Ordinary Mind as the Path III (Anger)

When anger is, it seems as though that’s all there is:

no space, no negotiation, no flexibility…

only inward or outward pressure (or both) explosively exposing themselves to the world of thought and action.

Sometimes violent, sometimes seething; sometimes abrupt, sometimes gradual; sometimes fiery, sometimes frozen.

The two poles of anger (one wild, loose, and explosive; one locked, stuck, and implosive) are expressed by the many, many shades of color that anger embodies. But they (and all their variations) also derive from an utterly reliable source of love and protection.

Just as Anxiety protects by planning, preparing, and problem-solving;

and Depression protects by giving up and going blind in the growing darkness;

Anger also protects by activating, animating, and (yes, even) assaulting…

These, like other roots of emotion, are gifts of our own inherited, instinctive, and impressionable selves.


Finding the Path As Anger

The “loving and protective” function of anger is not obvious.

I know anger almost as well as it knows me (and anger literally knows the hell out of me), and one thing is certain: frustration’s forceful movement, with all of its 10,000 arms and legs, can be experienced as a womb of fire — it’s consuming hate and heavy loathing can poison the space of thought and the air of breath when the long-forgotten gifts of its grace are distorted.

To find this grace, recollect the ground (the essence of grace) from which anger arose; the sweet openness of release that is then inherited was never missing, just obscured.

  • Gently sweep through these obscurations just as wind whips around wind.
  • Notice the comings-and-goings of fury in the mind and body without succumbing to their influence.
  • Respond to frantic motion with stillness and to hatred with silent kindness.
  • Allow the waves of irritation to swell and shrink; cover and recede; expand and collapse… but maintain a stance of quiet.
  • Be the “stillness amidst movement”.
  • Silently acknowledge from a place of stillness
  • Love to the point of disappearance
  • Do this again and again. When anger is upon you, remember the inverted power gained by gliding through anger’s 10,000 arms and legs to reach its soft, open, receptive center. Continue this, and you will find that center everywhere.

    We must choose to hate anger to life or love anger to death. Either is a commitment and a practice.


    “Single-Taste”…

    Where does anger arise from? No, not “who made you mad”… what is the source of the experience of anger? Not the trigger of why you are made… the space that anger takes and the space that gives rise to it. Discover that (in fact, you are that), and rest in it.

    Practically speaking, this is impossible. Hatred is MUCH too powerful to overcome or control. This is an essential truth to recognize. It points to the futility of fighting against or alongside our rage.

    Affirming completely the un-nameable source of anger is something altogether different than riding yourself of anger’s existence. It is a surrendering to the space that anger encompasses and that it is encompassed by — this is the Way of love and protection so often obscured by our efforts to overpower it.

    You do not have to do anything with anger; nor do you have to let anger do anything with you…

  • Silently acknowledge from a place of stillness
  • Love to the point of disappearance
  • Do this again and again…

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