Hi from the road! Am on my way from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Nepal. Pokhara is a city, but reputed to be much smaller, cleaner, and more nature-y than Kathmandu. It has a big lake and is said to have a small town feel to it. I’ll let you know soon just how much of that is true.
This week’s first bit is from the Fearless Puppy On American Road book. It was another lucky, happy rescue that happened within days of the surprisingly happy drug overdose death, revival, withdrawal symptoms, and meeting with Garuda described last week.
The second short section is from the Tribute To Teachers chapters that will be in the new book. There are a couple dozen of these tributes. This one is a homage to Zen master Stephen Gaskin (based for many years in Tennessee) and his views on anger. Inspired by him, I have invented my own unusual but very functional way of defusing anger. It is offered at the end.
I hope you can find the breezes of active tranquility that blow through both of these somewhat sketchy bits. I hope that only the most pleasant breezes blow through your sketchy bits as well.
Thanks very much for reading, and for clicking on the back links. Please stay well. Love, Tenzin
***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!
Bucked Up by 3 Danes
Three twenty-something year olds from Denmark give me a ride back to Earth in a rented car. They are going to Cleveland. Ollie, Dank, and Teak are on their way to school.
It seems that Denmark gives some of its citizens an educational scholarship period. All expenses are paid. A Dane can choose to attend a university or any other form of education that will lead to that person becoming a happier, more productive member of society.
I have to guess that there are fewer per capita heroin addicts in Denmark than in my own country.
The crew hosting my transportation has just returned from a half year of advanced scuba training in Thailand. Round trip airfare, room, meals, and tuition were all paid for by their government’s education department. These education programs are funded by as large a percentage of Denmark’s tax dollars as America spends on its military. The Danes opted for a functional society.
These citizens of Denmark are enjoying a training and employment cycle of their own choosing. The incidence of fatal heart attacks is very low in Denmark. In the U.S. there are more fatal heart attacks at 9 a.m. on Monday morning than at any other time. I shit you not! Look it up. Many folks would literally rather die than go back to work after their weekend. This, it seems, doesn’t happen when you choose your career on the basis of personal and societal satisfaction as opposed to being trapped in a frustrating pursuit of financial necessities.
The Danish group is on its way to Cleveland for a second phase of education—hotel and resort management. Back in middle school, these pals had the idea of opening a diving resort together. Now they’re learning how. Soon they will actually do it.
They have traveled far from home. They have seen incredible sights and lived through unusual situations. They were bolstered and supported by their plans for potential futures, by each other, their families, and their nation—a nation that had enough faith in them to sponsor the road to their dreams.
Every few minutes one of the guys would manufacture a false complaint and squeak out a fake whine. “I’m tired.” “I’m hungry.” “I’m thirsty.” The guys took turns pitching make believe snarls and complaints one after the other. Each was followed by the same chorus in response. It very quickly became obvious that the complaints were just a vehicle, an excuse for the Danes to shout out the chorus that responded to those complaints.
“You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to buck up. You’ve got to get happy and shut the fuck up!”
The chorus was always followed by laughter. Within a few minutes, I joined my hosts in the chorus. Eventually I got into the game enough to offer a whine to usher the chorus in. Mine wasn’t as false as the others, but I didn’t tell my hosts about that.
My “I’m a junkie!” got a good long laugh from the Danes, followed by the usual response.
“You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to buck up. You’ve got to get happy and shut the fuck up!”
Many repetitions traveled with us for hundreds of miles. As many times as we sang that refrain, it never got stale. A fresh laugh followed each.
I’ve sung that little song to myself at least once a day for the past fortyty years. A fresh smile still follows every chorus.
“You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to buck up. You’ve got to get happy and shut the fuck up!” Words to live by.
Thanks, scuba men. Thanks, Denmark.
The book Chapter One and its author have been life preservers for many. I am one of them. Thank you, Stephen Gaskin.
