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Drop the hot coal in your hand - Releasing Anger and Regulating Emotions
Forgiveness for Self
When someone does something to us, we often think "I have every right to feel angry, because that person did this."
Of course you do, but then who's suffering? The person has gone away, they did what they did.
Every time your mind sinks into the anger, you're re-traumatizing yourself mentally and physically.
The Buddha described it like holding a hot coal in your hand. You just hold it and it burns you. But if you put the coal down, you won’t be burned. Forgiveness is you dropping that burden. Most suffering is in the mind!
What is very important is to look at the anger itself, rather than the thing or the person we're angry with or about. Looking at the anger itself through meditation is where you take away the story. I’m angry because he did this or she did that. And you meditate on the feeling in your mind. Which is often physical as well. You feel a kind of rage and a burning inside or coldness inside you. And when you meditate on that. Through focusing on it without trying to tell stories about it, without trying to push it away, but you just feel it as it is. It will start to transform and start to dismantle, start to melt, start to move, and that’s how you find freedom within the anger. This practice can take time to cultivate, but is extremely effective when mastered.
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System
A relatively quick and easy way to emotionally regulate is through breathwork (pranayama). The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the body's "fight-or-flight" responses and the parasympathetic nervous system stimulates the body's "rest and digest" responses - heart rate, rate of respiration and pupillary response among others. Just as your breath quickens when you are excited, if you consciously slow your breath it calms your nervous system, going back to "rest and digest".
Breathwork / Pranayama
Mindfulness or a meditation practice to bring one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment can begin with simple breathwork. Find a quiet comfortable place sitting or lying down. Then breathe in to a count of 6 and out for a count of 8. The actual time really does not matter, but you want the exhale to be a little longer than the inhale. Eventually you won't need to count, but it helps to keep your mind focused. If your mind does wander to good or bad thoughts, simply acknowledge and let them pass like a cloud. Yogis will often repeat 12 times using the thumb to count the three sections on the four other fingers of the hand.