On Anger

I Always Have A Fallback Camp

I Always Have A Fallback Camp

JOHN DAY DAM, WA

August 5, 2016 4:50 PM

Today I grew angry. A couple pulled into my perfect spot, parked their big RV 15 feet from my rig and mat and chair and awning, and began setting up camp. They didn’t ask if it was okay, or if I minded. They didn’t come over and greet me.

They wouldn’t even meet my eye.

I asked myself, “How should I handle this from the TaoGod(I) Aspect?”

I simply broke camp and left. I was angry for a few minutes but then I found my way through.

It’s not perfect, but it worked:

I viewed the situation impersonally.

I didn’t try to get in their heads. I didn’t make excuses for them. I didn’t say to myself, “They should follow my rules.”

In my mind, I made them as impersonal as a flash flood, or a dying tree that was threatening to fall on my rig. Nothing human. Nothing conscious. Nothing intentional. Nothing ego-based. Just an impersonal situation. A reason to move on.

It’s not perfect. It’s kind of cold, but it’s better than the anger that arose. The anger I had no control of.

Thinking back on it now, I’m still not angry. So it must have worked.

It was a sweet camp, but it reminded me of something I wrote long ago…

From Seeing Clearly:

If you own what others desire—sleep lightly.

Man has always placed value
On what is difficult to obtain.
Who knows why?

But possessing a thing of value
Has a hidden cost.
When you own what others desire,
You must protect it,
Hide it from sight,
Secure its safety,
Be suspicious of strangers,
And cautious of your friends.
You must keep your guard up
And your weapons ready,
For that inevitable attack
Upon your house.

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19 thoughts on “On Anger

  1. You had the choice to leave,,,what about nice folks who have been in an area for generations,,,and a casino or a keystone pipeline or a strip club with loud music and neon lights moves in next door?
    Must we always move away when folks barge in with entitled thoughtlessness?
    How many times do we move,,,and how far?

    • “Must we always move away when folks barge in with entitled thoughtlessness?”

      No. Be careful of “always” and “should” and other black and white thinking. The real world’s full of a whole spectrum of colors.

      Hypotheticals aside, I’d suggest these people do what makes them happiest.

  2. These people give us something to offer up to God. They give us someone to pray for. They don’t know it but the are our benefactors. They show us who we don’t want to be.

    • “They don’t know it but the are our benefactors.”

      I’ve got a saying, “The smart have their theories, but the wise have their scars.”

      It hurts, but I learn a lot from my “benefactors.” 🙂

  3. This is another brilliant sutra in your transparent teaching style. I hope if finds its way into your book.

    First the hooker: “Today I grew angry.” The reader thinks “wait…what?…enlightened people aren’t supposed to get angry”
    Then you show how the natural sensation of alarm (personal space invaded) turns into emotion with the addition of thought (they should have asked permission or at least greeted me).

    The unenlightened response to anger would be to fuel the flames (get into their heads, make excuses). But you demonstrated how to dis-integrate the emotion. You consciously and deliberately put your attention on the sensation of alarm by realizing that the invasion was no different from a flash flood, which would not have resulted in angry thoughts. The thoughts, not being fed, died and the anger dissolved, leaving you with the clear perception of the appropriate action – leave.

    You said the method was imperfect and cold. But I cannot imaging a better response. And was it not compassionate to them (left them in peace) and to you (no residual negative memory)?

    Awareness, attention, acceptance, action. Seems pretty perfect to me.

    • Thanks Rob. Maybe it will go into the book.

      What I meant by “It’s not perfect. It’s kind of cold…” is that I’d hoped to feel more love. Maybe I’m suffering from the idealism/absolutism that I chastised Carol about, but I think I should ( 🙂 ) have been more loving. Not try to be more loving, but experienced it naturally.

      I feel it is a slippery slope to apply “it’s all impersonal” or “it’s all an illusion” to the manifest world. I argued this with Dave in the comment here but here I am doing exactly what he says he’d do (I assume)! LOL. I’m so coming back. I’ve got a long way to go.

  4. How to feel love when you are rightfully angry? Very good question indeed. How to learn how to feel love? Is it thru suffering? Perhaps.

