“Dare Greatly,” “Dream Big,” “Just Do It.” These are the war cries of our times. I know this because I have all the throw pillows, athletic gear, and books. These ideas are powerful and they resonate deeply in many of us.
Yet before we can even finish sewing the flag and assembling the marching band for battle, we become crippled by the real problem—we don’t know the thing, we are to just do; we don’t know what the big daring dream is. Dammit.
How am I so sure this is the fundamental issue? Because if we really knew what we were here to do, we would just be doing it. This is also why we stay in self-denial—because if we know, then we would have to do it. The conundrum emerges.
The hardest question we all face is: to know, or not to know. Knowing, also known as consciousness, is what we all ultimately seek. Our purpose and destiny doesn’t exist as a big daring dream except when we view it from relatively lesser states of consciousness.
The “big” you are to dream and do is simply effortless and will astound the world. Who you are feels glorious and the wisdom about yourself is truly effortless. It also just feels normal, which is why most people don’t feel normal. If you find it hard knowing what to do, it simply means you’re hiding your wisdom. The daring part of this endeavor is deciding to allow yourself to be conscious again.
When we shut down our wisdom, I call it the Universal GPS Within, the world cannot make sense. Remember we are designed to know things before they happen, and know everything about our destiny. When we block this ability, this is what I refer to as self-denial. We do this to protect relationships and eventually the pain becomes too big to contain.
In self-denial, there is always pain beneath the surface that we are managing. This pain is easily triggered to “big” status when something happens that we did not predict. As a coping skill, we develop a posture to manage our environments so that we never need to address the underlying pain of self-denial.
This is the anger posture we observe in many. Anger is extremely effective. People either submit and become your minions, or they eventually leave. Either way, relationships suffer, people suffer, and lives erode.
I think anger is the most complex and irrational things we as humans must get a grip on in order to have meaningful, peaceful lives. By irrational, I mean it feels so completely justified in the moment and never yields us meaningful relationships or a headstone for which we will be proud. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Anger has us believing we are the victims and behaving like we are the villains. [/pullquote] Anger somehow justifies itself so we never have to climb out of it. We awaken to see ourselves very much like the proverbial toddler raging in the grocery store about candy.
Indeed, the trajectory of angry people is not good. Angry people who do not learn about their anger and how to manage it end up jobless, in rehab, divorced, or in jail.
The only thing you are to learn from anger is that it does not ultimately work. It may get you some great make-up sex, but it cannot bring you true intimacy, peace, wisdom, or a life for which you will celebrate in the end.
Anger is the easiest recognizable symptom of self-denial. But anger is hardly the only posture we adopt to control the environment so that we never have to proceed on to our destiny.
When we can’t predict our world as we are designed to do, we will try to create a world and culture that we can predict. We will practice many forms of controlling our world, from hyper-planning of family schedules and work schedules and the planning of futures and finances, to organizing and cleaning.
To control our relationships, we will develop an arsenal of controlling behaviors such as aggression, passive aggression, and manipulation. These behaviors all stem from fundamental self-denial and make us super popular everywhere we go. Right?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that the cost of anger and self-denial at any price is too high. There’s a point at which we all arrive when we have all scorched enough earth, that we become bolder about healing our lives.
The quickest way to heal is to decide to get help with your anger. The best way to heal is to start dreaming again. Both are intertwined.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time now, you know my fundamental answer to all states of imbalance.
Do nothing, until you know what to do. By this, I mean get rebalanced before you act and create harm to others. This is the practice of learning to know before you do and how we uncover our destiny (as well as honor your relationships).
The rule when you feel triggered into anger, which I describe as the feeling of ramping up the emotional state and then lashing out, is the practice of moving it in and down.
The “in and down”—yes it is a strange visual—is not about further blocking the anger but shifting to a posture that unblocks the anger, allowing it to wash through you so the wisdom emerges from it. It is moving from “You suck, I’m taking you down” to “I don’t understand (and I may be hurt) and need a break to figure this out.” You see that anger is the wall to protect you from having to be hurt or feeling the underlying pain of self-denial. Anger allows you to stay in hiding.
Next week we will dig deeper into what’s underneath the anger in us all, and I will outline the practices that helped me shift out of the anger posture.
This week’s assignment is to dare yourself to know what the big dream you are to just do might be.