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Musings for the Modern Mystic

In this traditional Buddhist tale, a saint and his disciples encounter a family arguing fiercely, and come to learn why we yell...

What Screaming In Anger Indicates: Why We Yell At Those We Love

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

~ Mark Twain

A saint who was once visiting a river to take a bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting at each other in anger. He turned to his disciples, smiled and asked, “Do any of you know why we yell? Why do people in anger shout at one another?”

The disciples thought for a while, then one of them said, “Because we lose our calm — this is why we yell.”

“But, why should you shout when the other person is directly next to you? You can just as easily tell him what you have to say in a soft manner,” asked the saint.

The disciples gave some other answers but none were satisfactory.

Finally the saint explained, “When two people are angry with each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the louder they have to shout to cover that great distance.” 

He paused for a moment, looking intently at each of the young students. “And what happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other, but speak softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them becomes quite small. The more deeply they find themselves in love, the less words are necessary, until finally, they need not even whisper…”

The disciples were silent.

The saint turned back, gesturing to the family that continued to shout on the banks. “So, when you argue, do not let your hearts get distant, do not say words that distance you from each other even more, or else there may come a day when the distance is so great that you will not be able to find the path to return.”



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