Chapter 258 Six Strategies to Lessen the Anger Boiling Your Soul

What can we do to lessen the strength of anger and therefore avoid the suffering?  For one, we can embrace the OPPOSITE: loving kindness (which is the opposite of anger and ill will).  They more you contemplate, pray, and meditate on it, the more skill you will develop to ward off anger, by counterbalancing anger with its opposite emotion.  (A big hug from your pet cat or dog could do the trick!)

One of the keys to achieving equanimity and peace is to cultivate as a prayer and meditation your strengthening of compassion.  Recall that Compassion is identification of suffering and the unselfish desire to relieve suffering in yourself and others.

Note this key axiom:  When someone is being a complete jerk and acting tyrannical, cruel, vicious, selfish, did you ever stop and wonder why?  Many times, they are suffering just as much as you.  Perhaps they were bullied as a child, or they were mistreated by their own mother or father.  Maybe they just got roughed up emotionally at work, or by their spouses.

Did you ever wonder?  You were probably too busy in your own world and how angry the other party made you feel to notice the person making you upset.  If you are angry at someone, if you stop and ask yourself, “Perhaps they are having a very tough day, maybe they have a serious problem at home”, you will be more able to forgive the person and have compassion—and not be trapped in a circle of anger and ill-wishes.

The more angry you are, the more compassion you will need to experience to counteract the anger.  Remember always the times that you yourself made someone else so angry.  Having compassion is so important in life, because it allows us to understand the suffering in others, and commiserate with them.  It changes our “perception” of others by contemplating the suffering they have gone through in their lives.  Ultimately it lessens our anger towards others.

Regarding anger, if you cannot bring forth its opposite, “loving kindness”, and you cannot invoke compassion, then bring forth equanimity with the understanding that animals and people are just the way they are.   There is a very limited amount that someone outside that person can change in their personality.   Just being able to accept and then drop your anger is a valuable skill in itself.  Without cultivating this skill, you are likely to go crazy yourself.

Recall that we have defined equanimity and bliss and peace in many ways, and that includes the appreciation and acceptance of being at peace and knowing there is a limit to what you can do.  Equanimity involves the Lord’s Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

This involves just accepting that people are people and some people have been pushed to the point of ultimate despair and flipped or went off the deep end.

Finally, another strategy to avoid anger inside you is to actively avoid any situation which makes you unsettled.  Physically and mentally, Avoidance is another key strategy.  It does not mean running away.  There may be times you can avoid people and situations which make you angry physically, but they are still in your mind.  So mentally, you keep on bringing it up again and again, and it grows with a life of its own, stealing away your happy present moments.  Try to put it aside and forget it.  In time, it will disappear on its own.  For example, if the shootings in Colorado made you angry, then physically and mentally put it out of your mind.  DON’T Google stories about it.  Don’t physically let your eyes pass over it in the morning paper.

Finally, a last approach to avoid ANGER getting a foothold in your life is to accept the laws in Galations 6:7 in the New Living Translation about the nature of Karma (or in Christianity, You Reap What you Sow):

“Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” – Galations 6

This law is repeated in every philosophy and every religion and every “adage” and even in the fortune cookies you ate at lunch.  EVERYONE reaps what they sow.  Contemplate and meditate on this.  Nobody gets away with things.  Nobody escapes the fruit of their actions.  There is always JUSTICE.  Sometimes, it takes a while, upon God and the Universe’s time.

Remember the idea in Buddhism also that we discussed called “dependent arising”.  When you steal, cheat, abuse, hurt, bully anyone around you, “Have you ever in your own life gotten away with anything?”  The answer is a resounding no.  You have paid for all your transgressions.  Think hard, if you did something wrong, you know you paid for it…probably at a price much greater than your transgression.  If you did something you have not yet paid for, be ready.  It’ll come.  It comes for individuals the same as it comes for entire nations and entire civilizations.

Doing this exercise of contemplating Karma does not mean we become the proverbial ‘doormat’ or let anyone do to us injustices, it just means that at times there is nothing we can do.  To alleviate the feelings of injustice, when you feel so angry and resentful, pray and meditate on God’s Law of Karma.

There is a saying,

“You can fool some of the people all of the time,

All of the people some of the time,

But NEVER, all of the people all of the time.”

People always get their “just desserts”.  If you need any proof of this, look no further than the reflection on your mirror.  Even the great Conquerors like Napolean, Hitler, Mussolini, Hussein…they all paid for their transgressions with long lasting immense misery.

Finally, watch something funny on You tube.com or read a funny cartoon book.  Another opposing emotion of anger is Humor.  A good political late night humorfest from Jay Leno or David Letterman can do miracles to an angry person.  There are other active strategies, but here we just mentioned a few of them.

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About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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