If there is one emotion that seems to get out of control, it is anger. We express it, and then we regret it. Repressing anger does no good. It just builds up, and then we feel as if we have a bomb that’s about to explode.
Is there a way that we can put unwanted anger to rest?
Anger: An Important Emotion
Before I attempt to discuss this question, it is important to know that here we are not trying to eliminate anger. Given the right situation in life, anger is an important emotion. For instance, a child is about to carelessly wander across the street into speeding traffic. You see this child and pull him or her back and yell no!
Here the burst of anger allowed you to respond to a situation faster than you could think about it. I am sure that you would agree that in this case, anger was not the opposite of love. Another famous example of the use of anger is when Jesus drove the money lenders out of the temple. So I hope you can see the importance of anger in the right situation.
Anger in Inappropriate Situations
Where we begin to question anger is when it comes out in inappropriate situations. Here anger is based on certain limiting assumptions. Let’s say that the door is stuck as you’re trying to get into a room. Your reaction was to get so frustrated that you kicked the door in. Afterwards you realized that you turned the door knob the wrong way. Here the frustration you felt turned into anger and the anger clouded your thinking. Anger definitely didn’t help the situation.
In another situation, when you are at work your boss yells at you. In response you come home and yell at your children.
So, how do you get to the core and eliminate this type of anger?
Anger is Not Your Natural Condition
The first step is just to notice that anger is not your natural condition. Your real natural condition is the peace, joy, and oneness that comes right from the core of your being.
If you still find yourself boiling over with anger, it is worth taking a look to find the cause of your anger. In general, this kind of anger is caused the frustration that comes from throwing your innate happiness out into the world. Then you hope to find happiness in the people and things that you see. When you feel that your happiness is getting blocked by the obstacles you face, anger is one response.
What Can Take My Happiness Away?
Just think, “What can take my happiness away? If I can’t get through the door, then will I lose my happiness? If my boss fires me, then will my happiness get snatched away?”
In the second case where you could get fired, happiness could also be expressed as security. In other words, we are not just satisfied with getting happiness, we want lasting happiness. If you feel that you are about to lose your security, your reaction might be fear.
For instance you are angry at your boss for making you work overtime, when you really wanted to go home. But you are afraid of losing your job, and therefore your security. So what happens, the anger that you have for your boss, gets expressed sideways. You end up blowing up at your spouse and children.
Freedom for the Grip of Anger: How to Resolve Anger
You can pull your happiness and security out of the situation that you are in, and return it to its source. The lasting happiness that you are looking for belongs to you already. It is your very nature. It does not belong to the things that you do, or the objects that you want. So how can working overtime interfere with your happiness?
Now when you pull this stake called, “I want happiness,” out of the situation, you will find that another little fellow disappears; it is the fear of losing something that you really can’t lose, lasting happiness.
When you return lasting happiness to its source, your stake in the outcome of the situation diminishes, and so does your fear. Spiritual aspirants sometimes call this detachment. If you think detachment means standing in a cold distant place, then you should know that detachment really means that you already have the happiness and security that most everyone is looking for.
Where Did You Pick Up the Anger?
If you find that you are still caught in anger, dig deeper. See where you picked up this response to the situations in life. Did you pick it up from your parents or friends? This is not to blame someone. It is just a chance to look at what you took to be “just normal” and why.
When you become conscious of what you take to be true, you are in a better position to change. That’s because you will discover that anger is not an automatic response. It’s the result of thought patterns that you assumed were true. And now you are starting to see what’s really true.
Just by becoming aware of the assumptions behind your anger, you will find yourself changing. You will not have to monitor your behavior. The changes that you make will surprise you. Situations will come up where you are used to blowing your stack in anger. But do you know what will happen? To your amazement you won’t have the least desire to get angry. Your response will be in perfect harmony with the situation.
Follow these steps and you will see for sure that anger is not your natural response to situations in life. The peace and love that come straight from your essence is your real, natural response. Anger is just a tool. You don’t use a can opener for every job, do you? In the same way, anger is a tool that you should rarely have to pull out.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Light Up Your Life. ©2010.
Making Your Wisdom Come Alive: A Guide to the Source of Your Wisdom and Joy
by Michael Gluckman.
About the Author
Michael Gluckman’s interest in meditation started in 1965 when he was introduced to the Quakers. The Quaker’s belief is that God is within you. This was a revelation, an “aha” moment that struck a deep cord. However, it was 25 years before he actually discovered the blissful freedom that comes from within.That’s why he wrote Making Your Wisdom Come Alive; so that you can take the direct path to this freedom, which turns out to be your own Self-Nature. Although he doesn’t consider himself to be a teacher, he does allow people who want to deepen their spiritual practice to ask questions, and he takes the time to answer the questions sent to him; see www.Light-Up-Your-Life.com