Why is there that one thing that gets me so angry?
In Ireland we often interchange the words mad for the word angry and as we say, there’s truth in it!
Anger is an insane and unwise state of mind and we all know this through personal experience.
Words spoken in anger are not intelligent and are without sanity or compassion;
Perceptions arising in anger are unwise and present a distorted version of reality. 90% of our perceptions in anger will be erroneous.
Actions arising from anger are unwise.
Anger is a learned reaction, a habitual reaction to the truth.
At the heart of anger is blaming of another, a situation or of the self. The mind unconsciously believes that if we blame, our suffering will reduce. Underlying it is the belief and assumption that the other is taking away our happiness. Blaming keeps the anger and suffering alive for the anger is only the crest of the wave with the force of the blame behind it. That blame has the force and the power of prejudice, assumption, fear, craving, feelings of hurt and stories to fuel it onward.
Anger makes us unintelligent as it leaves us with the feeling that there is no choice of response because of the assumption that the other is making us angry. We keep it alive for sense of justice, failing to see that this fight itself is a trap because the real choice is between an illusory sense of justice or a life of peace. Observe the kind of thoughts we have in moments of anger and the insanity becomes clear;
I want a fair fight – and it’s a fair fight when I win!
I can’t let go of my anger until there is justice!
You did this to me, you are the cause of my anger!
Accept that you are wrong, and I will be free!
If I give up the anger, the other won’t change!
In truth, it is not about the outside or the other, it is about the inside and often related to an unconscious comparison between who we are in the moment and the idealized version of ourselves that we believe that we should be. The battle ends when we see the futility of the fight and realize that there is a choice - we can win, be first and seek justice OR have peace and be present in the moment.
Anger and frustration are inseparable from craving. Craving has significance tied to the object of the desire – if it is not achieved we feel as if we have failed in life. Without it we are incomplete and our life’s purpose is lost. When craving, we are hallucinating about having it and not having it and find ourselves oscillating between fear and desire as we develop a psychological dependence. The conflict is routed in the perception of manipulation and control by the other and a craving or freedom of action without consideration of the consequences.
Craving is like drinking salt water – not matter how much of it we drink, we will not quench our thirst. We will suffer if we don’t get it and we will suffer if we do.
So, if this is true, why then do we not simply let go of anger? Well, its because anger feeds some of our needs:
It makes us feel significant;
It gives a sense of continuity to the self;
It brings us attention from others;
Makes us feel that we are right;
Gives us a purpose in fighting for justice
And here is one very good reason to find a way to dissolve anger – it causes us immense hurt.
“Anger is like a hot coal that you are holding with the intention of throwing it at the other” ~ The Buddha
Insights I gained on anger from OWA teachings and how this helped me on my journey
The potential for anger to arise will always be with us and with awareness we can prevent it from taking control of our lives and leading us down a path of misery and suffering.
Feeling anger and showing anger are two entirely different pathways.
When irritation arises it is important to create a space between the emotion arising and action taking place.
On becoming conscious of blaming, irritation or anger, have the awareness to take a short time out to reflect on our inner state.
For a time in my life, anger was my fuel of choice, it was the place from which I dealt with most situations in life. In most cases, it was anger with a smile on my face, but the all the symptoms were there, the blaming, the cold rage, the insensitivity…all of it. Through my studies with Tony Robbins and the One World Academy, I came to first understand my inner state and its outer manifestations. My first realization was that outer conditions did not determine happiness or my inner state of being. I have reached a stage in life where I had the material trappings of success, but there was something missing that I later identified as a sense of fulfillment.
When attending my first course with the OWA teachers, I had a “blinding flash of the obvious” when first I came to understand the relationship between anger and craving. I became aware of the craving underlying much of my anger. I craved a sense of independence, freedom and not being dominated by anyone. In unawareness, this craving led me to instinctively resist anything that I perceived as limiting and controlling with irritation and anger. In that moment of awareness and clarity, I realized that all the thoughts about those towards whom my anger was directed were entirely constructs of the mind.
I realized that my anger was driven by self-centric though patterns and while the action was directed outward the anger itself has always been directed inwards. In this inner war I had hurt and harmed myself and in its outer manifestation, I have not been kind or compassionate to others.
As I absorbed the teachings and experiences I began to step away from situations when I became aware of blaming, a feeling of irritation or the need repress anger. I would find a quite space, become physically still, take three conscious breaths and reflect on the emotion that I was feeling, the urge to react and my thoughts in that moment.
Over time, I noticed that in the moments before the feeling arose, a word, a gesture, a facial expression on the part of the other had triggered my sense of inferiority and led the impression that the other was controlling and dominating me. These were constructs of my mind and I was attributing this meaning to the actions of the other.
Each time I practiced this technique, the speed at which I would see the mind construct shortened and now it’s mostly instantaneous and I find myself smiling momentarily at the thought.
It has worked for me – so why not give it a try if you are finding anger and frustration are limiting your capacity to enjoy life.