The Hot Coal

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

— The Buddha

I was becoming absorbed in my own thoughts as I slowly sunk into the couch. Things started to irritate me. Teen arguments and noise which I was oblivious to an hour before started to grate at me.

There were a few quick, sharp responses to my arguing daughters. A demand that we watch my show. A feeling that everyone needed to share my pain.

Embers 01

“It’s my Friday night. “, I thought. “I get to relax. Don’t I deserve it?”

I may have been right, but it didn’t matter. By then I had picked up a hot coal and wanted to throw it. Yet, it was I who was burning.

I remembered then that I hadn’t given much today, so I clicked over to and donated a few hundred grains of rice. A tiny amount, but something. It was enough to move my attention away from those petty angry feelings and pretty soon I dropped that coal.

The thought that I could help someone else was just enough. It took my mind off my own concerns just long enough to realize that I was being burned.

I don’t want to sound noble. After all, I just did what any person with a modicum of self-control would do. Nonetheless, I thought I’d share it. We all get angry, but we don’t have to act angry.

It helps to turn our attention to someone else’s needs. When we do, we give the spirit of generosity a chance. We might then be inclined to help for a minute.

And that minute might be just what it takes to drop the hot coal.

Played freerice. Dropped a hot coal. 

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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2 Responses to The Hot Coal

  1. Natalie says:

    I appreciate your candid transparency when you are having problems. So REFRESHING! And you seem to always have a solution — whether its going out to clean the garage or giving rice. Thanks Eric.

    • Eric Winger says:

      I certainly won’t try to pretend that I always have a solution. That wouldn’t be honest or helpful.

      But, if I have an idea that might be useful to get someone else over a hump, I’m happy to share.

      Thanks for the thought,


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