Thursday, November 26, 2009

Anger and Non-Duality

Words of wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh:

"When we get angry, we suffer. If you really understand that, you also will be able to understand that when the other person is angry, it means that she is suffering. When someone insults you or behaves violently toward you, you have to be intelligent enough to see that person suffers from his own violence and anger. But we tend to forget. We think that we are the only who suffers, and the other person is our oppressor. This is enough to make anger arise, and to strengthen our desire to punish. We want to punish the other person because we suffer. Then, we have anger in us; we have violence in us, just as they do." -From Anger (126-127)

In this quotation, aggression is defined as having a non-dual and cyclical nature. I accept this definition as truth. Human beings tend to construct evil, aggression, and violence as though they are endemic to Others and not of themselves. Many do not recognize the darkness they harbor in their own hearts and the acts of aggression they themselves put out into the world, or if they do, they tend to justify it.

In comments earlier this week, Seda mentioned always trying to eliminate anger in herself before communicating. That is also something I try to do, however imperfectly the end result. I know it's not "cool" to care about trying not to be mean on the internets. It's not edgy. It's dorky, perhaps. But really, I think it takes a lot of courage and strength to try to understand and be aware of one's own anger so as not to contribute to suffering in the world.

Anger is a natural human response. As such, we all have a responsibility to be mindful of it, first within ourselves, before pointing fingers at others. For me, it is a continual, and probably lifelong challenge to retain the sharp edges of angry energy while transforming it into compassionate rhetoric.

No comments: