A message from Sakyamuni Buddha:
“My friends, anger is the one thing to give up,
And you will be assured of freedom
from the cycle of birth and death.
Those enraged with anger
End up in a grueling existence.
Those with insight let it go,
Never to return to this world again.”
Words of the Buddha, Pali Canon, Khuddaka Nikaya, Itivuttaka #4
- What is Anger?
- Anger Can Make You Sick.
- Anger Can Be Beneficial.
- Method to Transform Anger.
- Heal Anger Once and for All.
- Angry thoughts, actions, words can never be taken back.
1. What is Anger?
Anger is an emotional reaction in which a person feels limited, held down, imprisoned, or held hostage in a way that prevents them from being or doing as they wish. We think of anger as negative. However, anger is very often a healthy response. Its powerful energy demands a change, and when used wisely, anger can be channeled into a positive transformation or outcome.
Think of a situation in which you became angry. Normally it may require some time for you to be aware of an injustice or to fully experience the reaction to being held down. For most people, it takes time for anger to develop. However, once it does, anger has a burning quality that is very difficult to quell.
In the Buddhist view, we consider anger to be an emotion that distorts perception. Like all emotions, anger alters your ability to see clearly. This makes rational action difficult. Once you have become possessed by the emotion of anger, your perceptions will be unreliable. Therefore, anger is to be carefully observed and avoided, as it often leads us to react in ways that cause unhappiness.
Why is it better not to react with anger? When you are free from an emotional reaction, you are able to clearly perceive an injustice. You are more aware and balanced and can respond to the situation carefully and correct it more easily.
Some situations can cause anger to arise within minutes. This type of anger is much easier to resolve and remove because it has not yet become a pattern. Other types of situations create anger over a long period of time. For instance, when someone has been discriminated against as a lower caste or considered inferior, someone who has been treated unfairly or experienced true injustice for years, deep anger can begin to burn within their being. The anger can create deep trauma, which, if not resolved, will go with them to the grave, only to be dealt with in future lives. The fact is that many people are carrying anger from past lives. It subtly seeps into your current awareness and affects your perceptions, coloring them, and leads you to react in certain habitual ways that do not serve you.
2. Anger Can Make You Sick
Our discussion on anger would be incomplete if we did not mention that holding onto anger can make you sick. It can make you so sick that you can die. The worst thing you can do with anger is to repress it, pretending you don’t mind when something or someone upset you—as if you’re above it all. Even worse is to whitewash your anger and try to fool yourself and others by pretending to be extra happy in spite of it.
Frequently, we are completely unaware of deep anger that has been held for a long time. This creates a terrible burden and chronic stress in the body. For example, I know a man whose young infant daughter was abused sexually by a family member. He became so angry that he left the family business and moved out of town. As a result, he became the first person in his family to get an education. He became a respected teacher. When he retired, he dedicated his life to helping hundreds of poor families. He used his anger to uplift his life and make himself a better person. People loved him, and his immediate family benefitted from his effort. The only problem was that this man did not know how to release his anger toward the family member that had committed the offense, and the anger was so deep that he suffered greatly, carrying this unspoken trauma his whole life. He ultimately died from a disease related to anger because he didn’t know how to release it.
Therefore, you must dissolve your anger. You always have a choice. You can give up your anger, or you can cling to the anger by refusing to release it. You can add fuel to the fire by thinking about it, talking about it, or acting on it. These options only make anger burn hotter, and can lead you to a hellish, cursed existence that you don’t want to have in this life or in the future. If you insist upon holding your anger, it is very difficult to make progress in any other area of your life. Associating with angry people can also make you angry. If your goal is to be a complete human being, someone who is happy and content, then I advise you not to associate with extremely emotional people, and especially not with angry people.
We have a tendency to want to bring another person to justice. An eye for an eye. We feel they should suffer the way we did. If another person makes a mistake, notice it, see it with clarity. It is not necessary for you to judge or bring them to justice or seek revenge. Every action has a record in the universe, and a person cannot escape the consequences of their actions. That person is responsible for all of their actions in perpetuity. You are only responsible for releasing your anger completely. I know you may want to try to remedy the situation, and that may be possible, but it must be done from a state of pure clarity.
In the West, you have a concept of forgiveness, and this is wonderful. In the East, we have words that mean to have patience, to endure, to apologize; but these words are not exactly the same as forgiveness. I’m sorry to say that forgiveness either means that you have successfully dissolved the anger completely, which is wonderful, or you have stifled and stuffed it down even deeper. Denial is not an effective remedy for anger. It can make you sick.
Your anger has nothing to do with another person. Your anger belongs to you, and it is your responsibility to heal it. Yes, your anger may have an object, such as a person. But this is an illusion in your imagination. Because if you look more deeply, you may see that this person merely represents a situation that has been making its way toward you for some time. Therefore, I suggest you not be attached to the object of your anger. Just accept it as your anger. More often than not, your anger has only an indirect relationship to that person or situation.
3. Anger Can Be Beneficial
One beneficial side to anger is that it can touch you deeply and thus allow you to summon your inner resources for positive good. If something touches you so deeply that you become angry, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to use that powerful energy for a beneficial outcome. It can help you to make an effort to change your life so that you are transformed and become a better person. The more times you transform the energy of anger, the less often you will experience it.
