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Gillian Sanger

What does anger feel like?

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This week's question asks:

What does anger feel like?

Last week's question (What does fear feel like?) sparked some great reflections on the physical embodiment of fear. So, this week, I invite you to consider what anger feels like in the body. Does it present itself in a certain region? What weight, shape, size, or texture does it carry? You might also share how you tend to anger when it presents itself in mind and body.

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Now that I have more capacity to be in touch with physical sensations (after most of my life, being disconnected from the embodiment of emotions), I recognize that anger feels like a tightening in my chest and a hot flush in my ears and cheeks.  There is also a sense of tensing up my shoulders, in what I believe is a sheltering/armoring/protective physical posture.

Those sensations help me to know when I need to walk away, put something on hold, or discharge that energy before proceeding with the situation that created the anger in me.

These are important inquiries, @Gillian Sanger.  Thank you.

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What does anger feel like?

It feels like a big drain of energy and puts you in a state that you often regret but its how you respond to it when it arises is what matters. 

For some it takes time to control it but once its controlled you find happiness at a level you thought you would never find.  

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Thank you for your reflections @Rachel and @steveh. Anger for me is often experienced in my throat and chin - a burning lump in the throat and heat around my jawline. Sometimes, it also rises as a trembling, like a wave coursing through my entire body. 

When anger arises, it could lead me to do one of many things. Depending on the situation, it could call for anything from reaffirming boundaries to practicing self-love to grounding into the earth to walking or shaking to writing (often multiple of the above).

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In Classical Chinese Five Element medical philosophy, the seat of anger in the body is identified as the liver. The liver is referred to as the ‘Little General’ or ‘Little Tyrant”. 

The liver activates in Early Spring ... some of you are experiencing symptoms / expressions of this right now as Spring is rapidly ascending. If we observe other people carefully we see that these aren’t limited to just this specific individual biological organism that modern people regard as a self-existing and exempt from cause / effect natural laws.

During this seasonal transition and throughout Spring, if the liver is stagnant (by way of diet and emotional repression or biological inheritance) or if it’s thermo quality runs hot (by way of diet), then there is a greater likelihood of feeling / expressing irritation, anger or rage ... and muscle ache, eye discomfort or irritation, insomnia, diarrhea, throat issues, shortness of breath, obsession with detail / list making, and a driven sense that everything is finally coming together! (which is only a story used to explain a surge of energy that most people have no rational explanation for).

This is why irritation and bursts of anger and rage are more prevalent in Spring as the body is exposed to increasing levels of solar particles that stimulate the metabolism. This rushing movement of Spring electromagnetic energy through channels in the body gets stuck / backed up in the liver (because of its physical condition), frustration / irritation is the effect and then it gets released forcefully to the degree that it is stuck, like an exploding conflagration that moves uncontrolled.

Modern people, pathologically alienated from the body, ignorant of how the body works in relationship to the patterns and processes of the metaenvironment (terrestrial / exoterrestrial) that they are innately embedded in and at the endless physiological / neurological effect of, and ignorant of the effects of the body on emotion, all in every moment at every level of personal existence, tend to personalize / neuroticize the (cause and effect) event of anger that is rooted in the condition of the liver / dietary habits / cultural conditioning and environmental processes, and that is not just the effect of external social circumstances and the particular emotion itself.

Ideally, the human organism, starting around two weeks ago, began to eat lighter, less meat / dairy (especially dairy), more whole grains (with the exception of buckwheat which is contraindicated in Spring for everyone), considerably less spices and more greens (though kale should be eaten in great moderation year round because of its detrimental cooling / weakening effects on the kidneys).

Gentle daily breathing exercises (particularly alternating nostril breathing) and moderately brisk (yet relaxed) walking help to unstagnate the liver and get things moving smoothly. 

All of this becomes vividly apparent if we remember what we are, where we are, and how where we are operates.  

This remembering (a properly practiced pre-conceptual / pre-verbal ‘mindfulness’), practiced consistently by stilling the mind and ceasing habitual emotional reactivity (no matter how attached we are to to it) and by way of proper breathing practice, clears perceptual space to ‘hear’ / sense the movement of seasonal energies through the electrical pathways of the body and to detect where in the body this stream of electromagnetically-driven metabolic energy gets jammed up causing discomfort / disease and agitated (or dulled) emotions.

This practice of remembering enables us to skillfully mediate these dynamic seasonal currents instead of being mindlessly (mindlessness is amnesia) dragged around by them and endlessly / unconsciously reacting to them.

This is clarity. It was also the original intent of ‘mindfulness’ before Western consumer culture turned it into a narrow obsession with  thoughts / feelies that are dissociated from the actuality of their causes / origins  and the processes that regulate / deregulate them.

Edited by Jeff Miller
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Anger for me presents itself in the form of 'confusion', my mind goes foggy, i can't think straight, i find myself questioning the emotion a lot as i rarely am truly angry, but when i am i often have sadness or hurt deep inside my chest that quickly follows the angry sensation.  

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I have gone through angry stages throughout my life, but usually don’t get too hyped up very often. I have noticed that those phases were when I felt overwhelmed with life, ungrounded, probably struggling with my self worth/love.

Mindfulness has helped counter all of those feelings, allowing love to flow from within...last year, I committed to be my own best friend, instead of relying on external relationships to fill any voids. What a difference that made for me!

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17 hours ago, Sammire said:

Anger for me presents itself in the form of 'confusion', my mind goes foggy, i can't think straight, i find myself questioning the emotion a lot as i rarely am truly angry, but when i am i often have sadness or hurt deep inside my chest that quickly follows the angry sensation.  

Thank you for bringing this up! I, too, notice that more often than not there is sadness or grief beneath the anger. For this reason, I often think that emotions aren't so cut and dry; we can experience an array of emotions all at once, and even those shift from moment to moment.

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16 hours ago, Amy 🌸 said:

I have gone through angry stages throughout my life, but usually don’t get too hyped up very often. I have noticed that those phases were when I felt overwhelmed with life, ungrounded, probably struggling with my self worth/love.

Mindfulness has helped counter all of those feelings, allowing love to flow from within...last year, I committed to be my own best friend, instead of relying on external relationships to fill any voids. What a difference that made for me!

I can resonate with this as well. Anger comes up for different reasons, but the times when I have experienced an undercurrent of anger have been when I feel disconnected from myself and the world around me. Out of alignment. Loving-kindness practices have been very helpful in this regard. Anger still comes up, but it is no longer an underpinning energy.

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Yes!!! That’s why when people do terrible acts, my first thought is that they feel terribly unloved. 
This is one of my favorite examples of pure love and forgiveness. While it was accidental...there is surely more behind the story that includes fear: https://www.npr.org/2019/10/03/766866875/brandt-jeans-act-of-grace-toward-his-brother-s-killer-sparks-a-debate-over-forgi

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