Throwing the Hot Baked Potato
Explosive anger in any form or degree may well be the most difficult attitudinal and emotional issue for most people to deal with effectively and/or safely. Given the host of damning and repressive attitudes, judgments and laws that hope to prevent any real expression or outlet for such powerful emotions it is no wonder that most people would rather just avoid the subject altogether, pushing down any anger impulses, hoping that it will just somehow magically go away if they do the "right" thing. Unfortunately, however, energy does not just simply go away or kill itself off because you or I do not like it and try to stop what it has been inspired to express. Instead, when denied, it transforms, continuously if necessary, until it can flow into a new and appropriate way of successfully expressing the original intent, but it does not disappear or go extinct because of our condemnation. If anything, our distaste for it only empowers what was disliked and pushed away, providing the denied energy with more desire and vitality to come back at us and express out what was unwanted, which is the exact opposite of what we originally wanted to achieve.
Fundamentally (and using a very simplistic illustration) there are two types of anger: head anger and gut anger. It is easy to feel the difference when each type is experienced separately, but it is not so easy to discern the difference when both head and gut anger are triggering each other setting off mutual interactions, which is more often than not the case. For head anger, which is mental anger, it will tend to be centered about the head and upper torso, and can seem to be quite intense, sometimes to the point where the face turns red and the eyes bulge out. It is a product of an active and triggered mentality. Gut (or Will) based anger, on the other hand, is quite different. It has a physical "magnetic" quality, and can literally vibrate throughout the entire body and beyond. The gut may boil with intense ferocity, or a vibrating wave of roaring energy may gush up from the gut and envelope the mentality with a very powerful and motivating force that may be nearly impossible to moderate or redirect.
Anyone who has denied and limited themselves to a strictly mental orientation, always being reasonable, logical and constantly focused within their mental aspect, will tend to critically judge and panic when confronted by moderate to strong Will (gut) feelings. It seems to be the case that the mentally oriented person interprets the "thin" feelings generated by the mentality as about all there is to know about what, in this awareness work, are called feelings. But this kind of gross oversight is hazardous, because while "thin" mental feelings can seem intense at times, they are, nevertheless, extremely feeble, vaporous and unsubstantial when compared to the rolling waves of physically vibrating energy the Will can generate when any kind of strong emotion is involved, whether they be of a loving nature or raging fits. Thus, due to the lack of knowledge and experience in dealing with Will forces the mentally oriented person tends to arrogantly and smugly judge that they can handle and safely deal with whatever it is that they imagine a Will response might be. Moreover, these same individuals usually keep on savoring these dangerous attitudes until the Will finally moves and forcibly shakes them awake, without ever realizing beforehand how overwhelming, and consequently terrifying, a triggered or spontaneous Will release can turn out to be.
Intense Will (or gut) anger can literally take over the entire body, consume the mind and render it utterly useless, while giving rise to nearly irresistible physical urges to act out the anger or rage impulse. All this can be accompanied by incredible physical strength and agility, coupled with a ferocity that can, for the person with a lot of Will presence, effect and interact with substance well beyond the boundaries of the initiating source and/or personal body. Thus it is, extreme care is advised when dealing with potentially strong Will releases, due to the immense power and ferocity that can be unexpectedly unleashed, which, under normal circumstances, can easily make it nearly impossible to deal with it rationally or safely.
Nonetheless, in my experience old, repressed and/or denied anger and rage, whether it be of a mental and/or gut variety, can be bled off and dealt with fairly easily, and it can be done without damaging oneself or anyone else. But a word of caution is necessary here: For the unaware and inexperienced person dealing with anger and rage can be very hazardous and full of legal complications if you should lose it and go berserk and injure someone. If you choose to experiment and attempt to deal with anger please go to a qualified therapist or health practitioner who has experience in dealing with anger and rage, and who can help you to deal with it safely. As the story that follows below demonstrates, it is sometimes possible with enough awareness and intuitive knowledge of how the mentality operates and of its relationship to the Will aspect to successfully work with and resolve deep seated anger and rage without outside help, but this is not recommended, due to the inherent hazards of losing control and causing harm or injury to anyone or anything within striking range.
It is a very common mistake for students of awareness type work to stupidly, but consciously, ignore the warnings given about proceeding unprepared into the unknown realms of the Self, especially those where anger and rage may be triggered and unexpectedly become part of an otherwise benign process. Without question, a lot of meticulous preparation and care are necessary throughout the entire process of introspection and discovery, and it is mandatory for success whenever any appreciable Will (or gut) feeling energy is involved. This means that it is imperative for anyone attempting to experiment with Will forces to FIRST learn all about their own mentality, how and why it works the way it does, and then do the same in regards to their Will aspect and how the mental and feeling polarities dance and interact with each other.
