Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

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befriend
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by befriend » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:59 pm

pattanumodana, (rejoicing in anothers merit.) trying to curb your anger is a source of merit in itself. also what if you took a VOW not tell yell at someone. do it for youself in the morning look at a buddha statue and put your hand on your heart or something, and vow to not to hurt others verbally. one of the precepts is RIGHT SPEECH. good luck! metta, befriend.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

nameless
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by nameless » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:28 am

I think something worth keeping in mind is that anger is a form of aversion: one doesn't like things happening in a certain way, hence one gets angry.

Which has certain implications:
My conceit: If I get angry when things don't go my way, the underlying assumption is often that my way is the best way, or things SHOULD go my way, and everything who thinks or does otherwise should be punished. Which is a ridiculous assumption if one thinks about it, but often it feels justified because it goes unsaid.

The futility of trying to cure aversion with aversion: If one thinks of anger as a 'bad' thing, and tries to get rid of it, it is trying to cure aversion with aversion, which produces more aversion. Anger is not 'bad'. It is simply part of human nature, all of us get angry. Of course, neither is it 'good'. If we start simple and look at it from a non-Buddhist perspective, there is no problem with feeling angry, the problem lies with acting out that anger in destructive ways. So perhaps you could start by
- Acknowledging and accepting your anger, and reminding yourself not to act it out in destructive ways
- Recognizing that it is a habit, and know, as someone has mentioned, that habits can be changed, but not as quickly as one might hope, but that is ok
- Being mindful. We are conditioned to be angry because it gives us what seems to be short term pleasure (the rush of emotions, or the avoidance of the discomfort of not being able to be angry, we might get the attention we have been craving, people might be more willing to do what you demand, for example). But there are long term drawbacks, and if you are mindful, the short term pleasure is really a lot of discomfort (observe your body, how uncomfortable it is when anger makes you hot, makes your heart and lungs work harder, the tension in your muscles etc.).

Of course from the Buddhist perspective, anger is a defilement, and you might want to work on it more later, when it is more under control.
This might be good to read, at least the introduction if nothing else.

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wizi
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by wizi » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:18 pm

Hi Mav, it's tough to be a parent for the first time. I believe many of us in this tech-generation have a very self-centered existence where instant gratification is the norm. When we become parents for the first time, it can be quite an existential crisis that we are now supposed to be second to another human being, our child. I have had quite a lot of discussion on this with new moms and dads, and one of my friend also felt like you, the need to do the vipassana style retreat to deal with her anger issues. The anger issues have always been there but they no doubt scare her more now that she's a mom. She is panicking why she can't find that TLC within herself to give to her child.

Well, she did her vipassana retreat and her husband was very kind to take time off from work to take care of their toddler. The retreat felt good but her anger issues weren't abated, and each time her kid throws a tantrum, she'd blow her top too. Having said that, her daily practice helped to crack the code of anger. She's become more aware after each episode that her anger covers a prior emotion, an underlying feeling that was there even before the anger feelings arose. They were either an unmet physical or emotional need. And that identification is a big step to helping her to sort of nip the anger in the bud.

Well, a toddler's tantrum and anger has the same sort of code that needs cracking by her parents. For the kid, her anger and tantrum is related to unmet physical and emotional needs, that are more basic perhaps like the pain of an empty stomach, the irritation of a soiled diaper, the deprivation of a toy or the need for cuddling can all make her cry out for help.

I am sure you are worried about the way you blow up in front of your kid, that's why you are seeking some kinda help in anger-management. I am also concerned you could be looking for a miracle cure. Well, a 10 day silent meditation retreat is not going to be that 'miracle' cure. But in the depths of such an intensive silent contemplative practice, you may come to face your own impermanent existence, and realise how your child will someday have to live without you around to protect her. This realization can produce an overwhelming and profound effect on you. You may face an immense panic, fear, anger etc.. emotions that are all physiological and real. You eventually come to accept that the only way to swim out of this overwhelming emotion is to cultivate the state of "Equanimity" that Buddha (and Goenka in his retreats) has always striven to teach. And that experience towards attaining Equanimity in the face of deep emotional turbulence can gradually help you to deal with all the other hostile emotions that underly your anger. I must say you will need to maintain a daily practice. But that tool can gradually dissapate if you get slack in your daily practice. I would recommend you try out the Vipassana retreat if only for you to personally experience your deepest underlying emotional storm in your mind and body, and strive as ardently as you can to attain the state of Equanimity that gives inner peace and emanates love, compassion and kindness (metta meditation).

