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The Usefulness of Anger

September 27, 2017

I have spent so much time and effort attempting to pacify the rumblings of my turbulent and furious mind. The passion swells and I stay passive in watchful curiosity. It churns and I lay aside and drown, passively accepting the undertow as my new home, until the tides change. In the name of establishing total dispassion, I ignore the great boon of a passionate spirit! The buddhist teachings to my knowledge direct the individual towards dispassion, towards ambivalence in all matters, and towards total peace with reality in exactly the form it takes. 

 

If passions are a ship on the waves, I am to be the anchor - no, the sea floor itself. I am to be a womb in which all experience can manifest equally undisturbed by my ever watchful and curios eye. As an anchor, I would be imposing a will to resist the currents at the surface, implying that they are no good for the path that I sail. But who am I to choose my own path? I am no God, I am no prophet, I cannot see past the horizon! Rarely can I gaze beyond the tip of my nose, and likely only then as far as my own navel! To chose a path and arrogantly adhere to the North Star as the only way towards fulfillment, I drift through infinitely deep waters, ignorant of the lives that await me if only I turn a wondering eye to the depths of the sea, or the great pierced blanket of sky in the 'dark night of the soul'.

 

 

 

Then again - WHO AM I TO BE AIMLESS?! Who am I to ignore the intelligence, and wisdom of the countless passionate ancestors who died just a little more informed than the generations before? If all were to be as a feather in the wind, would we not loose our collective way, and fall from high in the sky as a balding bird? Must we not adhere to the collective growth of humanity, of the planet, and come to recognize our unique individual circumstances which lead us to unique gifts and skills that can serve the collective whole?

 

Dharma (in this context) can be thought of as a personal legend (for "The Alchemist" fans), or a divine destiny, or fate, or the one I prefer the most, your Dharma is your duty, which is determined by your unique trajectory in life which no one else on the planet has in exactly the way you do.

 

SO, how can we have a dharma, a duty, and yet at the same time be totally dispassionate? Mustn't we be dutiful in purpose, if we are to follow our dharma? Isn't this a preference in itself? Is the goal of dispassion to be without preference? If we see life and the universe as one cosmic being, or at least a unified whole which cannot be called "good" or "evil" in any certain terms (because good and evil are a projection of subjective experience), then how can we ever say with truth that one course of action is desirable to another? If we cannot determine this, then why do we seek to follow our dharma? Isn't this admitting that being a dutiful person is better than not being one? Certainly I feel that certain things are better actions than others, but in the grandest perspective can they ever be? 

 

The truth is, I cannot say what the truth is. I can share that in my experience I feel an unfathomable pull towards a certain path, and every time I remember the full power of this personal truth, I light up from the inside like a million suns dying with the sadness of the eternal sacrifice of one form to the next, of life to death, and love to hate, and passion to fear.

 

There is one change that continues to surprise me. This showed up again for another very welcome reminder. Anger has been the downfall of me, and the wrecker of dreams, and the destroyer of internal and interpersonal worlds alike. Anger has turned inquisitiveness to recklessness, and recklessness to systematic self mutilation, and self flagellation to a death wish, and then a death wish to a burning passion for life, for breath, for blood pulsing voraciously through the degrading internal pathways of addiction, for clear sight, and a morning that consciousness would feel less like a punishment for some Greek Deity, and more like the reward for an act of true purity of the heart, reserved only for those of the greatest integrity and fortune. 

 

So they say about the two edges of the sword, to slay the danger, or cut oneself down... The rise of anger can be poison to its holder, or a tool of creative resilience. 

 

Pushing the anger away in the name of dispassion only seems to feed and belay its rise. Upon the welcoming in of and saddling up on anger, the course suddenly shifts towards penetrating insight, overwhelming love, sadness, and exhilaration in all ways simultaneous. It can be used to remember what should not be forgotten, and to go where no one has been. It is a fickle friend, and tricky company to keep, but perhaps to befriend your demons turns them friendly after all. 

 

More questions than answers, but writing felt like a must. I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Peace, 

Anthony

 

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