Beating the Deadly Sin of Anger
Sometimes a little physical effort, like beating on drums, can do you a world of good. After I finish today’s blog post, that’s exactly that I will be doing. Thirty minutes of “Living on a Prayer” and “Down with the Sickness” will beat anger from my heart and drive a smile into its place. I feel better just thinking about it!
The meditations for Lent in the Words for Silence: A Year of Contemplative Meditations (Fr. Gregory Fruehwirth, OJN) includes a series of reflections on the deadly sins of the Christian desert tradition: lust, gluttony, greed, sadness, sloth, vanity, pride and, finally, my favorite deadly sin of the day, anger.
“Anger is our attempt to make ourselves feel safe. It is our way of flaring up defensively against a reality that seems, rightly or wrongly, to threaten us.
“. . .Anger is intoxicating because while it lasts it appears to bestow on us a kind of unassailable righteousness, a strong and clearly defined self—it gives us an inflated sense of being bigger than we are, bigger than others and reality itself. . .we are using the anger in order to feel safe or build up an identity.”
Of course had I read this yesterday during my bout of anger — wild, beastly anger — I would not have been able to internalize even one word of this wisdom. A state of Righteous Indignation is a powerful state indeed. Especially when you have taken on the form of a Lioness or Mother Bear.
Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth, says that complaining is one of the ego’s favorite strategies for strengthening itself. And yes, I did feel stronger and more powerful as the angry Lioness.
But, at the same time, I felt myself weaken into the strength of my anger. I folded into the power of an angry gale and allowed any inner peace and confidence that I had gained to be hurled into wind and lost in the storm of my own Righteous — clearly righteous — Indignation.
But righteous or not, I harmed myself inside anger’s lashing grip. The Other did not harm me, I harmed me.
I have a lot to learn about anger. I can only hope that soon I will be given other opportunities to be angry, to complain and feel unfairly treated. And yes, I did say that with a bit of sarcasm, but I’m also just being realistic.
With a Calm Heart (for now),