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Other People’s Anger

Even if you do all you can do to manage your own anger, you still have to deal with other people’s anger. When you take a Zen approach to anger, you don’t get angry. Things happen. They hurt. They make you sad, scared, or frustrated, but as you focus on feeling those emotions as they happen, they don’t pile up and turn into anger. When you regularly practice observing and recognizing thoughts, moods, and emotions, anger comes around less frequently. When it does happen, you recognize it, observe it and let it pass before it does too much damage to you or those around you. Other people though, don’t practice this. They get mad, maybe even at you.

When somebody around you is mad, you can practice dealing with other people’s anger. When people get angry, they are sad, hurt, scared, and/or frustrated. They don’t know what to do with those emotions, so they get angry. They may say or do things that are hurtful to you even if they love you. They are wrong to hurt you. When you feel hurt, you get defensive and since anger is in the air, you may get angry too. If that happens, you’re back to practicing with your own anger. If you don’t get angry, then you can continue your practice with the other person’s anger.

To practice with the other person’s anger you connect with the difficult emotions that they are dealing with. You don’t have to look for the hurt or fear, anger is enough. Anger is painful. When you connect with the pain of the other person’s anger you can feel compassion. When you feel compassion, you want to help them. At that point, you are not feeling small, guilty and afraid. You are helping a person in distress.

Dealing with other people’s anger is similar do dealing with your own. You try to see the anger as anger and not get sucked into it. When you see anger as a painful imbalance, rather than a reasonable response to the circumstance, then you won’t fall for accepting blame for the other person’s emotions. If you can remain calm and respond with compassion, you are in a good position to ease their suffering. That creates harmony.

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Acting Enlightened

It seems strange that great actors and actresses can take on any imaginable character, acting out all of that character’s neuroses, triumphs and transformations and still suffer like everybody else in their own lives. Great actors seem to have the ability to become their characters on stage. They forget themselves as they perform. When they step off stage, they remember themselves and real problems begin. It is difficult to step out of our own character, because wherever we step becomes our character. If we want our character to be enlightened then we need to act enlightened.

Enlightenment is accepting what is without attaching to it. Acting enlightened doesn’t mean sitting around with a goofy smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye. To act your own enlightenment, when you are feeling miserable and afraid, act miserable and afraid. It’s okay to act miserable and afraid if the script calls for it. The enlightened part of the acting is knowing that although you feel these feelings, you are able to handle them and your circumstance. As you act enlightened, connect with the dignity of your character and feel great compassion for your character as it suffers, bravely facing the script of fate.

One trait of enlightened people, which could help any actor, is that they tend to meditate. As you act enlightened, accepting and performing the struggles of your character, have your character sit in peace and understanding for a few minutes a day. Use that time to connect with the actor performing the character. That is your time to rest back stage.

Acting enlightened is the role of a lifetime. When you are able to immerse yourself in this role and forget yourself, you may find yourself sitting there with a goofy grin and a twinkle in your eye. That’s okay too. It’s all in your character.

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