Fuck You Too!

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: In Search Of

The Sixth Precept of Buddha states, “Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath to see and understand the nature of your anger and hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger and hatred.”

Have you ever noticed that anger is contagious? It grows and spreads one person at a time like a fire gaining momentum, until it is so hot it is out of control? And each person you meet seems to feed off of it.

Where does it all come from? Is it a moment for everyone to unload the internal baggage? Could the single incident that you got angry over in the first place fuel all this hate?

Maybe anger has another ingredient…pride. Stubborn pride. A friend and I (someone I consider a close friend) got caught up on an issue from different perspectives. We each had our own opinions of how the incident came about, and why. It quickly erupted into a shouting match. But, this fire wasn’t fueled by hate, because we don’t hate each other. It was fueled by stubbornness. A stubbornness that refused to let either of us listen and understand what the other’s point of view even was.

In the first sentence my friend had a position and anything I said was pointless. In her mind she was right…period. Her only reason to engage in any dialogue with me was simply to convince me of it. When I didn’t agree, she got upset. For my side, I wasn’t upset because she disagreed with me, but rather that she formed her opinion before hearing my point of view.

Friends should be able to respectfully disagree, shouldn’t they? Who made the rule that says you have to agree or fight. Our pride dug in and without understanding the logic of the other person’s feelings or viewpoint, or any discussion of it, we were dead-locked in anger.

The next morning I woke up in a very disturbed mood; I was angry! Something I hadn’t experienced in some time. I work very hard NOT to react to things, but rather to think through them. I failed here and it was bothering me. Moreover, I could not get the issue out of my mind and I  carried it with me all the way to work.

Waiting by the elevator, I turned and inadvertently brushed into a woman standing next to me. She took offense. I immediately apologized. She got extremely upset with me and started making nasty comments. Again I apologized and suggested that she lighten up. She not only continued her verbal assault, she became more aggressive with every word.

“If you have pent up anger, please do not take it out on me,” I suggested.

She got into my face in a fever-pitch at this point and I felt an uncontrollable surge of anger come from deep within me. The exchange escalated as we entered the elevator, throughout the ride, and it continued as I reached my floor. As I stepped off the elevator I heard her mutter additional obscenities as I walked away.

I stopped to catch myself. How pointless was that? I didn’t even know that woman, yet I was willing to expend so much energy, and for what? I was emotionally drained from the exchange. Did she have deep seeded anger in her caused from someone else? Was I merely the target to unload it?

And what was my excuse? I had none.

I had spent the better part of 20 years learning to control my reaction, to not react without thought. To take things in, then decide how I want to respond to a situation. This day, my primal emotion kicked in and I was taken along for the ride. I didn’t like it at all. It takes a willingness to “think” rather than “react” to a situation. And yet in a destructive way instant impulses seem to be briefly more satisfying.

I told her off and got the better of the exchange, yet who cares? What damage did I cause? In any practice, whether it be Zen, Yoga or any other meditation, NOT reacting takes practice and conditioning to achieve inner stillness of the mind. And it is in that stillness when things become clear.

This seems to be at odds at what our society teaches us. So we have to “un-learn” what comes natural. Everyday you can see people yelling at each other, honking their horn, and for what? Because “in someone’s opinion, someone else did the wrong thing, or better yet didn’t do the right thing by them? We are all thinking animals, and as such should cherish our ability to do so. To succumb to reaction without thought is a disservice to ourselves and those around us.

Anger and hate are just other words for disrespect and the absence of thought.

 

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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