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Cure #17: "Living with the Dragon": The Anger Cure

What is Anger?

Anger is a signal from your Astral (Emotional) Body that an important personal boundary has been violated. Since anger is the guardian of emotions (Energy in Motion), it often is like the great winged dragon that put us on it's back and flies away out of our control for awhile. It carries us along for awhile until, weary of our ride through the whirlwind, we stop because we have spent all our emotional energy.

Emotions Closely Related to Anger: Impatience, Annoyance, Rage
Qualities Need to Resolve Anger: Love, Forgiveness, Tolerance, Compassion
Energetic Sources: Astral (Emotional) Body, Heart Chakra

What is Anger Trying to Tell You (It's Spiritual Purpose)? The spiritual purpose of Anger is twofold. First, anger signals that some action is needed.
Second, it teaches you to manage the actions flowing from your emotions.

From the "emotional" actions that you take, you will either resolve the karmic issues flowing from the situation or you will create more karma to be resolved in future.

For if you try to deny your anger, it will turn inward, causing anxiety, depression, hypertension, and potentially self destructive behaviors.

Yet if you indulge your anger, turning it outward without "moderating", you may take actions you will be sorry for later (as in "committing "crimes of passion" or saying things that "cannot be taken back").

How NOT to Respond to Anger: The most important thing in responding to anger is to remember that it is a signal, like pain in your physical body, that is trying to tell you action must be taken. Whatever action you take based upon the anger signal is something that you decide to do. Many people get so caught up in the anger that they simply pass it on… dumping it full force on whoever "caused it".

Although anger at times is an effective tool in dealing with difficult situations, if used too often, it loses impact. For if you are always angry, no one can tell the difference between when it is "real" and when it is just a "knee jerk" reaction. So they will tend not to take you seriously if you are always angry... compounding your frustration.

How TO Respond to Anger - The Anger Cure: "Forgive them, God, for they know not what they do" is the attitude that will most often cut the anger signal off at the source. The first step in the journey toward forgiveness is the realization that anger is most often born out of ignorance.

* Often anger comes because you are unaware of all the facts or are misinformed.
* Or you have false judgments or unrealistic expectations about the situation.
* Or you are really angry with yourself but are taking it out on someone else.
* Or the anger relates to unresolved past pain and not to what "caused" it now.
* Or the anger is 100% justified based upon what others "did or did not do".

The final step in the journey towards forgiveness is to routinely practice "better responses to anger". These better responses include: 1> Cultivating Calmness, 2> Resourceful Redirection, and 3> Appropriate Asserting.

Anger Cure Part 1: Cultivating Calmness is done by using these techniques:

* Relaxation - Breaths: The quickest way to relax is by taking deep breaths to bring more life force into your body and thereby balance your heart rate, blood pressure, hormones, and adrenaline elevated by the anger response. This will calm your physical and emotional bodies allowing you to think more clearly. See the "Breath Cure" for the "belly breaths" (breathing from your stomach not from your chest) that will infuse your being with calmness, peace, and centeredness.

* Relaxation - Self Talk: Often the fastest cure for anger is "talk yourself out of it". That is done by saying to yourself silently or out loud "Relax", "Calm Down", "Take it Easy", and so on. Put your fingers to your heart and feel your heart slow it's pounding as you cultivation the relaxation response. If you have the time, do the Reiki Heart Anchor technique to center yourself in unconditional love.

* Relaxation - Stress "Toys": For those who like to be hands on, stress toys are a great cure for anger. These are items that can be manipulated to work off stress. These include: "worry stones" which can be rubbed, hand vices which can be pressed, rubber balls which can be squeezed and so on. Better to take our your anger on a stress toy than on someone who you love and do not want to hurt.

* Relaxation - Guided Imagery: If the situation allows it, take a few moments to visualize an experience you find profoundly relaxing. Whether it comes from your memory or your imagination, the key is to fill your awareness - using as many senses as possible (see it, hear it, touch it, etc) - with whatever is guaranteed to make you deeply happy. Connecting with joy will automatically calm you down.

* Relaxation - Music: If the situation allows it, listen to calming relaxing music. The key is to listen to the "right" music which will put you into states of greater harmony. Not all music has this capability… there is special relaxation music that is guaranteed to soothe the inner dragon within - see the "Sound Cure".

* Relaxation - Exercise: If the situation allows it, focus your awareness on relaxing your muscles. There are many slow meditative practices (like yoga) that you can do to calm your mind by relaxing your muscles. If you practice these exercises daily, then you can use them automatically to calm your anger.

Anger Cure Part 2: Resourceful Redirection is done by using these techniques:

* Redirection - Humor: Laughter is like the bucket of cold water that when poured over rage will put it's fire out. Using laughter means finding something funny in the situation to diffuse the anger. Just like Ally McBeal who visualizes her whining clients as naked babies with rattles crying ridiculously (funny, right?).

The idea is not to "laugh off" your problems but to use humor to help calm yourself so you can find more creative solutions. The worst thing you can do is use humor in a harsh or sarcastic way… that is unhealthy and will only make the situation worse.

