By Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© March 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
The dictionary defines anger is a passion or expression of extreme displeasure, often with a desire to hit back or punish in some way. In addition, the word resentment is often used interchangeably with anger.
Resentment, in my mind, is the same as chronic anger. The word resentment from the Latin root means to feel anger over and over again.
These are good definitions at one level. However, anger can be further defined in ways that will help us understand it much better. Let us define anger in terms of different ways or levels of understanding life.
Physics. Anger is non-action or a reversed response to a situation that is causing fear. This concept is explained in detail in the article entitled Why Are Many Women Angry?
Biology/physiology. Anger is a response of the adrenal glands and thyroid gland to a perceived threat of some kind. Anger causes the secretion of the adrenal hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. These basically arouse the body to prepare it to fight or run. So anger is a state of glandular arousal the body in response to danger or perceived danger.
Chronic anger may be viewed in terms of the glandular system as an approach to life in which one is usually in a state of readiness for an attack at all times. It is not unlike paranoia, except that paranoia is more of the mind, while anger is more of the body and the emotions.
This glandular response may or may not be followed or accompanied by action of some kind. In this regard, anger can be helpful if you are actually being attacked. The problem is that when there is no real threat to life, the adrenal, thyroid and even sex hormones still circulate in the blood. If this happens often, it is quite destructive for the body.
Psychology. Anger is fear that one projects. Anger is also an analytical rather than an action-oriented response to stress or perceived threats of any kind.
Anger is also an action of the ego mind, which projects anything it does not like. The ego mind is an aspect of the brain or mind that appears to protect and defend a person. It is important in childhood, but the ego self later in life often gets in the way, and becoming angry is one of the ways it ruins one’s life.
The reactive mind. This part of the mind is sometimes called the reactive mind because it tends to react to stimuli or many kinds, rather than originate creative thoughts and ideas as to how to solve problems.
In fact, fear and anger are the basic emotions of the ego self. Fear, according to A Course In Miracles and other texts, is the most basic feature of an ego-centered person. If you find yourself afraid of anything, you are acting from the ego mind.
Most people do not want to feel afraid all the time, but they do not know what to do about it. The ego mind has an answer. It projects the fear outside of themselves and then responds to the projection with the emotion - or really the bodily response - called anger.
For example, if one is afraid of snakes, but does not want to feel this fear all the time, the mind may project the fear of snakes. One may believe that the cause of their discomfort is a threat from snakes, even when there is very little threat. Then the adrenal glands respond with the emotion we call anger. The emotion of anger is much more acceptable to the ego mind.
Of course, there are many possible threats to our safety, so fears are easy to project outward onto other people, places, governments, the weather, or other things. This is how the ego solves the problem of fear in most people, most of the time.
The ego mind, in fact, is sustained by feelings of fear and anger. Some people can see this in themselves, how they alternate between these two emotions much of the time.
Getting off this wheel of fear and anger is the essence of the spiritual journey, in a way, and requires 1) greater awareness of the real threats in your life, and often requires 2) the Pushing Down Exercise daily. This exercise enhances awareness and enhances detachment from all emotions and thoughts.
Otherwise, most people are trapped in this cycle, which eventually causes disease in the body.
Energy centers of the body. Anger is a first, second and third energy center response to real or perceived threats of harm. Anger, in this regard, is truly a ‘gut’ response, because the second and third energy centers are in the gut area of the body, or abdominal area. These have to do with power, control and manipulating others. It is as though anger is a response to feeling powerless, controlled or manipulated by another.
This response must be contrasted with other possible energetic responses to threats or attacks, such as a response from the heart, the mind, or higher spiritual level responses, such as the words of Jesus, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”. This was not an angry response to a difficult situation.
Anger and worse, resentment and hostility, are also types of neuroses in which the mind is fixated on the lower power centers of the body at all times, as a way to apparently protect oneself from real or perceived danger or threats.
Interpersonal level. Anger indicates a desire to hurt someone, basically as a means of removing a threat or perceived threat.
Maturity level. Anger is always somewhat egotistical and selfish, or immature because it is an ego response.
Anger is used by the ego when it does not understand a situation or is simply uncomfortable to pump up the ego self by making a person feel “better than” others, or situations.
Anger is somewhat immature and thoughtless since, in fact, anger is usually not the best way to handle any problem because of the destructive effects of anger on the body and brain. One must learn about this to understand anger, and then anger will usually subside and be replaced by constructive action in the face of danger or perceived threats.
