There are times when all of us, even those who are enlightened, experience anger. The notion that spiritually gifted teachers only experience love and compassion is patently false. Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple for example. Anger and aggression aren’t synonyms. Anger is energy that separates us from toxic forces and can serve to clarify principles. Aggression is anger misdirected toward another and causes harm. Harnessing anger is necessary to make sure that it doesn’t morph into aggression.
The first step of harnessing anger is sitting with it in a non-reactive way. Not easy! When your head is exploding, when there is injustice, when someone you love is being hurt or when you feel betrayed, the untrained mind will justify destructive words and actions. If you’ve taken an Abnormal Psych course or watched the crime shows on TV you’ve been treated to the range of maladaptive responses we humans produce in response to unharnessed anger. Sometimes as a result we end up in jail, or at very least regret profoundly what we did under our cloud of rage. We may mistakenly conclude that anger is a “bad” emotion to be avoided. It’s unharnessed anger (aggression) that causes trouble.
To harness anger (after we’ve sat still and put some space around it), we have to see it as energy and not judge it as wrong. Women in particular edit their anger probably because we feel less feminine being angry. After all, men are seen as powerful when they’re angry while women are called b—-es! Women tend to turn their anger inward and become depressed and agitated. Repression isn’t the same as sitting with realized anger. We repress our anger because it’s dark and we’re afraid of it. Maybe we’re afraid because we have mistakenly thought of anger and aggression as the same… anger is energy, aggression is action.
Now, what do we do with that anger energy if we don’t act it out destructively? First we decide consciously to do no harm with it. If we did harm anger would reclassify as aggression. We see enough of that on the news, both locally and internationally. Oh, how we humans can find justification for our acting destructively “in the name of…” whatever. Anger energy, like an intense light, can produce laser-like clarity that allows us to differentiate truth from fiction. In clarity and consciousness we can use anger to simply say “no” to injustice and the lesser impulses that fuel wrong-doing. When anger is the tool of consciousness, it can cut through delusion and negativity. When it is the tool of ego it deteriorates into aggression and the lower vibrational field of destructive human behavior.
Allow your mind to be elevated by the full spectrum of human experience including the full palate of emotion. Allow the emotions to be the tools of conscious awareness. There are no good or bad emotions, only Life in all of its shades and amplitudes. It’s not what we are feeling, but what we do with our feelings that can create either peace or mayhem, abundance or lack, wellness or disease.
The next time you’re angry, make friends with it and ask it to be a teacher in that moment. In acceptance we can access our true wisdom. In acceptance, non-resistance, is the solution to suffering.
With love, Rosanne