When: Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Time: 6:45 to 7:45 am PST
The practice of self-compassion is a powerful tool for transforming our lives, freeing us from emotional ruts and unleashing a more joyful and creative approach to life.
Anger can arise at any time, especially in our crowded and fast-paced world. When properly handled, anger can be a useful and even a necessary emotion, but it can easily spiral out of control and turn into a raging fire that harms ourselves and others. Sometimes, in our efforts to prevent anger from getting out of hand, we negate ourselves and repress our rage, becoming martyrs. While that may seem to prevent conflict with others, it’s deeply harmful to us.
How can we honor ourselves and our feelings without letting anger take us over? Bodhipaksa teaches an approach to lovingkindness that helps us to recognize where anger comes from. Before a surge of anger arises, there is generally a brief moment of painful fear, anxiety, or hurt that arises in response to events around us. Our anger is not our response to the events themselves but is a defensive attempt to help us avoid experiencing our own pain. Typically, however, we fail to recognize these feelings, either because they’re so brief that we don’t catch them, or because we’ve been taught that pain is a sign of weakness.
Taking our awareness ‘beneath’ our anger and fully acknowledging our pain can be a potent way to transform our anger. With our pain held in the compassionate embrace of mindfulness and lovingkindness, we are able to let the pain pass naturally. By honoring our pain and by responding to it with compassion, we are able to let go of our anger and to extend our compassion to those around us – including those who prompted our pain. Not caught up in the flames of anger and hatred, we manifest a warm, loving, aware space from which to respond to others, and unleash our creativity, finding intuitive responses to situations that we previously found maddening, whether it is listening to others’ unskillful communication, being cut off in traffic, dealing with unruly children, or coping with things not going the way we want them. Anger becomes a choice and not a compulsion – just one strategy among others that we can employ in responding to our world.