Practice Instructions: Anger
Anger is probably the emotion most in need of being reclaimed. For most of us, our unconscious (and conscious) beliefs about anger are in desperate need of investigation.
What is our relationship to anger?
Is it sitting permanently in the "not allowed" and "bad" category?
Who is allowed to be angry?
What has been the consequence in the past of our own anger being expressed? v What do we believe it means about us or others when we/they have anger?
What is our belief about what we should do with anger when it comes up?
You will likely uncover a lot of resistance to having, allowing, and expressing anger. It is true that acting on uninvestigated anger leads to a lot of harm. But, what can be done to alchemize anger into something clear and empowering?
Anger is ultimately about power and empowerment. Most of what we have witnessed, for our entire lives, is anger being used as a form of oppression, a power over, a dominance, intimidation. In many of us, it has created a relationship to power that believes having power is wrong and dangerous. This belief has diminished our own knowing, our autonomy, our power and our empowerment.
Power in its divine form is empowerment. It is not ego identified. It is an internal state independent of our external reality. It is a full owning of our responsibility and impact on ourselves and others.
So... what goes wrong? Well, anger is powerful and its strength often acts as a separator. In anger, there is generally a truth and a lie. The truth of the anger is where freedom can be found, where appropriate action can be taken, and where responsibility can be owned. If we don't take responsibility for our anger, it acts only from ego. And ego wants to tell lies to ensure the sense of separation. It uses stories of blame, victimhood, martyrdom, retribution, winners and losers, right and wrong to justify itself and actions in response to anger.
The truth thread usually reveals that anger is in response to a boundary that has been crossed. Someone did something to us (or others) that violated an energetic, emotional, or physical boundary. Or, we did something to someone else that violated an energetic, emotional, or physical boundary (yes, that can still make us angry).
When we follow this thread, we might see that anger arises because of feeling not in control, or having betrayed your own knowing, or having relinquished responsibility somewhere. These things hurt. Badly. It's devastating to have no control or influence over something. It's wrenching to feel that we betrayed ourselves, our own knowing. It is physically, and emotionally, and spiritual painful. But, it is the door to freedom. It is the door to freedom because it is actually reclaiming our power!
When we stay with it, we learn something from feeling not in control. We can learn compassion for the pain of not having control. We can see that while we may never be able to control others or situations, we can take agency over our internal world. When we stay with it, we can gently revisit times when a boundary was crossed and, from a place of greater empowerment, acknowledge what was not ok. When we stay with it, we gain clarity about our boundaries and find new confidence in setting them. When we stay with it, we heal the gaps in our wholeness and become willing to take responsibility for ourselves from the inside.
When anger is investigated, we begin to have confidence in knowing what is not ok. Our "no" is accompanied by fewer doubts. Our choices are clearer. Our attachment to argument, blame, victimhood, etc., lessens.
Don't be afraid of anger. Understand that it is not a bad guy. It has a shadow, just like all of us, but it is there as a fierce notifier of boundaries. Let it reveal where you are still struggling with a boundary. Let it reveal where you may have crossed boundaries with others. Let it not disempower you, or create an oppressor in you, but rather find the empowerment of wholeness, of power from wisdom and seeing and ownership and responsibility.