Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/23/2019

Closer to Strength

 “Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

– MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS , 11.18.5

This evening my wife came home from her shift at the historial and began laying into me say that I had lied to our kids about an issue. My daughter was crying and upset and I was completely taken aback: I knew I hadn’t lied or manipulated. Nonetheless I was being shouted down and called a liar in front of my kids. My first reaction was to get out of the house after my initial protests were met with screaming.

I walked outside, saw an old friend and talked with her before going to the store to buy coffee. When I came back I was immediately ducked back in but then it occurred to me that I could really stop this. I say in front of my altar, lit a candle and incense and say in formal meditation with my eyes closed. She kept yelling, insulting me, telling me what a horrible person I was and that now my kids know it too but I just sat there. I could hear everything, feel the spit flying into me and I was aware of the crazy energy buzzing through my body but I just sat.

The tirade went on for some time but eventually she left. I then kudu stayed with it for the next half an hour. I didn’t want to move until I was sure I was stable enough. Once I had some time to contemplate praise and blame and how my job was to know my intentions instead of trying to create a narrative for others, I was able to get up and resume my household obligations.

Once there she made an attempt to start the argument again and, after shouting my attempt to explain down, I told her I was just going to have to ignore her and that my conscience was clear. Naturally she spun out for a bit on that calling me a sociopath, etc but I wasn’t biting.

Al of this is to say that, as goofy as it may sound and add silly as it may look, I intend to take up the formal meditation posture when a discussion isn’t possible.


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