Why did the Zen meditation practice not work out?

There's also a really good book which I can recommend to you that gives a pretty good step-by-step guideline for raising responsible, productive and happy kids. The chapter on anger and tantrum is very revealing on how we as parents need to understand in order to help our kids grow with full self-esteem.

It's titled Your Child's Self-Esteem by Dorothy Briggs. There are chapters in there which when u read them, u may realise what your own parents failed to do with you and as a result, you could be as emotionally immature as a toddler sometimes! This is a fact that you have recognised about yourself from your therapies no doubt, but it's such an important step to self-acceptance and transformation! Good luck in your endeavour Mav! Please keep us informed how you progress and give your daughter and her mummy a warm hug! :thumbsup:
All beings like yourself are responsible for their own actions. Suffering or happiness is created through one's relationship to experience, not by experience itself. Although I wish only the best for you, I know that your happiness or unhappiness depends on your actions, not on my wishes for you.
May you not be caught in reactivity.

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cooran
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by cooran » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:19 pm

Hello Mav, all,

Defusing the anger bomb
What can you do when things are about to blow? Here’s some advance on working with anger – or any other strong emotion – with mindfulness
The 1997 movie The Peacemaker is mostly a routine and forgettable thriller. In fact, it is really pretty bad, but there are two things I remember about it. The first is the pairing of George Clooney and Nicole Kidman; and second there’s a scene right at the end that has stuck in my mind as an image for how mindfulness can help in a crisis.
There’s a bomb in the UN building that’s going to blow in a few seconds. Nicole Kidman knows how to defuse these things, but she’s panicking. George Clooney – a suave 007-type – takes hold of her shoulders, tells her to take a breath and asks her what she sees. She blinks, describes the type of bomb she’s looking at, and all of a sudden she knows what to do. The expertise and experience which the panic had obscured are available again. Snip, snip, snip … the clock is ticking. There are seconds left. Snip again … and we’re safe.

I’ve never had to defuse a real bomb but I’ve had my moments with metaphorical ones: the times when you feel you are about to blow. That’s when we need emotional bomb disposal skills, and find we can’t access them. We all know the theory: it’s good to keep your head in a crisis; yelling at people pisses them off and doesn’t achieve what we want; patience and tolerance are important qualities … But when it comes to the heat of the moment we are like Nicole Kidman in a panic and our good intentions vanish. The gall rises, the clock ticks … kaboom!

The key is remembering, or rather, remembering to remember. Usually, our focus is on the unacceptable thing that has just happened that has provoked our anger and things go wrong when we just act on that without pausing to notice what’s really happening or consider our response. Paying attention to our responses can eventually become a habit, but to start with we need simple things we can do in the moment. Firstly, it helps to place your attention on something that has a calming effect. That’s where the breath comes in. The generations of mums who told their children to take a breath and count to ten knew what they were doing. For most people, the breath – especially the out breath – tends to be calming and reassuring (though maybe not if you suffer from asthma, for example). Paying attention to the breath in this way also takes our attention away from the thoughts that are screaming in our heads, giving us the all-important distance we need.

In that space it’s possible to remember mindfulness. Like someone defusing a real bomb, you need to stop rather than just acting out the emotion that’s in you. The difference is that you don’t need to snap the leads to inner explosives. We aren’t very good at doing two things at the same time, so it’s hard to both feel angry and at the same time to stand back from our anger, observing and exploring it. Just paying attention to feelings of anger tends to diffuse them.

