"A problem with anger is that we enjoy being angry. There is an addictive and powerful pleasure associated with the expression of anger. And we don't want to let go of what we enjoy. However, there is also a danger in anger, a consequence that outweighs any pleasure. If we would keep in mind the danger, then we would be willing to let anger go.
"In a palace, in a realm a long time ago, a demon walked in while the king was away. The demon was so ugly, he smelled so bad, and what he said was so disgusting, that the guards and other palace workers froze in horror. This allowed the demon to stride right through the outer rooms, into the royal audience hall, and then sit himself on the king's throne. Seeing the demon on the king's throne, the guards and the others came to their senses.
" 'Get out of here!' they shouted. 'You don't belong there! If you don't move your butt right now, we'll carve it out with our swords!'
"At these few angry words, the demon grew a few inches bigger, his face grew uglier, the smell got worse, and his language became even more obscene.
"Swords were brandished, daggers pulled out, threats made. At every angry word or angry deed, even at every angry thought, that demon grew an inch bigger, more ugly in appearance, more smelly, and more foul in his language.
"This confrontation had been going on for quite a while when the king returned. He saw on his own throne this gigantic demon. He had never seen anything so repulsively ugly before, not even in the movies. The stench coming from the demon would even make a maggot sick. And his language was more repugnant than anything you'd hear in the roughest of drunk-filled downtown bars on a Saturday night.
"The king was wise. That's why he was king: he knew what to do. 'Welcome,' he said warmly. 'Welcome to my palace. Has anyone got you anything to drink yet? or to eat?'
"At those few kind gestures, the demon grew a few inches smaller, less ugly, less smelly, and less offensive.
"The palace personnel caught on very quickly. One asked the demon if he would like a cup of tea. 'We have Darjeeling, English Breakfast, or Earl Grey. Or do you prefer a nice peppermint? It's good for your health.' Another phoned out for pizza, monster-size for such a big demon, while others made sandwiches (deviled-ham, of course). One soldier gave the demon a foot massage, while another massaged the scales on his neck. 'Mmmm! That was nice,' thought the demon.
"At every kind word, deed or thought, the demon grew smaller, less ugly, less smelly, and less offensive. Before the pizza boy arrived with his delivery, the demon had already shrunk to the size he was when he first sat on the throne. But they never stopped being kind. Soon the demon was so small that he could hardly be seen. Then after one more act of kindness he vanished completely away.
"We call such monsters 'anger-eating demons.'
"Your partner can sometimes be an 'anger-eating demon.' Get angry with them and they get worse more ugly, more smelly, and more offensive in their speech. The problem gets an inch bigger every time you are angry with them, even in thought. Perhaps you can see your mistake now and know what to do.
"Pain is another 'anger-eating demon.' When we think with anger, Pain! Get out of here! You don't belong!, pain grows an inch bigger and worse in other ways. It is difficult to be kind to something so ugly and offensive as pain, but there will be times in our life when we have no other option. As in the story of my toothache on pages 57-59, when we welcome pain, truly, sincerely, it becomes smaller, less of a problem, and sometimes vanishes completely.
"Some cancers are 'anger-eating demons,' ugly and repugnant monsters sitting in our body, our 'throne.' It is natural to say 'Get out of here! You don't belong!' When all else fails, or maybe even earlier, perhaps we can say, 'Welcome.' Some feed on stress that's why they are 'anger-eating demons.' Those kinds of cancers respond well when the 'King of the Palace' courageously says: 'Cancer, the door of my heart is fully open to you, whatever you do. Come in!' "