Staci Hilton

Dear Family and Friends,

At this very moment, I find myself in the midst of feelings of anger, hopelessness, disbelief, and disappointment. I admit this because although a minister of a powerful teaching and philosophy, sometimes the reality that presents itself in the world that my consciousness participated in creating seems to be illogical, non-sensical, and downright cruel. When in this state of mind, it feels impossible to go immediately to prayer. My human mind must process the feelings, and by the Grace of God, the book Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh appeared. Here is what is going to help me move through the fog of my anger and disappointment on this beautiful day:

“If we look into our anger, we can see its roots, such as misunderstanding, clumsiness, injustice, resentment, or conditioning. These roots can be present in ourselves and in the person who played the principal role in precipitating our anger. We observe mindfully in order to be able to see and to understand. Seeing and understanding are the elements of liberation that bring about love and compassion…We cannot eat raw potatoes, but we don’t throw them away just because they are raw. We know we can cook them. So, we put them in a pot of water, put a lid on, and put the pot on the fire. The fire is mindfulness, the practice of breathing consciously and focusing on our anger. The lid symbolizes our concentration because it prevents the heat from going out of the pot.

When we are practicing breathing in and out, looking into our anger, we need some concentration in order for our practice to be strong. Therefore, we turn away from all distractions and focus on the problem. As soon as we put the pot on the fire, a change occurs.

The water begins to warm up. Ten minutes later, it boils, but we have to keep the fire going a while longer in order to cook our potatoes. As we practice being aware of our breathing and our anger, a transformation is already occurring. After half an hour, we lift the lid and smell something different. We know that we can eat our potatoes now. Anger has been transformed into another kind of energy—understanding, and compassion.”

I leave you now to begin the process of cooking my raw potatoes. Perhaps, you might have your own raw potatoes to cook as well. If so, please get to work. The world needs the transformation of anger to understanding and compassion as soon as it can get it.


Rev. Staci