Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Sermon [Anger as Ally]

¡Hola! Everybody…
I have to admit that I derive a measure (sadistic) pleasure from puncturing the over-inflated egos of the arrogant. LOL!

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-=[ Anger ]=-

Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everyone's power and that is not easy.

-- Aristotle

I often warn people they shouldn’t fuck with my Changó. In the Yorùbá religion, Changó (also spelled Shango) is the god of thunder and lightning. I always associate the energy of this orisha (deity) with penetrating awareness. You don’t mess with him. He is a major symbol of the African Diaspora resistance against an enslaving European culture. Generally, he rules over male sexuality and human vitality. He is the owner of the Bata (3 double-headed drums), as well as the arts of music, dance and entertainment. In some ways, Changó can be said to be the product of logic and passion forged to achieve a strategic goal. This tension between cool reason and fiery passion forms the foundation of Changó's character and nature.

In the Puerto Rican vernacular, Changó is often associated with anger and impetuosity. To call someone un changó is to point out their unruliness, their brattiness, impetuosity, or something like that. LOL

Anger is probably the most misunderstood emotion. We spend an inordinate amount of psychic energy trying to avoid it: “venting it away,” suppressing it, indulging it, struggling with it, over-analyzing it, projecting the soap opera we attach to it unto others, blaming it for our problems. We rarely take the time to welcome it, and just be with it -- to actually feel our anger without the narrative. Anger, for many of us, is an unwelcome but powerful stranger in our lives. It’s there, just underneath the surface, lurking in the shadows, waiting to sabotage your ass, often bubbling to the surface at the most inopportune moments.

And please: I was there when you wished death on the driver that cut you off the other day. I was inside your head when you got angry at all those Mexicans coming here to destroy Western Civilization. In fact, I know you got pissed when I called you out on that bullshit about being for war though war mostly kills innocent children and women. You got pissed when I pointed out the weakness in your political analysis, or because I’m too mutherfuckin profane.

Yes you.


Anger, or rather, mindless anger, is an occupational hazard for me. My work involves promoting social and economic justice and I am often thrust against really ugly shit. It’s a difficult realization not because it’s hard for me to own up to it, but because it lays bare how much work I have ahead of me.

My work, however, has also taught me how to make anger an ally, a tool. Anger, clearly felt, without the attendant recriminations and self-justification, leads to a clear, discriminating awareness. It can become the impetus for just action. When I first went about picking up the pieces of my life, I decided I wanted to get a formal education. Someone I love dearly told me not to waste my time, that I was too old, that I should drop immature fantasies and concentrate on gaining a skill and toiling somewhere for a living wage. I was so angry, so hurt that this person would tear apart my dream just like that. But I took that anger and I channeled it, used it to motivate me, not in the sense of “I’ll show him,” but as a way to focus my energies on what I had to do to make it from point A to point B. Drawing from anger, I was able to pinpoint my focus on what I needed to do, and that anger eventually morphed into my passion for knowledge.

Truth is a loving thought. Every thought based on love is a truth. Everything else is a desperate and sometimes dysfunctional cry for wholeness. And the question remains of how I should respond to anger. How can I be justified in responding in anger to an injustice? The answer here is clear: the only appropriate response is the willingness to give with an open heart.

This doesn’t mean, however, I passively allow an insecure bully to attack me, or to accept institutional injustices go unchallenged. On the contrary, living mindfully means I feel fully and act justifiably. It also means I don’t allow myself to be smeared by the mindless fears and ignorance of those that would champion injustices. It does mean that my motivation must be based on what’s loving and true. This is hard path to tread because the temptation for moral indignation is great. But this isn’t rocket science, we all know what’s fair and when people are being unfairly treated or scapegoated. Most of us who are willing to take a look know when the game is rigged and rigged in such a way that we benefit at the expense of others. The trick is not losing my heart when coming up against the mindless fear and ignorance of those that would deny it.




  1. Anger...such a misguided emotion if we don't carefully chose how we use this energy. Anger about social injustices can be the beginning of changes if used productively.
    Personally, when I find anger's presence in my life, it creates a block to truth and openess. It requires me stepping back from my  ego and seeking balance.

  2. “Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everyone's power and that is not easy.” -- Aristotle

  3. <span>There is no way for change without passion... </span><span>we will not overcome our current problems solely with political logic. We need living rooms like those in which women once discovered others like themselves. The freedom schools of the civil rights movement. The politics of the liberatory music and arts. The pain of James Baldwin. The laughter of Abbie Hoffman. The strategy of Gandhi and King. </span><span>when we devalue our passion, our energy, our magic, and yes, our anger for the rational, passive ways of contemporary culture,we lose.

  4. Exactly...anger is a part of the human spectrum of emotions. Channeling anger apporopriately is the challenge.

  5. Thought that I would place this here...not for you but to let those that read your post the level of knowledge you are willing to share:

    "Similarly with anger. In Philip Roth's latest novel I Married a Communist, Lorraine, the niece of the central character Ira Ringold, refuses to salute the American flag at school in protest at the McCarthyite witch-hunt against her uncle. Years later, Lorraine's father, Murray, remembers how he pleaded with her. 'It's not being angry that's important, it's being angry about the right things. I told her, look at it from a Darwinian perspective. Anger is to make you effective. That's its survival function. That's why it's given to you. If it makes you ineffective, drop it like a hot potato.'"

    It is sad that we give so much power to our emotions, not understanding that we OWN them, not the other way around.

    Thanks for the knowledge!

    Im up to 19 websites, born from the one you gave me...Amazon wants to hire you for a sales position.

  6. I REALLY loved your example, Saynt, it cut to the heart of the matter. BTW, you know where I got the Aristotle quote, right> It's the epigraph for Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence." LOL


What say you?


[un]Common Sense