Bodhi Mind Reflection

Happiness and Contentment

Damon Buren (Fa Dao 法道)

Several weeks ago I was watching a national news show that was covering a situation that involved a lot of violence at the Capitol.  I wasn’t aware of it but my six year old daughter noticed my reaction as I watched the tv and simply asked me, “why are they all so angry?”.   It was a simple question but it made me reflect on the Dharma teachings and how it may apply. 

I thought about the concept of greed, anger and ignorance as connected to suffering.  I considered how this manifests in me and I how it sneaks up on me.  

Although I’m not perfect, simply noticing that anger arising has been helpful.  It feels as though being mindful and aware that angry feelings and thoughts are occurring paradoxically helps me to let it go. 

Often I have thoughts that things should be a certain way when often times they aren’t.  Sometimes this is when the anger starts to subtly creep up on me.  Often it starts as annoyance and then starts to permeate my thoughts.  It enters my conversations with other people and it starts to color my experience.   

However, the more I can be mindful and bring some awareness and then eventually some compassion to the anger.  I start to realize how much damage it’s doing to me and to what end.  It’s like the saying about picking up a hot coal to throw at someone, the only person that gets burned is you.  Once I can untangle my thoughts from the anger it frees me to then make choices on how I want to deal with it.  

Sometimes I instead deal with it by turning off the news and spending more time with family.  Sometimes I try to advocate for purposes I feel are important in peaceful ways.  Other times I play with my dogs or learn something that’s interesting.  I can be more open to having conversations with people I disagree with and it still be okay.  

I am far from perfect at this but I have these experiences or moments that give me a sense of contentment and happiness despite the circumstances.  I feel more of a sense that I have a choice on how I want to deal with situations.