April 6    

Today's quotation:

Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind.  Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.

the Buddha

Today's Meditation:

What positive things have anger and resentment given birth to in your life?  What good has it brought to you or to those you love?  How many pleasant memories of nice times with loved ones have been the result of anger?

I've known many angry people in my life, and none of them have inspired positive memories.  I've been angry myself many times, and never has that anger made me feel better about myself, about life, or about any situation.  And I've found that as long as I hold on to the resentment that I feel because of something someone else did (or that I think they did), my anger will continue to grow, to fester, to become a destructive force that will bring nothing positive to my life.

As I'm feeling the resentment, it's easy to convince myself that it's justified, and that it's going to be productive to express my anger.  I don't think it really has been, though, especially when I consider the potential options to expressing my anger.  Thoughts of resentment are like logs in a fireplace, while the flame is the anger itself-- without the logs there, there is no fire.

How can we get rid of thoughts of resentment?  Compassion helps-- trying to understand just why another person has done something can help me to see the situation in a different light.  Giving the person the benefit of the doubt may help-- perhaps they didn't understand the effects of their action, or perhaps no one has ever taught them proper ways to talk or act.  It's possible they don't even realize that what they've done has affected others.  Or maybe the person acted out of fear, and it would help us and them to help them to deal with their fear rather than getting angry at them.

Are we going to provide our anger with plenty of fuel by harboring thoughts of resentment, or are we going to lessen our own spiritual and emotional load by letting go of those feelings?  Which path would be most beneficial to the greatest number of people?

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to hold on to resentment?

What is "self-righteous anger"?  Is anger ever really righteous?

What are some ways that we might let go of our resentment?

For further thought:

How could I feel so miserable in the midst of such splendor?  The question flashed through me all at once, not waiting for words to express it.  The answer came more slowly:  No one makes you angry.  Anger, like love, is something you choose. Stunned, I sat down in the middle of the field I'd been walking through.  I knew I needed to look within myself, let go of my anger and have a quiet talk with God.

Susan L. Taylor

more thoughts and ideas on anger



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