There’s the familiar saying, If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. To me, just the opposite seems true. When I’m attentive, I’m not angry, I’m aware. And when I’m aware, the root of the problem is revealed. When I say attentive, I don’t mean with such and such a motive or purpose, or desire for a particular outcome; that isn’t attention, but a subtle form of self-glorification, the ego’s way of making itself the hero. When I look into it carefully, I see that in attention there are no heroes, and there are no rewards, no pride or noble crowns; nor is there a hungering after certainty; life is a river, fluid and changing; what seems certain at one point may be different a mile upstream or downstream. In the same way, I too am a changing, vital force, and not the fixed star I once imagined myself to be. And so when I’m angry, however justified on the surface it might seem, and however many of my fellow human beings share in my anger, I’m still in a distracted state of living, a state which, however much praise it might bring, is a barrier to love and understanding. I also see that anger, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. It’s simply life calling for my attention. There’s no way I can really know, but maybe, just maybe, it’s calling for yours as well. Or maybe you’ve answered that call, and have gone into the matter more deeply and thoroughly than I have. It wouldn’t surprise me. But it would make me glad.
June 8, 2020
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