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Lions Roar : March 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2010 26 view, it’s being interested in anger—your own and another’s. True anger is about unfairness, injustice, and intolerable treat- ment. Inquiring into the source of anger and trying to understand its message is very useful. Using skillful speech is very helpful: use “I” statements, rather than talking about what the other person is do- ing to you, and speak descriptively about the problem. For example, “It doesn’t work for me when you walk away while I am in the middle of telling you about my difficult day at work, as you did or seemed to do this morning. I want to talk with you about the thoughts and feelings and questions your behavior triggered in me. Okay?” The most skillful response to this state- ment would be, “Please tell me about what you experienced and what you thought was going on.” Both of these statements have a tentative tone (a sort of “help me under- stand what is going on here” tone). At the point that the listener fully understands the speaker (she can check through reflec- tive listening), the listener can then respond with her experience of the event. Frequent- ly, in an intimate relationship various levels of misunderstanding and misperception are at the source of anger. The process of discovering this usually brings the two peo- ple closer. They come to see and know each other more completely, even if the source of the difficulty is not fully resolved. When you’re feeling angry, especially in a close relationship, it’s a good time to practice mindfulness and equanimity, not to dissolve the anger but to become more skillful in mining it. See if you can find ways to speak your anger in words that are both honest and kind; stick to “I” state- ments and stay away from blaming, recall- ing that blame is a “fight” reaction, not true human anger. The path of love is a difficult one, in large part because of our natural desire to control the beloved. Anger will loosen that sense of control as we come to know our beloved more fully in times of vulnerability. Love and partnership are trainings in the transformation of suffer- ing into compassion and kindness. They teach us the deep lessons of the first noble truth and they do it in a way that is truly ego-dissolving. ♦ Pagosa Springs, CO | (970) 731-3711 www.taramandala.org |