Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Extinguishing the Seed of Violence


“Murders and wars all begin with just one angry thought.” – The Heart of Compassion by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

From my dusty journals:  December 17, 2003

A long day of travel brought us to the lively and colorful island of Puerto Rico.

After am unexpected night-long coqui frog serenade, I ambled down to the patio for breakfast.   The discussion at the adjoining table first centered around Iraq:  how the number of casualties is nominal when compared to the number of deaths in car accidents.  The conversation then moved on to Michael Jackson:  how he looks like a freak and therefore must be guilty of something.

“Such close-mindedness and intolerance,” I thought.

A spark of argumentativeness and judgment shot up in my being.  I’m not the type to inject myself uninvited into a conversation. Instead, I was given a moment of grace, a moment of space to sit with my own heat and observe this “war-like” part of myself.

I know in my head that change and transformation can only come from acceptance of oneself and others; from feeling a link, not separation.  Yet, in less than a millisecond, I was caught up in a war with strangers.  That war might be silent and only exist within my mind.  Yet, nevertheless it constitutes a war, a seed of violence.

How much I would like to dissolve this tendency to aggression!

Extinguishing the seed of violence begins within each one of us.  Vigilance is required to catch every confrontational rising and release it on the wind.  Not a tough vigilance, but a relaxed mindful awareness.  One that naturally flows from insight into the nature of reality blended with heart-felt compassion, steeped in our commonality and interdependence.

Image:  public domain

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Is Wisdom Lost in Your Journals?


Gently Lean Into Fear


  1. I love it. I am going to share on facebook and tweet it. I hope others do as well. What a difference we can make.

    Dan @

  2. Sandra,
    I know exactly what you’re talking about. I went through an anger phase with my older teenagers. I kept saying to myself that this isn’t me. Finally I was able to extinguish my feeling of anger and replace them with great discussions and peaceful parenting. Just like Mad Eye Moody (if your a Harry Potter fan) “Constant vigilance!”

  3. Betsy,

    It’s so skillful to realize “this isn’t me.” That’s really the key out of feeling stuck in anger. It’s so inspiring to see the shift you have made. It shows us all how possible it really is.

  4. Great reminder, Sandra of the importance of acceptance and of letting go of judgement. In our personal lives and beyond, it is the way to long term peace. The challenge is always getting everyone on the same page. Beautiful!

    • Hi Cathy,

      I agree this is the only way to long term peace. Getting others on board can seem tricky indeed! In my experience, when we learn to transform our own negative emotions, we create more space and understanding and that itself creates more possibility for others to change. So there’s an organic process that can happen.

  5. How wonderful Sandra that your journals contain such gems. It’s a great game to play, being relentless in choosing the thoughts and feelings that bring peace and allow us to remain imperturbable.

    Love Elle

    • I like you sense of seeing this as a “game”, Elle, and in that way bring a feeling of light-heartedness to it! One definition of “patience” is remaining unperturbed! I like that word. Thanks for bring it to us as a wonderful possibility in our life.

  6. 🙂 I am very glad I am not given to anger at all, as an emotion. I find it a waste of my energy and makes me mentally depressed because I am sure to feel bad about it later. The only time I felt anger-like feelings was with the doctors treating my Mom. Sigh.

    Gosh, Sandra, I haven’t written anything remotely as beautiful as you have in my journals. 😀 This week I am going to be going through my cupboard. I am curious to see how much will power I will have…related to disposing the stuff. I am not unlikely to box them up and keep them in the garage. Grrr at myself.

    🙂 MJ. Ah well. I grew up with his music and still enjoy it once in a while. He was a dedicated artist, in spite of his other stuff.


  7. Hi Vidya,

    I’m so amazed that you are not prone to anger at all. How fortunate! You can truly be an inspiration to others. I always feel bad about it later too and find it’s just a waste of time and actually harmful too. I’ve managed to lessen the tendency considerably over the years.

    Thanks for your kind words on my writing. I did need to edit the material a bit but the core was already there. There are a few good writing seeds in my journal but a lot is just useless words! I got rid of my journal covers and now am gradually going through the pages. I just wonder about keeping some of it which might be part of a book someday. But I don’t know. I wish you the best in getting those journals in the right place, whatever that might be for you!

    I found it interesting to have this flashback to Iraq and Michael Jackson. Everything changes in one way but the elements repeat themselves.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  8. Hi Sandra,
    It seems for me the older I get the less I resort to anger. I agree we need to be more open minded and also more tolerant of others even if we don’t agree with them.

  9. jean sampson

    Like Vidya, I am also not prone to anger. Sometimes my friends tell me I should be angry about things, but it really does take a lot to make me angry. The most angry I get is when I see what is happening to my town, whole stands of trees leveled to make another development of some kind. I think that is the most angry I get and I used to write letters to the paper about it. But trees keep going down and shopping centers keep going up. I always wonder what people buy besides groceries and a few clothes that they have to have. I guess, though, that if everyone felt like me, the whole economy would crash! 🙂

    • Hi Jean,

      It’s so wonderful not to be prone to anger! I’m so happy for you. It can be disheartening when trees are being leveled for development for sure. I was never a busy shopper, but I did buy without thinking so I can understand how people do so unconsciously or see it as a form of temporary pleasure. I don’t think the economy would crash, I think it would just be different. 🙂 Interesting to imagine!

  10. I’ve had a temper my whole life and it’s something I’ve learned to manage quite well most of the time, but as you shared Sandra, sometimes it flares up in a fiery burst of anger and judgment. In those moments I am learning (and practicing) to ask myself, “What am I afraid of here?” This question helps return me to a place of compassion if not quite understanding.

    • Sandi,

      Nice to connect with another fiery soul! I’ve made strides in managing my temper too, but it’s always good to have useful tools by our side. I love this question because it helps break up the building of the emotion and steers you to look within. I’ll add it to my menu! Thanks.

  11. I like Sandi’s question, too. In the past, I have sometimes welcomed my anger because I can get very focused and it gives me lots of energy. I can really get things done when I’m angry. But I’ve learned that the energy is like caffeine. There is a burst and then a crash. And what I once thought of as accomplishment, often looks in retrospect much more like hurt and even devastation.

    Like Sandi, I now look for the fear underneath. It’s always there, isn’t it?

    Thanks for dusting this one off and sharing it!

  12. Thank you for getting to the point, Sandra. It’s so very hard to learn how not to be the animals that (in the flesh) we are. All mammals have violence right in the genes. If the stresses are right, we pump that adrenaline and get the fight or flee urge. We can only defeat it and control it with correct training.

  13. Emotion is something unique for each of us, as emotion leads to our action, and action leads to the results.

    And Change from our heart/emotion will leads to a total different path of journey/results.

    • This an important point JJ. When we realize that emotion and thoughts too are the basis of our action it shows us how we can transform our mind and actions in a positive way. Thanks for your thoughts.

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