The process of anger is important to contemplate and understand. To see how it works is very interesting. If this dynamic is not clearly understood, ignorance and confusion will result rather than clear comprehension. One must closely note that anger arises through one’s own thoughts, not through anyone else’s.
Dissatisfaction arises from craving for unwise things, talking unskillfully, or working in a careless way. For example, one may get upset when ill or feel frustrated over not being as good looking as someone else. Why does dissatisfaction arise like this? It is because of a lack of self-awareness and of breaks in mindfulness. When mindfulness and clear comprehension are not present, dissatisfaction can arise.
Some people can even get angry at themselves over their meditation! During meditation, they try very hard to calm and concentrate the mind but fail to do so. Their mind wanders here and there, thinking of many things other than the task at hand. The mind refuses to settle down and stay with the meditation object no matter how hard they try. Finally, they give up, exasperated because their mind is so out of control.
Each one of us intimately knows the face of anger. We believe that external things trigger it, but actually we have to understand that it is self created. A person who does not behave correctly, who does not speak gently, nor knows the right time and place to say things, will inevitably find he cannot be tranquil and concentrated when meditating. When a person lets unwholesome states inhabit the mind, the latent agitation easily swells into anger. One’s self-awareness disappears when this happens. Only misery and bad effects follow.
People really suffer because they don’t understand this process.
This reflection by Phra Ajahn Plien Panyapatipo is from the booklet, Abandoning Anger, (pdf) pp. 5-6.