“Don’t try to destroy your anger, transform it into constructive energy,” says THICH NHAT HANH.
To sit is not enough. We have ‘to be’ at the same time. To be what ? To be is to be a something, you cannot be a nothing. To eat, you have to eat something, you just cannot nothing. To be aware is to be aware of something. To be angry is to be angry at something. So, to be is to be something, and that something is what is going on : in your body, in your mind, in your feelings and in the world.
While sitting, you sit and you are. You are what ? You are the breathing. It is like a television set of 1 million channels. When you turn the breathing on, you are the breathing. When you turn the irritation on, you are the irritation. You are one with it. Irritation and breathing are not things outside of you. You contemplate them in them, because you are one with them.
If I have a feeling of anger, how would I meditate on that ? How would I deal with it ? I have to deal with my anger, with love and tenderness, with non-violence. In Buddhism, we do not consider anger, hate, greed as enemies we have to fight, to destroy, to annihilate. If we annihilate anger, we annihilate ourselves. If we deal with anger in that way, we would be like transforming ourselves into a battlefield, tearing ourselves into parts, one part taking the side of Buddha and the other part taking the side of Mara. If you cannot be compassionate to yourself, you will not be able to be compassionate to others. When we get angry, we have to produce awareness.
In the case of a minor irritation, the recognition of the presence of the irritation, along with a smile and a few breaths will usually be enough to transform the irritation into something more positive, like forgiveness, understanding and love. Irritation is a destructive energy. We cannot destroy the energy, we can only convert it into a more constructive energy. Forgiveness is a constructive energy. Understanding is a constructive energy. Suppose you are in a desert, and you only have one glass of muddy water. You have to transform the muddy water into clear water to drink, you cannot just throw it away. So you let it settle for a while, and clear water will appear. In the same way, we to convert anger into some kind of energy that is more constructive, because anger is you. Without anger, you have nothing left. That is the work of meditation.
Here is an example : A big brother gets angry at his little sister at first, and later finds that se has a fever and he becomes concerned, and he tries to help her. So the destructive energy of anger is transformed into the energy of love. Meditation on your anger is first of all to produce awareness of anger, I AM THE ANGER, and then to look deeply into the nature of anger. Anger is born from ignorance, and is a strong ally of ignorance.
————————THICH NHAT HANH