How many of you have lost their temper? I don’t mean a 2 year olds, foot stomping “I want attention” bluster. I mean nearly, really lost it. Red homicidal rage lost it… How many have felt this way, yet thankfully not acted on it?
It could have been someone cutting you up on the way home from a stressful day at work. Yet another rude person bumping into you on the street and giving you that look; expecting you to apologise. Or you have just sat down, after cleaning the home and 5 minutes later your partner or children walk across the floor with filthy shoes -again! The proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back is different for everyone; yet the response can be the same. People can be like volcanoes, we either implode or explode!
Anger arises out of fear. When our plans and expectations are blocked and unfulfilled; the result is anger. When we allow anger and rage to burn out of control, it destroys what and who is around us. It separates us from ourselves, others and the true depth of life. Anger can block the flow of life and love. Release your expectation, just what are you trying to prove and why?
Common sense and compassion can get disconnected, we say or do hurtful things to others; or ourselves. Anyone can lash out, like a spoilt child, whether your weapons are words, actions, fists, a knife or gun. However, the spiritually awakened person knows that it is just one course of action; and chooses a different one.
If you are a person who wants a peaceful life; which the majority of us do. You will make a passing comment or ignore their behaviour. And this can be a way of dealing with the actions of others. Though it doesn’t resolve how you are feeling. So where do you think the stress, frustration, anger and rage goes?
Anger, and all our emotions have their own energy, effect and impact upon health and the world around us. Emotions are not wrong, as with all things in life they mirror our internal dialogue and response to the external environment. Though if we ignore our own inner e-mails that is when issues and imbalance can develop. We all have a choice, either accept how we feel and own our emotions; or be owned by them.
According to all herbal traditions, transforming our emotional state is key to attaining and maintaining harmony in our lives. Contrary to popular belief, perfection is unnecessary. As with many things in life, inner balance is a dynamic that shifts as we move through life. Our lives are linked to the tides and seasons, coloured by our moods; and intertwined with the metaphysical phases of existence.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), anger corresponds to the season of Spring, the colour green, the energetic phase of Wood, the planet Jupiter and sour flavoured foods. The remaining energetic phases of Fire, Earth, Metal and Water correspond to panic, anxiety, grief and fear respectively. Through right living, Taoist philosophy encourages us to transform anger to peace and compassion.
I want us to focus on anger, as there are times where we need to do more than get even when we feel angry. When we get stuck in life, we get stuck within; and vice versa. The energy of life gets all tangled up, the more frustrated we get – the more tied up we feel about situations in life. Some people explode, some implode; while others just smoulder. When we smoulder, we slowly consume ourselves from the inside out. For some people, this can manifest in self-destructive habits, ulcers and cancers. Or they retreat into their cave for as long as they need to; some never emerging from depression.
There comes a time, when we forget why we are angry and defensive. For some, it becomes a preference; a way of staying safe. The natural instinct of all animals, even the human one, is to leave the aggressive ones alone; if we can. Yet the human species is one that is actively aggressive towards itself and other animals. The majority avoid aggression and violence towards others. Though there are many examples of man’s inhumanity to man; even today.
Anyone, I mean absolutely anyone, has the potential to be violent and aggressive. Naturally, if someone has broken into your home – you will defend yourself and family. You could reason with the burglar and ask them to leave – stranger things have happened. You could overpower them, knock them out and restrain them… Or you could take their life from them and get a new shed or patio.
However, the person we are commonly most brutal to isn’t a child, partner or parent; it’s ourselves. How can we expect to live in a peaceful world; when we lack compassion for self? Anger is a useful tool, yet it is commonly mishandled. It is time for the tyrannical bully within to be told a few simple home truths:
- A perfect, ordered world is unnatural.
- There is no growth when all is complete.
- Keeping everything the same leads to stagnation and pain – nothing flows or grows.
Every tyrant gets deposed, whether they are 2 years old in a highchair or 62 years old and sat in their chair on high. Polluting our lives with negative chatter in our heads, being verbally violent to others, switching on and opening the untruths of media…They all perpetuate anger and apathy in our lives. Give yourself the gift of stillness, silence and calm; even just for a few moments.
The only way to a more peaceful life is to live deliberately and calmly. When you bully, berate and belittle others; you are projecting your frustrations onto the world. This can be the easier path of least resistance for some; as change can signify failure. Until we individually recognise what is right in our lives (and the world); the pattern remains ingrained. Change can be as challenging and difficult as you expect it to be. Or it can be liberating.
Imagine all of the energy you use to maintain the status quo and remain annoyed at yourself, others and the world. It’s like keeping the seas at bay, eventually you will be overwhelmed and exhausted. Feel your frustration and anger really building up inside of you for a few minutes. Now use your imagination, change the circumstances of your life… go back to the earliest time in your life when you remember feeling angry. It doesn’t matter who or what it was to do with. Ask yourself, “Why am I angry?” And, “What am I afraid to change?”
Next, place your hand in the middle of your chest and replay the moment in your life and change it. How do you feel? It may feel odd, yet different …calmer, more relaxed. Your head may argue and you might have to repeat the exercise a few times. Though each time you choose to be calm and relaxed; the easier it becomes. Now imagine your life calm, relaxed and without limits. What do you want to do in your life? Decide how you want your life to be, right now. Do you feel more enthusiastic and focussed?
When you are peaceful and calm within, your world and the lives of others can be the same. None can fight for peace. We can only create peace within. When we allow peace to grow within, we also have compassion and understanding of ourselves. Then as a people, we can begin to reach maturity. The wise person knows when to say ‘No’. And when to bless with a ‘Yes’.