Anger and Trees

Earlier, I had posted here about my anger problem especially regarding biking. I have decided to work with my anger. I didn’t want to see it as an enemy, but rather to make friends with my anger.

I can see a friendship is blossoming as Buffy said, “They [my emotions especially anger] are total assets. I agree. If you make your emotions your enemy then you have a war inside you. And war is so 2001.

So I am making friends by going about in a few ways. First is mindfulness of the body. When I actually do get angry, I ask, “where in my body am I angry?” I usually narrow it down to a band around my chest. Then I focus on that area and just “be with the anger” for as long as I can.

The second thing I do, I call feeding the beast. When I get angry, I get angry 100%. That is, I noticed that when I get angry, I am a little unconscious like my mind is a little asleep. There is a chain of angry thoughts that goes on and on. I keep thinking about how unfair that person is and what I’d like to do to even the score. Anything defending the other person or even trying to explain the situation makes me feel like I am fighting against myself. Therefore, I try to think of more things to be angry about and more revenge to be had in more detail than before. For some reason, this calms me down. I really don’t have many conscious angry plans. Once I start to plan some really bad things, my conscience kicks in . Also, I realize that I am exaggerating the situation. I just stop.

The final thing I do when, especially when riding, is visualization. Whenever someone does something to disturb me such as walk in front of me or buzz me, I focus on something more positive such as a tree. I let the treeness suffuse my entire consciousness. At first, I just combined angry thoughts and the tree itself thing, “I hate this person for messing with me/tree/hate/tree/hate/tree”. Later on, I noticed that while I do keep the angry situation in mind, it is much more subdued. Most of my focus is on the tree.

I also steer my bike away from the more troubled spots. Finally, I never make eye contact. I have the idea that someone can only truly transmit their negativity through the eyes. If you don’t look in their eyes, you will not suffer what they suffer. This has worked greatly.

I know that this is probably not good practice because it is trying to push the world away in some sense. The motivation is self-centered. I don’t want people fucking up my calm day. However, I feel that to do further practice, I have to keep my own calm first. Plus, there is nothing I can do to help the people on the streets of the city. People either want one of two things: money or for you to not exist in their space. That’s it. There’s little room for any other kind of interaction or practice.

This is the basis of my protocol for speaking to drivers. In most cases. I don’t speak as I feel that there’s something about car drivers that makes them feel so threatened despite the giant barrier they have placed between themselves in the world that anything no matter how kind will be taken negatively. I don’t know where I acquired this belief—experience?

Anyway, there are only a few times when I do speak. The first is to make my presence known. I only do this when a driver is trapped behind other traffic or a light and they look like they are going to “narrow the gap”. I usually wave, but occasionally, I will give a tap on their hood and wave. This is so they can’t say the “I didn’t see you”.

Next, when they yell at me, I usually take it. That is because they usually yell something and drive off in the typical cowardly fashion. If I do get stuck in traffic with them and they say anything negative at all, I say, “Thank-you for your advice.”

A new addition to my answer stable in dealing with drivers is, “wonderful.” If I can’t think of anything else to say, “I’ll say ‘wonderful’ no matter how nasty the person is.”

I am usually silent. However, just having this arsenal of kindness makes me calmer while on the road. I don’t know why, but I’m glad.

Smile, you are alive…no matter how shitty your situation is.


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