CREDOS: Managing anger — IV

As Thich Nhat Hanh has written, “Our attitude is to take care of anger. We don’t suppress or hate it, or run away from it. We just breathe gently and cradle our anger in our arms with the utmost tenderness.”

This “embracing” of our anger is an important part of the practice of lovingkindness: learning to accept and love even what we don’t like. The Dalai Lama has said: “My religion is kindness.” The cultivation of lovingkindness is an inner attitude that embraces all in a way that allows no separation between self, events, and others, and honours the Buddha-nature or core of goodness at the heart of one and all. Lovingkindness is the root of non-violence, the antidote to anger and aggression, and the root of mindfulness practice, in that it requires the same non-judging, non-grasping calmness and clarity that is at the heart of Buddhist meditation practice.

The following is a very simple strategy to apply in the moment that anger arises: First, to realise “I know that I’m angry — furious, livid...”; then Breathe in deeply, and while breathing out say, “I send compassion towards my anger.”

Practice this mantra, and observe how it magically interrupts the habitual pattern of unskilful, thoughtless reactivity. This practice can provide — on the spot — a moment of mindfulness and sanity.

It helps us take better care of ourselves and heads off negative behaviours we know we don’t want to perpetuate. — (Concluded)