How to deal with Anger

Sumitta,

How can I humble myself against hate and dislike? How do I response to someone who really doesn’t like me? I know I should love them, but how do I put up with it without feeling the feeling of pain and anger they give me?

—–

Dear Dhamma Follower,

The first step is to understand it. There is a difference between hate and dislike. I dislike the feeling of scratchy wool. Dislike is our evaluation of contact with the world. There is that which is pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. It is nonjudgemental but does get value on the scale of pleasurable.

Anger is something different. Anger is the universe unfolding differently than expectation. The aversions and cravings you have create an expectation of a future and present that (when it doesn’t come true) creates Suffering.

In Buddhism, the poison of hate and fear are the same poison. That is because they are both based in the suffering of aversion– the thirst for things to be differently than they are. That is why metta (unconditional kindness) is important to practice daily, because it DOES develop a sense of accepting the world as it is rather than how we thirst it to be.

When someone is treating you badly and making you angry or sad, the mundane answer to why that happens would be because they have made a transgression to your perceptions of what is appropriate and right.

The Buddhist answer would be that no one makes you angry or sad. Your self-created vision of the world does not unfold the way that is acceptable to you. You do not accept or you avoid the actions of those around you and to gain control of your universe you lash out or sulk.

Getting angry is fear’s response to take control. But anger is the result of self-affliction. It is entirely ego based.

A man reaches into a fire and throws a burning ember at you and then runs away– we had no control over that world. An angry man might pick up that anger and try to throw it back, but if the offender has left holds onto that burning wood until he returns.

Who is hurting you more? The man who threw the ember or you who continues to hold it in your hand and lets it burn you for as long as it takes?

Spend time each day developing metta/unconditional loving kindness in a general sense of the world. Then when the situations come when you feel anger arise, you can be more mindful of it, and make the choice of anger reaction or a wiser proaction with your situation.

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Categories: Buddha, Dharma, Ethics, Four Noble Truths, Kharma, Lifestyle, Mahayana, Meditation, Noble Eightfold Path, Relationships, Theravada, Tibet, Virajana, Work

Author:Sumitta

Born Joshua Hudson, Reverend Sumitta (his ordained name) finished a twenty-year career as a military photo-journalist, and became a Licensed Social Worker with continuing studies in Mental Health, Healthcare Advocate, and Buddhist Minister. Currently, he works as the Director of Psychological Health and Primary Prevention of Violence for the U.S. Air Force. Previously, he served as the healthcare patient advocate for the Veterans Healthcare Administration, and is a License Clinical Social Worker, with a Master’s in Clinical Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, working as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselor, public speaker, trainer and personal/family advisor. His dharma name "Sumitta," which translates to "Good Friend" in Pali.

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