Welcome to my blog!
Hello! My name is Paula and I love to write. I have an affinity for words and I want to tell tales about life and share experiences. I now have my very own canvas. I’m so excited! I have wanted to be an author since I was a child. I graduated from the Morris Journalism Academy in 2007. It’s funny how sometimes your passions are put on the back burner, while life goes on. You have probably heard the line “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”, (is it from a song? Not sure). I am blessed with the gifts of time and space now, and here I am doing what I love.Check out some of my articles.. Happy reading!
Bowing to the Buddha. Choosing Forgiveness over Anger
It was pelting down with rain; it was windy and cold and as I stood in the car park placing my groceries in the boot of the car the hideous wind blew so hard that it turned my umbrella inside out. I felt the fury build up inside of me and although I knew intellectually that my behaviour was inappropriate I felt I had no control and proceeded to hurl the umbrella across the parking lot all the while muttering profanities. I was mad as hell. I knew right there and then that my anger stemmed from something else, something much deeper and much more painful than a broken umbrella on a blustery day. It was on this day that I decided to spend a little time with myself and examine the root cause of my incensed conduct.
It didn’t take too long to figure out that my anger stemmed from past hurts and the fear of being wounded again. I walked around gnashing my teeth and with a frown; on a good day I would feel irritated and on bad days I would feel outraged. My upbringing was less than ideal to say the least and in several past relationships, romantic and otherwise; I had been made to feel small and worthless. It is true that you teach others how to treat you and that I was the one who allowed other people to disrespect me. I did know at that point how important it was to start caring for myself and to feel loved just because I existed but regardless of good intentions pain from the past remained and I had to learn to deal with it and the umbrage and bitterness that came with it. I was enraged with certain people and they were still a part of my life and I had to somehow learn to let go of these exasperated feelings.
The Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." Until I learned to practice forgiveness that was exactly what I was doing, burning my hands with coal I intended for another.
Marianne Williamson writes in “A Return To Love”, “Forgiveness is ‘selective remembering’- a conscious decision to focus on love and let the rest go”.
It is not easy to do this because the ego is not so keen on letting go. The point to remember though is that the people who have hurt us and enraged us so much are our most important teachers. It is very well to see the lessons but there are times when making the shift and seeing someone as God would see them is extremely difficult. When moral, integral standards have been broken that may be something that is not easy to overlook. Dr Phil says’ “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Judgment makes you wrong and the other person right.
Forgiveness does not mean condoning someone’s bad behaviour, it means letting it go so we can be free. One way to look at those who have wronged us is with compassion at the pain they must have in their hearts.
In the book “Buddhism For Mothers With Lingering Questions” Sarah Naphtali says, “In the times that someone is driving you nuts, remember ‘She is me’,” and she continues, “Bow frequently to a Buddha to remind yourself of a higher path.”
There is a higher path we all know that. The key is to remember that during the times when the pain seems intolerable. Many people think that the Buddha’s way is to be at peace and calm at all times, therefore suppressing emotions. Feelings are just that and they arise to coach us to a better way, they are not to be suppressed but to be experienced. The Buddha says that it is best to recognize each negative emotion and be with it. It is only then that we can make the shift from resentment to compassion thus avoiding the temptation of retribution.
When Dr Howard C. Cutler, M.D. asked The Dalai Lama how to deal with someone who has hurt you and therefore made you very angry, His Holiness suggested looking at the situation from a different angle and that, if we look very carefully, we will begin to see the positives in the person and the situation. He said, “For instance, you might reflect on the fact that when you are really angry at someone you tend to perceive them as having 100 percent negative qualities. Just as when you are strongly attracted to someone the tendency is to see them as having 100 percent positive qualities. But this perception does not correspond with reality. If your friend, who you view as wonderful, were to purposefully harm you in some way, suddenly you would become acutely aware that they aren’t composed of 100 percent good qualities. Similarly, if your enemy, the one you hate, were to sincerely beg your forgiveness and continue to show you kindness, it’s unlikely that you would continue to perceive them as 100 percent bad. So, the tendency to see someone as completely negative is due to your own perception rather than the true nature of the individual.”
We are all complex beings and none of us are completely good or completely bad. We are imperfect and that is the beauty of being human. We cannot always control our environment and others’ actions but what we can control is our perception. That is where the change has to occur.
I came across a little story a while back called “Nail In The Fence.” The author is unknown.
NAILS IN THE FENCE
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him
a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must
hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had
driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned
to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually
dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to
drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He
told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out
one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father
that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led
him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the
holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say
things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.
Anger hurts and that is all that it will ever do. There are those times when expressing one’s irritation can be beneficial to get our point across but it won’t help in the long run. The good news is that we don’t have to suppress our feelings of rage; we can let ourselves feel them and let them be. It’s how we react to them that is important, because just like the boy who hammered nails in the fence, words of fury will leave a scar long after our temper has cooled.
Something that may help when we are feeling incensed with someone is to distance ourselves and divert our attention to something else preferably something we enjoy or sometimes just going for a walk will suffice. The Dalai Lama suggests meditation as a way to deal with our angry feelings. There are several techniques out there and it would be worth taking the time to find the one suitable for each individual's needs.
Sometimes the pain is so deep that only a professional can show us the way out of the black hole and that is another thing that is worth considering because life is beautiful, but we will not see that while we are blinded by anger and resentment.
"When reason ends, then anger begins. Therefore, anger is a sign of weakness."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
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