21970, RE: alright..|
Posted by janey, Tue Aug-22-00 05:50 AM
I think that's right. I never thought of it like that, but I think you're really onto something. I'm trying to think of a kind of anger that arises out of something other than expectations not being met...and ultimately, I don't think I can.
So if we let go of expectations, our anger should decrease. Or, if our expectations/goals are useful and we don't want to abandon them, then when the expectations aren't met then perhaps we recognize where the anger is coming from, decide whether it's helpful, and if it isn't, recognize that it's just another mind construct that we can choose to identify with or choose to just notice.
Buddha said that being angry with someone is like picking up a red hot burning iron ball with the intention of throwing it at another. It burns us as much as it does the person we're directing it at. And if we were to recognize the harm that the anger is doing to us, we would drop it as naturally and as quickly as we would drop that red hot iron ball.
So circling back to the original question and also your post below on mind states, What am I? Am I my anger? For me, at least, the answer is no, because the anger is a mind construct that rises and passes away with the correct conditions. If the conditions exist for anger to arise (my expectations), it will arise. If the conditions exist for the anger to fall away (my recognition of it as an impermanent state of mind and not something with substance), it falls away. I have this idea that what I'm looking for when I'm trying to point to my "self" is something that is more permanent than that mind state or the mind states created by thoughts.
Also, because I can see my emotions as separate from my "self" and because, like thoughts, they arise and pass away without my will or conscious control, I am not my emotions.
But I think that we can pattern the mind. I think that there's a lot of value in practicing those mind states that are skillful. Like, when I make a mistake, if I say to myself, "Oh, janey, you're so stupid!" that reinforces the idea that I'm a bad person and I'm stupid, and that allows for more mistakes and more bad feelings about myself. If instead I say to myself, "Oh, janey, you made a mistake -- how unlike you!" that reinforces the idea that I'm a worthy person who doesn't make mistakes. This is not to say that we don't all make mistakes. Just that I think we can create conditions that expect mistakes and so create them, or expect good works and so creates that.