Know Anger, Know Fear. No Fear, No Anger.


This is one of those things. If you do know it already (like Jon Katz), I don’t need to tell you, and if you don’t know it already, it’s not going to make any sense to you and you’re going to fight it. So here goes:

Our anger is almost always based on our fear.

“Hey, waitaminute!” you say. “When that guy cut me off in traffic this morning, he made me angry, but I wasn’t afraid of him.”

The fear that leads to anger doesn’t have to be fear of the person you’re angry at. When you got angry at the guy who cut you off in traffic, it was because you (a) felt a loss of control — which triggered deep-seated fears that you would suffer hurt and loss when you couldn’t control things — or (b) perceived a loss of dignity — which triggered deep-seated fears that by “taking away” your dignity someone could take away your self.

Imagine, if you can, that you’ve let go of all attachments. You don’t have to be first in line. It doesn’t matter when you get to your destination, or whether you get there at all. You don’t care what other people think of you, or if they think of you at all. You don’t care about stuff. You’re not afraid of dying. Whatever happens is okay with you. You fear nothing. What makes you angry? Nothing.

Here’s more of a Buddhist perspective on anger.

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0 responses to “Know Anger, Know Fear. No Fear, No Anger.”

  1. Thanks, Mark, for your posting.

    A great book to help dissipate anger is Ringu Tulku, Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism (Snow Lion Publications, 2005)http://www.markskatz.com/justiceblog/archives/984-Persuading-in-the-moment..html .

    The February 3, 2008, Underdog includes this passage from Ringu Tulku’s foregoing book:

    Tibetan studies professor Ringu Tulku writes that the concept “that all phenomena are devoid of coming and going … means that an enlightened bodhisattva sees the truth, the way things are. This is seeing directly without adding any concept or philosophy. Within this clear vision there is not the slightest doubt about anything, so there is no need for clinging or running away. A realized bodhisattva has no dualistic view. Within this sheer and naked seeing, spontaneous compassion arises. Once we no longer feel compelled to cling to ourselves and fixate on our own problems all the time, we can look around and see everything clearly. We can perceive others’ lives and understand how and why they experience their problems. Although we see that others are suffering greatly, we know that their suffering is almost needless. They are not doomed to be in pain, because their suffering just comes from a wrong way of seeing and reacting. If they could see how things truly are, they would not suffer anymore. This is the understanding of an enlightened being.” Ringu Tulku, Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism at 58 (Snow Lion Publications, 2005).

    Take care. Jon

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