David Hawkins MD

Attachment to things which don’t help us very much is a Buddhist definition of the cause of suffering and distress. We say "Let go or be dragged down," but what does it really mean? How can we re-condition ourselves to really "let go" and accept things when there’s so much wrong with the world as we know it? And moreover: Let go of what, exactly- our possessions, family, emotions, thoughts and opinions, and our hatred and prejudices? Easier said than done.

Here's what I've learned, and continue to practice, flawed as I am and may be. Letting go means letting be, a radical acceptance which doesn't preclude striving for betterment. Letting go implies not suppressing or throwing things away, but letting things come and go, and opening to the wisdom of simply allowing and awareing. Cultivating non-attachment and equanimity furthers patience, inner serenity, mental balance and resilience. Refining this indispensable inner virtue has greatly helped me become a more tolerant, open-minded, emphatic person, furthering loving kindness and benevolent actions in the nitty-gritty world both at work and at home.

These are stressful, turbulent, violent times. When everything seems to be moving so fast and is up for grabs, and the old beliefs are shaken or outmoded, anxiety and insecurity rise, and we so easily overreact with unbalanced emotional responses. Mindful anger management can come in very handy at such times, in helping us to healthfully experience, face and engage all our emotions with care, love, intelligence, clarity and precision.

The Buddhist Peace Master of India, Shantideva, said, long ago: "Anger is the greatest evil. Patient forbearance is the hardest practice."

Patient forbearance is the third transcendental virtue and trans formative power ("paramita") of the Bodhisattva, the peaceful spiritual warrior. If we want to be spiritual warriors, as protectors, awakeners and guides, we must cultivate inner discipline, and authentically, purposefully, raise our inner standard for living. This is a time in our history to become sacred warriors for peace and harmony, not aggressors. As we know but seldom acknowledge, anger and fear are the roots of violence. We need to come together or we shall fall apart.

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