When I was a teenager at school and when I was a nuisance with a thick black marker, I used to have a tag name. The name given to me was, Rage.
I don't think you need much of an imagination to think why. I was an angry young woman and I expressed my anger mostly by fighting people. I now have a body of scars and bruised eye sockets to show for it.
As I write this blog now, this old and familiar emotion has recently come back to haunt me. I have mellowed with age and time has served to humble me by slowing me down. These days, I'm more hippy than fury, so I have been surprised as I experience new feelings of unbridled rage and raw anger, similar to that of my youth. However, this time I have the wisdom of experience and decided that I wanted to share some of the lessons of my past.
I look back and understand the origins and reasons for my anger better with hindsight. I had a lot of energy (still do) and I needed to channel it. Instead of doing something constructive like a sport or having some kind of focus and discipline that could give me positive feedback, this energy inevitably festered and became frustration. Experience then, has taught me that anger is valid when it is channelled correctly. I now recognise this emotion as a call for direction, for change and metamorphosis. My anger has purpose it seems. Not to be maligned and used for violence and malice. No, it is a powerful energy that can be channeled and use to motivate rightful actions.
Fleeting between a spectrum of emotions such anger and despair to feelings of gratitude and peace, I see that emotions are here to guide us if we zoom in and take the time to listen. Our emotions are our steers in life. What are you passionate about? What makes you angry? What makes you sad? What makes you exorbitantly happy? Tune in and you will begin to shape your life around it. Use these feelings as a litmus test for where you are right now.
Self-editing and repression is futile and a waste of a consciousness, so I do not want to forget my anger yet, I do not want to drown in it's toxicity either. By beginning to attempt to live by, and follow, some kind of spiritual path or philosophy I started to think that ugly emotions were not a part of that journey. That in order to ascend, I must forego and eliminate emotions like anger, jealousy, bitterness and self-pity. I must be above those emotions and be happy, positive and strong, like, you know, all the time! But I have learnt the spiritual path is not the path to perfection, it is the path to truth. Therefore, we have to accept ugly emotions as part of the whole that unites us with the truth. This anger forces me to face things. Forces me to seek outlets and people that resonate with frequencies similar to mine, in order not to sink under the colossal magnitude of negativity. This anger then is about proaction, not reaction.
Although in the past I eventually began to learn to use my anger as a kick-back to achieve more positive things in my life, recent events have taught me that anger cannot be my only motivation. I want to be motivated by love too. And the rest of the landscape of emotions that I experience that make me feel truly alive.
In The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali lays out a comprehensive study of consciousness and human experience and the path to Enlightenment. In the introduction of the B.K.S. Iyengar translated version, Guruji speaks about a 'passive state of quietness' known in sanskrit as manolaya that the spiritual seeker can reach. Having diligently practiced detatchment in order to attain rightful perceptions, one can stay here, in a quiet, submissive state. But this is not good. This resonated deeply as I realised that my anger is asking me to remember who I am and that spiritual rewards are worthless unless they are applied out there in the world.
One cannot retreat forever into a bubble of quiet passivity as reaction to the bizarreness and extremes of this world. If I am angry, maybe there is a reason. Maybe I need to awake from my slumber, trust that it is a call of some kind and move in purposeful action. On the other side of anger is proaction and the possibility for change - Where do I need to be? What do I need to do? How can I do it? Which people resonate and are reflecting my passions? Which people have already walked this path and can teach me something? Which people, places, situations are going to help me achieve my own destiny?
When difficult emotions arise now I witness them. I sit with them and just listen. I try not to judge or repress them and also, I try not to instantly react. Instead I ask, what is this feeling trying to tell me? Be still, meditate and tune in to that inner voice, for it is your guide to destiny. Be silent. For the ego shouts but love whispers. And this too shall pass.
Thank you for reading.