In terms of the stress theory of disease. Acute anger is a mentally-triggered fight-or-flight response. It can prepare the body to fight or run away, although often it is a substitute for real action.
People who anger easily may be said to be in a state of heightened physical or emotional sensitivity to stress. This can be due to biochemical imbalances, as explained below under the heading of minerals. It can also be due to psychological immaturity, ignorance of the facts of a situation, or other illnesses, perhaps. It can and often is due to a defective mental habit or way of thinking by which a person tends to project all of one’s problems outside of oneself and then react to them with anger.
For example, one can become angry that it is cold outside, or too hot outside, or that one’s favorite sports team just lost a game. All of this is really quite insane, as there is little real threat to one’s life due to these events. However, for the person who is anger-centered, this is a way to distract oneself and feel somehow “better” about oneself by blaming all of one’s fearful and other feelings on someone or something else rather than owning the original feelings, and accepting them as just feelings from some source or other.
In terms of directionality. Anger tends to be a movement of energy upwards, from the base of the spine into the chest and head areas. In this case, directionality refers to the direction that one moves energies in and around the body.
For example, moving all energies and threats that approach the body downward, redirecting their energy downward and away from oneself, tends to nullify them, and usually discharges their energy in the most harmless way possible. Any other direction of movement is much less safe, less healing, and more dangerous for one’s health and well-being. The concept of moving energy downward is discussed in more depth in another article on this website, entitled Downward Motion Of Energy And Healing.
Anger is definitely not a downward-moving response, but rather an upward-moving or perhaps just a confrontational or horizontally-moving type of response. Even our language reflects this idea, as we say that an angry person is upset or uptight and needs to calm down.
In terms of reversals. A reversal is an attempt to push back or reverse an action back to its source. Anger is an attempt to respond in kind to the real or perceived threat. If you push me, I will push you back. This is also what is meant by a movement of energy upward or perhaps horizontally, but not deflecting the energy of the threat downward.
Levels of brain function. Anger is definitely a more animalistic response to stress or perceived threats. It is associated with the “old brain” or “emotional brain” or “animal brain” that we all have. It is the response used by all animals to respond to danger or threats of danger. Human beings, unlike the animals, are capable of ‘higher’ or more evolved responses to danger or a threat of danger. They can respond with thought, dialogue, prayer, asking for help, and so on.
In terms of yin and yang, anger is a more yin response than action. It may be called a yin adrenal and thyroid reaction to stress. This may be why it is more associated with women, at times.
In terms of mineral nutrition. Anger, according to Dr. Paul C. Eck’s research, is related to minerals such as copper, and iron. Dr. Eck read and proved that when these minerals accumulate excessively in the amygdala or related areas, parts of the brain associated with emotions, that feelings of anger and rage often surface or result.
This may be described as a physiological and nutritional cause for anger in some cases. Some people who are angry by nature may do things to actually accumulate iron and copper, which then causes the feelings they want to feel.
Iron, copper and manganese are “older” minerals. This means they are not the most “spiritually advanced” minerals, as are zinc and selenium, and they can be associated with cruder and more base emotions such as anger. Iron is the emotion of the ego self on earth, and it is related to anger. Copper is more related to fear, the underlying emotion that causes most anger.
This is a far more complete definition of anger that hopefully clarifies what it is and how it works.
The reasons include:
Š Anger destroys the body. It causes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cancer, heart attacks and more. Fight-or-flight reactions are catabolic, meaning they tend to tear down the body. Too much of the adrenal hormones such as cortisone, for example, is very damaging to many body organs and tissues.
Š Anger expressed upsets others in many cases, damaging many marriages, work relationships, parenting situations and many others.
Š Anger can use up a lot of energy that may be better spent in other ways.
Š Anger is usually an ineffective solution to problems. In fact, when angry, the mind is not clear and often people make poor decisions as a result. They are often called “hot heads” because their chi is in their head. A better way to make decisions is with a clear, “cool” head, meaning not out of anger.
Š Anger creates victim thinking that disempowers a person. The reason is that being angry tends to be a denial of one’s own part in situations and events. In other words, being angry at all tends to distract one or obscure a deeper truth, namely that one’s own thoughts, words and deeds often create situations more than circumstances or the actions of others.
