Thursday, February 26, 2015

What do we do when anger shows up?

Anger shows up at a party and starts causing division and tension.  What do we do with anger?

Do we act as a passive bystander?  Maybe if we pretend this isn't happening it will go away.  At the very least this isn't my fault so I am not going to get involved.

Do we rally the troops, barge in and meet anger with anger?  Let's see who wins.  Probably no one.

Not passive, not aggressive.  What others options do we have?

We can practice fierce compassion, which looks like openness and doing the emotional labor of advocating for what is right.

Being open means being fierce, because it is definitely easier to sit in back and not get involved.  Being open also means being willing to listen without bias or judgement, of being able to drop your assumptions and perception in favor of seeing clearly.

Doing emotional labor means doing the hard work of being patient and respectful, acting with kindness and most of all, not shutting down when fear shows up. 

None of this is easy, but it is important.  This is why we have our practice, because we need to learn how to work with our own anger and aggression.  We need to learn how to actually be open and not shut down in the face of fear and uncertainty.

This starts with you, but it affects everyone. 


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