Here, I’d like to talk about anger and the manner in which it holds us back from our greater growth and development. Anger, like a lot of other qualities, clearly hinders our growth because it takes us out of a naturally loving frame of mind that isn’t easy to get back into, and there are plenty of other reasons it just isn’t good for us.
Anger holds us back from accessing and feeling a greater, more wholesome part of ourselves, and it stops us from feeling the sense of wellbeing that helps us thrive. Plenty has been said about the manner in which anger hinders our spiritual development, and I’d like to examine some of what’s been said here.
I think it’s essential that we surface and transmute every bit of anger we hold within if we want to find enlightenment or do anything spiritually helpful or significant, and fortunately, we’ve been given a wealth of assistance with doing just that.
First, Mahendranath Gupta tells us that anger and various other lower qualities are temporarily necessary for our lower-dimensional growth.
“God created anger, passion, and other troubles in order to mould great souls.” (1)
We’re here to learn and grow out of the lower vibrations, but to excel from the darkness, we first have to experience it in all of its forms so we can have a sense of what we’re growing away from.
Evolution is probably a lot easier on other planets whose civilizations don’t have to deal with the extreme negativity of the earth, but even they have to experience and understand darkness before they can move on from it. We can’t touch down into darkness without experiencing it intensely, but now that we have, we can start the journey back home.
Now that we have enough experience with darkness to understand it, it’s time to move on from it by refusing to continue feeding the lower qualities that keep us ensnared in it. Now’s the time to find and act on a greater level of self-discipline, because we’re ready to grow away from darkness and everything that keeps it in place.
According to Ajahn Sumedo’s experience, after so long on the path, anger’s replaced with peace of mind.
“Over the years, equanimity seemed to develop. One found that anger, annoyance and aversion began to fade out. And when your mind no longer inclines towards dwelling in aversion, you begin to have some joy and peace of mind.” (2)
I think we could all use this joy and peace of mind, and we’ll attain it when we learn to leave the tendency to be angry behind and embrace constant, free-flowing love. Unlike anger, love will support and nurture us as we grow out of lower mindsets and habit patterns and expand like never before, and this expansion will naturally entail a full-on release of anger.
As we embrace love, the lower qualities we would’ve otherwise been susceptible to will have less and less influence with each day that passes. The result will be an immensely expanded perception, and by the time we find full-on enlightenment, we’ll have long moved away from the restrictive qualities of the lower vibrations.
Paramahansa Ramakrishna tells us that “Anger arises when obstacles are placed in the way of desire.” (3)
If we’re rooted too deeply in the mind, mortal desires become much more appealing than spirit or enlightenment. If our mind perceives itself as being blocked from its goals or desires, it naturally expresses the negative and angry emotions that lay underneath the surface.
This is because the mind thinks it’s being blocked from something that’s essential for its survival, and it’ll send us plenty of angry signals and emotions that a lot of people choose to embrace. A lot of people use anger as a crutch that seems to help them cope in negative situations, and this is unfortunate given that we send a constant signal to the rest of the universe.
Our every emotion is felt via the signals we send out, but most of humanity doesn’t know we send these signals in our best and worst times. As it stands, most people won’t believe that there are numerous civilizations out there, waiting to be discovered, much less that they’re picking up on the signals and impressions we send out.
Sri Krishna tells us about the destructive process that results from an initial mortal desire.
“Thinking about sense-objects Will attach you to sense-objects; Grow attached, and you become addicted; Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; Be angry, and you confuse your mind; Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; Forget experience, you lose discrimination; Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.” (4)
When we’re rooted too deeply in the mind to listen to the intuitive voice that guides us, we lose track of the purpose of our existence on this planet. We forget that we’re here to bring a world of lost souls into the light, and if we dip too low, we can lose ourselves.
We, like anyone else, have the potential to get lost in the mucky unawareness of the lower vibrations, and I think it’s essential that we root ourselves in a greater perception as much and as often as possible. This can especially be said for those of us who want to raise the consciousness of the planet, and if our own vibration is too low, we can’t uplift anyone else.
Bodhidharma tells us that anger blocks our ability to remain on the path.
“To go from mortal to buddha, you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness and accept what life brings. If you’re always getting angry, you’ll turn your nature against the Way. There’s no advantage in deceiving yourself.” (5)
We don’t gain anything by expressing anger in unfavorable situations, and as Bodhidharma suggests, it’s far easier to take life as it comes and deal with everything in as detached and loving of a way as we can. We’re honing our spiritual understanding, but we can’t greet the higher realms until our vibration matches theirs.