Š Anger ruins many lovely personalities. Angry people tend to be ungrateful, somewhat dull and boring, and even ugly. This is because anger is not befitting a high-functioning individual. It is reactive instead of creative, deadening rather than life-giving.
This is just a name for a set of symptoms that tend to be found together in people who are angry much of the time. Among them are inflammation, joint pain, digestive difficulties, nervousness, fatigue or exhaustion, depression, allergies, dizziness, mood swings, mind racing, brain fog, dry mouth, anorexia, confusion, low self-esteem, headaches, and perhaps high blood pressure if the situation continues for a while.
Angry disease is seen more commonly in certain groups, such as young women, who seem to be more prone to anger for hormonal or other reasons. For much more on this subject, read Why Are Many Women Angry?
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION FOR ANGER?
The section on the definitions of anger above give us all we need to correct the situation. The solutions include development science to improve the body chemistry, techniques to help one let go and forgive everyone and everything, methods to help one stop projecting one’s fear and other emotions, and perhaps methods to heal the energy centers so that a person can begin to respond from the upper energy centers instead of the lower ones. Let us explore how this is done in more detail.
It can help by:
1. RESOLVING TRAUMAS THAT ARE AT THE ROOT OF SOME ANGER. This is fascinating and a large subject. For more, please read Trauma Release on this website.
a) Toxic metals. These include lead, cadmium, copper, iron, manganese and others. Having too much of these in the body is like having a nervous finger on the trigger of a gun.
In some cases, the trait has been given names, such as “manganese madness”, a condition found in those who mine and handle a lot of manganese.
Other people who are angry are sometimes called “iron-fisted”. Iron and manganese, at times, settle in an area of the brain called the amygdala, which is associated with feelings of rage and anger. As the metal is removed from the body, people often get in touch with how angry they are and calm down. This is our repeated observation.
Cadmium and lead are also associated with angry responses. All these toxic metals are neurotoxic. Most increase the brain’s inappropriate responses to stress. For example, hair samples from a number of serial killers has shown their lead, cadmium and manganese levels are higher than normal. (Toxic Metal Syndrome, Casdorph and Walker, p. 207).
b) Nutrient deficiencies are often associated with anger, believe it or not. Among the most important elements needed to reduce inappropriate anger and avoid triggering the anger response are the sedative minerals. These are calcium, magnesium and zinc.
They are actually psychological buffer elements that reduce a person’s responses to stress. Too much is not good, but in the right amount they keep a person balanced and they prevent excessive emotional responses such as rage.
Other important nutrients that contribute to appropriate emotional responses include zinc, selenium, chromium, available manganese and others. These are also needed to manage stressful situations of many kinds, both inside and outside of the body.
c) Unbalanced ratios of minerals can also contribute to anger reactions. For example, a ratio of calcium to magnesium in the hair that is above about 9.5:1 may be associated with defensiveness. This is a method whereby people use their angry reactions to protect themselves from stress of all kinds. It is a learned response, usually, that is extremely hard to live with for other people because it tends to block loving responses.
A low calcium/magnesium ratio may be associated with a magnesium deficiency, which can also trigger anger.
An elevated sodium/potassium ratio is definitely associated with anger responses. This may be because sodium is a volatile mineral and potassium tends to balance this trait to some degree. Both sodium and potassium have a lot to do with how the adrenals and the kidneys are functioning. These imbalances are easy to read on a hair analysis and easy to reduce as well using development science.
d) Other triggers for anger. These include removing hundreds of toxic chemicals, for example, and even some viruses and bacteria or parasitic organisms that can lodge in the brain and trigger emotional responses.
3. REDUCING THE INTENSITY AND DURATION OF ANY IMPROPER ANGER RESPONSE. Once an anger response occurs, a development program can help one to recover faster and stop the response before it gets worse. This requires strengthening and balancing the autonomic nervous system, primarily, but also requires excellent cellular nutrition and the elimination of many types of toxins from the body – metals, chemicals and biological toxins such as viruses and other micro-organisms.
4. REDUCING ANGER-CAUSED DAMAGE TO THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND GLANDS, AND REBUILDING BOTH OF THEM. This is a critical benefit of development. In most adults and even many children, prolonged or too much anger has caused damage to the adrenal glands.
