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Lost in Tulgey Wood

"I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge." J.R.R. Tolkein

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Location: Canton, Ohio, United States

The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure --Mikhail Baryshnikov

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Anger

Lately, I've been thinking about anger. Just like you, Alice, I give myself very good advice but I have difficulty following it. Anger can be as delicious as a pile of hush puppies but just as disasterous to your soul as hush puppies are to your diet. Self Discipline is in order here.

If you only knew, Alice, how closely Rage is to me at all times. I'm not exactly sure why he is such a close companion. Perhaps it is sleep deprivation, maybe it's the pressure I'm under to keep everything afloat. Maybe I'm just being tested. But I like having him close by, I do. I fear him most, you know. I can count on one hand the number of times I've given in to him and let him course through my veins like electricity. And when that has happened I have felt less like a human and more like a beast.

So, when I resist rage, I feel almost like a monk under sacred vows of silence. I can feel Rage burning; he shows me images of the possibilities of the kind of damage I could do if I just picked up a hammer. I get a preview of the rush of bloodlust I would feel. But I stop. I don't speak. I continue to go through the motions of what I am doing, even if I am not accomplishing anything. Eventually, I calm myself with other images and words. Maybe this Psalm: "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer."

This calm reverberates through me. I am given over to rote movements; someone else is in charge. A calm nurse of the soul takes over and bathes my spirit and I am helpless but to comply. Eventually, I am able to stand under my own power again and begin to move through life, navigating my own path. But there he ever stands by the side of the road, leaning on a split rail fence, chewing on a strand of hay, asking, "Don't you hate it when people cut you off in conversation..." I put my index finger to my lips and draw it down across them, silencing myself.

I have a feeling that my resistance is holy somehow. I feel holy afterwards. My mind becomes focused on the mundane in front of me. My concentration is sharp. My task feels like a duty to God. Maybe I am a monk. Maybe I'm missing the point. Is the passionate life worth more than the placid life? Is it better to be able to have a knock-down, drag-out fight and release that angst into someone else or into the universe? Is a spirit bath from a soul nurse enough? Will I get cancer if I don't release my rage?

It used to be a very rare occaision when I felt angry. I think I was too young to notice. Now I notice and have the presence of mind to have an opinion on things that happen in life and am able to discern down to the atom the degree of fairness or rightness or unfairness or wrongness of an act. What should I do with this information? To rage or not to rage, that is the question.

I think I know the answers, Alice. I prefer feeling like a monk than a monster. I also prefer the company of monks than monsters. At this point, I don't care if I get cancer. The hangover and fallout from rage are too costly. I prefer to remain self-contained. I prefer to hand myself over to the angels until I'm ready to resume. I don't want to say things I might regret, do things that are undoable. Perhaps I am by-passing the chipotle-hot peppers in the buffet of life.

Some believe that we must choose our battles in life. I ask you: should we ever do battle?

1 Comments:

Blogger Big Orange said...

Meow, that was a tasty one! Whoo! Whatcha put IN this blog-cake, toots? I'm gonna have to come back for another slice later in the day when I'm not fresh outta bed...

Should we EVER do battle? There are times and places for everything, especially in Western culture, I'm coming to find. Hell, even the Dali Lama has times when he's pissed, so anger is human. RAGE, however, I'm becoming of the opinion, is more Western... In any event, there are times when I think it IS appropriate to bite someone in the ass, especially if you normally ARE placid and have a monkish calm-- makes people realize how damned SERIOUS you are. Also, I think if you DON'T rage from time to time in our culture, you're in danger of not being taken seriously.

But lemmie stress "from time to time", the problem is that our society is an extremely angry one, we're full of Berzerkers who fly off the proverbial handle at the smallest lil' provocation (people shooting somoene else for pathetically trite reasons, like an arguement over a basketball game). THAT is most definitely worth moving away from, absolutely.

You're right, though, I think to avoid anger and rage requires a monk-like focus and attention: always filtering your emotions and scanning 100' ahead of you emotionally for potholes and avoiding them vs. blindly walking about.

6:51 AM  

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