Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Anger Management
TM: May I ask about anger and its role in our lives and relationships? Will you begin with offering a definition of anger?
Master Buddha: What may seem obvious to most everyone is that anger is a reaction to not getting what you want when you want it or in the way you want it. It can be your fault, or it can be someone else’s fault. The second reflex of anger is retribution or evening the score to recover what you didn’t get plus a bonus for having suffered the agony of anger and inconvenience. There is also anger once removed, meaning on behalf of an injustice done to another for which you have a connection or affinity. The reflex of retribution is the same.
TM: I have a difficult time knowing when to express anger, that is, when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t. Sometimes I wonder whether or not anger is necessary or not, even though it seems to arise as an involuntary reaction.
Master Buddha: Let’s start with the involuntary reaction part of your statement and then move to the rest. Anger is a natural human emotion just like love, sadness, grief, joy, happiness, bliss, disappointment and others in the spectrum. They arise spontaneously as a reaction to what is happening in your life. This as a general statement is true for every human on earth. Then how do we account for the differences in reactions among people? Why do some people react violently to the slightest provocation and others almost not at all to severe events?
Humans share in common an emotional body that works in concert with your physical and mental bodies. There is an influence based upon one’s past life history—what must be experienced this lifetime? There is group connection—what must be worked out for this group of beings? There is the influence of parents, family and community that impacts one’s emotional body and conditions its reactions. Beyond these local influences, there is responsibility from humanity’s role on Earth.
The confluence of these many factors produce differences in reactions from one being to another.
As a social concern, there must be a range of acceptable reactions and for that humans have erected laws to regulate behavior. Within those laws one will find instances that permit retribution resulting in death of the offending party that passes as justifiable because of the provocation of anger and the acceptance that that person is not liable for such reactions, or as is in some cultures, entitled to the justice of the extreme reaction. Other cultures don’t condone anger reactions to that extent, but make some allowance for it that support the concept of it being involuntary if acted out spontaneously. There are also social customs below the threshold of laws that regulate behavior.
To answer your question of whether or not anger is necessary, we must ask to what purpose is it necessary.
TM: Some people I’ve spoken to about this usually say that expressing anger is natural and involuntary and that it releases the energy from you and that’s a good and natural thing, then you move on. Their assertion is that anger is within the constellation of natural human emotions as you just said and that we eventually evolve to the point that we can freely express anger without killing one another, but express we shall just like any other emotion.
Master Buddha: Would you say that as a rule, expression of anger has the potential to be more destructive in its effects than the expression of joy or sadness?
TM: In some cases yes. But maybe that’s because people overreact to some things due to repression of anger until they explode disproportionately.
Master Buddha: That’s possible, but let’s go back to your question to what purpose it serves and so is it necessary. If our definition of anger described the circumstances of anger, then let’s answer what is anger energetically? What purpose does the delivery of that energy serve?
Anger, energetically speaking springs from the desire nature, which in turn reflects human survival needs, and desires beyond the necessities of life. Anger is the defender of those personal and group needs and desires. If they are threatened, then anger arises to defend. Energetically, it is linked to desire and it does not discriminate between basic needs and frivolous wants without the help of the mental body. Anger at its root level, just is the defender that can be, when combined with mental energy, an impetus to aggression.
TM: In the desire nature and its list of wants, do you include things like dignity and respect?
Master Buddha: Yes, of course. That is a matter of ego interpretation of necessities that we have covered elsewhere.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that anger derives its force and origin from its role as defender within the human realm of physical, emotional and mental.
TM: From that are you implying that anger doesn’t exist in other realms, such as spiritual?
Master Buddha: I say emphatically that anger does not exist in the spiritual realm because there is no need that goes unfulfilled.
TM: What about the whole Lucifer rebellion? That sounds like some needs unfulfilled.
Master Buddha: That was a matter of pride and desire, not of anger. It was a calculated, creative execution of a perceived right of domain. It failed.
TM: So spirits in the universe weren’t angry with Lucifer and his minions for disrupting and corrupting everything? I mean it seems like a major conflict and you’re saying there was no anger involved and I find that hard to believe.
Master Buddha: What can I say other than what I know to be true? There was disappointment in the whole affair, but not anger or retribution associated with anger. There were consequences that were accepted with responsibility by all involved.
TM: Okay. Please go back to your line of thought.
Master Buddha: Anger finds its origin in the human realm. Given that, we can look for its necessity there. Its purpose is to defend. But is that necessary?
TM: I think I know where you’re going. You’re going to argue that our desires aren’t necessary, neither is defense of them; so, anger isn’t necessary.
Master Buddha: That would be a difficult argument wouldn’t it? Many people would disagree that desires are unnecessary. What about basic survival needs? Don’t those need defending? Can’t anger be necessary for that?
TM: Yes, I suppose so. But couldn’t they be defended without anger? Why is anger necessary to arouse defense?
Master Buddha: Because it is. This is where humanity is right now. As the human race evolves closer and closer to its spiritual nature there will be a diminishment and eventually a disappearance of anger as the impetus for defense. Over time there has been and will continue to be this gradual receding of anger.
TM: I’m surprised. I never would have guessed that the official ‘Master’ position is that acting out anger is okey-dokey.
Master Buddha: Well, we have to cover this a bit more to qualify that position. I think what you’ll discover is that our understanding of human nature encompasses a realistic perspective of long term evolution of human characteristics and traits. The expression and use of anger as a defense mechanism is one. There are others.
TM: I think I need some elaboration on this, because it goes against what I believe.
Master Buddha: And you believe?
TM: Anger is a natural emotion arising from our attachment to what we desire and feel entitled to have. I don’t believe it’s necessary, but we are conditioned to express it, violently sometimes, and to accept it and actually be entertained by it. I believe there are ways to express anger without being harmful to others and that seeking revenge and retribution create more attachment to the experience. I agree this is an evolutionary process, but surely we at the point where we can see that anger isn’t necessary so that we can explore other ways of providing for our survival.
Master Buddha: Does it make you angry that others can’t see this point and share your belief?
TM: A little.
Master Buddha: This is one of those conundrums for which we can’t assert what should be based upon what we’d like it to be—it just is what it is. And at this point in human evolution there is a substantial number among the world population that experience anger differently from the belief you have stated and it’s going to take some time for the weight to shift. In the meantime there is progress toward peaceful solutions among people who have recognized, if nothing else, that peaceful solutions grant more security to the protection of needs and wants than it does by using anger and retribution. It’s a start. You don’t make the shift by being angry or judgmental towards those who still regard anger, violence, war, or force as the natural solution to feeling threatened. It is the natural solution for those grounded in the materiality of humanity, and that is the majority population of the world.
It will change over time through the enduring examples by those who have mastered peaceful solutions to threatening situations. It will happen. Patience is required.
TM: It always requires patience doesn’t it?
Master Buddha: Patience and a non-judgmental perspective.
© TM 2015