Meditation and Anger
Perhaps those two words ‘mindful’ and ‘swearing’ are not ones you expect to see in the same sentence.
But I’m realistic in my approach to meditation. I’ve been practising it for 30 years and teaching it for 20+ and the one thing I know, is that learning meditation doesn’t make me less angry. It makes me less reactive and there is a huge difference.
One of the reasons people might struggle with trying or continuing to practice meditation is the idea they aren’t doing it right if they feel angry or anything other than a deep sense of peace.
They believe that by practising meditation their days will be free of all adversity or challenges. And when that doesn’t happen, they can feel like a failure or a fraud.
Yes…as a meditation teacher, I can feel long periods of peace and my days are (usually) consistently joyful and happy. But there are days when it is difficult and a struggle.
Teen struggle and anger
My regular meditation practice helps me with that.
It helps me through the days when it’s a struggle and invites me to look at my younger self (the teenage part of me) with much more compassion. That teenage self where I would suppress my anger with self harming behaviours or occasionally explode (and feel fearful) of the rage I felt about life. As teen I was very much in the reactive mode. No-one seemed to be offering me an alternative, so I struggled on.
Then my mum introduced me to meditation.
Now, my regular meditation practice helps with many aspects of me that felt shame, guilt, unhappiness – all the things I had harnessed through a traumatic childhood.
If you are familiar with the ACES (adverse childhood experiences) reasearch then I was definitely a candidate for that. But as a child and young person I didn’t realise this – it was in my young adulthood…my meditation practice literally saved my life and helped me develop skills so I can now express difficult and strong feelings in a way that are not harmful to me (or others) AND allow me to access those happy, joyful days that I now feel.
‘We must help our kids manage anger’
This is why I’m so passionate about teaching people mindful and meditation skills (for adults, teens and kids) so that they have the tools to help them navigate life and realise and accept the whole, beautiful, loving, selfish, happy, sad, angry, joyful person they are. There are many parts to us and if we pretend we can only have the positive ones, then the negative parts get a whole lot bigger through time.
I teach this consistently in our Connected Kids programme, especially if adults are new to meditation or they have practised thinking that this means they will never feel frustration or anger at their kids ever again. This is simply not true.
What meditation teaches all of us...is to own our stuff (not project), set boundaries with love and compassion (for ourselves as well as others) and love ourselves with deep compassion – including all the mistakes we are going to make. And we will make a lot of mistakes as parents, carers and anyone else who has kids.
Meditation teaches me to mindfully swear. To let it all out. Not to target it at someone who has annoyed me but to be fully in the moment with the anger, sadness and frustration I feel. To feel, express and own it. To acknowledge that I am allowed to feel what I am feeling and to let it all out.
When I do this, I own my power. Not power over others – but simply accepting my power to choose in each and every moment.
Tsunami of swears
After the storm of mindful swearing (and this week it felt like a tsunami!) it gave me the ability to express how I felt in a powerful but non-projecting and non-blaming way. My tirade of swearing took place as I had walked the dogs on my own. When my son was in bed, my husband held my hand as I let it all out.
Later, I was able to talk my son through my experience of frustration and anger.
I made sure he knew I loved him.
I clearly communicated to him that it was about behaviour, not people.
I helped him see that our family can feel what they feel but respect for each other is of paramount importance. We don’t take our shit out on anyone. We own it, express it and let it go. And if we still need to express the why and what… we do that with clarity, love and power.
Every time we teach people to own their stuff on our programme, we witness some who struggle with doing this. As a result their kids are affected (even though they love them deeply) and that’s why we spend a lot of time teaching our students how to open their hearts to themselves, clearing through the crap in there and allowing their powerful light to shine for the kids they teach – whether their own or others.
Teaching meditation isn’t a check box exercise. We don’t pretend that our lives aren’t affected by tragedy, struggles or strong emotions like anger.
It’s about living, loving and surrendering to the infinite energy of the heart and allowing this to influence our choices; how we lead our kids and teens to a mindful place through words, activities and ideas that connect to their essence.
When our young people learn to connect to this, then every choice they make for their future self, will be filled with compassion, love, power and acceptance.
Even if that includes a moment of mindful swearing.
I don’t think I could wish anything more for my son. Could you?
Connected Kids programme for professionals or parents/carers