+1 vote
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by (540 points)
Sometimes I feel sad but I don’t know why. I can be mindful about it and note the sadness but this won’t help me understand the causes that lead me to feeling that way.

Without understanding the roots/causes of my sadness it will be difficult to gain insights and understanding of the wrong views/actions that need to be changed.

What can I do in those cases to gain insights as to where my suffering is coming from?
by (1.5k points)
edited by
Bhante teaches us of the Dhammapada 168-169 (on vigilance)
Happiness is not the cause of happiness,
Sadness is not the cause of sadness,
Goodness is the cause of happiness
by (540 points)
Thank you! :)

2 Answers

+2 votes
by (1.0k points)

Sadness is a reaction, being mindful about it and understanding clearly this way of reacting is very useful. Also one can be mindful of the "wanting" to know its causes, and all the "thinking" associated with gaining insight or changing views. All this can be noted as they are all different mind states. 

As far as the causes leading to feeling sad, generally it could fall in the category of wanting "X" and not getting "X" or not wanting "Y" and getting "Y", - basically our attachments. Irrespective, understanding clearly our reactions is key to see clearly if its useful or to our determent. When we see clearly, we give up the reactions that are harmful to us automatically.

Having patience is also useful w.r.t.developing the practice of mindfulness so that we can stay with the sadness , wanting etc objectively. With time the insights you have mentioned will come about naturally, one doesn't need to chase after getting them.

by (540 points)
Thank you so much for your answer! You are right I really need to be patient and practice more without any desires for achieving this or getting rid of that!!! I hope that with time and practice things will naturally become clearer in my mind! Thank you!!
+1 vote
by (890 points)

What can I do in those cases to gain insights as to where my suffering is coming from?

Definitely signup for a course with Bhante. You can get a number of insights during that. It can be done from home and is free of charge.

> Without understanding the roots/causes of my sadness

Roots/cause of sadness (or any other unwholesome mind state) is really very simple: the mind takes delight in clinging to them. At the same time the mind does not see the dangers (dukkha) associated in clinging to those states. 

Why does the mind do that? That's is because it hasn't looked closely into the above process and therefore has poor judgement about what makes it peaceful. This poor judgement is also known as delusion.

Mindfulness, when done right, sheds light into the above process. Once the mind internalizes that the delight is just not worth the dangers, it automatically becomes dispassionate to those states. Only then it is freed of sadness etc.

Note that you cannot "will" the mind into dispassion - it is out of control. But you can certainly use the properties of the mind itself to creates conditions that will eventually lead to dispassion. E.g. a strong mindfulness practice.

> Sometimes I feel sad but I don't know why

Following is not a substitute for a formal course with bhante. Next time you get into the sadness loop, I invite you to try the following

  1. Observe when sadness arises, what arises with it (sensations, thoughts, perceptions)
  2. Observe when sadness leaves, what leaves with it. 
  3. What in the above were you delighting in i.e. liking (e.g. could be the perception "I deserve better")
  4. At the same time recall what negative effects that came about between steps 1 and 2 (e.g. perhaps ignored someone important, or wasted valuable time)
  5. Ask yourself - what you liked in step 3 worth all that in step 4? If not do you want to really continue the process in the future?
by (540 points)
Thanks so much!! I plan on taking the course when I know I will truly commit to meditating 1 to two hours a day! I am sure it will be very helpful!

Your answers were really on point and help me better understand how to approach being mindful of my states of mind!

Have a wonderful day and many thanks for taking the time to reply to my question!
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