Monday, February 21, 2011


Buddha said, "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

Think about this for just a moment. This is karma - our actions coming back to haunt us, not by some imaginary divine being or universe, but by the actions themselves.

Think of a situation in which you were really angry. The last time I was really, really mad was at one of my children. I had asked her to pick up the playing cards that had been scattered all over the linoleum, but my request went unanswered. I asked several more times, and each time I heard an excuse.

I walked into the kitchen and slipped on the playing cards, and I was furious! I mean, I was ready to really knock some heads together!

And then I stopped.

What good does being angry do?

Honestly. Think about it for just a second. What good comes from anger?

The last time you were angry - did your anger change the situation? How do you feel when you are angry? If you're like most people, anger makes you feel ugly inside, twisted up, explosive. It's not a nice feeling.

So who suffers for your anger? Sure, the offender may suffer, temporarily. They may suffer the brunt of your actions, which are the result of your inappropriate response to anger. But do they suffer long term? Probably not.

No, the one who really suffers is YOU. You are the one stuck with the negative feelings, the hatred. The offender, be it a fellow motorist or a spouse or even your precious children - they aren't stuck with those feelings. They go on about their lives.

Acting on anger creates bad karma. How? Emotions wear grooves in our minds. Allow an emotion to take hold long enough, or frequently enough, and it will create a groove, a habit. Anger will become your go-to response, hurting you more and more.

The good thing about habits is they can be changed. Oh, I'm not saying it's easy - but it is.

First of all, realize that your emotions do not define you. They are just emotions, and they are temporary. Recognize your anger when it rears its ugly head - "Oh, anger, I know you." Recognize it, name it, see it for what it is - a temporary mind state. Now just as you watched anger boil up, watch it fade away. Don't act on it or feel it - you don't have to. It's just an emotion, just a hair-trigger reaction. It's not you. You are not obligated to act on your impulses.

"You, as much as anyone else in the world, deserve your love and compassion." Buddha wasn't wrong about this, you know. You wouldn't wish your unhappy negative emotions on anyone else, would you? You deserve to be happy. You are made for happiness. Your mind is there to experience peace and bliss. Help yourself. Dissolve your anger.

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