I have a problem that I am currently facing. There is a certain person in the family that triggers me and due to their actions I feel very angry and generate negative mind-states. The strategy I have adopted is to avoid this person all together , to the point of not even seeing them. I find that this helps me to keep calm and avoid negative mind states. Is this a good way to go about this situation? Can we avoid all triggers that generate negative mind states. Does that help in spiritual development?

  • I don't know, but it seems like running away from the problem.. not solving it. Mar 21, 2018 at 18:12

4 Answers 4


From the Zen perspective and referring to the first comment of user5954246 below your question, it is absolutely ok how you deal with this situation. There is no real right or wrong here (if they exist at all). Remember… if you're not able to adopt a state of peacefulness and calmness for your own, you won't be able to share this with other people around you. So for the moment everything is fine.

Let's assume this Status quo will last for the next period of time, may be you will notice how this distance to the mentioned person will relax you and your thoughts and in one or two months you'll become much more laid-back during the next encounter with him or her.

In my opinion it is very good invested time to ask yourself the same questions, you mentioned above, on a regularly interval. Give yourself and the other one a new try when the right time has come.

Hongzhi Zhengjue, which had great influence especially on the Sôtô Zen wrote in his "Cultivating the empty field"

Senses and objects merge; principle and wisdom are united. When self and other are the same, mind and dharmas are one.

Yeah, I admit, it is hard to allow the own mind to play with the me-and-the-other-one-dualism in such mind states, but it helped me more than once in similar situations to remember, that I share more similarities with all other beings around me, than differences that separate me from them.


Avoiding trouble is good, but don't over do it and create an awkward situation for your family members and relatives. Make it look natural. Practice Metta(loving-kindness) meditation every day. Whenever you get upset about that person, chant lines of Metta in your mind until it goes away. It's extremely hard at the start, but it becomes very easy after a while.

I'm assuming that you have already tried to talk to him and sort out the differences, but failed.


there is a beautiful answer here:

Should I do what I don't want to do?

by @AndreiVolkov

I agree with @mle answer above, it helped me tremendously to have space for my own thoughts, away from some people in my life. however, in my case, simply avoiding them without resolving it (at least within myself, if not with the person in question), led to echoes elsewhere in my life. (as described in Andrei's message)

it has been much better not having them around, but there is pain if you don't get rid of the residual within yourself too.

be gentle with yourself...


Analyze it with a "Cause and Effect" rule. Once you find out the cause, analyze what are the root causes and why your negative minds are being triggered.

Ask yourself some of these questions:

Is it only you that are experiencing the Anger, or both?

If both, is there some fundamental difference that can never be settled?

If only you are experiencing this mind state, try position yourself in his/her shoes?

Do your family members know? what are their thoughts?

Is there a win-win solution?

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