The American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron in her dharma talk about anger – which is available as a book or audio book under the title Don’t Bite the Hook chides the audience about not being aggressive personality types. She says,
You might think you are more
on the peace-side than the
anger-side… It is not likely.'”
She was talking to me.
I like to think of myself as a peaceful person, as someone who supports love over hate, but, the truth is, I do get angry. Pretty angry. And more than I wish I did.
Chodron quotes Shantideva – the eighth-century Buddhist monk -with regard to the source of anger . He said – and you might have seen me quote this in the past – ‘We get angry when we don’t get what we want and when we get what we don’t want.’
How simple and how true that statement is.
Why wouldn’t I, who considers myself to be a peace loving person, not get angry? Of course I get angry. I have wants all the time that aren’t met:
- I want my daughter to put her shoes away when I ask.
- I want my son to put his shirt on without my asking it.
- I want love, I want to be entertained, and I don’t want to feel pain.
My wants – like yours – are never going to be satisfied, and as a result I – like you -will get angry.
I want you to think about all the people with whom you interact on a daily basis. All of them, like you and I, get angry – because, like you and I, their wants aren’t met.
We need to have compassion for each other because none of us always get the things we want. Even those of us who consider ourselves to be peace lovers get frustrated.
This week’s spiritual-religious advice:
Notice how you – and everyone with whom you interact – get angry. And answer with compassion.
With love, and compassion for those times when you find yourself a bit angry,