Typically, the new or novice student refuses to believe that they might be unable to deal with some aspect of themselves. Sometimes they honestly believe that they are protected by some guardian angel, and that no harm can come to them. Then one fine day something happens that unexpectedly triggers some boiling gut anger. Suddenly their fantasy world crashes down on them, as the Will polarity pops open and a column of intensely vibrating energy roars upward out of their gut, setting their whole being ablaze with a vibrating physical intensity and drive that completely overwhelms their timid mentality. If this kind of thing were to happen to you what would you do? Your body would be literally vibrating and shaking, ablaze with a potent strength and ferocity that would probably be overwhelmingly terrifying, especially to an unprepared mentality. Furthermore, with strong Will triggering it is even possible, for instance, to have a column of silvery "magnetic" energy begin snaking its way out of your belly toward whatever you perceive and judge is confronting you. Pause and think about this for a moment. How would your mentality with its habitually judgmental mind react if suddenly your Will began visibly interacting with the physical outer reality that surrounded you, perhaps violently and in ways judged impossible only moments before?
Under certain circumstances the Will can suddenly and spontaneously ignite on its own volition, erupting upward from the gut and flooding the body with an overwhelming and irresistible force. Spontaneous ignitions, which can occur in the absence of any direct triggering by the mentality, tend to take place when the pain and pressure of holding back old Will denials can no longer be tolerated, and so automatic and uncontrollable expansion commences as the body acts out whatever expression is in need of release, with or without the conscious participation of the mental aspect. Such instances of ignition normally cease after the pressure for release subsides to some threshold point, whereby the Will force subsides and the mentality again resumes its more or less normal consciousness and functionality.
It is possible for someone to remain partially conscious during ignition, having done this myself, observing at least some portion of the release, but without any useful control or major influence over it. On the other hand, all rational consciousness can be lost, as the body takes over without any direction or input from the mental aspect, and acts out on its own what has been demanding outward expression. When a total mental blackout is the result the person will probably have no meaningful recall or memory of anything that occurs during the Will’s explosive expansion and release, regaining useful consciousness only after the Will force has subsided and has more or less come to rest. In any event, when such an intense ignition occurs, where the mentality is completely overridden, the unlucky person will probably come back to their senses and find themselves in big trouble, having done something normally repulsive to their treasured but unprepared mentality.
Fortunately, it is entirely possible to safely open up and evolve the Will aspect, along with the companion mentality. The process will be different for each person, since everybody has their own mix of mental judgments and Will denials to understand and resolve. The following story may serve to illustrate the way one person intuitively dealt with and eventually resolved a lot of strong mental and connected gut anger and rage, before knowing anything about this awareness work stuff. He succeeded in keeping his head well enough to avoid disaster, and to bleed off most of the Will charge while preventing any injury to himself or anyone else. But having the inherent intuition and natural ability to accomplish this sort of thing without flying-off-the-handle and wreaking havoc on someone is highly unusual. Thus, do not presume that the following story is representative of how most people could or should deal with strong mentally triggered gut feelings. Nonetheless, this little story ought to give anyone infused with easily triggered anger and rage some ideas on how they might begin to think of themselves and their situation differently. Maybe it will even inspire someone to begin looking for ways to safely resolve and release their own mental anger, along with any accompanying anguish that goes along with it.
|Please Don’t Pass the Hot Potato|
|My stepfather is a big man, about 6’ 5" and weighing some 240 lbs,
and who definitely wore the pants in the family. As long as everyone
performed as they should, according to his views and standards, and
as long as the stress of running his construction company was not weighing
heavily upon him, he could be a fun, generous and fairly loving man
and someone enjoyable to be around. But if there was any sort of disharmony
in his life he had no hesitation venting his anger and frustration on
any member of the family who happened to become a source of additional
aggravation, no matter how seemingly insignificant that added irritation
One day in 1987, when I was a 17-year old high school senior, the evening began as a perfectly normal dinner at our house. My mother was at one end of the kitchen working on the finishing preparations for the meal, while I was helping set the table. My stepfather was the first person to sit down at the dinner table, and he was still a few weeks into recovering from major back surgery as a result of years of nagging pain and discomfort. While my mother and I were still working to get everything ready for the meal my stepfather began his ritual of breaking open his baked potato and flattening it out on the plate in preparation for a load of horseradish. Once this "flattening" was accomplished he realized that the horseradish was not yet on the table, and so he asked me to get it for him. I told him that I would do so right after I opened the screen door to let the dog in. Our dog had a habit of scratching on the screen door if he had to stand there for any length of time and this is something that would infuriate my stepfather, so I wanted to make sure that I let the dog in first. In the meantime my mother said that she would get the horseradish, since she was only a few steps from the refrigerator.
