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Thread: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

  1. #1

    Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    I keep having the experience of becoming generally angry whenever I start meditating. To clarify, I don't feel much anger while I'm actually sitting, but my general mood does become more irritable. What is this all about? I think it is one reason why I don't stick with it very long.

    Has anybody else experienced this? Any suggestions?

    Thank you,

    Madrone.

  2. #2

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    I had similar experiences.

    It is just that when we begin to settle down and slow down our habitual patterns of mind things that we generally keep hidden below the surface will arise. Thoughts and emotions that you didn't even know you had will begin to surface. And this is very good. You cannot overcome anger by ignoring it, or suppressing it, only by fully recognizing it and accepting it will it pass on its own accord.

    Anger will arise, it means that the anger we have kept built up inside of us is beginning to be released. Don't see this as a sign that your practice is not going well, it is a good sign.


    See your anger, fully experience it, let it pass on its own and return to just sitting. When it arises again, see it, acknowledge and let it go. in this way you do not suppress your anger, you accept it, by accepting it, we are freed from its prison.

    Just some thoughts...

    May your practice go well.

  3. #3

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Yes ... Just what Seiryu said!

    In Zen Practice, we have to be careful of certain games the mind will play during Zazen once in awhile ... including brief periods of anger, paranoia or panic, memories arising from deep down in our subconscious. We are not used to the stillness and quiet of Zazen, and it lets certain memories, emotions, fears and like psychological states rise to the surface ... or allows some things to be noticed that are usually blocked out by all the noise and busyness in our heads, senses and around us. It is, hopefully, a passing thing.

    When anger arises during Zazen, just let it be ... and it should fade of its own accord. I would just continue to sit when upset, angry or in foul mood. I wrote something once about that (in this case, to someone sitting with a broken heart, but it is much the same) ...

    We live with "what is". Strange as it sounds, our suffering in life is often compounded because we push it away, rather than allow the pain. There is a difference between the pain of loss, and the pain of punishing oneself further by wishing to be free of the pain of loss. That is much like being burned by a flame, then fanning and burning oneself again with a flame in protest of the first. Sitting fully and completely with "what is" means sitting with "our feeling of rejecting what is" ... for that feeling of rejecting is, itself, "just what is" in that moment.

    And in so doing ... the fire remains, but much of its fuel and fanning is removed.
    The same with anger or upset ... when we just let them be, they lose their fuel. The anger fire dies down.

    We learn from all these experience ... we learn how the mind is like a theatre, and creates our experience of the life-world.

    If, however, the feeling becomes overwhelming, or will not pass with time ... we can talk more about it.

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Hi Madrone,

    Wise words from Seiryu & Jundo.

    I'll just add that I also experienced this early on in my practice and to some degree lately when I started sitting regularly with my eyes open. Both were difficult times in allowing emotions to flow but not to be caught up in them. I compared it recently to having a fan blowing in your face, to which you body immediately reacts like it's some sort of harmful toxin by turning away. However, what's blowing in your face is exactly what we need to survive and shows that our "monkey mind" selves will do some very illogical things in the guise of keeping us safe. But over time as we drop this clinging sense of self we get used to the blowing air as well as the constant flow of emotion.

    That's my $0.02...just keep at it.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  5. #5

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Hi Madrone.

    As difficult as it may be at times, just keep sitting.

    Treat anger as you would treat any other thought. Notice, and let go. Always just where we are, yet always on to the next thing. Flow. Even when the flow may seem like quicksand, or like rushing rapids.

    I thought I had pretty good insight before I started sitting. Then I started sitting and all these demons came out. In some ways they still are. Seeing our thoughts can be unsettling...if we get attatched to them or start judging our practice. Just see through the thoughts and emotions to the clear space that contains them. Don't deny them, just don't get stuck. And if you succeed at doing this, drop it, because success and failure are as much illusion as anger, fear, and euphoria. Peace.

    I ramble. Gassho.

    Greg

  6. #6

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Don't ever expect zazen to be enjoyable. But don't expect it to be unenjoyable either. Actually, don't expect anything!

    As everyone said, just sit, regardless of what emotions arise. You will see they change over time.

  7. #7

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    To all who replied, thank you!! I am going to keep meditating and see what happens. All of your thoughts are very helpful.

  8. #8

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Remember, there is a tremendous amount of energy in this anger and this energy has neither taste nor colour.
    To communicate with this energy, to see it, feel it, is fully part of our practice.
    Beyond the veil of agression, you may see the face of compassion.
    For now, just be patient and follow the wise directions Jundo and our guys.

    gassho


    Taigu

  9. #9

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Hehe, I was just thinking about this. Stuff needs to digest. From my experience stuff comes up that you weren't even aware of come up, levers and pullies and walls you put around things, attraction and aversion as I understand it to some thought or feeling or what have you are finaly being released, and in the process the undigested emotion that you may have been carrying around for days, weeks, months, or years finaly starts to run its course without you squishing it somehow or running to some other thing to avoid it internally or externally. Personaly, I found that it's really valuable to not put time frames on when the feeling will taper out either. Imo, that's a judgement of anger, "this is bad, this needs to go away in this amount of time". I hope this helps, I have similar problems too.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    Is it something more than coincidence that we all have the same fears and anxietites?? :shock: :roll:

  11. #11

    Re: Meditation Bringing Up Anger

    I just wanted to acknoledge all the wisdom poring out. Reading this thread really helps me with my sitting and I am sure will help anybody no matter how experienced they are.

    Gassho

    Ray

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