October 1, 2015

How to Work with Anger that Just won’t Go Away. {Q&A}

men argue angry

A reader writes: “The other day I realized that I’m still holding anger toward my father—and I’m trying to figure out the best way to deal with it, or not, I suppose.”

What an honest reflection! We want to change…and we don’t. The mind is always ambivalent when it comes to facing and transforming its own patterns of limitation.

Who hasn’t looked into the mirror of truth, and quickly glanced away?

When it comes to facing and transforming anger, sadness, and fear, it takes a lot of courage, compassion, and skillful means.

Transformation starts with the sobering realization that “I’m still holding anger.” You’re holding it. Just feel that. Don’t explain. Don’t defend. Just feel it. And, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Holding on is one of the mind’s core competencies.

The mind is sticky, gluey, and tends toward holding.

The mind is naturally divisive and holds on to its self-generated battles. That’s why humans love war. (Have you noticed?) War is so familiar. It feels natural and allows our internal divisiveness to be neatly sorted out into we-are-good versus they-are-bad! Having enemies is so strangely comforting.

The mind is easily caught up in struggle and the inner battle. It’s the nature of conditioned mind.

And as Albert Einstein pointed out, this battle that can’t be resolved at the same level of consciousness that generated the battle to begin with.

Einstein web

Whatever solutions the mind generates—at the level of struggling-consciousness—can only prolong the battle.

The very solutions that the mind conceives are by-products of the struggle itself. The struggling mind isn’t capable of untangling the karmic knots that it’s tied up in. The mind can’t think itself to freedom. If it could, you would have thought your way to the end of struggle long ago.

At best, you can think your way to a temporary cease-fire, a conditional suspension of the struggle. This brings relief but not transformation.

Relief distracts the mind from inner turmoil but doesn’t transform it. The struggle persists. The karmic battle wages on. Your karma—those inner patterns of struggle and conditioning—continue to shape your experience below the level of conscious awareness.

When the mind is in cease-fire mode, things are quiet—on the surface.

It’s like the scenes in those old cowboy movies—when the hero rides slowly into town. But the town is deserted. There’s nobody on the streets. A tumble weed blows by. It’s eerily silent and very, very tense.

It’s the lull before the storm.

Behind the shutters and closed doors, people are loading their guns for battle. So, the quiet isn’t really quiet. It’s laced with barely contained, unexpressed tension.

The mind can be like a Western town. On the surface things can be quiet. But, scratch the surface of the mind’s apparent calm—and you’ll find churning guts, gnashing teeth, and the unresolved longing of the heart.

You really can’t put karma on hold.

The anger is there and it’s shaping your experience. You’re angry at your father. Again, you’re not alone. So many of us struggle in our relationship with our father. Whether he was too angry or too distant. Too hot or too cold. Not enough of this or too much of that. The patterns of unresolved father karma take many forms. But, the bottom line is that the war within rages on.

The emotional reactivity is unresolved.

And to the degree that father karma is unresolved, to that degree will you, me, and each of us struggle to:

  • Discern and follow the direction of your inner authority
  • Pursue your purpose with focus and consistency
  • Trust yourself and set clear boundaries
  • Tap the energy you need to live your dream

Because, your father karma isn’t primarily about your father.

It’s about how you father or generate an inspired, joyful, and purposeful life. It’s about how you end the inner war and reconnect with the inner strength, gentleness, and power to create a life of purpose, love, and truth.

Your relationship with your father—your father karma—is a mirror.

This mirror reflects your deep, inner relationship with the generative, fathering power of your soul. Your father karma is deeply connected to your capacity to follow inner guidance and create what matters most in your life.

There’s a direct connection between the unresolved anger of your father karma and your capacity to live courageously and compassionately. Which is why healing your father karma touches your whole life. But, the surface mind cannot perceive this connection.

To the surface mind, your father is out there.

The meditative mind recognizes that there is a father out there. But—and this is the essential, transformative point—the father out there isn’t perpetuating the inner struggle. The father out there isn’t fueling the inner war.

The anger, or more precisely the holding of the anger, is happening in consciousness.

This pattern of anger is a knot in your consciousness that the thinking mind cannot (and will not) untangle. The thinking mind doesn’t have the perspective to untangle the knot. It’s part of the entanglement. If thinking could untangle the knots of anger, it would have.

Here’s the hard truth: by allowing the mind to hold onto that anger, you’re allowing the mind to hold your life hostage.

Just sit with that for a moment. Without blame or judgment—notice how the patterns of anger, holding, and struggle hold your life hostage. See, feel, and know without blame or judgment. This isn’t thinking. It’s meditative awareness.

Meditative awareness transcends the mind’s entanglements and resolves the mind’s ambivalence.

The thinking mind will always be ambivalent about facing and transforming its own patterns of limitation. After all, that’s all the mind knows. But, there are deeper levels of knowing within you. Levels that transcend the karmic battle ground of inner struggle. Levels that are revealed through meditation practice.

By awakening to and engaging those deeper levels you free your mind from anger. You liberate your life and tap the generative power of fathering to bring forth a life of greater creativity, purpose, and joy.

Meditation releases the mind from self-defeating entanglement with anger, fear, and doubt. Meditation reconnects you with the ever-present state of loving awareness. Stop trying to resolve the mind’s ambivalence. All that trying tightens the knots. Take a step back and sit down.


Yes, take your seat.
Breathe. Peace is a practice. Breath by breath. Meditate.
Moment by moment, cultivating meditative awareness, you end the war.
With this breath, you release anger…ahhhhhh.
With this next breath, you see it reappear…Okay, nothing to struggle with. Just return to the practice.
As you stop struggling against the anger, the anger stops harassing you.
Release happens.

As anger releases, a new relationship with the fathering energy of life emerges.

When you open your eyes, you see something unexpected. Your anger isn’t what you thought. Neither is your father.
What are they?

Let’s practice and find out.

Love & Shanti



6 Strategies for Handling an Anger Addict.


Author: Eric Klein

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Author’s Own, Wikipedia

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