Getting Angry

No matter how zen you may be, you will also get angry. Anger is a difficult emotion. It does not always feel as awful as sadness, but it can be just as destructive. Anger has a dangerous aspect of demanding immediate action. You can sit with other emotions and wait for them to pass. With anger, you feel compelled to do something about it. It is important to recognize when you are angry, so that your angry actions do not cause unnecessary suffering for yourself or those around you.

Anger necessarily causes suffering in you. It is generally a combination of hurt and sadness that brings about anger. That is two kinds of suffering rolled into one. Acting in anger is how we try to relieve our suffering. Often, in attempting to alleviate our suffering, we inflict it on others. When you are angry, you may feel that the others deserve to experience the suffering you choose to inflict. That is not true. Nobody should suffer. When you are angry, it may be difficult to remember that and especially difficult to imagine that it could be true. That is why it is important to reserve a special form of mindfulness for when you are angry. You can use that mindfulness to help reduce your own suffering and prevent passing it on to others.

Getting angry produces a lot of energy and sometimes that energy can feel good. When you are mindful, you are aware of the good and bad feelings of anger. It is important to notice both so that you don’t fall into the trap of getting angry as a means of accessing that good feeling. More suffering than good comes out of anger and the person that suffers most consistently is the angry person.

Like any suffering, anger is a good teacher. It comes and goes. It can carry you away and it can burn down your kingdom. If you pay close attention to your anger, you can prevent the fires from burning. With enough focused attention you can find peace from your anger. When you learn to master anger, then you can start working on desire. Desire can drive you mad.

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