Anger as an Entity


ImageEckart Tolle presented the very compelling metaphor of the “Pain body”. The way Eckart describes it, the “pain body” is an entity separate from us that subsists on our negative thoughts and energy.

I feel this analogy works very well in describing anger. When I get angry, I feel like there is a part of me that continues to seek justification for my anger. My anger may just start out as mild annoyance. When I am mindful of my thoughts, I realize that I can just let the issue go and move on. But, when I start to think about the cause of my annoyance, these thoughts begin to justify my annoyance. With this validated feeling of annoyance, I find myself beginning to observe more life events as potentially annoying. The more this feeling of annoyance is given sustenance; it can then grow into a feeling of general frustration. The more my frustration is fueled by my internal dialogue, that frustration can grow into anger.

For example, the other day I was biking home and a car absent mindedly pulled out from a driveway and almost hit me. The first thought I had was “okay, that person was just not paying attention”. This thought was drown out by another voice clamoring, “forget that, I was almost knocked off my bike. I could have been killed.” The rest of the way home, I focused on every event where a car was not considering bike safety. By the time I got home, I had a general feeling of “poopy-ness.”

Our tendency to become angry is greatly influenced by a thought and physiological response feedback loop.  When we experience a perceived threat, our body is flooded with stress hormones priming us for that edgy feeling. Since we feel the physiological response to stress / anger, we begin to composes a story of what is going on that is consistent with our stressful feeling. Since our stress chemistry typically lasts longer than the stress event, we have a moment where there is a potential inconsistency between our thoughts and our feelings. If we are mindful and are well practiced at observing our thoughts, we can more towards letting it go. However, there is a chance that we will continue to compose an internal story to explain the remaining stress chemistry. Since our thoughts have the power to trigger a stress response, we can be stuck in a stress/anger cycle.

If you find yourself repeatedly becoming annoyed, frustrated or angry, remember that you can take a moment and reflect on your thoughts. You have the power to thing of something different. Stop feeding the anger within.

 

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7 Responses to “Anger as an Entity”

  1. It’s tough for me to stop the engine when it gets on the tracks! When I really get pissed watch out – “Don’t make me angry” becomes my mantra and watch out. That doesn’t happen so much anymore because I try to catch it before it gets a way from me. What usually happens after I get really mad is I beat myself up for it and even get tearful lol. The surge of andrenaline etc. is so powerful when fully engaged. I guess that’s why it’s so important to walk away or take a deep breath before you do or say anything.

  2. Hi my friend, I am so happy to re-nominate Influenceversuscontraol for the Versatile Blogger Award. Your blog is indeed versatile! Here’s the link for the image and more info for accepting the award.

    http://inspiredthoughtinspiredaction.com/2012/06/06/inspired-thought-inspired-actions-versatile-blogger-award-nominees/

  3. Anger is a feelings that is usually misunderstood. I learned a long time ago to try to question why I am angry to help understand the reason for my anger. I also try to write down about my feelings.

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