Reason Has Left The Building

This post has been in the back of my mind for some time and both situations tie to a friend of mine (who I will not name) and how rage and anger sometimes need to be honestly given their due.  The title is actually a phrase I used when a friend was trying to calm me down and truly reason with me over something that deeply offended and angered me.  I had reached a point in my work where I was self aware enough to know that I needed to let my anger run its course and was not ready to discuss things.  In a day or two it passed and I was able to talk again perfectly rationally but I knew, in that moment, that the time was not right.  This was a rather hard won lesson that took years to truly understand.

“Reason Has Left the Building” means you acknowledge that you are very angry and you feel that and experience the power of the feeling while not acting in that moment.  When I first coined the phrase, I was deeply offended by something that occurred at an event which I took as an assault on my faith and an serious offensive to hospitality and frith.  Later, a friend (unaware of how offended I was) was pushing on the issue online and I grew VERY angry.  But, unlike before I began my work, I did not let this seethe inside me (the issue of seething is important enough that I will post on that at a later time) but meditated, walked and FELT.  I wrote my friend, still very angry and offended.  Due to some phone issues at work, I did not get his call back in time for us to actually talk but the moment I heard his voice and the pain that he had offended me, everything passed and never came back.  I could move on.

The point of this is that, in my view of the Fire path, we face the fires of our anger and walk into them but we do not let that POSSESS us.  We can be wise enough to say: “Not now.”  We can feel the fire, deeply and powerfully, and yet not act out of that fire.

Months later and on a very different issue, the same friend was very angry with another person.  They felt  deeply betrayed, angry and hurt.  To their credit, they made a very conscious choice to stay in their anger and told friends that they really could only associate with those who shared the feeling. They made it clear how they felt and gave others a chance to step back without malice as they saw fit.  It was a very honest and clear approach.

Of course, all of this is a very tricky business and I do not wish to make this sound easy as it most certainly is not.  If you stay in your anger too long and do not have a way to work with the situation, your anger will slowly warp your perceptions and can ultimately cost you quite a bit.  The longer you stay there, the more bitter you become and this can affect your health and lose friends.  But, if you can master the technique, you will find yourself calmer in the long term as you learn to “catch and release”.

Anger exists for a reason.  It is a defensive reaction.  Feel that force but do not let it control you.

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3 responses to “Reason Has Left The Building”

  1. Del says :

    One of the things that I enjoy about your Work is that so many Pagans – most of which come to the faith out of the peace/hippie/earth centered movements – classify emotions as being either “good” (happiness, desire, love, satiety, peacefulness, etc) or “bad” (anger, jealousy, betrayal, sadness, etc). I think this is actively dangerous to humans, because both sets of emotions are natural reactions cultivated over long evolutions. If we never felt jealousy, we would never strive to attain that which we feel we deserve, or ask for the things we want. If we never feel anger, we never have the passion to change the situation.

    Too often I find Pagans coming to peace with things I feel they could be better served being righteously angry about – Global Warming deniers, for a start. Granted, stewing in the anger and never letting it turn into action can be detrimental, but I feel that way about “good” emotions, too. If we get too sated in our relationships, we forget to appreciate them, to do the little things to remind them we love them, which in turn could lead to feelings of being taken for granted, neglect, etc.

    I see all human emotions – even the big scary ones we tend to avoid, like blind rage – as serving a purpose. It’s more the job to help those find that purpose, the target to push that rage towards, so they can achieve bigger and better things in life.

    • facingthefireswithin says :

      Thank you. Yes, I feel it is a matter of honoring our Passions and embracing them while not letting them rule us. I got to this point partially through Stoicism, which honors Reason strongly over Passion. I prefer to recognize Passion, leash it but let it run once in awhile.

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