Anger and Your Inner Warrior

02/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Anger. Such a loaded word, but how many of us really understand anger? Words like "light" and "love" are trendy among the enlightenment-seekers. Those are wonderful words and, yes, they carry great energy and power. But so does "anger."

Anger is the desire to protect. It is not some dark, evil emotion that we should shun. Yet, when we ignore or suppress it, anger waits for an opportunity to express itself out of its original context -- which almost always leaves us feeling confused, remorseful and defeated.

It is time we give this glorious emotion we call anger the welcome place in our lives it deserves and learn how to use it to make necessary adjustments. (I learned about anger from the great modern mystic, Almine Barton, whose audios and videos I highly recommend). Anger and pain are very similar in that they are both calls for change. Like pain is for the body, anger is the spirit's protector -- its Inner Warrior -- that roars out when the whole of our being is under threat. In our soul, we yearn for freedom, and our Inner Warrior will revolt against anything that limits its power and threatens its purity. Imagine the fury of limitless beings in a world of limitation. We are like a caged lions!

From infancy, we step right into the trap of so many social confines and expectations without knowing the consequences. As children, we are told that adults know best and must be obeyed without explanation. We are exposed to myriad experiences where our borders go unprotected and we bear the brunt of behaviors that throw us off balance. This creates the first layer of suppressed anger, which hardly ever gets released because modern psychotherapy usually overlooks it altogether.

When we spend our lives protecting not our spirit, but our fragile egos, every decision we make is structured around social acceptance. We busy our Inner Warrior with fears that feed imbalance and unhappiness, and neglect the truly powerful beings lying dormant within us. When we misread the profound moments of dissatisfaction and frustration in our lives, we fall into vicious, addictive cycles of drama, or simply medicate to numb the feelings. In anger, we are all too quick to cast blame on others, on our lot in life, or on our past choices. But the real threat to our well-being is the mistaken belief that we are small and limited.

There can be no real satisfaction in serving our fragile egos -- only addiction to external stimulation. Until we stop reaching for the typical "drugs" -- including self-congratulation, victim-hood, celebrity, superiority, cheap media entertainment, consumption of chemicals in foods, drinks, and medications -- the anger will continue to boil.

However, we do not need to wait for anger to boil over into tragedy to decide it's time to reclaim our lives. Our Inner Warrior is always watching and ready to protect our balance, but we must nurture it and listen for its signals. Otherwise, anger will accumulate in our energy field (just as indigestible substances do in our bodies) and nest in our cells and tissues, and might eventually manifest in physical illness.

The next time you feel anger, say to yourself, "Wow, I feel my anger rising up right now. My Inner Warrior has been awakened. Who is threatening my borders?" The more sensitive you are to the signals, the more quickly and intelligently you will be able to identify the origin of the offense. The signal might be a constriction of the throat, a bad feeling in the stomach, or an increased heart rate. Once you've followed the signal to the source of the offense, your Inner Warrior generally won't need to attack, but simply make a readjustment of the situation.

For example, let's say you are speaking with someone who is trying to make you feel inferior. Your palms start to sweat, which you know is your Inner Warrior alerting you to a threat to your being. You realize that you do not need to stand there and absorb the offensive remarks of this person, so you either point out his/her misperception or simply excuse yourself. The dangerous alternative would be to make polite conversation and then get angry out of context later.

Conquering outside circumstances to prevent the accumulation of toxic anger requires vigilance -- just as protecting the body from toxic substances requires extra effort. But it is well worth it. When we befriend our anger and communicate well with it, cutting offenders to our inner being off at the pass, we prevent the infestation of anger within our families and our communities at large.

So go ahead and discover your Inner Warrior!