That is good guidance. If we give thought to something we fear or something which makes us angry, often it’s obsessive thought, then we will suffer because of the thought we give it. Again it is our emotional reaction to the thing that makes us suffer, not the thing itself if viewed dispassionately.
The first thing to be said is that while one doesn’t want to give such things the focus of thought, it is important that one be aware of them. Awareness requires no thought, just knowledge.
Why is it important to be aware that something angers you or that you fear it? Because that awareness tells you that this thing should be given no thought, it is a psychic trap, but also that if possible it is to be avoided.
Why is it so difficult not to give such things thought if we want to end our suffering? Yes, these are products of the ego-mind and it’s a truism that the ego-mind is very powerful and its roots go very deep within us. But what can one say beyond that that would be helpful in resolving not to entertain thought about these things.
Let’s look first at anger. Anger, and its related emotions, are interesting because they always, or almost always, contain a feeling of self-righteousness, that one is better than whatever one is angry about. And so even though the expression of anger causes us suffering, especially when it comes in a tidal wave, in a perverse way it gooses us up because we are taking a stand on our self-righteousness. We like what its says about who we are relative to others. One could say that anger is the height of ego expression. It is thus ripe for our true self to say to it, “Not me!” (See my post, “Not Me – Peeling Off the Layers of Our Ego-Mind.”)
If we look at fear, it is an emotion based in insecurity, the very opposite of feelings of self-righteousness or self-worth. It may have a foundation in the evolutionary response to something dangerous, but in modern man it has morphed into a response to things which are dangerous mostly in our minds because of the impact something had in our life as a child and which we fear it may have now on our adult lives. It is based on a lack of acceptance that our lives and the world are the way they are because it’s just the way it is. And a lack of faith that we will be ok regardless what life throws our way because we have returned home and will always return home to our true Buddha nature.
One can examine fears, pick them apart, and find that many fears may be irrational, but many fears are very rational if one accepts the premises we typically live by. But if as an adult one gives one’s life and will over to the care of your true Buddha nature, then all fears are irrational because one will always be ok, safe, spiritually, regardless what happens. It is thus also ripe for our true self to say to it, “Not me!”
The point here, as in so many posts, is that one needs to be free of the control of your ego-mind and connected to your true self, your heart. As this state is difficult to achieve, however, it’s important always to remember that progress on the path is incremental. Even achieving some freedom from the ego-mind and some connection with your heart, will have real benefits to your experience of life.