Because you so seldom, if ever, seem it, blog about frustration.
I do actually get frustrated, but its one of those emotions that I find to be less than totally productive. If I think about it I seem to define it as almost like an unjustified anger mixed with regret, where you don’t feel you can really blame any one in particular for it, it just seems to arise from interactions of a number of people.
This I think is the key to getting rid of it, I normally don’t notice it building up, frustration has this stealthy ability, it can creep into your mind as you go about the day being thwarted in your goals. I normally don’t notice until I’m cluching my hands into fists.
The first thing I tend to do is realise what I’m doing and immediately let out that frustration, hitting the steering wheel of a car is a good one as cars, travel and bad planning frequently lead to this emotion. Shouting is also good, sometimes the name of the person you most attribute failure or powerlessness too. The important thing here is that your body is a giant chemical sack, and its now full of anger. Let it out, find some method of release, jump up and down, laugh, whatever. Defuse yourself. There are rare situations where the energy of frustration is useful at driving you onwards but I find the way it clouds the mind often counter productive.
After this I take a good few breaths, there are a number of techniques for this but mostly just stop what your doing its not productive at this stage anyway. Stop and wait, breath in, breath out. Think about the breath not about whatever your situation is.
After this I tend to analyse whats going on, and I generally find that either no ones at fault, or that I’m at fault. Either way frustration seems to build if you’ve spent time fantasising about the outcome of your actions, of thinking about a success and building it in your mind only to find it dashed in real life. Sometimes I can attribute this to bad planning or organisation on my part, in which case I can’t take the anger out on other people. Oftentimes its just the way the universe fits together, the way society works, and just bad luck. These things happen to us all, breath in, breath out. Think about what you can salvage from the situation.
If you can’t win then you can’t win. This is the important thing to bring to mind. You can only do your best and operate inside your abilities, if you’ve done that and still failed then whilst its not the best solution theres is nothing else you could have done, don’t beat yourself up about it, don’t shout at others, just learn what you can and next time your in the situation you’ll think “Oh hey, this job will probably take twice as long, better get up earlier” or “You know what I really can’t get people to change their minds at this meeting about this issue, I wonder if I should prepare different material or just give up trying”.
Apathy is not the answer, doing the right thing, planning ahead or just failing is the right answer. Is it so wrong to fail? Do you really think you can win all the time? Is your ego so fragile that a decision going against you, that being 10 minutes late on an arbitrary deadline, that forgetting something you can bring the next day is really something you’d contemplate violence on a human being (yourself or another) over?
Anger happens, regret happens, frustration is a combination of these things. But thats life.
Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.” Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry. “If nothing exists,” inquited Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”