“The more we admit it, the more we understand it.”
First, Admit You Are Angry
This may sound silly, but how many times have you met someone who clearly was angry, but who insisted he was not? For some reason, some people resist admitting to themselves that they are angry. This is not helpful.
You can’t deal with something that you won’t admit is there.
Being mindful of ourselves is part of that. When an unpleasant emotion or thought arises, do not suppress it, run away from it, or deny it.
Instead, observe it and fully acknowledge it. Being deeply honest with yourself about yourself is essential to happiness.
What Makes You Angry?
It’s important to understand that anger is something created by yourself. It didn’t come swooping out of the sky to infect you. We tend to think that anger is caused by something outside ourselves, such as other people or frustrating events. “No one makes you angry. You make yourself angry.”
Mindfulness teaches us that anger is created by mind. However, when you are dealing with your own anger, you should be more specific. Anger challenges us to look deeply into ourselves. Most of the time, anger is self-defensive. It arises from unresolved fears.
Anger Is Self-Indulgent
Anger is unpleasant but seductive. “There’s something delicious about finding fault with something,” Especially when our egos are involved (which is nearly always the case), we may protect our anger. We justify it and even feed it.
Mindfulness teaches that anger is never justified, however. Our practice is to cultivate friendliness toward others. Including the guy who just cut you off at the exit ramp and even someone close and trusted who betrays you.
For this reason, when we become angry we must take great care not to act on our anger to hurt others. We must also take care not to hang on to our anger and give it a place to live and grow.
How to Let It Go
You have acknowledged your anger, and you have examined yourself to understand what caused the anger to arise. Yet you are still angry.
Patience here means waiting to act or speak until you can do so without causing harm. “Patience has a quality of not escalating things, allowing a lot of space for the other person to speak, for the other person to express themselves, while you don’t react, even though inside you are reacting.”
If you have a meditation practice, this is the time to put it to work. Sit still with the heat and tension of anger. Quiet the internal chatter of other-blame and self-blame. Acknowledge the anger and enter into it entirely. Embrace your anger with patience and compassion for all beings, including yourself.
Don’t Feed Anger
It’s hard not to act, to remain still and silent while our emotions are screaming at us. Anger fills us with edgy energy and makes us want to do something. “When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the anger, and it becomes stronger in you.”
Only understanding and compassion can neutralize anger.
Compassion Takes Courage
Sometimes we confuse aggression with strength and non-action with weakness. Mindfulness teaches that just the opposite is true.
Giving in to the impulses of anger, allowing anger to hook us and jerk us around, is weakness. On the other hand, it takes strength to acknowledge the fear and selfishness in which our anger usually is rooted.
It also takes discipline to meditate in the flames of anger.
Through recognizing and taking responsibility and reflecting on our deeper beliefs. We learn to understand our anger.
The more we understand our anger the less of a problem it is for us.
G Ross Clark