Anger is not an emotion I often have. However, the day before my dad died I was really angry at everyone. Angry that people didn’t believe me when I told them that my father was sick. Angry at my dad for refusing help. Angry at myself for falling into pieces and getting depressed. Angry that an illness had appeared in the first place. Then my dad died the next day. Now my feelings of anger is amplified by this negative outcome.
The cost of being angry is quite high. I’ve been conscious about this emotion which can consume me and trying to let it go before it destroys me. Anger will destroy my relationships with people around me and myself. It is a fiery, ball of energy that needs to be let out or else bad things can happen.
A great tale in Buddhism is one of the anger eating demon. Ajahn Brahm (British monk residing in Western Australia) simplified the story from the original text and a condensed version (Brahm’s version is longer, link to 60min talk).
The story (my super condensed version) tells of an ugly, smelly anger monster who arrives at an emperor’s castle. The guards were so scared, they let the monster into the castle. The monster sat on the Emperor’s throne and when the guards saw this, they were unkind and abused him with insults. Every time an unpleasant or abusive word was uttered, the monster grew an inch bigger and soon filled the room. Eventually the emperor returned and saw this monster seated on his throne. A kind and wise ruler, the emperor asked his servants if tea had been served to this monster. The servants went to get tea right away. With each kind and generous act the emperor made towards the monster, it began to shrink and soon disappeared.
Brain-xercise Week 5: Yelling
One of my friends brought to my attention a method used by the Japanese for stress relief – yelling. These organized people have a “shouting festival” in which people line up to yell out their frustrations. In addition, they sell “shouting vases” for people to yell into.
Taking a page from the Japanese, let’s just yell out our anger this week. Since I’m a frugal person, I think yelling for a few minutes in a room by yourself at a picture of the vase is fine instead spending $76 USD!
- Yell at the picture of the vase – let out all your anger and frustration!
- Optional step – Do something that makes you feel good. I suggest eating ice cream next or cake!
Semi-optimistic thoughts: By becoming aware that anger clouds judgement and destroys relationships, you are already on your way to defeating the anger eating monster! In letting go of anger you can focus on more happier things in life or spend time thinking of a solution to a problem that might be dragging you down.
The same friend who told me about Japanese yelling also recommended going to a bar or pub during a sports event to facilitate yelling. She said it was a great place to vent even if you don’t drink!
Song I’m listening to this week – “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right