My last several blogs have dealt with some of the issues facing us in our country today, some of the issues that were and still are subjects of debate in the U.S. As we saw during the election process, these issues can heighten our emotions, most particularly the level of our anger.
This is why I was especially struck by an article on anger that I recently read by Russ Hudson, one of the authors of a book on the Enneagram that I especially like (The Wisdom of the Enneagram). In the article Hudson talks about the gifts in anger, saying it can give us courage to do things we've been afraid to do and that it can connect us with a sense of righteousness (as in our concern for justice). Further, Hudson says, "Most people are also quite surprised to discover that, when we are present with anger, it lasts only a few seconds—perhaps the duration of two or three breaths. It is our denial and suppression of anger that causes it to stay in us for much longer periods of time—ricocheting around in our nervous system until we are ready to finally feel it."
Isn't that interesting? He also adds, "For some of us, it remains as a simmering resentment and negativity; for others, it leaves us with a quick temper; for still others, it is so suppressed that it lives in our tissues, slowly poisoning our bodies with repressed, unresolved energies." And to that he adds, "The long-term effects of avoiding anger are every bit as corrosive as acting it out."
That said, he cautions us on how we express our anger. "There is a world of difference between being present with the energy of anger in our body and letting that anger provoke us to destructive behaviors," he says.
Are you surprised by his words? There is so much to learn about anger—how we can be present to it and how we express it. Perhaps another time we can talk about the gifts in anger, since most of us don't think of anything positive about our anger.