Lately I’ve been feeling angry. And as we all know, when we’re angry, we make rash decisions. The rash decision I made recently was to fight someone else’s battle. Unfortunately, this is a topic that is all too familiar to me. As an adolescent, I remember fighting my parents’ battles. Perhaps because I wanted to give them a break. Or perhaps because I thought my strength could handle it. But it couldn’t. Sixteen years later, I find myself, once again, interjecting in other people’s arguments… to help the underdog, to show how strong I am, and to feel like my old self again. Isn’t it funny how we fall into old patterns? And how, when we do, we’re reminded that our only course of action is to consciously decide to break these patterns in order to move forward with our lives?
In Unmasking Anger, Alan Reder writes: “Stephen Cope suggests that asanas may be in fact the best yogic antidote for anger “because asanas allow you to move the energy.” When I get angry, I now have to consciously decide how to move the anger rather than fall into the same old pattern of jumping into the ring. The trick is: how do we let anger pass without falling into the “If I don’t fight/speak up/say my piece, I’ll be perceived as weak/a push-over/reticent.”
Buddhists remind us that our drama (e.g., the “story” we believe everyone else is thinking) only interrupts our path to happiness. Furthermore, Pema Chodron addresses the fact that we often choose to feed our anger. Why? “There’s something delicious about finding fault with something,” she said. Especially when our egos are involved (which is nearly always the case), we may protect our anger.”
So, the next time you’re angry, do not give it life. Or as Pema Chodron says: “Do not bite the hook.” Acknowledge the anger (in all its dirty glory), but don’t let your ego feed it or allow it to get bigger. You have far more important things to do with your time and energy.