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A Manual for Those Who Wish to Give Up
Samples from the Book, Transcending
From the Preface:
Most people go through life assuming that they
can't change their anger reactions. They assume that how and
when they get angry is a "given" - unchangeable. They
assume that "the situation" creates the anger reaction.
These assumptions are false. When you understand how and why
anger is experienced, you will have begun the process of letting
go of anger.
This book provides a unique and effective method to
From Chapter 1:
Long-time cigarette smokers know that to
"decide" to quit is far from easy. For many, it's
impossible; the combination of powerful habit-strength and
physical addiction has taken away the freedom to quit for
millions. There are stories of people with COPD (Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) whose doctor told them they must
quit their smoking habit or die, and they still can't
It is my position that letting go of anger is NOT like
quitting smoking. It does not take incredible
"will-power" or "inner strength," but there
is one factor that is similar to quitting smoking: Whether giving
up smoking or transcending anger, when completed, one directly
experiences a sense of freedom, freedom from a behavior over
which one had previously little or no control.
From Chapter 2:
I think we can agree that if we were to become angry in
a situation in which anger was not only appropriate but useful,
then anger is what we should feel. And the opposite: If we were
to become angry where anger was inappropriate or not useful, then
anger is NOT what we should feel.
From Chapter 4:
Here are some frequently asked questions, with answers,
Q: "Isn't anger a part of life, natural, even
'good' for us?"
A: Anger is natural, as is fear, sadness, and other emotions
we'd prefer to avoid. During our childhood, we experience
anger in a variety of non-fatal situations; this is how our genes
have guided us to learn when to become angry, and when not
As we grow up, we should have learned that there are times
"act" angry, but there are no situations in which
"being" angry is advantageous. It is my position that
as we humans have become more "civilized" and able to
consciously reason, we are able to discover that being angry is
never necessary, and never "good" for us.
Q: "But aren't emotions uncontrollable -
reactions to situations - and so there's nothing we can do to
A: Emotions are "mediated" reactions to situations -
the "mediation" is our belief system which tells us
what to feel in a wide variety of situations. The beliefs we have
can either free us or control us; it's up to you.
Q: "If I 'let go of anger,' does that mean
I'll never experience anger again?"
A: If that's what you want. But you always have the option of
creating the feeling of anger at any time.
Q: "Do I need to have some kind of
'mantra' to repeat to myself when I think I'm feeling
A: No. If you know that you're free to choose not to get
angry, you don't need to do, say, or think any particular
thing to transcend anger.
Q: "If transcending anger is so easy, why does
virtually everyone I know still get angry?"
A: Few people are aware that one can transcend anger rather than
control it. Controlling anger involves accepting anger and then
controlling it. Transcending anger involves letting go of it.
The steps to transcending anger aren't difficult, but they do
require a clear understanding of each step, and a certain amount
of practice. Also, many people believe that their anger is not
controllable, while still others identify so strongly with their
anger (and other emotional reactions), that they believe
"who they are" requires that their emotional reactions
not be changed (or even examined).
From Chapter 7:
Know what is important and what isn't. Is the value
of an ongoing successful relationship more important than trying
to get the other person to admit (s)he's "wrong"
and you're "right"? Being "right"
doesn't win you any prizes when you're working or living
together. You "win" when the participants - your
family, friends or co-workers - feel that a mutually agreeable
solution has been reached. Remember: the relationship is more
important than the problem.
"Right" and "wrong" take on new
meanings when you look carefully at interpersonal disagreements.
In almost all cases, it is most useful to express the basic truth
of relationships -- social, work-related, or family-related:
"We both (or we all) have the same goals. Let's work
together to solve this problem." For work, it's a
successful project or smooth and effective working relationship,
or a successful business financial situation. For family and
friends, it's an ongoing cooperative relationship, being able
to share good times, and support each other at all times. Once
it's clear that "we all basically want the same
thing," it's difficult to take opposing sides of issues.
No longer do you have to emotionally stick to your differing
view. Your goals are the same: to solve the problem. Whatever
those problems are, it's always much easier to "work
together" to solve them: it's do-able.