It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Be the Light

There’s so much going on around us these days. Does it feel like we’re almost in this surreal experience? An out-of-body experience? I can only imagine what it’s like for those who are feeling all of this anger and sadness about what’s going on. As with most of us, it’s been a challenge for me to know the best way to navigate this time but there’s something I’m super clear on…


Anger Comes from Sadness

I learned from one of my teachers that anger is a deeper version of sadness, and that rage is a deeper version of anger… which is also sadness. I experienced a lot of anger and even rage as I was going through the last parts of my marriage, which  actually seems really small compared to what's going on today, but I think it can help us understand a little. 

I really learned that this anger and rage I was feeling was telling me something. It was revealing how sad I was. So if you’re feeling a deep sadness or you’re in a place of rage and anger and you’re super triggered… ask yourself, “Why am I sad?” Don’t simply live with anger and rage. Question yourself, “Why am I sad?”

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Triggers: Acting Out or Acting In

Most of us have at one time or another been ‘triggered.’ A trigger is an event, situation or interaction with a person or group of people that activates the fight, flight or freeze stress response. A trigger is usually related to a past event, interaction or situation that was very painful or traumatic

One of the eventual results of practicing Inner Bonding is that, over time, we develop a strong loving adult self – capable of being aware of when we are triggered, rather than acting unconsciously in response to a trigger. Our consciousness of when we are triggered gives us the choice to act in rather than act out.

 

Acting Out

When we act out in response to a trigger, we do what we naturally do when the stress response is activated: we get angry, blaming, agitated, impatient, annoyed or irritated, or we shut down, withdraw, numb out, go away or disassociate. These are the natural actions of the wounded self during a threat to survival.

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Let’s talk about loss

Let’s talk about loss. I would say the majority of the planet right now is experiencing loss in a variety of different ways, right? Loss of their independence, loss of their jobs, loss of their connection to their families or their friends, loss of their ability to be out in the world, loss of their identity because they’re not working – so now they don’t know who they are, loss of relationships – many people have been challenged to maintain relationships during this time, loss of even some of people’s beliefs – like their faith …  loss all over the place.

If we dig in just a little bit more, I would say that we’re grieving. We’re grieving the losses.

So, we’ve experienced the loss. We felt the loss and now people are having grief, right?

You’re experiencing the grief from the loss and grief shows up in a lot of different ways for different people.

One of those ways is anger. One of those ways is shutting down or disconnecting. One of those ways is to deny it or ignore it or pretend that it doesn’t exist. And, eventually, we come around to acceptance and oftentimes come back full circle into a place of appreciation. But that isn’t always like in a week or in a month even – sometimes it’s in a decade.  I don’t think there has to be a right and wrong amount of time for that process to happen.  But it is important for those things to happen.

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The Truth About Anger and Hatred

To be angry and hateful is to suffer. It doesn’t help anyone to get angry. Anger hurts whoever is angry. It burns. Anger ruins relationships, causes heartache and regret, and devastates health. And yet, in spite of all of these facts, when we are angry it feels right. Somehow, in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing its heated feelings that he or she is right even though, in the eyes of reality, nothing could be further from the truth. 

How can something so wrong seem so right? Feelings of anger and hatred feel like they’re in your best interest because, at the time of their intrusion into your life, they temporarily fill you with a powerful false sense of self born out of fierce but lying feelings that can only exist without your conscious consent or awareness of it being there. This negative-self’s interests are not in your best interest. This conjured-up temporary identity is nothing but a self-of-suffering.

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Stay Out of the Places That Steal Your Happiness

It is important to understand what it means to be in the wrong place. The right place isn't just where your body is sitting. Have you ever been in the right place physically, paid a lot of money to go there, and then sat there resenting the fact that there was pulp in your orange juice? You can be in the most exquisite spot in the world and at the same time be inwardly in the most exquisite fear, worry, or pain, despite what you have put together for yourself. When we're in the wrong place inwardly, it simply doesn't matter where we are outwardly. 

What is it that must take place in our life so that we can begin the process of recognizing the simple truth of that idea? The most beautiful truths, are the simplest ones. Our problem is that we just don't know when we're in the wrong place. We can be in the wrong place even while thinking we're in the right place. 

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Racism and White Privilege: The Hard Look

It’s hard to look unflinchingly at the full extent of racism in the U.S.; it’s ugly, brutal, inhuman. The knee on the neck that chokes the breath out of a living person, the lynching rope that has choked the life out of generations of African Americans. White people have looked away, not wanting to see that cold-blooded brutality or the systemic racism built into American institutions created by white men and slave-owners. Black people don’t have that choice, that privilege; they face racist reality full-force every second of their lives. Parents have to instruct their children how to behave when they encounter a police officer (“hands up”). The adults carry fear in their hearts just living an ordinary life because they know they could be killed no matter what they do or don’t do (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor). Black lives have never mattered in the history of this country; the inability or refusal to see that is white privilege. This is the harsh reality of racism in America.

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4 Keys to Dealing With Your Anger

“What you don’t feel and express in a conscious and healthy way will inevitably end up coming out and expressing in unhealthy ways.”

Many times in our culture, we are ashamed of our anger. We run away from our anger and suppress it. But that only leads to energy building up inside, and whatever you suppress will get expressed later in toxic ways. Listen to this episode to learn 4 keys to dealing with your anger, letting go of the past and reclaiming your power.

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What comes up for you when you hear the word anger? What do you imagine?
  • What is your relationship with anger in your life?
  • How often do you allow yourself to feel your anger?
  • Is there some part of you that doesn’t want to let go of the anger?
  • How do you process your anger?

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • The key reasons we learn to disconnect from our anger.
  • The dangers of suppressing your feelings.
  • How anger can be a coping mechanism and the way to overcome it. 
  • How to get closure, regardless of your past. 
  • The surprising reasons you may have trouble getting over your anger and how to address them.
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Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You

Have you ever seen rage in yourself? Generally, we don't want to see certain states within us because we've been conditioned to think of them as being morally "wrong" for us. We don't understand that these dark states are part of an interior world that can be changed when the light of awareness is shined upon them.
 

What happens when we see things about ourselves that we don't want to see?

In order to avoid looking at itself, the mind will seize on the rage it has seen, and it will try to explain it. It will take the initial darkness, the negative energy, and because it seems to be basically out of control, the mind will try to make of it something that it can deal with. When we live from a nature that does not want to see its "self," then there's no chance that this level of self, this nature, can ever change. When we hide from ourselves the way we feel, the only thing that we're accomplishing is the assurance that these feelings will return again... only more of them! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: we condemn and doom ourselves by being afraid of the darkness in us. We have one thing to do with our own states, and that is to see them as they are, to catch the part of us that's afraid of being what we've just seen, and to stop trying to hide anything anymore... because we're on this earth to learn.

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What To Do When People Are Hurtful Towards You

It's never pleasant when people in your life, whether they are family or friends, people you love, or maybe just an acquaintance are spiteful towards you. Maybe they attack you, they gossip about you, they're hurtful towards you and no mater what it is, it's painful. 

It's painful and natural as human beings to want to get revenge to pay them back, to show them, to prove to them, to crush them.

But realize, when someone does something negative to you, when someone trespasses against you, to simply return the same energy is to simply bring yourself down to that level and nothing ever gets truly resolved by going down to that level. 

Not only do you pull yourself down to that level, you keep yourself stuck. 
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An Appropriate Response: Living from an Awake Heart

Much of our suffering comes from reacting to stressful situations with fear or aggression, rather than responding with wisdom and care. This talk explores the pathway of shifting from reacting to responding: this includes learning to pause, awakening the wings of mindfulness and kindness, and reconnecting with our deepest intention.

From Buddhist teachings…

The thought manifests the word;
The word manifests the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
habit hardens into character;
and character into destiny.

So watch your thoughts with care,
And let them spring forth from love
Born out of compassion for all beings.

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Beware Anger

Have you been wronged?

The Practice:
Beware anger.

Why?

Anger is tricky.

On the one hand, anger – feeling annoyed, irritated, resentful, fed up, mad, outraged, or enraged – alerts us to real threats, real injuries, and real wrongs that need correcting, and it energizes and fuels us to do something about them. In my family growing up, my parents had a monopoly on anger. So, I suppressed my own, along with a lot of other feelings, and it’s been a long journey to reclaim my interior, including anger, and be able to feel it fully and (hopefully) express it skillfully.

Whether in personal relationships or in the halls of power, people in positions of authority or privilege often tell others that they don’t deserve to be angry, they shouldn’t get so worked up, it’s their own fault, etc. when in fact they have every reason and right in the world to be angry. It is certainly important to know in your heart what is actually happening, how bad it is, what the causes are, and what to do – and decide for yourself how much you want to get or stay angry.

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How does righteousness cut us off from truth?

When I start to get angry, I see my predicament and how I’m getting caught in expectations and righteousness. Learning to give up anger has been a continuous process.

When Maharaj-ji told me to love everyone and tell the truth, he also said, “Give up anger, and I’ll help you with it.” Maharaj-ji offered me a bargain: “You must polish the mirror free of anger to see God. If you give up a little anger each day, I will help you.” This seemed to be a deal that was more than fair. I readily accepted. And he’s been true to his end of the bargain. I found that his love helped to free me from my righteousness. Ultimately I would rather be free and in love than be right.

If you feel a sense of social responsibility, first of all keep working on yourself. Being peaceful yourself is the first step if you want to live in a peaceful universe.

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How To Deal With Your Anger

Anger.

Just the word itself can sometimes feel scary.

In our culture we tend to shy away from it. Often from a young age we are taught to suppress our authentic anger. We are told that it is not OK, it’s not appropriate, it’s not spiritual.

So we learn to disconnect and suppress our anger in order to be loved, and accepted by those around us.

The problem is, what you don’t feel and express in conscious healthy ways will inevitably end up coming out and expressing in unhealthy ways.

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Part 1: Awakening through Anger – The U-Turn to Freedom

Anger is naturally triggered when we feel an obstacle to meeting our needs. How do we honor the intelligence within anger, but not get hijacked into emotional reactivity that creates suffering in our individual and collective lives? This talk explores the U-turn that enables us to offer a healing attention to the feelings and unmet needs under anger. Once present with our inner life, we are able to respond to those around us with wisdom, empathy and true strength. (a favorite from the archives)

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain

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Dealing With Disappointment When You Feel You Give So Much

When you feel as though you have given so much to those around you, and you feel that it hasn’t been reciprocated in return, it can feel unfair.

Perhaps you feel disappointed, hurt or betrayed.

You can let it close your heart, shut you down and make you bitter.

But remember this:

You cannot cheat the universe.

Everything you give and every action of loving you have taken is seen by the universe. It is seen even if no one sees it.

When you give, it may not come back to you from the people that you gave to but rest assured it will come back to you, even if from a most unexpected source.

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One of My Favorite Healing Techniques-Processes

Have you ever heard of the Write and Burn process? You may have heard of Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” ritual, that invites you to journal stream of consciousness thoughts for ten minutes each morning. It’s a great way to get the funk and the junk out of your subconscious so you are more capable of being creative, intentional and free. Write and Burn, is similar, but different. It invites you to get honest with the feelings that don’t feel good … so honest that you are willing to move them out of your head and heart and onto paper. It is an extremely powerful process that I have been doing for years. I find it so helpful that I suggest it to about 90% of my clients at one time or another.

Writing to heal is scientifically proven. I knew I always felt better after I had written in my journal, especially the painful yucky stuff, but I didn’t know there was “real” science that backed up what I felt. Not until I read an article about James W. Pennebaker, a psychology professor. He became deeply interested in the physical and mental benefits of what he called self-disclosure and created an experiment to test out his theory. He gathered a group of students who were asked to write about their own traumatic experiences for 20 minutes, on three consecutive days. Serving as a control group were an equal number of students asked to write about unimportant matters.

