When you practice fire the right way

 

When you practise fire the right way, it helps to reduce or stop the wildfires. They will still come but are not as bad as the wildfires we are seeing. If you burn the right way you will also get the next generations of food, habitat and trees. Fires are a critical part of koala country.

– from Our ancestors managed fire country for millennia. We yearn to burn once more by Oliver Costello in The Guardian

And so also with our own fire, the fire in our own life. When we practice fire consciously, the wildfires are less strong and they do less damage.

This can be the fire of anger. Of the warrior. Of the beast. Of passion. It takes many forms. And when we practice this fire consciously, when we align with it, when we allow it consciously, the wildfires may still come but they are not as bad.

These days, I am exploring anger. I connect with it in my system. Feel and get to know the energy. Notice how connecting with it gives me strength, focus, and determination. Rarely does it take the form of anger. Instead, it fuels and supports my activities in a very beautiful way.

Connecting with the anger intentionally and consciously in this way allows the fire to burn without burning down or damaging anything, and if or when the wildfires come, they are less strong and damaging.

What happens when we practice fire? It helps us get to know the energies. We become familiar with them. We learn how to make use of them in a more conscious and supporting way. We – metaphorically – burn up a lot of the flammable material so the wildfires have less fuel.

Warrior and CFS

 

This is something I am in the middle of exploring so my insights around it are not so clear right now. (Of course, it’s a pitfall to assume that our understanding about anything in life is ever very clear!)

There is definitely a biological component to CFS (Epstein-Barr infection prior to onset of CFS etc.) but that may not be the whole picture.

I have long suspected there is a connection between suppressed warrior archetype / energy and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), at least in my case. Part of this suppressed warrior archetype is suppressed anger. And it has been suppressed because of adopted family and cultural norms and patterns, and more specifically through people-pleasing and sacrificing my own needs and passions in order to please others.

When I am intentionally in contact with my inner warrior and anger, I feel stronger, more solid, more authentic, more real, more grounded, and I have more energy. I seem to be able to do more without crashing.

I should say that the energy behind anger is, in itself, a more neutral energy. It can be expressed in many ways, including as determination, focus, and authenticity. It doesn’t have to be expressed in what most people think of as anger, although that can be appropriate as well. And if it’s expressed as anger, then the more we are free from beliefs and emotional hangups around anger, the more we can express it in a healthy and constructive way.

I should also mention that several people (senior Vortex Healers and teachers) have said that I seem to have had several lives as a warrior and that the trauma from these lives is still with me. It seems that this has especially surfaced the last few years in order to find healing. I don’t know, but I can easily see myself as having had several warrior lives in the past. And some of the trauma I have explored in myself definitely fits war trauma. Whether it’s literally true or not, the image definitely highlights something in me that needs attention.

In German New Medicine, they see feeling off track as connected with CFS. That also fits my experience. When I first got CFS, I was fifteen and felt lost and off track in life. The CFS symptoms subsided in my 20s and 30s, perhaps because I felt on track and had a strong sense of purpose in life. After several years in a marriage where I felt I couldn’t be myself I similarly felt off track and the CFS returned, and this time stronger.

Why did I feel off track? A major reason was people-pleasing and that I set aside – and didn’t embody or make use of – the warrior archetype in my life. If I had, I would have made very different choices and I would – very likely – have felt much more solid, authentic, and on track in life.

Of course, I don’t know if this had anything to do with the onset of CFS, or the maintenance of it, or what role it will play in healing from it. But I will certainly continue to explore it and do my best to bring the warrior back into my life.

What does the warrior archetype mean to me? It means being more real, authentic, honest, determined, passionate, and being a good steward of my life and – as best I can – the world. It means to stand up for myself as needed, and for others and the world. It means to use the energy behind anger and channel into all of this – authenticity, realness, honesty, determination, passion, and anything else.

How do I work with it? I can easily access the energy of the warrior and just being in contact with it – and use it for daily life activities – helps a lot. I am also actively working on any issues holding me back from living more from the warrior, and this mostly means fears and beliefs that it’s dangerous. (Which it is but that’s OK, that’s part of the game.)

