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Heated Within

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

These days we are all feeling heated within, either it's about the pandemic, inequalities, dividedness, politics, or finances, the list can be really long. We are going through our days carrying around all these thoughts, worry and anxiety and this can heat us up within like a fire. This fire burns and more fuel keeps being added, transmuting into anger. This anger is just the symptom that covers up the pain we feel. The more we feel stressed the more anger plays itself out. Let's face it, right now we are a traumatized society, with a lot of anger and it is causing suffering. Anger is a primal energy and part of our survival and defence mechanism, especially when we feel powerless. This emotion is not bad, it is a natural feeling part of the array of emotions we feel as humans. Paradoxically anger can destroy our inner peace and for some feel like a volcanic eruption. It also can create emotional and mental restoration when it is acknowledged and processed correctly.

According to an ancient science called Ayurveda, we all have the elements of earth, air, fire and ether as part of our constitution. Some of us have more of one or two than others. For instance, fire is helpful for metabolising food and experiences. We need a nice balance and not too much of one. The fire element within each of us stirs us to action, it can tell us that we have unmet needs, or that we are feeling threatened. If the fire rages within and gets uncontrollable, issues arise. This is what happens with the anger that builds up when we are not aware of it, or we ignore it.

To address the issue of this fire burning even as a mental inflammation is to bring awareness to it, in order to address it. Much of our anger is preconditioned and can be quite addictive because it makes us feel and believe we are getting back the control we lost. Some psychologists even say anger is like a drug similar to alcohol or cocaine because for a short while it gives us an illusion of power and it can feel good. Chemically our body releases hormones and adrenaline giving us a rush of energy. Anger is employed in that fight, flight freeze response, which as I talked about before many times is not a necessary reaction to all situations in daily life. One example we are familiar with is road rage. The idea of being cut off on the road is not the real problem there is already that fire burning out of control from some other inner conflict.

We can understand that anger like many emotions has its function, which is telling you something needs your attention. How do we figure what that is? There is a mindfulness tool that can help. This tool is the acronym for RAIN, a four step process: recognize, allow, investigate and nurture. This acronym RAIN was first conceived by Michele McDonald, twenty years ago. The acronym can be used to address many feelings, not only anger. Introducing this tool of mindfulness and compassion can really assist in understanding the roots of some of those strong feelings.

1. Recognize what is going on, what is the strongest emotion? What are the thoughts? What are the behaviours?

2. Allow the experience to be there. Taking a pause when we are having an unpleasant feeling. Allow yourself the intention to relax, breath, and be with the experience.

3. Investigate with kindness and compassion. What are you believing when you feel…? Be curious. What is happening inside?

4. Nurture what is most needed. What are your unmet needs? Shift to a loving awareness and openness to what you are feeling.

We all have the ability to defuse or extinguish that access fire that becomes uncontrollable damaging our health and our relationships. When we practice mindful awareness and realize that we are not separate, that we all experience pain and suffering, it can also bring a sense of letting go.

Rachel xo

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