Monday, 12 November 2012


I hope to get back to this subject matter at some later stage when I have more conclusive view points to report... I still wish to start this discussion on issues of anger and other negative emotions. For whatever reason, the necessity to deal with such emotions has come up again, with unprecedented obstinacy. I clearly need to find a way of dealing with them.

Many moons ago, I was looking into my own chakras as a result of studying what books were saying about them. The one chakra that seemed non-existent was the third one, i.e. at the solar plexus. I lived with the illusion there was nothing wrong with my Ego. The truth unravelled as I went along, and the problems gradually appeared. This is one of the most complicated chakras - well, at least in my mind - and one that humanity is collectively dealing with at this point in time. It represents matters of the Ego, but it has to be understood that the Ego is not all bad. The healthy Ego is simply our individual selves as manifest in this body, with this mind and these emotions, at this point in time. The "bad" Ego is the skewed and distorted sense of self, one that isn't honest and true. It's an inflated or disintegrated Ego. Most people have shadow issues to deal with on this level. How do we relate to ourselves, to other people, to the world, to the Universe..? Do we have a general sense of belonging? What feelings do we have for occurrences in our environment? How do we build up healthy self-esteem? How do we learn to be diplomatic rather than confrontational? These are just a few of the issues we all have to be mindful about. Not surprisingly, anger often comes out of imbalances in this chakra, because we're upset with the way others treat us and we don't feel respected.  We feel powerless in the face of injustice, or reversely, we experience a need to control that can lead to pathological power games.

I would say that most people are both aggressive and passive-aggressive, though I think that people lean towards one or the other. For instance, you could lash out aggressively but then retreat with a defensive attitude in a passive-aggressive way, claiming to be a victim ("you can't do this to me because I have this illness" , "you make me lose my temper" and so on). The idea of victim hood is typical of modern day society, it's an easy way of justifying one's suffering and negative attitudes in general. I think most people use this way of manipulation at one time or another. Therefore it's important to be able to admit to it - if we all do it, there is no need to feel embarrassed. I know I've been in denial of some tendencies to retreat into victim hood when I've felt powerless and threatened. If you don't admit to it you'll never heal. But getting your butt out of the hole you have dug for yourself can be quite difficult and requires a great deal of determination. You need to think about how you act in the world and why many of your relationships don't work that well.

There are some emotional problems you can't resolve through just thinking about them (this is what CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy attempts to do). There are two things you need to accept; one is that nobody can take these away for you, and the other is that if you only deal with them in your mind, your Ego's defences will come into play. Listen to yourself some time and notice how you keep making excuses about certain issues in your life... how you refuse to believe that there are any solutions to your problems. This can be the false Ego talking, the one that doesn't want change because it's scary. Of course, a clear "no" in your mind can be a healthy no. How do you see that a negative discourse in your mind is not healthy? Well, it's not necessarily easy... I think one sign is that it's victimizing you and feeding off a state of powerlessness. You need to try and listen to yourself objectively, be honest about what you feel, but also have compassion towards this state of affairs. There is probably a wounded child or something similar in there somewhere...

You could use mental imagery to work with this problem if that comes naturally to you. It helps some people to meditate over the idea that they are not their feelings, but I would warn people against becoming dissociated from their feelings and experiences by being too much of a witness. You must embody your life, feel it through and through. This kind of "getting real" is in my opinion of the utmost importance, and I don't personally find it very useful to think of this reality as "just an illusion".

I think there are some issues you can resolve in your mind by seeing the absurdity of your own discourse, but there are some issues that are buried so deep in your psyche you simply cannot get to them that way. In this case, you need to complement the thinking with other work. This other work could be physical exercise and receiving physical treatments to open up knots in your body, or it could be meditation. With really tough issues you might like to do all of these along side with each other, consistently, until your psyche starts to flex.

I personally feel the block in my solar plexus quite tangibly. There's a whiny voice that seems to come from there. The block cuts off some of my love, compassion and intuitive understanding from my emotions, my relationship with the rest of the world, and my body. I feel wronged by the Universe and the people inhabiting this world. The anger and disappointment I experience from feeling helpless within a limited body is one of the major challenges in this life. As I have become less able to whip myself into action, my self-confidence has faltered and I have become a bit too concerned with the way people see me and whether they appreciate what I'm trying to achieve in this life. People care so little about so many things... It's a case of accepting that the issue of feeling limited and helpless is a lesson of some kind and that it is probably ultimately useful to me. It's also about finding a way of not caring that others don't care as much about me and other people as I'd like for them to care. And the way I should "not care" is obviously not by closing off emotionally but by realizing that it's simply a pointless stance. The "entity" that feels wronged is a false Ego and not the true Self. What others do is their business and I shouldn't take it personally. This is difficult and there is no easy way out of this cul de sac. 

My husband posed a good question when I talked to him about all this. He said; well if I'd prefer to be a compassionate person, then how does criticism, anger and retribution help? I have fought many wars, so to speak, and I have won a few of them. I have felt, that it's my duty to inform the world about many things that are wrong because I have the ability to see them. I often feel, that where others just go "oh and ah" in a way that seems mindless, I know better and should point out that it's not all as great as it's cracked up to be. Well, you can already hear the false voice speaking when it says "I know better"... Perhaps I do, perhaps I don't. It's pride that makes me state that I do. This kind of civil dissidence is probably a good thing per se. Someone has to be disobedient and complain where injustice prevails. An adrenaline rush can beat you into action where otherwise you'd just sit and do nothing. I don't want to be anybody's doormat, and I fight for my rights to be anything but. That's all very well, and has a lot to do with healthy boundaries.

The problem is that these "wars" hurt my peace of mind, and tend to carry over to general complaints that are more personal in nature. They become automated. The attitude can spill over to your close relationships and harm the connection with the people who matter to you. You may say things that are unnecessarily unkind, and with more negative energy than is called for. It can burn bridges of all kinds. It can get quite destructive. Ultimately, you ask yourself, how does all this help with the attempts to become a more loving and compassionate person? I don't have any good answers just yet, but I'm working on it. For the moment, I try and pause myself before I say something critical about anything at all - I try and be even more vigilant than before, questioning all my critical statements. I ask myself, how is this particular statement useful, and I try and stop automated behaviour. When and if, is anger justified? Meanwhile, my husband has agreed to work on my tense and painful back muscles (the ones right behind the solar plexus have, interestingly, become very painful at late). Let's see if this will ultimately release some of the issues I'm dwelling on in my mind.

Check out this book, it promises to be quite good - taking into account the different life circumstances we find ourselves in, as well as looking at life as a whole.

Integral Life Practice book cover

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