Anger & The Flight Attendant

Anger & The Flight Attendant
 
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
— Buddha
 

People often use the phrase “I hate (fill in the blank)!”

This statement is usually used to express the full spectrum of dislike for a person, place, or thing.

Somebody does something that causes us any level of suffering, and we must make it known that we “hate them.”

We may have less than a fond memory of a place, and we must make it known that we “hate it there.”

Or maybe something doesn’t work out the way we had hoped, and now we “hate this thing.”

I’m sure this sounds familiar to you, or you have seen it in somebody you know.

The ironic thing is that the hate we hold harms us, not the so-called target of our hate, especially when we have real grounds for our disdain.

You may now be thinking, “How is that so?”

Let me tell you a story about a flight attendant that I recently met, and how anger had taken control of her life.
 

The Path To Hate

I met “Susie”, the flight attendant, during a 15-hour flight from India to the United States.

Susie and I struck up a short conversation about my experiences in India, Conscious Motivation, and life/executive coaching.

Later, Susie approached me on another one of my trips to the back of the plane to stretch my legs.  It was then that she whispered that she has been suffering from intense anger for the last three years.

She proceeded to tell me a much-too-common story about a sibling who went behind another sibling's back to commandeer an ailing parent’s assets.

Susie told me that she hates this sibling and prays every morning that “today will be the day that something terrible happens to her as justice.”

I responded, "It is not your responsibility to administer the justice. That responsibility resides with the Universe, and you may never see how this karma plays out. You could be praying and waiting forever for something negative to happen, instead of focusing on bringing positive things into your life."

She then stated that the hate for her sibling had manifested itself in the form of mental and physical issues.

Susie has battled paralyzing depression, breast cancer, and other physical ailments since the anger and hate began dominating her consciousness.
 

Negative Energy In Motion

I told Susie that her uncontrollable hatred for her sister was causing dis-ease in her mind and body.

This dis-ease would later turn into a disease if she allowed it to linger too long.

The Buddha quote shared at the top of today's blog accurately illustrates the irony of how anger towards another only ends up poisoning ourselves.

You see, though Susie was not unjustified for disliking her sister’s actions, the hate was a counter-productive emotion for her well-being.

Why?

Anger is a negative emotion.

Emotion is “energy in motion” in the body. 

Hate is the highest form of anger, carrying the greatest amount of negative energy through our body.

Because Susie could not let go of her anger, she was essentially poisoning her mind, body, and spirit.
 

You Cannot Afford To Hate

None of this is to minimize the fact that there are people who will do terrible things to us in our life.

It was inevitable for Susie to feel a strong emotion because of the suffering that her sibling had caused her.

However, we must breathe through and transform the habits and patterns that tell us to hold onto our anger and contempt for a person, place, or thing. Ultimately, we are only poisoning ourselves.

I asked Susie, "How has your hate affected your sister?" 

She answered, “Not at all, but it feels so good.”

I responded, “Yes because you are watering that seed of negative energy inside of you. It’s much easier to continue to be angry and stay in a ‘sunken place’ than it is to focus on the things you bring you happiness and let go of the negative thoughts. However, you cannot afford to hate. You must stop blaming what happened to you on the outside for your pain, and take responsibility for what you can do to end the suffering on the inside. You have the power to free yourself from this negative cycle, but you must make the choice to let go and take action.”
 

Overcoming Anger: Practicing Mindfulness

If you wish there were more love in the world, you must challenge yourself to hold less hate.

By practicing mindfulness, we allow ourselves to recognize that hate knocks us off our divine path: a life of happiness.  And this recognition helps us to redirect our focus so we can live from love in the present moment.

In this moment, we can transmute negative energy into positive energy—turning that which could have created more hate into love.

As the flight attendants prepared us for landing, Susie came down the aisle one last time and leaned over to say, “What you taught me back there about anger and suffering really touched me deeply. I am going to work on fighting the urge to hate and be angry so that I can free myself of suffering.

I honor Susie for beginning the hardest and most rewarding journey that she will take in her life: practicing mindfulness, choosing love, and facing the negative energy patterns that reside within her.