Have you wondered if you could ever get rid of your anger?
Is anger management the way to understand stress and other disruptive emotions?
If you are angry and taught to concentrate on anger, could you overcome anger?
Mileh had just finished his final year in college and he volunteered to follow a monk on his rounds by becoming his assistant. Mileh was very proud of his current designation and he decided to travel with his “sifu” for the entire three months while he waited for his next assignment.
When I met Mileh in a Buddhist Temple, I saw him seated next to a monk, helping the monk to keep aside the many alms and gifts donated by the devotees. It was a weekend of cultivating generosity, so the devotees came in throngs to practice giving and letting go.
After the ceremony, I sat beside Mileh and we started talking. I told him that it was such a privilege to have the time and having the blessing to follow a monk on his rounds. I wanted to find out what was his humble experience throughout his journey with his sifu.
He told me that what he learned the most was the way to effective meditation techniques. He said it with pride. I was impressed. Many would feel that at such a young age, he had chosen well to spend his holidays.
“So, what are the techniques your sifu taught you? Care to share with me?” I wanted to know.
“My sifu taught me to concentrate on my defilement.” Defilement is your defects of characters, such as the seven deadly sins.
“Oh, what are the defilements in your life that you would like to get rid of?” He seemed such a nice kid, I wonder what were his defects of characters.
“I am working on my anger. So, when I meditate, I look deep into my anger and see it dissipate, turning it into nothing.” But something in his eyes told me that it was not working.
“How are you doing now? Are you at peace?” I prodded.
“Oh no, every time when I sit, I seem to get more angry. Not comfortable at all. My mind went round like a monkey. I can’t get out of it.” He seemed confused. He thought that this method of meditation should be working.
“But why do you want to concentrate on defilement?” I was baffled. Have we not moved on? We know that our shortcomings are formed in our minds by our past experiences.
“My sifu teach me to do that. He said we must be able to “see” our own defilement, see through it and let it go.” He insisted.
“It did not work, did it?” He shook his head. I offered, “Do you want to look at it in another way?”
He nodded but did not show enthusiasm. Maybe he was wondering, who was I, not in a monk’s rob, not even a bald head, trying to show him the way to meditate?
He looked at me waiting for me to continue. I heaved a sigh, not wanting to make it wrong or bad. I suggested, “Maybe you can meditate, first accepting that you are already a Buddha.”
Before I could offer an explanation, he burst out as if he had heard a blasphemous remark from someone who claimed he is Buddhist but obviously not.
“CANNOT.” He refused this thought. It was, to him, an unthinkable and unacceptable action.
“How can? My sifu said I have a lot of defilement that I need to resolve. How can I even think that I am already a Buddha? I am not a Buddha yet. No, no, no.”
He thought I was crazy. I don’t know how he is doing now. I have not met Mileh since that last encounter. I hope he finds his way to his nirvana, a nirvana without his defilement.
Mileh reminds me of a story related by Robert Holden Ph.D, who wrote the best-seller Happiness Now!: 'Two caterpillars were crawling along a tree branch one day when a butterfly flew overhead. One caterpillar said to the other, ‘You will never get me up in one of those things.'
We don’t believe what we ARE, when all the time we are reminded of our shortcomings. It is not even what we can ultimately become or what we are destined to be, we ARE all that IS. We are Freedom, we are Health, we are Abundance, we are nothing short of that. So, why meditate on our shortcomings? Don’t we already know that what we focus on, expands?
These are the New Thoughts :
“I AM Freedom.”
“I AM Health.”
“I AM all that made me whole.”