Anger is Valid

Anger is valid.

Fear is valid.

Grief is valid.

My nephew, a black man, was tear gassed during a peaceful demonstration last week in New Orleans. He is angry and afraid. His family is angry and afraid. I am angry and afraid. And relieved it was just tear gas. (He is not the person depicted in the photo.)

Our feelings are valid and appropriate responses to the world’s events. We also grieve the losses of friends to Covid 19. We are grieving.The world is afraid, the world is angry, the world is grieving.Grief for our world is appropriate.

Our feelings are hard, but appropriate. I just read an article about hope, and looking at this time as a rebirth, in a sense. It urged us not to be sad, but grateful that our sickness is being exposed. As a human of advancing years, I say, “Again? Still?”

As a Buddhist I see it this way. Emotions are not wrong. Even the hard ones. We should NOT try to run from them, NOT try to bury them. We should instead sit with them and feel them and explore them with curiosity so that we can understand them and so that we can use them to support our thoughtful actions rather than just raging against injustice.

It’s hard. But it’s possible. It weakens the suffering.

Feel your fear. Feel your anger. Feel your grief. Feel your love. Feel your confusion.

There is pain. Pain is real. There is suffering. Suffering comes from our struggle with pain.

There is a path out of suffering, but not out of pain. Pain is part of life. We will experience it. We will experience all kinds of emotions, too. They are part of our evolutionary package. They are valid.

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