Here are some questions and reflections to get you thinking about the disadvantages of anger.
Notice during the day when anger arises in your mind. What happens? Do you imagine yourself speaking hurtful words to another person? Do you imagine yourself acting violently? Do you find yourself actually speaking or acting in a hurtful way?
How does your anger feel inside? What’s the feeling tone? Do you feel a sense of enjoyment as you experience the energy of arousal? Do you perhaps find it painful to be harboring ill will?
Imagine that you’re on the receiving end of your own angry words. How would that feel?
What’s it like when you’re around a person who is habitually angry? Do you experience fear? Do you want to avoid that person? Now, what is it like for others to be around us when we’re angry? Anger isolates.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever imagined yourself doing when you’ve been under the sway of intense anger? Have you ever imagined humiliating someone? Hurting someone? Killing someone? Such thoughts are remarkably common, but just think how your life would have been different if your inhibitions had been lowered — perhaps by stress or alcohol — to the point where you had done something terrible.
The next time that you feel angry, pause, and bring your awareness to the heart. Just notice what’s there. If the mind wanders just keep on coming back to the heart. Does your anger change in any way as you do this? Do you notice any other feelings or emotions, like hurt, or sadness. What happens if you stay with those feelings? Often I find that as I stay with my heart the feelings of anger dissipate and may even change into compassion.