Anger is a teacher. There are a lot of lessons for us in our anger. Lessons about our limits, our weaknesses, our fears, our ways of armoring and protecting ourselves, our vulnerabilities, and about the sometimes frightening power of our individual energy.
Anger teaches us about the needs of our human bodies every time we boil up because we haven’t eaten or slept or given our minds and emotions the rests they need from demands and pressures.
Our anger teaches us when we mean, “no”, but we say, “yes” – all those times we agree to favors, tasks, engagements, responsibilities that we actually do not want to do or are simply too filled up to take on. In short time, our anger will rear its head at the person, job, volunteer position or needy family member we perceive as putting us in this position.
The biggest delusion of anger is that our feelings of anger are the other person’s fault, that they are responsible for causing these uncomfortable feelings and that they are responsible for fixing them.
They are not. We are each, individually, responsible for what we feel and how we respond to those feelings. What we do with our anger reveals where we are on our path and what lessons we have to learn – some need to stop repressing, others need to speak up for themselves, others need to learn how not to be so aggressive and bullyish with their anger. Whatever it is for each of us, we all are learning how to experience, manage and use our energy in ways that are most beneficial to our individual souls and our collective souls.
Anger reveals itself when the stress and emotions we are experiencing have surpassed our ability to manage them gracefully. Picture an empty glass. If it is almost entirely full already with physical stress, repressed feelings and undigested dissatisfaction, then simply a few more “drops” of difficult feelings, physical stress or disappointment will cause us to spill over emotionally. We begin to talk in a frustrated tone. We become rude and focused on blame. Our feelings overflow spilling out of us and on everyone around us until we suddenly feel drained, remorseful and guilty at the mess we have made. I am a mother of small children who grew up in a combative east coast family so for me, this scenario is all too familiar.
We are human beings. We are messy and while we are evolving every day, we still have a long way to go in managing our anger. In our most intimate relationships, anger arises. It is part of the human experience. But bringing our anger angrily to others is often a disappointing, combative, and hurtful experience. When we come at someone angrily, demanding more love, respect or whatever different behavior, we usually don’t get it. What we get back is their (understandably) defensive anger or their remote silence as they try to protect themselves.
Where we can take our anger is meditation. Sitting down to meditation when one is fuming with cranked up, bitter energy is a freeing and empowering experience. At first, we might only be thinking about the object of our blame or frustration, but if we visualize a ball of growing white light at our heart chakra and we invite in Divine consciousness to bring us healing, we begin to feel a shift. We may start to cry as we realize that our angry focus on another is actually a clever trick of our internal defensive armor. Actually, we are quite sad, tired and worn out and in need of an emotional release. Anger could give us one that would probably hurt another, but it turns out that when we sit quietly, we get as powerful and an even more honest and beneficial release from crying. Or it could be that by sitting quietly we begin to recognize the physical needs that have been affecting our thinking – we are tired, hungry, in desperate need for play and fun and a break from adult responsibilities.
With a regular meditation practice, we find that the anger comes up less often or that when it does we have a growing awareness of our choices. We no longer feel that anger controls us. We no longer need to act on the angry energy of urgency, (“Go tell him how mad you are right now!”) and instead we realize that we can give ourselves time to sit quietly with our feelings so that the full truth of them can be revealed. As we sit and rest in the healing divine energy of meditation, we may discover solutions, perspectives and feelings that we were unable to hear in the loud, urgent noise of our angry feelings. When we communicate our anger respectfully and simply with a willingness to let it go, others are much more able to hear us and consider our point of view.
In the paradox of life, it is often when we most urgently want to confront something or someone, that we could most benefit from hitting our internal pause button and taking a break for meditation. It may be terribly uncomfortable to force ourselves to sit down those first few minutes, but when we do a resource of inner healing, peace and comfort reveals itself and we discover how very small that frustrated urgency can be made by the vast and eternal love that continuously surrounds us. It’s flowing always. Tap in.