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Mindful : October 2013
76 mindful October 2013 in practice insight Anger is an expression of aversion to and rejection of the reality unfolding in the present moment. Interest- ingly, when you look more deeply inside yourself, you may find that other feelings, such as irritation, annoyance, resentment, a nd boredom, ca n also be expressions of dislike a nd rejection for what is happening now. It is helpful to bring mind- fulness to any of these feel- ings of disliking or rejecting when they arise. You might decide to focus mindfully on a par ticula r expression of aver- sion. For exa mple, you might decide: “Today I am being mindful of boredom when it is in me.” It is equally important to notice your feelings about having angry, rejecting feelings. Do you feel angry at being annoyed, or bored? Are you angry at feeling angry? Besides sharing a common feeling of dislike and rejection of some aspect of the present moment, the other thing that anger, scorn, irritation, boredom, and their like share is that when they arise, we suffer. When you recognize that suffering is present when you feel anger a nd aversion, you ca n choose kindness and compassion instead of self-criticism a nd dislike for your experience. Here is a brief practice you can use to explore being more com- passionate when the pain of anger visits you. PRACTICE: OFFERING COMPASSION When you notice feelings of anger or aversion inside, pause and breathe mindful- ly. Name the feeling: “Anger is here now.” “Boredom is here now.” Let it be and look deeply. Breathing mindfully, name it also as suffering: “This is the feeling of suffering.” “Suffering is here now.” As much as feels safe to you, allow yourself to soften into this moment. Breathing mindfully, trust your capacity to hold the suffering of anger and ill will, and yourself, compassionately and in awareness. Do this the same way you would be present and extend compassion to a loved one in pain. Offer yourself compas- sion with a phrase, quietly whispering it as you breathe: “May I be safe and protect- ed.” “May I be at ease.” “May this situation teach me about the true nat ure of life.” Listen deeply to any response that follows. Let your intelligence and goodness of heart guide you for ward. Anger, ill will, scorn, and other dismissing, rejecting emotions are part of our lot as human beings. We are not failures because we experi- ence these intense feelings. It is how we respond when they arise in us that makes all the difference. Anger and ill will are teachers and opportuni- ties for insight and growth. Meeting these emotions with mindfulness and compassion can g uide you to the lessons they have to offer—and help you find peace amid all of life’s difficulties. ● Befriending Your Anger