“Angry is good. Anger gets shit done!” - Mr. Nancy, from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (TV Series)
Interestingly enough, this sentiment from Mr. Nancy is not found in the book, American Gods (at least, not that I found. If you find it, dear reader, email me and let me know), only the TV adaptation.
Anger sells. Anger is passionate. Anger gets ratings.
Anger is a drug, the most addictive kind of drug. Anger makes us feel strong, but in truth, that feeling is a lie.
“Anger is not impressive or tough - it’s a mistake. It’s weakness.” - Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic
Actual strength is the ability to control one’s passions and emotions, not to be controlled by them… which is precisely what anger does for us. Anger takes the reins of control, and after a wild ride worthy of Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, we’re not quite sure how we got to where we are… but somehow feel righteously indignant.
Marcus Aurelius says that, “The nearer a (person) comes to a calm mind, the closer (they are) to strength.” - Meditations, 11.18.5b
Today’s contemplation hits close to home for me, as I was reared by a very angry, single-parent grandmother (of blessed memory). Her first response to most stimuli was anger. That’s the response that was modeled for me… and it’s taken a lifetime of practice, failed relationships, loneliness, depression, and awareness to not constantly be driven by anger…
… and I’m still working on it. Truth be told, I will likely be working with my own anger until I join my Ancestors in the after-world.
The thing I have to constantly remind myself of is this: anger, and all other emotions, will always be there. The practice isn’t about getting rid of anger, it’s about working with it and mastering it… the same way that mindful, mental-discipline isn’t about turning off our minds and stopping our thoughts (because thoughts arise naturally, and can not be stopped), it’s about working with and mastering our relationship with them.
May our moments of arising anger never control us, and when checked, always lead us to liberation.
(See y’all tomorrow)