Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
twelph
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by twelph » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:45 pm

I understand what you are going through, and I understand what you mean by there be no underlying primary reason for your anger. For me it felt like my nerves were shot, and I was no longer able to handle any stress whatsoever. It got so bad at one point that bumping my arm against something accidentally would cause a tremor of rage shoot throughout my body, stopping me in my tracks and tightening all of my muscles. Thankfully I have made a lot of progress since then, all through through beginning to understand certain core teachings of the Buddha, and through meditation. One thing I realized is that 1 specific tool will not solve the probem. You need to meditate and also be able to understand the purpose of the meditation.

You mentioned Goenka style meditation, which is a good start. This will help you start feeling the uncomfortable sensations in your body as the anger starts to build. Once you are more in tune with how unpleasant these feelings are, it becomes easier and easier to decide that its just not worth getting angry. I don't practice Goenka's style myself, as I tend to prefer other methods. If you are interested in other methods I would suggest the mental noting technique or Thanissaro Bhikkhus method. You might also want to incorporate Metta into your practice, as this has also proven to have profound effects on practitioners. You need to be able to be kind to yourself for a lot of these techniques to work for you.

As for the teachings you should understand, I recommend the following:
not-self
impermanence
aversion

The best way I have found to study these is through audio lectures, here are a few good resources:
dhammatalks.org - Thanissaro Bhikkhu's site
audiodharma.org
dharmaseed.org

Good luck!

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by Ben » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:09 pm

Greetings MAV
I have been involved with SN Goenka since 1985. Many people have found practicing vipassana under his guidance to be of benefit and during the evening discourses he relates how he once had an uncontrolable temper which was assuaged through his practice. However, for most people one ten-day course is not a magic bullet that cures them of anger or some other defilement and for the benefits to be sustainable, one should continue the practice post retreat in daily life where the pedal hits the metal (so to speak). Happy to discuss further.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

befriend
Posts: 1274
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by befriend » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:56 pm

i think embracing a new philsophy on life could be helpful. say there is a slow driver in front of you. are you late for anything?, if you are can you just tell them there was a slow driver in front of you? say it is a little old woman do you think she can help driving slow. she probably thinks its the year 19 dickity 2 and is going god knows where, shes probably going to get lost in a few minutes. and have her driving privelages taking away from her. that should ellicit compassion not anger. say its a asshole teenager who wants to piss you off, so he drives the exact speed limit as an ironic joke. this teenager will suffer from his mean spiritedness and not find peace of mind. which should also ellicit compassion from you. REMEMBER THIS IS EARTH, THIS IS NOT HEAVEN. are you surpised that your toddler throws a temper tantrum when you dont buy her candy? do you get mad at a wolf for eating a sheep??????? kudos on your determination on curbing your anger. oh i forget, i used to be the angriest kid i knew, i actually have broken my hand in 3 places, and dislocated my shoulder and burned a relationship forever. now i woudlnt think of doing that. because of my philosophy. not because of my meditation.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

befriend
Posts: 1274
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by befriend » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:05 pm

to be honest i find the best way to deal with irrational thoughts and flat tires is to just stop caring. who cares if your toddler gets mad, is the world gunna end. not caring seems odd, but its actually is a very healthy way to manage anger and alot of other things. also buddha said buy a gift for all of your family members, hide it, and when you get mad at them, GIVE THEM THE GIFT.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

befriend
Posts: 1274
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by befriend » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:10 pm

sorry for all the posts. but when i get nervous, the more i try to get rid of the nervousness it stays there and gets worse. if i dont do anything. i just experience the nervousness and i sense its not happening to ME. its just occuring in space. not that i dont experience the nervous energy anymore but i feel its not happening to me, it doesnt effect my MIND. so im not nervous at all, im happy. this might apply to anger and other negative emotions, just to keep the anger from creating too much suffering in your mind. as the saying goes, the point is not to get rid of all negativity but to have peace of mind no matter what the circumstances are.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

User avatar
Monkey Mind
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by Monkey Mind » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:33 pm

