Tagged with: mindfulness

We need to master our own anger before we can help others do the same. When the flames of anger flare up, we tend to lash out at those who have watered our seeds of anger. It is like finding our house on fire, and instead of putting out the flames, chasing those we think started it. Arguing with others only waters the seeds of anger in us. When anger rises, return to yourself and use the energy of mindfulness to embrace, soothe, and illuminate it. Do not think you will feel better if you can make the other person suffer, too.

We need to master our own anger before we can help others do the same. When the flames of anger flare up, we tend to lash out at those who have watered our seeds of anger. It is like finding our house on fire, and instead of putting out the flames, chasing those we think started it. Arguing with others only waters the seeds of anger in us. When anger rises, return to yourself and use the energy of mindfulness to embrace, soothe, and illuminate it. Do not think you will feel better if you can make the other person suffer, too.

Cultivating mindfulness is not unlike the process of eating. It would be absurd to propose that someone else eat for you. And when you go to a restaurant, you don’t eat the menu, mistaking it for the meal, nor are you nourished by listening to the waiter describe the food. You have to actually eat the food for it to nourish you. In the same way, you have to actually practice mindfulness in order to reap its benefits and come to understand why it is so valuable.

Cultivating mindfulness is not unlike the process of eating. It would be absurd to propose that someone else eat for you. And when you go to a restaurant, you don’t eat the menu, mistaking it for the meal, nor are you nourished by listening to the waiter describe the food. You have to actually eat the food for it to nourish you. In the same way, you have to actually practice mindfulness in order to reap its benefits and come to understand why it is so valuable.

Was there ever a time when you felt suddenly alive? It was like the doors of the world opened for a minute and you could see directly into life. You were able to touch life directly and were not lost in your fears and worries. This experience may not have been during a big event like performing in a play or playing in a championship game; it may have been while walking in the woods or talking to a friend. All of a sudden you felt alive, awake. This quality of waking up, or penetrating into life, we could call mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means being aware, being present. When you are breathing and know that you are breathing, that is mindfulness of breathing.

Was there ever a time when you felt suddenly alive? It was like the doors of the world opened for a minute and you could see directly into life. You were able to touch life directly and were not lost in your fears and worries. This experience may not have been during a big event like performing in a play or playing in a championship game; it may have been while walking in the woods or talking to a friend. All of a sudden you felt alive, awake. This quality of waking up, or penetrating into life, we could call mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means being aware, being present. When you are breathing and know that you are breathing, that is mindfulness of breathing.

In meditation we seem to be sitting by ourselves, but we do not sit just for ourselves. By focusing our attention on the breath, the body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or any other facet of our experience in meditation, we become more mindful—not mindless—through the transformative power of moment-to-moment alertness and presence of mind. Instead of absentmindedly stumbling through life like sleepwalkers, we can use contemplative practice to achieve extraordinary insight into ourselves and the world in which we live; to inhabit and appreciate more fully the here and now; to free our minds and open our hearts, and to relax into our natural state. The cultivation of mindfulness helps us wake up to things as they are rather than as we would like them to be. And as we wake up to truth, to reality, we become a force for universal awakening, working with what actually is, not delusive fictions.

In meditation we seem to be sitting by ourselves, but we do not sit just for ourselves. By focusing our attention on the breath, the body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or any other facet of our experience in meditation, we become more mindful—not mindless—through the transformative power of moment-to-moment alertness and presence of mind. Instead of absentmindedly stumbling through life like sleepwalkers, we can use contemplative practice to achieve extraordinary insight into ourselves and the world in which we live; to inhabit and appreciate more fully the here and now; to free our minds and open our hearts, and to relax into our natural state. The cultivation of mindfulness helps us wake up to things as they are rather than as we would like them to be. And as we wake up to truth, to reality, we become a force for universal awakening, working with what actually is, not delusive fictions.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

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Mastering Our Anger

We need to master our own anger before we can help others do the same. When the flames of anger flare up, we tend to lash out at those who have watered our seeds of anger. It is like finding our house on fire, and instead of putting out the flames, chasing those we think started it. Arguing with others only waters the seeds of anger in us. When anger rises, return to yourself and use the energy of mindfulness to embrace, soothe, and illuminate it. Do not think you will feel better if you can make the other person…

- Thich Nhat Hanh

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