I used to be sooooo angry. I was angry at the state of the world. I was angry at you. I was angry at myself.
Now anger arises so rarely I miss it. And when it comes I cherish it as a gift. What changed? I went deeper into the anger and felt its roots.
Where does your anger come from? Do you embrace it? How do you act when this emotion arises? Do you become aware of anger early enough to choose clarity over rage? Can you smile while you are angry?
Anger comes from love. You can not get angry unless you care about something. It is impossible to feel anger without love. Understanding this on a deep level and developing the ability to witness this within yourself will change your relationship to anger completely. Your anger is there to serve you. It is there to serve others. It exists because you care.
Embracing anger is healthier than suppressing it. We have all heard the suggestion to breath 10 times when you get angry, to pause and let it pass. Perhaps you have been advised to close your eyes, to meditate, to visualize, to exercise, to do anything to minimize or work past the feeling of anger. I say that if you have a problem with anger it is not because you indulge it. The problem is that you do not feel it deeply enough to understand its roots. Anger is dangerous unless you feel it deeply. Truly bringing your awareness to your anger changes everything. Feeling anger deeply brings you to love.
How we act when anger arises is determined by the degree of awareness we have of our internal landscape. The less aware we are of how anger arises the later in its gestation we feel it. When we witness anger at its roots it feels like love. When we catch it early it does not feel overwhelming and we therefore have a choice in how it is expressed in our actions. When we choose to honor anger as a manifestation of love it can be channeled into a creative, even nurturing act. When a loved one is threatened anger compels us to protect them. This we know. But do you recognize that you are often protecting yourself when you get angry? Can you connect with the feeling of vulnerability that precedes the anger? Trace the anger and you will find yourself feeling threatened. Beneath that you will find what you love. Before all else you love yourself.
The later we become aware the more anger controls us and the more likely we are to act destructively when we get angry. Anger offers clarity, but first you must circulate the energy from your body to your mind. If you go into a blind rage when anger arises it is because you have not learned to connect your awareness with your body. Awareness is a skill that develops with use. In life threatening situations fight or flight responses serves to protect us. These adrenaline fueled reactions are rarely appropriate in the modern world. As you get more in touch with your anger you can choose to engage these impulses or not. In nonphysical confrontations, in conversation, in argument, the more evolved response is to quiet the body and engage higher cognition. You must circulate the immense energy that anger offers to your higher mind. Only then should you choose to bring that energy back into your body to act with purpose.
Embracing your anger allows you to honor it. Anger does serve a purpose. Anger is how we connect with that which we love and keep it safe. Yes, you feel anger if someone attacks you or your loved ones. You likely also feel anger when someone threatens your authority or expertise. Can you admit to yourself that you feel vulnerable whenever you are angry? Can you recognize this in others when they get angry with you? When someone is angry at you it is directly linked to their sense that something they love feels threatened. Can you honor the love in them or do you feel the need to strike back with aggression?
Anger is a tremendously powerful force. Anger connects you with your power. Emotions themselves are not necessarily good or bad. Power can be used to help or to hurt. It is rarely helpful to judge yourself for your emotions. Destructive actions triggered directly by emotions are what we must control. What happens if you simply feel your emotions deeply; including anger? Many fear that anger will lead them to do something terrible, to hurt someone, to lash out, to make a mistake. But what happens if you connect with the love that is behind the anger? How does this effect the tone of the experience? How does it effect the actions the emotions inspire? Might it allow you to wield this power differently?
Try smiling when you feel anger. Smile, breathe deep and exhale with ease. Your eyes must smile as well. This is not a maniacal grin. This is an easy smile. You should feel it in your heart. You must keep breathing. Holding your breath traps energy. Breathing deeply circulates energy. Smiling will interrupt a pattern of rage, a pattern of holding anger below your neck. Smiling can be a key, a Trim Tab to transforming anger into clarity and compassion.
Anger brings clarity by bringing us completely into focus in the moment. Many are drawn to anger because of the sense of power and clarity, righteousness and control that it brings to a situation. What happens if you choose not to shut the anger off, not to deny or suppress it as many would suggest, but to truly honor this anger? Breathe deep of the feeling and feel the energy coursing through your body. Let that energy move up into your mind. Let anger develop into clarity. Understand why you are upset. Connect with the vulnerability in you and others and honor the love that is at the root of this feeling. Use the clarity and energy that anger offers to take care of yourself and others. Let anger become a catalyst for creativity.
The tattoo on my arm is a reminder. Aggressive patterns run up and down my arm. In the center there is a dove. When I see anger in others it helps remind me that love lies beneath all things, even violence.