Working with Anger and Hatred

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Sky Dancer, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Sky Dancer
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    Obviously, I'm angry with and hate some of you Christians. So much so, that many of you here feel I hate ALL of you and you respond in kind. How is that surprising? NOT.

    I wanted to share how I'm working with this emotion, because there are many methods in Buddhism to employ. I dedicate this thread to Immie. Last night my mind was agitated and I couldn't sleep. I caused the agitation earlier in the day with a conversation I'd had on-line with Immie. As only a true friend can, he kindly pointed out the error of my ways. I'd call Immie one of the troublemakers in my lie, as he is my friend by insulting me.

    Pema Chodron explains:

     
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  2. Anachronism
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    Sky, Anger and Hatred are both very strong emotions. They can both be used and/or diffused in many different ways. Anger and Hatred have been a big part of my life for many years. Pretty much my entire life, to be honest. I have used the energy they create at times and tried to diffuse it at others. Sometimes it has worked to my benefit and in other cases it has not. We each have to find our own path through those two emotions. Not two people's journey through them will ever be the same.
     
  3. Sky Dancer
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    From my heart to yours. I am offering on this thread, my sincere committment to working through my anger and hatred. I will include methods used in a Buddhist way. Feel free to add your own.

    Here is a Fire Ceremony that I participated in with my Buddhist community. The element of fire is connected to the feeling of anger and hatred and how it can be transformed into wisdom. See if you can see Sky in the video, this is my home:

     
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  4. Anachronism
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    Sky, good for you. I'm glad to see that you are working through this issue in your life.

    For some of us the Anger and Hatred is really all we have to motivate us and move us through life, so we have to embrace it rather than diffusing it.

    I wish you the best of luck in your committment to working through your issue.

    Namaste. Blessed Be.
     
  5. Midnight Marauder
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    The strong negative emotions are irrational. I don't understand them, never blessed with having them.... But you must combat them. They lead to ruin.

    At least you have publicly admitted the hatred.... That's a good first step. Most never do, and it just rots them from inside like a cancer.
     
  6. Sky Dancer
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    One summer His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to a Los Angeles audience that included a group of inner city youth in fatigues, their camp uniforms, together with their counselors. After his talk, one of the youths asked His Holiness, "People get right in my face and provoke me. How can I not fight back?" She was challenging him, but quite sincere in her request.

    His Holiness looked her in the eye and said, "Violence is old-fashioned. Anger doesn't get you anywhere. If you can calm your mind and be patient, you will be a wonderful example to those around you." The audience clapped, but the girl remained standing, looking back at him. She wasn't yet satisfied.

    The Dalai Lama went on to describe how so many great people -- Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus, for example -- remained peaceful in the face of violence and adversity. Many of them experienced difficulties when they were growing up. "Even I," he said. "My youth was fraught with conflict and violence. Yet all of these people expounded non-violence and love for others, and the world is better for their contributions. It's possible for you to do this too."

    He then motioned for the girl to come up and shake his hand. As she approached him with her hand outstretched and a nervous smile on her face, the Dalai Lama opened his arms and hugged her. The girl returned to her seat, beaming.
     
  7. Sky Dancer
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    Anger covers the whole spectrum of motivation from irritation and annoyance to being critical and judgmental, to being hostile, holding grudges, belligerence, rebellion, rage, and all these kinds of things.

    Just from the definition of anger, we can see it’s an unrealistic attitude because it exaggerates and it projects. But the problem is, when we are angry, we don’t think we are being unrealistic. We are convinced it is the opposite, that we are being quite realistic and we are seeing the situation exactly as it is. We think the other person is wrong and we are right.

    Do we feel good when we are angry?
    The first question to ask ourselves: when I am angry, am I happy? Just look at our life. There is so much to meditate on. When we are angry, are we happy? Do we feel good? Does it make us happy to be angry? Think about it. Remember the times when we were angry and check up what our experience was.

    Do we communicate well when we are angry?
    Secondly, check up: do we communicate well when we are angry, or do we just go blah, blah, blah when we are angry? Communication isn’t just saying our piece. Communication is expressing ourselves in a way so that other people can understand it from their frame of reference, their reference point. When we are angry, do we take the time to think about what the other’s reference point is and explain the situation accordingly to them, or do we just say our piece and leave it to them to figure it out? When we are angry do we communicate well?

