I have admired the wonderful writings of Andrew Olendzki, Ph.D. for the many years I have been reading Insight Journal, a publication of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts where he is the editor. This article demonstrates the importance of mindfulness of anger in the face of confrontation.
When serious anger is present, the best thing to do is to be “calm in the face of anger.” To do so is an act of compassion and demonstrates as much concern for the other person as for yourself.
Mindfulness of Anger
Knowing how the causes of anger and hatred are rooted in toxic underlying dispositions, and knowing the unwholesome effects these have on mental states when unleashed, he is able to see clearly both the sources of Vepacitti’s anger and the harm that comes with venting it. Would one who understands these things allow himself to be diminished by being pulled off center and goaded into a comparable expression of anger? The wise bull does not chase after waving red cloaks.
Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have remained calm when someone else was angry? Would you say that you experienced mindfulness of anger? Would you be willing to share your experience? If so, please comment below or click on one of the share buttons.