“Oh really? Well you’re a selfish dirtbag!”
Don’t you hate it when someone says something that makes you mad, and then you just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, when you know full well that it’s going to go wrong?
Call it Anger Management 101.
Usually things get out of hand when you speak from a place of anger.
I know this all too well, for I have a fiery temper, and I truly wish I had a nickel for every time I let my temper get the best of me and said something I later wished I could take back.
Life is full of aggravating people and situations. One of the best ways to learn self mastery is to control your temper. Also, in most situations, speaking out of anger is an error — it will not advance your interests. Nine times out of ten, the one who wins in an argument or confrontation is the one who stays calm. If losing your temper does seem to be to your advantage, it is only at great cost to your relationships, and in the end, that will not do. So being able to hold your temper is a great power.
Meditation is the most effective thing I have ever done to help me control my temper.
I want to share three techniques with you that will help you hold your tongue when you’re mad. These techniques are presented in order of difficulty, so don’t worry if you can’t manage them all right now.
Technique #1: Build up the power of your breath.
Spend five or ten minutes each day breathing deeply, rhythmically, and slowly through your heart, as we do in Heart Rhythm Meditation. (If you can, feel your heartbeat and breathe in time with that, for example, 8 beats inhalation, and 8 beats exhalation.)
Once you feel comfortable with this (it would be good to spend a week or two just forming the habit), then work to deepen your breathing. We want to get to a full breath, one that is using far more of your vital capacity than you normally do.
As you develop the power of your breath, you will naturally gain control over your temper, as your self control advances. (An excellent way to really learn the basics of Heart Rhythm Meditation is to take our 8-week online course 101.)
As your breath develops, you will find you can draw upon your breath to help you in all sorts of situations, including when your temper is rising, and even in the very moment when you’re about to let loose a verbal tirade.
Technique #2: Transform your anger with the Water Breath.
Once you have developed the power of your breath through a steady practice of deep, rhythmic, heart-centered breathing, you’ll find your breath is a powerful tool that can be used to help you stay in your heart in many situations.
When you find yourself listening to someone and your temperature is rising, our you feel yourself getting upset for any reason, use the Water Breath: breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, as you might do when you deeply sigh. You don’t have to do it in a way that is obvious, just shift the pattern of your breath. In so doing, you’ll become aware of how you’re breathing as well as changing it. (We teach the Water Breath in great detail in our course 102: The Four Elements, for which course 101 is required.)
Just doing the Water Breath will bring relief. If you have the mental space in the moment, consider the qualities of water: flexibility, persistence, grace, abundance, generosity, love. Water is soft; let it soften your temper. Water is often cooling; let it cool your brow. Water sinks; let it relax your shoulders and slow your pulse.
Technique #3: Transform your anger with the Fire Breath.
There are times when the Water Breath is not the best way of working with your anger. Sometimes anger is called for. Certain things in this world should not be meekly accepted, they should be changed, and for that you will need the energy that manifests itself in your temper.
Yet it is the hasty, ill-considered stroke that goes awry. You must have some control over yourself to use your temper for the greater good. Otherwise you just blow up and feel bad about it, accomplishing nothing.
So this technique works with your anger, not against it as the Water Breath did. Now you will employ the Fire Breath. This technique is more advanced because it requires more faith in the Fire Breath, which comes with practice and familiarity. (We also teach the Fire Breath in great detail in course 102, then return to it in course 104: Healing Your Heart.)
The Fire Breath is breathing in through your mouth and out through the nose. As you shift your breathing pattern, you become aware of how you were breathing. Deepen your breath, and feel that your breath comes into your body through your solar plexus, and rises to the center of your chest, radiating outward as you exhale.
Going with your anger means you focus on it, as though your anger were a flame that you are turning into a blaze with your breath. Make it burn brighter, brighter still, and as the fire of your emotion burns, let it purify. Make it about something bigger than just this situation, bigger than your own feelings, your own identity, your own story. Make it as big as the Universe, letting the fire of anger become so hot, so bright, and so pure, that it becomes Truth.
Truth is much bigger than your own point of view, bigger than your own short fuse, your own hurt feelings. Truth embraces every point of view at once. When you’re coming from this place, you have the energy to do more than just hit back. You have the energy to feel what would be best for all in the situation, and act on it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts — please write a comment below and tell me how these techniques work for you.
yours in the One Heart,