February 24, 2012
Have you ever written an email or text message or blog comment in a moment of anger and regretted it later? Well, duh! Of course.
It can be incredibly satisfying to luxuriate in crafting the words, to savor the nastiness of the barbs and brilliantly biting turns of phrase. But the satisfaction doesn't last. It sours into discontent and often, regret—and not just because we later think of a better, more insulting phrase we forgot to use!
I have something of a trick for the bad habit of writing nasty emails. When I find myself writing an email with an angry mindset (and it's a good habit to check your intentions whenever writing an email, as Gwen Bell reminds us) I force myself to reread it and rewrite it at least three times. I find that by the third re-reading and re-writing, I have come to my senses, such as they are, and removed a lot of the vitriol. I was in this situation this morning, on Day 24 of this meditation challenge. I think I rewrote the email about eight times. But I'm very happy that I didn't send that first draft. Are we hardwired to write angry emails? I have to say I find the discussion of what we're hardwired to do unhelpful. We all know what we're capable of doing when we try to do better. Scientific theories won't help, but our direct experience can.
Today's Daily Dharma reads:
The work of Buddhism is to awaken, to come out of the sleepy dreams and notions of reality that we hold to be true and replace them with a direct experience of what is more accurately occurring. To awaken in this way, we need to become conscious of what’s actually going on at the very depths of our experience.