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Hindrances to Lovingkindness - anger

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  • Sharon
    This is why we do religious practice, or spiritual practice, to learn techniques so that we don t have to overwhelmed by the clouds [temporary negative
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2004
      "This is why we do religious practice, or spiritual practice, to
      learn techniques so that we don't have to overwhelmed by the clouds
      [temporary negative states] in our minds. Now, this whole idea of
      the 'seeds' of the clouds, or the 'seeds' of the negative
      emotions . . . for example, right now I'm not angry. But there's a
      potential to become angry within me. I'm not free of that
      potential. The only thing that needs to happen is that somebody does
      the littlest thing, the smallest thing wrong (of course, 'wrong' is
      according to my definition of wrong - very important criteria
      there!); they only have to do the smallest thing that doesn't fit my
      criteria of the way the universe should run and I react by getting
      angry. So I'm not angry now, but anger is going to come up in about
      30 seconds.

      "Why can anger come up if there's no anger in my mind now? It's
      because there's the 'seed,' the potential, of anger that's still in
      my mindstream. So as long as that 'seed' or potential is there,
      sooner or later I'm going to find somebody to get mad at. So either
      they'll say 'Hello' in the wrong way, or they'll cut me off in
      traffic, or . . . you know, it doesn't take much! . . . What we have
      to do in our practice is remove the seeds of these negative emotions
      from our mind, so that even if we meet external circumstances that
      would normally throw us out of whack, because the seed of the
      negative emotion isn't in our mind, then we remain peaceful. (This
      is actually possible. I haven't accomplished it, but I've met people
      who I believe have.)

      "The thing to remember is that even if we haven't removed the seed
      from our mind, there's always the choice of how we feel. And
      sometimes we aren't aware of that choice. Often our daily experience
      is that our emotions just kind of crash down on our head and
      overwhelm us. Somebody criticizes us and we feel like we have
      absolutely no choice but to get angry. But if we stop and just step
      back for a minute, [we see that] there's always a choice. It's not
      that simply because someone did 'this', I have to respond 'that'
      way. Because if we think like that, again, we're making ourselves
      into victims and we're giving up our power, aren't we? If I feel
      like every time somebody criticizes me the only possible sane way to
      react is to trash them back, then I'm putting myself in a situation
      where I have no power over what happens to me in my life. Because I
      certainly can't control what other people say to me. And sooner or
      later somebody is going to criticize me - guaranteed . . .

      "Now, if we feel that we have no choice in that situation but to lose
      self-confidence and get depressed and lash out at somebody else then,
      you know, we're making ourselves into victims and we're pretty sure
      going to be miserable in our lives. But if we remember that whatever
      circumstances happen to us, we always have a choice about our
      internal emotion."

      ~ Ven. Thubten Chodron, "Is Mind the Source of Happiness and
      Suffering?", audio lecture available at www.dharmafriendship.org

      May this be of benefit.
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