The admonition to “don’t be angry” is deceiving – wrong – dangerous?
People get angry.
So now you have anger, PLUS you have guilt. You have a sense of failing, AGAIN. You can’t do anything right, especially not this inner peace bullshit.
When anger comes up, you will be angry. Until you do significant work on yourself to deal with the reasons that anger comes up, anger will come up again.
The very best tools that I’ve ever learned that unravel the spool of difficult emotions and eventually stop them from arising at all is Byron Katie’s The Work.
There may be other techniques too but The Work is the only one I’ve know to literally make the difficult emotions stop arising.
The other important tool to have is what Gangaji teaches: There is nothing wrong with anger. Anger is a part of you; it’s just what’s here. And most of the time, it isn’t. But when it is here, your job is to let it be here. Not to resist it, or tell yourself, “I shouldn’t be angry.”
If you can meet the anger, and welcome it, instead of resisting it or trying to make it into something else, then you may find that what’s underneath anger is not anger. It’s love. Yes I know, sounds crazy but investigate it for yourself! If you truly meet the anger, and let the anger simply be, what do you discover? Give it a shot, the next time someone cuts you off on the freeway.
And then later, if you want to unravel why you became angry at that person in the first place, sit down and do The Work. Identify the thoughts you were thinking that led to that anger to come up. Find out why the experience of anger came into your attention, by listening to yourself and hearing what you were thinking that generated that reaction. The thought comes first, then the emotion. By identifying what you were thinking and believing at the time you were cut off on the freeway, you can see what program was running or what script was playing that triggered the emotional response. It is always so surprising when the root thought is uncovered. Such discoveries can be priceless, and truly transformative!
Gobs of meditation and endless silent retreats may be empowering and reaffirming and healing, but in my experience, none of those practices actually untie the knot of personality. They can be profound, and deeply fulfilling, and bring stillness beyond stillness, and let you touch Truth. But then you go back out into the world, and you get on the 405, and you turn into an a-hole like everyone else.
Discovering the patterns and programs that drive the thinking mind will give you true freedom. Layer in understanding from these teachings and actively investigating the nature of mind will open up your soul to discovery.
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