Truth Speaks in Thunder as in Silence
Sometimes it is in tune to speak out forcibly,
confronting what we see and feel.
And sometimes it is better to remain silent
and in our center of peace surrendering
to what the cosmic will is willing.
The heart of true wisdom is to know the difference.
Perhaps I should have titled this essay beyond anger because there is so much to be angry and indignant about it could kill us with stress hormones. There is little doubt that we have a lot to be angry about these days, but I identify more with indignation.
Indignation is a complex and discrete emotion that is triggered by social emotions and social environments. Feelings of anger and disgust are some emotions that make up indignation. The feeling of indignation can occur when one is mistreated by another, or negative feelings are sparked when a situation is out of the normal realm of society.
Anger has a lot to do with either the expression of power or the helplessness we experience when we are confronted with other people’s power. Definitions of anger vary from being a body tension with a cognitive view of the world as being frustrating, irritating, insulting, unfair or assaulting to a literal demand from our internal being to pay attention to our essential needs and then to act accordingly.
The biological or evolutionary view of anger is one of preparing the entire organism for rapid response to threatening situations. With anger the blood flows more quickly as heart rate increases and the rush of adrenaline generates the pulse necessary for vigorous action. The word anger really covers a lot of ground, from indignation to distress, annoyed, aggravated, keyed-up, intense, frustrated, ardent, zealous, and even excited. When we talk about anger we are talking about a family of strong ‘hot’ feelings.
Anger cannot be dishonest.
George R. Bach
Anger describes an inner space and anger makes a person’s space easily visible. In anger our inner world lights up brightly for others to see. In this way anger is an honest emotion. Anger comes out when a person can no longer hide their inner world from others. Anger has the habit of breaking though all games people play.
Self-aware people tend to be autonomous and thus clear about their own boundaries. Such people are sensitive to when some natural limit is being reached or crossed by others. These kinds of people do not like to play games around important issues and will let you know in no uncertain terms what they are feeling, thinking, or seeing. But that can get a person killed, fired, censored and or de-platformed from social media accounts.
However, when someone commits and offense against us, or acts in a harmful way, it is natural to show some ‘feelings’ of displeasure. We can forgive a person easily but that does not mean that we are saying it was OK for an offense to have occurred. Whether we react or not, whether we get angry and lose control of that anger is independent of the objectivity of a given situation.
Inappropriate anger can delay the resolution of situations, but the repression of anger can be an acid that can do great harm to us. However, anger is a cautionary instrument that serves us in crucial moments of interaction with others.
This global energy crisis, combined with a looming food crisis
(as bans on farming and fertilizers snowball), will inevitably
kill hundreds of millions of people, and, most distressingly, this
murderous consequence is intentional, manufactured, planned.
People have a very strong tendency to judge anger. We assume that the angry person is out of control of their ego not understanding what the word ego means and what the purpose of anger is; what it expresses. The minute we judge another person’s anger we collapse into our own ego sense of separation for often when a person shows their anger, they are really exposing their vulnerability. We think of vulnerability as something softer than anger as when a person shows us their tears. But the angry person can also be exposing themselves to hurt and rejection because people quickly tend to judge their anger.
Anger shows a ‘strong’ displeasure about something.
Reject not anger for it is expressing more than we imagine.
What that displeasure is about is very important. If we get angry because we are not getting our way, it is one thing. If we are unhappy with another because they are not doing what we like, or things are not going exactly according to our personal plan, we have the smallest self-letting off steam.
But what if we have the kind of anger that is aroused by something unjust, mean, or unworthy. Modern Psychology understands that the universal trigger for anger is the sense of being endangered. This sense of endangerment is not limited to mere physical threats. It can include threats to self-esteem and dignity. When we feel that we are being treated unjustly or rudely or being insulted or demeaned there is a natural and often deep response within us.
There is another kind of anger that deserves our respect.
A legitimate anger, one worthy of listening.
Anger can be intelligent and can be used
for creating meaningful and lasting change in our lives.
Anger can show us where respect is being disrespected.
Anger can show us something is wrong and needs correction.
In almost all household and community situations we find many common situations that provoke intense feelings. What do we feel and what do we do with a person who will not assume their share of responsibilities? After we have communicated our feelings to a person, many times, about them not doing the dishes, for example, we also must face the reality of our communications and feelings are being ignored. This naturally needs to arouse us to greater and more powerful communications, or in the end, to take decisive action.
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not
let the sun go down on your anger.
