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Not sure what's happening .. help please

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Not sure what's happening .. help please Rupali Shanker 1/23/19 5:34 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 5:48 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Noah D 1/23/19 6:04 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 6:20 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 6:36 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Rupali Shanker 1/24/19 10:18 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/19 12:01 PM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Rupali Shanker 1/24/19 11:11 PM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please shargrol 1/25/19 7:17 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Chris Marti 1/25/19 6:54 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Erin 1/25/19 7:46 PM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 7:17 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please J C 1/25/19 11:36 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please J C 1/25/19 11:08 PM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Anna L 1/26/19 5:33 PM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please U Ba Fin 1/29/19 11:35 PM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Rupali Shanker 1/30/19 12:02 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 5:03 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Anna L 1/30/19 6:19 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 6:52 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please Rupali Shanker 2/1/19 5:57 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please shargrol 2/1/19 8:12 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please shargrol 1/30/19 6:28 AM
RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please shargrol 1/23/19 6:53 AM
Thanks for the wonderful forum and kind contributions , has been extremely helpful.
In October 2018 I attended Goenkaji Vipassana retreat without any current practice or understanding ( had some meditative experiences 30 years ago at age of 15 )

Even though it was painful and worked thru lot of issues came back feeling light, happy and loving. Had electrical current in the body type of sensations and after coming back asked forgiveness of people I was not even able to forgive earlier. Perceptions and sexuality was heightened , felt like I have know my husband from past lives. 

Kept up some practice and had experience like all the cells in body resonating to a song at movies. Lots of electrical sensations in spine , distortion of body etc. .

Slowly things changed . Seems like life started falling apart. Kept getting sick . Lost interest in food , entertainment , sex. All I could do was read and watch Dhamma material and meditate.
Feel sad, confused , dejected , deep sense of shame at one point, lost, scared.
Please help me make sense of all this and path ahead. Metta to all.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/23/19 5:48 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
I’m no expert, but this sounds like the typical case of crossing the stage ”Arising and Passing Away” (often referred to here as A&P) and then going into next stage which is dissolution, the first of the dukkha nanas. I warmly recommend reading Daniel Ingram’s book MCTB2, chapter 30:4 and forward. https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/4-the-arising-and-passing-away/

Dissolution can be tough. Remember that it’s temporary and take care! Lots of metta.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/23/19 6:04 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Hi - please be sure to review the resources on this page as needed - https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/health-and-balance


a
lso +1, check out the MCTB link above ,

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/23/19 6:20 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
When I drop into dukkha nanas with low energy, I tend to feel that many of the things that are recommended to feel better are impossible, because I lack the energy to do them. If that is the case for you, try to find something minimal that gives you enough energy to do more things to take care of yourself. For me yoga does the trick. There are lots of short and simple exercises on youtube. Similarly, there are short qi gong exercises available, such as this one: https://youtu.be/nmmNWj9YtAw For me they seem to realease small portions of the same kind of energy that I felt during A&P. I don’t believe these energies to be solid things with an essence, but they are useful constructions when I need energy in daily life. I wouldn’t advice believing in them as forces when doing Vipassana, but they may be helpful like Newton’s Physics is still helpful although Einstein proved it to be wrong.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/23/19 6:36 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Oh, and also... if this turned into a clinical depression, you may need to consult with a doctor as well. Without antidepressants I wouldn’t be able to manage. There are many different medicines out there, so if you have bad experiences from one, there may be another one that suits you better.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/23/19 6:53 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Slowly things changed . Seems like life started falling apart. Kept getting sick . Lost interest in food , entertainment , sex. All I could do was read and watch Dhamma material and meditate.
Feel sad, confused , dejected , deep sense of shame at one point, lost, scared.
Please help me make sense of all this and path ahead. Metta to all.

Spiritual openings will often lead to a wonderful period of change, where we are happy and free to make changes in our life.

Unfortunately, spiritual openings are almost always followed by a time of decay. It is normal to lose some interest in food, entertainment, and sex. And it is very normal to read and watch lots of dhamma material and spend more time meditating. There can also be a lot of looking backward at our life and past problems and traumas, which might make us depressed or sad. We might feel like we have broken ourself and feel ashamed. It is important to understand that some of this is okay and natural.