    Do we harm others physically when we are angry?
    Another thing to examine is when we are angry, do we harm others physically, or do we act physically in ways that benefit others? I don’t usually see angry people helping others. Usually when we are angry, what do we do? We pick on somebody or we hit somebody or something. There can be a lot of physical harm done to other people by the force of anger. Just look at that in our lives. Are we proud about our behavior afterwards?
    After we have been angry and we have calmed down, when we look back at our behavior when we were angry – what we said and what we did – do we feel pleased with it? I don’t know about you, but I suspect you may have situations that are similar to mine, where I looked back at what I have said and done when I was angry and felt really ashamed, really embarrassed, thinking: “How could I possibly have said that?”
    Anger destroys trust and contributes to our sense of guilt and self-hatred
    Also, think about the amount of trust that has been destroyed. We have worked very hard at our relationships but in a moment of anger we say something very cruel and destroy the trust that has taken us weeks and months to build up. Often, we ourselves feel really lousy afterwards. Rather than giving us more self-confidence, expressing
    our anger contributes to our sense of guilt and self-hatred. When we see what we say and do to other
    people when we are uncontrolled, it makes us dislike ourselves and we go spiraling into low self-esteem. Again, something to look at in our life. Anger destroys our positive potential. With our Dharma practice we are trying very hard to build up a store of positive potential. This is like the fertilizer for the field of our mind so that when we listen to teachings and meditate on them, the teachings sink in, we get some experience, and the realizations grow. We really need this positive potential. But in a moment of anger we can destroy a lot of that positive potential. When we work very hard on our
    practice and then we get angry, it is like vacuuming the floor and then having the child with muddy feet come and play in it. The anger works against everything that we have been trying very hard to do. Anger leaves a negative imprint on our mind
    By getting angry and allowing the anger to grow instead of subduing it, we set a very powerful imprint in our mind so that in our next life, we again have this strong habit to be quick tempered, to be irascible, to lash out at people.
    Any kind of anger should be directly counteracted. If we get into the habit, then we will keep acting it out not only in this life, but also in future lives. Some children are difficult to please. They are always getting into quarrels. Other children are very easy going and nothing much bothers them. It shows who has cultivated anger and who has cultivated patience in the previous lives. If we realize that a lot of our current habit of anger that makes us so miserable came about because in previous lives we didn’t practice patience, or we didn’t practice it sufficiently, then that might give us some energy to counteract it. Especially when we recognize that we have a precious human life right
    now to work with our anger. Then at least in the next life, we won’t be in the same dysfunctional pattern of behavior again, again and again.
    http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPathToEnlightenment/LR_097_Patience_20Dec93.pdf
     
  8. Anachronism
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    I can only speak for myself, but I have to say that if it hadn't been for Anger and Hatred, I would probably not have gotten anywhere near what I have achieved in the nearly 37 years that I've been alive. I definitely would not have gotten through the last 10 years.
     
  9. Sky Dancer
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    For some of us, anger and hatred have been a method of survival. When you work with anger, you're not trying to get rid of it.

    You're learning to be with the energy of it, and transform it into wisdom.
     
  10. Anachronism
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    That's a wonderful story, Sky, and I'm sure that the young lady in question remembers the experience to this day as one of the defining moments of her life. However, that philosophy does not work for everyone.

    I'm not sure if you've seen the photo that I posted here a couple weeks back, of myself. If not, here it is again....

    [​IMG]

    That's a birthmark, in case you weren't sure what it is. That's something I've lived with for almost 37 years now. It cannot be hidden. It cannot really be ignored. It also makes a really great target for those who wish to attack and defame for their own purposes.

    It has very much been a double-edged sword in my life would be a massive understatement. It has definitely opened the doors to seeing the world in a very different and unique light. It has also slammed more doors in my face (physically and metaphorically) than I care to remember. I won't waste everyone's time detailing everything entailed in living with such a remarkable face. It would take too long and bore most of the readers into a coma. Suffice it to say that it has not been a fun, happy, or pleasant journey, and that it is the base root of much of the anger, frustration, and hatred that I feel in my life.

    However, I have found ways to turn those emotions to good use much of the time. To take that energy and to extend it in other directions than simply attacking back. That doesn't mean there aren't times when I haven't reacted directly to those attacks, but a lot of it gets held inside and some of it gets directed into other activities as a driving force.
     

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