The result is often fatigue, low blood sugar and more. Sometimes these cause depression, anxiety and other problems. This can also lead to a vicious cycle in which one just becomes more angry, especially when most doctors cannot find the reason for the symptoms. They may contribute to the anger with their expensive tests, drugs, chelating agents and other methods that may not help much.
At least 100 or more nutrients are needed every day. We must obtain these from food and with the use of supplements. However, rebuilding the glandular and nervous system with nutrients usually takes a few years and must be done properly to work well.
5. IMPROVING MENTAL CLARITY, COGNITIVE ABILITY, MEMORY AND REASONING. Removing hundreds of toxic chemicals from the brain and nervous system and reducing the burden of toxic metals will restore brain function, often to an amazing degree. This can help stop inappropriate angry responses, enable one to process old traumas that lead to anger, help expose false beliefs that trigger anger, and help a person figure out more adaptive and better responses to life’s problems.
6. HELPING A PERSON DEVELOP MORE SPIRITUAL ATTITUDES AND RESPONSES TO STRESS OF ALL TYPES. This may sound like an outrageous claim for a nutrition and lifestyle-based healing program. However, zinc and selenium, in particular, are crucial for the activity of the neocortex or ‘new brain’, and other higher brain centers.
As these are activated more and more, a person becomes more attuned to what are called the higher emotions such as compassion, love and others. This will help anyone to cope with stress in a more peaceful and balanced manner.
Such benefits may seem vague and intangible, but they are real. Many people report back that they have a better attitude about life, in general. What is occurring is that parts of their brain that were less active are becoming more active. As this occurs, they think differently and can adopt better attitudes.
To keep this article short, a discussion of the psychological benefits of development is contained in separate articles on this website such as Development and others.
7. HELPING TO PREVENT THE SUPPRESSION OF ANGER. Many hair mineral analyses indicate maladaptive or inappropriate responses of a person to his or her own anger. Often these are conditioned responses to anger that are not correct. Development, though it may be hard to imagine, can help correct some of these responses. They may be indicated by the following patterns on a properly performed hair mineral analysis:
Š A calcium shell. This often indicates a degree of psychological withdrawal and often anger is turned inward against oneself. This causes feelings of depression and even despair. For example, a very sweet, reserved middle-aged lady once consulted me. Her hair analysis indicated a calcium shell pattern, which is a hair calcium level above about 170 mg%. I mentioned to her that she might feel emotions more strongly when the shell came down as a result of the program she was following. On her next visit, a retest mineral analysis revealed that the shell had indeed disappeared. She also reported to me that one day she surprised and frightened herself because she “blew her top” at her husband for no apparent reason. Essentially, she stopped suppressing her anger, or her energy improved enough that anger was able to be expressed.
Š A high and perhaps a very low calcium/magnesium ratio. This indicates some defensiveness, in which a person may defend his angry responses. This can be related to eating too many carbohydrates, especially sugars. These “pump up the system”, obscuring and hiding a person from his own deepest feelings. This is one reason why angry people may crave sweets or carbohydrate foods – to hide or defend their angry responses.
Š A low sodium/potassium ratio. This pattern is associated with more chronic anger, sometimes called frustration, hostility or resentment. Chronic anger is suppressed anger, and as this pattern is corrected with a development program, the anger may surface and be resolved.
Š A bowl pattern. This can indicate that one’s chronic anger is causing one to feel stuck emotionally, as though one has no options. Once again, a development program often resolves this unfortunate condition.
Š Four lows pattern. This effect of chronic anger is associated with giving up, feeling very stuck, spinning one’s wheels, and often becoming cynical and negative as a result.
Š Possibly other patterns, such as a passive-aggressive, workaholic or other type of more complex response to anger.
By correcting these imbalances, a person will be far more able to respond to situations without suppressing anger or misinterpreting angry responses.
This article would not be complete without mentioning several other factors that are critical to help reduce inappropriate anger. The most important of these is getting enough rest and sleep.
Rest and sleep. Insufficient rest, all by itself, will trigger an angry response in many cases. Think about this carefully. Most people have experienced anger or irritability due to lack of adequate rest. Most everyone knows this, but few talk about it. Most people, especially teens and busy parents, do not get nearly enough sleep.
Anger as a way to handle fatigue and depression. This is an important and interesting cause for anger today among many millions of people. If the adrenal glands and thyroid gland are exhausted due to lack of rest or nutritional depletion from any cause, some people will use anger as their motivation to get out of bed in the morning and to keep them going throughout the day.
