Most people donâ€™t like that â€“ to talk about anger.
They would rather deny it, or transfer their angriness onto others, their neighbours, their friends, their families, the world, the government, God. They would rather do that than acknowledge responsibility. This is not a judgment, this is not personal, itâ€™s a statement of fact. The bare facts, without the sweet sugar coatedness we usually go in for.
I used to be a pretty stressed out individual. Anger was a frequent experience, right from childhood onwards. Then one day I couldnâ€™t do the usual sly sarcasms, the stressyness, the unsupportive comments and the judgments directed at nearest and dearest, nor the arguments I often got into with people. I got weary of anger, of arguments, of feeling the heavy stress. It was draining me. Utterly. So utterly, I had no choice but to turn the finger and point it at myself and see how churned up inside I had become. What was it all for? I wondered. All that this way of being was producing wasn’t what I was actually after, but pure stress and sleeplessness! That which I was wanting (underneath my anger) was not my experience, but stress most certainly was! What a joke I found it in the end. This was when I awoke spiritually.
Now, I am talking about the unconscious, past-based, suppressed anger that becomes a way of being. It has many, diverse ways of showing up, not just overt shouting etc. Some of the ways anger shows itself are:
– It tries to show up as an absence of anger!
– The judgmental look at a stranger
– Sarcastic comments, sly slights of the tongue
– Silence as a way of showing someone you are angry â€“ a subtle form of punishment. The pauses in conversation that let the other person know youâ€™re not a happy bunny.
– The abrupt cutting short of a conversation with someone you have never spoken to before on the phone
– Expectations â€“ life should provide you with certain things, people should behave a certain way, you should have what you want
– Blaming the government, your family, friends and work colleagues
– Holding resentments and remembering times when someone â€˜did you wrongâ€™
– Wanting to be right, having arguments to win pointless points
– Your tone of voice gives it away, the way you walk, the way you look. In the end, your truth / reality is plain as mud to see in the minute-est ways, it cannot be hidden
Now I will probably add to this list as I go along, since that is a fairly short list, and you will know yourself that anger is a pretty cunning little ol thing.
You might ask â€“ Ok, ok, so thatâ€™s all fine, I get the picture! But how do you lose this angry way of being?
Great question! (Even though I ask it on your behalf LOL).
Well the trick is to GET the impact of your angry way of being on yourself and others. That’s when remorse kicks in (the precursor to taking responsibility), and thatâ€™s when we become distanced from this behaviour, rather than at the mercy of it.
To get the impact, one needs to see how destructive anger is.
Anger is a heavy energy, that leads to sleepless nights, a persistent preoccupation in your mind with a certain situation or person, and it usually remains with you for some time, sometimes even (and in fact, often) for years, albeit in a suppressed, clever way (It’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it!?)
It is like a thick shroud that cuts off your umbilical cord prematurely. Cuts off the cord that leads to passion, self-expression, peace of mind and the courage to love.
Anger is a law unto itself, and steering your way on its terrain is what most people are habituated to doing, but this only makes it persist. You have to finally get out of the car and leave the country.
Anger can be channelled to something positive. For eg, your anger at a certain situation may lead to conscious and beneficial actions to help others. For eg those who have suffered a killing in their family may become active in a charity to ensure others donâ€™t suffer the same way. Or you see wretched things that occur in the world and become an â€˜active pacifistâ€™. But this type of anger is also somewhat consuming and can be in danger of becoming militant. It can still take away your peace of mind and can become OTT. For example, people fighting for a just cause but using unjust means to do so.
But that is a slightly different topic, and what Iâ€™m talking about is the causatory anger that arises from within ourselves. This is underneath such ‘militant anger’ and is the same as that which is experienced within personal relationships.
You see, whatever we experience, it arises from within us, it is not placed there from outside without our say-so.
Ok, so here is how to shift yourself into a new, predominantly â€˜anger-lessâ€™ way of being:
– Donâ€™t deny your anger any longer. Look and see â€“ it is not so hidden when you are willing to listen to what you say and watch what you do, and the way that you say it and how you do it. Become your own witness.
– Don’t judge yourself for your anger either or feel guilty. Forgive yourself and give yourself some slack. Know that noone is perfect, and that it is part of being human. Don’t replace the anger with self-judgment or guilt.
– If you feel great anger, then seek support, counselling or share it with a friend. The act of sharing in a safe space is itself a most transformative moment, because it releases us from pretense and we become more the witness, not the victim.
– Admit your subtle anger â€“ not just the blatant type. Notice when it shows itself cloaked in sweet language, or silence towards another. It loves fancy dress, so make sure you recognize the outfit itâ€™s gone and got itself.
– Acknowledge you have anger issues. Most people do have a level of anger, so youâ€™re certainly not alone. If you find yourself saying things like â€˜I donâ€™t have an anger issueâ€™ then you most likely have one. When we are not in the grips of habituated anger we donâ€™t need to make statements like that.
– When you notice your anger â€“ at someone or something â€“ acknowledge it, and feel it. Just be with it. This way it has no hook (resistance) and loses steam.
– Recognize that anger is a hidden ‘should’. Ask yourself, can you give up this â€˜shouldâ€™? Anyway, who says life should be the way you say it should? In fact, life flows much better when you just go with the flow, rather than against the current.
Eventually as you become more conscious, you learn emotional intelligence and you develop true unhindered self-knowledge. Ramana Maharshi said,
“Nearly all mankind is more or less unhappy because nearly all do not know the true Self. Real happiness abides in Self-knowledge alone. All else is fleeting. To know oneâ€™s Self is to be blissful always.”
Thus, your efforts to be brutally honest with yourself is the path to your own self-knowledge. Without honesty there can be no self-knowledge. As true self-knowledge dawns, you will begin to see you are not the anger in any case. Then you will smile, laugh even.
Ramana Maharshi also said:
“Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world.
The Sun is simply bright.
It does not correct anyone.
Because it shines, the whole world is full of light.
Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.”
You are a Light being, just like the sun â€“ donâ€™t let anger hide your brightness.
Please add a comment and share your thoughts, I’d love to hear.
To your self-realization,
PS. In case you’re wondering why this video ? (top right, click post title first). Well, sometimes, we just need to let it all go and relax. We take life far too seriously. So just switch off for a few moments, and listen to this beautiful singer, Loreena McKennitt (and it’s not just because my name appears in hers 😉
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