Welcome to the Guilty New Age

We have crawled out of the Dark Ages into the New Age of reason and intuition, but we have carried our guilts and fears into the light. Can we heal them now?

For centuries, perhaps millennia, fear and guilt have been the primary tools driving our existence and ‘progress’. Civilizations and cultures have relied on these two tools to maintain ‘law and order’. Religious leaders have found them the best allies of piety. Nations and Politics need them to keep vast populations in conformity. Fear and Guilt have become the hammer and wrench of the parenting toolkit.

Today, after centuries of crawling through dark ages we are finally moving into the age of light and awareness. An age where reason and intuition become the equal partners they have always been. We are ushering in the New Earth, but the devil persists. The backbone is still the same old guilt and fear. Now there is a third partner – Anger. Our generation’s anger and guilt is a heavy stone-filled rucksack we shoulder day and night. Without them, it feels too light and that’s more guilt. How can I enjoy when the world is in suffering? We carry them because they give us a purpose in life. As if we really matter.

self-this-is-my-life-1528199
Angry and Guilty (“Stock photo. Posed by model.” ) Image Courtesy: http://www.freeimages.com

We are guilty of pleasures – no, not the old world pleasures of sex and food – we have liberated those from the gilded cage of guilt. Our generation is guilty of happiness, wealth, comfort and even peace. We are angry and guilty that we raped our earth. We are guilty that we aren’t doing yoga every day. We are guilty to sink into a sofa. We are angry that our family members use plastic. We have guilt of our privileges and wealth. We are angry at our own judgments. We live in guilt, eat in guilt, look into mirrors with anger. We are angry that we are guilty. We are guilty that we are angry all the time. We are the same old ‘morally outraged’ people as any generation before us, only the commandments are different. The New Age has become just old wine in new bottle.

And we are simply passing that on to our next generations. Fear and Guilt are again the tools out of parenting tool kits. I don’t beat my child nor use verbal abuse, but my child is so sensitive today that all it takes to give it a good beating is a look of reproach and blame. I know it makes me guilty to do that, but unless I learn to heal my guilt and anger, I cannot stop giving programmed responses to others. Does it mean that I should stop saving the earth in the meanwhile?

Well, isn’t healing ourselves the greatest contribution towards a better earth? What about plastic and violence then? Let’s look at the motivation behind the question in the first place. Why are we concerned about plastic? Is it because I love this earth all the time, or is it because I am carrying guilt all the time? Perhaps a bit of both. And violence, why do I want to put an end to it? Is it because I love humanity so much that I don’t want to see the end of it, or is it because I live in fear all the time. A bit of both.

If we try to heal just the symptoms without examining the causes, we will simply end up replacing the old symptoms with new ones. In fact, humans have just been doing it over the centuries.

Well, then how can I get rid of my guilt, anger, and fear then? Aren’t they the root causes to all of this? But what is causing them, who is experiencing them? I am not asking a ‘spiritual’ question here. I am asking a practical question. If anger, fear and guilt need to be healed, the one who is experiencing it needs to heal. But who is that ‘one’ when all anger, guilt, and fear are healed? Who is the ‘one’ who is constantly having equally opposing thoughts all the time? Who is the ‘one’ who is on a mission to ‘save’ the world? Am I? Who is the one that is apart from the world? What makes me, me without anger, guilt, and fear? Can we really look at ourselves and ask these questions seriously?

Perhaps these questions are too ‘impractical’ and ‘vague’ to be of real use to some of us. Maybe in that case, I should simply start becoming less and less morally outraged as a start towards healing this guilt and anger. Perhaps I should simply start watching myself and my feelings without too much attachment so as to see the inner movements of fear, guilt and anger before they even become external realities. Perhaps just observing will bring to light many hidden destructive pathways that I seem to take every day with practiced ease.

And what use is it if I do all of the above to save the earth and my children from suffering. That would simply create more guilt and anger every time I fail. Maybe it is time to acknowledge my own suffering as the greatest obstacle to healing and real peace. Maybe it is time to see suffering as the cause of it all. Can we choose to move away from suffering?

Emotional See Saw – The ‘Other’ Side That We Often Overlook

All emotional ups involve indulgence, identification with the emotion...
All emotional ups involve indulgence, identification with the emotion…

Anger and frustration are emotions of high energy. Unlike states like depression, these high energy emotions need immediate venting and they are hard to keep suppressed for long. We want to do something when we identify ourselves with those emotions. We become very impulsive and often do things that we regret later on.

In our attempts to healing them we usually overlook the intimate connection between a negative high and a positive high in an emotional cycle and the underlying principles that dictate both. And this ignorance, unfortunately, keeps us from healing ourselves. Let us look at what happens when we experience high-energy negative emotions like anger and compare them with certain, what we call, ‘positive’ emotions.

When we are angry or frustrated, we lend our whole being and identity to that particular emotion, which means there is a high degree of self-indulgence. We tend to become impulsive. We let the emotion dictate how we react to the circumstances and to the people around us, as well as with ourselves. Our actions and words are influenced by the emotion.

When we look at our ‘positive’ high-spirited behavior (which is our idea of having fun or being happy) the same principles that govern the negative emotions are being applied here too. We lend our identity to that mood or emotion, we indulge ourselves, we become impulsive, and we speak and behave under the influence of the emotion. Think of any activity that is fun for you. It could be hanging out with friends, becoming impish, eating, dancing, singing, sexual indulgence, etc. The external activity varies from person to person.

