2022-06-23 Respecting Anger (4 of 5) Wise Speech When Angry
5:57PM Jun 23, 2022
So here we are at the fourth, talk on anger. And today I want to talk a bit about speaking. When we are angry. It's one thing to be able to be by oneself and to meditate and, and process the anger that way. It's another thing to manage our anger wisely, when we're in relationship to other people, and you need to talk and work and do things with others. And certainly, I hope that the whole mindfulness approach with emotions with with anger, and this kind of deeper looking at it is supportive for how we engage in the world and when we are anger angry. So The mindfulness approach to anger is an alternative to expressing the anger acting it out venting it. catharsis venting, anger, is usually not very helpful. It's helpful for people who have very deep repressed anger and never got a chance to have it come to the surface, then maybe going to a safe location, like in the forest and be you know, express the anger to a tree or something when there's no winner, or alone in your room, just to kind of finally get it up to the surface so you can address it. But generally venting and anger, cathartic expression of anger, more often than not, tends to strengthen the anger, give them more, make more of it and make it grow. And that's why venting anger to other people that you might feel, is usually counterproductive, because it tends to few put fuel in itself. The classic Buddhist teaching around anger is that anger is a fire that burns the person who has it. And so with venting, you know, that the external externality of the venting sometimes doesn't allow the vent or to feel the cost the burning. But in fact, it's tremendously costly for the person who's venting anger, it's not really a relief, release of pressure. And then, so then one end, you know, expressing the anger or venting the anger is usually not suggested, repressing the anger is also not healthy. This can create tremendous amount of problems, and usually it's counterproductive. And sooner or later, there may be an explosion or, or the anger or the resentment kind of seeds out and unseen ways. So the alternative I'd like to suggest for today between expressing anger and repressing it is managing the anger. So knowing that we're angry, and like finding the tools, the how to be with the anger that we we have, so that it doesn't need to be expressed, and it doesn't need to be repressed. And what we can do is we can learn to interact with other people. Having the anger somehow helpfully managed. So one of the things one way to manage the anger is not to automatically give into it, but have an alternative place a way of being with anger, than giving into it. And one of those ways is to be rooted and grounded, stable in ourselves, to have cultivated a habit, a strong skill set in being connected to the physical body, to be able to be grounded in the physical body, to take a stable posture in the physical body, to learn how to manage the agitation of the body, the restlessness of the body, the pressures, emotional pressures that arise in the body, to be able to hold them in the body. And this is phenomenally useful. That we are learning through mindfulness practice to expand our capacity to experience difficult emotions. If the capacity is small, then the difficult emotions spill over or explode or become detrimental.
But we're learning steadily in this practice to expand our capacity Ready to hold more and more difficult emotions, including anger. And one of the ways to hold it to be with it is to really drop into the body, feel the body feel a stability the body, and let the anger be felt as part of the body, though, as opposed to weed becoming the anger, identifying with the anger, and which is a very difficult state to be in. We've anything we identify with a body, and the anger is a subset of it. And then, as we manage this, the anger if we have a little bit of ability to investigate, to look inside, to understand the characteristics of the anger, is it something that's really unique to a current incident? Or is there a long history of resentment of complaining of indignation of, of stress connected to how we're feeling now, this is just a continuation of a long pattern. In fact, there might even be a kind of a continuous chronic, a feeling of irritation, that annoyance that's there regardless of where we're at with others or not. And he says that that noise is a chronic annoyance, irritation, resentment has, sometimes now it's getting kind of a big wave is being formed of it. The little wave is always moving across the ocean. And, and maybe it's going across a shoal. And now it's being raised up and really big. If it's chronic, we might relate to it very differently than if it's just an incident in the moment. Because incidents in the moment is where maybe there's a real danger. And so if anger is a symptom of a danger of some sort of a problem going on that, then if you recognize what the problem is, then maybe there's less need to be angry, then we can maybe find ways to address the problem. And this is where mindful speech is phenomenally useful, to learn how to speak mindfully. And one of the ways to speak mindfully is again, to be rooted in the body, to have that stability of body as we speak. So that we can track what we're saying, we might even be able to track what we're about to say, is because we're managing all this, not to repress anything, but so the best parts of ourselves come out. It's really managing ourselves so we can stay free, not managing ourselves. So we bottle ourselves up. And might feel like you were free, or if we just vent our anger and just speak spew out what we were feeling. But in it, that's not really freedom. That's really a loss of freedom, even though there's a release and kind of ease in which things are spilling out of us. The managing is to stay close to that place where there's a deeper wisdom that's free, deeper connectivity, deeper choice as possible. And so to learn to speak, connected to the bodies being aware of what's happening here. The other is, if again, if there is an opportunity to to pay a little bit of attention, and it's become second nature, the more we are mindful of speech and ourselves is to is to be careful why you're speaking. What's the motivation? What are you accomplishing with a speech, some speech, as only daggers, were throwing at other people to hurt them. Some speech is to try to solve the problem, some speeches to try to give a message to someone that what they're doing is not acceptable. But it's very different between letting them know in strong terms, you can't do this, versus some kind of statement that says you're, you know, a terrible person using some horrible language to say that, you know, kind of attacking them and throwing, you know, swear words at them perhaps. So, what's the purpose of the language is to the hurt the person? Is it to problem solve, is to be able to let the person know what we're feeling. And then the content of what we say is important. And one thing that's very helpful is at times can is to learn the art of if statements. I was once many years ago, I was a TA in college, for a for the chair of the department, and he was tweeting me in some kind of way that was not appropriate.
