Love, fresh air, food....anger.
All the homilies on anger eating away the soul, on turning you into Babayaga, on giving your face ugly lines, of affecting your judgement....true.
But that's not anger - that's fury. Rage. Wrath. It's the bright flame that eagerly devours everything it's fed, to burn as high as possible and destroy as much as it can, before it dies away itself, when nothing else is left to suck dry.
Anger, however, is the smoking ember which keep glowing for ages and requires just a little occasional stoking. Anger is the slow, continuous feeling of injustice that you keep wrapped up under a few layers of your soul - hot enough to warm, not hot enough to burn.
Anger keeps you going. Not anger at the perceived slight of a friend you've known for years, not anger at the seeming discourtesy of a fellow traveller, not anger at the luck you seem to have, not anger at losing a loved one. That's just selfishness, and self-pity.
True anger is anger at the world.
At life in this world.
Anger is about feeling disgust and outrage every single time you see -
The piece of plastic on the pavement.
Massacre in the name of religion.
That person with Alzheimer's.
The flowers by the road for a hit-and-run victim.
Dementia, autism, ALS, polio.
The thought of a female foetus being discarded and abandoned.
Medical tests on believing, uneducated peasants.
Bureaucratic red tape which buries justice.
Money swindled in the name of charity.
Cancer, HIV, malaria, TB.
A tree cut down to peddle sun-tan inducing body lotions.
Women burnt for dowry.
A child working.
Seals being bashed to death with hammers.
The teenager killed for being sensible enough not to be in a gang.
The old lady shoved past by yobbish young girls.
A scarred victim of rape.
....take your pick.
Anger. A murmuring, quietly bristling background to the noise your mind is normally filled with. An onrushing current that never breaks the levees, but is strong enough to not be ignored.
That refuses to let you be apathetic, refuses to let you succumb to the belief that this-is-how-the-world-is, refuses to let you think somebody else will solve it. That makes you realise that, since you've decided to go on living this life, in this world, then you damn well better do something about it.
But an anger which keeps you sane enough to do that something.
An anger which you only give up if you've attained the Buddha's enlightenment - or have become the mindless product that society tries to shape you into.
Don't live in anger - live with the anger.
Love, fresh air, food....anger.
"In the railway ticket offices they ask the price of a fare: sturdy old women, headscarved and slippered and so alike, superficially, that it is easy to discount them. The office barks and reply, and they consider the cost in disbelief. Then they consult together, return and ask: "Just for one ticket?".
They sit down, weary-faced, wondering about other means of transport. Next they enquire about concessions.
You long to help them. But their pride, or your sense of it, prevents this. You know that the West has won the Cold War, that its values appear to have prevailed. The old are more easily hurt now, because their world is slipping away, all that they fought for. The war veterans seem to wear their medals with a last-ditch defiance. So I let the old women trail away. I never did help one of them.
This is a passage of shame."
- Colin Thubron, In Siberia
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