YOGA-ARTICLE: Anger: From Fear to Self-Improvement

Each of us has felt anger at some point. Everyone gets angry from time to time, but the range of intensity of this feeling is different for everyone. Often people evaluate anger negatively. They are convinced that experiencing it is harmful and unworthy for a conscious person, so they try to fight it. Anger arises as a result of a variety of reasons, one of which may be fear. Let’s try to figure out how anger is related to fear and how we can work with it.

Anger rooted in fear

Fear is a reaction to dangerous life circumstances and arises unconsciously based on past negative experience. When we are afraid of something, this feeling changes our perception of reality, because of this we forget that we can act and change the situation. Fear manifests itself passively: we either become numb with fear, or we try to run away from the threat or problem that frightens us without facing it. If fear turns from passivity into an active form, then it manifests itself as anger. In this case, we lose the feeling of fear, as anger displaces it, and we are active in this situation, trying to turn it to our advantage. However, this often leads to rash acts with undesirable consequences.

From an evolutionary standpoint, anger is preferable to fear. In the animal kingdom, more aggressive individuals win the fight for dominance, but it is fear that gives impulse to evolutionary development, forcing a living being to look for a way to survive, which leads to anger. A person whose behavior is dominated by anger will also dominate the one who is overcome by fear. However, one whose awareness is at a higher level and who has a developed mind no longer needs such manifestations as fear and anger, which most often are no longer even appropriate.

Showing anger is appropriate if it involves doing a duty, and only if we have no way of doing no harm. If the karmic situation unfolds in such a way that it can be solved only by showing anger, then this is what should be done. In order to protect one’s life and dignity from ill-wishers, it is even necessary to express anger in order to scare them away, to rebuff them, sometimes causing harm.

Pitfalls of Anger

There are some moments when we are afraid of something and prefer to remain passive, but external factors push us to be active, which leads to anger. Or vice versa, we are angry, but not being able to show it, we are forced to remain passive. When our internal state comes into conflict with external circumstances, it causes a feeling of discomfort even at a gross level up to physical pain, not to mention more subtle structures.

The consequences of the uncontrolled manifestation of anger, as well as its forced suppression, are often devastating, both for ourselves and for others. However, an outburst of anger ends quickly, when suppressed anger is a “time bomb”. Being in this state systematically is extremely dangerous, because unexpressed anger can eventually develop into passive aggression or even turn into physical illness. A person who has accumulated anger tends to show hostility to others by stubbornness, insults and sullen behavior; the person also does not neglect the opportunity to blame everyone and everything for his (her) poor health, not finding other reasons for it. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to prevent the development of such a scenario in your life. Otherwise, such a destructive state, taken to its extreme, will sooner or later force you to rethink your behavior and direct your consciousness to overcome ignorance.

Turn defeat into victory!

When fear arises, yoga recommends transforming it into anger, and sublimating the resulting anger, turning it from a destructive factor into a constructive one. If we learn how to use properly the potential of anger and redirect it in a positive direction, then it can become a powerful tool for changing the situation in a favorable direction for us.

Conscious work with anger turns it into charisma. This is due to the fact that energy is not wasted, splashing outward, and does not accumulate as a “dead weight” inside, causing a number of physical and mental problems, but is processed and evenly redistributed throughout all the structures of our body – from the gross to the most subtle ones, transforming into a real acting force with a plus sign. Sooner or later, the need for such changes will arise anyway consciously or through suffering. Therefore, the sooner we begin to act in this direction, the more chances we have to avoid suffering!

Anger as a yoga practice

The manifestation of anger occurs with an increase in emotional sensations. At first we are in a stable balanced state, but suddenly we find ourselves in a situation in which someone or something provokes us. At the very beginning, you need to try to track the moment of the onset of anger and accept the very fact that you have this emotion, which will significantly reduce the intensity of the emerging feeling. It will also allow you to look at the situation from the outside in order to prevent anger from spilling out uncontrollably on the offender.

If possible, you should try to move away from the object that irritates you, thereby excluding it from your field of vision. After that, you can use the so-called “writing method”, the essence of which is to express your emotions from this problem on paper. When emotions subside, you need to re-read the letter and try to understand what exactly caused such a violent reaction. This is the case when you need to include logic and analysis to find the cause. Such an analysis can prevent many similar situations from occurring in the future, because the anger response is most often turned on automatically. After reading and analyzing the letter, it is recommended to burn or tear it, thereby breaking the associative connection with this situation.

If there is no way to move away from the annoying factor, and the direct expression of anger is also inappropriate, the tactics should be different. In this situation, it is important to buy time to cope with anger and not let it splash out on the opponent. The main thing is not to go into open conflict. In this we will be helped by such actions as: slow and even deep breathing, repeating a mantra or counting in your mind, or you can even just drink water. With such simple actions, you can contain a flash of anger and correct the further development of events.

In order to make it easier to control the initial reaction, you can prepare yourself in advance by playing out in your mind the possible occurrences of anger and their consequences. The main instrument of a positive attitude is the meditation on wishing happiness to all living beings, in which we wish happiness to our relatives and friends; to everyone we don’t know; as well as to all our enemies. This meditation is practiced in a calm environment and develops a kind and tolerant attitude towards the people around us.

Yoga as a system of self-exploration has many effective practices in its arsenal that help to make the process of anger transformation much easier. Such types of yoga as Hatha, Kriya, Pranayama, Raja and others include complex work with the body and breath, increase the overall level of vitality, improve the mental state and develop stress resistance and, as a result, harmonize emotions. Through regular yoga practice, we gradually increase our awareness and develop the ability to adequately respond to stressful situations.

In addition, the very emotion of anger can become a tool for self-exploration. As yoga says, any feelings, both positive and negative, can be directed to the Absolute (the root cause of being, the creator of the Universe). Such visualization can turn all our thoughts and feelings into a way of studying ourselves and the world around us.

Anger is a healthy natural emotion that promotes survival and helps us move towards our goals. If we consciously work with our anger: track the causes of its occurrence, to be able to express it when it is appropriate, and restrain it when it is inappropriate, sublimate and redirect it to self-exploration, then we can increase our efficiency and get only benefit from it. We should not be afraid of anger, but, on the contrary, we need to be ready to face it. Only in this way, turning our problem into a task, we can solve it and, as a result, come closer to knowing ourselves.

Practice yoga and use your anger as 

a powerful resource for self-improvement! 

Article author: Evilina Dobrovolskaya

Author of the drawing: Svetlana Mauna

Editing: Anastasia Andreichenko, Anna Vita, Maria Gayatri, Olga Belous, Evgenia Agni, Inna Shakti

Chief Editor: Mirra

Project curator: Kerigona

Translated by Avlaada, Elena Lakshmi

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