You know that feeling. It bubbles to the surface, and you keep it boiling and brewing just out of sight. Then WHAM! It all escapes. Rage, anger, sheer pent up sparks of fury bursting forth. Sometimes you just explode, on your own, and then you feel worse. You have condemned yourself and those you feel made you the way you are. Angry. Used up, trod upon – whatever. None of this is healthy. So what options do you have? Short of moving to Tibet to live with the llamas, I suggest some simple mindful meditation. I know. You’re all thinking I’ve teetered a bit over the edge. But I haven’t. What I am learning in my journey towards wellness and life coaching is that we all have choices. Sometimes, we have to intercede on our own behalf. And that is what meditation and mindfulness is all about.
We are all forced to deal with powerful struggles at some point in our lives. The themes range between anger, betrayal, and maybe a sense of helplessness or isolation. It all depends on where you are, literally and metaphorically. Let me try on my new hat, and offer a few practical suggestions to point you in the right direction. Someone (yes you) must put out that raging fire.
Mindfulness encourages us to embrace the full range emotions we have, and invite them into our experience. It is not necessarily intended to be a blissful experience, as it is all about learning to recognize and BE with our experiences. It allows us to exercise choice in our lives. It is about awareness – being present in the moment. Anger is a priceless emotion to work with for the purpose of living a more authentic life. There is nothing wrong with being angry when life hands us some rotten roadkill. It’s a reasonable response. Trouble happens when anger moves into the driver’s seat. You know what I’m talking about- we’ve all had those Roman Candle Meltdowns.
Meditation is a big ticket item now. Everyone is talking mindful, peaceful, pick a Tibetan or Indian word, and some Dharma Bums. (Kudos Mr. Kerouac) In truth, meditation is learning to channel yourself to work with challenging emotions. And anger is certainly challenging. Understand my lovely petunias, (wow, where did that come from?!) that the best time to work on regulating your anger is not when you are actually experiencing anger. I am suggesting two cups of coffee ☕☕and call me for tequila🍸. HAHA. No really. I am suggesting meditation when you are feeling neutral and emotionally balanced.
Here it is – the steps to anti-anger meditation, care of Morning Beans Blog (and oh yes- it’s 100% caffeinated ☕)
First, you know what to do. Find a quiet, comfy spot and settle in. Indian style, lotus, or upright in a Lazy-Boy. ( I know, I’m a child of the 70’s) Be comfortable. Take a few moments (or minutes) to settle in, and breathe. Focus on your breath. Hear it, feel it. Relaaaax.
Now, as you breathe, focus on a point of light inside your mind. Close your eyes. It’s OK, really. When you’re ready (and only you will know this) think of a time when you felt that first teeny tiny twinge of anger. Make sure it’s a manageable memory or your meditation is out the window, possibly with your coffee mug.
Alright – you’ve made contact with your anger. Start to really be aware of your body. Do you feel the tension? Are your eyes burning and squinty? Notice the sensations. Feel them flow, but stay relaxed. As best you can. If you’re ready to blow your top, get up and go for a walk. Somewhere very quiet and lonely – so nobody gets hurt.
Breathe. Observe the other emotions swirling up, pushing past the anger. Invite them in. Offer them milk and cookies- it’s OK. Watch them, feel them, and let them pass. Offer yourself love and kindness. Be compassionate- after all – angry people deserve a little empathy. Breathe deeply. Count your breathing – inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8. This will help you get your balance back, and it also evokes the relaxation response in the body. If you feel that you are losing control – focus on your bum. Really. It is on solid ground (well, a soft, cushy chair) and will help move your awareness back to the present and away from inner turmoil.
Some of you won’t be able to do this. That’s alright. But for those who can, once you have made a positive contact with the feeling of anger, release it. Let it go. And we can come back to the present- out of the meditation. You will want to exhale deeply – push out all the negative energy. Let go.
Aaaaand…you’re back. Feeling better? I thought so. The purpose of practicing meditation to work with anger, or other challenging emotions is to connect to the emotions, and explore them. It’s not uncommon for anger to be experienced as a secondary emotion that’s protecting us from deep sadness and hurt. This is the essence of mindfulness. There is so much pressure that pulls us away from what we value in our hearts. Give yourself love, energy, and strength, through reflective, mindful meditation to live in accordance with your values.
We need to realize that our lives are never a finished product. Life is about being fully alive, awake (I know, insomniacs- you’ll have to trust me,) and aware as we live every single second of the present moment. Embrace the life that is here, not the imagined life somewhere else. (Yes, I know, I wanted that little island hideaway too.)
And so I leave you, meditation directions in hand, and with a book to read – you missed that, didn’t you? Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac – it’s for all Zen travelers of the universe. Alright, maybe not, but I love it. Remember to box up those fireworks. Make sure you have a safe place to set them free into the night sky, and “burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”-Jack Kerouac
Calm, cool and caffeinated – just the way I love you.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!☕
Mood Music by Mazzy Star:[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImKY6TZEyrI[/embedyt]