My friend, the above story comes to mind. I could find a way to say, “No, a fully enlightened person does not feel anger.” I could find a way to say, “Yes, a fully enlightened person feels anger.” But to say either would be to cling to a belief. One thing I can say with a tiny bit of confidence is that as one practices, anger felt may become weaker. In our metta practice, when we offer metta to someone who is challenging to love, it used to be that one person would come to mind rather easily. More recently, when I think of someone who is challenging to love, no one comes to mind.
And lately I’ve been paying attention to the energy behind emotions. I use the standard 0-10 pain scale. Being mindful of the intensity of emotions, I definitely notice that the “volume” has been turned down for many of my emotions. And that feels more peaceful. As the image at the top of this page illustrates, there’s an off/on switch, and then there’s a dial. I find myself thinking less in terms of on/off and more in terms of intensity, or what I like to call volume. If my practice turns down the volume of my destructive emotions, I am grateful for that. Turning that volume down is not something that I consciously try to do. Somehow I feel that might be either impossible or counter productive. Rather, I immerse myself if Dharma teachings at every opportunity, and what happens happens. So far, I’m very grateful for the changes I’ve noticed.
Remember, there is nothing to attain.
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