In terms of approaches, work with it using inquiry, dialog, and Vortex Healing (especially choice points has been helpful) and so on.

Why do I say “the energy behind the anger”? Because what’s experienced and expressed as anger is something else before it takes that particular form. It comes from a more neutral and primal energy. And this energy can be channeled in different directions. It can be suppressed. It can be expressed as healthy or unhealthy anger. It can be expressed as clarity, determination, authenticity, honesty, groundedness, fearlessness (not allowing fear to stop me), and action.

Why do I chose to work on it? Because it can’t hurt. At least, it can give me a better quality of life. And it may even free up resources in my body so it can more easily heal itself.

If there is a connection between the warrior archetype of CFS, what may it be? It may be that suppressing the warrior (through people pleasing etc.) somehow sets up the system to be more susceptible for CFS. For many, a mononucleosis infection (Epstein-Barr) lasts a few days, is over, and has no long-term consequence. For some, it precedes CFS. The difference may be a combination of genetics, personality / emotional issues, ongoing and acute stress, and perhaps more. And in the personality / emotional issues category, we may find suppressing the warrior and anger. Who knows. At the very least, it’s worth exploring and see what happens when I free the warrior. (As I did in my late teens and twenties when my health was much better even though I still had CFS.)

Updates a few days later…..

Family background. I thought I would add a few words about how this pattern was created in my life. My father is a warrior by nature and has used that energy in his work and life outside of the family. But in the family, he suppresses his anger, emotions, and warrior. His motto is: Don’t speak up about anything. Don’t rock the boat. And especially when it comes to my mother. I was distressed by this dynamic even as a very little child and spoke up about it, but was told – as I was in many other situations – to be quiet and pretend nothing is going on. I adopted this pattern, by necessity, and unfortunately learned to not speak up, not stand up for myself, and instead be a people-pleaser. (Enneagram nine.)

The regrets I have in my life come from times when I didn’t speak up and didn’t stand up for myself when I needed to and it was appropriate. In other words, I learned to hide my inner warrior. I learned to hide my warrior nature. And – as mentioned above – this may be connected with the CFS. At the very least, going out of this pattern and standing up for myself more regularly will help me a lot in my life and improve my quality of life. And, who knows, maybe it even will help bring me back to a more robust health.

Spiritual dark nights and warrior. When I went to Nepal and India in my twenties, I wished for some kind of spiritual transformation. Instead, what I got was learning to stand up for myself. And that is a spiritual transformation. It’s part of embodiment.

When I occasionally mention the dark night I have been going through for a few years, most people think the transformation has to do with learning about or discovering interconnectedness, compassion, empathy, living for the larger whole, and so on. But for me, it’s the reverse. I did all of that in my teens, twenties and thirties. What I didn’t learn was to stand up for myself consistently and when it was needed in life. (Of course, I need to deepen in the oneness side too, but for now, what seems more important is to learn to take care of my human life with more consistency.)

The dark night obviously has had to do with healing old traumas and emotional issues, and seeing and questioning remaining identities and beliefs. But a big part of it is exactly this: learning to stand up for myself. Learning to be a good steward of my own life. Learning to take care of the individual side of the individual vs. collective/oneness side of the equation.

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Fear expressed as anger

 
I have mentioned this as an aside in other posts. Fear can take the form of anger. Or, rather, one response to fear is anger. And for some, anger can be a habitual response to fear. Conversely, we can say that behind anger, is – most likely – fear. It’s good to keep this in mind when we do any kind of exploration of anger or fear. If there is anger, is there fear behind or within it? If there is fear, does it sometimes take the form of anger? Also, anger can take different forms besides what we, in our society, usually think of as anger. It can take the form of frustration. Blame. Harsh judgments (of self and others). Reactivity. Defense. And much more. And all of it may trace back to fear. And fear can take a great number of forms besides anger and obvious fear. To me, it seems that a reaction to fear is behind most stressful experiences and dynamics, including going into beliefs and identifications. Our reaction to fear tends to create a wide range of different stressful experiences. As always, these are questions. Starting points for exploration. Whatever we find is what we find, whether it fits our expectations or what’s suggested in pointers or not. Note: I should mention that when we find the fear behind anger, identifications, etc. it often feels quite vulnerable, and as a confession. A hidden secret that we finally admit to. The anger, identifications, or whatever it may be often serve as a protection against facing this fear. So it can be helpful to explore and befriend the fear of meeting the fear. Read More

Behind anger is fear, behind fear is caring, and behind caring is love

 

This is something that becomes clearer over time, especially through exploring specific issues through inquiry.

