4 Steps to Healing Anger

 This summer, while walking in the park, my teacher told me that anger is frustrated desire. I told my therapist, who nodded approvingly. I just googled it, and found a commentary of the Bhagavahd Gita which says the same thing. I love it when ancient scriptures and modern psychotherapy line up!

If anger is frustrated desire, the question is: How can we listen to our anger and hear its frustration? And how can we give it what it needs to heal?

4 Steps to Healing Anger

1) Name It To Tame (Thanks for this key phrase, Dr. Dan Siegel!).

This is an act of mindful awareness. Recognizing that you're angry takes a lot of awareness - especially in the early stages of anger, before it gets full blown. Then, name it. No judgements - just "Oh, this is anger. I feel angry"

2) Notice where in your body you feel the anger. And spend some time observing the physical sensations associated with anger. The act of observing changes what's being observed. Test this premise for yourself.

3) Go inside to your anger, and hold it like a mother holds a crying child. A good mother is quick to respond, attentive, tender, and unflustered by a crying baby. Before the mother even tries to figure out why the child is crying, she first simply picks up the child and wraps the child in her loving presence.  Attend to your anger with confidence and tenderness. Give your loving attention freely.

4) Ask your anger what it needs. Remember, it's just frustrated desire. What's the desire that's not being met? Listen carefully from your heart. And take your time. The answers may change. Then, imagine yourself giving your anger what it wants. Because this is a meditation, you can give freely. If your anger wants to punch a wall, play it out in in your imagination. If your anger wants acceptance and kindness, offer your anger acceptance and kindness. Give freely, go slowly, and check in often with your anger to see how it's healing.

Megan Mook's MNDFL class notes. October 19, 2016.

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