Whenever I get angry at someone or some situation, there isn't anyone or anything that is taking those formless invisible angry thoughts and putting them into my head. Instead, those angry thoughts
are being created solely and entirely within me, and by me. Just like no one or nothing else operates the function of my breathing, my digestion, my heart pumping, my white blood cells fighting off disease... all of that is happening within me, being created
and managed entirely by the human system that is me, Jonelle, and only me.
And what's really crazy (and actually quite miraculous), is that I have next to no conscious control of any of this stuff happening. It just happens. I somehow
remember to breathe, I somehow turn food into energy, I somehow allow my heart to beat, and I somehow allow a 24/7 continual stream of up and down thought to appear in my head, including sometimes thoughts of anger, fear, and hatred.
interesting thing is that anger, fear, and hatred never makes me feel good.
My shoulders get tense, my digestive system starts rebelling, and my head begins to throb. I also lose most of my connection to clarity and common sense, and so
I become readily reactive to many things that, when in a better state of mind, would not make sense to react to in such an aggressive, defensive, righteous, or taking-toll-on-my-own-body way.
My anger puts blinders on me, so that I can
only see everything through the filter of anger. I proactively look for evidence to justify, defend, and reason for my anger, and I readily question, dismiss, and righteously disbelieve, anything that contradicts my anger. Living in the angry feeling of my
angry thinking literally makes me sick and causes me to suffer, so that I swallow up the unfairnesses and injustices of the world, and allow it to consume me.
And so tragically, with this tight hold, desperately hanging on to my angry
thoughts and feelings, I become within, the very thing that I want to stop happening in the world outside of me. I unknowingly and innocently become a reflection of the angry world I see through my anger-focused lenses, completely missing whatever else is
going on in that moment outside of my limited myopic angry view. There's a whole other world going on out there and I literally cannot see it.
But here's the truth of it all. Even though I have angry thoughts appearing in my head, which
just appear all by themselves with no conscious effort by me, and cause all the angry feelings reverberating throughout my body, I do have this other miraculous little thing called consciousness or awareness. It's this "thing" that allows me to both live in
and experience my life full out, with all the incredible range of feelings generated from the incredible range of my thinking AND it also somehow and frequently allows me to separate myself from my thinking and my felt experience.
kind of like I have the ability to be in the audience watching what's playing out on the stage of my life experience. Sometimes I get totally lost in the feeling of the story as if I'm actually in it, feeling all the feelings as if they are real, and then
I have moments where I can observe the play with a bit of distance and objectivity. I can notice what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, what's happening and how I'm reacting to it. I can reflect on events and behaviours of the past. I can imagine events and behaviours
of the future. I can even notice what's going on in this very moment for myself, both feeling the experience of wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, and separately noticing it, observing it, or thinking about it.
It can often be great
fun to get consumed in the felt experience of the comedy-drama-horror-romance play of my life. But thank God, how nice is it that I can occasionally pop out of that automatic felt experience, and get some perspective so that I can reflect on how any particular
chronic repetitive or habitual thinking I'm having is serving me or is possibly making me sick? I can notice what's happening within me, and in moments of clarity, potentially make some choice on what to do about it.
Now the other truth
is that I am human. And because of that, my human system is mostly operating on its own, including my thinking-feeling system. I innocently react to (and in many ways innocently create) everything in my experience of myself and the world around me, and will
continue to do so for the rest of my life. I will sometimes get loving, hopeful, kind, compassionate, fun, or joyful thoughts that will create wonderful feelings within me. And, as part of the inevitable human experience, I will sometimes get angry, frustrated,
envious, righteous, impatient, fearful, or judgmental thoughts that will create painful feelings within me.
But, with every moment when it may occur to me in that always potentially available space of reflective distance from my experience,
my in-the-moment conscious awareness, as my husband often says, I can ask myself, "Does it serve me to hang on to this painful thinking, or does it serve me to let it go". And ultimately, when I serve myself in letting it go, I in turn serve the world in a
much more effective, positive, and proactive way. Miraculously, I get access back to my broader common sense on what to do next, without adding to all the confusion in the world, with all of my own temporary periods of limited, painful, angry thinking and
As Sydney Banks once said, "Concentrate on yourself. - - - Whatever you are, is all you can give away. That’s very simple. You open your wallet you have a dollar: That’s all you can give away. You open your
mind and it’s full of anger, hate and distrust, sadness: That’s all you can give away. But if your mind’s full of love, that’s what you can give."
I'm not always going to be able to be in a feeling state of love,
but with just a little bit of conscious awareness of my thinking-feeling-consciousness system and how it works, I can spend a little less time suffering in the feeling of my angry thinking, and a little bit more time with my common sense! And, by the way,
every other person on this planet can do that as well!