“I feel so much anger that I cannot restrain it. How can I heal it?” This question was posed by an apprentice of Zen to Bankey.
“Show me that anger” the master replied. “It sounds fascinating!”
“I don’t have it at the moment”, said the apprentice, “that’s why I cannot show it to you.”
“Well then”, Bankey replied, “bring it to me whenever you have it.”
“But when I have it, I cannot bring it here” the apprentice protested. “It emerges suddenly and I will surely lose it before bringing it to you!”
“In this case”, said Bankey, “it cannot be a part of your true nature. If it were, you would be able to display it at any given moment. When you were born you didn’t have it, so it must have come from outside!”
Anger in its healthy form is a natural instinctive response to threats. As an emotion it possesses the outstanding ability to cause a chain reaction to our body raising adrenaline, as a consequence the heart rate is raised and we feel physically strong to face our opponent. In its healthy form it functions as a natural mechanism, necessary for our survival. How many real threats though do we encounter when we drive to work? How threatened are we by our kid’s not picking up his toys? There is certainly something very wrong…
Unfortunately, anger as a mechanism, in most cases, does not function as a means of protection against a real threat, but just as an emotional vomit. With one distinguishing feature: it always returns to sender! Even if we manage not to throw it to each other as vomit, we “swallow” it and it tends to act as a time bomb in the foundations of our health.
Next time you feel angry, get out of the house and start running around the block. Run like the wind. As if you want to be on time for something important. If you are home, grab a pillow and hit it until your hands and your teeth loosen up. If you are at work, excuse yourself to the restroom for a little while and “yell soundlessly” allowing to your body to participate as if you had the “cause” of your anger in front of you. Then, sit somewhere quiet and observe where that anger has gone. You haven’t repressed it, you haven’t controlled it, you haven’t tossed it to someone else. It has just gone flat. Just as the clouds deflate after the rain and the sky is lit.
It is a simple, practical and direct solution. It is just a step away from meditation…
A very effective meditation technique, designed to detoxify you from the accumulated anger as well as to appease anger in your everyday life, is No-Mind meditation, which is included in Active Mindfulness Retreat this year.
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