Behind anger, sadness, and compulsions is fear. Behind fear is caring. And behind that caring is love.

Said more succinctly:

Behind identifications (beliefs, velcro) is fear, and behind that fear is caring and love.

The pitfall in saying to so simply and succinctly is that the mind thinks it gets it and that such a superficial and intellectual understanding is sufficient. The benefit is that it can serve as a question to explore, and a guide when we work on ourselves and clients.

A few more details:

Identifications (holding a thought as true) is what creates stressful experiences such as struggle with anger, sadness, and compulsions. (Anger, sadness etc. can also just be here without any struggle.)

Fear is what holds identifications in place. It may be what created the identification in the first place, and it’s often what comes up when the mind considers not having that identification.

Behind fear is a deep caring. A caring for oneself and others. And caring is just another word for love.

When we see the behind all this is love, there is less of a struggle with it. And less struggle means a bit more space around it, which helps soften and release the identifications in and relating to it.

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Jeff Foster: The Beauty in Your Anger

 

When you’re feeling angry, just feel angry.

Don’t try to ‘not feel angry’; you’ll only split yourself in two,
and end up attacking, or repressing, in your quest for relief.

Don’t think about feeling angry, then.
Just feel angry.
Be present with the raw, fiery, burning sensations
in the belly, chest, throat, head.
Invite loving attention deep into the volcanic heart of anger.
Let the sensations tingle, pulsate, vibrate, flutter.
Breathe into them, soften around them.
Dignify their existence.

Drop the word ‘anger’ now; simply connect with what’s alive.
Be the room for the fiery sensations, their loving embrace.
Know that these sensations aren’t a mistake;
you’re not doing anything wrong.
Anger is not ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ or ‘unspiritual’,
or a sign of your weakness.

You are alive. And you have a right to ALL your feelings.
You need not act on them, and please don’t push them down.
But simply stand with anger; be its loving parent, not its victim.
Breathe into it, let it move. It will not stay long.
It comes to cleanse, not to destroy.
It comes to remind you of your tremendous power.

So be kind to your anger;
It is only trying
to protect you from harm.

– Jeff Foster

Anger, passion

 

I had a lot of anger come up this morning, fueled by some stories about a past situation.

My habitual pattern is to push it away. There are fearful stories about anger, and an identity that doesn’t include it.

Later on, after holding satsang with these fearful stories, and for a while with this anger, something shifted.

The anger revealed itself as – or turned into – passion, engagement and energy.

When anger is met with respect, understanding and love, is uncontained, is asked what it’s deepest desire is, is invited to look at what it really is, it’s revealed as a passion, engagement and energy. And a desire for clarity and truth.

With this passion, how is it to uncontain this too? Is it true it is contained? Is it true it can be contained by this image of it and its boundaries?

The qualities of hate

 

A new study published in PLoS One today reveals that hatred isn’t the blind, irrational emotion it might seem. In fact, hate activates the brain regions associated with higher reason and the ability to predict what other people will do.
Source: i09

Hate isn’t the same as anger, but may be close enough for what I’ll explore – briefly – here.

(When I look at it for myself, it seems that hate is just a particularly persistent and strong form of anger, one that is fueled and maintained by stories taken very much as true, and that the essence of it is anger.)

Academic psychology is still in its infancy, and is still exploring the basics, which is good. In many cases, research helps confirm and refine common perceptions, and it sometimes also come up with quite counter intuitive results – which is even more helpful.

In this case, the general findings seem quite close to how we – or at least I – experience anger.

It clears out the cobwebs. Brings clarity. Focus. Single pointed attention if needed. Energy. And a “get things done” impulse.

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