When my stepfather noticed that I wasn’t moving towards the refrigerator he ordered me, with much aggravation in his voice, to get the horseradish. I responded, saying that my mother said that she would get it. This led into a short period of "discussion" between my stepfather and I, during which time all five members of my family, myself included, sat down at the dinner table. After maybe two minutes my father had decided that he had had enough of our "conversation," whereby he yelled at me not to talk back to him and threw his plate of steaming hot baked potato at me. It landed on my neck, shoulders, arms and lap and burned me in a number of places. While I was recovering from the shock and wiping off the potato mess he got up, came over to me, got right in my face and started yelling. By this time I was reeling from a combination of being really pissed and trembling with intense fear, with the fear definitely being the predominant emotion I was feeling. I was literally shaking from a very deep and powerful place.
I had been through similar events with him many times before, and at this point I would always give in and make myself say whatever I thought I needed to say in order to lessen the impending blows that I knew were soon to come my way. My stepfather proceeded to yell a number of things (which I no longer remember) while hitting me in the chest with the ball of his hand or poking me with his finger. The fear I was feeling at this point was actually deafening. It was as if the "inner noise" of the fear was so loud inside me that it made my ears ring, and my body literally vibrated in a strange way. I could see my father’s mouth move and I could sense his words, but could not audibly hear them.
Next he grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me down to the floor. I got up and he did it again. The second time he threw me in the direction of my mother’s chair, which she had abandoned so as to get away from the immediate danger zone. I fell into and over the chair and somehow managed to break my pinkie toe in the process. When he was finished with me he said that he was too upset to eat and told me to clean up the mess. He went into the family room to watch television. My Mom, for some reason, went in with him and sat in her chair.
Soon after I had begun cleaning up the kitchen my mind started racing and replaying the recent event, reviewing each action carefully, over and over again, almost as precisely as they had originally occurred. The only difference was that during this review process the gut feeling within me was no longer one of fear, but rather it had transformed into an intense and seething rage. This red rage was boiling in me so intensely that my body visibly shook with it. I remember my jaw being clenched so tightly that my ears were ringing. My body felt as though every cell had been overloaded with a jolt of fresh energy, so much so that it felt like all the cells in my body were physically jiggling as if ready to burst open from a huge overdose of energy. I was feeling exceptionally strong and powerful. It seemed as though there was absolutely nothing going on in my mind other than reviewing what had recently happened to me—all of the mundane mental chatter that normally filled my mind had completely vanished.
I do not remember if my physical vision was impaired in any way, but I do remember a sense of incredible clarity in mind and vision due to being, or at least feeling, so fully focused on this singular event. At the same time I was also imagining a very different scenario than what had actually occurred—a scenario in which I decided that I was not going to take such physical and mental abuse and torment anymore, but instead, for a change, I was going to return it. After perhaps 10-minutes of this mental hashing it over my stepfather called me into the family room. I walked in and stood about 8-feet away from him, looking directly at him as he sat in his recliner chair. He then asked, "You were worried about me?" Until this precise moment I would not have believed that I could actually feel more enraged than what I had felt just moments before, while I was cleaning up the kitchen. Until this very moment I had never before felt such an impassioned and upward rushing wave of sheer hatred move up through my body. I simultaneously realized how someone could feel within their physical body a deliciously grand pleasure at the idea of killing someone with their bare hands, and I was feeling this wonderful desire with an incredible intensity, one that was almost uncontrollable.
My mother, sensing some kind of approaching calamity, got into the game and played interpreter for me, doing her best to play the role of mediator and save me from yet another horrific beating. She had a pleading look in her eyes that was begging me to play along with her, while she reiterated and clarified his previous question: "You were worried that your father hurt his back?" The rage was now so strong in me that I could feel that there was very little "reasonability" left in my mind that would keep me from taking overt physical action. I had very clear feeling images of what I wanted to do to him, which involved quickly lunging at him in his chair and ripping his throat out, then pounding on his head until it was nothing but unidentifiable mush. I felt as though there was a living, vibrating and powerful cloud of extremely focused, perhaps primitive, but, nonetheless, very violent energy that was completely surrounding me and flowing into and throughout me.
There was nothing else in the world that existed for me at that moment. The razor sharp focus of my attention was directed solely on what I perceived was happening, and what I wanted to do. I felt more alive and powerful than I could ever remember or have imagined, and I felt as though this intensely vibrating surge of physical energy brought about an awareness of myself that went all the way down to the cellular level. I do not know how much time passed during the whole event in the living room, but as I look back on it now, some 17 years after it occurred, it seems like it was a very long time. I remember that I finally answered my mother with the weakest, most unconvincing "Ya" that I could give. My stepfather then assured me that he was okay, and that I could go back and finish cleaning up the mess in the kitchen.
