Anger

Jan 4, 2021

 

QUESTION

Dear Ven. Robina,

 

I have been having anger issues most of my life. I’ve gotten better at controlling it. Stopped blaming everyone else and know I am the reason this is happening years ago. And for the most part I’m very controlled nowadays but when it starts building it goes so fast from zero to a hundred sometimes I just explode. 

 

I try to tell myself that this is your own karma ripening. You did this to you. My partner is very volatile. As the stress keeps building and building karma ripening reminders stop working and I explode. Do you have any advice? I appreciate you taking the time to help. 

 

Love and respect,

W

 

ANSWER

W, I understand.

 

First of all, it’s good that you can control your anger, but that’s just the expression of your anger through your mouth. But that’s the first stage, isn’t it? I like to call it Junior School: control our body and speech. That’s pretty good already.

 

But then we have to go to the next level: actually a. listen to, b. analyze and c. change the actual conceptual story that anger is telling you in your mind.

 

The object of your anger is the words that your partner is saying. And basically you do not like their words: you have aversion to them. And what is aversion? The response when your attachment doesn’t get what it wants. And aversion is the bare bones state of mind that informs the more volatile anger.

 

So you need to become more and more familiar with attachment — this spontaneous craving to get only what we want; and with your anger/aversion — the response when attachment doesn’t get what it wants.

 

This is practice! Of course, it’s huge. Basically it means that you have to reinterpret your partner’s words, you have to learn not to have aversion for them. 

 

This is what patience is. Patience isn’t just simply suppressing our anger — that’s passive aggression. Patience is a very brave attitude that welcomes the problem — those words you don’t want to hear. Just let your partner talk. It’s their problem, not yours.

 

Of course this is difficult!!

 

But the bottom line is: if you are clear this is the relationship you choose to be in, you have to find ways to develop this patience. You have no choice. And when you develop patience — which is a new way to see things — you won’t get angry.

 

Basically attachment, anger, patience, love are all rooted in being conceptual stories, interpretations in our mind. When we understand this we’re on the right track.

 

And you need to find your own space. You need your own place to meditate and practice. Have you got that?

 

Love,

Robina

 

 

QUESTION

Ven. Robina,

 

Thank you for emailing me. I do have my own space. I do my Vajrasattva purification and meditations before going to bed and my morning practices before the family wakes up. I felt that we both needed some space a few months back and thought sleeping separately would help. It has helped. 

 

I will pay attention when my anger begins. Annoyances. And will try to see what my partner is saying in a different way. I just need to work on my mind. Thank you for the help. I guess the silver lining is my past negative karma will be over.

 

With love and respect,

W

 

 

ANSWER

Okay, W.

 

If you’re clear this is where you belong right now, then you have no choice but to make this your practice.

 

The two wings of the bird are perfect here: 1. You watch your body, speech and mind like a hawk: that’s the wisdom wing, and you won’t get far if you don’t do this. This means a good, disciplined morning and evening practice. The evening, especially, you need to do the purification practice and in the fourth step, resolve, the determination to change, you strongly decide that for the next twenty-four hours you control your speech, as well as change your interpretation in your mind of your partner’s actions. See your aversion, see how it’s the response to your attachment not getting what it wants. 

 

And find whatever time you can to be on your own: this is crucial.

 

Then there’s the compassion wing: this means being as kind and patient as possible. Try to hear the words, see the actions, in a different way. Interpret them differently. And really listen to your partner, thank them, praise them.

 

Be brave!

 

Love and many prayers,

Robina

 

QUESTION

Ven. Robina,

 

Thank you for listening and your help. I will do exactly as you say. 

 

Much love and respect,

W

ANSWER

You’ll find, W, that when you change your mind, your thoughts, your interpretations, everything will be different! Your dear partner will appear nice to you. And because you’re being more patient and kind, your partner will change too. You can be the example. And it’ll be so so good for your dear child.

 

Robina

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