Specific Methods, Part 3: When Anger Occurs
The preceding chapters dealt primarily with three cognitive methods for handling anger: learn to see the other person differently, question your own belief systems, and take a problem-solving stance. These methods can be practiced even in the absence of someone provoking us. Like other methods described -- being in the yogic state, being mindful, reducing attachments -- these can all be practiced when life is calm and without challenges. Essentially, we are trying to better understand ourselves and others. This can come about through reading, meditating, and reflecting upon our experiences.
In the present chapter we consider what to do when you are in the situation itself, when you are being provoked. Someone offends you and wrath is starting to rise. What can be done? A preliminary recommendation is: Learn to be mindful. Learn to be keenly sensitive to your inner state. It is much easier to deal with your own anger when it is just beginning than when it has taken over your behavior. Thus, learn to be aware of your feelings, of the subtle beginnings of irritation, displeasure, annoyance. Become sensitive to physical changes, to your clenched fists, your furrowed brow, to general muscle tension. Be aware of your own hostile speech: sarcasm and put-downs.