Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Don't get angry. There's no point.

I was so inspired this morning by an interview on Radio 4 with the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama? Inspiring you say? Well I never.

Okay I know he’s universally adored, and respected, and is inspirational to so many people but I realised when I was listening to the interview that I’ve never really heard him speak at length before, and certainly not in such a relaxed way.

Cos’ here’s the thing. The Dalai Lama? He is one cool cat. He was laughing and joking, and, as was later revealed by the interviewer, holding her hands during the interview. Totally relaxed, totally cool. And his laugh! Man, he laughs like Sid James. Seriously. So infectious. Maybe not as downright dirty as Sid James, but it has that same mischievous quality.

Anyway, what inspired me was a particular exchange in which the interviewer asked him if he ever felt angry with the Chinese government. When he answered in the negative the interviewer was somewhat incredulous. After all, this is the regime which has persecuted the Tibetan people for decades, denying them of basic human rights, imprisoning them, committing widespread torture, and causing Tibetan people who have felt so passionately about the cause of Tibetan freedom to set themselves on fire, in desperate acts of protest.

He doesn’t feel any anger? The interviewer asked him again.

His answer – “There’s no point. If I develop anger, suffer myself."

Just think about that for a while. I did. And then I remembered the previous day in my office when I got angry at my computer for running slowly, and then got angry at my mouse for no good reason, but it certainly got a firm tap, tap, tap from my index finger. I got angry at the hold music while trying to get through to an insurance company. That’s a lot of anger in a short space of time. And this guy doesn’t have any anger towards the Chinese authorities.

I suddenly felt very stupid about the anger I had directed towards inanimate objects the day before.

I resolved to try to be less quick to anger, more understanding of things that usually frustrate me. Because there’s no point. The Dalai Lama is right. It does you no good. Anger is ultimately turned inwards and only serves to hurt you.

So the next time you feel the rage building when your printer chews up your paper, or someone bumps into you and doesn’t apologise, or you need to phone BT, just let it go. Don’t get angry. There’s no point. Let it go. Or at least direct it towards something useful and creative.

I’ve tried today and I feel a lot better for it.

But if you think it’s too hard to let some things pass, don’t worry. The Dalai Lama did admit that while he has no anger towards the Chinese government, if his assistants do something wrong he just “blows up”. He said this with a huge burst of laughter, and a huge smile burst on to my face. 


  1. I love this post. I totally agree with your take and I love the Dalai Lama. He's made some really cool comments about gay rights and that won me over, but this is one more tally in his favor. Or three. He is a cool cat and I'm sure there's a lot many of us can learn from him. I often tell my husband there's no point in getting andy about something: either you can fix it, or you can't but anger won't help either way.

    However, I hardly take my own advice so...

  2. Hey, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Jalisa. I just felt compelled to write this post after hearing the interview and wanted to share it. I know what you mean about not taking your own advice. I've tried to not get angry about little things over the past few weeks but sometimes I can't help it!