“The Joy of Anger?”
You might think: The man has gone utterly nuts… Who wants to be angry? Who’s ever enjoyed being angry?
No one, I guess. Being angry is like riding a fiery dragon on steroids, through the flames of hell.
Being in the midst of a rage is, how shall I put it…
It’s unnerving. And that is phrasing it mildly. While in a rage, hormones and loads of other bio-chemicals run in our blood, doing hectic stuff to veins, heart, muscles and our senses. There might even be a deep desire to create havoc, on other people’s lives. An urge to kick some butt and slap some faces.
All in all not a lot of joy, I admit.
On the other hand: anger is like the amazing signal of a finely designed warning system telling you that something is going horribly awry. Usually we think that whatever is going awry is based in things, trends, acts or events outside ourselves. Whereas what has gone wrong is, as a matter of fact, something inside.
Anger isn’t caused by others. It’s something we most often do to ourselves, while blaming those around us. Sure, when angry a trigger inside was pushed by an outside force – but the loaded gun was loaded because we ourselves didn’t put the safety pin on. We ourselves – while in a rage – are riding waves of a flooding which takes place inside.
And the funniest of it all is: we think we are in control (or at least working hard on regaining control) while in a fit. But try it out when next you’re in a rage: who’s in control? You?
Is that really what you observe as your sight becomes blurred, your hearing becomes twisted and your utterances have lost all sense of reason?
Whatever part it is of you that has the controls while raging, it’s not the ‘you’ that you’d normally would like to show the world. Unless you have a tendency to being a sociopath.
Anger is highly underrated
Despite every person on the planet finding him- or herself regularly in some kind of outburst, anger has received a very bad press over the last millennia. We are, at all times, supposed to suppress whatever wants to act like a volcano. Pretend it’s not there, and least of all: show it to those around us.
Contemporary society doesn’t teach us how to be angry, while it’s an emotion we’re all born with. And if we aren’t born with it, it’ll get bred into us in our early years.
We’re all taught and stimulated (and probably even forced) to be happy and content. All the time. We have loads of different pills and gadgets to help us achieve that. We have tons of books available to us on how to achieve all the good stuff in and of life, while only few credible resources on how to cope when the hormone machine is pumping aggression.
The Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the few who dedicated a whole book on the topic. And, yes, it’s called “Anger“.I’m not a great fan of it. Why not? Because I feel that the great Zen master doesn’t give credit where credit is due. Beating up a pillow while in a rage, for example, is in is eyes simply a way of “practising your anger”. I think that beating up a pillow can be a perfect way of getting to the heart of the matter – if (and only if) done wisely, correctly and mindfully.
Choking the air out of every feather in your goose down pillow isn’t going to necessarily solve anything. At best it is venting something which will come back at any time.
However, when you mindfully trace the roots of your ager while in the midst of it…
I think there are few more powerful ways of touching old sores than a good old, hilariously joyful bout of anger. All that unleashed passion, causing tsunamis of frustration: they’re all guiding you straight to the matter at hand, the stuff that at – the heart of it – causes the outbursts in the first place.
A rage can indeed be a ride on the back of a fiery dragon on steroids through the flames of hell, but as long as You (as in: your higher self, the ‘noble part’ of you) keep the reigns to the dragon that ride could be (and probably will be) one of the most liberating rides of your life.
It’s a secret code to cracking nasty stuff.