Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

R Thurman:      If anger is a problem--

Robert:             Anger is my-- anger is my problem.

R Thurman:      It's a big problem for me.

Robert:             Yeah.

R Thurman:      If you really blow your stack and then one day you-- or you start getting con-- more conscious about it and one day you decide to laugh instead or you only blow it for two minutes instead of five, or you only say one harmful and hurtful thing to your mate or the person you're mad at that time instead of ten or nine instead of ten, that's a baby step.  And you try to be a bit-- and then turn around, the remorseful, I'm so sorry dear, thing, try to do it sooner and more sincerely and so on and-- bit by bit, that's a baby step.  And that works.  We know that that works bit by bit.

Robert:             Well, I mean, is-- is there a way to be more mindful of this?

R Thurman:      Yes.

Robert:             I mean-- I mean-- you have to keep this in your head all the time.

R Thurman:      That's where meditation, you see, helps because meditation is this kind-- that's a kind of analytic or thematic meditation, not just the quieting one.  It's where you rehearse for action in the sense that you remember, oh, so and so did such and such and made me really mad, so and so many times and that was all useless.  And so now I'm going to imagine them doing that and then think about, well, why did they-- do they do that, and what it is about me that keys them to do that, and what is their problem, why am I taking it so personally?  And then sort of go through the-- even visualize going through being whatever it was, insulted or whatever one's-- moving-- someone moving your cheese.


You know, there was that book like that.  And then not getting so upset and rehearsing it ahead of time.  And then when it happens again in the-- our action, and then it will you react a little bit less.  And there's a gradual process like that.


And of course the final step in that process, which is very, very important, is to become-- by becoming more self aware, you realize that there are points of choice in all of your reactivity or how you react to things.  And where you will-- people will say, well, I'm just like that, that's how I have to do it when somebody says such and such.

Robert:                        Yeah.

R Thurman:      That's just the way I am.  They-- people will (UNINTEL) say that.  But if you watch, you realize that there are points of choice.  And in the way you choose to have a little tantrum here or you choose to say-- let that one really get you to this time and that, and then that's where you then can put in that self restraint and you can-- you can remember all the things that happened to you before.

And you can say, "Then I won't do it this time."  And then you just-- you become-- that's the-- that's the direction of freedom when you realize that the links to the mental mechanism that make you react always in this and that way, there's always these little gaps in these links.  And if we develop mindfulness and then we can inject into those gaps a different behavior and a different activity, and then we become more free.