As we probably all know, it’s hard not to get angry sometimes. It happens to everyone. Even Buddhist monks. But, the difference between Buddhist monks (hopefully all Buddhists) and everyone else is that Buddhists know how to deal with anger. What’s our first reaction to anger? More anger! Sometimes we get ourselves so worked up over something so mundane, we end up thinking, saying, and doing negative things, which end up doing more bad than good.
Most of the time, our initial thought to a situation that angers us is how do we get back? How do we make this other person feel the way I’m feeling? How do I hurt them? etc etc. If we actually sit back and think about it for a hot minute, who is this revenge benefiting? Most of the time when we do revengeful things out of the heat of the moment, we often regret it afterward. We even admit to ourselves that what we did or said was really mean and probably unnecessary. So where was this attitude before? Why must we wait until after the fact to feel guilty and unhappy?
So when a moment of anger arises, instead of trying to push it away or entertain its revenge plans, embrace it, acknowledge its presence, where it came from, why its there, accept it, and let it go. When we fight anger with mindfulness instead of more anger, the feelings last so much shorter.
When anger does arise, how long do we stay angry for? A few minutes, a few hours, maybe even a whole day. But eventually the angers vanishes and we’re back at our “normal” selves. But we’ve lost minutes, hours, or a whole day to anger instead of peace and happiness.
Anger does not come from external circumstances. Nothing and no one canmake you angry. If someone were to insult you, do their words actually make you that insult? No! The only reason someone might anger you because of insults is because you allowed it to. The person didn’t anger you. The insult didn’t anger you. You angered yourself. Instead of touching the anger with mindfulness, you did so with more anger, which resulted in hate and regret. So the next time you feel anger is arising, simply take a few deep breaths, touch the anger with mindfulness and let it fall like leaves from a tree.