Friday, November 11, 2016

Examine your anger

Many people think that we simply shouldn't feel anger. We should avoid feeling it at all costs. However, anger simply is. Anger isn't good or bad. It's neutral. What we do with it is quite a different story. It pays to examine it. It will look different from one experience to the next.

We need to learn to take care of our anger. We don't want to shut it down or stuff it down. It will find a way to emerge somehow or other. And if we don't deal with it when it first appears, it will grow and grow until it erupts like a volcano.

Sometimes we feel anger toward someone; but as we dig down, we realize we're not really upset with that person. We're angry about something quite different. Or we're angry with ourselves. But that other person was a convenient target. See what's really going on inside you. There are lessons to be learned from your anger.

For example, author and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, "When we embrace anger and take good care of our anger, we obtain relief. We can look deeply into it and gain many insights. The first insight may be that the seed of anger in us has grown a little too big, and it is the main cause of our misery. As we begin to see this fact, we realize that the other person is only a secondary cause. The other person is not the main cause of our anger.

"If we continue to look deeply, we see that the other person suffers a great deal. Someone who suffers a lot always makes the people around him or her suffer. ... One hour of watering the flower in the other person can make him or her begin to bloom. ... The moment you are motivated by the desire to return to the other and help, you know that all the energy of anger has been transformed into the energy of compassion."

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