Reiki Precept: Do not Anger
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I think it was back in the 1960's and 70's, possibly into the early 80's, when a number of adverts were shown on TV advising us how to drive correctly and safely in order to cut down the numbers of traffic accidents and deaths. They were cartoons and sometimes depicted a well-mannered gent, maybe in his 30's, married with two kids. I don’t recall his name, but let’s call him Harry.
One cartoon would show Harry waking up and then getting ready to leave for the office where he worked. He would be all happy and smiling, obviously had a brilliant relationship with his wife and kids and, after giving them all the obligatory kiss, would cheerily wave goodbye, say a hearty good morning to his neighbour (we’ll call him Fred) and get in his car. That’s when things took a dark turn.
As soon as he got behind the wheel Harry would change. He would go all red in the face and sprout horns and become a raging monster, weaving in and out of traffic, shouting and screaming at other drivers, blasting the car horn continuously as he cut everyone up all the way to his workplace. Once he got back out of the car he was Mr. Happy Harry again, perfectly normal, polite and pleasant.
Does that sound familiar? I call it the Soap Opera Syndrome where one minute everyone is having a fab time and the next, they’re at each other’s throats. Sadly, some of us are more like Harry than we would care to admit, not just in our driving habits but also in everyday life.
Speaking from personal experience I’ve gone through several laptops over the years because of losing it when the infernal machines doesn’t do what they’re supposed to or when the Internet fails in the middle of a download or during streaming and so on. Who’s with me here because I know I’m not the only one?
Anger can feel like the only option sometimes, yet it is such a destructive force that only causes misery and pain, not only to those it’s directed at but also those who are directing the anger as it very often leads to remorse, guilt, and shame. Expressing anger towards someone rarely achieves anything good, in fact it’s usually the opposite, however that doesn’t mean nothing can be done about it. You can break that cycle, that automatic response, and replace it with another, healthier and safer option. Think of Anger as a virus in your computer program, it can be eradicated simply by scanning and cleaning the existing program with Anti-Virus software. Reiki could be viewed as such a software.
So why do we suddenly flip out for no good reason? Why do we react in such a way when we know fine rightly that it isn’t good?
Mind UK, define anger as:
“… a natural response to feeling attacked, deceived, frustrated or
treated unfairly.” (How to deal with anger, published 2016)
There may be different reasons why we get triggered and become angry, usually it’s because something doesn’t meet the expectations we’ve set and that includes those we set ourselves. One thing to always keep in mind, there is never any excuse for displaying anger because it’s a conscious choice, it’s something we have developed as an automatic response to certain situations.
Anger is a very intense emotion, and many believe it’s also linked to fear, feeling threatened, being hurt or disappointed and is linked to our ‘Fight or Flight’ mechanism which protects us in times of danger. Back in the early days of us humans we had to react quickly to danger, whether from wild beasts or other tribes, as it meant life or death. We still have those instincts within us, even though we generally don’t need them as much.
There have been literally thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of studies into anger and why we get triggered. We are humans, we have feelings, we have emotions and it is ok to express them. The only prerequisite is – keep control!
I believe Anger Triggers can be caused by various things such as past experiences, learned behaviour – i.e. we saw our parents react to certain situations with anger and we learn to do the same - and frustration caused by the inability to solve problems. We also handle anger in different ways so there’s no set expression. Some of us will use verbal or physical lashing out, others will go and sulk, still others will become bullies. Research also suggests that depression can also be an expression, or even a result of, of anger.
Unnecessary anger, flying off the handle at some silly little things of no consequence, isn’t good for your well-being or health. The same studies also agree that anger can lead to stress, high blood pressure, coronary issues, substance and alcohol abuse and more.
Not all anger is bad. Anger can be, and has been, used as a motivator. I know of many in sports or business who used their anger to motivate them to do whatever it took to become successful. Others, such as Emily Pankhurst and Martin Luther King, used their anger to bring about needed reform. So, it’s not just the anger, it’s what we do when we are angry that matters, what path we choose to take.
What to do
We’re a reactionary bunch when all is said and done. Sometimes we open our mouths before we engage our brains and then regret it afterwards. I know I have, many times. Accuse me of doing something I know I didn’t do and I would be triggered, reacting defensively in an aggressive way instead of keeping my cool. Lost several jobs and promotions because of that.
There are several suggestions which appear to help, the most common one being to take a deep breath and count to ten. That works for me on most occasions. At other times, though, it’s useful if you can take a mental step back and review the situation in a calm, objective way. Doing this automatically helps you to get back under control.
In his Shoden (Reiki level 1) training manual, Taggart King says that:
“…living your life fully engaged in the moment means existing in a state where anger and fear do not exist. All is an illusion and fear is a distraction.”
And in her book, “Self-Healing With Reiki”, Penelope Quest says:
"The next time you feel angry just pause for a moment and ask yourself “Why? What is going on? Is this a replay of something that’s happened over and over again? Are you angry at the thing you think you’re angry about – such as a partner’s insulting comment in front of your friends – or is there something deeper going on, such as general dissatisfaction with your relationship?"
By asking such like questions of yourself you dive deeper and start to uncover the real triggers, the real causes of your anger and that’s when you can start that healing process and choose Just for Today – Not to be Angry.
In my upcoming book, Embrace Your Ego (working title). I share a meditation which will help you develop both an understanding of yourself and how to unconditional forgive yourself and others which you can also use to gain more control over, or even eradicate, those Anger Triggers one by one.
Mikao Usui’s Reiki Precept ‘Do not anger’ is, therefore, not an instruction to do away with anger entirely but to keep it under control to minimize unnecessary outbursts which can be detrimental to our health and general well-being.
Sending You Love and Healing,
Jeremy R Scott
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