    Some sacred writings say we are here to learn the value of love, caring, peace, unity, etc. So you cant learn the value of the good without the bad? Unfortunately, that may be the truth.

    • “So you cant learn the value of the good without the bad?”

      Synchronistically, also in Seeing Clearly I refer to this concept as opposite ends of the same thread. Good and bad are really extremes of the same thing, mysterious thing. Lop off the “bad” end of the thread and the remaining end will now be “bad.”

  5. Gosh,,did you chastise me,,,?You sure are gentle.
    Actually,,,I do agree with Al H, Rob and catholicdallas….ALOT

    I recognize you were and are handling your life in such a way as to bend and learn and receive and appreciate and yes, love.

    I have practically mastered that way of life,,,been betrayed by family, physically hurt in relationships,etc,,,,

    Boy do I know how to exit an undesirable scene,,,yet still stay in appreciation of the divine, releasing resentment towards those who were my ‘benefactors’.

    So my question to you was also to myself. Should I Stay or Should I Go?(sing the song now).

    And of course, after reading y’alls posts, I think I know the answer,,,,WE go when directed to go AND we stay and make a stand when directed to do that.

    It all depends upon the inspiration we receive when we ,,,listen.

    • Thanks Carol. You got me thinking… clarifying. How do we decide a course of action? Particularly when no options seem very pleasant nor certain? Do we use safety as a guide? Financial security? Love? Divine guidance? Intuition?

      Ultimately, I think, if we don’t hear Her whispers, we should use happiness as our guide. What will make me the most happy? What course is the most likely to make me happier.

      If I would have confronted and argued with those campers, would I be happier now? My ego would, but not the deeper, more authentic me. Sometimes though, fighting will make you happier, if what you are fighting for is worthy of the fight (a loved one, etc.).

      • I love that Wayne,,,use happiness as a guide for directing actions.

        It’s a ‘voice’ in our gut directing our present happiness,,,or future happiness.

        For example, if I don’t do laundry because I am happier reading,,,,that’s fulfillment of present happiness.But I may panic later when an invitation is extended and I have nothing to wear.

        If I do laundry(though it doesn’t particularly make me feel immediately happy),yet I am happy later to have an option of clean clothes to wear when meeting my friends for dinner,,,I am actually investing in future happiness.

        So, in the moment ,,the thought of linking laundry with future happiness makes me happier during the wash cycle.

        Aside from choosing that,,your choice to leave rather than to not confront is something I would also do.,,unless I got some HUGE urging to confront and felt THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE was behind my actions.

  6. Hi Carol, i am sure that Wayne would agree that asking for inner guidance has the best results. After reading Yogananda’s ‘Auto-biography of a Yogi’ i gleaned the idea of communicating with the ‘Divine Mother’, a Hindu tradition. This approach has proven highly successful for me, usable in all situations. I always ask for a peaceful resolution to the situation that is best for all concerned. It always seems to work although some situations take longer than others for her to fix.

    Almost all situations are best resolved by ‘turning the other cheek’. Those are ones that may feel humiliating but are best resolved thru withdrawal, as Wayne rightfully did.

    The really tough situations are where you need to stand your ground to protect others. I do believe that in this harsh environment, we have the right to defend ourselves, and defend those we are responsible for, by whatever reasonable means necessary. I dont believe that there are any negative karmic consequences for such actions, and if there were i would gladly pay that price to protect those whom i am responsible for.

    I just wish governments would operate on a highly principled basis when dealing with the use of force. Instead we see the use of force for ‘strategic interests’, which are almost always corporate interests, with innocent people suffering most of the harm. It will be a different world indeed when governments act only in a highly principled basis.

  7. I find it best to walk close to the other RV and then start having a conversation with myself while holding my head in my hands and pacing outside their door…”I knows my precious they’s means hobbittsis. They just takes the preciouses camping space away without even asking. But wait my precious we will fix the mean hobittsis….we shall casts them back to Mordor whence they came.
    Its around this time the door closes and the RV backs out and pulls away 🙂

  8. It was probably a Reader’s Digest bit, the following story that made an impression on me: A woman was driving out of a grocery store parking lot when a runaway shopping cart came whisking downhill toward her car. She honked at it.

    I learned from Wayne’s story and this series of comments. Thanks, everyone, I enjoyed them very much.

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