Anger is a Misunderstanding of Reality

I saw this cartoon of two fish swimming in a fishbowl and one fish says to the other, “How’s the water?” The second fish replies, “What water?”

In the fish’s world, it doesn’t even realize it’s in water. It doesn’t know any different. The reality that fish live in water isn’t even visible to the fish. So too, we live in a world of Thought, and that reality isn’t visible to us all of the time. 

When it’s not visible to us, there are some natural consequences to how we feel and behave. Take anger for instance. When things don’t go our way, when we assume we should be in a different place than we are, when we don’t like what’s happening, when we wish things were different…these are all examples of Thought creating a temporary, albeit uncomfortable, experience.

Yet, how often do we realize that? Instead we innocently blame something else or someone else for our feelings. Like the fish, we aren’t aware that our feelings are coming from Thought.

If I asked you, “how’s Thought making you feel,” you’d probably say, “What Thought?” Then you’d go on to tell me about your life, how unfair it is and how people don’t behave properly, are inconsiderate, disrespectful and hurtful.

That is the misunderstanding of reality. You have a misguided belief that a person, circumstance or situation has the power to create a feeling inside of you (anger, resentful, bothered, frustrated, or maybe mildly annoyed.) Not only is this disempowering, it’s not true. The reality is that the only way you could feel anger or annoyance is if that flavor of energy is flowing through your mind.

If you are swimming in judgment of others, self or G-d, if you have expectations about how life is “supposed to” go or expectations about how you are “supposed to” be doing in life, you are going to feel that, even when it’s invisible to you.

The reason is because we live in the feeling of our thinking. What we think, we feel. We don’t even feel reality. We feel our thinking about reality. As a natural outgrowth of feeling distress, we get reactive and act out.

However, these angry outbursts stem from the same thing: a misunderstanding of reality.  Reality is that whatever is happening in this moment is the most perfect thing to be happening. But for MY opinion that it’s not, that I don’t like it, that I didn’t sign up for this thing to be happening, I wouldn’t be feeling anger.

When I am aligned with reality (G-d’s will in this moment) and the truth that I can only experience life via Thought in the moment, all the judgments and expectations fall away. When I don’t see this truth, I get to live in the feeling of all that judgment and expectations and probably blame you for it. 

The good news is we are only ever one thought away from understanding, from being aligned, from realizing the truth.

Ride The Wave

By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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