Dear anger, how can I work with you through sound?
Updated: Jan 26, 2020
I would've hoped that my first blog post on here was a bit cheerier! but this is something that has been coming up for me recently and it became the very push I needed to write this blog. I wanted to find a positive outlet for anger. I have noticed that in some cases, anger has become steeped in shame and avoidance. I feel it's been incredibly misunderstood.
I want to be clear in that I do not have all the answers on this subject of course. However, anger is an emotion that I am quite accustomed to in my life and I would like to share with you some insights I have received to shed some light over this seemingly dark subject.
The difference between anger & aggression
Firstly, there is a clear distinction from what I can see between anger and aggression. Anger is a warning sign an inner guidance in letting you know that a behaviour or circumstance has triggered a memory which has reignited an old wound. It may also be letting us know that a boundary has been crossed. Or it can be a mixture of the two. Aggression on the other hand, is often anger that has been bottled up so tightly that it's only way out is to explode! Anger is a warning and aggression is an explosion.
It has been suggested to me many times, which ties in with our boundaries being crossed, that underneath my anger is a power. Not a greedy or controlling kind of power but a power that propels us forwards into standing strong in our own energy and wisdom.
I've contemplated this many times, and I've come to the recognition that when anger isn't acknowledged in the moment. If we decide to ignore it and stuff it down we can later find ourselves under the influence of aggression. We can become spiteful, argumentative or even wanting to lash out physically harming ourselves or others.
Aggression and anger to me are two very different emotions. So what could we with do with anger? how can we work with it within our practise?
My first feeling is to allow it to be there when it comes up. I know, this is not easy! it's a practise all in itself. Giving ourselves permission to feel anger can be tricky in the moment especially if it has arisen quickly. If it has arisen too quickly and has stepped into the realm of aggression. Don't beat yourself up, give yourself understanding. "I missed it this time, but I am aware and thats an important step"
When you find a time that you become aware of the anger arising, I invite you to watch it. Close your eyes and watch it. What is it saying? what does it look like? if it had a voice what would it say? Often, I get as far as watching it and it disappears. Sometimes, all anger needs is to be acknowledged and witnessed and it can simply float away. On occasions, I converse with it and realise the anger was simply letting me know that a boundary has been crossed and I need to calmly speak up and re-assert myself. On others, its a high intensity and all I can do is focus on my breathe to reduce its power, this is when I have been triggered by a memory or a behaviour pattern from my past. This can still be worked with it just needs a little space and breath.
It's not in my experience a negative emotion that needs to be banished, hidden and ignored. Stuffing anger down only invites it to come back stronger & is more likely to lead into aggression which is a trickier emotion to work with due to its unpredictable nature once it's released.
How we can work with anger during a sound bath
Within the sound baths I conduct - I notice that anger is quite a common emotion that comes up for my participants. It can be external noise, separate from the sound bath, like somebody snoring or wriggling around that causes irritation to others, leading to anger. Or, it can be one of the sounds/instruments themselves that can trigger a fiery response. Thats why sound baths are a useful tool to practise the above techniques. It's unlikely we would walk out of a sound bath or be able to find things to distract ourselves with. So, we are invited to work with it, in the moment that it arises in a safe and supportive container. It's not an emotion to feel ashamed of. It's an important energy to harness. If anger comes up in a sound bath regardless of what caused it. It's an opportunity to watch the anger and see how it moves and find out what it wants to share with us. It has arisen for a reason and we can take this opportunity to be with it.
When we have gained insight into what our anger is telling us and more importantly, we've come to a point of accepting that it is part of us! we can start to become more creative with it and use it as a tool for our lives. Anger is associated with the element of fire and fire burns, but it also transmutes. For example transmuting anger into something useful like writing this blog :0) channelling it into a sport or activity or allowing it to provide us with the energy we need to get something done. It has many benefits once understood. Needless to say, I don't manage it well all the time but I am doing my best and I give myself permission to feel it fully when the circumstances allow it.
Brought to you with love and blessings from my anger xxx