Bringing Anger and Aggression to the Path

Today, I’d like to welcome Craig Mollins from Mindfulness Anger Management. This is Craig’s first time being part of the Buddho-Blogosphere Article Swap, and I am very excited that the magical hat paired him up with me. To be honest, it was odd that the hat paired us, maybe not odd but “meant to be” to add some cliché pizazz here. His post has really hit home for me, and has helped me understand somethings about myself, I hope you gain as much as I did from Craig’s article.

As a youngster and up until about age 21, I got in many dozens of fist fights. I had some natural talent so most of my fights ended with the other guy flat on his back, cold as a fish. My skill came from a number of factors. One was that I had a laser sharp focus and knew exactly where to hit people. Also, I hit with a sledgehammer strength and one punch was usually all it took to get the job done. But I think the most significant factor was that I had a deep aggressive tendency; I had no hesitation in, and indeed took great pleasure in, the act of hitting someone with every ounce of my considerable strength with a desire to knock them fully unconscious.

Thus it was an unlikely and very fortunate turn of events that I would discover Buddhism when I was 18 years old.

My first encounter with meditation was in martial arts training, where we would sit quietly at the beginning of class to let go of the business of the day and calm our mind. Later I discovered an article on the ‘noble eightfold path’ in a martial arts magazine. That article made so much sense to me and I felt deeply connected and relieved to read it. It was like I had finally come home after wandering around lost for such a long time.

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Still trying to find the middle

I have been reading lots of blogs lately. In some way I think they are more interesting than what I post some days. I have read the “No Impact Man” blog for sometime. Well, I read his book recently. He mentioned this online book on minimalism. I have been in the past few months working towards that.

I downloaded the book three times to different thumb drives and also uploaded it to Google documents. Is it really working or am I just fooling myself?

About 2 years ago I had a major flood at my house due to a faulty water heater. It was a forced cleansing as it were. We lost alot of stuff that we had meant to get rid of, but was never able to get around to it. But when tons of water goes flooding from one side of the room to the other you have to make it a priority. In theory I am going to read the book and leave a copy saved in my google documents, but think so many copies is overkill at best.

Guess I need to use my wife’s Garmin to try and find the elusive middle road at least for me.

Taking Comfort In Suffering

A few posts back I mentioned a co-worker that became a teacher. He recently sent me the gift of Netflix free for a month. I love it! I’ve canceled my movie channels and use Netflix and Xbox live for streaming movies along with the famous red envelopes. How does this apply to Precious Metal? I was finally able to see the Meditate & Destroy DVD because Netflix offers it. See Nate’s review by clicking here.

Something Noah pointed out on the DVD is that we take comfort in our suffering. His example was how abused children will cry when they are taken from abusive parents. The child was treated terribly but he finds comfort with his parents, even though they cause him pain. It sounded crazy at first but then I realized I’m living that life right now. No, I’m not abusing a child. I’m taking comfort in my suffering.

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The frontline is everywhere

Regardless of my love for heavy metal, I am a HUGE fan of Rage Against The Machine. I’ve been listening to them since the first album came out in the very early 90’s. So it comes as no surprise to myself that I have been listening to them alot lately. While listening to one particular song, “No Shelter”, two lines stuck out…

“There’ll be no shelter here!
The frontline is everywhere.”

The reason why they stuck out to me is it’s how I’ve felt lately with my “practice”. I’ve fallen off a bit on the cushion practice… but I have felt a bit more engaged off the cushion lately. While the awareness of my actions is not always in focus, the peripherals definitely pick it up.

So the lyrics came at a time where I felt like I needed to hit the cushion more, but also realized “the frontline is everywhere”. Meaning, I can turn down the radio while driving, maybe pull over for a few minutes and just breathe and be there for that moment. To stop.

Yes, I understand the idea of meditation and spending time on the cushion but that is not a luxury I can afford sometimes. And I definitely need something that is as close to meditation as possible, consistently.

Maybe my analogies with battles and war is a bit much, but it feels that way sometimes, yet not in a negative manner. I think it helps to bring a new level of mindfulness to my day, I can see the frontline and  draw on my compassionate compadres inside to overcome the war each day has ahead of me.

ps. I realize this was not RATM’s idea when they wrote the song. More on the band later on in a new post…

Trying to find Enlightenment one book at a time.

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I have a problem. I love books. I have slowly gathered books about one subject or another. For years, I trolled the used and new bookstores picking up one or two here and there, until I had amassed a large amount of reading material. Some lamented and sat untouched.

I realized the other day. Many of these books follow a pattern. They are mainly autobiographical and are usually first person account. Even my collection of Buddhist books seem to be larger than I would like. I often think I need to move to a Sailboat. So I am forced to conserve space and pick just the cream of the crop. But what criteria would I choose. I could get rid of a few if I choose books I have not read. But than does that mean I have stopped trying to learn. Or I could get rid of the books I have already enjoyed, but I would miss some of those books that have changed me.

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Lettuce Be Grateful

From Conscious Choice
By Natalie Fee

Something very beautiful happened to me the other day. Something beautiful is happening all the time actually, but for the most part my mind is too busy thinking to notice. But on this particular afternoon, I did notice. While walking my son Elliot home from school, I was presented with a perfect opportunity to employ a technique I’d learned earlier that week from a CD by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It was a simple way of practicing awareness — when a disturbing emotion arises, you stop, don’t act, and breathe. The idea is that the simple process of becoming aware of the emotion — be it anger, fear, sadness — is enough to begin a transformation, turning the emotion from “negative” into something more beneficial and useful.

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Mormons well-served by self-reliance in hard times

Reading this at this time in our history, I can only agree that we all need to be more self reliant and also look at the ones that are less prepared than we are for the current times. A few years ago my area was struck by several major hurricanes. I was okay and prepared. I looked out for others in my area that needed help and did my best to assist them. I worked with the county to go to a local retirement community. We went door to door and checked on each resident. Most seemed, okay they were assisting the ones less able to care for themselves.

Whether it is time of natural disasters or man made economic ones, the ones that are prepared should look to the ones that are not and offer assistance.

Couple days of no postings…

No worries, we aren’t going anywhere. Over the weekend I was away in Westford, MA helping replace cable lines for the cable company I work for. The place was an utter mess, still is. The sheer force of something as simple as ice was amazing. Trees were down everywhere, electric poles were snapped in half and cables of all sorts were dangling all over the place.

The suffering I encountered was unbelievable and kept me mindful of how important the job I have is. I know it is just a cable company, but the smiles on people’s faces when they saw us was awesome. When they weren’t smiling they were giving us the thumbs up.

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