Thursday, March 27, 2008

May You Never



“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”


Apparently, 1 in 4 of us are possessed by anger. I would have thought it was more. I see angry people everywhere and I see people roused to anger in the most innocuous situations. In the supermarket, on the phone, in queues, on the road, at traffic lights, waiting for a lift, on internet message boards, where normal rules of civilty seem to have been abandoned altogether; at the football: everywhere, every day, I see people roused to anger; it seems to be a natural state.

I speak as a victim. At work, middle and senior managers seem to think that the natural tone to adopt when speaking to the likes of me is one of barely controlled fury. All day I have to take phone calls from people driven to anger, by some perceived injustice or failure on the part of society to allow them to lead a wealthy, but indolent lifestyle. People will shout at me for things that have happened to them over which I cannot possibly have any control.

I hear conversations every day around the office in which someone will complain about somebody or something. Something or someone isn't working properly and it simply cannot be tolerated. The more they describe their situation the more heightened their emotions become, and invariably, their co conversationalist will assure them that if the same thing had happened to them they would have "gone ballistic"; they would have "wiped the floor" with someone. No one seeks a calm, rational explanation, no one wants a calm rational explanation; there cannot be a calm, rational explanation, someone must be at fault and a head must roll.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it is only 1 in 4 and they all live in South Wales.

I've never been overly given to anger although there are times, especially when I am hungover, when I can be a bit quick to get pissed off. It isn't to do with age because some of the angriest individuals I have encountered have been old buggers. I was recently acquainted with a man, who was a good man, but could not control his rage. We would discuss football and he would immediately become irate, even when discussing teams he had no real interest in, and when he perceived that he or someone else had been unjustly treated he would fly into a rage. He maintained it was all to do with maintaining his dignity.

I would, at times get annoyed, if not angry, about the most stupid things. If someone pulled out on me at a junction, I would despise them and mutter uncouth comments, even though no harm had been done and the person would probably never cross my path ever again. Pointless. I would become pissed off when someone without nippers would park in the mother and child bay at our local shops, and might wonder aloud at the miracle of the invisible child. Really, really pointless. These types OF things no longer bother me overmuch.

I have read in various Buddhist and new agey texts about the futility of anger and have also cOme across the same while doing yoga, and I have come to believe it. Most of the stuff I read points out that anger only harms the angry person, and doesn't really have any effect on the other bugger, and I have come to believe that too. I have put this stuff into practice, and it works. If someone cuts me up and I just forget about it, it has gone, get angry and the incident lingers, as long as the anger is there; it festers and spoils your day, or at least that moment, but no matter how angry you get, that person will still have cut you up, you can't change that, so may as well just let it go.

A couple of articles........1...................2

And another, only loosely related, but a good read.

Anger -- CANTO XVII

221. Let a man abandon anger, let him renounce pride and let him get beyond all worldly fetters. No suffering befalls him who is passionless and clings neither to mind nor to form (nama-rupa).

222. He who controls his rising anger as a skilled driver curbs a rolling chariot, him I call a true charioteer. Others merely hold the reins.

223. Let a man conquer anger by love, let him subdue evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality and the liar by truth.

224. One should always speak the truth, not yield to anger, and give, even though it be little, to the person who begs. By these three virtues, a man is able to come into the presence of the devas.

225. Those sages who observe nonviolence, who are ever controlled in body, attain the changeless state (nirvana) where, having gone, they suffer no more.

226. The influxes of passion disappear in those who are ever vigilant, who are absorbed day and night in spiritual studies, and who are bent on realization of nirvana.

227. This is an old saying, O Atula, not one merely of today: "They blame him who remains silent, they blame him who speaks much, they even blame him who speaks in moderation." There is none in this world who is not blamed.

228. There never existed, nor will there ever exist, nor does there exist today anyone who is always scorned or always praised.

229, 230. If wise men, after due observation day after day, praise one who is flawless in character, highly intelligent and endowed with religious insight and virtue, who is like unto a coin made of the purest gold from the jambu river -- who would dare censure such a man? Even the devas praise him; he is praised even by Brahma.

231. One should guard against the agitations of the body; he should be restrained in body. Having abandoned the bodily sins (1 ), he should cultivate good conduct in body.

232. One should guard against the agitations of speech; he should be restrained in speech. Having abandoned the verbal sins (2), he should cultivate good conduct in speech.

233. One should guard against the agitations of mind; he should be restrained of mind. Having abandoned the mental sins (3), he should cultivate good conduct in mind.

234. The wise who are controlled in body, who likewise are controlled in speech, those wise men who are controlled in mind, are indeed well controlled.
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