* Redirection - Fantasy: Closely related to laughter is the use of your "interior universe" to deal with the "miscreants making you angry". In your world, where you are supreme ruler and unquestioned authority, you are free to visualize any result that would ease your anger in the situation.

A favorite technique of mine is to imagine the miscreants on the floor before my throne, kissing my toes as they apologize. The idea is not to visualize harm to another or to send violence into the universe with the intention of manifesting it but to use fantasy to relieve internal tensions so you can solve the problem.

* Redirection - Timing: Timing is everything in life and in anger management. Anger always wants to be dealt with right away. Often, that is a good thing for "justice delayed is justice denied". And yet, putting it off until a better time often will get you what you want sooner, easier, and more effectively.

Taking a "time out" to decide the best way to respond to the situation just increases the chances that you will get what you want. Choosing not to argue with someone when they are tired or ill or stressed out honors them and opens them to listen to you. If that means going to bed on your anger, ask your guides and angels to help you wake up with a better solution to resolve the angry situation.

* Redirection - Avoidance: Sometimes the best way to deal with anger is to choose to remove yourself from well known sources of it. If your spouse's snoring is robbing you of sleep, bed down in another room. If your child's messy room infuriates you, shut the door and walk away. If driving through a congested area makes your pulse pound, find an alternate route or take public transportation. Learning to avoid the adiaphora ("minor and unimportant things") in your life will help to drain the anger from it and make your interior universe a better place to be.

* Redirection - Personal Space: Be sure to schedule "personal time" when you know you need to reduce stress. All working people should have a standing rule that when they come home from work, for the first 15 minutes, "nobody talks to them except in the event of a nuclear holocaust." After this brief quiet time to decompress from the workday, the demands of home life can be better handled.

* Redirection - Black/White Think/Speak: Be honest with yourself… do you suffer from "black/white think/speak"? Do you frequently use the words "always" and "never" when talking about a situation you are in? The truth is "always" and "never" are not just inaccurate, they serve to fuel the fire of your anger and alienate people who might otherwise be willing to help you. If you "always" think a situation is hopeless and "never" speak of a solution, you just keep the problem alive.

Anger Cure Part 3: Appropriate Asserting is done by using these techniques:

* Expression - Logical Problem Solving: The truth is that getting angry is not going to solve anything, that anger cannot make you feel better, and that anger usually makes you feel worse. Anger is telling you that there is a problem to be solved. Since it is a spiritual principle, that every problem contains the solution within it, the best thing you can do is to search for the solution.

Where the solution can often be found is in the "Demilitarized Zone" that exists between the positions of the angry parties. So put on "Mr. Spock's Logic Glasses" and look at the problem from the other person's point of view. Shifting perspective from "you-emotions-feelings" to "other-logic-thinking" opens you up to solving the problem. Just be patient with the process and give it your best.

* Expression - Open Ears/Open Heart: Asserting yourself in an appropriate way means "opening your ears to open your heart". Anger thrives when you jump to and act on inaccurate conclusions based upon incomplete facts.

So slow down and open your ears: listen to what is underlying the anger on your "side" and on the other "side". So often the "stated" issue is not the real one (ie. "I said I am angry because you forgot my birthday, but I am really angry because I fear you do not love me"). As you listen, you can slow down, think carefully about what you want to say, and take your time before answering. Then open your heart being less concerned to "defend your position" than to solve the problem at hand.

* Expression - Rightness vs Effectiveness: Nothing fuels anger like thoughts and feelings that you are "morally right" and that others who "block the light of right" must be "dealt with". Nothing is harder to do than argue with someone who is right because they are "right, right?". Here is where you must make a choice: is it more important to be right or to be human?

When you choose to be human, you are creating a space for others to be "wrong" and for them not to share in the "rightness of your cause". Often when you are right and choose to back off a bit, you give them an opening to see your side of things. If you are in fact right, that should be apparent and they may well surprise you by seeing things your way. And if they do, is that not much more effective for you in achieving your goal? You are darn right it is!

* Expression - Needs vs Demands: Angry people express their demands, calm ones express their needs. When you say to someone "I demand" or "I must have", you automatically put them on the defensive because you have attacked them. Since they must defend themselves, they have no time or space to consider your point of view. Yet when you say to someone "I need" or "I want help", you invite them to be generous and helpful and to think well of themselves (for you just told them that they are needed and important, right?). You open their time and space to help achieve your goals (better for you, right?).

* Expression - Be Cool: There is a fine line between being assertive (asking for what you want in a way honoring others) and being aggressive (promoting your needs at the expense of others). What usually keeps an assertive person from crossing the line into aggression is their willingness to be "calm, cool, and collected" because they trust that God is "out there" to support the fulfillment of their needs.

* Expression - Ban Verbal Violence: When you swear, curse, exaggerate, over dramatize, or "blow things out of all proportion", you are committing verbal violence. And "violence in the voice is often only the death rattle of reason in the throat." (John Boyes) If you choose to ban verbal violence from your beingness, you have automatically put yourself into the space of being the solution and not the problem. And that is the whole point of anger… to motivate you to solve problems in more creative and peaceful ways.

Before using any of these techniques, click here for a "Word of Caution."

Credits: adapted from APA Online: PsycNET - American Psychological Association.



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