Continuing last week’s theme about healing yourself to heal the world, I want to focus on anger. My deeply held belief is that the collective anger of all those of us who carry unacknowledged, denied or buried anger adds up within the Web of All Life to anger, violence and chaos in the world. Thus every time one of us heals our own anger, we contribute to creating peace.
The ho’oponopono prayer in the last J2P post can be one way of working on this. Every time something makes you feel angry or frustrated or leaves you thinking, “that’s not right” or “how can they get away with this?” you can say the prayer. Whatever you’re seeing and objecting to out there reflects something within you so saying the prayer in order to heal it within you helps to lessen or eradicate the anger.
But I know different people respond to different practices and some of us need more than one so here are some more suggestions for identifying and/or releasing anger:
1. In Buddhist vipassana practice, you try to clear your mind and notice whatever comes up then release. If angry thoughts visit your meditation regularly, this is an opportunity to notice and let go.
2. Make a list of everything you can recall that regularly made your father angry, miffed, frustrated, or enraged. Then make the same list about your mother. Check out the list and realize everything item is something that triggers anger in you.
3. Keep track f or a week of everything that leaves you feeling miffed, angry, frustrated, etc. In meditation or from a quiet place, you can do this exercise; either hold the list so you can refer to it and do it all at once or a few at a time or just do a separate meditation for each item (you might want to spend a couple of weeks).
For each item, ask yourself, what do I believe that created this situation and my reaction to it? Sometimes you won’t get an answer. Sometimes you’ll be taken to the same scenario for more than one item. Often you’ll see some incident from early childhood or remember something one of your parents repeated often. Once you’ve identified the belief you carry that creates all these incidents of anger, some of them may disappear just from being noted. For some you may have to do more.
4. Emotional cleansing exercise: stand. Raise your arms above your head and clasp your hands. Inhale deeply and hold your breath. Think about something you’re angry about. While you hold the breath forcefully bring your hands down toward the floor in a chopping motion as if you’re wielding an axe and trying to chop wood that’s on the floor. Keep taking the axe up and down in that chopping motion while holding your breath for as long as you can. If you’re still feeling angry, repeat until you feel released. This is a great exercise to do every day to keep from holding bottled up feelings.
5. Say the lovingkindness chant for yourself every day for half an hour. Or say it every day for someone who makes you feel angry (maybe a different person each day). It’s amazing how much anger can be shifted into love just with this chant.
6. There are lots of guided meditation recordings for releasing anger and/or the past. Many you can use for free on YouTube, just do a search on meditation for releasing anger. Louise Hay has a CD. I used to use a lot of guided meditation recordings of Lazaris and there’s one on releasing anger.
7. I find subliminal affirmation recordings help to shift my thinking and my reactions. I’ve previously noted that I keep a playlist of Dick Sutphen affirmations on Spotify running quietly on my computer all the time. On this particular topic, his Cut Past Ties and Soar is good but you might peruse a complete list to see if there are others. If you don’t care for Sutphen, the array of available affirmation recordings or subliminal recordings is enormous so you can probably find many more than you need.
8. Create a ceremony to release anger. There are many ways to do this. You might want to write each instance of anger you noticed on a small piece of paper and create a ceremony in which you either burn them or release them into water. Or write a prayer of release, create a meditation space and go inward, then read the prayer for each item on your list.
9. Every time you feel angry, focus your attention on your heart. Imagine that you are inhaling into and exhaling from your heart. Keep the focus there until you feel the anger dissipate.
This list is a tiny fraction of all there is but gives you a nice array of different possibilities. I’d love it if other readers would add their suggestions in the comments.