Tag Archives: meditation

Anger – What is It?

There is certainly a lot of anger being experienced in our world today. There is no doubt about that. We feel it, we see it’s effect playing out before us. Anger is hot, dry, forceful — sometimes it feels righteous, sometimes not. I ran across the best definition of the feeling of anger in a little book entitled What’s on My Mind by Swami Anantananda. He says, “Anger is the intense desire to change that which is.”

ANGER IS FUEL FOR ACTION

The ‘that which is’ or the ‘what is’ is whatever we perceive is going on in us and around us. Anger itself fuels our actions when we sense the ‘what is’ must be changed but the feeling itself is not a logical thought process – it is quick and hot – it takes over and impels us to action. Anger is what pushes us into the street to save a child who is running into traffic, and it is also what causes us to shout ‘boo’ at a ball game when the referee makes a call against our team – even a good call. So, anger does have degrees, and it is often tied to our self-interests.

FEAR UNDERPINS ANGER

Inherent in our awareness of ‘what is’ is another emotion – fear. It is our fear that if the ‘what is’ remains as it is there will be dire consequences: our child will be hit by a car; our team will lose the game. All of this happens in an instant, the flash of fear, the fuel of anger to change the situation or to express our dismay. I would hazard a guess that all anger is rooted in fear.

EFFECT ON BODY AND MIND

All of this is nothing but energy, powerful energy running through our bodies and our minds. And that energy has its effects on both body and mind. One of my teachers said, “Anger destroys your memory.” This struck me as odd when I first heard it, but as I contemplated my own experience I saw that it was true. When my mind is bathed in the feeling of anger I forget all that is beautiful in my life and in the world, I lose touch even with my own body, I forget to eat, I don’t sleep well, I forget important appointments.

There is a known physiological basis for this forgetting. In the body anger creates a cascade of chemistry, the chemistry of stress, in order to bias us toward an action. This is the classic Flight or Fight response, now also expanded to include Freeze. The nervous system is activated on what we call the ‘sympathetic’ side, and the following things happen: the higher executive functions of the brain literally shut down as this is not a time to think with the rational mind, the immune and reproductive systems go offline, blood flows from the core to the extremities to fuel our muscles, our blood pressure goes up, digestion stops.

Taken together this is a survival mechanism that allows us to save ourselves and others in times of real or perceived danger. The downside of this response happens when fear and anger are chronic. We lose our rational minds, our clarity, we can’t think, we have digestive problems, sleep escapes us. It takes 3 days of work by the body to metabolize the stress hormones that are created by one single such event, so constant activation leads to a backlog of work for the body and a continuation of all the downside effects. We become exhausted, depleted, and depressed.

REMEDIES THAT HELP

I am not suggesting that we all give up anger and fear. Certainly, I have not evolved enough to have done so. (Maybe next year.) But I have seen that moderation is helpful, and for me that means not watching Rachel Maddow every single night of the week, only every other night!

It means finding non-violent action I can take in the face of what I see that needs to change in my life, my country, and the world. In the weird mix of my life that includes tap dancing, marching in the streets, attending vigils, donating money to people who are otherwise defenseless and unrepresented, and praying for children and parents who have been separated from each other. It includes speaking up for the other, the stranger, the poor, in keeping with my core values. In short moderation means finding ways to use the anger to create change without harming anyone or myself.

Another remedy is simple but not easy – Apprehension. Yes, a funny word, in this case it does not mean fear, but rather capture. It means I apprehend my anger and fear when possible – I catch it. When I am able to stop and simply feel the feelings without any story about why I am feeling them there is a moment when the energy can be felt only as energy. I feel where in resides in the body, I feel its power, its rawness, and even the pain it causes. In that moment I am ‘at choice’ with respect to the feeling. I can choose how to respond, I can channel the energy into right action, or I can choose to watch it until it dissolves back into the place from which it arose.

Meditation is key for me in making a space to reconnect with inner wisdom and strength, guidance, and peace. It has shown me that everything on the outside is reflective of the inside. It allows me to take up the battle with my own inner enemies, the false notions that keep me feeling separate and alone, that haunt and traumatize me. Meditation binds up the disparate pieces of self and connects me back to source, to love, to the holy, if you will.

Breath can also be used to reactivate the other side of the nervous system – the parasympathetic. It is the simplest and quickest way to rebalance the body and mind. Breathe in to the count of 4, hold for 5, breath out to the count of 8. In just a few rounds of this type of breathing you will notice that your body and mind are more relaxed and at ease. You can change the counts if it feels that the out-breath is too long, just keep the relationship to an out-breath that is twice as long as the in-breath.

These are my remedies for managing fear and anger. You are welcome to try them. I would love to know what others you have found.

Ahhh, The Bahamas

As lovely as this is, it is NOT the Bahamas.

And it is never too late when living through the cold, damp, wet of winter to plan a trip to a more tropical clime. Mmmm, let’s go to the beach.

