“Anger kills both laughter and joy. What greater foe is there than anger?”
– Thiruvalluvar, Fifth-Century Poet
Legend tells us that Thiruvalluvar was a Jain monk or a Hindu outcast priest. In either case, the wisdom of his words is not lost on seekers. According to studies, domestic abuse, road rage, workplace violence, divorce, and addiction are just a few examples of what can happen when anger is mismanaged or misdirected. It’s normal human behavior to get upset from time to time, and even to have a verbal sparring match. The problem starts when the feelings involved in those conflicts seem to find no resolution – meaning that one or more parties do not feel validated or they feel they haven’t gained any ground regarding understanding by the exchange.
Physical Impact of Anger
Did you know that anger has some very real negative effects on your body. It increases stress hormones, creating the “fight or flight” instinct. Blood which normally resides in your core moves towards your muscles. Additionally your blood pressure, body temperature and respiration all increase.
Potential Health Problems Linked to Anger
Anger can create both short-term and long-term health problems. Those with anger-management issues have more headaches, digestion problems, cardiac issues, and mental health manifestations like depression and anxiety.
Anger in a Spiritual Context
Anger makes us want to do something NOW. From a spiritual perspective we need to do just the opposite: slow down. Most anger responses come from fears or anguish (sometimes both mixed together). When these bubble to the surface it’s time to get to the core of why we’re really mad.
Talking to Your Anger
This may sound silly, but have a conversation with your anger. It is part of you, like your Higher Self, only centered in the Solar Plexus Chakra. Ask things like:
- Why do you feel you have to act right now?
- What lines in the sand got crossed?
- Where are you directing your anger (inward or outward)?
- Is there any way to see things from the other side of the fence – no matter the source of the anger?
Now walking a magical path doesn’t mean just tossing those feelings aside. But it does mean thinking before we act and being very honest with ourselves. No matter the situation you are far better off when fully centered.
Meditations to Calm Anger
A wise witch knows that when you lose control, you also lose power, and often a whole lot of “face” (as Asians call it). Why let the other guy or gal (or situation) get the best of you? Instead, let’s learn how to control our anger before it controls us. Several suggestions can help you move in a more positive direction:
Coping Mechanisms for Anger
A Healthy Dose of Logic: Since anger is emotional, reasoning helps balance it out. Specifically, balance your expectations against what is realistically possible considering circumstances.
Problem-Solving Skills and Communication: If you’re not working through the options and communicating effectively, you’ll only get more frustrated.
A Goodly Portion of Humor: (which happens to be good soul food).
Environmental Changes: Be they temporary or permanent changes, cleaning, moving furniture, getting “out” somewhere and other activities help you get out of a negative space and into a positive one.
Exercise or Other Physical Activity: Walk it out, run, go to the gym or whatever. Use up a little excess energy so you can think clearly.
Take Positive Action: Your anger needs some type of outward expression. Pushed downward it becomes very ugly.
Metaphysically, the best ally we have in managing anger is meditation. By stopping to meditate, you can defeat the negativity, convert it, and redirect it. During the meditative process the goal is that of turning the negative into a positive, then take that energy with you when you go to correct things. Here are two sample meditations for you to try:
Calming Anger Meditation #l
Begin by getting comfortable. Close your eyes and just breathe. Take three cleansing breaths, slow and steady, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Release tension with each exhale. Slow the pace of your breathing until one breath connects to the next like a circle of air, and you find yourself feeling far more peaceful.
Know that you are in a safe place. There is no one here to judge you; no one to say what is right or wrong. It’s just you and Spirit. This safety allows you to explore your feelings similarly to watching a movie-you can disconnect and simply observe.
On your mental landscape, allow the memory of what made you angry come into focus. This time you are just an observer, not a participant. As you watch, what was the first thing that brought forward a physical reaction (like stiffening up or your breathing losing its pace)? This point in the memory is important, it created the spark of your anger.
Once you’ve identified this, you can consider why that moment set you off. Did you feel attacked in some way? Fearful? Confused? Whatever that emotion, define it and make a mental note of it. In the future, you’ll be able to recognize similar situations that could leave you feeling out of control by so doing.
Release that emotion with your breathing. Let it go and look at the larger picture. What can you learn from this situation? What actions might you want to take to heal it outwardly and inwardly? Give yourself this gift-release the anger and claim renewal. As you do, allow yourself to become more aware of your body and surroundings once more. Hold tightly to the peace and balance you’ve just established, and then take action on healing the situation that brought you to this point.
Calming Meditation #2
This meditation is similar to the first but the visualization changes. As you begin your breathing exercise, see a pure white light pouring down from above you. Breathe in this light as if it were air. Let it gather into each molecule of your stress, anger, worry, and fear, then release this as dark-ish red light when you exhale.
Continue repeating this process, giving the negative energy to the white light. Until the light you take in, and that which you exhale is the same, clean, pure hue. When you’re at last calm and able to think clearly, consider your next best action and take this peacefulness with you as you head out to do just that.
Again, remember that anger must, in some form, have expression or it will eat at you as sure as a cancer. It is also a very negative emotion to take with you into magickal workings because it can cause your energy to go very, very awry. While this meditation doesn’t work for everyone, it does seem to help in combination with the basic efforts suggested previously.
Adapted from the “Witch’s Book of Wisdom,” by Patricia Telesco. All rights reserved.