Since the core goal of my life is finding bliss and increasing the bliss I already have – which is a lot! – then managing anger has to be a priority and here I was faced with my own 'stuff'. Because it was bound to happen … I received my first hate email. With over 9,000 subscribers, I have received almost total approval. Even those who disagree are at least polite about it.
But not today. Almost the first message of the day was a paragraph, filled with all capital letters, crude and vile language and a threat to contact "my attorney" if I ever send this girl another email.
My reaction was mixed:
* Indignation: she signed up for my newsletter! I didn't spam her. I am super careful not to do any such thing. Why should she subscribe to my newsletter and then blame me?
* Severe hurt: I really work hard to give value to my readers. I don't deserve this outpouring of rage.
After a minute or two of turbulence, frustration and anger, I suddenly remembered a story.
A man went to see the Buddha. He began cursing and verbally abusing the Buddha, saying dreadful and terrible things in an angry voice.
After several minutes of this, the Buddha interrupted:
"May I ask you a question?"
"Yes," the man replied impatiently.
"If one man offers a gift, but his offering is refused, to whom does the gift belong?"
"Well, that's obvious," replied the man with a sneer. "It belongs to the man who offered the gift."
"That is correct, replied the Buddha. "And if I do not accept the anger you are sending me,' the Buddha said gently, "to whom does the anger belong?"
The man looked startled for a moment, then he bowed his head to the Buddha and went silently away.
As soon as I recalled this marvelous story, my pain evaporated. I deleted the writer of the nasty email from my mailing list and sent her a thought of peace and light, allowing her to keep her anger to herself.
I also felt a wave of gratitude that I do not live a life where a simple email has the power to send me into a rage. How blessed I am!