However, there can be a temptation to give up and this is not good. During the time of decay, we need to make sure we eat, exercise, talk with friends and people we trust. We might need to force ourselves to watch some entertainment. We don't need to go back to our old ways, but we need to help this human body stay happy and energized. This body is precious and we need to take care of it. 

One part of the path ahead is simply to continue to nurture your body and mind. By taking care of yourself during this time, you are truly putting the dhamma into action. And the lessons you learn will help you nuture and protect others in the future. You can continue to sit during this part of the path, but be aware that after spiritual openings there are periods of mental and physical purification. It can be difficult to go through this alone, so try to find some dhamma friends or teachers.

Best wishes! Please take care of your body and mind.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/24/19 10:18 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks for all the kind responses. Dukkha Nanna symptoms match to a T. Since personal issues were coming out that really confused me. Going through sections of MCTB again and also Reddit.
This episode of sickness seems to be getting better. Will keep "No Bleedthrough" policy in mind. 
Somehow support from all of u is making me feel better.
Metta to all.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/24/19 12:01 PM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Thanks for all the kind responses. Dukkha Nanna symptoms match to a T. Since personal issues were coming out that really confused me. Going through sections of MCTB again and also Reddit.
This episode of sickness seems to be getting better. Will keep "No Bleedthrough" policy in mind. 
Somehow support from all of u is making me feel better.
Metta to all.



I tend to get physical symptoms as well. I’m glad you feel better. Take care!

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/24/19 11:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Quick question - Is there any relief while in Dukkha Nanna or it's just darkness through out ? Yesterday I felt light and happy and now the darkness is descending again. Yesterday I was reading Hamilton project and inspired to put in solid effort during my next Vipassana retreat to cover a lot of ground and may be shoot for stream entry ( crazy ambitious I know ) and now back to sinking feeling in pit of stomach ... Is anything even worth it.
I can't thank all of you for just even listening to me, do not have access to real life Dhamma friends or teachers. Most real life connections consider me crazy for all this Meditation obsession.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
Answer
1/25/19 7:17 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Quick question - Is there any relief while in Dukkha Nanna or it's just darkness through out ? Yesterday I felt light and happy and now the darkness is descending again. Yesterday I was reading Hamilton project and inspired to put in solid effort during my next Vipassana retreat to cover a lot of ground and may be shoot for stream entry ( crazy ambitious I know ) and now back to sinking feeling in pit of stomach ... Is anything even worth it.
I can't thank all of you for just even listening to me, do not have access to real life Dhamma friends or teachers. Most real life connections consider me crazy for all this Meditation obsession.

The most important thing is not to "shoot for stream entry" but to "get really good at meditating in the dukka nanas". The Dukkha Nanas have a lesson to teach. If you learn the lesson, it's not all darkness.

Here is another good discussion of the Dark Night:

https://alohadharma.com/2011/06/12/the-dark-night/

When you are going through the dukka nanas, your entire attitute towards darkness has to change. You need to get used to the idea that there will be "negative" sensations, "bad" emotions, and "dark" thoughts that come and go. This is a normal and natural part of this stage of the path. The major job of the meditator is to simply let the sensations, emotions, and thoughts come and go. There is a saying in western psychology "whatever you resist will persist", which means if you try to push away dark sensations, emotions, and thoughts they will keep coming back. Instead of resisting darkness, you need to welcome darkness. The attitude in the dark night is to welcome all experiences, not to resist them, and to see them clearly. 

When we see the experiences of the dukka nanas clearly, we will notice how the mind uses worry and fear to protect itself --- but unfortunately all humans have too many worries and fears that are not true. The lesson that the dukka nanas teach is we don't need to be worried and afraid by "darkness". Darkness is simply the body and mind's signal to go slow, be careful, and pay attention. Darkness is not a signal to close our eyes and run away. So in meditation, especially during the dark night, we learn to face and experience difficult sensations, emotions, and thoughts and not run away. And we do this by going slow, being careful, and paying attention.

When we are able to directly --- and fully -- experience "darkness" we will find that it doesn't have power over us. 

In practical terms, there is a purfication that seems to happen when we are able to clearly put our mindfulness on dark sensations, emotions, and thoughts and not run away. When we hold things like "the sinking feeling in pit of our stomach" with mindfulness, these solid sensations seem to change from a solid experience to a more liquid/flowing experience, and eventually it goes from liquid to gas. It is very interesting!

