Most of the trouble on the planet as we look around us is unnecessary. We bring it on ourselves. In this instance I’m not talking about the pollution and destruction of the ecology, because in my naïve way I believe we created that in all innocence in a worthy attempt to ameliorate our living conditions.
What concerns me is the suffering inflicted on people by people – the murdering and maiming that goes on by the minute – whether in the name of ideology, land, oil, money or sheer perverted bloody-mindedness. Yet no matter how often well-meaning souls have ranted on about it, it seems that we as a species can’t help manifesting stupid, foolish, destructive behaviour. It’s the flip side of our immeasurable wisdom and intelligence. And, as we know, you can’t have one side without the reverse – that’s basically yin and yang stuff.
However, there is in my (again possibly naïve) opinion, an entire stratum of this stupidity we could actually tackle effectively – the stratum of revenge. Today, I’ve been momentarily halted in my tracks through the city by tourists stopping suddenly in front of me for no apparent reason, ‘cut up’ in my car by a succession of drivers and, walking back from parking the car, the day’s pudding was a man bolting out of a shop across my path, stopping dead in front of me and picking his nose – charming.
I could have taken it all personally, even though I’d never come across any of them in the past. I could have shouted ‘You stupid bastard!’ to each and every one of them. Indeed, some I could have clobbered.
But if my mission, at least in part, is to encourage a general decline in stupidity (dare I be so arrogant), how could I contradict that by adding to it with my own? Instead, I chose to keep letting it go. Feel the anger as it arises as a hear charge in your solar plexus. Feel your body tense up as apeman (or woman) sub-persona comes to the fore, and then mentally release it by exhaling and relaxing.
So stop in front of me Mr Tourist, it’ll remind me to stop and look around more myself. Cut me up Mrs Thoughtless, it’ll remind me how unfetching stress looks on someone’s face framed in a passing windscreen. Pick your nose in my face Mr Let-it-all-hang-out, it’ll remind me to always carry a tissue. Let each go their own way, unhindered by any of my vengeance – I know they didn’t mean it personally. I let them all go in peace and let go of any negative energy that would otherwise fester within. Incidentally, venting the anger does not disperse it – it increases it.
All the great metaphysicians from John Donne to Einstein have pointed out, as above so below, as the microcosm, so the macrocosm, and if we want to see peace prevail in the macrocosmic body of humankind, perhaps we can all look inside at that part of us (the microcosm) that wants vengeance on whoever for whatever, however subtly or unconsciously, and heal it so we can forgive, as in let go, instead.
Energetically, anger that festers, fuelling the urge for vengeance, represents a build-up of psychic toxins in your liver. This makes your liver work hard and overheat. This heat then ‘stokes the fire’ in your heart, the organ said to house your mind – and you start acting crazy. To prevent this, go to a Chinese herbalist or supermarket, buy a bag of dried chrysanthemum, make a strong brew and drink up to five cups a day. That’ll keep your liver – and heart – cool enough for your mind to mesh with his sentiment: ‘When I forgive myself and the world for everything, it produces a light, a state of heightened consciousness, not peculiar to me as an individual, that pervades everywhere bringing peace to every mind.’
Ready? One, two, three…
Atlantic Books on behalf of Guardian Newspapers Ltd, London, 2004, p.269-271).