The Best Way to Handle Anger

Posted on June 29, 2012

Dusk on the River

I’ve seen a lot of clients recently wanting to find more positive ways to deal with their anger.

In my recent Reiki I class we discussed the Reiki precepts. The first one is: “Do not bear anger, for anger is illusion.”

This precept reminds me of a story by Pema Chödrön, “Dusk on the River,” and offers an interesting perspective on anger.

A man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk.

He’s in a small boat. And suddenly he sees another boat coming down the river towards him.

It seems so nice that someone else is enjoying the river on a nice summer evening.

Then he suddenly realizes the boat is coming towards him faster and faster.

He begins to get angry and upset and shouts, “Hey, hey! Watch out! For heaven’s sake, turn aside. Don’t hit me!”

But the boat just comes faster and faster, right towards him. By this time he is standing in the boat, screaming and shaking his fists.
Then the boat smashes right into him.

He sees that it’s an empty boat.

The great thing about this story is that it offers many different meanings. How does this story resonate with you?

Try This

I read somewhere that the Japanese have a saying: “When there is an earthquake, go into the bamboo forest.”

Bamboo has long roots, so a bamboo forest is very stable. In our own lives when we experience anger, the more grounded or stable we are, the easier it is to wait and observe until the high emotion has passed before we try to deal with it.

That’s one of the things I love about Reiki and reflexology: whether you’re dealing with anger, anxiety, or basically any emotion that runs around in your head, both are wonderful at helping to ground you, making you feel secure and centered.

Next time you start to feel angry, investigate it. Anger is just energy; think of it as an opportunity to see what lies underneath.

For example, maybe someone isn’t acting the way you want them to, or maybe they’re acting in a way you don’t allow yourself to act. Or maybe getting angry is a defense mechanism, a way to protect yourself. Often the person you’re most angry with is yourself.

The precept above isn’t saying don’t get angry, but rather don’t hold on to it or suppress it. Instead of keeping it, notice it,  feel it, and then let it go. Otherwise, you carry it and research suggests anger can contribute to many illnesses.

Your Next Session

Let me know if you want to focus on ways to deal with anger and release it in your next session. I can also teach you one-minute self-hypnosis strategies to help you deal with anger in the moment. If this resonates, book a session today.

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