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Long time ago, in ancient India a young student asked his Teacher, “I fear death. How can I get rid of this fear?”

“Tell me,” the old man answered, “When you borrow a few coins, are you afraid to give them later back?”

“Of course not,” the student answered with surprise, “but what does this have to do with my fear?”

The teacher picked up a small piece of soil from the ground and continued, “You have received your body in debt with required return. And every bite of bread eaten by you, every sip of water drank by you increases that debt. You are made from dust on which you walk and the ground is your main creditor, constantly reminding you of this debt. It is pulling you down towards it. In the end, the ground will swallow you whole, without any remains.”

The old man threw the soil into the air, after attaining its fall, he finished, “No matter how high you rise, how long you are in the flight, you will still need to fall down. That is given. And to cope with the fear of this fall is very easy – stop thinking about yourself as the master of your body. Face the thought that you are just a tenant. And because you don’t know the length of your rent, remember that it can end at any second. We are all debtors, and our debts will certainly be recovered, no matter if we are afraid of it or not. So is there a point of being afraid?”

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It’s a dreaded day. I’ve been busted. My parents just found out that I skipped  school for almost a year, missed a ton of classes and failed an entire semester. Home is going to be hell. Only question that comes to mind who is going to beat the crap out of me harder – my mom or dad. The dreaded doors open and I’m immediately faced with a barrage of scolding. Words go straight to my heart – “looser, idiot, bum, what an embarrassment!” They each scream at me louder than the other. My father raises his arm but I fall down to the floor and crouch into a fetus position hoping to avoid his blows but then it comes – three kicks in the row. They are not painful, physically.

Up to today I don’t remember what my mother said or did. She might have slapped me too but I don’t remember. What I do remember were those kicks. They violated a sacred bond between father and son, erased years of positive interactions between us, and possibly, I never forgave him for this.

You see, kids expect their parents to get angry when they mess up. They know it’s coming. What they never expect is to be humiliated. This is subhuman.

Life often makes me reflect on the ways my parents punished me for messing up. To be frank, it scares the bejesus out of me that I might discipline my [continue reading…]

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Short Fuse? Take Great Care of Your Nervous System

Short fuse, long fuse, everyone has one. There is no person on earth who doesn’t have a limit before getting irritated and then becoming angry. The only interesting question is how come someone’s reservoir of patience is much deeper than someone else? How come one gets irked and blows up from a sound of cat’s nails tapping on the hardwood when another one can take Chinese water torture for days and still keep their cool?

You might point out the obvious – patience! But patience is a finite resource. Besides, if one is not experiencing any irritation from an obvious trigger then what’s there to be patient about? The answer lies within our nervous system (NS). It is our NS that determines how comfortable we are in our bodies. In scientific terms a nervous system is responsible for “sending, receiving, and interpreting information from all parts of the body; it monitors and coordinates internal organ function and responds to changes in the external environment.”

In simple terms NS is intricately linked to our perception of things whether we’re aware of it or not. My past three years of struggle with health and insomnia has definitely taught me many lessons about the role that our nervous system plays in self control. Insomnia, especially, hits the NS like a bulldozer and makes one into a walking zombie. This is where I had the fortune to put all of my thus far accumulated “anger mentor” wisdom to the test.

It didn’t take long to notice that following a sleepless night my fuse was extremely short. I basically already got out of bed irritated and pissed for having gone through [continue reading…]

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Modern psychology says that being judgmental toward others is a psychological defense mechanism: we reject in others what we can’t accept in ourselves. It’s an insightful discovery but I believe it’s a short sighted one. Our inner critic has much deeper roots, those that hide way beyond the ordinary observation of the ego mind.  Ever Read more

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So you’re furious, I mean you’re really pissed… Now what?  Come with me to the dungeon of your mind where you find yourself absolutely livid, so full of rage you’re ready to explode and take everyone with you. Basically you’re Taliban, wearing an emotional suicide vest. The Dawn of Madness In this downward vortex you Read more

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[stextbox id=”grey” image=”null”] A Hindu saint who was visiting the river Ganges to bathe found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples smiled and asked: ‘Why do people shout in anger at each other?’ Disciples thought for a while, one of them said, ‘Because Read more

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How Can You be Angry When… Part 2

“How Can You be Angry When” is a series of posts meant to pause the words, ground you and hopefully inspire you to shift perspective, consider the alternative; even if… it’s just for a moment. [stextbox id=”black” image=”null”]”But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had Read more

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“Our puppet strings are hard to see, so we perceive ourselves as free.” – Theodore Melnechuk, Poet and Scientist. Life – a precious opportunity to exist on the terrestrial plane among animals and fellow human beings. Full of joy, love, service to others, and at the same time riddled with pain, frustration and disappointment.   Ever Read more

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“Look, I’ve tried all of your advice on dealing with angry people and nothing works. I’m at the end of my wits, what else can I do?” When, once in a blue moon, I get an e-mail stating something like this I have to access my drawer of secret advice and introduce a radical notion Read more

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When I was a “seasoned” nurse, the first thing I would tell new psych nurses was to throw out everything they learned in books. I explained that although saying sweetly “I’m concerned about you….. for whatever reason” may work with neurotic folks who just want to talk, that it wouldn’t get you anywhere in an Read more

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