More importantly, when we hold things like the "sinking feeling in pit of our stomach" feeling, we will remember other times in our life when we had that feeling. These are old memories which we haven't fully understood yet. That's why these memories come back. So we need to experience these memories. Once you start seeing this, you will notice that many times in your life you have not been brave and have run away from difficult or dark experiences. It is very difficult to have these memories, sometimes we feel ashamed about our past, but by welcoming the old memory we grow in bravery and mindfulness.

It really helps to recognize the dreamlike nature of these old memories. They appear out of nothing as we meditate. We are simply sitting and breath and yet these memories come to us, and in in a minute or two they are gone, replaced by another dream. We need to become intimate with the dreamlike nature of our old fears and regrets. We need to welcome them into our mind. Many times these memories want to give us a little piece of information. You will see something new that you didn't see when it happened in the past. This is how meditation "purifies" the past. You see the past with a new perspective. 

In many ways, the dukka nanas are what purify the meditator and teach us not to over-react in our life when things are difficult. All of us have many bad emotional habits that we will see clearly when we go through dissolution, fear, misery, disgust, desire for deliverance, and reobservation. Experienced meditators are able to keep a clear mind even in difficult situations, because they have been trained to do so by going through the dukka nanas. Experienced meditators have faced their own darkness. This is the stage of meditation where we grow up in a very deep way.

The best way to go through the dukka nanas is to sit every day and remember that it is important to eat, sleep, and exercise. In other words, practice consistently but also live a normal and healthy life.  If you can find a teacher or spiritual friend to talk to during this time, it is very helpful.

Hope this helps in some way!

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/25/19 6:54 AM as a reply to shargrol.
+1 for shargrol's comment!

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/25/19 7:17 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Quick question - Is there any relief while in Dukkha Nanna or it's just darkness through out ? Yesterday I felt light and happy and now the darkness is descending again. Yesterday I was reading Hamilton project and inspired to put in solid effort during my next Vipassana retreat to cover a lot of ground and may be shoot for stream entry ( crazy ambitious I know ) and now back to sinking feeling in pit of stomach ... Is anything even worth it.
I can't thank all of you for just even listening to me, do not have access to real life Dhamma friends or teachers. Most real life connections consider me crazy for all this Meditation obsession.



There are good things. In meditation there is great clarity in the periphery. It may involve some pretty cool effects. Don’t worry about the blurry center! Some dukkha nana stages, such as fear, are high in energy which can be a good thing. Others are low in energy, but they allow your body to rest. Listen to your body! It knows what it needs. If you try to focus on your breath and it’s hard, try focusing on somebody else’s breath instead! Someone that is close to you (I did it with a snoring cat). That can be a pretty amazing experience. My personal newbie theory is that dissolution is also about unity.

I think I may have cycled the dukkha nanas for a decade without knowing it, and the first years were really tough. I didn’t meditate back then and had no idea what had happened. Over the years my life has actually become great. In the dukkha nanas! I learned to listen to my body, have sound boundaries, communicate my neads, prioritize, make room for rest and recovery, and do things that mattered. I also became more compassionate and wise.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/25/19 11:36 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Quick question - Is there any relief while in Dukkha Nanna or it's just darkness through out ? Yesterday I felt light and happy and now the darkness is descending again. Yesterday I was reading Hamilton project and inspired to put in solid effort during my next Vipassana retreat to cover a lot of ground and may be shoot for stream entry ( crazy ambitious I know ) and now back to sinking feeling in pit of stomach ... Is anything even worth it.
I can't thank all of you for just even listening to me, do not have access to real life Dhamma friends or teachers. Most real life connections consider me crazy for all this Meditation obsession.

I'm extremely curious why you see seeking stream entry as "crazy ambitious."

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/25/19 7:46 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Just want to add some thoughts to all of the great advice other folks sent!

To me, the best way to deal with the Dark Night is to step bravely into it. That said, I think of it like crossing a desert -- you gotta go through it to get to the other side, but you also need to make sure you take care of yourself to ensure you get through it safely. There's a ton to learn from this experience though, even though it's not fun! And ultimately, the insights you find could really help you heal emotionally.