They'd be as a servant and something and asked me to do all kinds of things and putting pressure on me and demands that were unreasonable. Oh, and I got furious at him. But had enough sense no, this is not a person to yell at or be angry at. And so, but I didn't want to repress it, I felt this needs to be addressed. So I went to him, and I stood there, and I was kind of shaking because I was so angry. And, and I made I statements. I said things like, what I'm experiencing now, given what you said, and what you're asking me to do, is I feel really hurt if you're really upset. And it was obvious that I was, I wasn't saying anything about him and what he did, I was just saying the impact it had on me. And that was all I needed to do. He backed down, he understood the impact, he understood what he had done. And then the whole thing became a lot better. And the end, so to sometimes sharing the impact, sometimes it's powerful to tell people when you did x, I know that I feel afraid. Now, some people kind of when they realize what the impact they had like that they switch and change, as opposed to yelling at them. And then they yell back, and then the whole thing escalates. And the idea is to learn how to speak in ways where the speaking, de escalates our own anger, whether it diffuses it, and they're wonderful, or like, maybe slightly pronounced differently, but the two meanings of diffuse is to kind of settle out, spread out. So it's weaker than or less concentrated, and to take the fuse out of a bomb. So diffuse, we're diffusing our anger. We're tracking ourselves. So we know that we get the feedback that we're actually maybe speaking in a way that's increasing the level of the anger rather than decreasing it. I've been angry at someone once said to me some years ago, and and I asked to meet with a person privately. So we did. And we talked for a while, and then I left after a while, I could feel myself getting even more upset. And so I asked if we could have a timeout, can we just sit here quietly for a few minutes. And the person was a practitioner. So that was fairly easy enough to agree to. And then. And then when the, you know, after a few minutes of breathing and being present, then it was already continuing the conversation. I was not in a good place to have the conversation until I had had a couple of minutes of silence. So to track ourselves, to manage ourselves, to, to be able to go manage the conversation and find the balance. Find what how how to speak and what to speak, how not to attack people when we speak, which is so easy to do when we're angry, but to speak in ways that tried to get the job done that needs to be done that's appropriate, to be careful that we're not spilling over. Things that have nothing to do with them. Chronic resentments chronic hurt, that we're carrying with us, again, would bring a lot of pressure long, that we were not really taking care of the situation at hand, as we're somehow giving expression to age old resentment that we're carrying, that we're frustrated with and is coming out. So in these few minutes I have, those are the ideas that I'm offering. So here, the primary one I want to leave you with is two ideas. One is manage your anger, and manage it with discovering some stability within always look for the stability, if you can. And the other is to start looking explore exploring and being wise about how you speak. Because sometimes we have to speak when we're angry. And maybe today, if you have an occasion to be angry or irritated or annoyed or you want to complain, don't complain. Don't express annoyance don't send Barb's to people. Rather, consider what you can say. That's maybe an if statement that may be as supportive in the situation that's appropriate for the situation. Take care of something that takes care of you and the other person. If the person hasn't done the dishes one more time. Don't kind of yell at them. Just kind of say, wow.
Here we are, again, the dishes aren't being done, what's happening, or it's very discouraging. I feel so discouraged to see the sink full of dishes again. And let's leave it at that and see what happens. something major, the point being, find ways to speak when you're angry, develop the skill and the wisdom to be able to do that so that your speech is healthy and wise in circumstances when you're angry so thank you. And we'll have one more talk on anger tomorrow.