“Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If someone is angry with you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. On the other hand, if you control your anger and show its opposite—love, compassion, tolerance and patience—not only will you remain peaceful, but the other person’s anger will also diminish.”
~The Dalai Lama
When are we going to wake up to the reality facing the Earth and us, its people?
I accept the inconvenient and scary truth that our environment is being destroyed at alarming rates. I believe that the Earth and its people are being sickened and destroyed because of the greed of corporations, governments and citizens—including me and you.
I know that deforestation, unsustainable development, water and air pollution, human trafficking, overpopulation, hunger and poverty are just some of the critical issues facing our global community. It is hard to admit, but my own (and my fellow Americans’) consumption habits are a factor in the devastation that has taken place across the globe.
Like most of us, I do what I can. I recycle; I take canvas bags to the grocery store; I try to buy from local, independent vendors whenever possible; I try to minimize the amount of packaged and processed products that I buy.
But is it enough? I don’t think so. Although I usually ride my bike or walk to get around, I still drive a car sometimes. I am still dependent on fossil fuels.
When are we going to change?
Will we wait until it’s too late?
Is it already too late?
Do enough people even care?
It often seems that the majority of people are content to obsess over celebrities, news-media narratives and to wallow in petty personal pities.
According to Urban Dictionary, “fuck the world” is “a state of mind achieved by a person who has been repeatedly shit on by the universe, causing the murderous energy contained within to be released.”
This is not a good attitude. I can understand people feeling bitter or angry and wanting to vent, but “fuck the world” or “fuck my life” is really a destructive viewpoint.
There are a plethora of reasons to get and stay angry, no matter where you live or what you do. Through careless speech and mindless actions, humans have created colossal problems at every level: from molecular to personal to familial to societal, environmental, global.
We all experience frustration, irritation and ire. Should we bottle it up or let it all hang out?
It’s essential to cultivate awareness of all our emotions—good, bad, weird and ugly. Doing this in the context of meditation, it is clear that each emotion does inevitably arise and pass away. No single mood or feeling lasts for very long. The next step is to develop equanimity, evenness of mind, no matter what pleasurable or painful emotion is visiting our consciousness at present.
Experience the anger; don’t repress it. Likewise, do not act on it. Take the middle way.
It is not easy, this path of moderation. It’s easier to go to extremes, to fly off the handle or shut down completely. (Easier said than done, especially when we are in the grips of rage.)
Anger is not the enemy. It’s a sign that we are alive and immersed in the fundamental, paradoxical complexity of this life. Notice when anger enters your consciousness. If it’s really red hot anger, observe how it is like an intense thunderstorm passing through our bodies and minds. Notice where you feel it in your body. Is it a fiery sensation? A blurry chaos? A sharp pain?
Breathe. Resist the urge to act or speak in a reactive, rash, harmful or hateful manner.
No amount of yoga or meditation alone will change the dire situation in which we find ourselves as global citizens. However, the consciousness-raising benefits of yoga and meditation, the side effects of compassion, kindness, mindfulness and gratitude are what the world needs in order to take action and reverse our downward spiral.
Awareness is step one. Taking action to develop a more empowering habit is the second, vital step.
Bonus: Watch this documentary. Get motivated. Take action.
With aerial footage from 54 countries, Home is a depiction of how the Earth’s problems are all interlinked.
Like enlightened society on Facebook.
Ed: Sara Crolick