CREDOS: Managing anger — III

The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, I believe, have learned to constructively channel the energy that can turn into anger. Through opening the heart to that energy rather than repressing and suppressing it they have learned how to recognise its essential emptiness and transitory nature, and then transform and release it, or direct it creatively.

“The ghosts of the past which follow us into the present also belong to the present moment,” says Thich Nhat Hanh. “To observe them deeply, recognise their nature and transform them, is to transform the past.”

Ultimately, I believe that anger is just an emotion. We needn’t be afraid of it or judge it too harshly. Emotions occur quickly; moods linger longer. These temporary states of mind are conditioned, and therefore can be reconditioned. Through self-discipline and practice, negativity can be transformed into positivity and freedom and self-mastery achieved.

A clue to anger is that a lot of it stems from fear, and it manifests in the primitive “fight or flight” response. I have noticed that when I am feeling angry, asking myself, “Where and how do I hurt? What am I afraid of?” helps clarify things and mitigate my tempestuous reaction. After cooling down, I ask myself, “What would Buddha do; What would Love

do in this situation?” This helps me soothe my passions, be more creative and proactive instead of reactive. In that state, I can transcend blame, resentment, and bitterness. —