Aligning with our True Nature means continuing to develop the habit of remembering the Big Picture and seeing ourselves and others as powerful Creators. Monitoring our emotional state is a bit like taking our temperature. How we feel in any given moment is the best gauge of how connected we are to Spirit. When we are fully connected, we naturally feel happy and at peace. When negative emotions arise, such as anger, fear or sadness, we can take it as a sign that it is time to practice and remember who we are.
Anger is one of the most potent and powerful human emotions. It is often called a mask for fear. It is also a mask for hurt and part of a defense mechanism that is built into our psyche and fed by our own thoughts. Fear and disappointment make us feel separate, which breeds more fear and ultimately loneliness.
Sometimes, we get so angry with others that we close our hearts to them, blocking the normal flow of lovingkindness between us, causing even further separation. At first, we are angry about the event, and then we become even angrier as we continue to think about it or rant about it. We become so engulfed in the negativity that we draw conclusions based on anger (or fear) instead of love.
This is where the yoga that we have been so diligently practicing can and should help us. As we have been refining our ability to witness our bodies in various poses, we have become more familiar with the idea that we are the master of our thoughts rather than the slave. When a pose is causing pain, we can shift our body position and make it feel better. In the same way, we can begin to transform any type of negative emotion with increasing skill and speed.
If our practice has taught us anything, it is to see within a short time, the truth of any situation. There is an event and then there is our perception of it. The event is actually quite objective and simple. Our perception is subjective in that after the initial flame of anger ignites inside us, if we continue to fan the flame, then we are actually choosing to make it burn even hotter. In the heat of the moment, it may not feel like we can do anything to change it, however, the reality is–we can. Of course we cannot change the event, but we can always change our interpretation of it.
Anger usually feels like heat. Think of a fire and how quickly it can grow from a smoldering ember into a blazing inferno that can destroy an entire house or a forest in a short time. Fire causes transformation. How do you feel when someone you love yells at you or gives you the cold shoulder because you let them down in some way? Does it make you feel angry, sad or hurt? Is this feeling of separation ever constructive? What can you do to use your anger constructively and use it as an opportunity to get closer to the person rather than pushing them away.
The next time you have an opportunity to practice with real anger, let it to burn inside of you and allow yourself to feel the incredible power of the flame. What will you do next? Many of us will explode, while some of us will keep the anger inside and implode. Holding anger inside is not recommended for any length of time. An angry outburst allows the heat to escape, yet at the same time can cause hurt and more anger to arise in the object we are aiming at. Though it feels like a release, it is rarely constructive and most often sadly, destructive. What I am suggesting is—– Don’t yell at people or raise your voice!
Perhaps there is a way to express the feeling of anger in a journal or to an outsider before aiming the intensity at the one who triggered it. The anger must be dealt with. It is not healthy to leave it smoldering inside our own heart and mind, and yet, when we turn it outward, we often end up contributing to the upset of another as well as our own.
At the core of our difficulty with handling our anger is a common belief that the behavior of others must be controlled. This unfortunately leaves us feeling vulnerable to their behavior. When they disappoint us or ignite the flame of our anger in some way, we lash out to let them know we feel hurt. The truth is that the only real reason we ever feel good or bad has nothing to do with the behavior of others and everything to do with how in or out of alignment we are with our own Higher Wisdom. That alignment is the reason for the emotions we feel. When we know that truth deep in our bones, we take notice of our state of alignment and we nurture and monitor it regularly. In this way we bring a little more peace to the world every day.
“Discomfort is an opportunity for self-reflection. The opportunity is missed when it becomes defensiveness.” Unknown author
This is my New Year’s offering. I intend to focus on it and bring my awareness to it and I invite you to join me,