There’s no simpler way to put it, in my opinion. I’m at my lowest contentment when I’m angry at some person, group, or frustrating dynamic or process. Anger robs us of “Emotional Peace,” which is the third overall category I’m exploring in this ongoing blog series on “Progressive Mindfulness Intentions.”
My previous entry discussed the power of meditating upon spiritual mantras. I think that this regular practice makes us less likely to cling to anger or other negative emotions, because it re-trains the brain to focus on positive visualizations and aspirations rather than incessant thinking.
I believe mantra meditation can help to progressively heal recurring anger. Still, there are some causes of this poisonous emotion that are difficult to vanquish. For me, two of these types include the challenge of “suffering fools more lovingly,” and fully releasing my anger at those whom I believed have harmed me in significant ways.
First, the fools. Oh my, the fools! The current U.S. presidential election comes to mind. I’ve been angry for at least a few minutes on so many days during 2016. I’ve been angry at certain candidates and their supporters. I get angry mostly because I don’t see people thinking enough for themselves. I see them allowing themselves to be manipulated, and my fear is that their gullible ignorance will be disastrous for everyone…including those of us making a valiant effort at critical thinking and objectivity.
Second, those whom I believe have harmed me. It’s a short list, thankfully, but a list characterized by nerves that remain a bit raw and wounds that haven’t fully scabbed over. There are certain moments that trigger fresh anger at these individuals. For the most part they aren’t actively harming me any longer, but the impact of their harm lingers and the memories of their actions still cast a pall over me at times. I feel much less anger at them than I used to, and one day expect to feel none at all, but I haven’t fully arrived at that “one day” just yet.
My friend Elmo Shade spoke to me recently about the importance of regulating the types of energies to which we expose ourselves. Negative energy, such as most news broadcasts and certainly the rhetoric of individuals who are prone to complaining, are contagious and leave an underlying vibe of negativity within our minds. That makes us more likely to be “on edge” and respond to anger triggers. The types of media we consume, and the kind of personalities with which we surround ourselves, can ultimately show up in our temperament.
This necessitates awareness and intentions around certain boundaries, combined with what I’d call “alternative emotional fuels.” To that end, something that’s helped me to have less moments of anger the past few weeks has been gradually tuning out most political news and substituting it with listening to certain pod casts. My favorite program these days is Krista Tippett’s On Being, and its gentle, thoughtful, and respectful interviews with leaders across a wide variety of disciplines. I’m seldom in a bad mood during or after listening to an episode, and am usually quite inspired. I find that in general, listening to Classic Jazz can have a similar effect for me, along with going to yoga class.
It will differ for each of us, but the key mindfulness action here is to pay closer attention to the contexts that unleash your anger, and make choices that expose you to fewer and fewer of these triggers. Combine this with mantra meditation on positive, uplifting words and phrases, along with the other mindfulness activities discussed in this blog series such as embracing disappointment and journaling–and that “half-smile!”–and you might suffer fools a lot less painfully and accelerate “skin growth” across the scars that have lingered from others’ actions.
Growing Your Strengths
I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.
These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.
Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.
Strengths that you can develop as well.
Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.
Choose to do something new. Today. Start with this post, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.