dealing with anger and guilt

dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:37 pm

My biggest problem is anger..usually it comes from a desire to "correct" something I see as unfair, it just loops through my head over and over. Since i've taken up practicing daily things have improved, but it's something I still struggle with. I am a yeller, and I have seem to only have two settings. Afterwards, I feel guilty, and the guilt can get obsessive.

Most recently I was caught off guard by someone pulling me into a political conversation I didn't want to have over the phone, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on with my mind and I went from 0 to 100 quickly, it ended up with the person hanging up on me and hurling names..the person in question was not entirely mentally stable, which makes my actions even worse, I could have avoided the situation or at least made something less ugly out of it. I feel particularly bad because this person is in even less control of their emotions than most are.

Obviously it's a little thing if one wants to look at the big picture, but it's indicative of the places where I really struggle in daily life, and the places where my communication breaks down with others and tends to get destructive.

I wondering if anyone else has this kind of experience, and maybe some suggestions to transform this kind of experience into something productive?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby alpha » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:49 pm

You can try it this way :
"So how is it that we can avoid falling under the power of conditions, it is through
stabilizing mindful awareness. When we go outside and we engage our daily activities, if
we do so with mindfulness then we will become like Milarepa, who sang “Whenever I go
from one place to another, I am bring all appearances onto the path.” So for example if
we are sitting down and suddenly we have the wish to get up and go do something, we
should just for a moment look at the mind that wants to get up and do. When we do this,
the wish to get up and go dissipates and then within a state free of needing to get up, we
can get up and engage our activities. When we want to eat something, we should first just
recognize that desire to eat, and then the desire itself is liberated. And within a state of
desirelessness eat the food. When we suddenly give rise to anger at something someone
has said to us, we can look at that mind of anger and it will dissipate and then we can
respond in a state free of anger. In this way by cultivating mindful awareness we can
engage all of our activities in a state free of negative emotions. We can enjoy all of the
five objects of senses pleasure in a state free of fixation. This is what it means to mix
awareness with conduct.
At the time when we are engaging activities, we should do so in the context of the
Tregchod practice or the practice of destroying delusion. So what is this Dzogchen view
of Tregchod, it is when the mind is abiding in a state free of fixation on negative
emotions as being real. So for example when you are extremely hungry and then you
see
food, you immediately want to eat it so that you mouth starts watering, and if in that
moment you look at the desire to eat, the desire itself dissipates. In this way you
directly
cut through the fixation. That is what we call Tregchod or the direct cutting through.
We also use this term “Trushak” in Tibetan, which means destroying delusion. And so for
example if you taste something and it tastes so delicious to you, in that moment you
should think, its not that this food is ultimately delicious because for someone else it
doesn’t taste the same way. I see it as delicious because I have been habituated in that
way from an early age, if it was ultimately delicious, everyone would think it was
delicious. So in this way my notion that this food is so delicious, it is delusion. So when I
recognize my habituated perception as delusion, then I can let go of it and I can eat
whatever is healthy, whatever supports the health of the body without creating a lot of
distinction between delicious and not delicious. In this way, I destroy my delusive
fixation. Then I can enjoy whatever food I eat, as I would enjoy partaking of the five
nectars.
These teachings on Tregchod and destroying delusions can be understood in another way,
whenever we give rise to attachment and aversion and we have fixation on them, that
fixation obscures the mind. If we recognize the fixation, through the power of our
meditation or our awareness, the fixation itself dissipates and then it does not obscure the
mind. If we have pure water for example and we pour milk into it, the water becomes
clouded, it is obscured and in a similar way, fixation on negative emotions obscures the
mind. If we give rise to great anger and then we recognize the anger, it is purified through
the recognition. So we should understand that the fixation is what obscures the mind and
when we are free of fixation, negative emotions are spontaneously purified. The
awareness that we cultivate is like a flame that burns away the fuel of all arising
afflictions. In this way although anger may arise, it does no harm at all. When the anger
is recognized with awareness, it is rendered impotent, there is no sensation, there is no
feeling associated with the anger, this is what is meant by destroying delusion. If on the
other hand we fixate on the anger and we remain in a state of fixation that is the very
essence of delusion. Now it is through engaging the practice of the natural state that you
will experience, you will understand experientially what I am talking about. When you
are in a state free of fixation, there is nothing at that can arise that obscures the mind, this is what is meant by destroying delusion.
"
Garchen Rinpoche
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Namgyal » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:06 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:a desire to "correct" something I see as unfair...I wondering if anyone else has this kind of experience, and maybe some suggestions to transform this kind of experience into something productive?

