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Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg are icons of American Buddhism, and they are joyful, longtime friends. They challenge us to reframe our anger by seeing love for our enemies as an act of self-compassion.

Robert Thurman: There’s a word in Buddhism called “kleshas”—or “klesa” in Pali, “kleshas” in Sanskrit—which comes from a verb root that means “to twist, something to be twisted.” And it’s translated “defilement” or “affliction” by some people. I used to translate it “affliction.”

But the best word for it actually is “addiction.” So anger and obsession, lust, these things are said to be addictions. And that immediately gets the point across. In other words, it’s something that people think is helping them because it gives them a momentary relief from something else. But actually, it’s leading them into a worse and worse place where they’re getting more and more dependent and less and less free.

Krista Tippett: Dependent because the way you’re handling it is then all entangled with the other person?

Robert Thurman: Yes, right. And partly because you believe when anger comes to you, meaning in the form of an impulse that you have internally—“This is intolerable; that person did this; this is like something.” It’s the inner thought that comes, and it seems to come in a way that is undeniable. You have to act on it. So in other words, it takes you over. And that’s where mindfulness can interfere with that by being aware of how your mind works and realizing that it’s just one impulse and it’s one voice within you. And there’s another questioning voice and an awareness voice that can say, “Well, actually, would this be a good idea to blow your top now?”

I always like to say it’s like—otherwise you’re like a TV set that has one channel only and no clicker. If you have the horror show rising up from your solar plexus, then you’re going to have a horror show. Whereas, you can click to the nature show. You can watch the minnows frolicking in the lake in the summer. So I’m saying we are very clickable. We’re very switchable in our moods and minds.

And then the key is, the hopeful thing for some people who like their anger—and some people do like their anger. The hopeful thing is that that energy of heat, kind of like a heat—and actually in Buddhist psychology, anger is connected to intelligence, to analytic and critical intelligence. So that energy—a strong, powerful energy of heat, force—can be ridden in a different way and can be used to heal yourself. It can be used to develop inner strength and determination. And that is really something much to be ambitious for. That is a great, great goal.


More information and the full transcript can be found at OnBeing.org

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204 // Everything is Perfect

I’m three days into married life and slowly coming back up for air and getting back online.

I apologize for disappearing the way I did but the closer I got to wedding planning the less time I had for anything else including sleeping and eating let alone writing. Something had to give. But I’m back now and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and moving forward in ways I hadn’t been able to these past few months.

The wedding was just wonderful. I’ll post more about it Sunday when my thoughts are gathered and my emotions smoothed out, but for now, I will tell you I loved every minute of it, even all the parts that went wrong and so much went so very wrong. My vision for the day wasn’t quite realized, but it was a beautiful, intimate, heartfelt, and fun occasion, and that was all I had asked for. So, I am a married woman now. I have a wife and I am a wife.

Everything is still the same and so different too.

Everything is perfect now, the way it always was.

172 // From Bad to Better to Best

I’m still not feeling much like myself but I am doing my best and pushing through. I just wish time would move a little faster so I could get back home and get back to resting. I’m grateful for my fiance today who will answer a call and reply to texts even when she’s busy because she knows I need her. I’m grateful for a partner who will leave early to make lunch plans and who can make me feel that even if  “right now” kind of sucks, “soon” will be so much better if I can just hang on.


So, lunch had to be canceled due to family emergencies, but the day still got so much better. I got that nap I needed very much and afterward, we went to do another fitting for my suit. It’s coming along so beautifully. Now just the pants need to be hemmed up and let out a little at the waist.

The weather was crappy, and we were hungry. The week was still wearing on us still and we’ve missed each other, so we opted on impulse for a much-needed dinner and a movie date night. We got crappy seats to a zombie comedy, ate too much popcorn, had too many cocktails, and giggled like schoolgirls in love. Oh, how I’ve missed that! The week couldn’t have ended on a better note!

171 // It Could Be Friday

Today was a hard day. My mood is in a downward swing and I’m not playing well with others. I did my best to fake it for as long as I could but I ended up calling it a day early and heading home to my dog and a good nap.

Fatigue is killing me. I used to be able to fake it. I used to pride myself on my ability to power through, but lately, I haven’t been able to hide it so well. Lately it’s been noticeable and lately, I can’t even gather myself up enough to pretend.

