The monk in his ruby sandals and emerald necklace makes his way home through the moonlit night pestered by the golden pig. Rather than using his axe to lash out, he decides to cut a bouquet of roses as an offering at the shrine of anger. The monk shows us that practising kindness in the face of anger is a practice that requires dedication and persistence. While it may be easier said than done, the rewards are worth it when one gets to pluck roses for our love under a calm moonlit night.
This illustrated philosophy by Zenism is a fruitful suggestion for lessening the power of anger and frustration. Anger can be intrusive, aggressive and destructive in so many ways, and it detracts us from what is truly important and meaningful. Especially when it comes to how we relate to others. While violent outbursts are wisely averted, feeling angry is still a valid and important driver of human motivation because it tells us what our values are, shows us when our boundaries are violated and acts to illuminate the object of our love, hope, ambitions and affections by motivating us into protective action. So the question is, how do we cultivate healthy anger?
Acts of kindness can help us make room for what's important to us, helping us get in touch with our values. But kindness is also a great way to tame our anger into a useful, motivating emotion. Practising acts of kindness leads to raised feelings of empathy, compassion and connection, bringing us closer to others when we all need it most. Kindness allows for the development of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) by helping us gain a more objective and realistic perspective on our behaviour, and this is great for building resilience and developing strong coping strategies. All this makes kindness practice a simple and versatile solution to our troubling emotions - importantly anger.
We all get caught up in life's daily dramas and often forget to be mindful, but the monk reminds us that that's okay too - don't lose heart and keep practising kindness. The jolly pig might intrude on the lone monk's peace - but he chooses not to succumb to his frustration and uses his axe to cut flowers in a gesture of respect. Anger has something important to remind us of our values, the underlying and often unrecognised concepts that drive and guide us through life. So long as we practice accepting our anger as it happens*, practice observing it and not reacting to it, we can learn a lot about what really matters to us. As we learn and practice, we get better at dealing with this difficult emotion as it arises.
Let this wise monk be a reminder not to let our anger overflow. We can use mindfulness, self-compassion and loving-kindness to ensure our anger stays in the healthy zone, serving to protect our greatest values.Printed on an Etiko, Fair Trade t-shirt. Made from 100% Organic Cotton.
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*Acceptance doesn't mean that we should tolerate aggressive acts of anger, such as violence abuse or bullying. Acceptance means that we can practice non-reaction when confronted with our difficult emotions. We always have a choice in our actions, and by learning to accept that emotion we can create space and lessen its control of our behaviour. We can then choose to act in accordance with our values.