- Is it me or could every human on God’s green Earth do with knowing some Buddhist meditations for anger?
- I mean. You’re human. So you probably get angry from time to time. And you could probably use a few ways to calm down, right? What better way to stop anger than by using Buddhist meditation techniques.
- There are many Buddhist meditation techniques for anger. And they’ve been used for more than 2000 years. So you can probably rely on them to work for you too. Let’s take a look.
- How Buddhists View Anger
- To stop anger, understand where it comes from. Ignorance
- As TinyBuddha says, When you accept things as they are you find inner peace. And the anger stops
- How To Use Buddhist Meditation For Anger
- Extra tips on controlling anger
- Best tips to control angry thought #1: Realise it’s in Your Head
- Best Tips to control angry thoughts #2: Acceptance
- Best Tips to Control Angry thoughts #3: Recognise the Underlying Cause of your Anger.
- Tips to Control Angry thoughts 3b: Discovering the Secret
- 4: Use anger to learn
- Responding to other people’s anger
- Knowing how to respond to hostility is vital. Inevitably someone is going to give you hassle. Learn how to handle yourself now and you’ll save yourself from an argument.
How Buddhists View Anger
Buddhists believe that anger is one of the three poisons that cause rebirth.
Though rebirth might sound like a blessing to many, Buddhists view it differently. To Buddhists, the ultimate achievement is to escape the perpetual cycle of death and rebirth, which they call Samsara. The other two poisons are ignorance and greed.
Of these three poisons, ignorance is the worst.
As Tibetologist Jeffrey Hopkins states, “Ignorance is the conception or assumption that phenomena exist in a far more concrete way than they actually do. [This leads] the person to be drawn into afflictive desire and hatred [i.e. attachment and aversion]… Not knowing the real nature of phenomena, we are driven to generate desire for what we like and hatred for what we do not like and for what blocks our desires.”
To stop anger, understand where it comes from. Ignorance
Ignorance is the root cause of all suffering. And ignorance is the cause of anger.
In order to remove anger (and all suffering) we must remove ourselves from ignorance.
To clarify, we must learn to detach ourselves from our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong. We must learn to let go.
So how do you let go? Well, actually, that’s quite simple. Or, at least, it’s simple in theory. It does take come practice though.
The way to stop anger is to stop ignorance. And the way to stop ignorance is to accept things as they are.
When we accept things precisely as they are, we free ourselves from ignorance and from suffering. Because not accepting things is the cause of suffering.
As TinyBuddha says, When you accept things as they are you find inner peace. And the anger stops
TinyBuddha says, “There are two ways out of a problem: accept what’s happening, see the positive, and choose a peaceful state of mind; or fight against it, be miserable, and struggle against the universe.
Even though my two examples are related to love and relationships, I am 100 percent positive that learning to accept things as they present themselves is a helpful tool in all aspects of life.
Whether it’s a family loss, a missed opportunity, or a sudden change in your plans, being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you maintain inner peace and happiness.”
Let’s think about that.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say we’re angry because we’ve been paid late. In our mind we are apt to think something along the lines of “My pay is late. I won’t make rent. I’ll have to get a loan. That’ll mean I’ll lose money… I’m never going to afford that vacation” and so on.
In this situation, we fight to deny reality. We think “I’m not accepting that I’m being paid late.”
Buddhists would say that this denial, in itself, is the root cause of suffering (which means it is also the cause of anger). And this is where Buddhist meditations come in. When you use a Buddhist meditation for anger you are essentially teaching your mind to accept things as they are. So how do you do that?
How To Use Buddhist Meditation For Anger
I’m about to share 3 powerful Buddhist meditations for anger. But first of all, let’s get up to speed together.
If you are new to meditation, take a look at these basics of meditation, which are essentially if you want to succeed.
The three meditations that I’m about to share are very powerful. But they are not the only meditations. In fact, there are more than 700 types of meditation. Take a look at that link. It will help you to find the right meditation technique for your individual needs.
The 3 Buddhist Meditations For Anger That Are Going To Make A Big Difference For You
- Nine Round Breathing: Have you ever tried using breathing techniques for anger? If so, this meditation will be familiar. It’s a very important breathing technique that you can use to quickly calm your temper. It involves taking just a few conscious breaths. And it is probably the quickest way to stop anger. Take a look at my guide to Nine Round Breathing here.
- Anapanasati: Anapanasati is another breathing technique. This technique takes about twenty minutes and it one of the best ways to calm and focus. It will give you control over your emotions so that you can quickly control your anger. I’ve written a guide to Anapanasati meditation to help you out.
- Vipassana: This is a slightly more advanced meditation technique. This one’s all about developing insight.When you use this technique you will learn about how your mind works. And you’ll learn that anger is just a mental construct. When you understand anger better you’ll have better control. That’s why this is one of the best Buddhist meditations for anger. You can read my guide to Vipassana meditation for more on this.
When you use these anger meditations, do this:
I hope you will put your all into those meditations. They really are very helpful. And if you want to get even more out of them, use these tips.
