The second Reiki Precept or Affirmation is:
Just for today, I will not get angry.
Anger is something that I have thought about a lot. My first inclination was to change the wording of this precept to reflect a Truth about anger:
Just for today, I will not CREATE anger.
Anger is not something that you “get” like the flu. You don’t catch it; you create it by deciding that you don’t like or want something that has come into your life. Byron Katie would say that you are at war with “what is.” In religious terms, you are saying that God got it wrong and you are not pleased with the current divine plan.
Anger feels like it just pops up on its own. But the reality is that a thought has always preceded the anger. It happens SO fast that you might not notice. But if you slow down and look deeper, you can always find a thought that contains some way that you are judging the world to be wrong. You have a belief, desire, or expectation that is not being met – a trigger thought – so you create anger about it.
Going another level deeper, underneath the anger is always some kind of fear. We feel threatened in some way, and that usually boils down to a form of survival – of our ego, of our place in the world, of our economic survival, of our loved ones. If you identify the trigger thought, you can find a deeper fear in it, and that is what gives it the emotional content, that sense of being out of control and at the mercy of an unfriendly universe. When we are in stressful situations, the triggers become hair triggers – ready to go off at the smallest provocation.
Some people use anger to scare others into doing what they want, or to scare them away. It’s a tool, but not a very effective one. I think the angriest people are often the most fearful in their core. But the only thing that feels worse than being around an angry person is being an angry person. Living inside a heart full of anger and a head full of fear is not fun.
So anger is an automatic emotional response that we use to defend and protect. Freedom comes from learning to see its roots so we can unhook from these negative emotions, to turn off the autopilot and chart a course to a more fulfilled life.
However, that ain’t easy. It takes a lot of practice, although it gets easier the more you do it. And most of us still end up creating anger more often than we like. The idea of never getting angry seems unattainable. So I went for yet another wording:
Just for today, I will not BE angry.
What I mean by that is that I will not stay in anger. Although I will likely visit it from time to time, I don’t have to rent a room. If I watch my mind at all, I can easily notice that I have slipped into anger, and then I can choose not to stay there. I can identify it and then move on through, like a stop on the subway. “Oh, there I go, creating anger again. Well, let’s not get off at that stop.”
I can let go of anger, see it as something that comes and goes, instead of getting sucked in by its powerful emotional content. Anger is not what I am, it is not where I live and breathe and have my being. I can choose not to wallow in the seductive qualities of being right, perfectionism, or deserving “better.” My happiness and peacefulness are not dependent on outside circumstances. When I know that in the depths of my soul, I do not need anger.
Just for today, I will choose to live at a higher vibration.