Anger is not a dirty word, or a bad emotion.  So what is anger?

Anger and fear are the two emotions that seem to bring about the most questions in my practice, and I can certainly understand why.

In the Western culture, we are taught from a very young age, not to be angry. It is often suggested that people who express anger are “angry people”. When the truth is told, anger is simply another emotion, a form of energy that is passing through our bodies.  It is our judgements that anger is wrong which create so many problems with this emotion.

Often we have a certain attachment to emotions, thinking they are apart of who you are.  You are not your emotions, emotions pass through your body.  Emotions are not to be denied; or projected on to others yet they are not to be attached to either.  Saying “I am really angry” has an ownership to where as “I am aware of anger” or “I can feel some anger in my body” is a different experience.

Have you ever noticed the sensation of anger as it rises?  For each person there might be slightly different sensations, so I thought I share a personal experience of the sensation of anger.  I can best describe it as feeling a little like a tsunami of energy rushing up through my body, a sensation of heat and sometimes even tingling in my arms and legs can be present.  It can feel like being roasted from the inside out, and I have often thought that I would be bright red to anyone viewing me from the outside (though I have been told otherwise).

Now that’s a pretty extreme case of anger in my experience.  More often there is simply a churning in my stomach and a slight flush in my cheeks.  It could be accompanied by a vague feeling in the head, a fuzziness that seems to block out the memory of things that have been said and leaving a feeling of being exhausted.  Can you relate?  The sensations will vary from person to person and dependant on the level of anger experienced in each event.

When anger arises, you might find that you go into unconscious behaviours, as I touched on a moment ago, blocking out what is going on around you, hearing only part of the conversations taking place around you, maybe even saying things that you wouldn’t otherwise say and regretting them later.  There is even a chance in extreme cases that you might take actions, lashing out verbally or physically or simply doing things that you wouldn’t normally see as appropriate.

And it all seems to happen unconsciously doesn’t it?  You might even see a resemblance to the way you might respond when you feel fear.  Often the two are very similar.

Incredible stuff, I am sure you would agree.  Is there a different way to experience anger?

Absolutely.

Firstly, anger is a beautiful emotion. It rises with such strength and when observed often propels you forward to take new action in life.  When you experience anger on the horizontal plane, it involves a story, a past and a future, which often includes blame, resentment and history. Experiencing anger in this way can be painful and drawn out.  The mind will attach itself to the details of the story and the story has the potential to go on and on, well after the trigger of anger has occurred.

When you experience anger on the vertical plane, it is energy rising from within, in this moment.  It does not need a story, it is simply rising, and yes it may have been a triggered, though that is unimportant.  The energy is rising and you can simply allow it to rise in that moment.

What do you do with all of that energy rising?

Observe anger. Now that you have become aware that you are experiencing anger, you can become detached from the emotion by observing it, allowing it to be there.  What do I mean by that? Instead of pushing the emotion away, simply be still for a moment and observe the emotion, notice how it is moving around your body and resist the desire to escape it.

You may begin to notice that the energy begins to quickly dissipate all by itself, nothing more for you to do than allow it to be as it is.

This in itself is quite incredible. In the beginning you might notice your mind wanting to bring back the story of what happened to trigger that anger. As you become aware of the mind doing that, simply allow the memory to be the memory that it is.

It takes more energy to hold on than to let go, and it is effortless to allow.

Allow the energy to release. You might notice that after observing the energy within your body that you feel like moving around, so move.  Go for a run, run up and down the hallway of your home, dance, paint, whatever you feel inspired to do that does not impact on those around you.

Rather than holding on or pushing it away, allow the energy to be here, and to move through you. Remember it is only energy.

Don’t take my word for it, try these concepts out for yourself.  I welcome your feedback and questions to kyla@beforeglow.com.au.

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