Well, I suppose I’ve been mad (I mean angry) about the messes human beings have made/are making on our lovely planet … for decades (& decades) now.
My anger hasn’t always served me very well.
But you know?
It is what it is.
The wise ones I read & listen to indicate we’ve been heading down a “bad road” as a species for thousands of years. (At least 10,000, btw … just for the record.) Destination inevitable. Momentum un-stoppable.
We’re wayyyyyyy down that “bad road” by now.
& less & less do I care to give in to the anger, now.
((Of course, some anger is entirely justifiable. A therapist helped steer me a little straighter on this recently. Sometimes the anger we feel is entirely appropriate.
Of course too, righteous anger has helped fuel my activism for these past 3 decades.
So there’s that.))
I just think that Pema Chödrön is quite right when she points this out:
Some useful quotes on the subject of anger:
- “Anger is often more harmful than the injury that caused it.” – English proverb
- “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” – Chinese proverb
- “Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” – Benjamin Franklin
- “Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.” – Epictetus
- “Be careful not to do something permanently stupid because you are temporarily angry, stressed, scared, tired or hungry.” – Karen Salmansohn &
- “Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.” – Walter Weckler
“Our best hope for going forward is learning to let go, and part of that is letting go of anger and delusion. Much of the current finger-pointing is fundamentally conservative as it seeks to maintain an impossible status quo, even if it waves a radical banner. But the big conversations we need to have are with each other. And for that we’re more in need of wounded healers (grateful, uncertain, compassionate, complicit) than raging prophets.” – David Korowicz
I guess the really big thing is resistance.
Resistance is Hell … so they say.
When I went digging through my Quotations document just now for the quotes on anger, I ran across this:
Pema Chödrön on heaven & hell:
“There’s another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It’s a story about how those things don’t really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this: A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?” The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?” Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.” The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, “That’s heaven.”
There isn’t any hell or heaven except for how we relate to our world. Hell is just resistance to life. When you want to say no to the situation you’re in, it’s fine to say no, but when you build up a big case to the point where you’re so convinced that you would draw your sword and cut off someone’s head, that kind of resistance to life is hell.” -- page 31-32 Chapter 7 – “Taking a Bigger Perspective” – The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness, Pema Chödrön, Shambhala, 1991
So. Resistance to what is.
So much of what our lives consist of, if we’re not careful, is resistance ... (& hell).
To what is. To what is inevitable. To what is actually real.
Gotta muse on that some more.
& also ... endlessly ... on surrender.
Quotations with this post:
“You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency, and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.” – Wendell Berry
“Patience is the ability to hang in there with feelings that appear to be going nowhere.” ~ Miriam Greenspan
“…the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who aremore or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.” From Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott
“Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and social activist, once said that as he grew older he came to understand that it was not ideas that change the world but simple gestures of love given to the people around you, and often to those you feel most at odds with. He said that in order to save the world you must serve the people in your life. ‘You gradually struggle less and less for an idea,’ Merton wrote, ‘and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.’” – from Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser
“Don’t fight forces – use them.” – Buckminster Fuller