An Antidote to Anger: Gratitude, Your Holiness.

You're looking swell, Dalai.

This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama broadcast a live webcast from Amity University in India. Highly recommended to watch at least once, probably twice, and preferably a hundred thousand times; I embedded it below. 

Among the many things the Dalai Lama spoke about this morning: anger. Have we causes for anger, people? Political injustice, astoundingly narcissistic and arrogant leadership, glaring social inequities, the parenting of iron-willed children who simply will NOT (ever), and owner of dog who spends all day roaming these hallowed halls looking for something to trap and destroy in his steely jaws. For anger, there are causes. How do we deal with them? 

Anger, he said, is a destructive emotion, close cousin of fear, and both are "very much derivative of a self-centered attitude," what he calls "me me me" thinking. Anger, he said, is due almost half to your own mental attitude and a misinterpretation of the things around us, our tendency to interpret things not as they are but as how we see them through the hazy lens of our own weaknesses, experiences, and fears. 

Assuming that our interpretation of things is truth is where we get into trouble, because then we become angry at the thing that is disrupting our peace of mind. Such negative emotions are antithetical to the human condition, because humans are social beings and we survive and thrive in relation to others. If you are always angry, he said, people avoid you. Then you become lonely, and the negative emotions multiply. And loneliness is the exact opposite of how humans were designed to survive. We survive as a happy species by working in cooperation with one another.

And so what is the antidote to anger? Thinking of others, and not ourselves. He invites us to turn around our self-centered thinking and also to look for opportunity. The worst trouble maker we encounter, he said, gives us the greatest opportunity to practice patience and compassion. In so doing, instead of feeling anger and fear in response to their instigation, we can feel gratitude for the opportunity to build our compassion. By maintaining that altruistic attitude toward people and things, the enemy becomes your teacher.

Angry? Instead, let us be thankful. 

Here, I'll go first:
  • Thank you, He Who Shall Not Be Named, for just saying (again and again) the most stupid thing I never imagined I would hear from a national leader. Also, thank you Same Unspeakable for botching the coronavirus response so that so many people have died in such a short time.  
  • Thank you, children, for leaving your crap everywhere in the house, all the time, so that I can clean it up when I'm already feeling pretty exhausted from all the thanks I just gave to That Guy Whose Name I Can't Bring Myself to Mention Because I Am Speechless with Gratitude for Him Right Now. 
  • Thank you, bad policemen, for doing the unspeakable. Also, thank you Other Evil People for your racist, false sense of supremacy, because you are helping me see more clearly what Right means.
  • Thank you, cute eternally shedding doggie, for destroying our hundredth expensive, beautifully designed plush Wild Republic endangered African animal that my children should never have left on the floor in the first place. (I'm so thankful they did that.) Dog: May I point you the The Evil One's chambers for your next demolition project? Find his childhood teddy bear and eat it. GO.
Actually, this gratitude stuff is going to be tough. But I'm willing to give it a whirl, because it seems to be working for you, Dalai.  You're looking swell, Dalai. I can tell, Dalai, You're still glowin', you're still crowin', you're still goin' strong.

Truly, he's looking swell. Almost 85 and always a teacher of truth. Makes for great listening while you practice being thankful for the people who left their dirty socks on the living room floor.