But mindfulness isn’t just a calming device: it means exploring what’s happening in all its dimensions. So, take a breath to create some space and then ask yourself: what am I looking at? You will probably notice that a whole array of sensations come together to comprise the experience we call ‘anger. There are feelings: irritation, distress, the urgent need to defend oneself. There are thoughts: ‘This isn’t acceptable’, ‘I’m not standing for this!’ ‘Just who do they think I am?’ There are feelings of anger and perhaps frustration and upset just beneath them. And if you stop for a moment you may notice that there are also intense bodily sensations: tightness in the stomach that keeps bubbling up into an impulse to move and act. Pay some attention and there’s a whole volcano down there! Then there’s the situation itself. What has just happened and what it means to me. There’s what the other person said, and what I bring to it myself.

It is helpful to distinguish feelings, thoughts and sensations because they express different needs. The thoughts about the situation may be true and they may be untrue – they probably need some reflection. But even when they are accurate, it helps to separate them from the feelings underlying them. When you need to make a point to someone, it can undermine you if you are feeling upset and haven’t fully acknowledged that. So acknowledge to yourself the painfulness of what has happened, breathe with them and give them some space.

Whatever we are feeling, our emotions often manifest in the body, which is why our stomachs churn when we are upset, our shoulders tighten when we are stressed and our jaws clench when we feel determined. Those are typical responses, at any rate, and each of us experiences emotions in our own ways. Not everyone experiences emotions in this way, but if you do you have a remarkable ally in bringing awareness to what you feel. Our emotions express the impact of things that are important to us, and it isn’t enough to decide consciously to push them down. Noticing the bodily manifestation of those feelings is an excellent way of paying them attention without identifying with them or being bowled along by them.

These are essential bomb-disposal skills that we all need. Mindfulness doesn’t mean that you don’t speak out, but it might help you say the important thing that will really get through to the other person. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t get upset, though it might mean that you develop a wider perspective on those feelings. Above all, it means that when difficult things happen we have access to all the wisdom and understanding we have developed in our lives and the skills to apply it, whatever is happening.
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practi ... anger-bomb" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by chownah » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:07 am

MAV,
I've thought about this a bit and I really think that meditation to create vipassana is probably not your best choice. Vipassana requires a calm, focused, and directed mind....the anger which you describe is almost assuredly a show stopper if pursueing vipassana....at least that is what I think. I am certainly not an expert on vipassana as such so do not take my comments as definitive...maybe just do a bit of study and then see what you think about this idea. If you want to pursue some form of meditation to help with anger I think that you need some form of calming or serenity meditation...maybe metta meditation or just plain breath concentration.

My view is that vipassana is something that is used to eliminate even controlled anger completely through insight which is a very "advanced" sort of thing whereas calming meditation is what is better for reducing uncontrolled anger to a more reasonable level....
If someone here thinks I'm seriously wrong about this then I hope they post and explain.
chownah
Last edited by chownah on Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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daverupa
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by daverupa » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:13 am

chownah wrote:maybe metta meditation or just plain breath concentration.
I agree here.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Ben
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by Ben » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:24 am

Hi Chownah and Dave,

If you haven't already, check out the posts from Wizi and monkeymind (this page) and I (first page).
The experience of a ten-day course of vipassana is like that of a crucible for many people. All sorts of defilements come up. But the meditation is the tool one uses to develop equanimity. Very many people report a noticable change post retreat. For some its going to be with their anger issues - for others - addiction. But as Wizi mentioned above - its not a silver bullet for anger management but it is a very effective tool that will help to attenuate it significantly over time.

You also may wish to read the following document which is given as a pamphlet to those wishing to attend a ten-day course. Its an edited transcript of one of SN Goenka's discourses and it relates to dealing with anger: http://www.dhamma.org/en/art.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This mental-physical phenomenon is like a coin with two sides. On one side are the thoughts and emotions arising in the mind, on the other side are the respiration and sensations in the body. Any thoughts or emotions, any mental impurities that arise manifest themselves in the breath and the sensations of that moment. Thus, by observing the respiration or the sensations, we are in fact observing mental impurities. Instead of running away from the problem, we are facing reality as it is. As a result, we discover that these impurities lose their strength; they no longer overpower us as they did in the past. If we persist, they eventually disappear altogether and we begin to live a peaceful and happy life, a life increasingly free of negativities.
With relation to breath and metta meditation - one spends the first 1/3 of the retreat practicing the samatha variant of anapana meditation and the last day one incorporates metta meditation into daily practice.
kind regards

Ben
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daverupa
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by daverupa » Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:29 pm

Yes Ben, it's very holistic and I've let go of many misconceptions through the many posts on this board which have clarified the nature of such retreats.

