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How to meditate with anger?

I just tried to do breathing meditation right after my roommate upset me (he didn't do much, I'm very sensitive) and I knew I could focus on the breath if I wanted to, as I've meditated for years (my current daily streak is two to three months). But it just didn't feel right. I felt an urge that the best way to meditate would be to meditate on the anger and feel the anger and somehow let it go. I just never take my own advice and I don't want to mess around unless a professional instructs me. I'm a very rigid person, but that's besides the point. Is there a meditation for meditating on the anger? I just feel like it sounds like insight meditation and that isn't something to be messed with until I've mastered breathing meditation. Was I on to something there? Could someone explain if there's a meditation like that I'd be able to do?

Comments

  • Feel anger. Let it go. Perfect.

    yagrStingRay
  • Insight meditation in my experience is not reflecting on ideas. That would be contemplation. Insight meditation would be observing the anger in the present moment and just noticing it be there.

    lobsterBuddhadragonStingRay
  • You could take a different tack, and meditate on loving-kindness for your roommate. See him as a human being just like you, wanting friendship, love, a meaningful life, peace of mind, just like you. Feel the love. Dwell in the love, and beam it out toward him. :)

    Bunkslobsterdooksta123merx
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    I, for one, could not possibly even think of meditating while angry. But then, can anger (real anger) be sustained for more than ten minutes? In life, timing is everything and some times are just not propitious for meditating.

    On the other hand, I've profitably used anger to get me through a lot of difficult situations life has thrown my way. One thing that comes to mind is driving home on lonely country roads after working 16 hours and feeling very sleepy. Pretending to myself that other drivers had tried to run me off the road or suchlike made it possible for me to stay alert and safe.

    Anger has its purposes and so does meditation, and never do the twain meet.

    That's my take anyway.

    BunksShoshin
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Just sit with your anger and meditate your way through it.
    Either you breathe it out of your system or you stay angry.
    But don't let your anger or whatever passing mood become an excuse not to meditate.

    There is never a perfect ocasion to meditate and the idea is to sit and bring into our meditation whatever is there at any given moment.
    If it is Anger, well, Anger let it be.
    It'll wear off eventually.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    I just tried to do breathing meditation right after my roommate upset me (he didn't do much, I'm very sensitive) and I knew I could focus on the breath if I wanted to, as I've meditated for years (my current daily streak is two to three months). But it just didn't feel right. I felt an urge that the best way to meditate would be to meditate on the anger and feel the anger and somehow let it go.

    Well technically, turning to the breath calming IS letting it go!

  • Sit and feel anger. It takes practice and patience to be able to just observe anger without interfering by thinking about it. If you are able to, you will soon realize it cannot remain if you don't make it personal. If you fail there is always the breath to anchor on to.

    dooksta123
  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran
    edited December 2015
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There was a theory, originally expounded as a 'psychological fact' that a feeling of grief, directly connected and associated with a specific incident, only lasts, per se, for around 12 minutes. Any further emotional response is actually self-generated.

    That notion has been discounted, it seems.
    What is true, is that ANY emotional pain in general (including Anger) can be looked at as self-affliction to begin with.

    Emotional pain is any pain stemming from "emotion."

    We experience emotions as a result of how we perceive events in our lives.
    So technically if we were able to change our automatic cognitive interpretation of our circumstances, we would be able to control any and all of our feelings.

    The trick is to observe the emotion as it arises, understand its source is rooted in our own perception, and work back to evaluate the direct trigger for our "loss of Control".

    Emotions do not define WHO we are. They are transitory and transitional.
    Therefore, it is also helpful to disassociate one's self from the emotion.

    To not say, "I am angry". But instead, change that observation to "I am experiencing Anger".

    Bunkslobsterdooksta123StingRay
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    1. Buy or borrow "A flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night - A Guide to the Bosdhisattva's Way of Life" by HHDL.

    2. Read Chapter 6 entitled Patience repeatedly until it sinks in.

    3. Apply when necessary.

    Good luck!

  • How to meditate with anger?

    aka how to meditate with anxiety
    aka how to meditate with agitation
    aka how to meditate with fear
    aka how to meditate with love
    aka how to meditate with devotion
    aka how to meditate with surrender

    aka how to meditate with monkey mind
    aka how to meditate with emptiness, arisings, memories, emotions, throbbing sensations, doubts, plans, memories etc etc

    aka how to meditate

    Of course we could just be mindful but that is for another less formal thread ...

    yagr
  • In the Zen school I'm part of, we are encouraged to investigate difficult emotions and question their nature.

    We are taught to first let our breathing slow down and move from the chest down to the belly. That is very important- if we breathe heavily and all the breathing is in the chest, clarity is hard to get.

