Fireworks


When we decide to travel a spiritual path we want to develop our capacity to become more loving, peaceful, harmonious souls. We want our emotions and thoughts to hit the high notes, not the low ones. We want sunlight and flowers to dapple our path as we ascend the spiritual mountains, and our eyes may be so firmly fixed on the heavens that we fail to see the patches of mud which also dapple our path.

mountain

Anger is one of those muddy spots. When we hit it we go out of control; we slip and slide back down to the bottom of the mountain. We may then aggravate our already-bruised condition by telling ourselves how unspiritual and unevolved we really are.

Have you ever noticed that animals don't worry about getting angry? I once had a cat, Angel, who wasn't fond of strangers. If an unwary human passed through her territory--which was the entire house--she hissed and growled in a menacing manner. Some people were terrified of her, convinced that she might at any moment leap on them and claw them to death. During her long life, though, she never scratched or bit a guest. Her anger wasn't a prelude to violence but a means of preventing it.

We humans have the same ability to use anger to prevent violence, but sometimes our mistrust of our intuitive animal sense of effective and appropriate behavior makes us afraid to act on it. As children, we are punished for the spontaneous expression of anger (did you ever tell your parents that you hated them?). Schools reinforce the lesson, and by the time we're adults we're convinced that anger has the danger potential of volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

Our opinions of anger don't eliminate it from our emotional repertoire; nor do they erase our physiological response to it: accelerated adrenaline production, the quickening of the nervous system, and the urge to redress the chemical and neurological imbalance by releasing tension. When we try to inhibit anger it will either explode or implode.

Fight firecracker

Have you ever had a friend who continually talks about him(her)self and never wants to hear about your life? Call that friend Sam. You may initially be kind about him, saying, "Sam is just insecure; it doesn't hurt me to listen." If you find yourself angry after an evening spent with Sam you say that it's just your own insecurities acting up.

In time you may get angrier. You start to tell other friends that you can hardly bear to be around Sam. Finally, after a day during which everything went wrong you have dinner with him. He begins to tell you what a terrible day he had, and you explode. You never speak to him again, but who needs a friend like that?

In such instances anger becomes the steam which gets us to speak unpleasant truths. It also shields us against expressing our vulnerabilities; when we're angry we don't have to say, "It really hurts my feelings when you never ask me how I am."

Flight

When we don't explode we may do even more damage. When anger implodes, instead of attacking someone else we attack ourselves. It is believed that ulcers, arthritis and rheumatism, and a depressed immune system are some of the physiological effects of unexpressed anger. On a psychological level wew attack our self-love and self-esteem.

Suppose that instead of responding with overt anger to Sam's self-absorption you decide that you're beneath his notice, an insignificant person whose mother wouldn't even be interested in how your day went. In extreme cases, you might creep through life, trying not to cause offense. When you feel an occasional twinge of anger it just proves what a generally worthless person you are.

An Ounce of Prevention flame

When our anger explodes or implodes we become its victim. When we handle it as it arises we become its masters.

To deal with anger consciously allow it to be. Don't dampen it by making excuses for the person you're angry at; don't divert it by beating yourself up. Know that, regardless of the circumstances, you have a right to your anger. Feel its force and recognize that you're a very powerful person to be able to create and generate such energy, a person powerful enough to use it wisely.

Then look at your anger objectively. What about a person's behavior angers you? Ask yourself--without blaming yourself--whether you ever display such characteristics. For example, have you ever not listened to others? The recognition that we have the very traits we dislike in others can be sobering (and sometimes humiliating) but it does much to difuse anger, as opposed to repressing it.

burning letter If you're still angry you'll need to express it. You can release some anger and clarify your feelings by writing a letter to the other person. Say everything you need to say; let the anger out until flames lick the page. Then tear it up or burn it. This exercise may prepare you to speak to the person; if not, you might want to send him or her a more moderate version of the letter.

If you do decide to have a conversation about what makes you angry create and mentally repeat an affirmation that the discussion will produce the best possible results for both of you. You may wish to program a crystal and visualize yourself in a condition of harmony with the other person.

Anger and Love

From the time we told our parents we hated them we've been angry at people to the degree that we love them. When people we love disappoint us we feel a barrier to expressing our love for them. Our anger is really an attempt to remove the obstacle which prevents us from loving--and if we let our anger be it will do just that.Anger is Love Having a Bad Day

Have you ever had a fight with someone you loved which resulted in a tearful reconciliation and the feeling that you loved this person more than ever? This happened because your commitment wasn't to your anger but to the love you shared. When we learn to extend this commitment, when we firmly decide to be loving, peaceful, harmonious people, when we trust ourselves to express our anger consciously and wisely, we find that, far from making us skid down the mountain of enlightenment, it helps to get us to the top.

SteppingStones

Obsidian is useful when we have difficulty recognizing that we may have the characteristics which so annoy us in others. In using obsidian, it's worth remembering that some Native American tribes shape it into knives and arrowheads. It cuts to the heart of a situation, and it's possible to get wounded.

Rose quartz is the ideal heart healer, and is good to use in conjunction with obsidian. It helps to keep us from reacting negatively to those undesirable self-characteristics we find mirrored in others by helping to remind us that, faults or not, we deserve love and especially deserve to give it to ourselves.

Smoky quartz is one of the stone traditionally related to self-esteem. As a grounding stone which transmits a great deal of light it both helps to keep us centered and reminds us that we, too, are creatures of light.

When the time comes to speak to the other person, amazonite is the ideal stone to have on one's person. It's excellent for courage of self-expression.

Tell It to the Flowers roses roses roses

Scarlet Monkeyflower (FES) is ideal for those who are afraid to allow their anger to surface. This remedy helps one to accept the existence of anger (or any repressed emotion) and to deal with it constructively.

Larch (Bach Flower Remedies) helps to foster self-confidence, and dissolves the limits one may have placed around oneself. In the context of anger, it can help us to feel confident about how to express anger.

Holly, a Bach Flower Remedy, is ideal for anger. When one takes it it becomes clear that anger is but the shadow side of love, and it helps to restore love in our hearts.

Beyond the Rainbow
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