When others are mean and nasty to you, it is difficult to stay compassionate. Anger needs to be controlled, but not hidden from yourself. Recognize your reactions; do not deny them. If you do, your compassion will be superficial.
There are two classes of emotions. One class needs to be expressed, talked about. Take depression, for example. Perhaps someone close to you has died, and you are grieving privately. If instead of hiding your feelings, you express them openly, the overwhelming power of that sadness will be weakened. The other class of emotions includes anger, strong attachment, and strong desire; there is no natural end to these.
For instance, if anger is expressed, tomorrow there may be more; whereas if you try to minimize your anger, it will weaken. We can see this in our own experience. Giving your anger the instrument of words and actions is like giving a child a pile of straw and a box of matches. Once lit, anger feeds off the air of exposure and can rage out of control. The only alternative is to control anger, and the way to do this is to think, What is the value of anger? What is the value of tolerance and compassion?
When those who do not consider afflictive emotions such as anger to be disadvantageous are distressed over an incident and get riled up, they feel they are perfectly right, even if they have a tiny bit of concern about how people might view them. Since they consider getting riled up to be normal, they make no effort to reduce anger. On the other hand, those who consider afflictive emotions to be negative and harmful do not voluntarily accept anger.
Sometimes anger might win out and control them, but deep inside they do not happily receive it - there is some reluctance. Even if they do not take sufficient countermeasures, their inner reluctance about getting angry makes a great difference in the long run. Thus, it is important to reflect on the drawbacks of anger.
Use your good common sense. Is anger useful? If you get angry at someone, the result is good neither for you nor for the other person. Nothing helpful comes of it. In the end, anger does not harm others; it hurts yourself. When you are angry, good food is not tasty.
When you are angry, even the faces of your spouse, children, or friends are irritating, not because their faces have changed but because something is wrong with your own attitude. When an unfortunate event happens, you can face and handle it more effectively without anger. Anger is almost useless. Perhaps a harsh word is needed sometimes to keep someone from a stupid deed, in the course of which anger may arise, but such anger should not be the primary motive; love and compassion should be. Actions stemming solely from anger are of no use at all; realizing this can serve to strengthen your determination to resist them.
It is not easy to have an intense bond of commiseration with each and every being, so do not be discouraged if a biased attitude interrupts your meditation. You will need the courage of unwavering effort throughout your life and for many lifetimes to come.
Such a profound transformation cannot take place overnight, or in a week, or a month, or even a year. However, you will gradually notice changes in your reactions to individuals and the world. When old reactions creep back in, do not think this indicates the failure of meditation; rather, take such incidents as prods to meditate more.
Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You