Moving Through Anger

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.

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2 Replies to “Moving Through Anger”

  1. Fabulous post, again! Funny how quickly we can get fired up and excited to get angry with or at someone. So much easier to let go, focus on what we can control, and move closer to being happy. When is Oprah going to call you? I’m hooked. xoxo

  2. Although we know that anger is not a healthy emotion, some times it’s just to strong a force to ignore. Try as we might, it rears it’s ugly head and overtakes our rational self. Just this morning when I was awoken once again by the barking/howling dog next door, which my otherwise perfect neighbors neglect and keep tied up all the time, did my anger reach peak level!! Instead of storming over to their house at 6:30 AM to dump my pent up anger on whomever answered the door, I decided to wait until my anger was not the dominant force so that I wouldn’t sound like a sleep deprived raving maniac! I congratulated myself on my maturity level and that I didn’t react in anger, which never accomplishes anything other than to get the other person angry too.

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