Reflections on anger floated up during meditation the other morning. Here is what came up: It’s neither good or bad to be angry. There is nothing wrong with being angry. It is the acting angrily that blocks our growth and causes harm. As 2 and 3-year-olds we are told to STOP our tantrums. I suspect most tantrums are a way of trying to say “no!” while we struggle for freedom and autonomy. In my Utopia, we would be taught how to synthesize and utilize anger, even when we are raging children.
If we are fortunate enough to become conscious of our own anger, we are afraid. It’s bad. Rather than hate it and hide it, we could practice resting in what I would call Jizo awareness — (Jizo is the Bodhisattva whose name translates to Earth Womb) — and feel angry, without judgement. Once aware of anger on your inner horizon, feel your feet on the ground. Breathe and observe. Don’t hate the anger. Lean on it. Wonder about it. Visualize it. Notice how the anger expresses itself in your body: tension? If so, where? Shaking? Small breath? Allow the desire to implode/explode and bathe it with compassion like a warm shower. Try and reach for a neutrality much like the sky would experience a thunderstorm. Buddhist meditation encourages us to Be Like The Sky. The sky is constant whether it is day or night, hot or cold, stormy or peaceful, windy or calm.
Imagine Jizo, holding you safely in the face of your inner child – Chibi — turning purple with rage at whatever triggered you: another driver, colleague, loved one, the news, your child, your child’s coach, your own failings. Then, ask that grounded part to help you observe and allow the storm to pass. Just ask.
Thus, we may feel our anger and name it to ourselves. We may admit it, if possible, in a kind and collaborative way to someone else without acting it out and causing harm. We may learn something as we endeavor not to stuff it down and turn it against ourselves through some sort of self-sabotage. Say to yourself: “It’s a feeling, it’s a weather pattern, and like all feelings and weather patterns: they pass.” As you practice awareness and acceptance of anger, lightness arises within you.