If my stepfather had any inkling of an idea of how close he came to being violently ripped apart that warm Autumn evening he certainly did not show any hint of it. Traces of the rage generated in me due to this single event continued to surface in me for a long, long time. Even as I write this I can still feel some remaining vestiges of it surging up from my gut, but with only a tiny fraction of the old intensity, which I am feeling and enjoying in a way that will bleed off and resolve what yet remains. Fortunately, at the time of this still vivid incident we lived on 100-acres of land way out in the country, with horses and other animals and no close neighbors. Over the course of several years after that baked potato throwing event I would spend many extra hours in our horse barn, where it was presumed that I was just cleaning out stalls. However, much of the horse barn time was spent harmlessly expressing out the fiery fury I still held against my stepfather, who in this case took the form of helpless bales of hay and the barn’s support posts. I would stab the bales with pitchforks, wail on them and the support posts with shovels and then punch them silly with my hands, all the while yelling and screaming all of the things I always wanted to say to my stepfather.
The above story is an example of how someone can deal with intense mental and gut (or Will) feelings that nearly surpass any ability to control, and gradually release the feeling energy and its acquired intent in a relatively safe and sane way. But there is another far less aggressive way to deal with anger, which is peculiar to this awareness work. Not only is it fast working, but it is usually much more effective than taking out your anger on surrogate bales of hay. Unfortunately it requires extensive understanding of the mentality and how to deal with and resolve the judgmental content of the mind, plus a good working knowledge of the Will and how it interacts with the mental polarity. Achieving this level of understanding will take time and dedicated effort, and once done there will still remain the probable hurdle of coming to grips with and solving the following paradox: You must truly love what it is you hate and want to change, so that you can change what it is you cannot want to change beforehand in order to change it. Genuinely understanding this apparent riddle in a useful way is absolutely crucial, but once this is successfully accomplished it then becomes entirely possible to allow strong anger and rage to be triggered up and then totally resolved by merely feeling it completely and thoroughly, letting it vibrate your body as necessary and do so without any hint of judging or wanting to deny the process in any way. But beware, it is extremely important to realize that just because you experience strong feeling impulses does not mean that you necessarily have to act on them, because if you can just honestly accept and feel them thoroughly with loving acceptance, until all the energy has expended itself, the energy will naturally evolve and resolve itself and come to rest of its own accord.
You may ask, why attempt to deal with intense and unruly gut feelings at all? Isn’t this dangerous? Is it not better to just let them lie undisturbed? Perhaps you judge this to be the best alternative for you, but what is the cost of not learning to safely deal with and resolve such intense feelings? Maybe you would rather just judge these types of feelings as negative and hopefully forget all about them, pushing them down and denying them out of your awareness altogether in an attempt to get rid of them. Then, you mistakenly believe, once you cannot feel them anymore you will have successfully and permanently dealt with them. But what you may completely fail to notice is that by not understanding these feelings and by denying them acceptance and expression you will have diminished yourself forever. This now denied energy will remain a part of you, like it or not, although your choices will cause it to be lost out of your immediate awareness, forcing it to express its old message externally, over and over, coming back at you via outer reality in various ways that you probably will find very unpleasant.
Instead of dealing with your creation on the inside, where it rightly belongs and could have been easily resolved, you will have forced it outside of your immediate awareness and control, thereby making it nearly impossible to ever resolve and reclaim this lost essence. Such energetic losses cripple you permanently. Do this enough times and you will be powerless, like you are now, and with each denial proportionally more and more dead. Of course, if you enjoy being nearly dead you are doing the right thing, but if you want to be fully alive you may not enjoy being powerless, constantly killing off parts of yourself, transfixed by the erroneous belief that denial improves your condition. There is an advantage to learning about denials and how they affect both the mentality and the Will aspect, and to discover the secret to reversing this deadly trend.
Whenever you deny something out of your awareness in order to get rid of it you incrementally fragment your overall Self, simultaneously diminishing any ability to express ideas and feelings you do like, for example, love, holiness, majesty, transcendence, reverence, sexuality, joy, glory and so on. You cannot just arrogantly get rid of anger, rage or any other mental or gut feeling you do not like without eventually painful consequences. For each bit of mentality or feeling essence you do not like and choose to be rid of the strength and ability to see, feel and enjoy everything else diminishes in proportion to the quantity of energy denied. If you keep on ignorantly and stupidly doing this sort of thing (which some of us have foolishly done for eons), then one day you will find yourself essentially lifeless and nothing more that just a mental dream that possesses no real power to create or truly change or enjoy anything.