Swaram’s journey with anger (a taboo in our society), via repression and depression, then learning to appreciate the energy, expressing and transforming it in active meditations.
Anger is energy in its pure form. Look at yourself when you are really angry. Feel yourself from within. You will notice that you are strong, powerful, ready to move mountains. What a beauty! But normally we are ashamed of anger. We are taught not to express it and feel bad about it. We are taught that anger is dangerous, destructive and negative, something to avoid at all costs. Anger is taboo. It’s arguably the most repressed emotion, yet it’s one of the most common emotions we feel and it’s an absolutely natural one. How to come out of this conundrum?
My personal journey with anger
I have personally struggled with the anger-dilemma for many years: how to reconcile my anger with my “peace & love” idealism. I grew up developing tons of repressed anger. As a child I would find the way to express it, but that was bad. So that energy turned inwards, and in my teens I found myself being depressed. Energy cannot be still, it’s a moving phenomenon. Either you express it, or you repress it. And if you repress it too much, one day you will implode. Trust me on this one. That’s what happened to me.
Repressing anger seems logical, but is it really?
When it comes to anger, society teaches us to repress it. That’s the safest option. The argument goes: If everyone were allowed to freely express anger, we would be fighting all the time. That’s perfectly logical. But wait a minute: isn’t that what has been happening in the history of mankind down the ages? How many wars have been fought? How many conflicts do we see on a daily basis? Are we really living in a peaceful and anger-free society? Quite the opposite. It seems that hatred is more prevalent than love.
Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed
Osho teaches us that energy is neutral and pure. And it can take various forms. Anger, hatred, frustration, or joy, love and compassion. The choice is ours. Collectively we are so afraid of anger that we tend to always repress it. The trouble is: repressed anger accumulates inside to the point that it becomes poison. Think about it. If you feel anger and don’t express it, where does that energy go? It cannot disappear. Energy cannot vanish, or be destroyed. It can only change form and transform itself.
The physiology of anger
When Osho talks about energy, he doesn’t mean something metaphysical or esoteric. He means something very real and physical. From a physiological point of view, anger triggers a cascade of hormonal changes in the body: the heart rate goes up; the breathing becomes faster and shorter; the stress chemicals are released into the blood stream preparing the body for the flight or fight response – the digestion shuts down, the vision becomes restricted (tunnel vision), and so on and so forth. The body is ready for action. This is a very healthy adaptation that humans have developed over thousands of years in response to life threatening situations. The thing is, nowadays we do not face those kind of challenges anymore. Our modern civilised environment is dangerous in a different way. We have less life-threatening dangers, and more digital hazards. But unfortunately, the body doesn’t know the difference between the two. And it is now acknowledged by scientists and health professionals that negative emotions are a contributing factor to a whole host of physical and mental illnesses.
The alchemy of anger
Osho is a Master of energy. To me, he is like an alchemist. Historically, alchemists focused on turning metals into gold; Osho teaches us to transform the energy of anger into love and compassion. That can only be achieved by not by using old and traditional means: repression, rather by doing the exact opposite: expression. Osho says that repression is far more dangerous than expression. However, here is the point that can be easily misunderstood: expressing anger doesn’t mean hurting others or yourself.
Deep cleansing and transcendence
Osho devised a number of meditation techniques to allow our poisoned system to cleanse. Once released in the body, the anger-hormones cannot be removed easily unless they find some sort of outlet. And if they don’t find an outlet, they will eventually end up stored within the body tissues. That will cause disruptions to the normal physiological functions of the body and mind. Osho teaches us that it’s possible to express anger and heal ourselves, without hurting another human being. And once the anger-chemicals have been expelled from your system, you can start learning how to transform the energy of anger and you feel healthier and more natural. Ultimately, the key to master this powerful energy is transcendence. But, before you get to that point, a deep cleansing is necessary.
So, to conclude: stop repression and start expression. Learn how to express anger in a safe environment. There are many ways to do that and my personal advice is to start with Osho Dynamic Meditation. After a while you will feel that anger is no more bothering you that much, and that your energy is flowing again and your eyes are open and bright, shining with positive energy. Anger is beautiful; make it your ally, not your enemy. And learn to transform its raw energy into creativity, love and kindness.
First published on Swaram’s blog: Love Osho