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Lions Roar : September 2013
happy and, at root, all of our actions, even angry ones, come from that fact. So this kid thinks the truck will make him happy, when really what is probably going to make him happier in the long run is hav- ing a friendly relationship with Emma. Mindfulness, as it happens, is a remarkably effective way to deal with anger. Anger is about my needs. When you get angry, here’s what you’re really screeching: What about ME? The Tea Partiers who hate Obama are really upset because THEIR ideas about economics are so much better, and why doesn’t he see that? The hostile left-wing Volvo driver might be shocked to hear it, but he’s not so different from Rush Limbaugh: both lack a filter with which to screen their bile. Meditation practice provides this filter by training us to be nonreactive, to consider our actions, to “check in” and directly experience how we feel physi- cally and emotionally before acting on it. They teach us to see the larger world and our place in it more clearly, and to expe- rience what we are feeling with some degree of awareness. We don’t need to become Buddhists to deal with our anger but everyone can benefit from what Bud- dhists have learned from mil- lennia of training. These practices are not a panacea or a cure, but a process through which we learn to see our emotions as dynamic and changing. By undertaking this work, we are less likely to give the finger to the next hapless driver who accidentally cuts us off. Or start a war. That’s right, Volvo Guy. I’m talking to you. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 29