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16 February 2024

How meditation helped me deal with my anger

Jia Hui Yan

Facing up to the anger problem

It was back in spring 2017, when I was looking to learn how to meditate but didn’t want to rely on a mobile app, that I googled “meditation around me” and found Kadampa Meditation Centre Canada in Toronto. I signed up for a Sunday General Program Class and never looked back.
We human beings are oftentimes walking paradoxes; I am no exception. While I’ve always had a sunny disposition, since childhood I’ve also been known, by those close to me, to have a very hot temper. Throughout my life, there have been countless occasions where I’d go from being happy to being filled with frustration or anger in an instant. I’d feel horrible for getting angry and losing my cool; I told myself I’d be better next time. However, it was not until I met Kadam Dharma and put the teachings into practice that my “temper problem” improved drastically.

Taking a step by step approach to meditation

Like many people, I found meditation difficult at first. My mind felt busy and out of control. For instance, if I wanted to focus on object A, my mind would naturally wander to objects XY and Z. It was hard to focus for even 10 seconds. The Kadampa teachers not only gave me invaluable practical advice through Dharma, but also provided me with ongoing encouragement. A teacher likened my meditation progress to a baby learning to walk. He said that if a baby could only manage to stand for 2 seconds or take half of a step before falling, we would not discourage the baby but rather rejoice in their growth and progress! I should approach my meditation practice in the same way. So the next time I meditated and could concentrate for 10 straight seconds, I rejoiced in the progress I made from the 2 seconds I could concentrate for during the first time I tried to meditate. Since I could now concentrate for 10 seconds, I encouraged myself to extend that by another 10 seconds, then another, then another. This is how I’ve steadily made progress with my meditation practice.

Baby's first independent steps on the grass.

Keeping it real to find peace and joy

I have found the teachings and meditations on patient acceptance, loving kindness, compassion, karma and emptiness have helped me tremendously. The more I familiarize my mind with these, the more easily and quickly I’m able to apply an “antidote” to frustration or annoyance as soon as they arise in my mind. In this way, I manage to rarely get angry now. Dharma also helps me identify and understand the faults of my bad mental habits such as anger; this wisdom motivates me to reduce non-virtuous thoughts and actions.

Similarly, while patient acceptance and non-retaliation are inspiring teachings, my teacher tells me I shouldn’t expect to suddenly be able to accept all things immediately and never get angry, this is simply unrealistic. Instead, I should start with smaller things, such as not getting annoyed or wanting to escape while sitting in rush hour traffic. This is how I started putting the teachings on patient acceptance into practice and made noticeable progress over time.

Hand stacking pebbles to make shape of hourglass as a symbol of time management. Concept of meditation, slow down and controlling time.

With the teachings I have engaged with over the past 7+ years, combined with regular meditation, my mind and life have become increasingly peaceful and joyful. Going to the centre for classes and special events has supported me to put Dharma into practice in my daily life; in 2023 I attended my first International Summer Festival in the UK. I am extremely grateful to have met the New Kadampa Tradition and Kadam Dharma, I sincerely wish everyone can experience the same peace of mind and joy I have gained through putting the teachings into practice.

Jia Hui Yan

Share Your Dharma Journey

If you have a personal story about the positive impact of Dharma in your life and would like to share it with the community, please feel free to reach out to us. You can submit your story by emailing it to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your inspiring journey with others.