- Aim to understand that anger is a feeling created by yourself. Sure, certain external events can lead us to anger, but the ultimate feeling, anger itself, is created by ourselves. An important part of Buddhist meditation is to recognise that we, ourselves, create our emotions. In fact, the best way to gain control of your feelings and emotions is to understand that you yourself are creating them. Take a look at my guide to controlling your feelings and emotions for more on this.
- Understand that anger is a product of the mind. That’s why the only way to stop being angry is to control the mind. And that’s really what meditation is, it’s total self control. It’s self mastery. Naturally, self mastery is not so easy. It’s a challenge. Buddha meditated for decades before attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. But we don’t need to achieve enlightenment to mange our anger. We just need a bit of control.
- Be mindful of the feeling of anger. Casually observe anger in its purest form. If you have not tried mindfulness before, take a look at my tutorial on mindfulness, and try these 25 mindful habits.
- Accept reality as it is. To do this, simply focus your mind 100% on any part of your present environment. For instance, if you’re walking heom from work and you’re angry, just focus your mind 100% on what you’re doing: walking. Your anger will chill like cinders on the snow.
More Buddhist ways to control anger
Another excellent way of curing anger through Buddhist meditation is to practice Loving Kindness. When you feel angry at someone, try to be compassionate towards that person. Try to recognise that they themselves are human and subject to the faults of the mind. Imagine extending thoughts of love and kindness to this person. This will completely defuse your anger.
And as an aside, there are many people who have said to me that it’s cowardice to ignore someone when they’re “giving you sh*t.” I simply cannot agree with that. It is a heck of a lot easier to be angry than it is to accept another human being’s shortcomings and to compassionately maintain equanimity and loving kindness.
Extra tips on controlling anger
Best tips to control angry thought #1: Realise it’s in Your Head
First thing’s first. The anger is in your head and the best way to control anger is to realise that YOU are creating it.
Seems weird, huh? Yet it’s true.
Whether it’s anger caused by other people, anger at work, or any other kind of anger, you are the one creating it.
You’re creating anger because you believe that someone has violated the established rules
A kid kicks your seat on the plane; they’re breaking the rules of holiday etiquette. Your wife or husband fails to meet your arrangements; they’re breaking an agreement. An employee fails to give you the proper respect; they’re breaking the rules of the workplace. Yet all these forms of anger come down to one thing: life is not panning out how you believe it should. You have, in your head, an idea of how things should be, and life simple isn’t following suit.
So the first and most easy way to control anger is to realise that it’s just in your head. And the easiest way to do that is by practicing a technique called Vipassana. You can learn about Vipassana here.
Best Tips to control angry thoughts #2: Acceptance
If we get angry because our preconceived idea of how things should be keeps getting violated. So the logical solution is to stop being so obsessed with the way things should be.
Stop having preconceived ideas. Roll with the punches. That’s how people stay clam in negative situations.
Say you’re angry because a kid is creaming on a plane but no one else seems angry. The other passengers have simply accepted that their flight is going to be noisy. As soon as they accepted this new reality, they were able to see that, whilst their situation might be annoying, it really wasn’t that bad.
Sometimes, however, we just can’t accept, so what then?
Best Tips to Control Angry thoughts #3: Recognise the Underlying Cause of your Anger.
This is the big one.
The reason we are not always able to accepted reality is because it conflicts with a deeper part of ourselves.
For instance, lets say you’re the boss of a company and an employee is doing something to anger you (and you cant just fire or suspend them!) … at this time you will probably think to yourself something like “Im the boss, I dont need to deal with this S***” or “Its beneath me” and so on.
This line of thinking is the entire issue because you then exagerate the situation to become “This employee is disrespecting me” or worse.
To give another example; I personally believe I am a good writer, and when someone posts in those comments below that I suck… I rage. “What the &^*! Do you know about writing ya ill-educated schmuck! GRRRR!!!’ Okay, that’s how I used to be years ago. I am a lot more chilled now.
When you think like that you give yourself a major issue. The real reason we get angry is because we believe the other person has crossed some LINE that only exists because of beliefs we too tightly hold about ourselves. Therefore, you must recognise that there is an underlying cause to your anger. And then change that underlying cause.
Tips to Control Angry thoughts 3b: Discovering the Secret
In order to discover that secret reason for your rage (the belief you are holding too tightly that the other person is conflicting with), you have to step back and truly look at yourself.
Just imagine you are taking a little step outside of your own head and then look down and ask “Why do I (the person you are now looking at) find this situation so annoying? What is it about this scene that conflicts with my beliefs about myself.” Give yourself time to answer this question. And be honest. You’ll likely find something truly revealing.
Here are some examples…
I’m mad that guy said I look bad because I know I look good and I NEED to look good
Enlightened, Positive Thought:
Well… if I do look bad today then clearly looking bad doesn’t matter too much as I hadn’t even noticed before that guy told me … Wait… a …. minute….!!!! I don’t NEED to look good everyday in order to be happy!
Don’t these bloody employees realise I’m the boss!
Enlightened, Positive Thought:
Maybe they’re just trying to lighten the mood!
4: Use anger to learn
Your emotions always stem from an underlying belief, a perception of yourself and the world around you. You get angry when reality turns out to not be exactly what you thought it was, when something contradicts your belief of the world, but THERE is where the real secret lies…. if something contradicts your view of the world then clearly your view of the world is not 100% accurate (in other words, you dont think your employees should crack jokes at your expense, but they do, so clearly your opinion was wrong.)
In this way, your anger actually points out errors in your perception of the world. Should you then RECOGNISE your error you can then correct your view of the world. You can think “Employees CAN crack jokes at my expense cause we are all human.” This will then lead to even more revelations. “At work we are still people… Perhaps if I engage my employees more human sides I will improve my relationship with them….” Then a few weeks later. “Wow. Im actually liking spending time with my employees since I lightened up, and they like it to.
We have a more positive attitude and that has increased our productivity”… That’s right : your anger is trying to teach you something. That’s why shortly after I get angry I am thankful for the cause because I know it has taught me something about life. It has corrected my view of the world, and that in turn empowers me to work more effectively and to make the right decision more often.
Responding to other people’s anger
Knowing how to respond to hostility is vital. Inevitably someone is going to give you hassle. Learn how to handle yourself now and you’ll save yourself from an argument.
Let me share a little story of what happened to me today, and why I am so glad I know how to respond to hostility and anger like a zen warrior.
Walking down the street in the burning heat I accidentally knocked into a guy. He was about 6 foot 3, shaved head, tattoos of snakes, one of a dagger. Naturally I apologised.
“You got a problem?” he snapped.
I said it was my fault and made to leave. He grabbed me by the wrist and repeated, louder this time, “You got a problem?”
Having meditated for about an hour before bumping into this guy, I wasn’t angry but rather compassionate. I wondered what this guy had been through in life to make him so angry.
Being a meditation teacher, I would have liked to have him sit on the street in lotus position, eyes closed, focussing inward. But he clearly wasn’t ready for that. Instead I complimented his snake tattoo, telling him I had a snake, a grass snake, back home in England. This was true, I do have a snake. He liked the compliment. Immediately his attitude changed from one of seething anger to friendliness. We talked about snakes for a few minutes before he calmly left.
Thankfully I knew how to respond to hostility and anger.
All it had taken was one compliment, a few words, to completely change this guy’s attitude. How different it could have been.
If You Respond To Hostility With More Hostility, Everyone Will Lose
I am aware that, had I not been meditating myself, I could quite easily have become angry at the guy with the snake tattoos. What would have happened then I don’t know. Loud words, most likely, or worse. But through calmness and compassion I was able to turn an enemy into a friend. It wasn’t hard. Calmness and compassion really is all it took.
How often in life is that the case? How often could we calmly and compassionately turn problems into a solution?
It’s said that nonviolent communication—communication based on compassion and lack of judgment—improves all relationships in life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re bumping into an angry stranger, struggling to keep a happy home, or trying to improve teamwork in your office or place of work, nonviolent communication improves relationships for everybody.
To give a little more clarity as to exactly what nonviolent communication is, imagine this setting. You’ve gone out for the day, working all day, you’re tired. You come home. The house is a mess because your significant other hasn’t tidied up their things. In this situation, many might immediately jump to attack. “Why haven’t you cleaned the house? You never do anything.” This is an example of violent communication. This style of communication is only going to lead to conflict. The problem with our example sentence is twofold: 1) It’s judgmental (“You never do anything”), 2) The focus is on the other person’s faults.
The right way to respond to hostility and anger is with peace and non-judgmentalism.
Imagine responding to the stranger on the street in this way: “Why don’t you watch where you’re walking? You thugs are always causing trouble.” This would only lead to a fight. Instead, nonviolent communication leads us from an enemy and a conflict to a friend and a resolution.
Sometimes, the tiniest change in attitude leads to the biggest results.
It’s funny. People think that to see real results in the world you need to go to enormous lengths. People talk about “peace” as though it were a vain fantasy. All peace requires is a little awareness, a little compassion.
Honestly, peace is easy. It’s a hell of a lot easier than conflict. Get into one conflict and it will escalate. You’ll feel angry, you’ll feel guilty, you’ll be upset and you’ll upset others. This leads to jealousy, pent up anger and frustration and the belief that everyone else is to blame. Conflict and anger lead nowhere good. Peace, on the other hand, makes life easy. And all it takes is compassion.
Where, then, does compassion comes from?
Compassion stems from a willingness to view other people as equal to yourself, basically a willingness to get over yourself and think of other people. The naturally enemy to compassion is self obsession. If you’re constantly thinking about yourself you don’t have room for other people. Get over yourself.
There are many ways to move beyond the self. Personally, I meditate. I just close my eyes and focus on my breathing, letting go of my thoughts, letting go of delusional ideas of myself. It takes twenty minutes, that’s all. Twenty minutes of meditation and you view the world as your friend. Twenty minutes of meditation will develop the compassion that leads to nonviolent communication. This, in turn, makes enemies friends. It’s so easy you’d be stupid not to do it.
Try these tips. They’re the best way how to respond to hostility and anger. Trust me.
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