Anger is a strong emotion and one that we often have a difficult relationship with. In this week’s blog, we’re answering a question from Paul who had a great comment under one of my YouTube videos on male empaths. He asked a question about anger.
He said, “So when you talk about righteous anger in young men, I’ve seen myself after some awakening last year with some anger mixed with empathy and other positive emotions. So what can protect me against this righteous anger towards those who abuse others or animals and not allow it to delude me? The direction of anger is positive, but how do I not fall into a tunnel vision, angry presentation? That’s a trap I’m afraid of. I’ve seen some people fall into an angry type of dogma thinking they’re awakened. I feel like we can have a righteous anger in order to protect others, but how do we balance it?”
Dealing with difficult people is another cause for anger and problems caused by anger. Check out How to deal with difficult people here and learn more!
This is a great question, Paul.
There are maybe three key points that can really guide us into knowing how to honor what is a natural, sort of righteous side of anger, which is a natural trigger when something has been violated.
When we know there are these sort of universal morals of treating other people, of honoring the oneness of things, of really honoring the interconnectedness of all things. And when people violate that, some of us who are natural in Chinese medicine…we call it the wood element or the wood official of the liver, which is sort of like the general says that it’s not right.
And we should feel that wave of a righteousness sort of come up and say, “Hey, discernment, this ain’t right.” That in itself is what I’m calling in this instance, righteous anger.
Now what’s missing here and what we need to bring in is the context. Number one key point is what we really need to protect us from allowing the righteous anger, but not getting angry and essentially fight fire with fire.
1. We need an overarching spiritual worldview.
Now, this is what we help people craft in my Practical Spirituality Training. We call it our Working Spiritual Hypothesis. You need to have a strong sense of how you answer the big questions of reality.
What Is Really Going On Here?
What is really real with a capital R? And until you answer those questions, you will sometimes be thrown about in the waves of three-dimensional reality.
The truth is that at least from a non-dualistic perspective that there is a greater reality behind the scenes. But as embodied beings with minds who are sort of confined by however you define that in your worldview, whether it is your karma, what’s true is that we have mind observations.
Be In The World, Not Of The World
We have things in the way of seeing what is true and real, and we are trapped in this three-dimensional life, which is sort of like a video game that has a lot of suffering in it.
So unless we can be in the world, but not of the world, unless we are grounded and affirmed in what we know is really going on here, (even though it looks different in this three-dimensional reality,) we will always fall into this trap of getting sucked into this anger, whether it’s that or any of the other negative emotions.
So number one is you need to work behind the scenes on your spiritual worldview. And that’s something that we help with. I’ll put a link down below.
You need support in crafting your Practical Spirituality. In step-by-step spirituality, you can really rely on answering these questions and actually be functionally different in your life, not just in your mind.
Number two is to remember that:
2. We are always playing an inner and an outer game.
The inner world game is like we’ve discussed our sort of spiritual worldview of what we know is really happening. And in the outer world, it’s how we are called to play the video game of life. Now, this idea of playing life as a video game came from one of my spiritual teachers, Joan Siva Petta Harrigan. She would say, “Live, you wanna play life like a video game.”
The Video Game Of Life
You are trying to win. You’re trying to get Mario to the next level, but at the same time you don’t ever forget that it’s a video game.
So in that way, let’s give an example. You notice that people are really abusing other people, abusing animals in a way that stirs your righteous anger that you know is not right. It’s not honoring these deep universal truths. In your inner world aspect from your spiritual worldview, you might explain that with something like, “I understand that these people are doing things because they themselves are suffering. They probably aren’t evil, broken people, but they are deeply split off from themselves.”
Even though maybe I believe in my inner world, that all people inherently have a goodness, that sometimes things happen because of wounding or karma, that people are separated from that knowing. And so they commit these acts that are harmful to others and also to themselves.
Is This Mine To Do?
So I understand that in my inner world and in my outer world, I ask a dharmic question. Dharma, sometimes translated as ‘that, which is mine to do.’
When I get in my outer world video game, I ask, “Is this mine to do?”
I recognize it is not right. That’s my discernment. I use my inner world understanding to understand why it’s happening. And in my outer world, I ask the question, “Am I called to be an actor in this way? Am I called to intervene in a situation where someone is being abused? Am I called to be more of someone who helps with a cause in a certain way?” Sometimes we are and sometimes we aren’t.
The last part is to understand what I like to talk about sometimes as the three businesses. There is your business, other people’s business and God in the universe’s business. And sometimes to deal with negative emotions and especially anger, we have to ask the question, where am I getting stuck?
Am I In Somebody Else's Business?
So when we go back to number one, when we understand the deeper nature of reality, we can be very good players at the video game because we’re keeping things in the right business. Sometimes things will arise in my outer world where I am called to take action, and other times I’m called to have discernment about other people suffering and do my own business over here without intervening. And sometimes I’m left to an understanding that this outer world is a realm of suffering.
A Single Grain Of Rice
There is a story about the Buddha and a woman who was distraught because she had just lost her infant who had died. And she brought this infant to the Buddha and said, “Please, I know that you can do anything. Can you please bring back my child?”
And compassionately, the Buddha said, “Yes, I can do that. But first what we’ll need is, I’ll need you to bring a grain of rice, just a single grain of rice, but it has to be from a household that has never lost anyone to death. And so the woman’s like, “Great, no problem. I can do that,” in her grief. And you know, mother frenzy of grief went out and was like, “I can save my child! All I need to do is get this one thing and the master will make it happen.”
To stay grounded is another problem faced by Empaths. Try reading this to know more – How do we stay grounded?
Suffering Is Part Of Being Human
And she goes from house to house to house asking first, “Have you ever lost anyone to death?” And in every household, everybody had lost someone. And so she was unable to find a grain of rice from any household. And by the time she came back, she had also grown in the realization that death and loss and suffering is a part of being human. There is no spiritual or religious tradition on the face of the planet that can deny that, but our mind likes to fight it.
Part of knowing how to wield anger and knowing whether it’s righteous or it’s an actually internal defect (poison) of our mind is:
- Understanding the game that we’re playing
- Understanding the inner world from our spiritual worldview
- Our Working Spiritual Hypothesis
- Understanding the outer world, what it really is and isn’t
I hope that helps for clarity. I really bow to you asking this question. It really shows that you are really looking inward and trying to really have the most helpful and compassionate expression of the things that you feel arising within you, which is a very wonderful thing.
Disclaimer: This program is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health or counseling services. No practitioner-patient relationship is established and the training content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and nothing here is intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disorders.