Let’s review anger management as this is our pillar for cultivating compassion. Patience and tolerance are cultivated through transforming anger. Tolerance can easily flourish into love and compassion. Anger management does not mean suppressing our anger. It means first recognizing the early signs. Once anger is full-blown, we cannot work with it. Early signs include feelings of frustration, irritation, and maybe fear and anxiety. The heart may beat fast and we may breathe fast and even sweat. Recognize your own signs of early anger by looking inside. Sometimes anger is associated with aggression, while at other times with attachment. We recognize the early signs by “looking inward.” This is mindfulness. Once we train ourselves to look inside and recognize the early anger signs, then we can work with it. Imagine these early anger signs become a crystal ball that we hold in the hand and drop on a hard floor. The crystal ball shatters into a thousand pieces along with our early anger. Or, imagine the early signs of anger transform into a cloud that drifts across the sky, finally fully dissolving along with our early anger. For this approach to be effective we must use it again and again. Written from the Narita Tokyo airport in transit to Louisville, Kentucky.
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