Anger is something that none of us can avoid. Just as we sometimes feel happy, we must also feel sadness, and anger, because they help us on our paths to Nirvana.
When it comes to anger, the way we face it and really resolve it speaks volumes. Some people are good at dealing with their negative emotions but others are not. If you’re the kind of person that overreacts and allows the small stuff to bring you down then you’re most likely someone that isn’t good at coping with anger.
The Dalai Lama has spoken about anger on more than one occasion and his wise words are some that we should all take the time to learn from. For those who might not be aware, the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people/Tibetan Buddhists. There have been several Dalai Lamas throughout the years, but we are currently in the presence of the 14th Dalai Lama.
In Buddhism, people are taught that there are three poisons or root kleshas. Those consisting of hatred, ignorant confusion, and greed. From one comes another and so forth. While anger is a feeling more often misunderstood than not, it is quite interesting in itself. In the world of Buddhism anger is not something to be ignored, it is something that should be transformed. We must work from the inside out to overcome it.
Throughout the years, the Dalai Lama has been quite outspoken regarding his wisdom on anger. He has even stated the following on his Twitter account:
“Anger and fear undermine our immune system, while warm-heartedness brings peace of mind. Therefore, just as we teach children to comply with physical hygiene for the good of their health, we should also counsel them in a kind of hygiene of the emotions.”
“Anger may seem to be a source of energy, but it’s blind. It causes us to lose our restraint. It may stir courage, but that too is blind.”
“Anger destroys our peace of mind and causes trouble. It also hampers our ability to function properly.”
“Anger and aggression sometimes seem to be protective because they bring energy to bear on a particular situation, but that energy is blind. It takes a calm mind to be able to consider things from different angles and points of view.”
“Forgiveness is how we put a stop to anger, ill-will and a desire for revenge.”
And each of these will guide us towards one ultimate truth: anger has to be processed. It cannot simply be locked away. Calming your mind and turning that anger into something else is the very first place to start in regards. Without considering things from different angles we will never be able to truly understand them. We must learn to face our own emotions and through that also teach our offspring to do the same.
If you come at someone who is angry with compassion you can turn things around right from the start but if you both continue to but heads nothing will ever get resolved. Anger hides reality from us and blinds us, if we want to work through it we must face the problem before us realistically.
In order to have a healthy body and a healthy mind, we must have a calm mind. In his book Worlds in Harmony he went over anger and how transforming it into something more positive is extremely important. While many refuse to see things in a different light, he is well aware how crucial it can be. Anger is inconvenient and unnecessary at best.
In Worlds of Harmony The Dalai Lama wrote as follows:
Anger is often just suffering that has not met with compassion. If someone is annoying you or making you angry, you can use that as an opportunity to counter your own anger with the cultivation of compassion. But if the annoyance is too powerful—if you find the person so repulsive that you cannot bear to be in his presence—it may be better to look for the exit!
Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If a person shows anger to you and you respond with anger, the result is a disaster. In contrast, if you control anger and show the opposite attitude—compassion, tolerance, and patience—then not only do you yourself remain in peace, but also the other person’s anger will gradually diminish. The responsibility rests in thought.
With kindness and love, peace of mind can be achieved. No one wants mental unrest, but because of ignorance, depression and so on, these things occur. Bad attitudes arise from the power of ignorance, not of their own accord.
This setting the tone for how we can and should be transforming that anger. While we are not going to be able to ‘never’ get angry we should be able to let things go and achieve peace all the while. Anger is something we can work through and with to get where we need to be in our minds. Peace is quite possible if we’re on the page we need to be on.
Many of us wonder what we can do with anger when we find ourselves in it. Often we direct our anger at another person, someone who we think has hurt us or offended us in some way. If your anger is not very forceful, you can try to look at a different aspect of the person. Every person, no matter how negative she seems to be, also has positive attributes. If you try to look at that side of her, the anger will immediately be reduced. This is one way. Another thing you can do is to try to find what is good or useful about the anger. Anger is really something awful. On the other hand, you can find many good things in patience, compassion, and love. Once you have that kind of genuine conviction, when anger begins to develop, you will remember its negativity and try to reduce it.
But when your anger is too forceful, you can try to direct your mind elsewhere, on some other thing. Just close your eyes and concentrate fully on your breathing. Count your breaths up to about twenty or twenty-five. Then the anger will be slightly reduced, slightly cooled down. But if the anger is very, very strong, then fight! …I am just making a joke. But really, it is better to express it than to hide it inside. A very negative, hateful feeling may remain there for years. That is worse. Compared to that, it is better to say a few nasty words.
While all of this might be a lot to take in it is well worth noting. Anger doesn’t do us any favors, and we shouldn’t be feeding into its blind energy.
Image via CNN