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Embrace anger more deeply- reawakening of spirituality

Authentic spirituality is not a little spark within or a humming of knowingness, not a psychedelic blast-through or meeting with self on some exalted plane of consciousness, but an enormous power of liberation, or a kind of sanctuary providing both heat and light for the healing of wounds and reawakening we need. When we are practicing spirituality, we have learnt to purify and redressing our emotion. We often have some misconception about emotion. There is not a thing called negative emotion. We do bad or negative things with our emotion but our emotion itself gets untouched by any negativity or positivity. Negative or positive is an approach or more specifically a hollow path to channelize our emotion. Think of anger, there is no instance in our life that we get so angry at a person and we go to that person and hug him/her saying that, ‘I am so angry, how could you do this to me’.
Rather we choose to be harsh on him and speak rudely and ill-behave with him. Anger is just an emotion like love, compassion and all. Anger is an emotion that we intentionally handle with hostility and negatively. And hostility is not negative emotion at all rather a negative superficial coating of an emotion called anger. Anger can be positive emotion also. Get angry on something you don’t deserve, and anger gives you the energy and sheer drive to pursue your work more gracefully. The real concern of spirituality is not whether or not to express ‘negative’ emotion; but how we choose to express them. We know only two ways either ‘expression’ or ‘repression’. But over-expression may lead you to hostile situation and repression makes your immune system weak or makes things even worse.
There is nothing inherently wrong with anger. Anger does not mean a sign of negativity or spiritual slippage. It is how we deal with our anger and relate to it that is the prime issue. Do we blame our anger for surpassing our reason? Or do we use anger as a weapon to hide our heart’s inflammation? Do we use anger as a means to score points or do we turn anger into a pleasure seeking object? It is easy to reject anger through the cathartic process, ‘to let go’ the emotion in an aggressive manner but it does not heal inside. It is however quite difficult to get intimate with our anger, to feel its potentiality, its blaze and heat, without losing touch to our basic sanity.
Anger is not synonymous with aggression. Aggression involves attack and violence but anger may or may not. There is no characteristic behavior of an angry person. A person may not use bad language and shout to others and not pounce on the table but still be angry. So we can’t recognize our anger simply through observing our behavior. There are four traditional healing processes to deal with anger. In ‘Anger-in’ process, the first one, we need to restraint and redirect the raw anger and turn it back to our inner being, in simple term, it speaks of self-control process. But how can a method be even successful without confronting the actual feeling of anger? The second one is ‘Anger-out’, in which expressing and releasing anger in a physical manner can give a cathartic relief. In this method, anger is treated as an object that could be thrown out of our body.
The third concept is ‘Mindfully Held Anger’. It says to stay with anger, not to release or suppress, but to closely witness the actual process of it. Holding of something which is fleeting either to outside or towards inside, seeking attention of mind. And the last one is ‘Heart-Anger’. It refers to the coexistence of anger and compassion. Put together all the three methods- healthy restraints, emotional openness, and meditative openness can minimize the difficulties associated with each and emerge as heart-anger.
We need to approach anger without aversion and negativity. Stop ceasing it like a hindrance to the path of spirituality. Anger is like moral spark, how to deal with it is completely in our choice and resides in our mind. Stop pathologizing the negativity in you and do not suppress it into a darkest place. Explore your anger, feel the flame of the anger and harmonize with its gaze. You soon feel the gaze is none other than ‘you’, and then the distant objectiveness of anger will turn into a reclaimed part of your being. So the process of transcends the anger will resolve as soon as you realize that your true work is to re-embody and re-embrace it. Anger does not evaporate when we embrace it, but blister all the more and cleansing the evil intensions within it. Don’t hate anger rather aspire to something more life-giving, a clean, conscious, fully alive anger. Heart of anger does not ask for spiritual rehabilitation but a mindful embrace that does not demand any dilution of passion.
Dr. Pramila Srivastava

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