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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dealing with Anger.

Over the years, I have wrestled with anger and felt it's sting every time. A lot of times I get angry for reasons that I feel are justified, but even so, I pay a price for letting someone's rude actions disturb the calm waters of my mind. One example being rude drivers on the roads, but getting angry at them doesn't do any good for my mental health. I might feel justified, like I sometimes do, but striking-out at other people is like a bee stinging you when you try to take their honey. They strike-out in anger by stinging you, but in the process they are hurt worse because in the process of stinging you they die.

I'm learning through Buddha that there are other ways to react to problems, solve disagreements or process disappointments than through anger. There are other ways to resolve differences without lashing out in rage. People are less likely to compromise with you or change their behavior if you yell at them with angry words and insults. They simply yell back and you're even further away from resolving your problem with them!!

I'm trying to do meditation in the car to lessen my anger while driving. I simply try to focus on my breathing and remember that mistakes happen but how I react determines how much those mistakes will affect me in a painful way. Another method I try to use is seeing the rude drivers as people suffering greatly. They are unhappy inside, so they lash out at others because they don't know how to handle their pain. They are like a wounded animal that tries to bite you even though you aren't trying to hurt them. They are confused and don't know how to solve their problems, so they blame everyone out of ignorance and delusion. It helps me have compassion toward them instead of anger, which calms my mind rather than succumb to the ego's desire for vengeance.

~i bow to the buddha within all beings~ 

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Menander I Soter said...

Extremely timely. And very nice indeed.

Hanzze B said...

Difficult, of course. But we should not forget, that it is our own choice to stay within a circel. We like to have the fruits of this way of live and we need to take problems which naturally come within the fight for the fruits.

That is the reason why we leave burden-full circles and with it give up also the desire for its fruits.

When we are in a circle with very less and subtle problems and also less ordinary fruits, we are able to uproot the real problem behind.

So the fist step is inherent in the virtue section of the eightfold path to choose better circle at least.

It is one thing to consider about anger in traffic and its fight and another to consider why one needs or desires to participate.

It might seem that its the anger demon but mostly its at least the greed sucking jakkha.

Its a secure path and its walked step by step.
Aside there are limits and other paths will be insecure.

Ugyen Chopel said...

One thing that helps me with this is to visualize all the people in traffic without their cars, as if we were all walking, or running, down a path. It is harder to get angry for me if i can think about the person standing in front of me, or running around me.. It would seem ridiculous to yell at a little old lady walking slowly in front of you..We pretend like our vehicles can protect us from non physical harm..

Embracing Freshness said...

This is a very useful, practical message, James, thank you. In my sangha, after our 40-minute silent sit, we have about 20 minutes of sharing, which is voluntary. No one has to share. But if someone wants to share, they find one of the many bells in the room, and invite the sound of the bell. This means they are about to share and will not be interrupted. When they have have said what they wanted to say, they invite the bell again. This means no one is to speak for at least a couple of minutes. In part, this practice is to show respect for each other, and to let what has just been said be listened to deeply. But in part also, this practice teaches one to be responsive, and not reactive. If one can sit and breathe with anger or frustration or annoyance or aggression long enough to let the mud settle, then instead of reacting harshly and negatively, one can respond skillfully. This is a very helpful practice; like any practice, it takes time, but it's worth the investment of time and energy.

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hewhoisdom said...

On my good foot, when driving from NYC to New Jersey on the Staten Island Expressway I concentrate on the what rather than on the who. Driving is an important meditative practice that literally involves the very lives of oneself and others. To contemplate one's surroundings - the license plate of the car ahead when stuck in traffic or the distance between my car and the two semi-trailers on either side is to be aware of reality rather on the speculative conclusions about the motives of other drivers. Even when you lock eyes with a driver who may well be endangering your life, one may view the actions of this person compassionately as unskillful. Such a view may serve to preemptively un-charge a potentially dangerous situation.

Anjalee said...

The traffic is a big source of frustration in my life too. I use the chanting of Om Mani Padme Hum, which generates compassion to breeze through. It works greatly on a good day but I have also caught myself actually starting to chant in anger. It subdues once I get in the flow but I have to admit it's hard. Anger is something we struggle with... maybe not at the gross level yet at subtler levels there is so much work to do.

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