When I travel to the San Diego area I make a point of visiting the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Temple in Encinitas. Located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, their aquatic gardens are home to colorful koi fish and lotus flowers.
A lotus flower grows from the bottom of a muddy pond rising upward, emerging at the surface where it blooms into a beautiful flower. At night the petals close and it sinks beneath the surface only to re-emerge in the morning with the sunrise.
In my perspective, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s observation, “No mud, no lotus,” is a lovely metaphor for the human experience.
I appreciate modern technology; it’s conducive to what I do for a living, enabling me to meet with clients all over the globe via phone, FaceTime, and Skype.
My smartphone allows me to do several things at once if I want. I don’t.
I love that it’s intelligent enough to also accommodate the Buddhist philosophy of doing one thing at a time: talk on the phone, take a photograph or video, make a recording, send a text, listen to music, transfer money to/from my bank, check in at the airport, even read a book or watch a movie.
I appreciate the vivid artwork on my smartphone’s protective cover — it makes me smile every time I see it.
I also appreciate the Zen Temple Bell ringtone that Len purchased for me. It doesn’t startle. Rather, it’s a single, soft, low tone — a gentle reminder to ask myself, “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?” before I pick up.
I’m not a Zen monk, but I enjoy being present in everything I do. Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite Zen monks said, “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” Like single-tasking, that works well with my lifestyle.
“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” — Zen proverb
By the way, the sassy digital assistant associated with my smartphone recently suggested that I change the spelling of my name from Laurie to Lori, informing me that the latter version is much more popular! No thanks, I’m good.
“Angry people want you to see how powerful they are…loving people want you to see how powerful you are.”
— Chief Red Eagle
Recently I donated my hands to a “Ladies Night Out” event. My “station” was positioned across the aisle from a table of lovely scented candles. The name of the company was Slow Burn. That name—clever for a candle company—got me thinking about anger, which just so happened to be the number two topic of most women on my table that evening, second only to stress.
Anger is a natural response, a warning bell that lets us know something’s wrong. Physically, it triggers the release of adrenaline which typically increases muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure. Anger only becomes a problem when we don’t manage it in a healthy way. We have two choices:
This can range from a rational conversation to a violent outburst. When we choose the latter—a violent outburst—it equates to an emotional explosion.
This is an attempt to hold it in, or ignore it. When we choose to hold it in—sweep it under the carpet—it equates to an emotional implosion.
Note: Suppression includes passive-aggressive responses where we don’t express our anger constructively; rather we scheme to retaliate instead.
Ideally we choose constructive expression—stating our concerns in a cool, calm, and collected manner—without hurting or manipulating others.
One of my favorite books on this topic is, “Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames” by Thich Nhat Hanh.