    Then try to really feel the flow of that angry energy: is it in stuck in some part of the body? Is it hot or cold, is it weighing you down or pushing you in some direction? This is the attempt to get past our story about the emotion and instead experience the actual emotion as it is: an energy that is not uniquely ours. Curiously observe any thoughts, feelings and images that arise but be careful to not dive into them too much- that is probably the hardest part.

    And remember, this is a long process with gradual improvements and occasional setbacks. Patience is your friend.

    silverdooksta123
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Recognising and trying to change our unskillful and habitual reaction to negative emotions is the most difficult part of this practice IMO.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited December 2015

    @shadowleaver said:
    In the Zen school I'm part of, we are encouraged to investigate difficult emotions and question their nature.

    We are taught to first let our breathing slow down and move from the chest down to the belly. That is very important- if we breathe heavily and all the breathing is in the chest, clarity is hard to get.

    I'm glad to hear that you're in a Zen school that teaches that type of breathing. It's that deep belly-breathing, using the diaphragm, that calms the system. Anger gets us all hyped up with stress hormones. Deep breathing calms (scientifically proven). Stephen Batchelor's wife teaches "Zen" breathing, and she says it's very simple, no special techniques needed. She teaches people NOT to do the belly-breathing, which I found to be confusing and not helpful. So I'm glad to get this other input from you, @shadowleaver.

    What branch of Zen are you in?

  • anger arises because there is 'something' that we do not like

    we do like 'something' because of our ignorance 'not knowing the Truth'

    Truth is everything is impermanent, suffering and non-self

    if we know the Truth

    there is nothing to like (greed)

    then there is nothing to anger (hate)

    problem is solved

    StingRay
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited December 2015

    I like very much what @federica said, ending with being mindful of the arising.

    @federica said:

    To not say, "I am angry". But instead, change that observation to "I am experiencing Anger".

    Today I was getting very angry with an extended family member. Basically they were insistently offering uncalled for advice. Being an angry person myself, finding a way out of a situation of trying to be polite and diplomatic, meant I eventually reached the stage of 'I am experiencing anger'.
    Gosh the second almost 'temper lost' in two days. Must be Christmas. O.o

    Part of the point of formal practice is making ourself aware of what is going on.
    "I am experiencing Anger", the dualistic labelling of what we are experiencing is one of the early stage practices ...
    http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=1833.0

    Walker
  • How to meditate with anger?

    Set out two cushions facing each other.
    Sit on one of them.
    Meditate.

    lobsterdooksta123
  • @Dakini said:

    @shadowleaver said:
    In the Zen school I'm part of, we are encouraged to investigate difficult emotions and question their nature.

    We are taught to first let our breathing slow down and move from the chest down to the belly. That is very important- if we breathe heavily and all the breathing is in the chest, clarity is hard to get.

    I'm glad to hear that you're in a Zen school that teaches that type of breathing. It's that deep belly-breathing, using the diaphragm, that calms the system. Anger gets us all hyped up with stress hormones. Deep breathing calms (scientifically proven). Stephen Batchelor's wife teaches "Zen" breathing, and she says it's very simple, no special techniques needed. She teaches people NOT to do the belly-breathing, which I found to be confusing and not helpful. So I'm glad to get this other input from you, @shadowleaver.

    What branch of Zen are you in?

    @Dakini : thanks for the friendly reply. I am with Kwan Um school of Zen, which is of Korean origin (but adjusted for the West).

    The belly/diaphragm breathing, as far as I know, is not a Buddhist practice per se but rather has its origin in Chinese practices, such as Daoism and martial arts. Those practices teach about Dantien, a kind of energy center, located a little below the belly button. And since Zen, in my understanding, is a synthesis between Buddhism and such Chinese practices, diaphragmatic breathing made it into at least some of its schools.

    I don't know about Mr. Batchelor's wife's instructions but in my limited experience some Zen teachers will shy away from pretty much any specific techniques as they seem to see those as limiting the Truth or attempting to manipulate it. Even in my school some teachers appear to be less inclined to teach about bringing the breath and energy down.

    I think ultimately it is upon us, practitioners, to try different practices and adopt those that work best for us. I am a firm believer in the attitude of different strokes for different folks :)

    Cheers!

  • It's not clear to me if you are asking about 'meditating with anger' as a special thing to do? I never do that as a special thing. But I meditate every day and if anger is there then it is there. If I am sleepy I meditate while sleepy. If I am in pain when I meditate then I meditate with pain. If it is Monday when I meditate then it is Monday. If it is rain when I meditate then rain. But there is no special meditation for Mondays or rain.

    lobsterTravellerhow
  • @dooksta123 said:
    I'm a very rigid person, but that's besides the point.

    :)
    I feel that very much is the point.

    Rigidity is often tension/anger/conflicted emotion.
    It is most easily experienced and relaxed in the body. Perhaps the breath, or physical tension in the chest, stomach, neck or other physical sensation.

    Relax.
    [N.B. takes practice]

  • Ice-cream is very calming.

    lobster
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