Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
When Anger Meets Love
When Anger Meets Love

When Anger Meets Love: Weekly Summary

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Sunday
Whenever law and order are based on interpretations of divine proclamation, what invariably happens is that the church and state, or religion and government, start working together and operating as one.
—Richard Rohr

Monday
A theology of anger can help us to construct healthy boundaries. The healthy expression of righteous anger can translate communal despair into compassionate action and justice-seeking.
—Barbara A. Holmes

Tuesday
Love dancing with rage, rage dancing with love, becomes the greatest spiritual, moral, and political task in each generation.
—Danté Stewart

Wednesday
The trick with anger is to let it inform us, maybe even to let it warm us if we have become too cold with indifference or apathy, but not to let the fire control or consume us.
—Sara Jolena Wolcott

Thursday
If we are struggling to seek God single-heartedly, to learn to weep the anger out of ourselves is a matter of self-respect.
—Maggie Ross

Friday
Faced with an outrage, anger is the price we pay for paying attention. It is the rage that ought to come out, because, when faced with an outrage, it is a sin not to be angry.
—Allen Dwight Callahan

Week Nine Practice

“Cooking” Anger

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh offers instructions for softening our anger by letting it “cook”:

Your anger is like a flower. In the beginning you may not understand the nature of your anger, or why it has come up. But if you know how to embrace it with the energy of mindfulness, it will begin to open….

You need to sustain your mindfulness for a certain amount of time in order for the flower of anger to open herself. It’s like when you cook potatoes; you put the potatoes in the pot, cover it, and put it on the fire…. You have to keep the fire burning for at least fifteen or twenty minutes in order for the potatoes to cook. After that, you open the lid, and you smell the wonderful aroma of cooked potatoes.

Your anger is like that—it needs to be cooked. In the beginning it is raw. You cannot eat raw potatoes. Your anger is very difficult to enjoy, but if you know how to take care of it, to cook it, then the negative energy of your anger will become the positive energy of understanding and compassion.

You can do it. It is not something only a Great Being can do. You can do it, too. You can transform the garbage of anger into the flower of compassion.… The secret is to continue the practice of mindful breathing, the practice of mindful walking, generating the energy of mindfulness in order to embrace your anger.

Embrace your anger with a lot of tenderness. Your anger is not your enemy, your anger is your baby. It’s like your stomach or your lungs. Every time you have some trouble in your lungs or your stomach, you don’t think of throwing them away. The same is true with your anger. You accept your anger because you know you can take care of it; you can transform it into positive energy.

Reference:

Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames (New York: Riverhead Books, 2001), 28, 29–30.

Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled (detail), New Mexico, 2023, photograph, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.

Anger is a spark that motivates us forward. Love is a pathway that funnels our motivation in an impactful direction.

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.


Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.