Anger keeps us on a lower vibration and stops us from feeling the purer energy making its way to our minds and hearts, and if we want to walk the path ahead of us, we have to be willing to lay our anger aside and embrace life in all of its beauty and difficulty.
According to Paramahansa Ramakrishna, anger inhibits our judgment and clarity of mind.
“Through anger one loses one’s wits and cannot distinguish between right and wrong.” (6)
We lose our perception of what is and isn’t okay or acceptable when we’re really angry, and even though most people are able to show some self-control, others have a much harder time controlling their impulses.
Anger takes away our inhibition and makes us forget what is and isn’t acceptable.
For the most part, this is because we feel like our reality’s crumbling when we’re really angry, and nothing really matters or makes sense. All we can understand is our anger and/or the perceived unfairness of the situation we’re angry about, and other important things don’t really click in.
Paul Ferrini tells us that “You cannot be in the heart if you are worried or angry.” (7)
It’s much harder to attain a heart-centered flow if we’re in a negative frame of mind, and opening ourselves to spirit is far, far easier when we’re already willing to feel an immense amount of love. Anger turns us cold; takes us away from the warmth of the heart space and the divine gifts it offers.
We have no reason to keep letting this quality distort our growing spiritual perception, but if we do, we’ll continue to hold ourselves back from the perceptual gifts the divine offers. If we can maintain a constant, loving frequency by using self-discipline to refrain from anger, our spiritual connections will be much more enjoyable and free-flowing.
Proverbs 16:32 tells us that “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (8)
‘He that is slow to anger’ is likely the same as ‘he that ruleth his spirit’, because refraining from anger requires self-mastery and control over the woes of the mind. We’ll find that our efforts to refrain were very worth it, however, because in the higher realms, we’ll see, feel, and know everything we did on earth.
We’ll look back on our experiences from the blissful higher dimensions, and some of us might wish we held our anger back a few times and chose love and joy over the destructive, lower qualities. The more we choose love, the more the planetary vibration will grow and the happier we’ll be when we look back on our experiences.
We’ll know that we did everything we could to raise our vibration and that of the world around us, and we’ll feel satisfied enough with our efforts that, hopefully, we won’t choose to do something as foolhardy as incarnating on another extremely lower-vibrational planet again.
Some of us are pretty headstrong, though, and we might do it all again if we’re given the choice. Oh, how I pray I won’t be this headstrong again!
In Proverbs 15:1, we’re told that “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (9)
I think this quote refers to the importance of our every word and expression, as well as the vibration they carry. Like I said earlier, we emit a constant frequency, and this is especially true for the words we speak.
Our vibration’s very pure and potent when we emit a loving and peaceful frequency, but when we feel so low that we’re comfortable expressing anger or similar emotions, our vibration’s very dense and we keep ourselves from the greater love we can otherwise feel.
We don’t have to keep ourselves from it any longer, and anything that’d try to convince us otherwise is pure illusion. We’re the masters of our expressions, and we can use them for a higher purpose that’ll raise the vibration of everyone who’s been too rooted in darkness to understand the importance of the things they think, say, and do.
According to Bodhidharma, letting go of our dualistic perceptions of anger andjoy will free us from karma.
“Once you know that the nature of anger and joy is empty, and you let them go, you free yourself from karma.” (10)
I recommend embracing joy and a greater, more loving perception, but I recognize that my viewpoint is a little dualistic. Our goal is to liberate ourselves from duality, after all, and we won’t do much good by fleeing one side of the dualistic pole in favor of another.
Balance, then, becomes a favorable route to take. I haven’t examined a lot of material about balance, but due to some of the things I’ve experienced, I’m increasingly convinced that it’s an important and helpful quality for anyone who wants to leave the lower vibrations and the karma associated with them behind.
Paramahansa Ramakrishna tells us that people who’ve realized Source are capable of anger, but their anger’s temporary and fleeting.
“The anger and lust of a man who has realized God are only appearances. They are like a burnt string. It looks like a string, but a mere puff blows it away.” (11)
Realizing Source doesn’t automatically liberate us from anger – it’s up to us to act on our newfound understanding and liberate ourselves from it. We aren’t automatically infallible because we realize or believe certain things, and what we do with our beliefs is more important than anything else.
