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My greatest spiritual lesson, still yet unlearned.

I have a temper. It doesn't come out very often, years can go by without it surfacing. It takes what I consider a huge injustice for it to emerge. Most people never see it. Most people never suspect I have it. A few unfortunate people have been in its fiery presence: my fiance, a couple of my close girlfriends, an ex-boyfriend of a friend, a guy who kicked his dog in front of me. I inherited my temper from my father. My brother got it, too. It's the most unattractive thing about my father, and it's the most unattractive thing about my brother. And I suppose it's the most unattractive thing about me.

The deal with anger, or other ego qualities, is that we don't necessarily see them as unattractive in ourselves. They are our defense mechanisms. We are blinded by our justification of them. We think we are right. Therefore, our anger, or vanity, or greed, or cruelty, or jealousy, or conceit, or lies, or whatever, can't be wrong. But what isn't love is wrong. It's a mistaken choice, based on fear. Love is eternal. Fear is not. Therefore, fear is an illusion. When we are in fear, we are not in reality. And the way I see it, when we are not in reality, we are wasting time floundering about in illusion. Meaning, we are not serving our highest purpose or the world. We're in a dead space. We're ineffective.

I've been thinking a lot about my anger lately, because it surfaced recently. I don't lose my temper driving or anything mundane like that. And I'm calm in crisis. I lose my temper when I perceive I have been betrayed or when there is an injustice against animals. I've narrowed it down to those two triggers.

Being involved in animal rights, seeing the massive widespread cruelty going on every day, isn't easy. It wears on you. It breaks you. Protesting any social injustice will do that to a human being. It's a slippery slope into disillusionment, sadness, depression, and anger, if you're not careful. I will say that I believe that underneath even angry social protesting, like for human and animal rights, is usually a pure intention, stemming from a belief that something isn't right, that there is a better way for us to coexist, and that belief spurs people into action. That's not a bad thing. I've never believed that love is passive. I see love as a very

active

force. The problem is that that message can turn from a healthy sense of needing to say NO into rage.

Gandhi is my hero. Gandhi pretty much singlehandedly freed India and started the animal rights movement in his country. Yet he did it with peace. I wouldn't expect myself to be joyful if I had surveyed the holocaust, and I don't expect myself to be joyful surveying the holocaust that is going on with animals today. I do believe, however, that I can walk through it with peace. It's a great spiritual practice to be able to walk through the horrors of the world and remain at peace. It's my greatest spiritual lesson.

I can only think of one way to do that and that is through daily meditation and prayer. A daily connection to my highest source, that which I call God, and the ability to bring that with me wherever I go. I believe in reincarnation. I believe we keep coming back until we get it right, until we learn those lessons that are ours to learn. And I don't want to come back. I'm pretty sure I didn't want to come this time. But I am committed to learning this lesson in this lifetime. It's mine to learn. And it's doable.

When I lose my temper, we all lose--the animals, the world, as well as myself. My anger binds me to the consciousness that perpetuates cruelty. In those moments, I am strengthening fear. I need to strengthen peace instead. I need to hold the light, not just for the animals, but for the perpetrator of violence against them. I need to hold the light for my clients who come to me everyday to heal. I need to hold the light for my beautiful, brave fiancé; I need to hold the light for my animal companions in my home. I need to hold the light for myself. I need to hold the light for the world.

It's not about backing away from what is scary or difficult or dark, it's not about denying what is happening on planet earth or in my own life, it's about going deeper into it with the light of God shining by my side.

As I write this, it just happens to be Easter morning. It is the day of my resurrection. It is the day of taking off the thorns of anger I have placed upon my own head. It is freeing myself from this cross I have beared my whole life. It is the day I stop crucifying myself and others and the world. It is time to resurrect into the light, where God would have me be. If Jesus can do it, so can I. It is a Holy day, indeed.