Yes, a regular practice in the Goenka vipassana tradition have helped me significantly reduce anger-related behaviors. But I have to practice daily. If I skip it for 2 or 3 days, I start to get irritable again. And anger itself is not reduced by my practice, I still have anger, but anger-outbursts and behavior born from irritability are significantly reduced.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

Cilla
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:10 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by Cilla » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:30 am

I think you are a) depressed and thus in need of medication. Anger or irritation is often a symptom of depression instead of tears. A psychologist told me this. She'd seen both cases often enough. I myself am more the type to show irritablity than teariness when depressed.

b) attitude change helps undercut the anger response to disturbing stimulii. I see how with my attitude towards my cat means that i don't get angry with him while i would with people. I have unconditional love for my cat. I know he is not able to communicate all his needs easily and so he will do things that might bug me. But because he is both a lot weaker than me and can't express himself in a more adult way (;-))
, its enough for me to know what he wants and to try to address is so that he won't do the things that bug me like jump on me when he's hungry and scratch me as i'm walking along. I describe this as being close to how it is with your toddler. When you allow yourself to get angry with her, its as though you don't actually accept that she can't do anything else because she's such a tiny little undeveloped creature. You need to develop more compassion for her. I suggest reading up on the compassion aspects in buddhism so that it can help you internalise this attitude towards everyone but most especially your child and your wife. Maybe that's not the best example but really working on developing compassion would be the attitude you are looking to have instead of contempt or whatever it is you currently have for your family and others. Certainly i believe an expression of anger in most cases reflects and underlying attitude of lack of respect for others.

c)I think for meditation to help you have to be working on mindfulness all the time. you have to practice daily. And you have to have enough time in your life to be able to develop a 24 hour consciousness of what you are doing. So i think you should really try to apply yourself to this task by a) meditating several times a day and b) reading books on buddhism and trying to follow the eightfold path assiduously especially the parts about right thought and right speech. Some time ago before i knew much about buddhism but had come upon the eightfold path, i had a little daily reminder and diary thingy and a list which i'd use every day to help me establish mindfulness on these things. It included Right thought, right speech and right effort. You will to make time for all this which might be more difficult for you than for me because i don't have so many demands on my time but i find reading books really helps with any sort of development of focus while the internet really does not help at all. Tv does not help either. So tv and the internet are more for some relaxation than for anything else and i'm trying to do it less so that i can make more time for reading, meditation, and work and other good things.

With regard to my formula for right thought, right speech adn right effort, the right thought was not to think negatively about anything or anyone, including myself. When i caught myself thinking in a negative way i would turn my thoughts towards a more positive view and i would i also try to see the negative thing from a different perspective. I know that this is not strictly buddhist but its what i was doing at the time and it worked for me on many occasions. When i stopped my daily reminders habit, i reverted to my bad habits. Its hard when things happen quickly but if you have time to think ahead (such as if you thinking angry thoughts as you are driving along in the car hten you have time to change it all over) , then this is a way to avoid getting angry that works. The right speech was usually handled by having been able to manage my thoughts in the first instance. And right effort was something else altogether but now i realise that right effort means effort to meditate and follow the right speech, thought etc. So i would strongly recommend doing this too. Keep a diary and at the top of the page, have these daily reminders there for you to see. Open it in the morning and remind yourself that today you are applying yourself to right thought, right speech and right effort.

d) anger is also a habit. You respond in a habitual way to triggers. Realising this and trying to change that habit like you would any other also helps with the problem. Remember too that the habit will not be resolved overnight. Its not like quitting smoking or alcohol when you can just abstain. (i'm not suggesting that these habits are resolved overnight) Anger is a much more difficult habit to correct because it comes from within and you can satisfy its urge from within. You don't have to go to the shop to buy some anger for example. That's why i think it takes a such a lot of mindfulness to correct it. I just cracked up at my father about an hour ago. And i feel bad about it. I even feel worse than usual because i am trying to work on my own anger. But all we can do i think is to let go our defeats/failures and try to more in tune with ourselves for the next time. You can also anticipate when something might trigger yoru anger and try to deal with it in advance. Avoid being over tired because that's also a thing that can lead to more anger.

