Anger, Reiki, and Animals’ Perspectives

“Just for today, I will not anger.” The first Reiki Precept. On first hearing, I transmuted the words to “… I will not anger others,” but then realized that no one can make anyone else angry. We (or someone else) can be the spark that ignites anger, but the emotion comes from within. The Precept is about maintaining the self as a clear conduit for the flow of healing Reiki energy.

Anger has cropped up a lot lately – in news reports, Facebook posts, other venues. Are people more open now about expressing anger, or is it one of the impacts of these times of change?

Do I have anger? I had to think about that. The anger that often calls our attention is the burning, violent kind. The punch-in-the-nose road rage anger. There are many varieties. Have you ever felt irritated, annoyed, resentful, mistreated, disrespected, even outraged or filled with righteous indignation? Those are all forms of anger.

In his lecture series, Nonviolent Communication,* Dr. Marshall Rosenberg says that anger is an emotional response triggered by an outside stimulus when a core need of ours is not being met. Core needs such as security, safety, love, nurturance, and yes, respect. When I feel resentment, what need or hurt within me has been disregarded, to trigger that feeling?

The animals always have answers and opinions about such questions. The first to speak was Coyote. I sensed yellow-gold eyes and tawny fur dancing and feinting around me while Coyote spoke:

“Anger is one of my tricks. It distracts your energy and attention. That rush of emotion feels good, feels powerful. When you’re caught up in it, you don’t recognize that you’re being spun away from your purpose, whatever that is. I am the Trickster. I am a great teacher, who teaches you through your mistakes. When you learn to recognize the pull and eddies of my magic and see through them, you can stay on your true path. It is all a game, don’t you see? You can follow Coyote and get lost. Or you can say, ‘Hello Coyote, I recognize you,’ and not follow. That strengthens you. When you feel the anger, know it is my trickster magic at work. Enjoy the thrill of explosion if you wish. Or, this time, ask yourself why you are drawn to my magic. Remember, I teach backward lessons. When you’re turned around, I will bite you!”

Skunk came next, its parallel white stripes moving in rhythm as Skunk gently shuffled forward on delicate paws:

“My medicine is more about boundaries and respect. Skunk is respected, and respects others. We carry a formidable weapon, but are gentle. We give a warning when we are being encroached upon. We do not release our scent indiscriminately, for then we would be vulnerable for defense. Priorities are important – safety, respect, courage, being gentle. Get your point across without aggression toward self or others. Those we spray recover and learn from the experience to respect us. When you feel anger, learn from us to seek the boundary that is being encroached upon, and address it. Perhaps you will not need to spray at all.”

Condor (Turkey Vulture) flew into our conversation to add its message:

“Anger? Rise above it. We soar in the air, the home of spirit and intellect. Rise above the smelly turmoil of emotion. Air helps bring discernment, an ability to sort out cause and effect. Call on me. I will help pick away that which does not serve the highest good – that which doesn’t smell right.”

Instinctively, I knew that Whale also had a message, and asked. Whale said:

“Call on me to guide you through the deep waters of emotion. We withstand great pressure in the deep, and rise to the surface to expel old air and breathe in fresh air. Sing our song with us, move with grace and strength. Swim with us, and come up for air.”

Their messages remind me that the key is not to deny, bury or push away anger, but to reach into myself, locate what has been ignited within, and address that.

These wise teachers offer workable suggestions. Coyote reminds us that when our energy spins off in anger, we diminish our power and lose our focus. Skunk reminds us to respect, be respected, and hold our boundaries. Condor reminds us to rise above the smelly stuff and use discernment. Whale reminds us to come up out of the deep emotion and take a breath of fresh air. Call on them when you feel the flash ignite within.

Just for today [this hour, this moment], I will not anger. I will be a clear vessel for Reiki energy. It takes practice.

__________

*Rosenberg, Marshall. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. PuddleDancer Press, 2003; recording available from Sounds True, P.O. Box 8010, Boulder, CO 80306, www.Soundstrue.com.

Note: This is the first of five articles addressing the Precepts of Reiki: Anger, Worry, Humility/Gratitude, Honesty, and Compassion. This article also is a guest blog post on the Shelter Animal Reiki Association website.

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." - George Eliot
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi
"There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings – we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and live freely, and we all share this planet together." - attributed to Gandhi
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