Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thoughts of the Moment

Recently I had a chat with a friend about reaction time and anger. he told me something wise. I liked it. Then he told me that he knew the idea he had told me because it was my answer to this question he had once asked me: Despite knowing we shouldn't get angry, despite knowing we should respond patiently- it's extremely difficult to get it right.  What can we do to help ourselves not get angry?

My friend said that I had told him that one thing that may help is to visualize ourselves, to pause and think- what will I look like NOT getting angry?  Slow down the reaction time and look at what it would feel like to not get angry.  And also the reverse, what would it look like and feel like if I do get angry.

My friend is one of the most patient and calm people I know, and yet he's human.  And so am I.  And so are you, whomever you may be.  The mishnah implies that everyone gets angry sometimes, the question is how you express it and how the process goes. Anger can be expressed not just in words, but in tones of voice.Anger can be expressed in a look.  In silence.

Rav Chayim Vital writes that when you express anger you are "oveid avodah zarah mamash." Rabbi Abraham Twerski cites this and stresses that we have to work on our midot via works of mussar.  He quotes Sar Shalom of Belz who says that the worst kind of galut is galut from ourselves, when we're not in touch with/not reigning over our souls.

That friend made me feel better by listening to things I'm going through and how I feel and then reflecting back in a short statement that let me know that he took in where I was at.  We need close friends to take us in.  it helps us deal without humanity, sense out, and think before reacting in anger.  May we always be so blessed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't checked your blog all week. Glad I checked this afternoon. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I was fuming at a coworker but couldn't express it because, well, I just can't. I vented to a friend and that helped, a little. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

May 30, 2014 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thank you. I appreciate the comment, your letting me know that what I write matters to you. i'm glad my post was what you needed. I'm glad you didn't snap back. i get how hard it is to keep it inside... Glad you vented to a friend and that it helped somewhat.

May 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM  

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