2022-06-20 Respecting Anger (1 of 5) Practicing with Angermp3
8:57PM Jun 20, 2022
So hello again and on this Monday morning. And for those of those of us United States, it's a holiday Juneteenth Day holiday. The second of the two are the first of the year of the two, Independence holidays here in the United States. And I gave a talk about this holiday yesterday. So
So last week, we talked about the emotions, and offering five different perspectives on emotions for support and practicing with them. And this week, I wanted to take some specific emotions and buy case studies and go through them. And I decided that I would start with anger. And when I considered anger, I considered that there's actually a lot to say. And maybe it's more useful to spend the five days on this topic, rather than just doing one day and be done with it. So that's what we'll do. And maybe this the title of this week can be respecting anger. And anger, of course, is a very important emotion, attitude, motivating force in our society. And a tremendous amount of harm gets caused through anger. And one of the, I don't know if it's fair to say that any one particular harm of anger is worse than others. But what comes to mind in the moment, is the tremendous influence you can have on young children, if they grow up with anger, or they grew up afraid of it an unexpected anger coming at them. And also, anger is a protective device, anger also, some people motivated by anger will protect other people protect their children, protect society, some people with their anger, protect themselves and set up strong boundaries, strong no and can be ferocious sometimes in, in, in, in that protective movement. Some people by their anger can put a tremendous amount of energy into a cause a good cause because of the energy is forcing them. So anger has many different expressions in our society. And, and, but in one of the, it's an it can be confusing. Because sometimes anger is treated as something that's wrong or bad, or painful, and sometimes it's treated as something that's necessary and important and justified. And in Buddhism, whenever there's a discussion about anger, in the Buddhist English, the discussion is, implies that anger has hostility as part of it. So if that's how we see it, then we have to come up with another word for something like anger or anger, which has no facility in it. There might be a very strong expression of displeasure. That will look like anger. But there's no hostility in it. There can be very strong movement, ferocious movement of protection of a strong No. But there's no hostility, there's no desire to harm anyone, it just setting up a very strong statement of cert asserting a certain ferocious ferocity of purpose ferocity of, of negation, something. And, and so, a very useful way of looking at our anger is to look and see is there any hostility in it? And if there is, be careful. The hostility, I would like to suggest is never necessary, never appropriate. Ferocious. boundary setting ferocious standing in front instinct stop ferocious sense of displeasure. This is not right. That I think can be very healthy for ourselves and for others. I know the first time I saw that was when I was working in the kitchen, I was a kitchen manager at the monastery, the Zen monastery. And I don't remember the details of how what led up to this what I did, but I was kind of the manager managing other people in the kitchen. And the kitchen was kind of a pressure cooker. And an older man who was in the kitchen, we're standing next to each other on the big table.
And, and he just stood up straight and turned to me. And with ferocity said to me, don't ever say that to me again. And so it was quite ferocious. But what was amazing to me, was the moment as he said it, I could, he's he turned it off. He was he was he was back to being kind of clean and clear, just present doing his work. And I then I was so surprised, because I only experienced before that people stayed angry, people were upset that they would stay and they'd be kind of conflict and a fight. And he had this clean anger was completely clean. It was just like, don't do this again. And he said what had to be said, and he wasn't carrying it. He wasn't being continuing with it. It wasn't like I was forgiven. But I didn't need to be forgiven. It was just like, I got the message. And he wasn't holding on to it. He wasn't carrying anything with it. He just made his mate said what has to be done. And, and I was so amazed by this, that you can take care of yourself this way. But regardless if anger is, as is only defined by as having hostility, or its anger, that's a kind of ferocious, ferocious, boundary setting or displeasure. It's helpful to see anger always as a messenger. Always as something to study and get to know better, that anger is a tip of an iceberg of something deeper inside of us that probably be useful to get to know well, well, to understand Well, part of the challenge of any kind of anger is it tends to be directed towards something and so such strength of directionality, even if it's towards something inside of ourselves, that we don't see the bigger picture. And we don't see where the the anger is coming from was directed outwards. And we don't look backwards to see what is happening there. What's going on there. And, and that's what the practice is about. Very broadly, broad strokes, kind of there are four stages that Buddha's can kind of be point to around anger. One is unrestrained anger. You see it sometimes in a young child, where they're just completely consumed by their anger. And I've had it with my child, my child, when I was a toddler, and I was carrying him through the supermarket aisles, and having a temper tantrum, but something and probably I used to assume that people there store thought that I was just a horrific father. And I know that other parents have had this experience to where the child you know, just unrest, pure volcanic anger, it's something that maybe it was that they saw a toy that they wanted, but it wasn't really the time to give them a toy in the store, buy it for them. And the so the first there's an unrestrained anger, where it's explosive, freely given, you know, felt like every anger is justified and and then very broadly, then the next kind of stage is holding anger in check, sometimes be repressing it, denying it, hiding it. Because it's dangerous to express the anger or something. And some people as they grow up and they learn, they learned that growing up. Sometimes you'll learn to deal with that by the violence done to them, that they express anger and they're hit or attacked or something and so they learn that they can't they can't express any anger and they bottle it up or turn it off. So, the third is what we do in this practice. We respect it, we attend to it, we study it, we get to know it better. And we get to know it without shame without further anger towards the anger.
We get to know it because it is an expression of our lifeforce. It is an expression of what it means to be alive, alive. And it arises out of some. It's not just anger that's happening. It's the something deeper and fuller about who we are. That's in that anger, our values, our emotions, our fears, our desires, our loves, our past sufferings, and pains and wounds, a whole bunch of constellation of things come together. Some of them, which is part of our beauty and wonderfulness. And some of it is that which is what we're trying to let go of in practice, to let go to let go of conceit, the self centeredness, intense self centeredness is often a recipe for intense anger and hostility. And so that kind of anger we don't want to allow, give free rein to, but we don't repress it either. What we want to do is turn around to really look deeply what's going on here. And meditation is one of the best places for this. In meditation, you're committed to being still not moving your body, you're not going to punch anyone out or screaming anyone, and to give when you so you might even try it. When you find yourself having anger, go and sit down to meditate. And and let the anger be a volcano that the anger course through you. And just feel it, make room for it. Let go keep letting go the thoughts, the stories, and let the body compost the anger, let the body hold and process the anger and sit there allowing it but being present for it feeling in the body. And see what happens. This is very respectful of anger, it allows it to be there. But we're not fueling it and feeding it with more and more activity and stories. But this is a place to really get to know it. And then the fourth stage of Buddhist practice, at least with anger is that anger doesn't get triggered. Partly because we've learned other ways of responding other ways of boundary setting or protecting other motivations that get what needs to be done done. And partly because the attachments that we have, the clinging, the conceits that they're a part of the triggers for anger, are no longer there. And there might be strong displeasure, but no hostility at all. So that's kind of an introduction for this week, we'll spend a week looking at anger. And, and as a little homework assignment for this next day, or for as you go forward here. See if you can learn to be comfortable, or to be empty or to be nonreactive. To other people angry at you doesn't mean that they're justified in the anger or they should be angry or, or hopefully, you know, it's a safe context for this to happen. Don't do anything unsafe. But if you can learn to be present, and stay relaxed and breathe, when other people are angry, this will go a long way to your ability to do that for yourself. So whether you're angry or you're the recipient of anger, see if you can practice mindfulness in the middle of it. It's an invaluable so so this is what we'll do this week. And it's a difficult topic and hopefully I'll do it in a way that is respectful for all the different ways that people have experienced anger been angry, been harmed by anger, and that that each of you will maybe hopefully find some usefulness and what's said this week thank you