book review: love and rage by lama rod owens21 Mar 2021
What are the main ideas?
- anger is actually about heartbreak. if we can use meditation to tend to the heartbreak that underlies most if not all anger, we can use anger as a powerful and non-destructive fuel for our work towards liberation.
- there is a tendency in some buddhist communities to attempt to bypass anger. this is problematic and has a disproportionate impact on oppressed people.
- practices are the core of working with anger effectively. (and in a very show-dont-tell way, the single longest chapter of the book is the practices chapter). we must have practices to allow the energy of anger to rise, be felt, and dissolve into nothing, just as we do with all feelings.
- americans live in a sex saturated and (unfortunately) not a sex positive culture. this is a source of much frustration, anger, and rage (particularly among men and most especially cis-gender heterosexual men).
If I implemented one idea from this book right now, which one would it be?
- if we don’t make space to be with and consume our anger, it will consume us. avoid it at your peril, suppress it to the peril of others.
- if i had to pick a second idea, i’d say that my ability to sit with and consume anger can be helpful to people around me, including those i don’t know. my capacity to work with my own anger can help me consume and then ground the anger of others. all of this is instructional and illuminating.
How would I describe the book to a friend?
- a beautiful, wide-ranging set of essays (full of snark) describing how anger, love, meditation, and practice fit together to make anger & rage not only acceptable but necessary elements on the pathway to liberation.
reminder: book review structure