There I was happily working away in my office on Christmas eve, when all of a sudden I became aware of this awful commotion outside in the street. I could hear a gentlemen (a very loose term of the word you understand) shouting and swearing abuse at someone else below my office window. He was loud, clearly aggressive and obviously not very happy.
The scene before me was somewhat distressing to say the least. A very elderly gent was sat in the drivers seat of his small car, (which was parked on the loading bay directly outside my spa) his window was rolled down, and next to him stood this man that I could hear shouting. Now let me tell you, this fella wasn’t just angry, he was in fact going crazy. There he was throwing his arms about, shouting, stomping and swearing with such venom I thought his head was going to explode! The poor little elderly gent look petrified.
I had no idea what had occurred in order for him to feel it was acceptable to behave in this way, but couldn’t bare to sit there any longer and listen to his abuse. So off I ran down my stairs and out of my spa to try and diffuse the situation. By the time I got outside the Mr angry was slamming his car door and speeding off down the road. Left behind and still sat in his car, was the poor elderly gent who had been the target of his anger. He looked completely bemused and quite clearly upset.
After chatting with this lovely old man (who was in his late 80’s would you believe), I discovered the whole situation had occurred purely and solely because the elderly man (lets call him Stan) had asked Mr Angry quite politely, to move his car up a little bit, just so he could fit his own vehicle directly behind him. Stan’s very elderly brother needed to pop into the bank and he really needed to park directly outside the bank as he walked with crutches). Poor old Stan was shaking and in tears. The direct result of how he had been treated by another human being. Luckily after 15 mins of chatting with him, helping him calm down and cracking a few funnies (a lame attempt of mine to take his mind off the event!) he was laughing and smiling, and after planting a thank you kiss on my cheek, he eventually continued on his merry way.
Now this may be an extreme example of unnecessary behavior, but I’m sure like me, you have seen people behave in a manner that could be deemed as rude and unwarranted (and if you ask me, usually totally avoidable). I, maybe like you, have seen customers in restaurants snap at a waitresses, or someone in a bar be rude to the staff.
Many people on this planet, for what ever reason, sometimes find it impossible to contain their frustrations, anger and even emotions when faced with certain challenges. As a result of this, many feel it is appropriate and sometimes even acceptable to speak or behave in a defensive/aggressive manner to another person. Quite often it is done in an attempt to control or dominate a given situation.
In Buddhism, it isn’t deemed good practice to ever behave in this way. Of course we still experience anger at times, but when faced with such challenges, and on acknowledgment of feeling that anger in oneself, we are asked to step back from the situation and view the true reasoning or root cause of this anger. We are asked to act with kindness and compassion in all situations, even when we may feel vulnerable or personally under attack.
Obviously this can be a very challenging task, especially if someone has upset you, or behaved aggressively towards you. But usually when you really focus on why you feel that anger, hatred or jealousy, it is usually because you are frustrated and hurt that you cannot in fact control another persons actions or a situation as a whole. Ultimately every other sentient being seeks happiness in their life, as do you. Just as every other sentient being deserves that happiness, as do you.
In Buddhism, anger is seen as pointless and a very self destructive emotion. So I ask you, when you next get angry or frustrated (as we all do), ask yourself, what positive aspect are you gaining for yourself from that emotion?
It’s a known fact, that throughout our life we may see, hear or read things we do not like. We cannot control that, but what we can control is how we digest and subsequently react to those situations. Perhaps if we tried harder to let go of this need to control, we would find more peace and inner calm within ourselves? I know I certainly have.