This may sound strange, but it is very common. It is a terrible type of motivation, however, that leads to horrible consequences including illnesses, divorce and even violence.
Exercise. Some exercise may be helpful for anger. It releases some of the hormones and can release some emotions as well. However, it is often used in inappropriate ways to cope with anger. This is not healthful and can cause heart attacks and more problems.
Millions today, in America and elsewhere in the developed nations, are addicted to exercise to some degree. It assists them to cope with their fatigue or their anger. This is not a good way to use exercise or anything, for that matter.
Letting go is a complex process. It is discussed in more detail in an article on this website entitled Letting Go. However, the most powerful method I know to force one to let go is a particular meditation exercise. I will call it the Roy Masters type of meditation, after the man who taught it to me.
What his meditation does is to relax the body, heal the body and help one to recognize that we don’t have the answers so we have to turn to another force, or level of understanding, in order to forgive and forget. This, in a nutshell, is the meaning and reason for meditation of the proper type.
Different from other meditations, prayer, affirmations and more. This is different from prayers, which are asking for forgiveness, for example. It is different from affirmations or decrees that I forgive and I am forgiven, and it is different from asking God for mercy, even. Mercy means you have done something wrong and hope the punishment won’t be too bad.
Meditation is a submitting of your will to a higher power and knowing that submitting will bring resolution of your anger problem because as the truth is seen and understood, all is known and the situation will be handled appropriately.
This relieves us of dealing with anger incorrectly, and this alone is a great benefit, at times. The world is larger than ourselves and there is no way we understand all angles of a problem such as anger. Thus, it can make sense to turn it over to a higher power and do our best to forgive and ask for help.
How this meditation helps. The Roy Masters meditation helps in many ways. Among them are:
1. It will bring up one’s own issues so that they will not remain as a subconscious trigger mechanism for inappropriate angry responses.
2. It will calm the mind so that one can see all situations more clearly.
3. It sets up an objective observer consciousness inside oneself that makes it much easier to discern the truth in all situations.
4. It relaxes the sympathetic nervous system and, indeed, the entire body and mind to help one handle all stressful situations better.
5. It can greatly reduce the duration of an anger response if one meditates after a stress-producing situation.
6. It can help anyone to become a happier person so that all slights, insults and attacks by others do not upset your balance and your peace nearly as much.
7. It can help one develop emotional detachment and a forgiving and loving attitude of “thy will be done”. As you do this at a deeper and deeper level, you will be able to accept more in your life, become more flexible in your attitudes and responses and be better able to forgive and forget, which is the ultimate answer to holding anger and grudges against others.
For all of these reasons, I
strongly recommend that anyone who is dealing with anger, which is most people,
do this meditation every day for at least an hour or two. One cannot overdo on this meditation
After a little while, it will begin to bring up issues for review that may be painful and cause symptoms in the body. In this case, just rest a while and continue. This is evidence of healing and not a problem at all.
ANGER IS AN ENERGETIC RESPONSE
This is an important point. Anger requires a certain amount of energy. If a person is too tired, anger will be suppressed, but that does not mean it is not there. It usually just comes out in unusual ways, or turns to depression, despair or even suicidal thoughts. So we find that when a person’s energy improves on a development program, often a temporary result can be a slight increase in feelings of anger. This is most noticeable in children, but occurs with adults as well. Usually this is temporary, and just represents an elimination of old feelings that were not able to be handled properly due to blocked biochemical energy or other nutritional imbalances.
Depression is the most common emotionally-related complaint in doctor’s offices today. However, anger is often the underlying cause. Anger turned inward becomes depression. For more on this, read the article on this website entitled Depression.
While all the above is important, sometimes one needs hints about how to handle anger in one’s life. The following are a few simple ways that can help. All of them can work if they derail or decrease the angry response of the sympathetic nervous system.
1. Tell others calmly when you are angry instead of just acting out or suppressing your anger. This can be done quite easily if one can calm down enough to do it right. All that is needed is to calmly tell the other person that you are feeling very angry about your situation. That is really all that is needed.
It is surprising, but this is rarely what people do. Instead, they act out. They fume, scream, curse or otherwise react negatively instead of acting in a positive way.
This, in turn, usually makes others angry and worsens the problem. The anger escalates until violence occurs or people become sad, depressed and anxious about themselves and even their sanity.
