The power of a storm consumes all in its path to fuel its increasing intensity and damage. Everything it touches is dragged into this disturbed atmospheric state, often destroyed then cast aside. The calmest place to be is at the eye of the storm.
As parents we often experience ‘disturbed atmospheric states’ when our troubled teenagers (T.T.) erupt into fury for one reason or another, or indeed when we have other difficult relationships with partners or work colleagues. It is so easy after constant bombardment to be swept up into this angry fury, fuelling it further and resulting in further damage. In these situations we need to become ‘the eye of the storm’, the still, peaceful place in the center of this mayhem. This way we remain calm and controlled and can avoid being dragged into the frenzy, allowing us to peacefully buffer the negative energy affecting those around us.
How can we do this?
1. Understand the cause of the storm.
Teenagers are often very ‘self-focused’, their world is changing, they are travelling towards adulthood and they can become blind to everything that is happening outside this line of focus. They are the center of their own universe and as such consider their wishes ( to get what they want and avoid what they don’t want) to be of paramount importance.
In Buddhism we call this ‘self cherishing’ ; a negative state of mind (or delusion ) which actually destroys our happiness rather than enhancing it. To be fair, we all tend to be under the influence of this self-cherishing mind to a greater or lesser extent, most of the time, and unfortunately this mind causes us more problems than we realize. (More coming soon) It is also the reason why we find others’ fury so difficult to deal with. (“Why should I have to put up with this?” ,”How dare they speak to me like that” Usually with an inflated view of our own self importance).)
Take the case of our T.T. ; due to their uncontrolled mind of self-cherishing, which exaggerates their self-importance and sees their wishes for happiness as more vital than those of anybody else, they develop other delusions when things don’t go their way, the most common being anger. We can see that without self-cherishing (which feels all their wishes must be fulfilled to enable them to be happy) they would not develop an angry mind. (Similarly, neither would we!) This self-cherishing mind is the cause of all other negative minds such as impatience, irritability, jealousy, greed etc, which destroy our happiness and increase our misery.
As adults we are not immune to anger, but we often learn to internalize and repress it resulting in stress, anxiety and depression. This doesn’t mean the answer is to’ let rip’ and rage at everyone, but to learn what a pointless destructive mind anger is and avoid treading that path in the first place. We can learn to deal with any of our conventional daily situations without allowing anger to take hold and destroy our happy peaceful mind.
All delusions cause us to speak and act in harmful ways, but we can learn to transform our mind so that we strengthen our happy positive minds and weaken our negative minds. (See here for more info)
Some of you may say “You don’t know just how busy I am, I don’t have time to train my mind!”
So I ask one question…”Do you have time to think about the ‘things’ you imagine will make you happy e.g. plan meals, holidays, movies, watch T.V., surf the web etc. ?” If so, then you have time to transform your mind, external things will never give you permanent happiness anyway, only a content, peaceful mind gives rise to real lasting happiness. How many rich and famous people have all the external things they desire yet are not happy? Instead of fantasizing about all these mirage-like objects of desire, use your mind to consider and analyse the following points to cultivate your good qualities.
2. You can do it!
Believe in yourself and your ability to learn how to keep control of your own mind.
No matter how wild and uncontrolled you think your mind is you would be completely wrong to think that it is fixed and unchangeable. Anybody can transform their mind if they have a wish to become happier and put in a little consistent effort.
It is vital not to label ourself with any negative minds, i.e. we are not inherently an angry person, or an impatient person etc, these are uncontrolled states of mind which arise within us., and we can learn to overcome them.
3. Become an expert on anger!
4. Become the ‘eye of the storm’
Patience is one of the most useful tools you can develop. Patience is about accepting and letting go of any idea that things ‘should’ be any way other than the way they are, at any moment in time.
“Being patient is not weak or cowardly, we are going head to head into battle with our delusions when it would be far easier to respond in an automatic angry way. It takes courage to confront our lifelong habits of intolerance and non-acceptance.”
(taken from Sticks and stones may break my bones……..)
Patience is our best adversary in an angry situation, if we wait patiently, the storm will soon exhaust itself when it runs out of fuel.
Really get in touch with the patient mind inside you, when you understand that we all get overwhelmed by negative minds you can dissociate yourself from all the negative labels you have ever given yourself allowing you to cultivate positive qualities and become the person you want to be. Hold on to your patient mind, remembering that they are in pain and no words they speak have the power to hurt you if you let them go without clinging onto them.