Maybe you could think through all the occasions that have happened recently and reflect that none of them warranted your anger. I mean if you are still feeing that your anger was justifie but maybe you don't. Maybe you just can't help it and regret it afterwards because you know it wasn't justified. I understand that. It happens so quickly. That's precisely a habitual response. But in that case, maybe coming up with a little safety valve would be a good idea. I could try this out myself too. Because you have more situations than i have to deal with you might actually be able to change your habit faster because of more practice. The sort of thing i mean might be instead of voicing your anger aloud, as soon as you feel your blood rising, get straight up out of your chair, stride out to the front gate, walk down the street, keep going until you cool off. Don't come back until your mood has passed. Use mindfulness and concentration meditation while you are out to cool down. While you are out, check out a different perspective so that you no longer actually feel anger towards the other person. That's where the attitude change comes in afterwards.

My father's bugging me a lot at the moment because he's a pretty grumpy sort. He can never express dislike of something without being grumpy about it. He has to fill the dislike with hot emotion. There was a time when i might have got annoyed with his grumpiness but now i am learning to let it go most of the time. IN those days i would maybe argue with him or lose my temper back. But now Sometimes i just say to him, why can't you just dislike something without being so angry about it too. But also a lot of the time, i just let it go because i know its him and not me. That doesn't mean i am totally fine with his grumpiness but it means I do'nt take it on so much.

Also one last point. I'm using a book called MIndfulness in Plain English. Its excellent. I highly recommend you get it and use it in your daily practice.

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by Ben » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:34 am

Cilla wrote:I think you are a) depressed and thus in need of medication.
Very far off the mark in my humble opinion.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

pegembara
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by pegembara » Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:55 am

One of the most important skill is patience and forbearance.

Stay with your emotion and know that all emotions are impermanent. Anger only lasts a moment. You know this when you count to 90 and the emotion dissolve.

Feel the anger and say to yourself there is anger but this anger is not mine. If it were mine I could easily get rid of it! Since it wasn't mine all I can do is to patiently watch it come and go by itself.

You remember something or someone that makes you angry. This anger eats at you like a cancer. You feel the heated sensations and your heartbeat going faster. You see how this is hurting you. This negative emotions hurt you 1st instead of whom your anger is directed against. It is impossible to be angry at someone without hurting yourself 1st.

Anger is sometimes thought better to be released by lashing out but actually the lashing out only worsens the situation for you and the person involved. The antidote is to have compassion for yourself. Say to yourself, "By being angry, I am hurting myself the most, then I hurt my loved ones too. Anger is impermanent, unpleasant and not mine." Count to 90 and the hurt is gone.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

pegembara
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by pegembara » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:04 am

When an unpleasant emotion such as anger arises, don't get upset or try to suppress it. Nor should you try to look for a "better" object. The emotion is the truth of what is happening in the present, so just know it.

If an emotion is strong you should label it with a mental note. For example, if you realize you're feeling angry, label the feeling "anger, anger" for one or two moments. If you're depressed, note "depression"; if anxious, note, "anxiety." Do the same with pleasant emotions: if you feel joyful, note "joy"; if peaceful, note "peace." You get the picture.

The insight meditation method entails a middle path between 1) suppressing an emotion and 2) indulging it by: "letting it out," trying to feel it more deeply, or thinking about it further. Whether an emotion is pleasant or unpleasant, the vipassana technique is simply to know it with impartial awareness, neither liking it nor wanting to make it go away.

Don't judge the emotion or your self. For instance, if you're suddenly livid, don't criticize yourself for getting angry. Instead, disengage the mind from any involvement in the anger and just watch it, as if you were watching it happen to someone on television, or as if you were a scientist examining a specimen under a microscope. Instead of "becoming" the emotion you mentally pull back from it, then turn your awareness around and observe it. The emotion then becomes another object of your attention. Now instead of being caught up in it you're looking at it from the outside.

