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Mental Anguish

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Mental Anguish

If You Simply Eliminate the Thought of Time and Causality, Suffering Ends

Mental anguish, along with the thinking process that produces emotions, is based on the notions of time and causality. You cannot make yourself suffer unless you think in terms of causality and time. When you suffer, usually you’re saying, “Now I’m angry because someone did this to me. Now I’m hurt because such-and-such happened. Now I’m scared because someone did that to me.” If you simply eliminate the thought of time and causality, suffering ends. You could be aware of what’s right at that moment, know that whatever you’re thinking at that moment is actually just happening in that moment. What you feel has nothing to do with what happened yesterday. Just be aware of yourself this very second. Just realize that you are instantaneously emerging. Break the temporal continuity of sensation. Realize instantaneously, right at this very second, that you are emerging. You are absolutely instantaneous emergence. You are not a continuity in time.

Logically it’s easy to see, but experientially it’s a little difficult. Whatever sensation or whatever feeling you’re experiencing, just realize that is what is here at this very second. Forget what it has to do with, in terms of causes and time and all that. Just perceive it as it is. If you’re uncomfortable, there is discomfort. That’s it. There’s a sensation of sorts that feels like discomfort. It doesn’t matter why there’s discomfort. If there is discomfort, just stay with the discomfort. Let your mind go. Don’t listen to the sounds in your mind telling you it’s because of this and that, urging you to react. No, just stay with it. If it’s discomfort, it’s discomfort. If it’s ease, it’s ease. And you could go even beyond the discomfort and notice the actual sensation that you call discomfort, or you call ease, or you call one thing or another. Stay with the bare consciousness, the bare sensation of whatever it is you’re experiencing, without reflecting on it. Whatever you think, however you feel, emerges as instantaneously as the bare sensation. So don’t get trapped by the thought or emotion or sensation. And if you realize that you get trapped by it, you realize that this too emerges as spontaneously as everything else.

Your awareness becomes instantaneous. As things emerge, you spot them. The moment the thought emerges, you spot it. The moment the feeling emerges, you spot it. The emergence and the spotting are one thing. The flow and the awareness of the flow happen at once. If you see things as they emerge, you see their source. So you don’t need to control anything. You only need to be aware of what’s happening. Aware without trying to figure out

what you’re aware of. When you hear noises, you don’t think of their source, you only hear the noise. Life becomes an awareness of the flow of the pattern. 

When we Understand that Holding on to the Past, Allowing it to Determine who We are Now, is a Deep Cause of Suffering, that Pattern Tends to Dissolve.

When we work at the level of questioning our identifications, we realize that even the suffering that we have so far explored is based on these fundamental beliefs about what a human being is. These concepts, which are shared by all humans, are the basis of all our emotional conflicts and difficulties, and of the patterns that generate our mental anguish. For instance, when someone rejects you, you are likely to feel hurt and angry. You might understand that it has to do with your father rejecting you, not liking you, being away a lot, and so on. Therefore, you are always feeling rejected; the feeling of rejection lives deep inside you. You might understand that when someone rejects you in the present, it activates those feelings of hurt and anger, and you suffer. But you might not be aware at this point of the assumptions your reaction is based on. For example, you assume that you are the same person now that you were as a child. That assumption is part of the pattern. For childhood to affect you now, you must assume that who you are now is the product of what happened to you in childhood. You need to see that your belief about who you are, your very identity, is the result of your past. And this is more fundamental than simply the dynamic of past history affecting your experience in the present.

However, if you don’t simply take yourself to be the result of your past, then the past has no influence on you. Who says that what you are now is what your father rejected? You might feel that your mother or father rejected your body. What body? The body that your father rejected is not the body you have now. The atoms themselves are not the same. Literally, the cells of your body are the product of food you have eaten in the last seven years. So your father and mother didn’t reject the body you have now. But you continue believing that they rejected your body and that now everybody rejects your body. Which body are you? Are you still that little kid from all those years ago? We often feel, “If I do such and such, Mommy will hate me.” Your mother might be long dead, the body you felt was rejected is completely different, and still the identity, and all the feelings that come with it, are there.

We continually identify with something in us that isn’t there any longer; we are identifying with a memory. Our identification is so strong that we might even feel insulted if someone tells us that’s not really what we are …………. We each take some part of our identity from the past and live our life as if we are that object in our memory. We have a powerful, entrenched belief that we are our history. This belief is a much deeper cause of suffering than what actually happened in our childhood. If you just stop believing that you are your history, if you really let go, if you see that that’s not you, all that happened in your childhood will be gone. You will be completely new. What happens now might cause you suffering, but what your mother did, what your father did, whatever depression or war you lived through, is gone. They exist only in your mind. So we realize that a deeper cause of our suffering is that we hold on to the past, and we hold on to it in a certain way. We use the past to determine what we are. The past generates our concepts, our beliefs about who we are and about what reality is.

However, as we continue exploring and experiencing new dimensions of being, we see more clearly what needs to be explored. When we understand that holding on to the past, allowing it to determine who we are now, is a deep cause of suffering, that pattern tends to dissolve. This allows us to be more open to the experience of being as a timeless presence that has nothing to do with the past. 

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