We all have a seed of anger in the depth of our consciousness. Even the Buddha said that a monk has the right to be angry, but not for more than one night. The goal is not to suppress our anger, but to take care of it…to heal it…through mindfulness.

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment, he needs help.

If we think of anger as a seed, it is watered through what we consume with our mouth, eyes, ears, and consciousness. What we eat, see on TV, or hear in conversation can be toxic. It may contain anger or frustration, which you may ingest and express later on. If you drink alcohol mindfully, you can understand that it creates suffering. The intake of alcohol causes disease to the body and mind, and results in deaths on the road. Even the habit energy that is formed by seeing a parent constantly react with anger can be transmitted. We have to live in such a way that we stop consuming the things that poison us and intoxicate us.

Most of the time, anger is born from a wrong perception. You may have misunderstood what you heard or saw. You may have the wrong idea of what had been said or done. You believe that your misery has been created by another person. But, in fact, when faced with the same situation, another person may not have gotten angry at all. Through your anger, you have created the hell inside you.

When anger is present in us, we should refrain from reacting, namely from speaking or doing anything. We are first responsible for calming our own anger. If you chose to respond to a person that is making you suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides. Only compassion can stop this vicious cycle.

How to heal anger and find peace:

When a mother embraces her crying baby, her energy penetrates and soothes him. The positive energy counteracts the negative. This is exactly what you must learn to do when anger begins to surface. Mindfulness is the cure for anger. Mindfulness simply means being present. Just embracing your anger…just mindfully breathing in and out…will give you relief.  Breathing in consciously is to know that air is entering your body, and to breathe out consciously is to know that your body is exchanging air.  It only takes one conscious breath to pull you into the present and be back in contact with yourself and everything around you.

Through mindful breathing and walking [being aware of the contact of your feet with the earth and the air as it enters your body], we can release the energy of anger and transform it into positive energy. Through embracing our anger and looking deeply into the nature of our perceptions, we can understand how our wrong thinking has led us to this place and we can prevent it from happening again. And finally, through looking deeply into the other person and realizing that they are suffering and need help, we can compassionately listen and water the positive seeds within them to bring about peaceful and positive change.

Lessons from: Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh (2001)

Photo source: lava into the ocean