Styles of Dealing With Anger/Rage
This is an updated version of some comments I made here: https://facingthefireswithin.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/a-christian-site-on-anger-8/
After writing that, I discussed the Christian/Submission to Deity method with a pagan priest and he pointed out that it was entirely possible for people to hand off their anger to an appropriate pagan deity. His point was that my method was a more “warrior-oriented” one and that others might very well be able to use the submission/offering technique even if they did not follow an Abrahamic path. Based on that discussion and further review, I am updating my work in progress regarding dealing with Anger/Rage. Please note that these notes, and effectively my entire blog, are experiential and based entirely on my own path and research. Your mileage may vary.
I have broken these out as: Above, Below, Water/Ice and Fire. It is also worth noting that my use of elements is more Fire vs. Water/Ice rather than the classic four elements of antiquity. This is a reflection of my more Heathen orientation. My view of these styles is as follows:
Above – This is a non-practice specific version of offering/submitting the instances of your rage and anger to a higher power. The details will vary by your practice and the deity involved.
Below – This is, in effect, Denial. It is forcing your feelings into your “basement” and denying they exist. If you can envision Anger/Rage as the Beast Within, that beast will ultimately dig out of your basement and cause harm. This is the default method for most people—until it stops working. Once it fails, it can fail catastrophically. (I have had comments that this could apply to any of the methods but I feel that Below/Denial carries additional risk based on my own experience.)
Water/Ice – This is my description for the methods common to practices like Buddhism, Stoicism, and Taoism, where one uses reflection and/or meditation to reduce or redirect anger. (I do understand that there are differences between the belief systems. This is a deliberate generalization.) Some example sayings:
Buddhism – (From the Four Immeasurables) “May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.”
Stoicism – (From Epictetus) “If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase.”
Taoism – (Excerpted from verse 23 of the Tao te Ching)
Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
Fire – This method, the one I am trying to refine and find a way to teach, involves accepting that angry part of yourself and embracing it. You must learn to face the Rage Beast inside and walk straight into that Fire. You must find a way to let it burn you a bit and then apply your own leash or chain while accepting that this is a valid and important part of you. My visualization for this is Gleipnir, the chain which bound the Fenris wolf. If you envision your Beast as your inner Fenris, then you must find—or forge—your own version of Gleipnir to bind it safely. Doing this correctly will help you accept your Rage and become one with it for a time without letting it possess you completely. Once I did this, I found that I could pass through most anger with laughter. It’s similar to the Water method in that it becomes a continuous process through maintenance and meditation, but the approach is from the opposite direction.
It is my hope and intention to refine these explanations over time as I continue research and work with those who ask for my help.