This week we are looking at Anger. Even the word probably summons up an initial feeling of resistance and fear. Anger can often be seen as bad and unproductive but if you listen and pay attention to anger it can often lead you to where you want to go and stay aligned to the person you want to be.
However we need to look at anger differently. We need to stop resisting anger as something that needs to be driven away or diminished and embrace it as something we will always have to live with and consider the positive and productive outcomes to anger.
Anger can be felt through wanting change, wanting justice/fairness/equality. The need to felt heard or validated can cause anger and anger can be felt from a desire to be independent, to feel strong or to feel like your individuality matters. These ideals in and of themselves are warranted and needed in the world and for you and others. I'm pretty sure we have all felt all or some version of the above list in circumstances in our lives.
What we need to do with these inner ideals and basic values is to recognise the egotistical tendency to get consumed by the need to be right, the need for external control or power, the need for external validation or recognition.
You may not believe it about a super calm Yogi! But I have had my fair share of interactions, debates, and clashes with my own inner anger for my whole life. In my childhood and teens this anger was highly expressive and as I got older the anger remained as I learned to function a little more effectively in the world. As an adult I became aware that expressing anger was not always useful or beneficial but it didn't get rid of the anger I had inside. So what have I learned to do?
The original causes or thoughts that lead to your anger need to be addressed. Your anger needs to be listened to. Why is it there?
When you feel anger, it is important to know why is it there so you can address that issue. In the heat of anger you do not necessarily have the best judgement for long term outcomes so it is better for you to return to a sense of calm before decision making or plans of action. In the short term, getting out of situations, getting fresh air, cooling down is important. In the long term meditation can be a hugely powerful tool. Being able to sit and notice that thoughts are just thoughts, being able to remain anchored and steady in the rhythm of your breath, finding yourself in the present and immediate moment and recognising that you are ok. Being able to establish a sense of self and appreciation for yourself from within.
With anger it is your job as an adult to become more finely tuned and refined about your relationship with it and the effect it has on you. Anger is not something to get rid of, it is not bad. What anger can do is take over and lead a domino effect of destructive and harmful thoughts and spiral out of control. For your own mental health, take time to become more aware of anger, when it sparks, what thoughts it leads to, what effects it has on you and others. Start to ask yourself how anger can benefit you more and help you manage and deal with situations in a better way.
Find your seated position. This week your Meditation duration will be 15 minutes. Set your timer and attempt at least 3 seated meditations this week.
As you begin, make sure your body is comfortable, notice any sensations, any tension or discomfort and adjust or often accordingly.
let your awareness come to your inhale and exhale and it remains here for the time. As you notice thoughts, that you have been thinking or your mind has wandered, bring your awareness back to your breathing. You may have to do this once or 1000 times, it is all ok.
Write down 3 occasions, situations or interactions with people where you felt angry.
Why did you feel angry?
What happened when you felt angry or how did you express it?
What feelings or emotions did you feel afterwards?
Acknowledging the reasons for your anger, can you write 3 positive words to describe your anger.
Can you write 3 perspective on the situations or issues above besides your own?
Can you think of ways you would like to now move forward and deal with the above or similar issues in ways that benefit you, that you feel calm and collected about and where there are positive outcomes.