Monday, January 3, 2011

KINDLY EYES

"Anger, fear, conflict, and resentment arise from our fear. When we are afraid, our body tightens, our heart is constricted, our mind is possessed. We cannot live wisely.
Forgiveness releases us from the power of fear. It allows us to see with kindly eyes and rest in a wise heart."
Jack Kornfield, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

I don't know about that, but I do know that when I get stressed and angry, I often get sick. I had a mini-meltdown yesterday, which is what led me to think maybe anger would be a good topic for focus in therapy. And that mini-melt also led me to have a relapse in post-holiday illness.

I had purchased the book in Oakland a couple of weeks before, without really thinking that I might REALLY put it to use. The "mind is possessed" seems particularly relevant when you think you have been slighted or hurt and want revenge or something. In my shot of anger and frustration yesterday, I was fortunate to have the presence of mind to temper my communications with a little bit of compassion. Even though I was feeling quite injured and annoyed, I forced myself to think of those on the receiving end, their situations, etc.

I re-wrote the email to be more about how I was feeling than what the other person had done. We had a little exchange, both apologized, problem solved, friendship intact. And in the other case, we negotiated and came to an understanding that will hold until we have time to talk it out more fully. Also, no hard feelings, no extra drama.

The benefit was that I actually felt better and hadn't hurt anyone. Yeah, I have a stress cold now, but maybe it will pass. And at least I won't have that unfinished business over my head.

Kindly eyes. I tried to see my "adversaries" with kindly eyes.

Consideration is an under-utilized emotional/psychological filter.

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