A Place for Anger in Spirituality

The Thursday before Halloween I pinched a nerve. A friend massaged my neck and shoulders on Saturday and Sunday, which helped, but what really gave me full range of motion was rage. On Monday, I started thinking about that quote I posted last week, about how nothing in this universe happens unless God desires it, and it pissed me off. More than pissed me off, it infuriated me. I started blaming God for every crappy thing in my life.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I hate you!” shook my fists, and destroyed a book. It was the most angry I’ve ever been and certainly the most angry I’ve ever been at the universe. As soon as I calmed down, the pain in my back and neck almost completely diminished.

I bring this up because so often I hear people say, “Don’t get angry,” or proclaim that anger is not very spiritual. There’s an expectation that we meet every situation with peace and contentment, that nothing ruffle our feathers. I’m sorry, but I’m not evolved enough for that. The best I can do is suppress or repress my feelings and that’s not a solution because suppressed and repressed feelings have a tendency to act as ticking time bombs or come out in other, non-healthy ways. In my case, repressed anger manifested in my physical body as a pinched nerve.

There's a place for everything in this world -- even angry lightning storms.

There’s a place for everything in this world — even angry lightning storms.

My spiritual teacher says we should not be misguided, swayed away, or unduly influenced by anger. That we should not allow the instinct of anger to take control of us. That anger should be regulated. He very much advocates non-anger, but I don’t know how to cultivate non-anger, so the best I can do right now is work on regulating it. And how am I supposed to regulate anger if I constantly keep it locked away in a drawer? In order for me to control something, I have to understand it’s full range so I know what’s appropriate in any given situation. That means allowing myself to get angry, and yes, even get angry at God.

What I find interesting is even anger brings me to my goal of union with the Supreme. My teacher says, “Even when you think of God as an enemy, you are involved in Him. Really, our mind is more activated [to think about somebody] by anger and hatred [than by positive propensities]. When we have a quarrel with somebody, we keep on thinking that the next time we meet that person, we will say this or that. Therefore, God will be attained whether you love Him or hate Him.”

That to me means it’s OK for me to hate God right now. It’s OK for me to be angry at God right now. All of my feelings are allowed and acceptable. I don’t have to hold anything back for fear of being punished or unloved. Do I enjoy feeling so angry? No, of course not, but until I get to such a state where anger no longer exists for me, I’m learning to control it and that means feeling angry in whatever capacity I do. Who knows? I might improve my posture in the process.

I dream of a world where we allow ourselves to feel all our feelings. A world where we understand to control an instinct, first we must express it. A world where we know it’s OK to be angry at God and even to express hatred because it all leads to the same place.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

P.S. Help me create a world we wish to see by becoming a patron.

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