via Daily Prompt: Grasp
The quote is often attributed to the Buddha, however, he never said it (see: fakebuddhaquotes.com). It is thought to have originated from the fifth century commentator Buddhaghosa who said: “By doing this you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.” Visuddimagga 1X,23. At least the Quotery didn’t get it wrong.
What a great quote! Another great teacher, Jesus, once said “… do not let the sun go down on your anger …” So a similar perspective – don’t hang onto it.
Whichever quote you choose, the point is made, that anger grasped and held is toxic. We know that feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are, but when we hang onto one or another they change us. Science can now show how the hormones associated with anger, especially when suppressed or lacking expression, poison our system affecting us body, mind and soul. Stress, cardio, respiratory, muscle, blood, all deeply affected. Anger is normal in context, but to never express it or deal with it will affect our lives in every way. When anger becomes a pathology, a way of being, a default, it cripples us, and especially because in that way, we are most likely unaware of it. It can be difficult when anger is attached to identity issues, rejection, depression (anger turned inwards) suppressed gratification, bullying and so on. However, we must learn to let go, to set issues aside, to talk it through, to call for help, get a perspective, find a position of empathy and compassion, I find meditation forms very helpful. Anger isn’t wrong, just don’t hang onto it otherwise it will consume you. Besides, who wants to be defiend by anger?
Back in the nineties I was working in a country high school. One Friday I passed one of the teachers in the stair well, and I greeted her, as I normally would have done on any day. She looked up, and nodded, I couldn’t make sense of her grunted, terse, reply. But I noted her eyes, black holes, pits that never ended, and it startled me. I commented to a couple of people who merely retorted that she was under pressure, her marriage was struggling, and she was always terse. But that’s not what bothered me, they were merely symptomatic, this was deep.
I left that afternoon with a heavy heart. It was a long weekend ahead and lots to do at home, so I turned my mind to the journey home. I spent Saturday around the farm and with the family. But all through Saturday I felt a deep pressure. I wasn’t ruminating. It was just there, and probably stemmed from my meeting in the stairwell. I felt that she was on edge, at risk.
Come Monday afternoon I told Lyn that I was feeling like something really bad had happened, but I didn’t know what, but that my colleague was in trouble. It was oppressive. At around 5.00 p.m. a friend rang me to ask if I was aware of the news around town, and I said I had no idea, but now my mind was racing. My friend replied that someone who was always scanning the short wave news, had picked up a police report of a death, something to do with the teacher and thought I should know. I realised immediately that my feeling was real.
I later rang the deputy principal and yes, the teacher had shot her husband then shot herself in a carefully planned action. She had her resolution, sadly. But I had had a premonition. It was painful knowing, and painful not being able to use the sense of it. It was what it was, and nothing could have been done (as my training tells me). The use of a premonition is not clear to me, but somehow I felt connected to a process no matter its outcome. It was a diferent level of awareness.