In nearly all cultures in our human history, slaying another human being in one’s own community has been and is still regarded as a most serious offence. A murder disrupts the harmony, creates fear and mistrust. Families grieve. There is another disturber of the peace in families, in the village or the neighbourhood and that is physical and mental abuse. It surely disturbs the peace, creates fear and distrust. Whatever the motivation, being slapped by someone you know, involves a sense of betrayal and a lapse in mutual respect. This makes it more difficult to be genuinely at ease, alone and with others.
A hurtful word, a derisive snort, a disrespectful gesture, especially from someone close, can damage more and hurt deeper than being physically struck. It is contagious, the refusal to be open and acknowledge each other as spiritual beings. The hurt lingers, perhaps it festers into a desire for revenge, to retaliate by hurting the other person back.
In action and in words, abuse has gone on for too long. We are all tired of it happening to ourselves, deeply tired. Could we just be too tired when the chance comes to hurt someone next time! In even the smallest way.
So why is it, that we find the courage and the self-importance to inflate ourselves with Holy Anger? We know from experience how deeply and sincerely we regret later, especially after we have hurt someone we love. There is a moment when the energy of frustration builds up and it feels as if there is not enough room inside to contain it, not enough air to breathe. Something knots up in the chest and tightens, the heart aches. It is in this moment that a personal disaster is about to happen, which can potentially ruin a family, a friendship, a relationship, a stable job.
Holy Anger is a mixture of taking pride in being violent, a distorted version of the brave heart, which intoxicate and entices us to feel: my wrath is just, I’m rightfully allowed, I just have to put things straight, by blowing up, losing my temper, and telling the awful truth about how wrong you are. Holy Anger is this self-righteous attitude of hatred, our personal demon disguised as a warrior, and it’s just about to ruin the peace one more time. The old villain is back, call the police! But who can arrest an emotion? Certainly not the police. A violent attitude can only be overcome by its opposite, loving kindness and compassion.
One of my teachers said, that it doesn’t help to lock the front door, while the thief is still inside the house. So isn’t it obvious that we need to soften this mind and not someone else’s? Moreover, one is possible, the other is not. That why it is said that the greatest hero is the one who has conquered the subtle aggression in his own mind.
The ancient wisdom books place slapping in the same category as killing, but with a weaker consequence. I feel from the depths of my heart, the first practical step to make, is to declare inside of oneself: I will not kill. I will not hurt another being, physically or mentally. I will say no words to hurt another’s mind, because deeply we are all connected, we are all members of the same family, sharing the same nature of mind. We are all on a spiritual path. When making this simple commitment to nonaggression our journey has a real foundation, rather than talk and fantasy.
I invite your comments from real life experience, because it’s so important, how to live together in harmony.
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