Not too long ago, I had a difficult night of feeling worried and angry, not sleeping much, and dreams full of such rage that I have never felt in waking life. I felt ill from all the emotion and not sleeping. (Psychology says that dreams are a safe place to feel emotions fully, that dreaming our pent up frustrations can help us let go of them.)
The next day I was shopping at Fred Meyer, where they have been renovating and nothing is anywhere you’d expect. So I was wandering around with my frustration in a basket on top of being angry and worried. The running commentary in my head was like a creative writing exercise in which the assignment is to use every dirty word you know, swear like a sailor and put truck drivers to shame.
Then I heard a voice drifting down from on high, “Can you see me through those angry eyes?”
It was brilliant. I had to laugh.
That song completely took the aggression out of my anger. It pulled the plug on my storyline, leaving me with only the energy. I didn’t want to hurt anyone with it; it was more like I was simply the place where that energy happened to be in that moment.
In my head, I said back to the man singing down from the loudspeakers (as if he were the disembodied voice of all that was causing me to feel so angry and worried), “Sorry, I do see you and I love you. I don’t want to hurt you, but I am angry and I want to feel this anger. It feels really good right now to feel that energy singing in me.”
That intention seemed to contain it. I felt safe feeling those things without being hurtful to myself or anyone else. And wow, did it feel good!
I shared this story with one of my teachers, who shared this insight with me in return: Anger arises from squelched personal power. When we allow this strong emotion, without the baggage or blame, our personal power returns to us.
To that, I say, “Welcome back, old friend. I’ve missed you.”
Meditation for Releasing Anger (3 min)