All of us feel anger and hatred from time to time. Eastern
meditation and mindfulness techniques can help us mange and
transform our anger so that the energy contained in the anger
benefits us instead of spreading misery in others and ourselves.
It is important to note that although anger causes us pain we
should not reject it or disown it. Suppose your stomach or legs
or some other part of your body grew diseased and caused you
pain. Would you for that reason try to get rid of your stomach
or your legs? Of course you would not. Anger can be transformed
and the energy contained in it can be of much use to us. The
story is told of Angulimala - a famous dacoit who had murdered
999 people. Yet a meeting with the Buddha changed him and
transformed the anger within him. If a legendary dacoit can
transform his anger then surely so can we.
Think of your anger, as a farmer would regard organic
fertilizer. A farmer with garbage and organic waste knows that
he can use it to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables. So also
we can use the anger within us to grow spiritually and become
We can care for and transform our anger the way a mother cares
for here baby - by practicing mindfulness whenever we are angry.
The effect mindfulness has on anger can be compared with the way
flowers respond to sunlight. At sunrise the rays from the sun
reach the flower. The photons contained in the sunrays penetrate
the flower. After 15 to 20 minutes the flower can no longer
resist and she opens herself to the sunrays.
In a similar manner we need to practice mindfulness at all times
and especially when we are angry. Observe the breath entering or
leaving the body when you are angry. At the same time observe
the anger within you without judging or condemning or rejecting
it in any way. After some minutes the anger will open itself to
you and fade away. The cause of the anger will be revealed and
the energy contained in the anger will be available for your use.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese poet and Zen Buddhist master,
says that we need to care for our anger the way a mother cares
for her newborn baby. The mother may be cooking in the kitchen
and yet the moment the baby cries out she immediately goes to
see what is wrong. Because she is a skillful mother she soon
finds out what is wrong - whether it is that the baby is hungry
or the nappy is too tight or whatever may be the case. In the
same way the moment we fell angry we need to care for it by
practicing mindfulness. We can observe the breath. We can go out
for a walk and make the act of walking our meditation practice.
Observe the sensations in the feet as they land on the ground
one after the other. At the same time observe your breath. You
will soon know how many steps you take for each in breath and
out breath. Walk in this mindful manner for 20 minutes to half
an hour and your anger will open itself to you and be
Anger, left uncared for, spread a lot of pain and misery not
only in ourselves but also in other that we come in contact.
There is a natural tendency to lash out at others when we are
angry and this has the result of spreading misery. If we
practice transforming anger through mindfulness we will not only
be much happier and more peaceful ourselves but we can also care
for others and share our happiness and peace. In this way our
meditation practice will help in making the world a better place.
Thich Nhat Hanh has written a very insightful book on this
subject - Anger, Buddhist wisdom for cooling the flames. Many
effective ways of dealing with anger are explained. Pick up a
copy of this book by clicking on the link below
I hope you enjoyed this article and hope that it will be useful
Stay tuned for more.
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