(Continued from Look Behind The Anger To Act Awake)
THE IRONY OF ANGER
“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” – Eckhart Tolle
Anger is a hot emotion. As it courses through our veins, we feel the surge of adrenaline. We feel powerful! Blinded by that power, we feel we can leap buildings, take on an army, even conquer the world. Anger can be a tremendous motivator, providing raw energy to make big changes. As primitive man living in the wild, we needed that energy surge in order to survive because we lived in the fear of constant attack. But as we evolve, we understand that to live with the constant fear of attack comes at a great cost to our health and to our well-being.
When we react in anger – blow up, yell, call names, slam doors, road rage – our primal circuitry is on overdrive. Unconsciously, we have convinced ourselves that we are displaying how terrifying and powerful we are. But when we look deeply into anger, we can hear in it a soulful cry for help. Anger shows us not that we feel powerful, but that we feel terrified, overwhelmed, out of control, incapable and powerless.
Is it not true, that when we feel angry, immersed in a boiling, surging moment, we are completely convinced that the problem is “out there”? When we feel angry, we blame. We judge. We attack. We do so because we feel attacked. We feel unsafe. We feel threatened. We don’t feel in balance. We don’t feel loved and safe.
Whatever it is that triggered our anger has shown us how we feel unloved. Because of that, we want to push feeling so exposed away. We want to stop that feeling, destroy it, and get rid of it! When we are angry, we react unconsciously. We have lost the fullness of the moment. Those primal instincts have kicked in. Tunnel vision is all we know, telling us how to get out of perceived danger – fast.
When we are willing to be humble, we learn to slow down. We learn to drop our weaponry, open to what is and greet anger as our teacher. Anger shows us where we have lost our connection to the fullness of the moment, which is always love.
Let’s go back to our roommate with the noisy TV who was disturbing our sleep. When we allow the anger to get the better of us, we will throw off our bed covers, storm out of our room and do something rash like just go turn off the TV without saying a word, or yell at our roommate for being so insensitive.
When we take a moment to calm down, take a few deep breaths and look within, we see that likely the roommate meant no harm. Even if he was annoying us intentionally, that would be an expression of his ignorance and his own feeling of being unloved. His actions and choices are no reflection of us. Likely his actions were a simple oversight, nothing more. By calmly saying what we are feeling and what we need, the problem can likely be resolved.
When we look at the moment and meet it as it is, we need to remember that our baggage distorts the lens through which we see the world. Perhaps we had a controlling or absent parent who was insensitive to our needs. Perhaps we grew up feeling unsafe expressing what we needed, so we don’t really know how to do it as adults.
When we meet seemingly straightforward life situations that set us off for apparently no reason, we can be assured that we have touched some of our personal baggage. The roommate inadvertently pushed our unconscious button and before we know we it, we are not going to talk to some neutral guy sitting in our shared living room, but we are on a crusade to confront an insensitive parent who never gave us the love we needed.
Taking the time to calm down helps us see clearly the moment as it is. When we see the roommate for the roommate, we begin to see him as a gift to learn greater discernment and act with greater compassion. He also just provided us with an opportunity to lighten our baggage load and live more freely within ourselves.
(Continues tomorrow: Anger, What a Pain!)