get into that mind set that meditation is supposed to help me be happy. In a way it is, but by helping you understand the true nature of everything in your life.

Hope this helps!
:anjali:
To be happy...
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby Dmytro » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:07 pm

Hi Johnny,

Most probably your emotional patterns are repeating. In jhana, you can play "touch'n'go" with them - gently approach the emotion as long as jhana is stable, and then return back to just concentration. Several times, and the transformation will be on the way.

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:45 pm

TravisGM wrote:I think Id have to agree, meditation itself isn't meant to escape problems, rather, to be with them in their entirety.

I like to think that the reason why the Middle Way taught by Buddha isn't as popular as, lets say, McDonalds is because of its difficulty and honesty. Buddha taught meditation as a way to be with reality, not escape it. Although you never said you like to escape reality, I can't help but think you are attempting to with meditation. If you stress out about things, then be with the stress. Don't escape it, but let it pass on its own time.
Sometimes I get into that mind set that meditation is supposed to help me be happy. In a way it is, but by helping you understand the true nature of everything in your life.

Hope this helps!
:anjali:



the thing is, i am fairly good at letting the problems go. the emotions reside with no grounding. so i just have a kind of down feeling inside with no verbalized thoughts too accompany them. meditation makes these go away, i don't run from them. they simply go away when i meditate. the same happens if i go for a walking meditation or sometimes even when i go watch a movie or something. i don't know what you mean by "be with them in their entirety." i sit with my non-existent problems and they just disappear since they have no grounding anyway, then i feel bliss. i don't sit and try to block them out, by the time i sit they are pretty much gone and exist only as a feeling with not thoughts (Sorry too repeat).
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:45 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi Johnny,

Most probably your emotional patterns are repeating. In jhana, you can play "touch'n'go" with them - gently approach the emotion as long as jhana is stable, and then return back to just concentration. Several times, and the transformation will be on the way.

Best wishes, Dmytro


indeed, what about when i'm not meditating though? what if i have too work a ton and am too busy for a few days? what do i do about emotions then?
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:26 pm

johnny wrote:So I get into access no problem and feel great, and sometimes even into jhana, during meditation. It's fantastic. however what am I supposed too do when I get down in the dumps in a normal part of the day?

For example: today I was stressing myself out, worrying about this and that, really down. Then I meditate, straight into access and then, a bit later, jhana, mega bliss.

problem solved and I'm out of the funk. But isn't there some way to fix mental stresses when we can't sit and meditate? like at work or out and about?

essentially it comes down too: how do we deal with negative emotion according to the suttas? or heck I'm interested in any methods, sutta, commentary, personal experience, etc.

I've got a lot of practice in letting go of bad thoughts, but sometimes the emotion left behind will not go away. like I'm worried that someone hates me or some other non sense, I let go of that thought but then, even in a thoughtless state or a state with totally different thoughts, the negative emotional feeling remains, sometimes for a while. what then?

Have you tried looking through the lens of the four noble truths?
what is being clung to for this dukkha to arise?
what is being craved?
how much should this be let go of? i.e., can it be completely given up or is it still to be engaged with?
how to practice to that aim?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:45 am

johnny wrote:indeed, what about when i'm not meditating though? what if i have too work a ton and am too busy for a few days? what do i do about emotions then?


First you reflect on emotional patterns every day, and transform them retroactively.
After some practice, you will be able to do this faster and faster, and eventually, instantaneously.
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:11 am

Greetings Johnny,

In day-to-day life and you find yourself assuaged by emotion, avert your mind to the dominant sensation in or on the body and attend to its characteristic of impermanence of that sensation/s. Develop equanimity and watch very carefully and you begin to slowly release yourslf from their embrace.
In time, you will perceive emotions as they really are as sankharas, compound phenomena comprised of bodily process, sensation, thoughts and mental states, coursing through the mind-body complex, impersonal, ephemeral and arising only to pass away.
Identifcation with and attachment to emotions has been a life-long habit and one difficult to break. It may take many years. So, go easy on yourself.
kind regards,

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:21 am

Dmytro wrote:
johnny wrote:indeed, what about when i'm not meditating though? what if i have too work a ton and am too busy for a few days? what do i do about emotions then?


