I’m not an angry person, but…
Is Anger Fleeting?
In an article reprinted online from Mindful magazine titled “Cooling the Raging Fires of Anger,” author Jeffrey Brantley, M.D., writes:
The conditions that come together to form an experience of anger appear, change, and depart moment by moment.
According to Brantley, anger should be ephemeral, fleeting, just another wave in an ocean full of (e)motion washing over me.
Why, then, does this feeling linger, get under my skin, eat away at me? The seeming palpableness is confounding. Anger is visceral, powerful, and it has staying power, at least for me.
Suffering from Anger
Apparently, I need to practice my mindfulness. By staying in the present moment yet stepping back from the angering event at hand, I can observe it transform. Yet it’s hard for me to imagine anger disappearing—poof!—under the nonjudgmental purview of my mindful eye. Perhaps I could learn to encapsulate it in a shimmering bubble and watch it float away à la Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the film version of The Wizard of Oz. Unlikely.
One of the suggestions Brantley introduces in his piece is the idea of suffering because of anger.
When you recognize that suffering is present when you feel anger and aversion, you can choose kindness and compassion instead of self-criticism and dislike for your experience.
But, but, I want to stutter at this writer. When I’m angry at a person, I am not self-critical for feeling an honest emotion. Sure, it’s true, I don’t enjoy the heart racing, head spinning, foot stomping aspects of anger, mostly because it’s a waste of my precious energy. And the seemingly endless rehashing of the inciting incident is not good for my mental health. Hmmm…
Anger Is Worth Revisiting
Maybe I should review some of Brantley’s notions, such as
- anger is not solid
- stop to see your anger
- understand your anger
- befriend your anger
The article also includes mindfulness practices to help readers to overcome the knee-jerk reaction to anger so prevalent in our modern-day society.
As I wrote at the start, I’m not an angry person, but… anger is an ugly menace for us all, and I believe it’s worth it to try to handle the emotion with more mindfulness.