From the archives October 22, 2005
Anger is Love. The work with spiritual and emotional intelligence has developed this perspective in my life. It has allowed me to check in underneath the anger for the other emotions that exist there. Quite often, it includes sadness, much in the way that we would feel and express sadness for the tragedies we see occurring around the world.
I have learnt that anger has not served me well and it is not that anger is not useful. I absolutely agree that anger is useful. The problem with the force of anger is that it closed the ears and hearts of those I truly desired to see respond with change and justice.
Now, when I catch myself (I’m still human), I can pause and look beneath the anger and discover the pain I’m experiencing in relation to the issue. Accessing this deeper emotion the saddened and angered love is able to express itself with a message that has an emotional energy that can be received (most of the time) with enormous impact and allows me to nurture change in the other or in me. This isn’t always possible, it isn’t always easy, it is not always immediate, but the impact is there.
Where change is desired in the behaviour of others, love and loving communication have far more power than anger and this can easily be seen by the virtue of the fact that many of the historical transgressions were often operating from a place of anger and mistrust.
Recently, here in Canada, a big issue came up around faith-based arbitration. This is a support to the legal system where individuals within a religious faith can settle disputes outside of the courts within the context and support system of their religion. Now something like this might cause many of us to cringe and even so, we must allow for those who are comfortable with their beliefs and what works for them.
If you google faith-based arbitration you can research the issue more fully if you want to know more. My assignment, from a multi-cultural paper that I write for, was to write a piece on this issue asking the question is there room in our system for such a structure.
The other thing I’ve come to observe is that when we see such travesties, we know the answer, the desirable behaviour, the justice required, and so on. Again, these are value judgements and I’m not saying they are wrong but in the context of another’s culture and belief system the opposite can be true. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, change is still required and disputes usually take longer to solve conflict than love. A good case in point is the impact Gandhi had in effecting change for India during his life.
Now I am nowhere near the level of Gandhi but I certainly strive for that sense of peace, love, and understanding. Oh, see? I missed the other important quality that helped him endure the process of change: Patience. A farmer plants the seed, nurtures the crop, waits patiently, deals with many external forces that cannot be changed with complete acceptance, and harvests the crop. Some years, crops are destroyed by pests, vermin, or weather and the crop is replanted the following year.
I desire a better world, more peace, less starvation, more equality, personal responsibility, etc. and the ideal, while desirable, is quite an unlikely possibility. This is not to say that greater measures of success cannot be experienced, there will be improvements. What I’m simply suggesting is that humankind will always display elements of our dark side. Getting better at dealing with the roots of the problems though will most likely allow us to reduce the frequency and severity of behaviours undesirable in society.