For Today Only
Do Not Anger
Do Not Worry
Be Honest in your work
Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others
Take a moment to think about the last time you became angry about something or with someone.
How did it feel? I don’t think it felt very comfortable. Did the anger help resolve the situation or make it any better? Does making decisions out of an angry state of mind lead to the correct decision, or sometimes do you regret what you have said or done when it comes from an angry or defensive state of mind?
A prime example of this is when our children may have done something that generates anger in us and we instantly react from a space of anger and say something that we may later regret, realizing there may have been a much better way of dealing with the situation. This actually has the potential to spiral out of control, then being angry or being regretful about what you have done. All these destructive thoughts take us out of the present moment.
I think that the answers to these questions lead us to the conclusion that anger is not helpful to us and leads to unhappiness for us and others that have to deal with our anger. No one truly wants to be unhappy. Everyone deserves to be happy
So how can we be happier and more present?
Right, not get angry.
So what is anger?
In reality, it is just another thought.
I’m not saying to suppress anger but to recognize it, fully explore it, move through the anger and come out the other side. This requires being present and being able to say “hey I’m getting angry, let me examine this angry feeling before moving on”. For myself, eventually I found I do not get angry so easily, as before, at the things that used to make me angry. In fact, what I ultimately learned is that people or situations didn’t make me angry, but I made myself angry. Anger itself comes from within, not from anything external. When I do get angry, sometimes I can recognize it, move through it, let it go and deal with the situation in a calm and peaceful manner.
In terms of being out of the present moment, what does anger represent?
If you are angry you are attached to something from the past. If you think about it you can’t be angry about a future event. Nor can you be angry about the very present moment. To get angry one must first mentally process what has happened and transform that into anger. So clearly when one is angry they are attached to something from the past, not allowing them to be fully in the present moment.
Now lets consider worry and take a moment to think about the last time you worried about something. Again, I’m sure it was not a comfortable feeling and it detracted from your happiness What is worry and fearfulness, just like anger, thoughts. That’s easy to say, more difficult to deal with in an effective way.
We can talk about worry in a similar way as anger, except that worrying and fearful thoughts bring us out of the present moment by focusing on the future. Can we worry about the past? I don’t think so. What are we worrying about? In most cases it’s only about a possible outcome of a future event. Many times the worry and feared outcomes never materialize. These thoughts can also spiral out of control pop out into the forefront or constantly be in the background of our minds effecting our every action.
Worry, for me, is a little more difficult to deal with than anger. With anger, once the thought is dealt with it can often just be left in the past. Worry is a little more insidious, even if dealt with, the causes of worry are still laying in wait in the future. One has to be more skillful in dealing with it, or at least I do.
There is a famous saying about worry that goes something like this:
Do not worry, if you can do something about it, no need to worry, if you can’t do anything about it, also no need to worry.
So when do we have to worry, we don’t. Wow, that was easy to say, I will try to practice it. Again as with anger we have to have the presence of mind to realize that our our thoughts are out of control and worrying about something. Then we must consider they are just thoughts, do we really need to worry and does it make sense to worry about it. Isn’t it just better to focus on the present moment.
Some of you may have heard all this before about anger, worry and what to do about it, I certainly have, but the difficult part is putting it into practice. That’s where meditation comes in, it helps one put this into practice by practicing being present during meditation.
How does focusing on the breadth meditation help with this?
By focusing on the breadth, one could only be in the present. You only have one breadth in the present moment. Your attention is not on the previous breadth, the past, or the next breadth, the future. All attention is on the present inhalation or exhalation, the present moment. This is where you can find peace of mind, in the present moment. There is no space for anger or worry to enter. This is kind of like brain training, first you build up this state of mind during meditation and then eventually it will spill over to your daily life.
I was outside watching a spider spinning a web and this came to mind:
The spider spins his web, not angry about the last storm that damaged it or worried about when his next prey will be caught in it. He can only do his best to spin his web.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to be angry about or mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. – Buddhist Quote
Scott Kravis is a Shinpiden Reiki Level III graduate of the International House of Reiki. Scott is teaching Reiki inspired meditation to the the Hospice Staff and Volunteers of Saint Barnabas Hospital in Livingston New Jersey