Do Not Anger – Exploring the Five Reiki Precepts Part III
The Second Precept: Do not anger.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
― Mark Twain
Today we are going to focus on the second Reiki precept, “Do Not Anger”.
Anger is a natural human emotion. Anger illuminates, with crystal clarity, when our boundaries have been crossed. If anger is a natural and normal human emotion, why would Mikao Usui create a Precept telling us not to anger?
Let’s take a closer look at this emotion and how it affects us.
When we dwell on feelings of anger, our energy is dwelling on the past – on something that already happened that has caused us to feel anger, shame, bitterness, or resentment. Consumed by memories of times gone by, we become wrapped up in negativity and lose our connection to the present moment. In this angry state, it is easy to say and do things that we later come to deeply regret.
When we are angry, we are not thinking clearly, and in those moments it is easy to lose track of our role in the situation. We tend to make rash decisions or say things in bitterness that later cannot be unsaid. The ripple effects of these thoughtless words and deeds can wreak havoc for years to come, dissolving relationships and foundations of trust in an instant that will require many years of work to rebuild.
Internalized anger, resentment and bitterness contribute to serious and life-threatening illness on an energetic level, so give yourself the gift of mindfulness and learn to process your anger in healthy ways. There will be times where we get angry, but how we choose to handle and express that anger will determine whether that anger ultimately leads to powerful positive change, or a lifetime of regret and loss.
How can we express our anger in a healthy way?
“Anger is a valid emotion. It’s only bad when it takes control and makes you do things you don’t want to do.”
― Ellen Hopkins,
Oftentimes, when we feel angry, there is actually some other emotion hiding beneath it’s surface. We live in a society that does not always honor and hold space for vulnerability, and which glorifies anger and vengeance. As a result, many of us unconsciously default to a state of anger when there is really a deep hurt, betrayal, fear or insecurity needing to be addressed.
A wise person once said, “Anger is always fear, and fear is always fear of loss.”
When you feel your temper rising, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of here?” and go within. Listen with curiousity to your inner dialogue, from a place of observation. Let the thoughts and feelings flow through you like water slips past your fingers and simply look at them without judgement, until the lesson is clear.
All of our emotions, even our most difficult ones, are messengers. No emotion is meant to be denied or suppressed, for doing so only leads to an unhealthy bottling up and eventual emotional explosion. When we honor these emotional messengers without falling into a place of pure reaction, we can listen with compassion to their lessons and let them go with love.
The next time you feel your anger rising, ask yourself these three questions.
1) Is this really important to me?
The first question is essential because we often get swept up in other people’s dramas that truly have no bearing on our lives. Asking ourselves if this is really important to us helps us disengage from unneccessary drama and helps us be mindful of where we are investing our emotional and mental energy. If the answer is no, disconnect from the energy of the situation and consciously choose to place your focus on something that nourishes you.
2) Is there something I can do about this?
The second question helps us avoid being drained by problems that we have no hope of solving. It is important to practice discernment here. If there is something you can do to affect the situation for the better, then take action. Engaging in solutions will help you channel that anger into positive change, and transmute it into a higher purpose. It is this healthy harnessing of justified anger that has contributed to much of the great social justice work we have seen throughout history, such as better working conditions for all, the abolition of slavery, and equal rights for women. This sacred activism is necessary, but we must be mindful and use our discernment to ensure that we do not become exhausted under the weight of the world’s problems. Take constructive action when possible, and if it is not possible, know when to disconnect and focus your energy on problems you can help solve.
3) Is taking action worth it in this situation?
It is important to have the foresight to think through the possible consequences of our actions. If taking action in a situation will ultimately lead to negative consequences that outweigh the potential gain, you must think clearly and take this into consideration. It is impossible to think clearly when gripped by anger, so take several deep breaths and allow yourself time to reflect on the situation later when cooler heads prevail.
The power of forgiveness.
“Anger is like flowing water; there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.”
― C. JoyBell C.
When we are angry with someone, we are thinking about them and the energy is very intense. This forms a powerful connection between our self and the other person, and if we are sending negativity and anger through that connection, then that is what we will receive multiplied and sent back to us in return. Ultimately, this angry connection will hurt and drain us. It will contribute to illness and disease, and we will be the ones to suffer.
Not only does it harm us, it will cause us to attract many similar experiences into our lives, since what we focus on expands.
Luckily, there is a simple solution that is incredibly powerful. Forgiveness.
Forgiveness dissolves the negative cords that bind us to another person or situation. It sets us free. Understand that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean you have to allow that person back into your life, or engage with them in any way. It simply means you have decided to let go on a spiritual level and move on.
Dealing with angry people…
“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.
― Gautama Buddha,
There will be moments in life where you encounter angry people and you cannot leave the situation. In these moments, it is important to know how to disarm and transmute the angry energy so that you do not become sucked into their drama and succumb to anger yourself.
Here are three easy techniques to deal with angry people that you can reach for in those moments.
1) Turn the other cheek.
Do not meet anger with anger. The most powerful defense against angry energy is non-reaction. If you refuse to feed the situation, the person will run out of steam and calm down much sooner. If you decide to engage with them, you will become angry yourself as the angry energy boomerangs between you and becomes multiplied and fed by your collective energies. Simply stay silent, just listen when it is appropriate, or, if need be, remove yourself from the situation.
2) Send them Reiki
When you are faced with a difficult encounter that you cannot avoid, you can remain calm by silently giving yourself Reiki. It will ground you, center you, and help you avoid getting pulled into the drama. If you feel guided, you may intend that a gentle rain of Reiki energy wash over the person, cleansing their energy and filling them with Divine Peace and Love. Remember to only send Reiki to others with the intention that they only receive what they are open to, so as to respect their autonomy. For more information on permission and healing, check out this blog post.
3) Recite the Precepts as a mantra
What you focus on expands. In situations where you are forced to deal with an angry or combative person, mentally recite the precepts to yourself. If I’m really tempted to engage, I will silently mentally recite the precepts in Japanese as this requires more concentration on my part. The energy of the precepts will fill your energy field and indirectly calm the other person, or, at the very least, will keep you calm and centered until they calm down.
Anger is not the enemy, but it does need to be handled with care.
Choose to look at your anger and the anger of others with eyes of compassion. See the lesson, the unspoken need that is going unmet. Is it a need for justice and equality, a need to be heard, a need for security and comfort? Is it really fear? When we can look with compassion upon ourselves and others, we can avoid succumbing to hostility, bitterness and resentment and choose healthy boundaries, emotional intelligence and gentleness instead.
Every breath, every moment is an opportunity to stay centered in the present moment, remember our True Selves, and live in alignment with who we really are.
P.S. If you are feeling drawn to learn to practice Reiki, I warmly invite you to take a look at the upcoming class schedule. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Other articles in this series on Exploring the Reiki Precepts:
do not anger do not anger do not anger do not anger do not anger do not anger do not anger