Taking Care of Anger

At a recent meeting of our Mindfulness In Healing sangha (meditation group) we discussed the Mindfulness Training #6, Taking Care of Anger.

This training reads,

Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, we are committed to taking care of the energy of anger when it arises, recognizing and transforming the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger manifests, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking to acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We know that the roots of anger are not outside of ourselves but can be found in our wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in ourselves and the others. By contemplating impermanence, we will be able to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and at those we think are the cause of our anger, and to recognize the preciousness of our relationships. We will practice Right Diligence in order to nourish our capacity of understanding, love, joy and inclusiveness, gradually transforming our anger, violence, and fear, and helping others do the same.

After a lively discussion, I introduced the concept of self-compassion as an antidote to anger. There are many practices of self-compassion which I have discussed in previous articles, but this one involves showing loving kindness blessing on oneself while the anger dissipates. I recommend the following verses, derived from the teachings of :

May I be safe from internal and external harm.
May I have a calm, clear mind and a peaceful, loving heart.
May I be physically strong, healthy and vital.
May I experience love, joy, wonder and wisdom in this life, just as it is.

Another set that I use are based on the work of Kristin Neff, the mistress of self-compassion:

May I be healthy.
May I be free.
May I be kind to myself and others.
May I accept my life as it is.

Either one of these verses or ones that you choose for yourself can help alleviate anger as your mind and breath becomes focused on the words. You can repeat them silently to yourself or speak them out loud for more effect.

I sometimes use these verses (both sets) plus a couple of others when I have difficulty sleeping. I time my breath to each word or phrase so that it takes a while to get through the whole set. For example, consider the vertical bars between the following phrase. They represent the time for another mindful breath:

May I | be safe | from internal | and external | harm.

You can use your own timing of the breaths.
Your comments and questions are certainly welcome!

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