2. Wait at least a few minutes, breathe, or leave the room for a while before responding to any verbal attack or insult. You might even take a day, or a week to analyze why you are angry and formulate your response that is not going to escalate the problem, but just expresses it properly.
When you finally do express your feelings of anger to another person, try to do it calmly, not using judgment words. A very excellent way to do this is the subject of another article on this website, Non-Violent Communication. It is the title of a very good book by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg.
3. Other methods. Another technique is to hold the breath until you cannot do so any longer. This is another way to kick the sympathetic system out of its automatic mode of operation so you are back in control.
Another method is to speak quietly at all times. Be sure not to suppress your anger. But control your tongue and your voice.
Affirmations that may be helpful are “I am in the right place at the right time” and “All events are neutral”. These are actually spiritual truths, not just words. If you can understand them and practice them, they will help somewhat.
One final method is to speak good things about the person or situation you are angry with. This is actually an excellent method, in spiritual terms. It places you in the unlikely situation of praising one you wish to hurt. So, once again, it stops the automatic sympathetic nervous system response and this is extremely helpful, at least in the short term.
This topic was mentioned at the beginning of this article, but deserves more attention. Anger has a spiritual component that is often at the core of the problem. Let us discuss the basics of this issue.
Anger is always fear that is projected. For more on this topic see the book and/or CD that I made called The Real Self. It is also discussed in an article on this website entitled The Real Self.
This means that a person who is angry is always blaming someone or something else for a problem they are having, instead of taking personal responsibility for the problem.
However, spiritually speaking, one is never just attacked. We are each co-creators of our lives. This will be hard to believe for someone who was hit by a drunk driver, or perhaps robbed or raped. Anger is a victim response often. However, at some level I believe there are no victims and we co-create or perhaps create our lives.
While I cannot prove this to anyone, I do know it is a much happier and empowering stance or belief than the belief in victimhood. If you are afraid or angry, and you create your life, then presumably you can uncreate that which you do not want. The other perspective is that you are stuck with your life and your traumas, and it is just too bad. You can make yourself feel a little better by becoming angry to forget your pain, perhaps, but that is all.
What to do when you feel afraid or attacked, or just vulnerable. The answer is not anger, revenge, self-doubt, fear, or depression. It is a quiet acceptance based on knowing that God or a higher power is always in charge. This does not mean just laying down and dying, by the way. It could mean taking vigorous positive action, in fact. However, it is not an angry response.
This is very hard for most people to do without some kind of training However, it can be done and is often life-saving. Martial arts, meditation and other types of training are among the means to assist one to do it.
An excellent example of this was the famous phrase of Jesus of Nazareth during the crucifixion, when he said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” His mind was on God, not on his pain or frustration, or on hating his enemies.
Of course, this is not an easy response, and it must come from the heart, not just mouthing words. It was a wise response by one who knew there was a miracle in progress, and to just relax and allow the truth to come to light. So the answer is not so much in the words, but the feeling behind them.
An excellent story to read for those dealing with anger is to read the Book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is thoughtfully written and contains many spiritual truths. Job did not handle things perfectly, but eventually he learned how to deal with his anger. Soon after, his fortunes changed. This brings us to the subject of forgiveness and forgetting.
The spiritual answer to anger is always forgiveness. There is no substitute for it. To forgive means to let go of anger and move on in your life. There is really little else to do.
Holding on to anger causes frustration, resentment, hostility and worse. One may believe it is necessary and justified. However, it is never a proper response.
Therefore, the only answer is to forgive. But how can this be done in a genuine way, especially after, say, a loved one has been murdered, or something else apparently terrible has transpired?
The answer is, there is no simple human way. One must go to a different level in order to see the truth. This is where meditation of the type recommended in this article and on this website will help. You may also ask that it be done by the angels, God or the High Self. I believe your prayers will be answered, although not necessarily on your time schedule, and perhaps not in the way you believe should occur.
Forgiving does not mean to condone what occurred, or to deny it, or minimize it. Many make this mistake. It just means to let go and move on.
Forgive yourself, too. Another spiritual technique that may help is to forgive yourself. If you can do this, it will be far easier to forgive anyone else. You must forgive yourself for your misperceptions of your situation. This may sound odd. After all, what have you done that requires forgiveness?
The answer is that you have misperceived or attached a certain value to a situation that is not appropriate. Therefore, you are in error and need forgiveness.
For example, if someone robbed you and you become angry, you have misperceived the importance of the car or the house, or whatever was attacked or damaged. In fact, God and spirit are all that are real, from this viewpoint. This is somewhat advanced, but if you are so inclined, forgiving yourself for your misperception will help a lot. It involves changing your perception of the situation, which is usually very healing.
Forgiving yourself is also helpful in another way. Often people blame themselves for accidents, for example. We often say things like “if only I had taken the bus that day instead of walking to work”, or “if only I had listened to my Dad and not gone out with that man”, or something like this.
Here forgiveness of the self is essential in order to avoid turning your anger inward against yourself. Turning anger inward causes depression and sadness, and does nothing to resolve the actual anger. It usually just comes out in a different form that is often even more harmful to yourself.
Another way to deal with anger is to cultivate true patience. Throughout the ages, patience has been viewed as a great virtue. Before discussing this, I want to differentiate true patience from a false type of patience that is common today. By true patience, I mean an understanding of the situation from a detached perspective so you can see the long-term consequences of your anger and of the attack or issue that caused your anger.
False patience, by contrast, is just biding your time to get revenge. This is the “patience” often seen on television and in movies that is not really patient. It is just waiting for an opportunity to strike back. One holds onto anger with the latter, but not with the former.
Patience is a great virtue. A wonderful phrase from the bible is that “In patience possess ye your souls”. Others have stated this differently by saying “patience is having time on your side. Impatience is having time working against you”.
Patience is a virtue that must be learned, however. Patience is not inborn in most people. Patience implies a long-term view of the world and events.
Patience is also helpful to handle a situation properly. For example, if one is run over by a drunk driver and one needs to file a legal complaint, patience would help you prepare thoroughly for the legal case, instead of just lashing out at the driver. Patience might also involve realizing that alcoholism must be overcome in our society or we will never get over the deaths and suffering due to this problem.
Patience often teaches many other lessons, such as the fact that those who commit crimes can and do suffer, too. In this way, patience is a great teacher. However, patience is not the same as forgiveness, which is a letting go of anger altogether.
POSITIVE ASPECTS OF ANGER
Finally, this article would not be complete without mentioning that anger, while terribly destructive, can serve some positive purposes. These include:
1. An awakener. Finding oneself angry with another person, or a situation, can help some people wake up to the facts about another or about a situation of which they were not aware. This occurs all the time. One is speaking with a “friend” or colleague, for example, and suddenly finds oneself becoming very angry.
While you could just suppress the anger, feeling it and analyzing it may be very helpful to discover that the friend or other person is doing something you don’t like, for example, that you were not aware of. Perhaps the person is ignoring you, or staring at you, or interrupting you, or making sly remarks that undercuts your conversation. Getting angry can be your body wisdom telling you that something is wrong, even if you don’t know what it is.
In fact, some therapists, parents and others will intentionally, at times, cause another person to become somewhat angry to help the person wake up and see how their thinking or behavior is dysfunctional and needs to change.
2. A motivator for action. At times, becoming angry with another person or with a situation will clarify a situation and thus enable action to occur. Becoming upset enough, for example, may help a person move away from a bad relationship, quit a bad job, move away from a toxic friend or family of origin, or take other actions to end a problem or dispute. I will give an example from development science.
A 35-year-old man began a development program with me, and I noticed he was agitated and irritated all of the time he was with me. Neither I nor he was aware of the cause. However, several months later he returned for a follow up visit and was no longer irritated. When I asked about it, he said that for some reason, one day he exploded in anger at his roommate, who had been damaging his house, and told the roommate to leave at once. This, in fact had been bothering him for a year or more, but he needed to get angry to become aware enough of it and take action. The development program may have given him the energy or even the mental clarity to do this.
The trick, of course, is not to hold on to the anger once you have taken action. Also, ideally one should not need to become angry to take action, but becoming angry can be helpful as a motivator and to wake a person up to a situation that is harmful.
3. A way to get in touch with feelings and with the body. Feeling and properly expressing your anger can be freeing and help one get in touch with all of one’s feelings. This applies mainly to people who have suppressed their anger for various reasons. The only thing is that once this is done, there is no need to hold on to the anger, but rather learn to let it all go as quickly as possible using the methods suggested above.