Is Anger "Spiritual?"

We have all heard it, “You are a Spiritual person, you do Yoga, meditate and pray right? Then why do you get angry? Why you get angry with me? Why you show your anger with me?”  Maybe you have not; however, I have heard this myself.  For me, I have even heard the comparison (because I am an Animal Chaplain, a Humane Minister, ‘a holy person.’) “You say your a minister, a holy person, but Jesus never got angry…” Really? Yes,  Jesus and other holy people got and get angry and showed it. I get angry, raise my voice, and even ‘get depressed,’  I’ll give you an example, a story of my own.

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I am in India, three of the 5 times I went as a consultant for several Animal Ashrams. An Ashram is defined as ‘a hermitage, monastic community, or other place of religious retreat.’ These were Ashrams for Animals, where the Animals are considered part of the Divine. I am asked to help them organize the hospitality of the Animals, to define jobs, to ‘get good schedule’ for the Animals, to oversee these jobs and schedule and to get the Animal care ‘to more compassionate standards’ and ‘help us get more orderly.’ So I do, I watch what is taking place, make suggestions, and am told to instill or oversee them.

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When I first arrived in India, admittedly I was confused, angry, and most definitely a bit of sadness. I had some judgments about how I saw the Animals being treated, I was  angry and disappointed…a controlled wrath almost. I learned quickly my anger was my own judgment, especially from seeing the overwhelming misery and having expectations about what I heard or what is considered the “spiritual capital of the world.” I learned that standards of care are relative to the environment, religious beliefs, knowledge and caste systems. This is where I also learned a deepened sense of compassion and understanding not only for what the non-human Animals were demonstrating to us, but the human Animal as well. The words, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do,” kept resounding through my mind.

I became no longer angry with the ‘other human,’ but a sense of gratitude and compassion deepened, for both the human and non-human. Just like me, they are all wanting to be better. That first consulting experience ended, and though I learned to speak, demonstrate, and witness some changes in the Ashram, the Animals and the people; when I returned for my next Ashram’s consultation, the anger from that point became an anger I directed at myself for feeling as if I have not ‘done enough,’ spoken up loudly and clearly enough. How come this message is not broadcast everywhere?

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You see, in all my visits I spoke up for the Animals’ care, how the Animals demonstrate what is going on in the human consciousness and by using the Golden Rule that is present in all religions, cultures, and faiths. I could see how it changed lives! Not just the non-human Animals, but it began with the human Animals’ lives.

With each instruction I gave, it was taken…”Yes, mam. Will do, mam;” however, not always implemented, or fully understood. Sometimes, Animals lives were at stake, or they were ‘suffering.’ I spoke harshly the second time I had to share, and if there was a third time I had to repeat myself, it came from a ‘not so pretty place,’ or resorted to doing/demonstrating myself. My justification was the Animals cannot speak for themselves. Then, I would get angry at myself for getting angry, and several times it took me to getting depressed. Sometimes, I would spend hours, days, or even weeks feeling as if there was ‘something wrong’ with me, my spirituality. One thing is for sure, a majority of the people I have met are angels who have taught me that their goodness, their determination that they want only the best for the Animals, and they want to be educated to do better to, and how we both can be better when we are willing to communicate openly from the heart,  setting our own judgments, assumptions, expectations and ‘shoulds’ aside.

Sometimes though, communication would stop. One of the humans would stop communicating with me. I would feel like a messenger who ‘got shot.’ Well, Jesus got crucified and Jesus did get angry . Actually, there are 7 moments when Jesus acted unlike what we call “Jesus” or “God-like.”  In an article written by Rational Christianity it states:

“Is such anger wrong? To say “God is never angry” or “God should never be angry” is to say that God shouldn’t be angry when innocent people are hurt or killed, or that he shouldn’t be angry that the Holocaust took place. There are different kinds of anger, as described in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

ANGER, IRE, RAGE, FURY, INDIGNATION, WRATH mean an intense emotional state induced by displeasure. ANGER, the most general term, names the reaction but in itself conveys nothing about intensity or justification or manifestation of the emotional state <tried to hide his anger>. IRE, more frequent in literary contexts, may suggest greater intensity than anger, often with an evident display of feeling <cheeks flushed dark with ire>. RAGE suggests loss of self-control from violence of emotion <screaming with rage>. FURY is overmastering destructive rage that can verge on madness <in her fury she accused everyone around her of betrayal>. INDIGNATION stresses righteous anger at what one considers unfair, mean, or shameful <a refusal to listen that caused general indignation>. WRATH is likely to suggest a desire or intent to revenge or punish <rose in his wrath and struck his tormentor to the floor>.

Indignation, as described above, is what could be called righteous anger – anger at wrongdoing. This is Jesus’ anger, for Jesus is angered by wrongdoing. Clearly some forms of anger (such as fury as defined above) are wrong, and this is the anger that Jesus spoke out against in Matthew 5:22 – anger that is destructive and unnecessarily demeaning.”

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So, here is another statement I heard several times, “Give us the instructions, you are holy person. Let us get angry with them, you be like a Mother Teresa who never got angry…you just pray and give the instructions” Well, did she get angry? Yes, she did. And it is also noted she spent many years conquering her darkness.

As I read her story, even watched her movie, I can feel relate to her feelings, and this whole experience has brought me to a deeper awareness of myself, to what many of us who have come to an understanding of ‘letting go’ of what we believe it should be, and have faith in the “Power that be.” In other words, we ARE doing the will of our Inner God and if we have Faith in the one God that is leading us all, it is all good and as it shall be.  For who am I or any one of us to say, “What is good or bad, right or wrong.” It is these judgments and expectations that stir up our anger, rage, fury, and wrath.

So, What about the Buddha? Did the Buddha get angry? Yes, Buddha got angry, reprimanded, and even kicked a basin. Buddha’s anger was if you mistreat others, and though it was anger, it was shared constructively in a stern fashion, just as with Jesus and Mother Teresa, in a stern fashion so as to be heard.

So there is anger when we ‘do not get our way,’ our feelings are hurt, something touches our fear places, or we ‘think’ something should be different. These are ‘angers’ from our human ego. And, for myself, I will say that I felt that when I first went to India. However, when one is angry from a compassionate and empathetic place, a place from the heart while still authentically loving who they are working with, passionate about who they are working for, is it really anger? or is it more like Jesus, and Mother Teresa, an indignation and being a stern voice? However, does that make it right? Wrong? Spiritual? Non-spiritual? None of the above…it makes us compassionate humans.

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So, just as St Francis…who, YES, also got angry, we all are learning to be aware of our emotions, where they are coming from, how to share our ‘indignation’ peacefully from a place within our hearts and with what calls our hearts.

I know for myself, the two most powerful emotions or feelings are gratitude and anger, and yet, at the core, they both are Love. This is the place I deepened into during that first consultation job. It grew with each consultation, and has continued to grow where I can I recognize it and transform it to a place of ‘compassionate apathy’ almost immediately. It is simple; however, it is not easy. However, the more you practice and surrender, the easier it can be.

Everything is what it is and it will be what it will be. Let your Heart lead the way.

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