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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #41)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 07:18 PM

53. Lots. It requires a deep realization that rage doesn't work. And I mean deep.

I sometimes act angry to overcome some obstruction that might crop up in an ordinary life, like a lazy official or somebody who needs to correct an error now rather than next year. But even though it is for effect, it is never acting hot anger. The feeling I project is great determination and focus.

Sometimes something happens and I get angry or even very angry, but as soon as I realize that is happening, I let it go. I take a deep breath or two and come back to basic concepts of equilibrium. Mind you I've been doing so for years. Meditation is a big help, though I rarely do formal meditation. Instead I cultivate a constant meditative frame of mind.

But I don't carry rage.

I don't feed rage. North American First Nations would say "Feed the good wolf."

For me, zen philosophy was the purest distillation of what needs to be done. Life is short. Why fill the Now with rage and anger and fuming? Especially since it doesn't work. Understand that and you will be released. Keep coming back to that.

Another excellent distillation is this: "Give me the power to change what I can, the peace to accept the rest, and the wisdom to tell the difference between the two."

Two books were key for me understanding zen:

"Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

I say always be beginning, even when you have great skill.

"The Zen Experience" by Thomas Hoover
I just now see it is republished in a millennium edition with a foreword by 14th Dalai Lama

A long time ago I heard a zen monk say to imagine opening a door or window in your mind and letting a breeze blow the emotion out. That has been helpful over the years. Letting out the deep breath is a breeze and it can carry out the emotions.

However, simply letting go is not enough. The irritant is still there so something needs to replace the rage, otherwise it will soon be back. That's why I say replace it with "cold calculating loathing" re tRump and the Republicon-Trump Party. This is feeding the good wolf. Loathing, because the irritant is still a problem that must not be neglected, in this case a big problem. Loathing is not being enraged, no seeing red, no blood pressure issues. Cold, so that there is no rage. Calculating to devise and execute actions.

"Nothing works for long"? If it works even for a short time, keep doing it (except self-medicating!). Practice is key. Never get angry at yourself for failing. Get up, carry on.

Musashi was a duellist (non-firearms) in old Japan and never lost, even though his opponents were fearsome and formidable. Musashi on using anger, great story. I got carried away on the quotes below, but use what helps and read the Book of Five Rings if you at all can.

On self

“If you wish to control others you must first control yourself”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“If you are not progressing along the true way, a slight twist in the mind can become a major twist. This must be pondered well.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Complete Book of Five Rings

On speed (a frequent result of rage)

“Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast….Of course, slowness is bad. Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

Fighting (apply this to political fights)

“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy's cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
I apply this one to impeachment of tRump: If you can't cut him down with conviction in the Senate, impeachment that fails will only make him stronger.

“When your opponent is hurrying recklessly, you must act contrarily and keep calm. You must not be influenced by the opponent.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“The heart of Stepping on the Sword, something used principally in the martial arts, is that even with bows and firearms, you must act quickly while they are being discharged: if you charge quickly, it will be difficult to notch another arrow to a bow or discharge a firearm. In all things, when your opponent sets up a tactic, respond to it immediately according to its own principles and, stepping on his actions, defeat him...This is, therefore, the mind of taking the initiative in everything. It does not mean attacking at the same time as your opponent. Stepping on the Sword is taking your action immediately upon your opponent's action.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
Note: This requires preparation (analysis) and planning.
"Chance favors the prepared mind." -- Louis Pasteur

Public justice

“The important thing is to polish wisdom and the mind in great detail. If you sharpen wisdom, you will understand what is just and unjust in society and also the good and the evil of this world; then you will come to know all kinds of arts and you will tread different ways. In this manner, no one in this world will succeed in deceiving you. It is after this stage that you will arrive at the wisdom of strategy. The wisdom of strategy is entirely distinct. Even right in the middle of a battle where everything is in rapid movement, it is necessary to attain the most profound principle of strategy, which assures you an immovable mind. You must examine this well.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Complete Book of Five Rings

On alertness and spirit

“Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken. Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body be influenced by your spirit.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

“In the Way of the Martial Arts, do not let your frame of mind be any different from your everyday mind. In both everyday and military events, your mind should not change in the least, but should be broad and straightforward, neither drawn too tight nor allowed to slacken even a little.... Do not let your mind stand still even when you are in repose, but do not let it speed up even when you are involved in quick actions. The mind should not be distracted by the body, nor the body distracted by the mind.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

"1. Accept everything just the way it is.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
21. Never stray from the Way.”
― Miyamoto Musashi

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