Q: I just read through your book Living from the Heart and really enjoyed and loved it. Even though I accept the wisdom of it, I become extremely resistant when I fall into anger. Instead of allowing, I insist on my preferred story. It is like being angry and making things worse actually fulfills my story by making me more 'special'. Are there any pointers or direction you can give on this? Thank you.
A: Thanks for your question. It is a very good one. Anger is a completely natural and normal response. There is nothing wrong with it, and we can even naturally want to hold onto it and enjoy the specialness it gives to our story and our identity. And yet, it is possible to experience our normal anger and resistance from a place of allowing and acceptance.
Often with anger we feel the need to either suppress our anger or to express our anger, and in both cases we are trying to feel it less. Obviously if you suppress your anger, you are trying to feel it less. And if you express or even if you hold onto your anger, the hope is that you will manage to unload it onto someone or something else and then not have to feel it so much. We hold onto it to try and get to that place where we can righteously unload it. But still the hope is to stop feeling it by eventually expressing it.
There is a third possibility which is to just feel the anger without suppressing or expressing it, to just be filled with the red hot energy of anger, and not do anything about it. This is usually only possible when we have become skillful at suppressing or expressing our anger so that we can regulate the level of our anger and not be overwhelmed by it. But once we are good at suppressing our anger, then we can experiment with just letting it be here. We can discover that it is safe to be angry as long as we do not express it.
This letting it be here is a true allowing of the anger, and it also allows us to really get to know the essential nature of this energy we call anger. Most emotions are limited or distorted expressions of something more essential. In the case of anger, it is a limited or distorted experience of our essential strength. When we develop the ability to just feel very angry, the experience of anger can then open up into a fuller experience of our essential strength. We can be filled with a deep sense of the limitless energy and capacity of our true nature. Feeling our true strength can bring us to a place where we no longer need to be angry because we feel safe and capable in our own essence. This is not a suppression of anger, but a discovery of something bigger and more complete.
Practically speaking, because anger and strength are big, energetic experiences, it can help to give them lots of space as described in the section of the book entitled "Giving Space" which I will include below. Specifically with anger, it can help to let the anger be bigger than your body. Because we identify with our body, when "I" feel angry, there is a tendency to hold the anger inside the body. But you can simply let it fill the space all around you. If necessary, you can let the anger be bigger than the entire neighborhood, or bigger than the entire country you are in. This can make it much easier to simply let the anger be here in all of its red hot glory. Imagine what would happen if you tried to hold an entire volcano inside your shoulders! And imagine how much easier it would be to "contain" a volcano if you just let it rest here within the entire solar system. Then there is no problem with the nature of a volcano as there is plenty of space for it to be a volcano.
Everything we experience is always an opportunity to discover more about our true nature, including every emotion and feeling. You might as well get to know your anger instead of trying to get rid of it or be free of it. You may discover it is a wonderful resource you can enjoy and embrace, and integrate into your true identity as limitless Being. It might even seem silly then to waste it on another person, when instead you can keep it all for yourself!
I hope this helps and the excerpt from Living from the Heart is below. Note: You can download the entire book for free by signing up for our newsletter here.
When it seems especially difficult or even impossible to move into your Heart or belly and look from there, another way to move into a more spacious perspective is to simply give space to your experience. You can give space to your sensations, thoughts, feelings, and the physical objects and events occurring around you. You can give space to whatever is appearing in your experience right now.