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Lions Roar : September 2014
catalyst that causes us to act with courage and compassion to address violence, injustice, and entrenched ignorance. And the more clearly we see such tendencies in the world around us, the more we come to recognize within us traces of these same tendencies to violence and dissembling. So anger has the power to strip the screens from our eyes, to cut through our ignorance and avoidance of harsh realities. The destructive force of anger is real and apparent. In addressing its destructive force, we practiced restraint in the first step and we began to see through anger’s apparent solidity in the second. Now we are working with the wisdom potential of anger. In fact, it may not be the anger itself but our tendency to hold on to our anger and its accompanying story line and self-absorp- tion that is so harmful. When anger awakens us to a real problem that must be addressed, we can respond by wallowing in the anger and feeling good about ourselves for doing so. Or we can actually listen to whatever message that anger is bringing to us, while at the same time dropping the messenger. Then we can deal with what has been exposed to us by anger’s clear mirror. 4. the Peacock: engaging anger Without fear or hesitation The final step is not actually a further practice, but more the result or fruition of mastering the other three steps. We continue to practice refraining from impulsive displays of anger, seeing through the apparent solidity of anger, and opening to the mes- sages anger brings without clinging to the messenger. When we can do all that with ease, we may finally begin to be able to make use of anger as a tool or skillful means. If anger is called for and would be useful, we are not afraid to apply it. And when destruc- tive anger does arise, we are not seduced, nor do we run away from it. We gobble it up on the spot. Not a trace remains. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 51