Releasing Toxic Anger

The process of releasing toxic anger is essential if we are going to find peace and forgiveness within ourselves. At times, we might resist doing so, because we somehow feel “justified” in our anger. After all, the indignity with which we believe we were treated was unfair and perhaps even inhumane.

I get it. Having been savagely raped and beaten for more than an hour by four assailants, in 1983, certainly left me feeling violated and angry for many years. But there came a time when that anger no longer served me or any other purpose.

“What is anger?” an enlightened Teacher was once asked. His poignant and powerful response was, “Anger is a punishment we inflict upon ourselves for someone else’s mistake.”

It has been said that all pain and suffering in our personal experience comes from an attachment to an expected outcome. Therefore, the path to freedom comes from letting go of those expectations, and of the cause of all suffering — our attachments.

The spiritual path doesn’t always appear to be easy. In our pursuit of holiness (wholeness), we may sometimes suffer. Our willingness to endure a little discomfort, some trials and even persecutions can aid us in detaching ourselves from the distractions of the world around us.

We learn to live, as Christ-Archetype puts it, “in the world, but not of the world”, and as the great Indian mystic, Kabir described, “going through the marketplace, but not as a customer”.

The purpose of life is to attain perfect happiness. This is why we can embrace moments of suffering, and move through them, because we know they are impermanent illusions. This is also why we must practice forgiveness, because doing so frees us from the attachment to the suffering and pain we imagine were caused by another.

My paramaguru, Sri Neem Karoli Baba taught, “Forgiveness is the greatest weapon, because a saint so armed is unperturbable… he can give up anger immediately.” When we recall that whatever is not love is fear, then we must realise that giving up anger, hurt and hostility is learning to live fearlessly!

Today, let us search our hearts to find the person or persons we most need to forgive. Forgiveness means that you are for the process of giving… you are in favour of extending the peace, the ease and compassion to another. It becomes easy when we recognise the other person as a mirror of those things within us, which need to be healed. We can be grateful for having learned the lesson, and can truly be for-giving and let go.