In a group dialogue I listened to a secondhand viewpoint on anger from someone who had attended a workshop. This view was that anger could be focused in a way that wasn’t from a source of ego, yet simply to cut through it (ego).
Reflecting, I had memories of reading this message in Rinpoches dharma teachings and witnessing this skillfully in action, by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, and experiencing it unskillfully from another teacher.
The person sharing in our current group seems to attracted to this topic and that it was relevant to her in the general topic we had been asked to discuss. This filled me with curiosity on how to marry these two together.
Coming back, what about anger? I shared above how one person used skillful means in the process of cutting through the anger with no ego and one who had not achieved this skill, yet thought they had. I believe the difference in these two experiences is that one person had the skills of empathetic listening (of themselves and for others) and one did not. The second person carried an authority of knowing something and was not interested in others perspectives. My experiences was their only interest was being their teacher. Both these teachers had their own journey of experiencing and learning therefore, in my opinion, neither were right or wrong. It was simply them!
What is the key to healthy anger? The hint in the last paragraph – empathetic listening! My perspective is that developing the ability to listen to your anger and go through it’s protective layer to what is alive underneath will release the current charge or grip of it.
The beauty of it is this experience is can become a new skill to resolve anger issues of the past and for new issues. You may even begin to recognize that you are NOT triggered by the same old events.
Another key lesson is soon as you are honest with yourself and accept your anger without judgement it becomes the basic skill for hearing anger in others with deepened empathy!
I understand anger as being an emotion to notice some action needs to be taken. Anger, therefore in this sense, is the protective use of force. An example could be a child crossing the street. It is anger that will increase adrenalin and provide the force to get there in time and out of harms way!
I wonder if skillful use of anger without ego then is anger without being attached to an outcome and therefore it is spontaneous (not a result of old issues and aggression. A flash in the frying pan action, if you will, that will release the tension of the moment and result in a healthier outcome when combined with the right techniques to process and move forward with mutuality of all sides!