Dharma can help manage anger. Usually we study human resource management, risk management, time management and financial management, which are all concerned with external elements. But anger management concerns our inner self. When anger arises, we often do not know how to manage it and we become manipulated by it.
The symptoms of anger can range from fury, frustration and rage to a desire to destroy, and finally, attack what we hold to be the cause.
Anger may manifest itself in the following ways:
- Like a line drawn across water, anger that disappears quickly.
- Like a line drawn in the sand, disappearing when a wave washes ashore.
- Like a line carved into a stone, surviving all kinds of weather conditions over thousands and thousands of years.
Anger is not a physical entity, but once it appears, its destructive potential is far more devastating than any nuclear weapon.
There are numerous ways to manage anger. First of all, when you are angry, you must walk away from the situation which has caused it.
Next, find yourself some cool, refreshing water. Wash your face with water so that its coolness calms you down. Water can actually help us come to our senses, making us become aware that we are experiencing anger.
Having followed the previous steps, your anger should be much less intense, without much energy left. Then you can close your eyes and focus your thoughts on the person who has angered you and follow Buddha’s teachings, which say that people in the world may be different – by nationality, religion, skin color, caste or historical and cultural backgrounds – but we are all in fact brothers and sisters. We are all humans before we are Thai, Bhutanese, Buddhist, Christian or Muslim.
Do not make decisions under those circumstances. If you are a businessman, you should not write a check, decide on an investment or turn down a customer when you are angry. Otherwise, your business can be ruined in a matter of seconds.
Last but not least, we must learn the art of mindfulness because anger arises from mindlessness. If you are mindful and always fully aware of yourself, anger cannot conquer your heart. With mindfulness and self-awareness, we can outsmart any hostile element or attack.
A smart banker puts his or her money in the bank little by little. When necessary, he or she can withdraw the money in an instant. A smart practitioner of mindfulness should do the same. Practise mindfulness little by little, but be consistent. One day, you will realise that mindfulness can do wonders in keeping anger at bay. A heart emboldened by mindfulness will hardly be hurt by anger. A heart without mindfulness always has anger waiting around the corner, ready to attack; just a little twig can start a fire.
Every time you allow yourself to focus on your breathing, it is no different from shining the light of mindfulness into darkness. Light can dispel darkness instantly. So even when anger arises in our heart, when it is met with mindfulness, the emotion will quickly disappear in the same manner.