I used to get angry a lot. It was more fun than depression and seemed a functional way to vent feelings that could have turned uglier or even dangerous if repressed. We’ve all had a lot of good reasons to get angry, including:
trusting someone and then being betrayed by them.
doing something stupid (self-directed anger).
being powerless to prevent injustice. the dog eating your work or school project.
a lover drinking up the rent money or sleeping with the neighbor.
being sober and having a drunken stranger throw up on you.
hiring a broker who invests in a dive-bombing stock.
having your last dollar stolen, heart broken, a disrespect spoken…
The list goes on endlessly.
There’s one good reason to not get angry that overrides all the reasons that make anger appear logical. Anger is toxic. Unlike other types of poisoning, anger is often more of a danger to the person firing than it is to the person being fired at—but it is damaging to everything anywhere near it. Adults, children, animals and anything else within vibratory range can feel someone else’s anger. Anger releases chemicals in bodies and brains that damage the health of participants and innocent bystanders alike.
Everything that other people love about us and most of what we love about ourselves runs away when anger shows up. Almost any other emotion we can feel is an improvement over anger and its consequences.
“He made me angry!”
It may seem that way, but it is not really true.
We allow ourselves to be angry or we don’t allow it to happen.
Compassionate tolerance toward and patience with the sources that piss us off are good substitutes for anger. Forgiveness is very productive, even when approached from a selfish angle. It needn’t necessarily be done for the sake of the person who has been a jackass to us. Forgiving someone else prevents us from poisoning ourselves with anger. There is no sensible option. Once you are already wronged, why breed more harm? A simple decision to stop the bleeding often works better than any other decision.
Appropriate countermeasures are definitely necessary in many situations. But if those countermeasures are based in anger, they are probably not appropriate.
This is an inside job. We can’t deny the existence of anger that has risen, but we can tell the anger to leave as soon as awareness of it arrives. It is best to tell it politely. Getting angry at anger doesn’t work very well.
Calmly waving anger away may not be easy, at first. It takes some practice. Attention to our own thoughts, actions, and attitudes allows us to be aware of the anger as it is rising. Then we can practice releasing it as the bad choice that it is. With enough of this mental practice, anger will start showing up much less often. When it does arrive, it won’t stay as long as it used to.
As Mr. Gaskin says, “The trick isn’t to not act angry, the trick is to not be angry.” Trying to deny or bury existent anger invites explosive failure whereas simply putting attention on something better could succeed quickly, and will succeed eventually.
Stress or exhaustion can thin out patience in even the best of humans. Anger gets hold of a person more readily when that person is stressed or exhausted. Most folks try to stay as relaxed, content, and rested as possible. That’s not good enough. We may need to redefine our arbitrary and subjective definitions of “as possible.” Staying relaxed and rested “as necessary” is required.
The extra patience afforded by a relaxed mind and a rested body can mellow out a volatile situation quickly. It helps us step away from life’s most dangerously toxic and downright unpleasant state of mind.
One Way to Fix It
I rarely get angry anymore. Depression never was and is still not a smart option. Now I use a mechanism. This method works!
Using the method that I am about to describe reminds me that every action, and feeling, and thought is my own choice and creation. It reminds me that I am not a prisoner or pawn of anyone or anything that tries to anger or negatively influence me. It also reminds me that I am the captain of my own emotional ship, and just how important it is to exercise the serious obligation to myself and everyone else to adjust my sails so that they are pointed in the right direction—that direction being away from anger and toward happy sanity.
Nowadays, if I feel anger trying to make a disturbing entrance into my life, I immediately stop whatever else I’m doing and dance the Mexican Hat Dance while tickling my own, or another consenting adult’s, genitals with my left hand. (But not in public.) While doing this I also whistle Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony through one nostril. I like to go fishing with my free right hand, especially if there is a body of water nearby.
If not, casting the line into the living room rug works just as well.
Doing this keeps me out of trouble.
It is almost impossible to be angry in that position.
Got a better idea?
I’ll bet you do.
Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!