This beach on Paradise Island, just off Nassau in The Bahamas is a great place to reinvent yourself. Even at sunset the beach sand is warm on your feet, a soft breeze touches your cheek so gently, and the waves sing you to sleep each night.

We love coming here each year to experience the stillness of the Sivananda Ashram setting, the delicious food, deep meditation, and yoga! Joyce and Helen will be teaching Cell-Level Healing right here March 25 – 29, 2019 with an evening talk before those dates. For more information see our Events Page.

Do you feel it? 

Don’t Miss 1440

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There are 1440 minutes in every day. Now there is a place where you can focus on just how you want to spend that time to create your optimal life — 1440 Multiversity.

Joyce Hawkes and Helen Folsom are excited to be on the faculty for the Opening Season of 1440. Learn Cell-Level Healing with us at this beautiful new retreat center in California.

More information here: www.1440.org/program/cell-level-healing

 

Music and Meditation for Healing Series – April

Ground Thyself – April 18

We will explore together ways to be emotionally, mentally, and physically grounded. You may be surprised at how beneficial it can be. See a few tantalizing moments from the film The Grounded and try out some techniques and gadgets (yes, gadgets) that modern day folks can use to access earth’s remarkable energy.

Please use the Contact page to let us know that you plan to attend, or if you cannot attend but would like us to include your name or that of a loved one in the blessings of the evening.

April 18, 2015 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM
4000 Aurora Ave N, Suite 214
Seattle, WA 98103
Space is limited. Fee for this program: $20.00 at the door.

Stuff We Love and Highly Recommend*

*We don’t sell any of these products, we use them and find them beneficial. It pleases us to share them with you.

Books

Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton

Our all-time favorite meditation book, and we’ve read a bunch of them. Sally Kempton is a genius at making sense of esoteric knowledge for the rest of us. If you are looking to start or renew your meditation practice, this is the one for you. Get the book here:  Meditation for the Love of It

Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth by Tommy Rosa and Stephen Sinatra

We know these two authors personally and know this story will move you deeply, and give you invaluable information for life and health. Plus you find out how a plumber and a cardiologist became best friends. Get the book here: Health Revelations

Surviving Trauma School Earth by Brent Baum

Yes, we know Brent as well, and his work is brilliant. Learn to release the effects of memories that still get you, that are held deeply in the mindbody, and cause life-long suffering. Get the book here: Surviving Trauma School Earth

 Earthing by Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, and Martin Zucker

Learn the remarkable effect of being physically grounded. Mother earth is a natural repository of health giving negative ions. We love this book and use Earthing products everyday. Buy it from Amazon here: Earthing

Tibetan Sound Healing: Seven Guided Practices to Clear Obstacles, Cultivate Positive Qualities, and Uncover Your Inherent Wisdom by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

Practice the Five Warrior syllables and become the hero of your own journey. An easy read, but don’t be fooled, this guy is telling the truth of how to find your own inner storehouse of joy, love, compassion, and equanimity. Comes with an audio CD. Buy it from Amazon here: Tibetan Sound Healing

Gadgets 

Get control of that bundle of keys. Go from a jangly mess to neat and easy with KeySmart. Buy it here: KeySmartmessykeys Go from this . . .

KeySamrtOpen To this!

KeySmartClosedNo more noisy keys.

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Ground Thyself —  find the stuff you need to stay connected to earth’s energy field here. Sleep grounded, walk grounded, join the grounded! More info here.

Music and Meditation for Healing Series – February

Music and Meditation for Healing – Journey by Drum

Done! Deeply moving afternoon of drumming, chanting, and meditating. Each participant was gifted with a feather to use for the ancient practice of clearing.

Please join Joyce and Helen for a evening of sacred music and deep meditation for your own journey or for the sake of a loved one. This month we will drum and play native flute for you to support your walk into the mystery of your own being, and teach you to clear yourself an using an ancient feather technique.

Please use the Contact page to let us know that you plan to attend, or if you cannot attend but would like us to include your name or that of a loved one in the blessings of the evening.

February 21, 2015 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM
4000 Aurora Ave N, Suite 214
Seattle, WA 98103
Space is limited. Fee for this program: $20.00 at the door.

Music and Meditation for Healing Series

Music and Meditation for Healing – January

The room was packed and we had a lovely time. Many thanks to our participants and to those who attended from afar. We chanted, let our inner singer out, and of course we saw images of cells to help guide us to the hidden landscapes of the body. M is for Meditation! Mmmmmm

Please join Joyce and Helen for a evening of sacred music and deep meditation for your own journey or for the sake of a loved one. We plan to make this a regular event throughout the year.

Please use the Contact page to let us know that you plan to attend, or if you cannot attend but would like us to include your name or that of a loved one in the blessings of the evening.

January 17, 2015 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM
4000 Aurora Ave N, Suite 214
Seattle, WA 98103
Space is limited. Fee for this program: $20.00 at the door.