First you reflect on emotional patterns every day, and transform them retroactively.
After some practice, you will be able to do this faster and faster, and eventually, instantaneously.



could you elaborate please?
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:24 am

Ben wrote:Greetings Johnny,

In day-to-day life and you find yourself assuaged by emotion, avert your mind to the dominant sensation in or on the body and attend to its characteristic of impermanence of that sensation/s. Develop equanimity and watch very carefully and you begin to slowly release yourslf from their embrace.
In time, you will perceive emotions as they really are as sankharas, compound phenomena comprised of bodily process, sensation, thoughts and mental states, coursing through the mind-body complex, impersonal, ephemeral and arising only to pass away.
Identifcation with and attachment to emotions has been a life-long habit and one difficult to break. It may take many years. So, go easy on yourself.
kind regards,

Ben



thanks!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:13 am

http://forestsanghapublications.org/vie ... 12&ref=vec
Meditation: A Way of Awakening | Ajahn Sucitto

Page 139, Process: Working with Mind-States and Emotions
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:28 am

marc108 wrote:http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=12&ref=vec
Meditation: A Way of Awakening | Ajahn Sucitto

Page 139, Process: Working with Mind-States and Emotions


greatly appreciated, i'll read it tomorrow.

EDIT

just read it. it's gold. thank you.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:39 am

johnny wrote:
marc108 wrote:http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=12&ref=vec
Meditation: A Way of Awakening | Ajahn Sucitto

Page 139, Process: Working with Mind-States and Emotions


greatly appreciated, i'll read it tomorrow.

EDIT

just read it. it's gold. thank you.



Ajahn Sucitto's whole meditation manual is gold!
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:00 pm

Emotions should be understood. For example - what is anger, really? What is actually going on, in detail, in the body/mind, that unfolds into what we call "angry" ? What's going on with sensations, what's going on with mental objects? That's what I look at. I think the causes of the unfolding have to be understood with wisdom. There's usually "me" or "my" in there somewhere... :smile:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:13 pm

To find out where anger comes from is useful in a way, but kindness is the best counter to anger. To apply this as soon as anger arises, is the most skillful approach because it needs no investigation and thus becomes a more automatic response. And it is a very strong counter.

If that doesn't work, because 'the anger is too strong already for example, you can always still find out where it comes from.

Same with other thoughts really. Best to catch them as soon as they arise and give them their natural antidote. Sadness with joy, greed with renunciation/letting go. With states of confusion it's a bit harder, but it is possible to replace them immediately with wisdom.

You can also find this in the sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts, which actually is a great sutta to answer the question. But it is not very useful if anger/stress etc. have already taken hold of you. So you need to keep mindful all day, as I said in a previous post. Then you can apply the techniques you can find in the sutta, which is here;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el021.html

As you can see the sitting it out, which I mentioned before, is also in there. That's basically to not give attention to those thoughts.

But be a bit creative also. The mind can often find it's own way to handle the thoughts. Basically it knows what to do. It'll be one of the techniques above, but it'll be natural. So don't become a machine. At least, that's my personal advice, it's not in that sutta I have to add, as a disclaimer. ;)
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:01 pm

reflection wrote:To find out where anger comes from is useful in a way, but kindness is the best counter to anger. To apply this as soon as anger arises, is the most skillful approach because it needs no investigation and thus becomes a more automatic response. And it is a very strong counter.

If that doesn't work, because 'the anger is too strong already for example, you can always still find out where it comes from.

Same with other thoughts really. Best to catch them as soon as they arise and give them their natural antidote. Sadness with joy, greed with renunciation/letting go. With states of confusion it's a bit harder, but it is possible to replace them immediately with wisdom.

You can also find this in the sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts, which actually is a great sutta to answer the question. But it is not very useful if anger/stress etc. have already taken hold of you. So you need to keep mindful all day, as I said in a previous post. Then you can apply the techniques you can find in the sutta, which is here;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el021.html

As you can see the sitting it out, which I mentioned before, is also in there. That's basically to not give attention to those thoughts.

But be a bit creative also. The mind can often find it's own way to handle the thoughts. Basically it knows what to do. It'll be one of the techniques above, but it'll be natural. So don't become a machine. At least, that's my personal advice, it's not in that sutta I have to add, as a disclaimer. ;)


how does one use wisdom to counter confusion?
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:16 pm

johnny wrote:
reflection wrote:To find out where anger comes from is useful in a way, but kindness is the best counter to anger. To apply this as soon as anger arises, is the most skillful approach because it needs no investigation and thus becomes a more automatic response. And it is a very strong counter.

If that doesn't work, because 'the anger is too strong already for example, you can always still find out where it comes from.

Same with other thoughts really. Best to catch them as soon as they arise and give them their natural antidote. Sadness with joy, greed with renunciation/letting go. With states of confusion it's a bit harder, but it is possible to replace them immediately with wisdom.

