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Lions Roar : May 2018
one who is always angry is painful and generally very lonely. So this is the second method: remember that the one who harms you does not need to be provoked further, and neither do you. Sit still with the restlessness and pain of the anger, neither acting it out nor repressing it, and let it tame you and strengthen you and make you kinder. 3. See Obstacles as Teachers If there is no teacher around to give you direct personal guidance, never fear! Life itself will provide the opportuni- ties for learning how to hold your seat. The troublemaker, for instance, who so disturbs you—without this person how could you ever get the chance to practice patience? How could you ever get the chance to know the energy of anger so intimately that it loses its power? Right at the point when you are about to blow your top, remember this: you are a disciple being taught how to sit still with the edginess and discomfort of the energy. You are a disciple being challenged by the teacher to hold your seat and open to the situation with as much courage and as much kindness as you possibly can. 4. Regard All that Occurs as a Dream It is helpful to contemplate that the one who is difficult, the difficulty itself, and the recipient of that difficulty are all hap- pening as if in a dream. You can reflect on the essencelessness of your current situation rather than putting such big impor- tance on everything. This big-deal struggle, this big-deal prob- lematic (or self-righteous) me, and this big-deal person who opposes you, could all be lightened up considerably. When you awaken from sleep you know that the enemies in your dreams are an illusion. In the same way, instead of acting out of impulse, you could slow down and ask your- self, “Who is this monolithic me that has been so offended? And who is this other person that they can trigger me like this?” Contemplate that these outer things, as well as these emotions, as well as this huge sense of me, are passing and essenceless, like a memory, like a movie, like a dream. Recalling this instruction, you just might find it helps you to loosen your grip and open your mind. ANI PEMA CHÖDRÖN is a Buddhist nun, leading American Buddhist teacher, and author of such classics as When Things Fall Apart and Start Where You Are. Then, without doubt, plenty of arrows will always be coming your way. The choice is yours: Each time you sit still with the restlessness and heat of anger—neither acting it out nor repressing it—you are tamed and strengthened. Each time you act on the anger or suppress it, you are weakened; you become more and more like a walking target. So this is the first method: remember that you set the tar- get up yourself, and only you can take it down. Understand that if you hold your seat even for 1.5 seconds longer than ever before, you are starting to dissolve a pattern of reactivity that, if you let it, will continue to hurt you and others forever. 2. Connect with Your Heart In times of anger, you can contact the kindness and compas- sion that you already have. When someone harms you, you can understand that they are sowing seeds of their own mis- ery, their own confusion, their own dissatisfaction. The life of LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 54