A wise man, Frank Oz, once said while holding a green puppet, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the dark side of the force.” There’s a whole array of wisdom sayings of Yoda, but I digress.
I am writing to you address your questions about anger. You told me that you were asking me if you are unspiritual to feel anger, and somehow it was wrong? My friend, you and I are both human beings, and anger is part of the human spectrum of emotions. I love the words of Yoda, but I disagree. Anger does not always lead to hate, it’s what we do with it that counts. Buddhists talk about working with what’s coming up inside of you, and this too has been my experience.
Anger is often uncomfortable, and it can lead to a lot of actions that lead to suffering of self and others. But there are instances where anger channeled into positive actions has lead to personal and social change. The anger we feel when someone is treated unjustly is not bad.
Yoda/Frank Oz is correct in that often, fear often leads to anger, and anger can lead to hate. Once we start hating, it is hard to come back from the darkness that surrounds in hating others. We stop being open minded and willing to see a person as person, when we start hating on people.
It takes a lot of skill and experience to work with anger well. In honesty, I really struggle with letting fear turn into hot anger. Fear of not getting what I want, or someone taking away something or someone I love. In those instances, I have found taking a pause or sitting with the anger instead of stewing in it helpful; the difference being that when I sit with anger I breathe deeply and pray for guidance on seeing the situation or person who made me angry in a different way. I don’t always do this well, but there are times I was able to pause when agitated and reacted in a more gentle and wise way. I have never experienced any true good from reacting out of anger, it always seems to cause me, and the other person deep pain.
Learning to accept difficult people in our lives with mercy and compassion is not an easy way of living. So my friend, I suggest that you and I both try to make friends with our anger, and examine the underlying fear behind it. I pray that the Divine Light within you will shine, and you let your life speak even when you are angry.
In the Light,