Daily Wisdom / Pema Chödrön

Throwing Hot Coals Will Burn You

Book coverWe act out because, ironically, we think it will bring us some relief. We equate it with happiness. Often there is some relief, for the moment. When you have an addiction and you fulfill that addiction, there is a moment in which you feel some relief. Then the nightmare gets worse. So it is with aggression. When you get to tell someone off, you might feel pretty good for a while, but somehow the sense of righteous indignation and hatred grows, and it hurts you. It’s as if you pick up hot coals with you bare hands and throw them at your enemy. If the coals happen to hit him, he will be hurt. But in the meantime, you are guaranteed to be burned.

From Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living, page 34

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