How can we harness our anger for creativity and freedom? I decided to explore the theme through my yoga practice and a verse from the Bhagavad Gita.
Verse 2.63: rāga-dveṣha-viyuktais tu viṣhayān indriyaiśh charan
ātma-vaśhyair-vidheyātmā prasādam adhigachchhati
TRANSLATION: Anger confuses the thinking process, which in turn, disturbs memory. When memory fails, reasoning is ruined. And when reason is gone, one is lost.
This passage or teaching refers to what can be the overwhelming energy of anger and how it can be misappropriated, ultimately destroying our happiness. It also speaks of attachment and aversion.
Quite often, we can become so overwhelmed with the feelings of anger, which can present in many forms, including passively. Often, people misuse anger. They identify with it and use it incorrectly. If harnessed and controlled, it can actually be a wondrous creator, if not, it can destroy.
Anger can be a great mirror. It can show us many things about ourselves that we may be too scared to acknowledge. It can also be a great armchair – one that becomes very comfortable and familiar. An armchair that we don’t want to throw out because in doing so, we may have to acknowledge the gap that it was filling or that pain that is truly hidden deep in its stitching.
It is in this armchair that we have many memories buried. Perhaps the very memories that are the true reason of our anger, but the memories become distorted with time and impact the present through clouding our judgement. We become disconnected in ways we can’t see.
Our memory and our actions get caught up in ego. It throws shadows over our hearts and minds; it blocks our universal truth from being spoken as it becomes bogged down in stagnant mush. We are instead left with the desire to be right. To be victorious and to prove our worth and our point, even if it means denying voices that niggle, reminding us that perhaps we aren’t being virtuous with our thoughts and actions. A flash of consciousness that we ignore because it suits us to use it to justify our true emotions and the real reason we’re angry.
If we are so caught up in our anger, in whatever way it presents itself, we are unable to see another perspective. We have cast judgement without seeing all the possibilities and we become attached to that judgement because it makes us feel safe – because it allows us to play victim and not take any self-responsibility.
But accountability can be difficult when you are being driven by aversion. Quite often, the true hatred is not of others but of ourselves – a dark part within our souls that we identify with and are scared of. Ultimately, we become attached to aversion and it kills us in various ways, slowly.
It kills our ability to see the truth, the ability to listen to others, to be reasonable or be reasoned with… It blocks communication between our inner voice and guide, it also destroys the ability to be grateful and to love because love is truth and the truth can not exist is a space that is being taken up by festering demons of our past that we are denying.
And lastly, it kills the ability to take ownership of our aversion and anger.
While we are so bogged down in our inability to accept responsibility, we extinguish our flame. The flame that allows us to sit in our pain and honour it, love it and accept it for what it is. The flame that allows us to own ALL of our emotions – not casting judgment on ourselves or anyone else; the flame that lights the path to happiness and wholeness.
We are all keeping ourselves ‘busy’ so we don’t have to really face ourselves and we use excuses as a way to keep the masks to our faces. We suppress our emotions because they are too hard to face, because in facing our emotions, we see our dark AND our light.
It is much easier to keep moving with our head down and blame others for our unhappiness. It is misguided and suppressed anger – manifesting in ways to create confusion in our lives.
Yoga, in part, is about being still, quietening our mind and becoming more aware of what is truly going on – in our thoughts and in our bodies. Where is that anger clouding our judgment and harming our bodies? Where does it really come from? Who are we projecting that anger onto? Who are we blaming for that anger? How is it playing out in our lives, time and time again? You will never know unless you are still and willing to deep dive into it. Otherwise you will remain in that cloud, forever blaming others.
If we are truly still, and if we truly want to grow as a person, then we will hear our inner voice guide us to the truth. And if we are ready to accept that truth, then we can take responsibility and burn that armchair.