You can work directly with the energy of anger as a way to tame its overwhelming energy. Rather than being overpowered by it, over time you can learn liberate this energy so it can be more useful. You can learn to ride the energy of anger, rather than the other way around.
Working with anger energy is a gradual process, and depending on many factors, you could see some improvement anywhere from within a few weeks to several months. This may sound like a long time, but if you have lived with chronic anger for many years, things may or may not change quickly.
The idea of working directly with anger is to shift the habitual reactions of suppressing and acting out anger, and instead allow it to unfold as the natural, organic, and harmless energy that it is.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was a great meditation master, teacher, and founder of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. In his book Crazy Wisdom he talks about this process of working directly with anger:
You don’t stop the anger, you just are the anger. Anger just hangs out as it is. That is relating with the anger. Then the anger becomes vivid and directionless, and it diffuses into energy.
This in no way means to act out or to indulge anger by lashing out at the world. The idea is to let anger be, neither acting it out or suppressing it. This is anything but easy to do, and in fact it will likely be tremendously difficult for most of us, especially in the beginning.
It may be the first time you are approaching the experience of anger in a naked and unadorned way, so the learning curve may be steep indeed. However with practice it’s possible to make a fundamental shift in your relationship with anger.
Signposts Along the Way
How your experience unfolds will be completely unique to you, and there isn’t particularly a formulaic way to go about it. Yet there are certain landmarks you may encounter along the way, and it can be helpful to know about these ahead of time:
– For some people, when you first start to work with this process you may find it absolutely impossible to do anything but get completely pissed of and just lose it. You may just get carried away by the energy of anger every time you try it.
– You may discover you can relax with the process and allow your resistance to anger to soften. For some this may happen quickly, for others it may take longer. This could be any length of time, as there’s no telling how your journey will go.
– When you first succeed in letting go, even the smallest little bit, you may feel a tremendous surge of energy pulse through your body. This could include an increase in heart rate, hot sweats, cold sweats, heavy breathing, or other body symptoms.
– It’s also possible if you get any of these body symptoms that you may panic. If this happens do your best to relax and breath and allow it to pass. If you get stuck here, stop and breath and feel your body. Relax and ground yourself in your body once again.
– If you find the exercise causes you to panic and become afraid every time you attempt it, then step away and leave it alone for a while. After some time, a week, several months or longer, if you feel like it come back and try again. See if the panic has subsided, and if so then proceed gently without any ambition or pushing of any kind. Gentleness is the absolute key.
– You may experience various other things as you work with these processes. They could bring up fear, or sadness, or rage, or you could even feel sick. If any of these kind of responses come up, again do your best to relax and let it go.
– Please don’t feel bad about yourself in any way if you get overwhelmed. You’re courageous for trying this at all, and you deserve praise for being strong enough to deal with your anger by working with materials on this website. So be kind with yourself and go easy.
-When you can let go, you may experience movement of energy in different stages of intensity. For example it’s possible that at first you may feel an incredible pounding energy move through you, as the years of holding onto the energy begin to release into your system. Or it may be softer. Over time with practice it’s possible to learn to relax more and eventually to allow the energy of anger to flow freely.
– Sometimes, if you let go of the tight grip on the energy of anger you may feel an expansive sense of ease and clarity. Your body and mind may become very still and clear, and it may feel quite wonderful. Or you may experience the energy of anger as a sharpness that feels clear and awake. If you have these kinds of experience you may think, “This is IT !!”
– Be careful here, because there isn’t any IT, as this exercise is much more about the process itself, rather than the result. You are learning to work with anger and energy, and this is more of an ongoing development than some kind of final product. You are learning a skill that you can continue to develop over time.
– These moments of letting go feel great, and you will want to recreate it next time, but it’s basically impossible that it will happen again in exactly the same way. On one level your experience of letting go is wonderful, and you should celebrate that you relaxed your tight grip on anger. On another level however you don’t want to get attached, because attachment will create obstacles for you later. So celebrate and appreciate your accomplishment, and then let it go.
All the best with your practice, and may you release the hardness of fixated anger from your [mind].