The reason why we fail to identify this is because we mistake positive high-spirited activity for happiness. Unfortunately it is not. More often than not, the ‘positive’ high-spirited activity is largely our desperate attempt at ‘filling’ our life with seeming happiness rather than actually happiness and contentment itself.

Please note that some of the same activities may be performed without it becoming your illusory positive high. You could involve yourself into dancing and reach a calm state of mind. That is not the illusory positive high that I am talking of. So how do we identify that illusory positive high emotion that leads to indulgence?

Caution: Emotional Ups and Downs Ahead
Caution: Emotional Ups and Downs Ahead

Look for exhaustion, tiredness, and a lingering unease and boredom. When we are engaged in indulgence that gives us an illusion of happiness and joy, we will also find it exhausting and draining – especially towards the end of the activity you will find yourself desperately and mechanically clinging to the activity but you are not really involved in it really. There sometimes is a sense of uneasiness and boredom towards the end. None of these side effects are seen when we are really content with lives – when we are truly happy.

Our body always looks to balance our energy levels. So a bout of high-energy activity will be followed by a period of low energy levels. Emotionally it could be a period of depression, lack of interest, and a sense of despair. It may not necessarily occur right after a bout of high energy activity. The duration of the period could even be weeks. So there could days or weeks of high activity followed by a few weeks of depression and despair.

Expecting to heal our anger while we continue to indulge ourselves in ‘fun’ is unrealistic. So does that mean we must cut down upon our ‘fun’ activities? Cutting down will not lead to healing; it will only cause a future outburst of excess indulgence. Unfortunately our culture tries to teach us self-control and suppression. Control and suppression is not a path of healing.

The only path to healing is by understanding the emotions and their underlying causes completely. For in deep observation and understanding the conditions for pain dissolve and we discover ourselves.

Hypnotherapy is one therapy that can help identify our habits of emotional highs and lows through regression techniques. Many a time, ‘seeing’ the whole of our past patterns alone helps us dissolve a large part of that habit subconsciously.

Recommended Readings:
Emotional Drama
Mind Drama
Eternal Human Conflict

Image Courtesy:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/harmishhk/with/8642273025/
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=5897

Anger Management – Part 2 – Thought Retracement Technique

Thoughts Retracement Technique is a powerful technique keep you from carrying your anger from issue to issue. It helps you also find trigger events where you feel provoked. But for this technique to work you need to prioritize your anger issues.

Please read the Part 1 – Understanding Anger before you start using these techniques.

In the following series, I will share two powerful techniques that can help you manage your anger and find out the root causes for your anger as well. If you really want to benefit out of these techniques then the first task you need to do is to prioritize your anger issue. It needs to be given the first priority.

What that means is that, resolving your anger issues take the highest priority over anything else in your life. Any other problem, no matter how big, come second. If you cannot prioritize your anger issue, then these techniques will not work for you.

Technique 1: Thoughts Retracement Technique (TRT)

There are two ways anger bursts out in any of us. Sometimes we face a provoking situation and before we know it we burst out at the person we hold responsible for our anger. In a second situation, we get angry at one person and then we carry it in our heads through the day getting a little angrier at every small problem we face subsequently. Then finally when we can’t take it anymore we just burst out. TRT is for the second scenario.

So you face a provoking situation but you control your anger. Then you continue to carry that anger in your mind. Now you will reach a point when you find that you are not at ease and are in an irritable mood. The moment you detect this mood stop all that you are doing and start tracing your thoughts backwards. Go backwards in your memory over the events of your day. Soon you will reach the trigger event i.e., the situation where you first became angry.

Once you reach that situation, just make a strong decision in your mind that if at all you are going to get angry you will do that in a similar situation or with the person who you got angry with in the trigger event. By making this decision, you will find that your irritable mood changes immediately and you can carry on the day’s events efficiently.

As I said this is a very powerful technique to stop your anger from spreading. But it works only when you prioritize your anger as the most important issue to resolve. When you give your anger problem the top priority two things happen. One, you become very aware of your thoughts and moods – especially all the angry ones. So the moment anger comes into your head, you are instantly aware of it and you can apply the technique faster. Two, when you make the decision to keep your anger confined to the root event, it actually works. Your angry mood comes down and you will not show this anger on others unnecessarily.

TRT can surprise you many times in that when you go to the trigger event, you will be surprised that you actually got angry in that situation while your conscious mind knew nothing about it.

At times, TRT can even release anger from the root event. There will be times when you hit the trigger event you will find it so silly, on retrospect, that your anger simply vanishes. You will not even get angry with the person you hold responsible.

Sometimes when you start retracing your thoughts back to the origin you will hit an event where your anger wasn’t there at all. Still, keep following your memories and thoughts backwards. You will eventually hit a past event, perhaps a day earlier too, which is the original trigger event. Your stream of angry thoughts can go subconscious sometimes only to surface up later.

All you have to do on hitting the root event is to make a strong decision that you will confine your anger to the root cause only. Try it and see. It works like magic!

I will share the second technique in the next part. If you want to learn more about how thought streams can continue just below your level of consciousness read this post on Semi-conscious Thoughts.

Photo Courtesy: farconville freedigitalphotos