I don’t think the things we believe and advocate are as important as we think. It’s how we use our perspective that counts, and if we believe in positive, spiritual things but still routinely express negativity, we’ll hold ourselves and everyone else back from the qualities we want to see the rest of the world adopt.
It’s up to us to show the way by transcending any and every lower quality that holds us back, and even though most of us aren’t there yet, we’ll get there if we make an effort.
Like Bodhidharma, Adyashanti transcends our dualistic perception of anger and joy, telling us that it’s impossible for a seeker not to get angry.
“There’s no such thing as never getting angry. Enlightenment can and does use all the available emotions. Otherwise, we would have to discount Jesus for getting pissed off in the temple and kicking over the table. The idea that enlightenment means sitting around with a beatific smile on our faces is just an illusion.” (12)
Even though I advocate choosing joy over anger if/when we have the choice, Adyashanti’s advice makes sense. We can’t deny any aspect of our lower and higher-dimensional existence, and to do so is to deny an aspect of ourselves.
Anger lives within, no matter how often its expressed at the surface, and if we turn away from our anger, we’ll only bury it within and leave it to sit, negatively affecting our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We certainly shouldn’t take our attention away from anger, but instead, surface and heal it.
We can’t deny anger or anything else that stews within, but we don’t have to accept its presence either.
We can heal it if we really want to, and I recognize that going out of our way to choose joy over anger doesn’t help the situation. We don’t want to avoid or deny anything, and like we’ve already learned, acceptance is a big part of successfully traversing the path.
Adyashanti continues, telling us that when our vibration’s high enough, anger will never tempt us again.
“At a human level, enlightenment means that you are no longer divided within yourself, and that you no longer experience a division between yourself and others. Without any inner division, you stop experiencing most of the usual forms of reactivity.” (13)
We’ll lose the desire to be angry when we reach a higher state of consciousness, and we’ll start contributing to the pure vibrations being sent out from the higher realms and everyone who resides in them.
We won’t have to avoid anger, because we won’t have any more left to transmute and heal. We’ll have long stopped letting the woes and stresses of the mind keep us down, and we’ll be far too absorbed in our growing spiritual perception to want to toil in the lower vibrations again.
It’ll feel great to say the least, and I look forward to the time when nobody’s tempted by stress or anger anymore. We have to strive a little if we want to reach a pure state of consciousness where anger doesn’t exist, and once we’re there, it’ll be our duty to help billions of others get there too.
Anger, like plenty of other lower qualities, blocks our greater perception and prohibits us from living in the heart and feeling the divine flow that results. It’s also necessary for our growth out of the lower dimensions, and whether or not we advocate spirituality, we still have the potential to lose ourselves in darkness and the tendencies that feed it.
When we reach a certain purity of mind and heart, however, anger (and anything else that keeps the lower vibrations in place) will be a thing of the past. A lot of spiritual teachers have and will continue to tell us about anger and it’s destructive but ultimately necessary nature, and hopefully, their guidance will help those of you who tend to get lost in anger.
I’ve been there, and I can say from experience that it’s much less fun and rewarding than the path of spiritual evolution. Enlightenment is our goal, and to get there, we have to release our resistance and flow with whatever happens, making sure we don’t deny the existence of the lower qualities we want to transmute.
They certainly exist, and they’re ready to be healed. Are you ready to heal them and move on?
Wes Annac – One of many seekers who’s interested in healing anger and embracing love.
- Swami Chetananda, They Lived with God. Life Stories of Some Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1989, 205.
- Alan Cittaviveka Sumedho, Teachings from the Silent Mind. Great Gaddesden: Amaravati Publications, c1984; 1992, 63.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 247.
- Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 41.
- Red Pine, trans., The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma. Port Townsend, WA, Empty Bowl, 1987, 17.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ibid., 861.
- Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA: Heartways Press, 1996, 9.
- Proverbs 16:32.
- Proverbs 15:1
- Red Pine, trans., The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma. Port Townsend, WA, Empty Bowl, 1987, 22.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ibid., 178.
- Stephen Bodian, “Adyashanti Interview: The Taboo of Enlightenment.” From http://nonduality.com/hl1892.htm, downloaded 11 March 2006.
- Loc. Cit.
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I’m a 21 year old awakening seeker and creator of The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, as well as articles I’ve written and more. Its purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material that’s spiritually inspired and/or related to the fall of the planetary elite and our entrance into a positive future.