Having noted the emotion for one or two moments, let go of it and bring your attention back to the primary meditation object. Over time this method weakens anger, depression, etc., since you are not "feeding" them with your thoughts and reactions. If you simply recognize the presence of these emotions when they appear but don't get hooked by them— that is, don't get upset or intrigued by them— they'll eventually fade out .

When in the grip of a negative emotion we tend to believe it will never end. But in training the mind to know emotion as it is, we come to see its impermanence. Then we realize that even strong grief, anger or fear can last only a moment before passing away. True, it might come back; but even so it passes away again instantly. When you leave an emotion alone and become an impartial observer, it has no power to control you or cause more suffering. The key is to be mindful as soon as it appears so you don't get hooked.


An emotion of any kind is not your self or the property of self. The sadness, anger, peace, etc., is only an impersonal phenomenon, a kind of mental weather that arises in the mind according to certain causes and then passes away.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by danieLion » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:30 am

daverupa wrote:I'll stress this just once more: CBT =/= DBT. It might be worth investigating. The DBT module on Distress Tolerance, for example, was invaluable, and a continuing anapanasati practice can only strengthen wholesome results.
:heart:
Absolutely. OP, do you know if there are any DBT therapists in your area?
DL

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by PeterB » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:40 am

Ben wrote:
Cilla wrote:I think you are a) depressed and thus in need of medication.
Very far off the mark in my humble opinion.
Quite so Ben, I wish I could diagnose people over the internet and come up with tailor made remedies...it would make my life much easier..

User avatar
ground
Posts: 2591
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by ground » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:27 pm

TMingyur wrote:Focus on metta and compassion practice ... gather whatever material you can to train in metta and compassion.
there is no management of anger other than to get rid of it. Are you able to focus anger exclusively on itself?
Anger is the worst of all afflictive emotions, the worst enemy that destroys all merit at the root and leads to great harm and suffering.
To continue ...

when there is a stirring of anger immediately emulate the corpse that you're going to be sooner or later. A corpse empty of thought and feelings of like or dislike, like a block of wood.
See the stupidity of being angry with other beings that will share your being a corpse sooner or later too.
Since this emulation will not last long arise from it with a thought that causes compassion. Train such kind of compassionate thoughts, make them a habit.
Also recall that untamed anger may entail the experience of being a "hell being" among "hell beings". Endless suffering.


kind regards

User avatar
Monkey
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:00 am

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by Monkey » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:59 pm

Goenkaji speaks in his discourses that Vipassana will help you when you practice it in the right way. Don't expect this to happen within a single course though. If it took you 20 years to build up these irriational thought patterns, then it might take you another 20 years to get rid of them. Practice daily and you'll see results. If you're angry for 2 hours in a row, then it might be 1 hour and 55 minutes with daily practice. You won 5 minutes of your life. If you're angry 10 times a day, it might be 9 times a day with daily practice. These small steps will get you to your goal :).

Whenever I find myself angry, I try to focus on the physical sensations that go along with it. Say I've had an argument with someone which upset me, then it's not going to help me when I keep thinking of this person. I only get more angry if I think of that person. Instead of taking that person as the object of my focus, I'll take the physical sensations that go along with them. I try to watch them without judging them. They are bound to pass away after some time.

Sometimes I can be so angry that I can't even do that. I then try to change this emotion. I try to think happy thoughts, things that make me happy. That might be thinking about all the good qualities that the person I'm angry with has. All the good memories I have om that person.

Good luck with it mate :)!

MAV
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:56 pm

Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by MAV » Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:12 pm

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I am grateful for the time and effort you put into crafting them. I have already begun browsing online material from some of the earlier suggestions -- DBT for example -- and I look forward to doing the same with some of the more recent ones too. All in all, I am feeling much more hopeful about my ability to mitigate my anger habit than I did yesterday.

Once again, I am very grateful for your help.

m

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests