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Ferguson, Anger, and Meditation

The whole world is watching Ferguson, Missouri, as a grand jury verdict is expected any day on whether to indict a police officer who shot an unarmed black man. That action led to protests, arrests, and boiling anger. In advance of the grand jury action, extra officers, FBI, and the National Guard are in place -- and officials urge people to be calm.

In this space, the St. Louis/Bentwood Transcendental Meditation (TM) Center is offering a talk on meditation to relieve stress for all Ferguson residents.

This might seems a bit disengenuous, crass (TM is a trademarked technique that costs money to learn), or too little too late -- the talk is Dec. 2. But a phrase in the notice caught at my heart:

Stress can cause people to react in ways that takes away from a person’s message and make it harder for people to hear each other.

And that is true, whether the issue is the nation's racial history, police tactics, or Thanksgiving dinner and the debate over whether canned or fresh cranberry sauce is better.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't feel angry. Anger is an energy and intelligence that tells us something is wrong here. Anger points out problems -- it doesn't solve them. Hatred never ends hatred, the Buddha said.

Notice the anger rising and look at what it's pointing to. Then look for the skillful action that you can take to change that.

Photos by the Associated Press from here.and here

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