As I explained in my last post, this year has led to my exploration of anger. Anger is a healthy emotion that provides clues about what is important to us.
In “Five Habits of Mind That Are Obstacles to Waking Up” an essay written by Toni Bernhard which is found in the book All the Rage:Buddhist Wisdom on Anger and Acceptance, the author explains the five hindrances: sensory desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt. These hindrances are the obstacles that keep us in suffering. The Buddha says to overcome the hindrances we are more successful when we treat them as guests in our mind. Try saying to yourself “I see you” in a friendly way when you experience any of the hindrances. This helps because when we try to shut them out and are unsuccessful, it arouses one of the hindrances, our doubt in ourselves. This is how the hindrances can be become circular, one leading to another.
Another piece of advice that Toni writes about in the essay is to stop telling ourselves to “let it go,” instead we can say “let it be.” Doing this can help because we will not be disappointed in ourselves for not being able to let something go. Maybe we can work on both of these things. Sometimes we might find that we are able to let it go. But when we are not able to let it go, a new way might be letting go of “letting it go” by letting it be.
Following a conflict I had at a family dinner with a family member I realized I needed to apologize. I apologized through a text message. I found myself preparing in my mind for the outcome of my apology. What if my apology was not accepted? What if my text message was not given a reply? I told myself I would feel ok about that. And then I told myself that I would feel ok about just feeling however I felt. It would be ok for me to feel sad that my apology was not accepted. What I knew was this was one of those things that I would be better of with letting it be.