Bringing Light to Rage

Treat your rage as a powerful guide, and it will surely bring gifts of insight and self-awareness!

Recognizing and honoring our rage is an important part of our journey to wholeness. Although abiding with our rage and deep hurt is never easy, the rewards are great. By not working through our rage, it can wreak havoc in our lives.

In my own live, particularly my early years of marriage, rage and anger needed to be brought to the surface and exposed to the light. My anger seemed to be triggered by very small things- usually because I felt rejected or abandoned. However, while I was experience these intense emotions, I did not recognize my true feelings. It took several years of acknowledging and expressing my feelings of hurt and rejection to achieve balance on this issue in my marriage.

Not always, but often, what is behind our rage is hurt and sadness. By recognizing our hurt, first to ourselves and then others, our rage often becomes assuaged. When we don’t shine a light on our rage, it can consume us. We can burn up ourselves and others with the intensity of this emotion. Most uf us know people who walk around always anger and defensive. Although our rage can be a useful tool in fighting injustice and oppression, if it becomes a chronic state of being, we are emotionally limited and at risk of wounding the people we love.

Rage can be our teacher- looking at our anger tells us a lot about ourselves. In her book Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes “We can come very close to reconstructing the wounds of childhood by closely inspecting what adults lose their tempers over.” What a gift rage can be! An opportunity to heal old wounds awaits us every time we hold steady and bring the light of consciousness to these intense emotions.

One of the most powerful ways I have found to work through rage is to acknowledge when we feel angry, and put ourselves on “hold”. Here, we don’t do anything, but be with the anger. Breathe in and say to yourself, “I know I am feeling angry right now”. Breathe out and say, “I can take care of my anger.” After you have focused on your breathing for a few minutes, the next step is to ask yourself “What else am I feeling? Is there something else going on here?” Observe what arises. Anger by Thich Nhat Hahn is a wonderful resource for those who want to better understand this powerful emotion.