A question was raised today about 30 Days Without Anger. In essence the questioner asked why bring more attention to it (anger) and suggesting that we simply need to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings and then let them go. A fair question.
There is a danger when we bring our attention to a thought or emotion that we will invest in that thought/emotion. That is, when we bring our attention to it we will form an attachment. We will come to embody that thought/emotion. Said another way, we will move from “feeling anger” to “being angry.”
Conversely, there is a danger that by bringing our attention to the thought/emotion we will form an aversion. As we feel the rise of anger we become so adverse to the feeling (or threat thereof) that we come to be “NOT ANGRY!!!”
For me, and what I hope to be doing with 30 Days Without Anger, the nature of the attention that I hope to bring is not attachment or aversion but instead an “attending to.”
When one brings one’s attention to anger one attends to the anger. That is, one gives it it’s proper due. One sees it arise, understands from whence it came. One shows it the proper respect, understanding that it has the power to possess but only if we embody it. When one has no other choice we sit with it for a time, have tea with it. In the end, when the time comes we see it safely to the door, and watch it leave. Ultimately, we don’t “let it go” because if we properly attended to it, we never will have held it in the first place.
I commit to attending to anger properly and skillfully.
I commit to seeing anger pass.
I commit to 30 days without anger.
Have and spread peace.