Given the intensity of the problem as expressed, however, it struck me that it might be of great benefit to stick with the "first third" for more than a third of the time, here at the beginning.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

MAV
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by MAV » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:10 pm

Hi Wizi,

Thanks for the advice. And thanks to everyone who took the time to provide advice since my last post.
wizi wrote:
Why did the Zen meditation practice not work out?
Frustration over lack of progress, reading too much about the practice, deciding to try a more physical (yoga/exercise-based) practice -- in other words, I continuously vacillated between techniques, each time becoming bored/frustrated with the new approach. I won't let that happen again. I'm currently committed to a daily morning/evening practice of Anapanasati until I can make it to a 10-day retreat in the summer. My yoga will be in the service of helping me sit well -- an important goal given my back issues (mild scoliosis).
There's also a really good book which I can recommend to you that gives a pretty good step-by-step guideline for raising responsible, productive and happy kids. The chapter on anger and tantrum is very revealing on how we as parents need to understand in order to help our kids grow with full self-esteem.

It's titled Your Child's Self-Esteem by Dorothy Briggs.
A copy is on the way. Much appreciated! And I'm also awaiting a DBT workbook -- unfortunately, no groups/therapists in my region -- so that may be another aspect of my daily practice.

I also hope to incorporate metta into my practice -- attempts over the weekend were laughable -- and I'm still reviewing materials related to some of your posts.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the results of my original post. Thanks again to everyone. I have a lot of work to do.

chownah
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:22 am

MAV wrote:I also hope to incorporate metta into my practice -- attempts over the weekend were laughable -- and I'm still reviewing materials related to some of your posts.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the results of my original post. Thanks again to everyone. I have a lot of work to do.
Laughable is good......in life many things are absurd or just not going well and to laugh at them is better than being angry about them.
chownah

PeterB
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by PeterB » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:28 am

Once more..perhaps you would care to share with us a little about where you learned Vipassana and from which organisation/s Chownah...it would help in comparing notes.
I seem to remember last time I asked you were a little vague.

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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by PeterB » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:56 am

befriend wrote: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.

" If you think of this world has heaven you will be constantly disappointed. If you think of this world as one of the higher hells you be frequently astonished by its beauty and by the wisdom of those who dwell there..."

Luang Por Sumedho.

jackson
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by jackson » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:42 pm

Great quote PeterB!
:anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

chownah
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by chownah » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:56 am

PeterB wrote:Once more..perhaps you would care to share with us a little about where you learned Vipassana and from which organisation/s Chownah...it would help in comparing notes.
I seem to remember last time I asked you were a little vague.
I don't see how your question is related to the topic....and frankly it seems a bit off the mark in terms of Nayanatloka's definition of vipassana....in an attempt to stay at least marginally on topic I submit the following excerpts from the definition of "Vipassana" from Nayanatiloka' Dictionary (online):
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... dic3_v.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

(the first sentence of the definition:)
"Vipassanā: 'insight', is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all material and mental phenomena of existence."
From this I take that vipassana is "intuitive"....and it is thus not "learned" per se.

(the first sentence of the second paragraph)
"Insight is not the result of a mere intellectual understanding, but is won through direct meditative observation of one's own bodily and mental processes."
This reinforces my view that vipassana is not something that is "learned".
I guess that any experience that anyone has had of vipassana was "won through direct meditative observation of one's own bodily and mental processes.".
chownah

PeterB
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Re: Vipassana for anger management? Please help!

Post by PeterB » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:28 am

Of course it does...

:anjali:

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