Dancing Through the
Some Thoughts on Anger
spiritual traditions or religions shame you.
Some traditions do this subtly and not so subtly. They hold frighteningly high perfectionistic
standards for both our thoughts and behaviors.
One of the things many spiritual traditions preach and teach is “bad,”
is anger. It is often considered a
destructive emotion, a weakness, a fire from the hells. Of course there are spiritual traditions that honor this force and give it names and transformative powers (think Kali). However, if the Divine gets to feel it (which he/she does in all major religious sacred texts), why not us?
We may not like experiencing anger, but to
deny its existence, or to work against it, or to label it as bad, is to believe
we are somehow bad for getting mad. This
is like believing that thunderstorms have no value or are inherently bad. Yet lightening nourishes the earth with
nitrogen. And thunder can be one of the
most magical, comforting sounds the summer has to offer. So too anger, when used constructively to
empower a commitment to a dream, or to help some injustice, can feed the soil
of our hearts. And listening to someone
who has learned to transform anger into passion (like Martin Luther King Jr.)
is like listening to verbal thunder that shakes the very foundations of our
paradigms. It is the sound of someone
who cares deeply.
emotion can be destructive, just as every emotion can be healing. No emotion is bad in and of itself. They are just like weather over a pond. They come and they go. The pond remains. Your heart is the pond. Of course, storms can be quite destructive,
and scary, but in the Divine scheme, they have their place, else they wouldn’t
exist. And of course, undisciplined
anger expressed in any impulsive ways one feels like expressing it can also be
destructive. Transform and channel anger from pure selfish (fear-based) rage to
powerful passion for a purpose. (Rage,
by the way, is the experience most people think of when they think of
anger. Most people stuff their anger
until it becomes rage, or have, sadly been the victims of someone else’s
untransformed anger.) There is nothing
wrong with going out into the woods and smashing up a pile of sticks, or
swatting your bed with a tennis racket, or twisting a towel, writing (or
singing) a punk-rock song or a long, rambling poem, or going for a run, and so
on. Use the energy instead of denying
it’s there and trying to stuff it away. Learn
to talk about it with people who will be able to hear you.
result of trying to deny some part of myself is shame and a judging spirit for
those I believe act in ways they shouldn’t.
In addition, the more I believe I shouldn’t be feeling something and
keep labeling that feeling as “bad” the more I stuff it down and trap it
within. The more this happens the more
likely I am to unleash a tantrum when something trivial doesn’t go my way; the
more likely I am to be passive aggressive, or to rage in my car while driving,
or to be sarcastic and demand perfection from others. The other result of
stuffing anger is that it teaches the children around us that part of their
human-make-up is somehow wrong. And then,
because most of us stumble our way through and end up getting angry from time
to time, we sometimes give the message to children that they’re not allowed to
feel angry—only adults can feel angry.
But that’s another post.
are physical ramifications for stuffing our anger. We suffer a myriad of chronic aches and pains
and indeed even serious illnesses that can at least partially be attributed to
repressed/suppressed/unexpressed anger, resentment, and rage. Many people in the medical fields even link
some forms of cancer with the holding of deep resentments. You know what happens when you don’t let the
steam off when cooking something—it burns, bursts, and froths. Same with the body. It must have healthy, constructive, and
creative ways of expressing intense emotions like anger. I have found EFT and music to be my best
transformers of my anger. The EFT helps
me move through it and accept it on a physical level thus transforming it into
passion. This, in turn, is translated
into my music, my teaching, my writing—a fiery passion for life.
To sum this
one up: Anger is a part of life, just
like storms are a part of the weather.
If we can simply learn to feel
anger, to breathe through and with anger, to channel anger; to learn healthy ways of expressing it, then we can
walk just a little more freely as human beings, created in the image and
likeness of the Divine.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog