Is There a Place For Anger In Spirituality?

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Posted on January 27, 2020

As featured in Feather. on 1/27/2020.

Is There a Place For Anger In Spirituality?

Just as the number of people that identify as “spiritual not religious” is growing substantially, so is the notion that being spiritual means being positive all the time. Positive thoughts lead to a positive life, right? Well, not exactly.

The idea that “negative” emotions such as pain, anger, sadness, rage, shame, guilt and grief need to be suppressed or even labelled as “negative” is the opposite of being spiritual. Emotions are neither positive nor negative, they just are. They are our body’s way of translating and communicating with our conscious – they help us understand how we experience our surroundings, our interactions with others and help us understand ourselves as human and spiritual beings.

So why are we so quick to judge these emotions? Alexandra Roxo says it best “Just as our sexual selves don’t have much place to roam in this World, neither do our shadow selves.” Unfortunately, we still live in a time where our fully expressed sexual and raging selves aren’t palatable and socially acceptable. We are quickly labeled as “too much” or “crazy” by those that don’t know how to honor their own shadow. Being palatable while repressing our own depth of emotion will not lead to becoming more conscious or “woke”. Quite the opposite.

Being spiritual means honoring our shadow self and answering the call of these dark emotions when they show their heads like a serpent emerging from their hiding place. This is the good, the deep and the messy part of us - the raw and real. This is the truth and this is spiritual – accepting our light and dark, our yin and yang. We didn’t incarnate to Earth to be perfect or palatable. We came to experience life, to grow, to fail and make mistakes, to let go, to heal trauma and to have our hearts cracked wide open. We came to feel deeply and to forge authentic relationships.

Therefore, it is absolutely OK to be angry at the person that caused us trauma or it is OK to feel shame or deep-rooted pain. However, spiritual growth requires us to get to the root of these emotions, to give ourselves room to explore them, so we can heal and learn to express them in a healthy and conscious way. Healthy and conscious expression is key here. While there is a place for anger and rage in spirituality, it does not give us carte blanche to have vicious outbursts impacting and hurting others around us. We have a personal responsibility for our words, actions, intentions and the impact of those on others.

Ways to Make Your Shadow Your Friend

Do the Work and Avoid Spiritual Bypassing –

Spiritual bypassing is when you use your spiritual practice to avoid and repress emotional issues, like focusing only on the positive. Your spiritual practices should support your transformation, not replace the hard work of getting to the depth of your wounds.

Find An Outlet To Express Your Emotions -

Give your emotions space to express in a healthy way. Ugly cry, take a boxing class, go scream in a pillow until you surrender in a beautiful puddle of your own tears. I promise you; you will feel lighter.

Find A Tribe That Can Hold Space –

Find a tribe that will hold space for you when things get chaotic and ugly, that won’t shut down or shut you out and that won’t try to "fix" you. Find a tribe that will encourage you to let it out, to befriend the dark so you can get to the light.

Set Boundaries –

Honor your emotions and listen to your body. Pay attention to how people, situations and surroundings make you feel and then learn to honor those emotions by setting boundaries. It is OK to say no and sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to politely tell someone to “F*** off!”

There is no light without dark.