Anger is an intense and primal expression of the life force, a burning flame that cannot be ignored. It is the psyche’s alarm system, demanding that attention be given to a limit or boundary of ours that is being invaded, to an injury or pain that is being denied, or to an area of our being that has become unhealthy. The function of anger is similar to the function of a fever. It helps to burn out unwanted, inharmonious elements. Its purpose is to restore balance and well-being.
If the symptoms of a fever are suppressed and ignored, then the illness will remain unchecked. So it is with anger. It is useful to listen for the message it brings and then to use it for growth and wellness.
We need to remember that the anger we feel toward someone else is not an accurate evaluation or judgment of who that person actually is. It is merely our own feelings communicating with us, telling us more about ourselves than about the other person. It is the beginning of greater clarity and discrimination, so that we can live our passion with integrity, develop our inner power, and become capable of acting assertively, rather than aggressively, on behalf of what we cherish.
There should really be two different words-one for "anger-with-the heart-closed" and one for "anger with-the-heart-open." Most anger in our society is "anger-with-the heart-closed." Many of us are in the habit of automatically using our anger vindictively to protect ourselves or to impose our will upon others. We may believe ourselves totally justified in demeaning others’ self-esteem. We may believe that we do this for "their own good." We may even believe that the will we are trying to impose is God’s will. From such unconsciousness have come generations of abuse. From such self-righteousness have come millennia of "holy" wars.
"Anger-with-the-heart-closed" is destructive. But there are times when our anger can be a gift to the other person, when it is not simply our own ego twisting in a knot, and trying to use the other person to undo the strain. Though we may feel great heat and urgency, there need be nothing mean in the way we express ourselves. For when there is no desire to wound or punish or blame, we become able to speak with great clarity and power. We may roar like a lion, but it is a healing roar. We may be challenging, but we are infinitely fair. We may be outraged, but we are respectful. This is "anger-with-the-heart-open" and it has a beauty, a passion, and a clarity that is unmistakable.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How can we test if we are fooling ourselves into believing that we are angry "with-the-heart-open" when we may in fact be angry with "with-the-heart-closed?" How do we develop the ability to keep our heart open, even when we are angry? Can you share a personal story that illustrates being angry "with-the-heart-open?"
This is a brilliant transmission, so beautifully written. Thank you!
Righteousness is wrong ! That is a hard one to remember when I need it the most. Specially as a single parent.
I like the frame.....open or closed heart.....the scripture also says 'in your anger do not sin' ....I think that's like the open heart anger....can be a righteous anger ........thanks
I really appreciate your recognition of the value of anger ( and I'd like to include all of our emotions), to often emotions are seen as negative, as a huge fallacy of the evolutionary process. Our feelings act as a guide as to how we are doing in the face of the surrounding circumstances and urge us to take action to enrich life, our own or that of others. Often we are educated to blame others for how we feel instead of taking responsibility for our feelings. we then to often seek to punish the other for making us feel unpleasant feelings by seeking revenge or retribution. Our minds can become very confused as a result of our dysfunctional conditioning. I suggest that our mind's first and foremost priority in times of emotional upheaval is to refer us to the heart. Once we have connected with the love and compassion of the heart we can then go to the mind to explore possible responses to the situation that stimulated our emotions.[Hide Full Comment]
This is a great assessment of our emotional reaction to Anger. It is a must read for everyone.
As simplistic as it sounds, following the road of the Golden Rule has helped me to know the difference between a closed heart and an open one. In one particular instance I had to deal with my anger when an employee who was responsible for taking care of my dogs, didn't follow my instructions and one of my dog's was killed. I wanted to fire her immediately and say really rough comments. I thought about the Rule. I waited to respond until I was sure I could speak with an open heart and a calm voice. It took some time but I finally sat down and expressed myself the way I would want someone to speak to me; with respect and honesty for both of us.
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer
As an example think back to the introduction of Stress Management 30+ years ago. ...it went through all those stages. Now and for at least the past ten years, most major Insurance Companies will reimburse for stress management programs that include diet and meditation.
The point is not to mange stress or even anger it is about getting to the root of the cause to bring understanding, wisdom and empathy to Light. All is love or love in disguise.
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