Today I want to write about the different ways to deal with anger.
Andreja told me that a large part of our negative feelings often come from our childhood, when we are almost powerless and we need the protection of the relatives to fulfill even the most primary needs. During those first years we are not even able to express how we feel or what we need, and we feel scared to be abandoned or frustrated because the world ignores us.
Undoubtedly this interpretation is partially valid, but we have to consider that often is very difficult to associate our feelings with the originating events. Moreover the emotional resposes to events are very personal and different for each of us. Events follow one another constantly, overlapping processes that deploy at different levels simultaneously, resulting in a dishomogeneous inner landscape where the most important thing is to orientate indipendently from the mutual influences and the causes of the events.
It does not make too much sense to overanalyse the causes of the events in the majority of cases. We should focus on the acheving of the main goal, which is to be liberated from the negative state of minds – such as anger, ignorance, constant doubt, sadness, exaltation, envy and possessive desire.
Someone could argue that it’s always necessary to comprehend exhaustively all the causes of a phenomenon to solve defenitively the issue, but this is not my opinon (at least in a complex scenario like our inner world, where this results often in a sterile research). Buddha once made an example to clarify this: if a man has been deadly pierced by an arrow the priority is to save his life, and not to investigate on who has shot the arrow or why, and so on…
When I became a young adult I discovered the power of my mind and my body. In order to satisfy a latent sense of revenge I was imposing my will to the people around me, I was violent but in that moment I could not see this. It was my right to make my choices, the more impopular the better. I was strongly egocentric, and a lot of sufference came from this to myself and to the people I loved.
More or less in those years I started practicing martial arts, and I discovered I was very good in figthing. My ego felt grand and, although the confrontation with opponents helped me realising the nature of the wild pleasure of violence, nothing really good came from this. The sense of peace and relaxation after trainings and competitions always quickly evaporated, being caused by tiredness and not by a real development of the mind. Moreover, the theatrical representation of violence on the stage of sport was reinforcing and planting new seeds of anger in my mindfield.
Although on a gross level martial arts require to reduce the power of the ego, on a ore subtle level they reinforce it but here we should debate on the difference between martial arts which have a healing scope and are a wonderful path and figth sports which are also fun, but much more limited in the personal growth possibilities.
After many years of practice I realised I do not fit anymore martial arts, and although I love this disciplines, they did not solve defenitely my problem with anger. I do no say this is valid for everyone, it’s just my story. I also have to mention that to this end strongly contrbuted my entring into Buddhist dharma path many years ago and the daily practice of meditation.
I found two incredible tools to approach emotions and their causes in a constructive way: meditation and yoga. Now, I do not think is the case to enter into the topic of the different kind of Budddhism, meditation and yoga practices, but I jus want to remark that in my opinon there is not a metter path in absolute for everybody, but this is different for each of us and also can change with time. With meditation we can calm our mind and be more aware of our inner unknown world, full of adventure and monsters: by being just present with our thoughts, emotions and peceptions we build a more balanced relatiotship with our ego, that is ironically our worst enemies for its enormous power. Getting closer to our intimacy we can explore with the mindfulness our inner landscape, which is a necessary step to appreciate it. I would say that meditation approaches issues in apparently soft way, but when we analyse it more in depth I appreciate more and more its radical and sophisticated logical ground.
On the other hand Yoga works also at a more physical level, with a slighlty different cut. No need to say that they are both extremely clever healing system, and that can be perfectly combined. The physical work of yogic meditation, in addition to working with the mindfulness and mental formations, has the scope to accelerate the maturation of the negative states of mind without representing the ripen action (and therefore vastly reducing the negative karmic consequences).
As a side affect of a period of intense yogic practice we could experience strange feelings such as anger, sadness or even euphory without apparent reasons, but this is the consequence of the deep effect of the yogic work that unblocks our mind also by physical manipulation and should not be misunderstood with the reinforcement of the ego.