Anger mismanagement…I’m caught between a rock and a hard place.
I practice yoga and attempt on a daily basis to engender compassion, that is, to see where other people are coming from, so I can understand a little of what goes on inside them. This is as hard for me as anyone, despite years of experience and self study to call on. It is hard, in the moment to completely sympathise with the stance someone takes especially if it is hostile, aggressive or confrontational. Yet this is the very time when we all need to call on the deepest levels of our characters, and at the very least, give ourselves the inner space to consider our options in the situation.
Like most people I have a well established ego. What this means to me, is that my ego is my interface with the world. An ego mostly is your learnt, acquired or habitual way of relating to the world. In those moments when I have been engulfed with unconditionality or inner peace the ego albeit reluctantly drops away and it is changed or modified as I return to normal consciousness becoming more of a friend rather than controlling master. Yet I suffer at times an almost existential separation from others, as I cannot empirically know the machinations that go on inside another human, my own stuff gets in the view finder.
As I endeavour to be more relaxed and calm and sink into the meditative state a fundamental alteration in consciousness happens, and when I return to normal consciousness my ego is less aggressive, somewhat transformed, but still it is the mental mechanism that mediates or facilitates my relations with others. I’m not sure we can ever be completely egoless as it really is, from my perspective, an interface between my inner and outer worlds. As I change internally my outer world also changes but, changes in my outer world don’t necessarily create changes within, you really do carry your own weather within you.
As I examine myself and meditate my ability to not be reactive improves but even so some situations, people or events can really p me off. Recently I had course to lock weapons with a woman. She has her own issues and for whatever reason I was seen as bullying and demanding, my actions were interpreted as stubbornness. it’s difficult to retain yoga calm when an index is being waggled in your fave and someone is calling you disorganised, aggressive, intimidating. It was like facing off against a piranha with its teeth in meat. She followed me around and yelled and when she followed me into the bathroom still waggling her finger, I lost it.
The thing about anger and righteous indignation is that for the time you are angry you are absolutely right and the opponent is absolutely wrong, hardly a working way of operating in the world. Two immutable forces meet, the rock and the hard place.
It would have been nice to respond with humour, but when faced with a piranha you I just want to shake it off and in this case my being in the slightest bit dismissive caused the situation to escalate. I normally walk away from angry people and will discuss their ire when they and I can breathe normally again, but there I was cornered in my bathroom.
So what advice did I give myself? I didn’t really. I went and did a long sustained back extension from the floor and then sat for 20 minutes, watching my breathing and practising the So Ham meditation. Did it work was I transformed into fabulous, kind, aware human being? Well no but I did feel less homicidal, and that’s gotta gotta be a good thing. It only took 20 minutes and the war did not escalate. The sadness, essential aloneness and anger in another human was writ in large index finger waggles and I at least in part understood, still didn’t like it though.
The war between China and Vietnam over sea territory and resources escalates, India still is wary of Pakistan, China and North Korea keep a warrior eye on each other. Croatia and Serbia commit genocide, Afghanistan tribes battle each other and women’s rights, racists target other racial groups. Where does it begin and end? We give our own lives meaning and the choice is ours in each and every moment.