Sunday, June 20, 2010

Patience as the Antidote to Anger

Photos from the MABA website

My best friends have always been anger and sarcasm so you can imagine how difficult it was to admit that maybe it was time to meet some new friends. So, wouldn't you know MABA made it a lot easier for me by setting up this meditation retreat about, as you might have guessed by the title of this post, cultivating patience instead of anger. I had no sooner signed up when I started having second thoughts. I mean, I'm not really angry, right? Anger seems so serious. Anger is out of control. Anger is always ranting or yelling or fuming about something. Sure, I do live in a relatively persistent, relatively harmless, relatively low grade state of ticked-off. Who doesn't really? I mean, I'm human after all -- I get mad! I have a family that irritates me at times (I'm sure the feeling is mutual). I teach self-centered, gimme, gimme, gimme teenagers that irritate me at times (ditto). And, if that weren't bad enough, I live in a place where it seems that I am constantly surrounded by racist tea baggers and people with anti-community, anti-environment, and pro-greed and corruption ideas and behaviors. But angry? Okay, okay, okay. You're right. I am angry. I am ranting and fuming. So, I went to the retreat. And, what did I learn? I learned that it's a lot harder to be patient that it is to be angry. I learned that it is possible to be patient without being powerless. I learned that you can still do the right thing -- be a passionate and an out spoken activist -- while still cultivating patience. And, most importantly, I learned that learning this patience stuff could take me awhile.

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