4. Method to Transform Anger
Yes, there are many reasons to be angry in this world. And you may believe that harnessing the burning power of this anger is beneficial for you and others. However, if you think that directing the anger energy toward other people will bring good into the world, you are terribly mistaken. All you will do is magnify and amplify the amount of anger in the world. And I know that is not your objective.
You must first find a place of balance in yourself from which you can rationally, without emotional distortion, digest the factors you wish to confront. You must create equanimity and respect for others and draw together the power of the universe within you. You must harness the power in me and all the other guides and forces. Then, you will truly have the most powerful team. I’m sorry if this feels like the long way, but I assure you, it is the only permanent way.
One example of how to deal with anger is to think loving and positive thoughts about the person you imagine yourself to be angry with. Remember, your anger has nothing to do with any other person. It is your own drama. If you have not yet expressed your anger, meaning you are not yet entangled in a battle, this method can work. First, be aware that your anger exists. Accept the fact that you are angry. Notice it. Observe yourself planning revenge and retribution. Then play a game with your mind. Train your mind to think only positive loving thoughts about that other person. Breathe loving thoughts into that field. Imagine what that person would really like, how you could bring that person joy in a small way. Notice all their fine qualities, and how much you love them.
Yes, really do a trip on yourself. Every time a feeling of anger enters your mind, turn it into love. Breathe deeply and feel nothing but love, compassion, and respect for that person. List their wonderful qualities to help you train your mind to see a new perspective and raise yourself out of the slime. This is the path. Don’t expect someone else to do this for you. Have patience. It might take a while for this to work and become a habit. But it is a powerful habit, and good training for you. With this habit, you can not only dissolve your own anger, you will be able to shift the whole situation into something extraordinarily positive. This method, however, is not for the weak.
5. Heal Anger Once and for All
First, be aware of the anger. You must face it straight on, accept that you are angry and upset. You must feel the burning inside of you and be aware that is it is a kind of sickness, a distortion of your true clarity and happiness. That’s the first step.
Next, you must wish to be free of the anger. Yes, you must make a wish. Because you will need help. It is difficult to quell and cool anger that has been burning and festering for a long time. Then, there is the process of taking it apart surgically. You can talk about it with a friend or advisor. You can do intense exercise or athletic yoga and burn it out that way.
You must try to keep your mind open to a different way of perceiving or seeing the situation. It is very helpful to feel compassion for the other party or object of your anger. if you know who or what it is. If you are angry at a person or a situation, then you can quietly make an effort to understand how this came about, because it may not be evil in nature. It may be an accident or an unconscious act without any animosity or hatred. It may also be a situation where animosity is being directed at you by someone who suffers from their own irrational fear or past trauma. Your anger is yours. Breathe into it and allow it to cool down. This process may take minutes, hours, days, or weeks.
I cannot give the exact pathway for you. These are some tools you can use. But I will tell you that the goal in dissolving your anger is simply for your mind to be quiet, like the calm surface of a beautiful pond. When you wake up in the morning, check in with yourself. If your mind is calm like a beautiful pond, then you have succeeded. You’ll deserve a big gold star and you should reward yourself in a way that recognizes and honors your enormous accomplishment. I’m giving you the tools. Try them and see how they work for you.
6. Angry thoughts, actions, and words can never be taken back.
They go into the permanent fabric of reality and can never be undone. They will always come back to taunt you, to haunt you, or to haunt someone else. I guarantee it. You can succumb to anger in a mere second. But notice how long it takes to clear the distortion, lift yourself out of the mud, and re-balance your nervous system. In one moment, you can lose years of transformational work. When you feel anger, remember that it is perfectly normal. Have compassion for yourself and do not shoot yourself in the foot or cause even more suffering by being angry at your anger. That would be stupid. Just take a breath, and know it is a normal, healthy reaction. The enlightened person looks at it calmly, takes ten deep breaths, sees the situation from another point of view, and works to change their frame of mind until they succeed in releasing the anger.
Dissolving your anger is a virtuous and noble task. It helps every sentient being in the universe. And in your path, I wish you well.
Srijana, aka Jane Barthelemy is a medical intuitive, author, and healer. She has practiced Tibetan Buddhist meditation for over five decades, residing in the Rudrananda Ashram in the USA for 35 years. She practices cranial osteopathy, Acunect, and BodyTalk – an infusion of intuitive Chinese, and Ayurvedic wisdom. She is trained in Qigong, Taichi, Daoist sexuality, and Kundalini activation. Her medical Qigong training is with Mantak Chia, Khamto Lee, Daniel Villasenor, Zhongxian Wu, Dr. Ka’imi Pilipovich, Franco Mescola, Richard Leirer, and Lam Kam Chueng. She has her BS in Italian Opera and MBA in financial management. Her two paradigm-changing cookbooks show how to build health with unprocessed foods. Her upcoming books include: “Heal Your Past Lives”, and “Buddha Speaks – Channeled Passages from the Master”. She is on the faculty of NewEarth University and LearnDesk. Her websites are FiveSeasonsMedicine.com and JanesHealthyKitchen.com. Srijana lives in Bali with her Bhutanese husband, Lama D.