Anger, however justified, may be projected onto others in the form of blame;
Unrecognized anger which has not been dealt with festers
and makes us sick
and may infect others with it's poison;
Consider these words of Aristotle:
"Anyone can become angry- that is easy.
But to be angry with the right person,
to the right degree, at the right time,
for the right purpose, and in the right way -
this is not easy."
Consider whether envy might be the source of some of your anger.
In his powerful 'whodunnit' Lord of the Dance,
Father Andrew Greely has one of the characters express this unpalatable truth:
'Envy is maybe the third most powerful human motive, after hunger & sex.
It is the fault that even analysts won't discuss'.
Or as the late John O'Donahue put it, in his wonderful book Anam Cara
'No one else can see the world the way you see it.
No one else can feel your life the way you feel it.
Thus it is impossible ever to compare two people
because each stands on such different ground.
When you compare yourself to others,
you are inviting envy into your consciousness;
it can be a dangerous & destructive guest.'
Suppressed anger is a major cause of depression;
We all need to deal with our own anger on an ongoing basis,
as part of any healing work.
Anger is something I still find it hard to deal with positively.
Not the least of the suffering it causes is the way
we feel when we are angry, or trying to pretend we are not!
In cities where the concentration of human energy is immense,
we all too often see & experience dramatic manifestations of great anger.
We are less aware of the effects of the undercurrents produced by all the little angers,
yet these are just as powerful in subtler ways.
Are you already finding this page irritating? You may be very angry and not realize it.
Finding & facing up to hidden anger is not easy.
My grand-daughter worked out an 'Anger Thermometer'when she was 5 years old
And when people pretend they're just cross and they're really FURIOUS!it feels awful!'"
Anger transformed into energy for positive action can achieve a great deal,
but how can we know what is right action?
'Can you wait patiently
Until your mud settles
And your water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Until right action
Arises of itself?'
Tao Te Ching
Or as it is put in the Permaculture Designers' Manual, practice:
'......protracted & thoughtful observation,
rather than protracted & thoughtless action'
Here are some more thoughts I find helpful
'I try not to deal with anger by being angry'
Burry Prior - Australian Aboriginal co-author of 'Maybe Tomorrow',
two of whose brothers have died as a result of government policies
on 'Black Deaths in Custody' not having been implemented.
Burry also said, in the same interview for ABC radio:
'Let yourself be generous with yourself, & let yourself be open,
and you will get what you need.'
Dame Julian of Norwich, a 12th.century English mystic said, in her
'Revelations of Divine Love':
'For I saw no anger, except on Man's part,
and God forgives this anger in us.
For anger is no more than a perversity & a striving against peace & love.
And when I saw all this, I must needs grant that the purpose of God's mercy
and His forgiveness is to lessen & quench our anger.'
One of the hardest things to realize is that while
we can & must take responsibility for, & deal with our own anger,
we cannot & must not take responsibility for or try to deal with that of others.
'I have lived on the very brink of insanity,
demanding to know Why?
hammering on the door.
I was knocking from the inside!'
Yet although other people's anger is not our responsibility,
we must be willing to deal with the suffering caused by it,
as far as possible without laying blame.
Nor is dealing with your own stuff the same thing as
though it is the initial step in any mediation process.
We need to learn to bless rather than blame, to replace criticism with gratitude,
greed with generosity, despair with gladness, to be mindful rather than impatient.
But the transformation of anger with love is an ongoing struggle.
As one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Goudge put it, in her novel "The Scent of Water"
"You want to love, and you can't,
and you hate yourself because you can't,
and all the time love is not some marvellous thing that you feel,
but some hard thing that you do.
And this in a way is easier, because with God's help
you can command your will when you can't command your feelings.
With us, feelings seem to be important, but he doesn't appear to agree with us."
More about Love
St. Francis of Assisi is said to have prayed:
'Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine master
Grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
For it is in pardoning that we ourselves are pardoned
In the giving of ourselves that we receive
And in dying that we are reborn.'
This may seem very idealistic & 'spiritual'.
The Tao Te Ching puts it more pragmatically, yet says much the same thing.
Here are two different translations of the same passage, each with its own nuance.
'After a great enmity is settled, some enmity always remains.
How to make peace?
Wise souls keep their part of the contract
And don't make demands on others
People whose power is real fulfil their obligations
People whose power is hollow insist on their claims'
Ursula le Guin translation
'Failure is an opportunity
If you blame someone else
There is no end to the blame
Therefore the master
Fulfils her own obligations
And corrects her own mistakes
She does what she needs to do
And demands nothing of others.'
Stephen Mitchell translation
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