The root of anger

Last month I went on my first 10-day silent meditation course. The word I use when people ask me about it is intense.

I am still integrating this experience, which entailed over 10 hours of sitting meditation/day, the cutest baby deer and rabbits, views of Mt. Rainier, losing my appetite for 4 days and so much more.

At the end, one of people whom I drove with asked me, “Did you have any breakthroughs?” In that moment I thought not really, I was just really scared for 4 days straight.

I have experienced several traumas in the last 2 years, and the last 9 months or so I have been angry. This has been a part of my healing process because I am conditioned and socialized to not feel or to ignore anger, and befriending my anger was a part of accessing the wholeness of me. In the mental health world anger is sometimes called a secondary emotion. Here is a description from Conflict Resolution Education: “Anger is often called a secondary emotion because we tend to resort to anger in order to protect ourselves from or cover up other vulnerable feelings. A primary feeling is what is felt immediately before we feel anger. We almost always feel something else first before we get angry.”

When we experience trauma anger can protect us, and I am grateful for my anger. In my time on the course I realized how much fear was underneath the anger. It took 7 days for this fear to emerge, but when it did the intensity was difficult to bear.

When I got home I still felt the fear, and it lives in the left side of my belly. It is still here now, only much quieter. Now, almost a month after being back in my daily life I reflect on that question asked of me, “Did you have any breakthroughs?” Yes, I found my fear under my anger. It was here the whole time, but I did not have conscious access to it until I was quiet and still for 7 days. Now I know it is here, and now I can tend to it. That is a huge breakthrough.