How can I let go of my anger?

Anger is just anger. How do we use our anger? That’s what’s important.

I was riding with a friend and he started shouting angrily at another driver who wouldn’t let him change lanes (and who couldn’t hear him). What good is that? That’s useless anger. It’s also very seductive — we know we’re right! That’s why it’s hard to let go of it.

And what if the other driver could have heard my friend? That’s anger feeding anger. “Hatred never ends through hatred,” says the Dhammapada. And anger never ends through anger.

But we can use anger.. Maybe you’re angry about climate change. You can yell self-righteously about it to your friends — you may feel good about yourself for a minute but you haven’t changed anything. Or you might be motivated to do something about it. Then the anger is useful. It’s served its purpose. It no longer controls you.

For whom are you angry? If it’s on your behalf — that idiot won’t let me change lanes! — your anger is guaranteed to be useless. But if it’s for others — out planet is suffering! — then you can use your anger instead of letting it use you.

How can you let go of anger? Like any other mental state, it’s like clouds in the sky. Without clouds, we wouldn’t have rain. Without rain, we wouldn’t have life. But nobody tries to hold on to a cloud. If your mind is clear, anger will go away on its own.


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