Anger and the Self

Why do you have anger? That question is very important. Look at it...why do YOU have anger? For me, to look at this question, something completely different arises. (Different meaning something other than what would normally be expected.) Let's go into this question.

If there is anger, is it YOU that has the anger? For example, "I am angry". Can the self be separate from what it experiences? If you say, I am angry, there is immediately a duality; a separation. The self, the "I," thinks it to be different from what it experiences. But is it true?

See it for yourself. Look inside. Ask yourself these questions.

You sit where you are, and anger is something beside you, or something across from you. It is something you can have, or not have. That is how it is usually seen. But is it true? Can the self be separate from anger?

You may never see this. It could be elusive until the day you die. You may go to your grave believing that your anger is something outside of you; that it somehow comes into being and just attacks you. But this is childish ignorance.

The self cannot be separated from what it has experienced. Instead of "I am angry," it becomes "I AM ANGER." The self IS anger, not something that is experiencing anger. As long as a separation exists, as long as the self believes it to be different from what it experiences, then suffering will continue.

If anger comes about in Takuin, where is it going to go? There is no one here to receive it. There is no self that needs to believe that it is different or superior from what it experiences. If anger knocks at the door, but no one is home, then what happens?

I don't want to give away any secrets (There aren't any. What a bummer.), but this is the answer to the old koan, If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to experience it, does it really fall? Think of the tree as your anger. If you are there, if the self is there, to experience the anger, the tree falling, then it becomes a part of you. But if the tree falls, and no one is there, how can it be experienced? Do you see this?

If anger calls, and no one is there to accept the charges, what happens?

In order for there to be anger (in the sense we usually mean), there must be an entity that experiences it. Otherwise, where is it going to go? When anger comes, the self wants to separate from it, believing that suppression / repression / resistance, is the only course of action. But the resistance, or any action for that matter, that is taken against the anger, only strengthens the connection of the self to the anger, while simultaneously, separating the self from the rest of reality.

It may seem like a paradox, or at least, contradictory; How can the self be connected and separate at the same time?

When the self resists the anger, it is only strengthening its connection to the anger in order to ensure its own continuity. The self wants to live, and one of the ways it continues to do so is by hanging on to its perceived problems. If the self has a constant barrage of these little inconveniences, it can continue to exist, because the problems seem to point to there being a self that is separate from the problem. "I have the problem." That is the connection.

This action seems to point to there being a self that exists; something that is an individual. The individual wants to separate itself from everything else, otherwise it ceases to exist. Through the connection to its problems, in this example, it maintains its continuity; its individual life. But the self, the individual, separates itself from all of life, also in order to survive. That is the separation.

Do you see it?

The self resists the problem, thereby attaching to it. It gives weight to the self. Coherency. A sense of being real. But at the same time, this sense of real-ness that the self realizes through the problem, separates it from the rest of humanity. The individual events, the experiences, the problems, provide the means for the self to remove itself from everything and everyone; to escape reality through the individual. "My problems make me unique. I am different from you. You are different from me." (You can substitute "problems" for "experiences" in that sentence.)

This might seem very complicated, especially if you have never entertained any of these ideas before. But if you have never entertained these ideas, you wouldn't be reading this blog right now.

It might seem very easy for me to say this, and you might think I have an unfair advantage due to a lack of self, but that is not true. The action and movement of the self is easy to see, if you know how to look. Every action it takes is to further its own continuity. It needs its problems in order to be real. But the answer is not to eliminate the problems; there are, after all, no problems. There only seems to be, because they give weight to the self.

Please try to see this action as it takes place inside of you.

Feel free to leave your comments, but also, leave your thoughts on how this action moves in you; how it is perceived, and who, or what, is perceiving it.