Anger

April 5, 2009 - Pokhara, Nepal

I've tried to look a little deeper into the essence of anger and this is what I found.
What is anger? In essence anger is only the interruption of the stream of life's energy, which builds-up a charge that can then be released at a targeted object. Anger is holding back. One stops the natural flow of life, of love, builds up a charge and releases it. On a small scale this can be functional and useful. For example: One morning I was eating muesli for breakfast when just at the moment I was about to put a spoonful into my mouth, a fly attempted to land on the spoon. I stopped the movement and my mind wanted the fly to move away. I was ready to wave it off with my free hand if necesary, but it didn't come to that; the fly moved on by itself and I continued to eat. Now, this stopping of the movement, the moment of alertness and subsequent relaxation of the mind were functional to me as I didn't want the fly on my food, let alone in my mouth.

However, it is important to recognize that I did not need to put down the spoon and start chasing the fly around until I killed it - let alone wage a war against all flies or fly-dom aiming for their extinction, before I could ever have breakfast in peace.

But exactly that is what we do most of the time with our anger and that is why it becomes so destructive. It is destructive towards ourselves, because we stop doing what we need to do - and would have come naturally (in this case: eating); it is destructive towards others, and ultimately against life itself. It is refusing to live and be happy before a certain condition in the outer world is met. It falls into the category of "improve oneself, start with the world". It is childish and essentially a fundamentalist-type of behaviour. After all, happiness is not depending on anything, except the decision to be happy (provided that basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met, one might argue. But even if not, excessive anger will not effectively solve the problem, and can never produce happiness) - it ususally requires forgiveness, rather.


As the Buddha said: "Holding on to anger, is like holding on to a burning piece of coal with the intention to throw it at someone else. It is you, yourself who gets hurt first and foremost."

2 Comments

Louise Koch:
May 30, 2009
An old woman being attacked for robery or worse. Isn't that a valid reason to be angty? Being that woman myself, I remember I was amazed of the power-ful anger that made a real good defence possible.
Anger, aggressoion,.. The Buddha was able not to let it come near Him.!!( read f.i. the story of the angry elefant) If we would not bevictims of our dualistic delusion, then, maybe...
Hans:
June 4, 2009
Yes Louise, as I wanted the fly to go away, you needed to defend yourself. In such a case anger is functional. But what do we, humans do with our anger after the threat has ceased? That's my point.
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