Daily Wisdom / Zen

Anger and Awakening

book coverWhen anger arises, here’s a quick mantra: shut your mouth. At the very least, this curtails the ejection of anger through yelling, blaming, or verbal violence—all of which are unjustified. One way to buy precious awareness moments is to say, “Let me get back to you on that.” Far from being wishy-washy or backing down, this is central to diplomacy, and it provides an interval during which more harmonious alternatives might occur to us.

If we try to bypass dealing directly with anger, we’ll be ill prepared when anger starts to come out sideways, take on steamroller tendencies, or eat us alive from the inside. Construing zen precepts concerning anger to mean that angry thoughts and feelings should never arise is also a misunderstanding. We can, however, learn to recognize the signs of anger brewing and refrain from dramatizing it.

From Untrain Your Parrot: And Other No-Nonsense Instructions on the Path of Zen by Elizabeth Hamilton, pages 134-135.

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