[Ephesians 4:26] Bible
There is an anger that transcends the selfish undisciplined ego. An anger that we can see in nature that delivers consequences and is ruthless and impartial. Pure righteous anger is not directed so much at individuals, it is not ego-to-ego. It is a feeling response directed impartially toward a whole system of wrongs. In general, when we love cosmically it is the divisions in human life that causes intense feelings, anguish and sometimes even anger.
In the real world the opportunity for peaceful dialogue is not always present and the use of force may be necessary to protect others and us from harm. There is a kind of strong feeling that runs with certain kinds of situations that drives us quickly into action. But some people think that emotional intelligence demands we control our emotions and regulate our moods and impulses.
Emotional control is an appropriate skill but there is real and present danger of us controlling too much. Our strong feelings are not just emotions to be controlled; they are internal calls to action, to attention, to the turning on of the full powers of our consciousness. The real value of anger is found in the moment it arises and the reason for its occurrence. Anger can shout to be careful. It can propel us to evaluate a situation more carefully, to pay attention with the full force of our being. Anger is a powerful call to pay attention to what is going on in our internal and external environments and to understand the relationship between the two.
Anger has its roots in the “fight or flight” response and that it summons up great reserves of energy to deal with and confront situations. But Chogyam Trungpa warns caution when he says, “Don’t suppress anger but don’t act on it.”
Anger is a cry for change.
Change in situation, change in the self.
One does not usually equate anger with positive action. Most people associate anger with blame, “You make me angry.” In this case the cause of the anger is in our thinking, in some judgment about who the person is and what they are doing. When anger is properly channeled it can change a person’s life, the same with feelings of disgust or revulsion. Properly channeled, all these kinds of more intense feelings can change our life. The person who feels disgusted is ready to throw down the gauntlet at life and say, “I’ve had it and I am not going to take it anymore.”
Our strongest feelings and emotions
call us to the alter of change.
The three main choices seen in modern psychological for the processing of angry feelings is expression, suppressing, and calming. The expression of angry feelings in ‘assertive ways’ has always been seen favorably as the healthiest way to express anger. When we ignore our anger or suppress it or judge it, we are turning a sword inward. Anger often is a message to get clear on what our needs are and to establish how in fact we are going to get those needs met. The expression of our anger shows a respect for our own feelings and respect for others who need to hear what we are feeling.
He that would be angry and sin not,
must not be angry with anything but sin.
Repression of anger is the worst method of anger management causing serious medical problems like hypertension, depression, and cardiac dysfunction. Anger can provide the motive force and the energy that allows us to stand up and fight for ourselves. The highest form of anger comes from the self that just wants to stand up for what is right. The hero inside of us wants to vanquish those dark forces. In this anger (strong feelings) can be both our shield and our sword.
We boil at different degrees.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anger is an emotional disturbance, a reaction to both external and internal stimuli. Anger needs to be distinguished from aggression as anger is the internal emotion and aggression is the external behavior. As it is possible to be angry without being aggressive and to be aggressive without being angry, the two concepts cannot totally define each other. What is not clear to most people at all is that it is our personal involvement in the fight against indecency, against laziness and corruptness and contempt and uncaring and neglect and the deliberate hurt of our own and other peoples’ beings that marks our evolution and growth as beings.
There are some people who get angry too easily and there are others who just cannot seem to get angry when they should. Who wants to get upset in life and who on this earth is so perfect that they never get upset? For many people strong feelings of any kind is upsetting. When we define anger simply as a strong feeling we can move past our judgments and begin to listen. “Anger is a signal and one worth listening to” writes Dr. Harriet Lerner in her renowned classic The Dance with Anger.
There are certain things that we just cannot say to another without bringing up a lot of conflict and anger. No matter how calmly and skillfully we communicate, if we show another person that some action of theirs is hurting our inner world (creating or provoking strong feelings) they might react with anger.
But often there is a need to deliver a message, to make a communication. How do we get someone to listen? The softest and most peaceful means is to open our hearts and make a vulnerable communication that expresses exactly how we feel and what we are seeing and needing. But what does the being do when this type of communication is ignored? Certainly, new, and stronger feelings arise in the moment we feel ignored or when our communications are completely rejected. The more we try to communicate and the more we are frustrated the deeper our feelings of frustration and anger become unless we just let go.
Violence is the communication of last resort. When all else fails and communication breaks down completely, many people resort to some form of violence.
There is an anger (strong feeling) whose source is love
and this type of anger is a force to be approached
with care for it has the power like no force on earth.
The origin of spiritual fire expressed as anger
is not hate but love not separation but oneness.
Anger can be seen as a social emotion. Our beings were never meant to live with uncaring and separation. We were meant to live with love and caring. And thus, it is quite natural for us to have strong feelings when love and caring are lacking in our social existence.
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