The Chinese call it 'firecracker anger' because it goes off very quickly 0-100 boom! It means that you are not really a bad person because you do not have the other type of anger which is slow and internal. The only thing that has ever worked for me is natural attrition, as I have got older my fiery hatred of injustice has just been slowly overwhelmed by the magnitude of Samsara. I repeat to myself the line from the Bodhisattvacharyavatara, 'Unruly beings are as unlimited as the sky in number, they cannot possibly all be overcome, but if I overcome this thought of anger alone it will be equivalent to vanquishing all beings'. I've never got as far as overcoming any thoughts, but the reality of '...unlimited as the sky in number...' has gradually begun to dawn on me. These days I hardly ever explode, but instead I sigh a lot more. Apparently, 'sigh' is cognate with the name of our world... 'Saha'.
May all beings be free from Suffering!
:namaste:
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Jesse » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:14 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:My biggest problem is anger..usually it comes from a desire to "correct" something I see as unfair, it just loops through my head over and over. Since i've taken up practicing daily things have improved, but it's something I still struggle with. I am a yeller, and I have seem to only have two settings. Afterwards, I feel guilty, and the guilt can get obsessive.

Most recently I was caught off guard by someone pulling me into a political conversation I didn't want to have over the phone, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on with my mind and I went from 0 to 100 quickly, it ended up with the person hanging up on me and hurling names..the person in question was not entirely mentally stable, which makes my actions even worse, I could have avoided the situation or at least made something less ugly out of it. I feel particularly bad because this person is in even less control of their emotions than most are.

Obviously it's a little thing if one wants to look at the big picture, but it's indicative of the places where I really struggle in daily life, and the places where my communication breaks down with others and tends to get destructive.

I wondering if anyone else has this kind of experience, and maybe some suggestions to transform this kind of experience into something productive?


I have similar problems, I didn't have any anger problems for a very long time, then one day out of the blue there it was and I have been struggling with it ever since. The thing about anger is it makes you entirely irrational, and so the only way to combat it is to prevent it before it happens. Which is extraordinarily difficult. As a previous poster mentioned, mindful awareness helps alot, since you can notice the emotions/thoughts before they explode. Even if you notice it, it is hard to stop because anger always feels "justified", for me at least.

The guilt part is just as bad as the anger, but easier to deal with. Practice non-self, or simply realize you are causing yourself unnecessarily suffering by dwelling.

I have no idea how bad your anger is, but It's good your working on it.. it can grow into a monster of a thing if left unchecked.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby ground » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:49 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:My biggest problem is anger..usually it comes from a desire to "correct" something I see as unfair, it just loops through my head over and over. Since i've taken up practicing daily things have improved, but it's something I still struggle with. I am a yeller, and I have seem to only have two settings. Afterwards, I feel guilty, and the guilt can get obsessive.

Most recently I was caught off guard by someone pulling me into a political conversation I didn't want to have over the phone, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on with my mind and I went from 0 to 100 quickly, it ended up with the person hanging up on me and hurling names..the person in question was not entirely mentally stable, which makes my actions even worse, I could have avoided the situation or at least made something less ugly out of it. I feel particularly bad because this person is in even less control of their emotions than most are.

Obviously it's a little thing if one wants to look at the big picture, but it's indicative of the places where I really struggle in daily life, and the places where my communication breaks down with others and tends to get destructive.

I wondering if anyone else has this kind of experience, and maybe some suggestions to transform this kind of experience into something productive?

First you may want to remove the picture in your avatar.
Next you may want to try to practice loving kindness with yourself, accepting all your ideas and behaviours resulting from these ideas as those of a small child.

And/Or you may simply practice "just sitting" (not giving up too early) to get familiar with not getting involved in arising impulses and to not identify with them.

:sage:
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:38 pm

The use of the avatar is intentional, it's a statement about my own tendencies and is intended with a bit of humor, since people on here get to virtually deal with (and have probably noted) those tendencies:)
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby ToddR » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:42 am

Why not bring anger onto the path? If you feel you are getting angry, unleash that anger fully on your own delusions. Speak, out loud, to your own ego and rebuff it with it's own anger, especially if it's in the context of an argument. This way, you transform the unskillful anger into skillful wrath and also saves you the guilt of going off on someone else. Chogyam Trungpa mentions doing this as a sure way to gain the reputation of an eccentric mahasiddha also. Who cares what others think? All of samsara is on the line! :)

You could also use this in conjunction with tonglen dedication of the anger, "I will take on this anger and all the anger of the hell realms. I give my peace and joy to the beings of hell as an offering also, that they may be free from this poison."

Hope these help.
Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering.
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby ground » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:55 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:The use of the avatar is intentional, it's a statement about my own tendencies and is intended with a bit of humor, since people on here get to virtually deal with (and have probably noted) those tendencies:)

First there is identification and appropiation as "I" and "mine" what is neither "I" nor "mine" then cultivation of this perception follows. Thus perpetuation is ensured. :sage:
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:21 am

Ground has a point. Depicting yourself as 'angry' might just re-inforce those tendencies.

I think many of us have a temper. I know I certainly do. But it has definitely been improved through meditation not least because there is a 'circuit-breaker' effect in which there is now a moment of self-awareness as the anger begins to arise: 'ah, anger, I can see that.'

I also have to work hard on not being too attached to opinions. This happens a lot on forums, obviously. But the world nowadays seems extraordinarily polarized and divided. People seem to have completely diametrically-opposed opinions about some topics. I think we have to learn to live with that in some ways - just accept the fact that some people are going to see things in ways which really makes our blood boil. We have to learn to put that down and not get too involved in such arguments.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:38 am

Not so sure about the avatar stuff guys, perhaps it's "un-buddhist" to some but trying to hide who I am (conventionally speaking of course) from you guys won't make me any less angry will it?

We've all met plenty of people i'm sure who try to "check all the boxes" in terms of things like that "oh I need to present myself in such and such way to be Buddhist". I'm skeptical of that kind of approach. If the avatar bugs anyone i'll gladly remove it, but the argument that I am hurting myself by acknowledging my own issues with a bit of humor strikes me as well..a bit stuffy guys. No offense (and certainly no anger) intended lol...I just feel that openness about my warts is probably a better policy than simply trying to change how I present myself in all ways, I will never be the quiet-spoken Buddhist who checks all the official boxes in the eyes of some people I don't think, and in the past every attempt I have made in that direction, to create some non-angry ideal version of myself has ended in utter disaster.

Todd, I love Trungpa Rinpoches teachings and I do believe I would have dropped Buddhism long ago had I not read Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, so thanks..I think it might be time for me to revisit his stuff. I guess the main issue is that I am having a hard time identifying these things in time to cut them off.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Punya » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:33 am

Anger is a big issue for me and I recently found Pema Chodron's Taking the Leap very helpful. Up until recently I've viewed her books as more introductory but this one seems to synthesise the teachings of her two main teachers Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and and Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche very well. I found the discussion about Shenpa most helpful: Shenpa is not the thoughts or emotions per se. Shenpa is pre-verbal but breeds thoughts and emotions very quickly. I think of it as being like the hook talked about in advertising circles: what is it that gets people in. Anyway, Johnny, maybe you'll find the book useful too.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:53 am

Thanks Punya, I will check out the book, i've read a few things by Chodron but not that.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby ocean_waves » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:30 pm

Johnny Dangerous anger management is something I also find lacking in my behavior at times. I recommend Thich Nhat Hanh's "Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames". It has helped me tremendously.

I resonated with your avatar, thought it showed a sense of humor and someone who does not take their "self" too seriously. :thumbsup: As emotions go, anger is as natural as fear [which is usually the root cause of our anger], and does not need to be avoided, simply embraced, understood and transformed/trance-ended. The experience of anger is not a negative in and of itself, it is when we get carried away by our anger [or any powerful emotion] and allow ourselves to behave towards the perceived source of our anger with wrong action.

My anger is an opportunity for me to breathe, observe my being in relationship to the noble eightfold path and make the necessary adjustments in my behavior, so the experience can be enlightening, not a repeat of conditioned behavior and habit-energy. This is why we practice the Buddhadhamma. No mud... no lotus! If we were all enlightened we wouldn't need to practice. Gampopa invited us to let our confusion lead us to enlightenment, I imagine we can apply that principle to our anger as well.
:anjali:
"True seeing is called transcendence;
False seeing is worldliness:
Set aside both right and wrong,
And the nature of enlightenment is clear."
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Re: dealing with anger and guilt

Postby Ayu » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:51 am

I like the MP3 "Working with anger" on this site:

http://www.lamrim.com/thubtenchodron/

When you click on Women at Wisdom there, you should get the broadcast.

Vajrasattva-Practice helped me with anger. Very slowly and very good. And it is important to analyse and look on the scene in meditation. Just look at what is happening like a Buddha.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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