Anger Revisited

What do you do when your nemesis (never mind you never wanted one) is a volcano of anger that erupts regularly but still without warning? What if you’ve taken precautions, staked out lava walls (I’m imaging these are like dikes, but heat-resistant), but that gaseous, toxic, skin-searing stuff keeps leaking under and over? What if the kids track it into the house?

An article on “Conquering Anger and Violence” (in Yoga International Magazine and by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait) describes anger as part of life, a healthy result of the frustration of desire, which itself drives life forward and is necessary and desirable. The problem is when two tangle “we label an angry deed as ‘wrong’ and demand the wrongdoer be punished. If the wrongdoer stands his ground, we lose our inner balance and our discernment plummets. In a flash, we meet anger with anger. Both parties, consumed by self-righteousness, come into active conflict.” The real difficulty is that even if the conflict ceases temporarily because a third party intervenes or we are tired [she’s not; I admit, I am], “the anger remains, and, at the earliest opportunity, flares into another round of active conflict.” Somebody please get me off this merry-go-round. I am good for a necessary response to defend myself and a brief period of once again marking off boundaries, but there are so many other things to attend to. Like baking muffins. Or noticing the flowers that come and go and the children that come in and out. Can’t we please move on?

I get that the spiritual solution is supposed to be to channel the anger. I have used it well. I have produced academic work and many new creative endeavors have been fueled by my anger. That’s actually been highly productive, cool even. “The presence of anger is not a sign that we are bad. It is a sign that we are in urgent need of experiencing our own inherent fullness.” I get that. Aristotle agrees. Anger can be useful; learn to transform it. Got it. Really. My goal is to use anger wisely. So I can’t do anything about her anger (thinking out loud), only channel my initial angry response into something positive.

Guess I’m just still not very good at it, or at least not nearly quick enough. But on another level, while channeling is no doubt the best thing for my physical and emotional health, this individual (picture Sarafine in Beautiful Creatures) attacks. So, (thinking out loud again), I have to protect myself and mine, maybe even fueled by useful anger–perhaps this is even a method of transforming the anger–then continue to transform it into something positive. Better than watching lava singe your toes. We are going on three years now. Maybe I will create something amazing before this is all over.

~Wanda

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