You can also find this in the sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts, which actually is a great sutta to answer the question. But it is not very useful if anger/stress etc. have already taken hold of you. So you need to keep mindful all day, as I said in a previous post. Then you can apply the techniques you can find in the sutta, which is here;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el021.html

As you can see the sitting it out, which I mentioned before, is also in there. That's basically to not give attention to those thoughts.

But be a bit creative also. The mind can often find it's own way to handle the thoughts. Basically it knows what to do. It'll be one of the techniques above, but it'll be natural. So don't become a machine. At least, that's my personal advice, it's not in that sutta I have to add, as a disclaimer. ;)


how does one use wisdom to counter confusion?

Good one.

To recapitulate: There are the poisons of greed, hatred and delusion.

To remove delusion, first of all, you need to have the wisdom. But this wisdom is what we are training, so if it's not really there yet, that makes countering delusion hard, if not impossible. It's like you can't really instantly counter anger when it arises, if you are not proficient in loving kindness meditation to some degree.

An example may be how you can be obsessed with a pain in the body. But than you realize, "wait a minute, I'm not my body, I don't need to obsess over this pain." Of course, first you need to know that you are not your body. Not just intellectually, but by some genuine insight. And wanting to get rid of pain is also a desire of course.

But delusion encompasses that also. Anger and desire are also forms of delusion. So if you can get at that level of really understanding, you can use wisdom to get rid off unwholesome thoughts. But you can't force this. Delusion is really the hardest of them all, because it's very hidden, you can't often see it.

So I'd say the other two are probably more important to focus on right now. If you have some real genuine wisdom, it'll come automatically, not really needing to force it. And that's because you'll have the wisdom ;) If you try to force it, it'll be like trying to beat a nail into wood with your bare hand, because you don't have a hammer; more chance you'll hurt yourself than actually succeeding in what you want to do.

With metta,
Reflection
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Re: seriously, no one else has any ideas? dealing with emotion?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:55 pm

reflection wrote:
johnny wrote:
reflection wrote:To find out where anger comes from is useful in a way, but kindness is the best counter to anger. To apply this as soon as anger arises, is the most skillful approach because it needs no investigation and thus becomes a more automatic response. And it is a very strong counter.

If that doesn't work, because 'the anger is too strong already for example, you can always still find out where it comes from.

Same with other thoughts really. Best to catch them as soon as they arise and give them their natural antidote. Sadness with joy, greed with renunciation/letting go. With states of confusion it's a bit harder, but it is possible to replace them immediately with wisdom.

You can also find this in the sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts, which actually is a great sutta to answer the question. But it is not very useful if anger/stress etc. have already taken hold of you. So you need to keep mindful all day, as I said in a previous post. Then you can apply the techniques you can find in the sutta, which is here;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el021.html

As you can see the sitting it out, which I mentioned before, is also in there. That's basically to not give attention to those thoughts.

But be a bit creative also. The mind can often find it's own way to handle the thoughts. Basically it knows what to do. It'll be one of the techniques above, but it'll be natural. So don't become a machine. At least, that's my personal advice, it's not in that sutta I have to add, as a disclaimer. ;)


how does one use wisdom to counter confusion?

Good one.

To recapitulate: There are the poisons of greed, hatred and delusion.

To remove delusion, first of all, you need to have the wisdom. But this wisdom is what we are training, so if it's not really there yet, that makes countering delusion hard, if not impossible. It's like you can't really instantly counter anger when it arises, if you are not proficient in loving kindness meditation to some degree.

An example may be how you can be obsessed with a pain in the body. But than you realize, "wait a minute, I'm not my body, I don't need to obsess over this pain." Of course, first you need to know that you are not your body. Not just intellectually, but by some genuine insight. And wanting to get rid of pain is also a desire of course.

But delusion encompasses that also. Anger and desire are also forms of delusion. So if you can get at that level of really understanding, you can use wisdom to get rid off unwholesome thoughts. But you can't force this. Delusion is really the hardest of them all, because it's very hidden, you can't often see it.

So I'd say the other two are probably more important to focus on right now. If you have some real genuine wisdom, it'll come automatically, not really needing to force it. And that's because you'll have the wisdom ;) If you try to force it, it'll be like trying to beat a nail into wood with your bare hand, because you don't have a hammer; more chance you'll hurt yourself than actually succeeding in what you want to do.

With metta,
Reflection



interesting. thank you. not self is such a key!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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