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May 25th, 2019
Patience should not be keeping it all in. True patience is simply letting go of steam before it builds up, by removing one’s self from such a tight identification with the emotion. If we do not identify with it, how can it influence our behavior? I don’t identify as a four legged animal, so the notion of touching the ground with four limbs as I walk around has no influence on the way I walk around. This may seem like a far-fetched analogy, but this is intended, if we become far-fetched from our own anger, then it becomes somewhat absurd to act upon it. This seems to have a contradiction in it: how can we be removed from something that is ‘our own’.
Possession is a detrimental way to think of this.
Do you own anger? Or is it merely a common experience that visits you from time to time at intervals and during occasions that are quite similar to most other people?
When you have a cold, is it really.. your cold?
Are you being visited by some biological cocktail that snuck it’s way into your body’s systems? The constituents of that little bug existed before it came into contact with you, and while your body might kill it off and it may cease to exist after meeting your immune system, it’s at no point entirely sensical to claim it as an identity. This is somewhat like claiming an identity relative to Lucky Charms while eating the cereal.
And food is another good example which populates the spectrum a little more.
We need only witness one person at the dinner table invading someone else’s plate with a fork and snagging some food. Many people experiencing such an invasion would not be happy and give the other person a sour look, if not worse.
There’s the sense that food on my plate is my food.
But again, like the monkey pressing buttons for food in the previous episode, anything we eat is very transitory. It has a fleeting effect on our body and mind, like ripples when a stone is dropped in water.
Is anger or sickness, not often the exact same thing?
These experiences warp and skew our conscious experience for a time and then slowly the intensity of their influence resigns.
Seeing the similarity between all these ways that reality can poke our conscious experience, can ultimately empower a person to begin toying with the degree and manner in which their consciousness changes as a result of getting poked by these different phenomena.
This is potentially a fair definition of what it means to be mindful, in the meditative sense.
The flip of this would be something like experienceful, where one’s mind is so engrossed and intoxicated with what’s going on that there’s no room left for the actual mind. A phrase that perhaps captures this sentiment is being lost in the moment. We do not really think when we are lost in the moment, as often happens during encounters with extreme anger.
Patience, should not be a battle with anger, though this is what is often feels like for many people. Trying to deal with anger in such a way is like arguing with a fool, which only turns one’s self into a likewise fool. Engaging in battle with anger is in essence a battle automatically lost. Doing so is entertaining the experience of anger, welcoming it to leak in and pollute, the mere instance making the mind more and more hospitable to anger. In essence the emotion feeds off of our willingness to engage with it. Trying to maintain patience while entertaining anger is akin to turning the heat on a pressure cooking. No matter how good the construction, all pressure cookers will fail given enough heat.
A mindful approach to anger is to stroll out on to the field where anger hopes to do battle and set down a beach towel to lie upon in order to enjoy the view. There is no need to fear any display of might and arms that anger might wheel up, all of it is a smokescreen that only becomes real if a person decides to identify as those things. Such armaments cannot then be used upon the anger which gifted us such weapons. The gifts of anger can only be used on the people and circumstances of our life, which does about as much good as handing a loved one a pressure-cooker just moments before it explodes.