Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't Worry, Be Angry

Yesterday was a particularly interesting day anger-wise. Some guy pulled his car out in front of me while I was descending a hill at about 40 mph on my bike, and the water aerobics class at the pool I was working out in decided to take over the water and pull all of the lane lines seven minutes early. Ahhhhh!

All of this caused me to take a closer look at my anger. First and foremost, I make it a point to never act out of anger. All that does is make the other person angry and escalate the situation far beyond what it needs to be. Next, I looked at the rush I got from being angry. If you look close enough you will realize that it actually feels good to be angry, to wade in a pool of self-righteousness. I’m right and you’re wrong, and I’m going to force you to admit it. Ahhhhh!

I think that I’m slowly getting to the point where I can recognize anger for what it is in me, my ego screaming for attention. Now that I know that it’s just my ego doing a little jig I’ve found that my anger just doesn’t hang around and sort of dissipates. Egos don’t like to be caught in the act and when they do, they slink sort of back to where they came from.

Anger is one of the best learning tools for practicing Zen Buddhists because it is such an obvious manifestation of your ego, and it’s so easy to recognize and examine. I think that I need to be angry more often.


Andrew said...

Interesting post; I was reading something somewhat related earlier by the Indian sage, Vivekenanda, on recognising the stirring moments of emotions & the key of being aware of them then as opposed to happily flying down the direction our passions or wandering minds drags us.

Andrew said...

The stirring moments as in the initial moments. Hadn't thought of inhabiting without judgement the anger as a good rather than simply a negative to try to remove. Perhaps it's the removal of the idea of guilt & sin from Zen that makes this unified sense of being seem more attainable, ie that the anger isn't a sin to be overcome by a divided conscience, though not something to be indulged wither.