Practice-Centered Suggestions
  • If you're able, maybe try continuing with the insight practices, even if it's only for a fraction of the time you were previously doing. This should hopefully allow you to see that those difficult feelings come and go and they aren't static.
    • During your insight practice, are you seeing things that you need to change? Can you take steps to make those changes happen (within reason)?
    • If things start to feel too intense, you could always shift your focus to your breath or some other object to help ground you.
  • Concentration practices can be a beautiful thing! Personally, exploring the jhanas was a really healing experience for me, because it allowed me to see that peace was within me the whole time.
  • I really like the Brahma Viharas for adding a nice dose of positivity to my practice. And I've personally found the results to be pretty magical.
  • Can you meet some dharma pals? Maybe visit a meditation center and make some connections?

Lifestyle-Centered Suggestions
  • Counseling can be super helpful and life-changing! There are lots of different modalities out there, and many therapists now make meditation part of their work. If you're really having a hard time in your daily life, you should reach out to someone.
  • Make sure that the people in your life provide the love and emotional support you need (and give love and emotional support in return).
    • If possible, make sure you have multiple sources of emotional support! Ya gotta diversify that friend portfolio.
  • I like approaching the Dark Night as an excuse to be very kind and gentle with myself. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat delicious foods, make dinner plans with friends, etc. If you're not feeling motivated to exercise, maybe start with a nice walk with a buddy.
  • Even if it feels a little cheesy, making time to practice gratitude can be helpful too.
Thanks so much for reaching out! Sending lovingkindness your way.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/25/19 11:08 PM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Thanks for all the kind responses. Dukkha Nanna symptoms match to a T. Since personal issues were coming out that really confused me. Going through sections of MCTB again and also Reddit.
This episode of sickness seems to be getting better. Will keep "No Bleedthrough" policy in mind. 
Somehow support from all of u is making me feel better.
Metta to all.

For me the key is realizing that you're in the DN. Once you're in it, it's easy to get out, just note as fast as you can as much as you can. The catch is that often when you're in the DN, you don't realize it and don't feel like meditating - you just feel like snapping at everyone.

For me, realizing I'm in the DN generally coincides with Desire for Deliverance. I think "get me out of here" and then associate that with D for D.

Setting up a daily meditation practice using a commitment contract app (charges my credit card if I don't meditate) has done wonders for improving my mood.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/26/19 5:33 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Rupali Shanker:
Thanks for all the kind responses. Dukkha Nanna symptoms match to a T. Since personal issues were coming out that really confused me. Going through sections of MCTB again and also Reddit.
This episode of sickness seems to be getting better. Will keep "No Bleedthrough" policy in mind. 
Somehow support from all of u is making me feel better.
Metta to all.

For me the key is realizing that you're in the DN. Once you're in it, it's easy to get out, just note as fast as you can as much as you can. The catch is that often when you're in the DN, you don't realize it and don't feel like meditating - you just feel like snapping at everyone.

This is excellent advice. I would add the caveat that if there is also a mental health issue happening (e.g. depression) then it's also very likely that no amount of noting will make you feel better. 

So, if it's pure dark night - practice! If however, you suspect there may also be a dual diagnosis of depression/anxiety (very common diagnoses for many people) then you will have to also manage those conditions concurrently with the help of a mental health practitioner. The best strategy is to approach from all angles! 

I recently wrote this article as an attempt to help clarify some different perspectives on the dark night: http://annalutkajtis.com/delineating-the-dark-night/

If you feel confused or isolated and need help re the best approach then please feel free to reach out. 

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/29/19 11:35 PM as a reply to Anna L.
Hi Rupali,
 
I have practised Goenka Vipassana for the last 19 years and agree with the likelihood you on the Dukkah Nanna’s - which incidentally are not discussed by any teacher in the Goenka tradition because it was believed that knowing the stages of insight from the Abhidhamma would confuse students and possibly cause misdiagnosis as to what Nanna there are actually in.
 
Personally, I don't agree with this position as students can be ill prepared for the impacts of the Dukkah Nanna’s. You may get little help from the AT's as they a) might not know about the stages of insight, b) if they do, they will follow Goenkas instruction not to discuss them. (Despite Bhunga being one of the Nanna's). c) They will tell you to keep meditating its just a Sankara. This can feel dismissive to the suffering student (I've been there). 
 
 This is excellent advice. I would add the caveat that if there is also a mental health issue happening (e.g. depression) then it's also very likely that no amount of noting will make you feel better. 

So, if it's pure dark night - practice! If however, you suspect there may also be a dual diagnosis of depression/anxiety (very common diagnoses for many people) then you will have to also manage those conditions concurrently with the help of a mental health practitioner. The best strategy is to approach from all angles! 
 
Anna L is spot on. I absolutely suffered depression for at least a year as a direct result of the practice/stages of insight.
 
I subscribe to the theory is espoused by many Pragmatic Dhamma teachers: Spritual awakening is one axis of development, mental health another. Don't neglect either one - both have time and place for working on them!

All the best friend! 
 
Metta
UBF

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/30/19 12:02 AM as a reply to U Ba Fin.
Sorry, for some reason my responses are not getting posted due to error " Msg boards not available." Will try again.
Want to thank u Shargrol for ur insightful comments. Thought occurred that once I stop fighting Dukkha Nanna so hard and start accepting it somehow some form of Equanimity is touched. ( As an example from personal life for first time I was able to accept ( grudgingly for a few minutes ) that I may have to take care of my mentally disabled sibling in future and give up on my world travelling dreams in the process ).
JC I think it's crazy ambitious because my practice is few months old ( I just recently realized that u cycle through stages many times ) and may be not very solid n disciplined. But bigger reason I have a strong sense of not being good enough to deserve better things in life ( One of the deeper issues surfacing from all the practice ). 
There is not much of support system. I have spent long years in depression ( since childhood , then came out after marriage I guess ) all undiagnosed so somehow that doesn't feel too serious. Healing is dependent on self. Now it feels like have been dark Night Yogi forever since some casual meditation experiences during teenage ( out of body experiences).

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/30/19 5:03 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Hey, I’m crazy ambitious, too, so you’re not alone. My daily formal practice is only a few months old, just like yours, and I’m aiming for awakening. Maybe it is just a tad cocky, but I think it’s still a good intention to cultivate.

With regard to feeling unworthy of good things, I have been there, stuck deeply in it. That’s an awful place to be. I feel so much compassion for you who are struggling with this. What helped me was a combination of antidepressants and therapy and the realization that I want a world where people don’t have to struggle to make themselves worthy of their existence. I want people to feel that they are allowed to exist and accepted and appreciated just as they are, regardless of their accomplishments. We are human beings, and as such we are not perfect - and that’s okay. It’s okay to be human. A world that deems people unworthy because they are human is not a world that I want to cultivate. That includes a whole bunch of human qualities, because humanity is diverse. I have certain disabilities, and I have carried a lot of internalized ableism that I have had to deal with and let go of. I haven’t let go of all of it, but it’s an ongoing process. If you have struggled with depression since childhood, it wouldn’t surprise me if you carry quite a lot of internalized ableism as well, leading to self loathing. You need to find a way to be compassionate towards yourself. One way to start might be learning to trust the judgement of others who tell you that you are worthy of compassion, worthy of existence, and worthy of awakening. You ARE worthy. That’s the default setting, nothing that needs to be deserved.

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/30/19 6:19 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This community has such a great supportive vibe happening lately. Linda, I appreciate your openness and compassion and warmth - I really enjoy reading your comments and thoughts emoticon 


RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/30/19 6:28 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Rupali Shanker:
Healing is dependent on self. 
With this attitude you will be successful! Best wishes Rupali!!

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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1/30/19 6:52 AM as a reply to Anna L.
Anna L:
This community has such a great supportive vibe happening lately. Linda, I appreciate your openness and compassion and warmth - I really enjoy reading your comments and thoughts emoticon 




Aaaaaw, thank you! This made me really happy. <3

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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2/1/19 5:57 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Pain and sadness is very much there but somehow I have settled in the depth of darkness. I see the pain, the aversions, the defilements, the cravings , the simplest issue of No control on anything. Well it is what it is. May be 2 days, 2 months, 2 lifetimes. Crying at the drop of hat .... But somehow accepting it. Who knows what Karma, what path ....

RE: Not sure what's happening .. help please
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2/1/19 8:12 AM as a reply to Rupali Shanker.
Yes, sounds normal. Letting go of control, things arise and pass, sadness but also release...