Anger is an unpleasant feeling. It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later. When someone is angry, we can see that they are in a form of hell, a cycle of never-ending rage. Anger and hatred are the materials in which hell is made.
A mind without anger is cool, fresh and rational. The absence of anger is the basis of real happiness; the basis of love and compassion.
When our anger us placed under the spotlight of Mindfulness, it immediately begins to lose some of its destructive nature.
We remind ourselves to repeat ‘Breathing In, I know that anger is within me – Breathing out, I know that I am my anger’. If we follow our breathing closely while we identify and mindfully observe our anger, it can no longer control our consciousness.
Awareness can be called upon to be a companion for our anger. Our awareness of our anger does not suppress it or drive it out; it just looks after it. This is a very important principle.
Mindfulness is not a judge; it is more like an older sister looking after and comforting the younger sister in an affectionate and caring way. We can concentrate on our breathing in order to maintain this mindfulness and know ourselves fully.
When we are angry, we are not usually inclined to return to ourselves. We want to think about the person who is making us angry, to think about their hateful aspects – their rudeness, dishonesty, cruelty, spitefulness and so on. The more we think about them, listen to them or look at them the more our anger flares. Their dishonesty and hatefulness may be real, imaginary or exaggerated but in fact the root of the problem is the anger itself and we have to come back, to look first inside all of ourselves.
It is best if we do not listen to or look at the person whom we consider to be the cause of our anger.
Like a firefighter, we have to pour water on the blaze first and not waste time looking for the one who set the house on fire.
‘Breathing in, I know that I am angry, breathing out, I know that I must put all my energy into caring for my anger’. Therefore, we avoid thinking about the other person and we refrain from doing or saying anything as long as our anger persists. If we put all our mind into observing our anger, we will avoid doing any damage that we may regret later. When we are angry, our anger is our very self. To suppress or chase it away is to suppress or chase away our self. When we are joyful, we are the joy. When we are angry, we are the anger. When anger is born in us, we can be aware that anger is an energy in us, and we can accept that energy in order to transform it into another form of energy.
When we have a compost bin filled with organic material which is decomposing and smelly, we know that we can transform the waste into beautiful flowers. At first, we see the flowers and compost as opposite, but when we look deeply, we notice the flowers already exist in the compost and the compost already exists in the flowers. It only takes a couple of weeks for the flower to rot. When a gardener looks at their compost, they value what they see, not seeing waste, but new growth. It only takes a few months for compost to give birth to new flowers. We need the insight and the basic unity of everything, with regard to our anger. We need not be afraid of it or reject it.
We know that anger can be a kind of compost, and that it is within its power to give birth to something beautiful. We need anger in the way the organic gardener needs compost.
If we know how to accept our anger, we already have some peace and joy.
Gradually we can transform anger completely into peace, love and understanding.