Letting Go of Anger: Energy Balance and Mental Prisons
This is something I see a lot: frustrated people walking around with anger that they were never taught how to process.
Anger is often an energy affliction: it’s an emotional death spiral that literally accomplishes nothing. There are certain select scenarios where brief anger may be justified, but the key is to know when to let it go and process the energy (thoughts) that gave rise to it.
Holding on to anger and fusing it with your identity is suicide.
Stagnant Emotions Create Prisons of the Mind
Let’s be clear first and foremost, if you’re looking to achieve a balanced, happy life, you cannot hold onto any emotions. This is unhealthy for both body and mind.
That begs the question, what exactly IS an emotion, anyway? This is something most people don’t even know or have any understanding of. They are comfortable just knowing they “have” emotions, or “get” emotional. They have no clue what any of this is, or why it happens.
This leads to dangerous and toxic behavior patterns, especially later in life when layers of repressed emotion begin to manifest as habits and behaviors.
An emotion is a body-mind response to thought-stimuli. In other words, it is your body producing a biochemical reaction brought on by perception and the dissemination of that perception.
Clear perception often brings about healthier emotional responses, but not always.
Emotions produce notable effects on the body and mind, because they are a body-mind response. The mind learns to associate certain states with certain thoughts, and these form the basis for more complex behaviors.
When you experience an emotion, very real changes occur in the body. Heart rate may increase or decrease, hormones may be released throughout the body, senses may sharpen or dull, and adrenaline might come into the picture. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the physical stress that is put on the body.
Emotions by nature are supposed to be fleeting moments of instinct that help confirm thought patterns. The second one begins to “hold” onto an emotion, it begins to essentially petrify in the body-mind, which produces an ongoing physical response.
This is why stress is called the “silent killer.” When you “lock in” any emotions that produce strong reactions (fear, anger, jealousy, disgust, envy, etc.), you place a burden onto your entire body. You aren’t designed to have to live day in and day out in an “anger” state or a “fear” state. No animal is.
Living in a near-constant or constant state of fear, anger, depression, jealousy, or similarly strong emotional mode, does two things. It hampers the body by forcing it to produce continual stress-response hormones and reactions (fight or flight), and it creates a series of distortions, illusions, opinions, and false beliefs in the mind, that later turn into a mental prison.
Think about it like this: if the body is continuously living in a fight-or-flight response, the mind will interpret every thing it encounters from the standpoint of that stimuli.
In other words, an overburdened body gives way to a diseased mind, one that bases its judgment from a limited and distorted view of reality.
The mental prisons people construct have many layers and facets. Parts of their identity even get wrapped up with these layers of distorted reality.
The result is usually some form of sociopathy, narcissism, or compulsive behavior. Facts get distorted, the world becomes a dark, grim place. Opportunities are limited, happiness is always just out of reach, personal comfort and peace take a back seat to aggression and territoriality, and worst of all, it creates negative feedback loops that help perpetuate this way of living.
Mental prisons are just that: prisons for the mind. Locked-in emotions create a master-slave dichotomy in the body-mind.
Balancing the Mind by Letting Go
A mind attached to strong emotions like anger will always see things through a distorted lens.
The only way to correct this is by learning to let go. This is accomplished by acknowledging the thoughts or emotions and consciously letting go of them.
This can be an admittedly difficult area for some people. Self-reflection is like kryptonite in our society. It’s avoided at all costs.
You must face yourself and your weaknesses to overcome an emotion like anger. You have to remember, you are feeling anger in the first place because you are weak.
Anger by definition is a response culled from a weak mind. If you had control, you wouldn’t register an anger response to begin with. So therein lies the problem.
If you are serious about transforming yourself, you have to face yourself. You have to stare down your ego and admit that you don’t need what it’s trying to sell you.
Anger is never necessary. It is never the right answer to any given situation, no matter what your ego says otherwise.
From this standpoint can we balance the mind.
I could say that all you have to do is meditate, and I would be correct, but you need to engage in the right kind of meditation. You want positive feedback for your mind so that you are able to identify shortcomings and look at what you did wrong.
So this is more of an introspective exercise fused with meditation.
Sit in a comfortable location without distraction. Make sure your back is straight, your muscles are relaxed as best as possible, and you know you won’t be disturbed. That is important.
Instead of trying to quiet the mind, we are taking the mind to task. Ask yourself, “why am I angry?”
Speak out-loud if this helps. You can be accusatory toward your own ego, it will help to frame the dynamic. You are the in control adult, and it is the out-of-control child. This is an exercise in discipline. The ego should know it is doing something wrong.
Be probing. Be direct. Consciously reflect in your mind, what is the cause of this anger and what use does it have. Is your life better by holding onto this anger? Are problems being solved by holding on to it? Is it making you money? Is it bringing you happiness?
No, of course not. Anger can only ever be a destructive force. It is detrimental to your happiness and fulfillment.
As you begin to probe the ego, it will respond by feeling what you are threatening, i.e. the anger. You will have the urge to associate with this anger.
Do not suppress it. Acknowledge it, instead. Taste it. Play around with the feeling in your head. Remember, you are the third party here. You are not your ego and you are not your anger. These are only mental states and body processes, nothing more.
Learn to be the overseer inside your head so you don’t get caught up in the drama of your ego.
Once you consciously and calmly observe your anger and the reasons why you “feel” it, or hold it, it will immediately begin to lose its power and meaning.
Anger, because it is born of ego, makes no sense when viewed from the Self, or your grounded center. It becomes quite easy to make light of it at this stage.
Don’t engage in it. As you feel its power weaken, continue to acknowledge it, but let it gently slide out of your mind, to be replaced by pervasive calm.
You will want to encourage this response by engaging in breathwork at this point. Breathe evenly and deeply through the nose, visualizing calming energy entering your body. On exhale, visualize yourself releasing any and all anger and attachment to anger.
Repeat the mantra with every breath, “This is not my anger, I am a happy person.”
Sounds kind of hokey, right? This is the kind of over-simplistic meditation I tend to stay away from, but in this case, it works.
There’s a reason why so many health and wellness practitioners recommend mantras. Even psychiatrists teach basic mantra usage, because in tandem with breathwork, it is extremely effective.
You want to teach your mind by giving it a positive response to processing anger. You want your mind to re-program itself, so that it comes to expect peace and calm as a reward for processing anger and getting rid of it.
You may not fully “get rid” of your anger in one or even ten sessions of this kind of meditation. For some people it takes extensive work. The good news is, in my experience, it really doesn’t take that long for most people. Unless the anger is deeply rooted, it is easy to heal.
Continue this meditation every day for a short period of time. You don’t want to try and force your mind to process the emotions all at once. To free yourself of long-established mental prisons, you have to be patient. It can all melt away in five minutes, or take upwards to five months. Everyone is different.
What is guaranteed, however, is that all anger can be processed in this manner. The more you perform this meditation, and the more self-reflective you are with your own emotions and thoughts, the less negative emotional states you will enter in general.
The key is awareness and reflection. If you understand your Self as third party to your ego and body, it becomes ridiculously easy to process these kinds of emotions. You will see the ego and its pitiful attempts to hold emotion as just cries for attention. Starve the attention, starve the ego, balance the mind.
Recipe for contentment.