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Where do feelings come from?

Updated: May 24

Practice and QA.

Works Bro James and Sis Shymiin were working on before his passing.

“I can’t bear that everything is up in the air. I pray this (pandemic) will be over soon and things would return to normal.”

This is suffering. Mental pain is suffering.

Lockdown, particularly the first one with severe restrictions, caused many to experience panic, fears, worries, anxieties, even anger and grief (illwill). People complained they couldn't go anywhere or do what they are used to (enjoy) ~ go, do, be whatever, wherever, whenever. It's a kind of deprivation (illwill).

In actuality, you may not go anywhere at all when there’s no lockdown. But, just the thought that you are able to go anywhere, even if you don’t want to go, makes you feel ~ ‘free’ and happy. On the other hand, homemakers said it didn’t make much difference, except they had more work to do with everyone home 24/7.

Thoughts (thinking) produce feelings.

When thinking is connected with sense-enjoyment or an attachment-object, you’d feel joy or neutral feeling (depending on some conditions).

When thinking is connected to the illwill mind, it produces pain. Illwill, Dosa in Pali includes aversion, anger, sadness, depression, loneliness, anxiety, worry and many other unskilful thoughts.

So how you think matters.

There are many factors that go into conditioning and influencing thinking, which we won't get into here. However, to manage the pain immediately, you need to know some of these. Listen to the 5 part Dhamma Talks regarding direction of the mind (Five Factors of Concentration) here.

One of many ways to manage feelings is to change the flow of thoughts, as that will change its feeling. Divert the flow of thought away from those objects which produce mental pain. Apply (direct) the mind to another object, which produce wholesome minds such as listening to chanting, wise reflection, Metta, gratitude, etc. If you can't then, completely change its course e.g. take a walk, listen to your favourite music.

And, it should be managed ~ to prevent pain from building up otherwise it depresses and drag the mind down so low, it makes it very hard to rebound. It weakens the mind and, one is far away from practice. This is the hindrance of illwill. Managing it breaks the unwholesome momentum and prevents unwholesome kamma from accumulating.

Consider the following practices in daily life.

How to manage feelings/ mind?

Change the flow of thoughts

Wise reflection

Reflecting on Buddha’s teachings to prompt wholesome minds to counter-balance unwholesome minds. You can also practise wise reflection, prompting and maintaining wholesome thoughts - this can counter and manage the hindrances in the mind. It can also produce more wholesome feelings and more importantly, also give rise to mental stability. Read about some examples here.

Changing object

Divert the flow of thoughts, from unwholesome to wholesome. Vitakha (apply) the mind to another object.


See difficulties as opportunities / objects for Satipatthana practice in daily life. Check out this example.

More examples on how these are practised in later posts

With metta/s

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