8/31 - A Bigger Container p.49
Well, let's talk about anger ... without getting angry about it.
Anger-practice is one of the trickiest for me. Sometimes, for all human beings, the pride/self that Joko discusses takes over, and anger seems to arise from the most primitive parts of the monkey brain. It possesses us. I don't have a big problem with anger (unless it is my weekly spat with the wife about household stuff or something ... I should film one of those and put it on the blog.). I don't get too upset usually. But, still, I find it hard to always avoid minor feelings of anger.
The advice that Joko gives is, I think, the standard wisdom heard from Thich Naht Hahn and others ... stand back, observe, give it time, find the unity and peace within, and so on. Great advice, and maybe the best that can be done with this powerful emotion.
feelings: a bigger container
I like the way Joko picks up a topic--as if it were a tea cup--and examines it from all sides, all angles, the inside and the bottom, too. Then she sets it back down, in the same place it was before she picked it up--and now it stands out: a tea cup!
This topic of anger--she handles the whole of it, and points to how the whole of it can be handled.
Like giving directions to a location: the directions are not the journey.
We are completely left to ourselves to find our way which has no destination, only a direction: endless Way.
"Pride" feels old-fashioned to me as Joko uses it here, and doesn't do much for me--but I resonate strongly to the 'wanting to be right.' Ah, yes--this 'wanting to be right' stuff and nonsense--instant trouble making right there!
I really appreciate the way she reinforces that for each of us, this is a unique process and we are cautioned to 'take it slow.'
It's kind of funny that yesterday when I finished my comments, edited and all--I had over-stayed my time on line again and Treeleaf had automatically logged me out before I had submitted my comments--so all was lost, yet again!
I was pissed!--right here on the remarks with regard to anger!!!
But I wasn't angry---not like I was the last time this happened--(I'd already had to come to terms with that with the last posting I'd lost several times in a row!!).
So this time, I just didn't feel the need to re-do what I'd done, I didn't need to rack the old sieve of a brain and retrieve what I'd said before--wherever it all went to/wherever it all came from--
A day went by, here's the new posting...
now let's hope it 'takes'!
feelings: a bigger container
one of the three poisons
but in the right amount--it serves as a potent 'medicinal' I think.
pure anger to me is pure energy an energy which requires the doing of something. (Even if it's 'doing' nothing--definitely the hardest thing to do with anger!).
When it isn't 'pure energy', but funneled into a force for 'wanting to be right' as opposed to giving it open space in which to find what is the right thing to do--that's when it gets twisted up.
Anger as an energy isn't wrong or right
what I think we have come to look upon as anger is the misuse of this energy, the misappropriation of this energy, the harnessing of this energy for ultimately destructive ends.
But anger can be very constructive and cleansing--I've used it many times to thoroughly clean my house!!! (True, there were also occasions in which anger was what got my house trashed to begin with!!!)
As a person who experienced years of depression during high school, college, and as a young adult--I can say anger is probably responsible for my being alive today--it was the only source of energy available to me for a time. While it made no 'sense,' it kept me going.
This roughish stuff has given me patience and tolerance with regard to others serving me helpings of their own senseless anger: it isn't personal--just because it's thrown at me, I don't have to catch it...nor do I have to throw any back (although it is mighty tempting at times).
Sometimes I think anger is just there already--just looking for an opportunity to step out of the shadows--when people get into huge fights, it rarely has anything to do with the minor incident attributed as being the cause....that was just the excuse!
Sitting with anger is a real trick. I've actually had the opportunity to do this, but I do not wish to discuss the situation or the circumstances here. It has been of great benefit to expose myself week after week to a situation in which I have been disrespected and baited. My first choice was to remove myself in the situation, but I decided to suspend an idea of 'outcome' and just take it week by week.
It's been very instructive.
I've definitely felt as if my ability to break down the poison of anger has improved.
For sure it hasn't been easy, and it hasn't been pleasant, but it also hasn't been all that hard and it hasn't been unbearably unpleasant either. It sure is unpredictable--things will seem ok, and then Whoa!
a rush of strong feeling/response.
I'm glad circumstances have been such I got a chance to stay with it and continue to see it through and not just duck out. It's been like plowing a stony field. In the beginning--every step, a rock to remove.
Then with each week, encounters with rocks still, but less of them--much more ease in interactions...
Its very heartening, to feel the steady state of this emerging even-ness. But it isn't a steady state of a 'fait acomplit' it is more like
a hula hoop--you can ease up on it a bit, but you really have to keep at it.
At least that's what I find--Joko's image of 'a bigger container,' was one that made sense to me.
Now, let me cross my fingers and hope these comments post.
If not--no one will ever know I thought them, no one will ever see I typed them! And that is very ok too--it has been lovely just sharing these thoughts with myself.