Enlightening the Passions – Day 3 (Powerless Anger)

Today was challenging – yes indeed.
Maybe because I took another close look at “powerless anger” (ohnmächtige Wut), and maybe also because a major triggering event recurred today in my relationship. Maybe also because I experienced strong waves of (unfulfilled) desire, and maybe because all of this came on strong together.
What’s clear is that the stories around these challenging waves are basically legitimate, and that this very legitimacy in turn fuels the feelings. When I feel that, for instance, my anger is righteous or just (that it is right to want to do away with the cause), than that is not very helpful in supporting me to embrace the feeling but rather it pushes me to do something about the cause and thereby ‘resolve’ the feeling. The conviction that my feeling is “right” or appropriate or justified exaggerates and escalates me “doing something about it” rather than “being with it”. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not in keeping with what I’ve decided to find out: “Are feelings soul-food; do they enliven my being-flow with life if embraced unconditionally?”

Obviously there’s a a distinction to be made here. As much as it is legitimate to want to change the situation that triggers the feeling, attempting to change the situation being fueled by the very feeling that was ignited by the situation – for instance anger – is most probably counter-productive. And if, sticking to the example of anger here, if I’m doing something out of or with anger than I will most likely awaken or fuel the anger of the person(s) within this situation, and thereby I will indeed change it, but it will be a change to the worse.
Reaction breeds counter-reaction in an escalating cycle in which all participants tend to loose; and even if one wins in the short run, one will loose in the long run, because the looser will want to somehow ‘even the score’.
So if we take the anger kindled by a socially unjust situation to propel us into action, this will be a reaction and most likely cause nothing but trouble and no lasting or sutainable, positive change. However, this is not an article of faith but a hypothesis that seems to be true on the more individual social level, within my personal relationships, for instance.

It was utterly clear a couple of times today, that reaction – which for human beings seems to be always fueled by ‘unenlightened feelings’ – has recognizable consequences: loss of consciousness, loss of happiness or satisfaction, loss of a sense of roundness with oneself and the environment.
This is obvious, and I guess I’ve known it all along – and to know this is almost a commonplace in the culture I live in – but it is one thing to know this, another thing to reflect on it, and still much of another thing actually experiencing it within the flow of ones sense of aliveness (which feels spacious, dynamic, ‘full of air’, deep, bubbling, beautiful etc.). To react is to loose clarity, energy, aliveness – to respond keeps me connected with the life-flow of the situation. And real responses seem to be called forth from this mysterious what-shall-we-call-it…

So in my mornings contemplation, guess what?, my mind and heart and belly meandered around powerless anger; I saw that this feeling is like a partial paralysis that stops me as soon as anger lashes out; the anger is paralyzed the moment it appears. I could also say it’s an automatic and immediate attempt to smother and suffocate it.
In these meanderings some scenes from my youth appeared – suggesting that in certain situations where I had to stop my anger this proved to be the most adequate manner. But I didn’t dwell on this as my experiment is not about finding out the stories that go with or even justify my feelings (and very plausibly so, psychotherapy is full of this); rather my experiment is about embracing feelings, it is about being with the feelings that are part of my melody unconditionally.

Exploring powerless anger this way I noticed that, like with the feeling I explored yesterday, it also is taking my breath away. The suffocation is to be taken as much more than a figure of speech.
Then the question appeared, “Do my feelings stay if I breathe deeper when being with them?” So I breathed with it, allowing, inviting the feeling to flourish, to dance its dance inside me and sigh and breathe deeply. And far from disappearing the powerless anger felt “rich”, more rounded, as if it started flowing… for a while it was even beautiful. As if the breathing with it enabled me to feel it more compassionately; it gives a more encompassing meaning to the statement, “I embrace my powerless anger.”

And during the day, especially around midday wave upon wave of desire washed over me. This seems to suggest that I wasn’t involved in it; actually the desire and my thoughts formed, at times, a escalating system in which “I” participated by not allowing it to simply be. Desire was burning inside me wanting to move me into action strongly, almost irresistibly – again, almost. There is my resolution to keep within the confines of the experiment, and there is the wish to just give in; a flip-flop back and forth, a most tiresome experience.
So I wanted, and also escaped into all kinds of alleviating entertainments – looking up my friends blogs, playing around with new plugins, reading news, cleaning my desktop, etc. – I wanted, and at times managed to drift away into some daydreaming; I wanted, and even got quite some work done of what I needed to do. And then some 2, 3 hours later the desiring disappeared and I went into ordinary mode again; feeling slightly wounded, sighing, delving into my work again more lightly, feeling fine, enjoying it – the ordinary wavicles of emotion that are in the background of everything that goes on…

And now I’m a bit tired, and I want to – and will – watch Dr. House do his nasty healing work…

Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

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