The emotion linked with the spring season.
Its movement is upward and outward.
It has the fire of Mars, and the expansion of Jupiter.
Directed skillfully, it is like the sprout pushing out of the seed, breaking free into open air and fighting for upward experiences. A win-win for all involved.
Directed unskillfully, it is like a fire, a bullet, an acid spray that sears the flesh of an innocent heart and pulls the spirit downward . A non win-win for all-involved.
The peace that one maintains by and through a climate of persistent anger is an uneasy one indeed, where minds and hearts close up and neglected wounds slowly fester. It’s like a quiet home with frequent tension in the air between provider and provided for. Healthy expression is stifled, giving rise to displacement and unhealthy expression elsewhere.
The peace that one maintains by and through a climate absent of persistent anger is an easy one indeed, where minds and hearts open up and wounds are neither neglected nor slowly fester. It’s like a dynamic home where parent and child are sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes tense, sometimes relaxed. Healthy expression is not stifled, not giving rise to displacement and unhealthy expression elsewhere.
One is a genuine peace; the other is a false peace.
One is apparent peace but true discord; the other is actual peace with no hidden discord.
Knowing others is wisdom; knowing self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force; mastering self needs strength.
—Daodejing, Chapter 33 translation by Feng and English
Questions to reflect on:
In what way do you maintain a household/company/department/team/partnership from a place of anger: impatience, threat of violence, actual violence, rigid control, passive aggression, fault-finding, bouts of explosive words?
In what ways are you overpowered by another in your household/company/department/team/partnership, having been or being the recipient of the energies of impatience, threat of violence, actual violence, rigid control, passive aggression, fault finding, bouts of explosive words?
In what ways are you knowingly or unknowingly perpetuating family cycles of discord, whether in the role of perpetrator or victim?
What false appearances, only seemingly positive, beneficial, and uplifting, have you created in the name of hiding from inner realities which are negative, non-beneficial, and in fact tinged with pain? What is your payoff, your gain in maintaining such a system?
Where in the chambers of your mind and heart has anger been simmering for some time now? Why? Who or what was it that brought forth such a thing in you?
The last time you got pissed off, the last time your vibe shifted from copacetic to cranky: why? with whom? where? when? How might this be just another playing out of an old story? what did you want and not get? what did you not want and did get? Given this information, what’s the win-win for all involved?
If the above are problems, what are some possible solutions? Are you merely interested in the work of upliftment, or are you legit committed to it?
Are you under the impression that you can do it all by yourself? Or do you sense that your current knowledge base falls short of solving these deep problems and you need to make yourself teachable to one greater?
* * *
Sometimes in order to increase peace it is unnecessary to engage in conflict; we only need to keep doing more of what we’ve been doing in the name of building a virtuous structure.
Other times, in order to increase peace it is necessary to engage in conflict; we need to stop doing what we’ve been doing in the name of destroying a non-virtuous structure.
Now what’s the gain in confronting others when we have not confronted ourselves?
What’s the gain in feeding others when we have not fed ourselves?
What’s the gain in setting others right when we have not set ourselves right?
* * *
Some minds are prone to blaming, prone to authoring the story of the heroic victim while failing to entertain any notion of self-responsibility; these minds are disempowered. Therefore, there is greater difficulty in achieving a state of durable happiness non-dependent on rain or shine.
Some minds are not prone to blaming, not prone to authoring the story of the heroic victim while remaining mindful of self-responsibility; these minds are empowered. Therefore, there is greater ease in achieving a state of durable happiness non-dependent on rain or shine.
Bees attract to flowers, flies and cockroaches attract to shitpiles. In what ways, then, have we ourselves been the magnet for positive, negative, or mixed experiences?
“He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.
“He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.
Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal. —Dhammapada Ch.1, vv. 3-6