Following yesterday’s morning meditation some of us stayed behind for a cup of ginger tea. When I asked, “How’s your practice?” someone said that sitting at home has been difficult recently. I feel anger rising; I can barely sit for five or ten minutes. “And how was it today, sitting here as a group?” That was different, I felt loved; no anger.
“What do you do when anger arises?” I get frustrated, thinking I should be able to control it. But it doesn’t work; I get even more angry. “Now angers multiplies: first it arises from somewhere within, then more is generated by being annoyed with it.”
“Have you tried to welcome anger and frustration?” I knew you’d ask. (smiles). I don’t know how I can welcome them: I don’t want them, they’re unpleasant. “When we say ‘welcome everything’ we’re not condoning anger or denying that it’s bothersome. We’re not saying O Good, I Feel Anger. Instead, we practice turning resistance into reception. Much like spying unpleasant guests at the door and, instead of hiding behind the sofa and hoping they go away, inviting them in.”
You mean simply allowing feelings and sensations to be? Not to fight them? How do you do that? “When I notice resisting I acknowledge that I’m resisting. As in: I’m getting pissed of at [something/someone] and, in addition, I getting annoyed at myself for letting this bother me.” And then …? “And then I escort my attention to the next breath — lovingly and gently — and become aware of where and how this sensation I call ‘anger’ is located. I get out of my head and into my body; away from fighting anger to meeting it.”
“Whether we suppress or express our anger.” writes Ezra Bayda, “in neither case do we ever clarify it, nor do we really experience it. Even when we’re caught up in expressing anger, we’re rarely in touch with its energy. We are so lost in the juicesness of believing our thoughts and in blaming, that we don’t experience the anger. In fact, one of anger’s functions seems to be that it allows us to avoid facing what’s really happening. What are we avoiding?”
source: Bayda, E. (2002). Being Zen: bringing meditation into life. Boston: Shambhala, p. 57.