The results showed that there was a marked difference between the two groups in terms of the impact of the writing exercise. In those who had written of trivial matters, there was no change either in their physical or mental health. In contrast, those who had written about traumatic experiences and painful memories showed a marked strengthening of their immune system, decreased visits to the doctor and significant increases in psychological well-being. These findings were measured using physiological markers, behavioral markers and self-reporting. In another study in the 1990s of people with AIDS, those who wrote about their diagnosis and how it had affected their lives experienced a beneficial increase in white blood counts and a drop in their viral loads.

I found that fascinating … and it made sense as to why I always feel better after a writing and burning session. Writing and burning is not meant to take the place of regular daily journaling, gratitude lists or dreams and desires. It really is just for the YUCK stuff. I often refer to it as hate mail … that never gets sent … which is a VERY good thing. Writing and burning is for the pain and anger and resentment and jealousy. It’s for all those feelings of insecurity that hold you back in ways that you may just be discovering. It’s a safe time and place to write all your pain, your problems, your challenges and yes, even your hates. Once a day or once a week … whenever you have emotions that you want to release from your mind and body in a healthy way. It is so much better to write it out than yelling and screaming, stuffing the body with food and alcohol, letting the critical voice take over or simply ignoring and denying the feelings. Writing and Burning allow you a place to get honest with yourself and your pain. A place for you to allow yourself complete freedom to write whatever you want. No one else but you will ever see it, so you can swear and curse if you feel the need and write down everything that you feel about the person or the situation that is affecting you.

Wanna try it yourself? Take some time right now. Give it a shot … What do you have to lose?

 

Write & Burn Journal

 


Steps to Writing & Burning

1. Get yourself a journal (check out my latest creation) or just a plain notebook you feel comfortable tearing the pages out of. Find a quiet spot where you are free from distractions. Turn your cell phone off. Get away from your computer. This is your time to RELEASE AND HEAL.


2. You may want to begin with a statement,
 intention or prayer asking to help you in clearing any negative emotions you have within your mind, body or spirit. Is there someone in your life (alive or deceased) that you have negative feelings toward? It could be an ex-lover, parent, spouse or colleague – anybody that conjures up negative feelings. Perhaps it is an experience that you need to let go of to move forward in your life. Whatever it is, bring it to mind as you make this statement of release.

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When the News Makes Us Miserable: Remembering a Fuller Presence and Larger Truth

People ask me regularly about how spiritual practice can guide us in responding to the state of our society. They tell me that while the teachings of compassion are alive and helpful in other parts of their lives, they seem out of reach when they read the headlines each day. In a recent e-mail from one of our DC community Spiritual Friends groups, members asked:

  • How do we stay compassionate when it feels like so much harm is being caused to vulnerable people?
  • Isn’t acceptance a kind of complacency? Isn’t “letting go” like condoning?
  • How do we call on meditation practice when we’ve become fearful, angry and disheartened at the hatefulness and viciousness that is so evident in our society?


I’ve had many waves of anger, fear and aversion in reaction to the harm being perpetrated in our society. In my own practice, it helps to keep starting right where I am, not judging my own reactions, thinking “I shouldn’t feel this.” Rather than trying to let go of these feelings, I often reflect that “this belongs,” it’s the inner weather of the moment. Then I can feel the fear or aversion with acceptance and kindness.

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Anger: Responding, Not Reacting

Anger is natural, intelligent and necessary for surviving and flourishing. Yet when we are hooked by anger, it causes great personal and collective suffering. This talk explores how to transform patterns of reactivity by bringing a mindful and compassionate attention to the unmet needs that underlie angry reactivity. When we learn how to pause and connect honestly with our inner experience, we are then able to respond to others from our full intelligence and heart.


“Getting angry with another person is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned.”  Buddha

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“R.D. says we are not our bodies. Amen.”

For some years in California, a young man came to my lectures in a bed, brought in a bed. He was a quadriplegic. He could not speak. He was about twenty-eight years old. He was like this (laying back on a slant). His attendant could hold his hand over an alphabet board and there was just enough capacity to point at letters. That was the way he spoke. Each time he came, I went over to him and hugged him, and then I would wait while he spelled out some words. I felt in myself how reactive I was to the immensity of his deprivation state.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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