I have the option of making today my Friday and making Friday the beginning of a three-day weekend which sounds really nice but I keep doing the math in my head so many dollars per hour times so many hours per day is how much money I am taking away from us when I stay home. My actions impact others and taking care of me often means depriving my home of something it needs.

It could be Friday but I doubt it will be. My guilt won’t let it.

170 // I Couldn’t Resist

The most wonderful feeling is to be wanted, and the most special feeling is being wanted by those who aren’t as quick to wanting as most. I was late to work today because I was so wanted by someone who rarely expresses the need and it felt so good I couldn’t resist. I laid in bed surrounded by the warmth of love and the summer sun pretending I didn’t have a care in the world like it was a lazy Sunday morning and I had nowhere at all to be.

The rest of the day meant nothing and made no impression in comparison.

045 // Riding Emotional Rollercoasters

Every day is an emotional roller coaster. From hour to hour I am swinging wildly from despair, drowning and wishing I’d never been born, or, if I had to choose the second best, longing to die soon, the next I’m loving every part of life and grieving an eternity I had no right to ever expect.

Is anyone else out there living at such extremes? Is it only me that sees so much good existing right alongside so much bad. Am I the only hopeless one overflowing with faith? Am I the only one suffering in loneliness and all the while loving and being loved so deeply? Is anyone else out there like me, prematurely grieving the inevitable loss of existence, the world, an entire species they cannot wait to be rid of?

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you out there, both the coupled and the single. Valentine’s Day may be marketed as a holiday for lovers but the truth is love exists in many forms and every relationship deserves recognition and celebration.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

044 // At the End of the Day

The days lately have been so long, and somehow there is still never enough time. My life is spent working and worrying, trying not to make mistakes and cleaning up after the ones I make anyway. I’m tired. I’m a mess. I’m trying so very hard.

But there was good today too. My girlfriend and I got to work together and I believe we will again tomorrow too. I finished week two of Social Norms, Social Change I and actually learned quite a bit.

I did get some bad news, and then good news, and then some more bad news, and then some very good news too. I got help and I got the job done, and at the end of the day, I got to love and be loved.

At the end of the day, I allowed the day to end, and tomorrow is a whole new chance.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

041 // A Memory for the Week

With the warm sun coming through the west window above us we laid on the couch together sharing your headphones, the right earbud for me and the left one for you.

We closed our eyes and shared a playlist of your favorite love songs. I nearly cried when the ones from our first years played and nearly fell asleep as you played with my hair. The entire world melted away. There was just us, our home, our love, our memories, and nothing else.

I’m not sure how long we laid there, not speaking, just laying and listening, but it sure didn’t feel like long enough. I wanted to stay there forever. I wanted nothing else for the rest of my life but…the dishes had to be washed, dinner had to be made, laundry had to be folded.

The week is about to begin and as much as I loathed to leave that couch with you, at least I will have the memory of the sun, and you, and those songs to get me through.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

040 // An Early Valentine’s Day Celebration

I woke up with a lot of anxiety. There was so much to do, so little time to do it in, and what little time there slipped away from us and the next thing I knew we were running late, or so it felt. I was tense, I was frustrated, I was angry, and suddenly, everything turned out just fine.

We made it to our early Valentine’s Day brunch even earlier than we’d planned. We opted to drink an entire bottle of champagne’s worth of mimosas between us which was both a very good idea and a very bad one. After brunch was over—and still with plenty of time to spare—we walked over to the Opera House for a very fun Colorado Ballet performance of The Wizard of Oz

Afterward, we headed home to spend the rest of the day doing nothing but lounging on the couch and watching stupid movies together until we can’t keep our eyes open anymore. We can’t hold out as long as we used to. We’re getting older now and busy days and late nights have become mutually exclusive.

So, we’re calling it a night and heading off to bed early feeling very much in love.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

009//365

I secretly hate that time of night when I must close my eyes and leave consciousness behind for sleep. Those 6 to 8 hours a night are more than I want to give up of my life. For all my brooding and pessimism, my misery and despair, my complaints and cursing, it turns out that my reality (as ordinary and monotonous as it may seem from the outside) has actually exceeded my wildest dreams.

I’ll need to be more imaginative and desirous in my dreams going forward, I know, but just…not yet. For now—a now I’ve clung to for years and a now I hope will last a long, long while more—I’ll allow myself this utter happiness.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren