2022-06-21 Respecting Anger (2 of 5) Anger as a Signal
5:33PM Jun 21, 2022
So continuing this series on respecting anger, being wise to anger. The I think there's a lot of wisdom to seeing anger, as a signal as a message as a messenger. And to see anger as a signal means that when then we would slow down door to see what is it a message of? What is it his signal? What is his What is it a symptom of. And rather than giving free rein to anger, giving into anger without a deeper reflection and looking in mindful sparks, if you want to kind of stopped for anger, it's kind of like a bumper sticker would say, I stopped for anger, in order to really attend to it and see what's going on. There's a lot of energy and anger. And, and that energy in you that we have, we want to be able to use in a healthy way the appropriate way. And it's not always appropriate for ourselves or healthy for ourselves, to follow along to give into the anger and the expressions of anger as a kind of wants to do it without some deeper respect and attention to what's going on there. And and so I think it's a good policy to think of anger as an invitation to stop and take a deeper look what's really going on here. So there's two very interesting areas of what's going to be about anger, I feel. And so first, in terms of what else is going on here is that anger can be a reaction to something we're feeling inside. And in fact, it might be useful to assume it's always a reaction to something we're feeling inside. Even though overtly, we might think we're being angry at something outside of us. We might be angry, you know, at the technology. And it's that because technology's fault that I'm angry. But the byways of anger is that the technology I did, I'm just making this up, it didn't happen this morning. But the technology is not working. And, and that not working meets my desire for it to work to have to have everything go smoothly, I have a certain kind of desire to, to experience that technology, technology, user desire, technology, and that desire then is frustrated. And that frustration is uncomfortable. And that discomfort is something I don't like to feel. So now, I'm reacting to the discomfort to the frustration, and I want to fix something in the world. So and that gives birth to the anger towards the technology. Or it could be that the technology we have is very important for us. And without it working properly, what rises inside is fear. And the fear is uncomfortable. And so then we can and, and so, it could be that the anger arises because we don't like to be uncomfortable. It isn't so much a way to maybe don't like to be afraid. But we just simply don't like to be uncomfortable. Or could be that refeel don't like being afraid. And so we're blaming something, we're attacking something we're going to we're we're directing our anger in some direction. And it could be externally it could be internally and, and there's all these different emotions, difficult, uncomfortable emotions, we can feel inside, that are too uncomfortable for our system to feel. And so we want to blame we want to the the outrage of anger, the the first the strength of anger can can arise out of an inability to stay present for something that's internally uncomfortable. So the message of anger is in that case, is just that there's something happening here that I'm uncomfortable to feel. Don't be sidetracked by the so called technology that which is external, because whatever is happening external is going through a few different steps inside of you to become anger. People are very I've noticed that over the years of being a Buddhist teacher. People are very quick How to justify anger.
And, and, inevitably, if I gave a talk on anger, it seems like someone always want to justify, isn't it okay to be angry in certain circumstances. And, and, yes, depending on how we define anger, it's never okay to be hostile. But what it misses when we justify even justifiable anger, it misses an opportunity to understand ourselves better. And that's what we want to do within this mindfulness practice. And as we understand better, the steps internally that happen before anger occurs, then it's also possible to stop earlier, if there's fear, to stop and experience the fear and discern is there an other response to fear and other way of going forward? That doesn't require anger, when there's fear is there is if there's frustrated desire, when we recognize that is there a different way to go forward, rather than get angry at technology, it can be reassessed the desire, can we have a different relationship to frustration, maybe one possibilities, just let ourselves be frustrated, and not have that be, expand or grow into what we would call anger. And so So anger that has is a message sometimes of what's going on more deeply with us, sometimes anger is a sign that we should look and see what's happening in the world, that the world does need our attention, that something is something is the source of the anger in the world. And, and that also has to be taken into account. And may be, it can be take seen and understood and responded to better when we have kind of relaxed around the anger, and looked at the fear or the discomfort of loneliness, or the despair, all the uncomfortable emotions that might be the trigger for anger. If we can learn how to breathe with those in rest with them, then we can look out towards what's happening in the world. And, and not act unconsciously from the anger unwisely from the anger and then study what's happening here? What's the situation like? So one of the things I like to use anger for is it is a reminder, to study, study the situation, study what's happening in me, studying what's happening externally. I want to say a few more words about this inner study to oneself. So I said anger is often a result of difficult emotions that are preceding it in a sequence of steps. But sometimes anger is the preceding step for other emotions. So for example, we might feel angry. And then the reaction to that is to shut it down, to be ashamed or to be embarrassed or to be afraid to be angry towards the anger. So there can be reactions to anger which are not so healthy. Many years ago, I read someone who claimed that the most common cause for psychosomatic illnesses is repressed anger, or even just anger by itself. People get angry enough and they can have a heart attack. And the end so sometimes depression is a symptom of repressed anger. And so for some people, giving a certain degree of freedom to anger that's been repressed is really important. And, and so discovering their anger is necessary. The mentioned earlier this, many years ago, someone taught me that we experience our strength, their strength in anger, and if we let go of anger too quickly, might let go of our strength as well. And the strength we want to keep and and so if we are too quick to let go of anger, we might be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And that's why coming I find it inept and invaluable to do for myself. One of two things when I'm really angry. One is to sit and meditate and really take it into account and really be present for it. And the other is go for a long walk. And there's something about the long walk that allows the anger to have different kind of freedom
then when I'm meditating, and he courses, courses, courses through me, and I just kind of keep into my body, keep paying attention being here for it, until something deeper about it is revealed until I understand some key part of it, that's, that's the trigger or the key thing that's holding it in place. So anger as a messenger, anger as a signal to be respected as such. And if we repress our anger and hide our anger and, and we just get bottled up. And, and it can be very unhealthy psychologically and physically. So giving some expression or some amount of expression is the right word, but some allowance to feel anger and be angry, for some people is very important. So they can study the anger so they can stop and look at it more deeply, and see what is going on here. So anger as a signal, anger as a message or anger is always a secondary phenomenon, a secondary response to something often a secondary response to discomfort, some kind of discomfort that we're experiencing inside. And that the anger to things in the world, or even anger towards ourself, probably has gone through a number of steps before anger arises, some other emotions or their attitudes or their beliefs in sequence happen until it becomes anger. So you might, if you have an opportunity to that you end up being angry today. You might take your time to really study it, and look at it and see what might be underneath it or what the what might be the trigger for the anger internally, not to a trigger that's happening in the world. And to see what the other emotions are, they're connected to it. And if you ended to end up the day, without any anger whatsoever, but you're not feeling well. If you feel depressed or, or sad or despairing in some kind of way. You might want to take a little peek underneath that and see if there's some anger that might be there. You won't necessarily see it there might not necessarily there. But sometimes that's can be a key that can unlock some of some of the forms of depression despair that people when they're when they're stuck in it. So So, there's so much to be said, but anger and hopefully these simple words, give you something to look at and study and we'll continue tomorrow. Thank you