"Subduing anger is a slow and steady process. Don't expect it to disappear overnight. Reacting in anger is a deeply ingrained habit, and like all bad habits, it takes time to unlearn," writes Thubten Chodron, an American Buddhist nun and author of Open Heart, Clear Mind. Anger is a wildfire that consumes those who practice it and touches all those around it. Yet, according to Buddhist psychology, this troublesome emotion can be removed from our mindstream.
Many of us have become convinced that anger can be worn as a protective shield when we feel anxious, vulnerable, and guilty. But Chodron believes that it is helpful to replace this emotion with patience, tolerance, love, and compassion. She suggests the following techniques to counteract anger: understand each others' needs and concerns, free ourselves from our narrow interpretation of a situation, learn from our critics, inspect our unrealistic expectations, remove ourselves from the blaming game, let go of our preconceived "rules of the universe," abandon grudges and resentments, and repay hostility with kindness.
Chodron makes a fine point about the relationship of anger and injustice: "Although anger may energize us to prevent or correct social injustice, it cannot be counted as a positive motivator for social change because it renders our minds like the minds of those whom we oppose." Giving up the "us" versus "them" scenarios we play out in the screenplays of our minds is a part of learning the spiritual practice of patience. Working with Anger by Thubten Chodron contains a rich arsenal of spiritual practices that can be used to deal with this pernicious emotion and transform it.