I stopped at an intersection and yielded to the driver on my right. The car crawled past, and I swung in behind. In a flash, I was angry that the driver moved so slowly. In a flash! It was as if automatic. I did not have time to think or reflect, (although I did not act out). I have heard people talk about seeing red. They are provoked and go into a zone where they are no longer aware of what they are doing.
After the flare up on the road, I wondered where that anger comes from. Driving alone seems to be the only circumstance in which I lose it (to a point). It is an impersonal and non-confrontational opportunity. At no other time do I get so reactive to the actions of people around me.
I hold strongly to the social norm of consideration. I am considerate and I expect/demand it from others. I seem to feel that it is a lack of attentiveness and thoughtfulness for a driver ahead of me to poke along. Going deeper, I am being inconvenienced and impeded. Basically, I am not getting my way. It appears to be an immature response to things as they are, unfolding in front of me.
Psychology describes a type of anger called “settled and deliberate.” It is an episodic reaction to the perception of being treated unfairly or deliberately harmed.
Buddha said of anger: “It fathers misery: This fury clouds the mind of man that he cannot discern this fearful inner danger. An angry man knows no meaning. No angry man sees the Dharma. So wrapped in darkness, as if blind, is he whom anger dogs.”
I identify with what Indian spiritual teacher, Meher Baba, said about anger. He called it the fume of an irritated mind. It is caused, he said, by the thwarting of desires. It feeds the limited ego and is used for domination and aggression. It aims at removing the obstacles existing in the fulfillment of desires. The frenzy of anger nourishes egoism and conceit, and it is the greatest benefactor of the limited ego. Mind is the seat of anger, and its expressions are mostly through the activities of the mind.
I continue to practice patience, acceptance, and consideration while driving. I want to explore the explosive quality of my anger. I get mad so quickly, so automatically. How can I create space in that flash mechanism in order to discern this fearful inner danger that dogs me?”