Friday, July 10, 2009

The rolling chariot of anger

In the ongoing war with anger, I have lost another battle. I went into a ‘discussion’ fully aware that anger was a real possibility, fully aware that a positive outcome would depend on whether I got angry or whether I maintained control, and I failed quite miserably. As the other person spoke, a sense of outrage welled up in me. The powerful, wild horses of the rolling chariot of anger tossed their heads and charged, while the supposed driver did nothing to stop them. In time, the expression of my point of view and my anger was carried out, (along with the expression of certain views that I would have preferred not to express), and my anger abated enough to end the interview on a more conciliatory note. The rolling chariot came to a halt, more by the exhaustion of the horses than the strength of the driver. The dubious arguments of my counterpart seemed to gain validation by the force and defensiveness of my angry reaction. How much better it would have been to invalidate his arguments by an immutably calm, open, generous, understanding.

The next day I told a colleague how I felt and he replied he was glad I had ‘lost it’ because it showed I was human. You get angry sometimes, its one of your little weaknesses, why not just accept it. Try to improve it, work on it, but accept it.

I knew that.

He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; other people are but holding the reins. The Dhammapada

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond