Anger gets a bad rap in the spiritual community.
When you show anger, they “gasp” as if you performed the biggest unspoken taboo of all spiritual domain.
It is traditionally understood that you should get rid of anger. That you should calm down or ignore it entirely.
On the contrary, suppressing such passion have negative effects upon our mind and body.
One of the misconception of being spiritual is that you have to radiate “positivity” all the time and any sense of negativity should be repressed in the depth of our soul.
But it is very likely that you will come across anger in all its various manifestations.
What one may not realize is that it is okay to be angry from time to time in our spiritual journey.
It’s Okay to Be Angry
Do you ever get angry? So do we.
We are all on the same path. We all go on the same journey.
Sometimes we may lose our way or make mistakes.
Who would we be if our comrades slip on a mountain and we judge them instead of helping them up?
And who would we be If we gasp at them while they cling on a branch?
As we are full of blemishes ourselves, why condemn another for the anger we ourselves share in our dark times?
If we, at our current level, do not have the ability to control our temper, it is not the end of the world.
However we value kindness and compassion, we are still human and so at times get frustrated.
There is no one who has risen above anger who has not experienced anger.
Even masters and teachers may at times get slightly angry.
So for most of us, trying to get rid of anger is not a realistic option.
What we can do is to understand and control the emotion of anger to the best of our ability.
We do not get angry because of what someone did, we get angry because there is anger inside us triggered from outside events.
“Nobody makes you angry. You decide to use anger as a response.” – Brian Tracy
Anger is a way to defend or protect ourselves from perceived threats by force.
What could possibly threaten us in this age of reason?
The threat may be to our family, to our identity, or to our attachments. As long we have something to lose, we can feel threatened.
When our options are low and our boundaries crossed, frustration appears to be the appropriate expression.
Many people often think that anger arises from what happens to them. After all, it didn’t suddenly come in from nowhere.
But why does one insult frustrates one but not another?
If we look within ourselves, we find that our rage is a defense mechanism which arises from our own unresolved fears, unmet needs, and when our buttons are pushed.
It may began in our childhood, due to a learned behavior we picked up from experience, or genetic predisposition from our parents.
This does not mean there are no jerks out there. But it does mean that we often turn to anger rather than other methods to resolving conflicts.
Thus, the responsibility is our own.
If we choose to respond with rage and aggression, then we can also choose to respond with kindness.
Like all things, it is a practice. The more we practice how to respond, the better we do in responding.
We can understand our frustration and gradually learn how to deal with the situation more beneficially and peacefully.
Anger is not the way
Despite anger being a natural emotion, we must also realize that our spiritual path requires us to heal and control ourselves so that we may radiate peace within ourselves.
Now this is not the same as repressing or suppressing one’s anger. In time, anger will not control us but we shall become masters of our passions.
Oftentimes the expression of anger clouds one’s judgment and makes situation worse.
When uncontrolled, anger give rise to anger.
The louder one gets, the louder the other becomes. Everyone is unhappy. No one wins. Everyone loses.
It doesn’t help and it’s a waste of energy and time.
When a driver annoys you and you flip the bird (show middle finger), does it help?
The driver will not apologize and will likely engage in a battle of insult, adding heat to the flames.
Does it help you? You had a good mood and now it’s ruined. All the energy spent on a random stranger is surely wasteful.
And what if one did get the driver to submit an apology? It could stir up a sense of revenge and the cycle continues endlessly.
To strive towards control over anger instead of anger controlling us is the goal.
But it is okay if we did not win the first time. There are plenty of times to prepare and win against our inner demons.
When you have anger, don’t be afraid to abandon them. There are better ways to resolve a conflict.
How Anger Is Toxic to Health
A study in Stanford University Medical School has shown that a bitter memory of anger brought to mind can have 7% or greater heart pumping efficiency reduced. This is a dangerous drop of blood flow in the heart called “myocardial ischema”.
Even though the patient of the study were only half as mad while recollecting their bitter memory, anger does most harm to the heart than anxiety or physical stress.
How much would blood flow in the heart be reduced if the anger were more severe? We are looking at a greater potential for heart disease or heart damage.
Each episode of anger stresses the heart, increasing heart-rate and blood pressure. The heart can only take so much. When repeated, it can do damage.
In fact, a study in Yale School of Medicine reported that out of 929 men who had survived heart attacks up to 10 years, those who easily give into anger were three times more likely to die of cardiac arrest.
Now this does not mean that one should suppress frustration in the heat of the moment. Suppressing anger leads to magnifying and intensifying the stress in the body. This raises blood pressure.
However, venting our frustration only feeds the flame and makes the behavior of anger more easily aroused the next time.
If we can be mindful of anger when it arises, then we can regulate it. The more we are aware of our habits, the better we can transmute anger and hate into love and empathy.
The emotion of anger is not a horrid emotion. Sometimes, it can be justified to inspire us in a positive direction.
If we are angry for the right reason in such a way that anger is under controlled and is not directed at our illusory attachments, then it may be a spiritual thing to use anger.
When It’s Okay to Be Angry: For the Right Reason
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
What is the right reason to be angry? When is it ever justified in releasing frustration?
If we are to be angry, then we should be angry at injustices in the world, at cruelty for animals, at human indecency.
Where would we be if we had not been frustrated at racism and prejudice? Where would we be if we let tyranny step over us?
When your soul had enough, anger boils and ignites. It tells you that what is happening is not right.
Let anger be an inspiration for the cruelty for others and not for ourselves. Use it to fuel a worthy cause but not as a means to sustain it.
Instead of complaining about the injustices in the world, anger can push us to make better changes in ourselves and others.
For example, becoming frustrated about how we live our life can lead to changing our life for the better.
The difference is that anger tied to our ego is an illusion. But if our frustration ignites inspiration to make the world a better place, then it is a boost we could use when rightly controlled and under the direction of our intuition.