It is 3am, Liver time in Chinese Medicine, time when latent anger arises stirs the mind with a slurry of thoughts and dreams. The Liver channel is associated with the element of wood and the emotion of anger. When there is lots of wood around there is a-lot of potential fuel for fire. I spoke yesterday to a spiritual teacher of mine moments after a not so Zen moment of blazing anger towards someone who where I come from rightfully has it coming. My wife Jen intervened momentarily and saved the guy from certain verbal annihilation. That and the fact that he refused to pick up the phone (smart choice on his part), but continued to text me. I was ready to burn that relationship to the ground just like the fire burning 20 miles east of us. I had some not so nice thoughts and words to describe him. (For the Sebastopolians.... I am a Taurus, very slow to anger, but once we are there you will NOT win that fight). In other words, I was out of my f&^*(#% mind. Moments later I see "David Radin" on my caller ID, otherwise known as Yoshin in the Zen world. I thought "Shit, How does he know? Did Jen call him?" Serendipity & synchronicity (best words ever!). So funny that in my most un-zen moment in the last 10 years that he calls. After some brief pleasantries and reassurances that we are safe from the fire, due to the offshore winds at our house, he says to me that he wishes the winds continue to blow in our favor. I answer back "It may be" in Zen non-attached fashion (and a play on the title of his excellent CD "May it be so"). We both giggle, the student becomes the teacher. Whew, back to Zen mind.
But not for long, for the fires of Anger and high testosterone were still smoldering in me and flamed up at 3am (I.e right now as I am writing). Interesting lesson, just be cause I get my mind back to Zen land does not necessarily mean that my body is not still jonesing to do something with all the adrenaline. For me that means writing (thanks for reading!), I am not really a crier, fighter, ect, but I am a writer and process heavy things with written word. (I am already feeling calmer). I also process through heavy exercise. When my patients come to me where health issues that have Anger at the core, I will usually tell them the story (woe to the patient that gets stuck in my office hearing a teaching story, sorry for being late staff!) about the Samurai and anger, first heard on Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth Series with Bill Moyers. Or the one about the Samurai and Monk...
So of course I tell myself those stories and it enrages me more! Some Mafiaesque ideas come to mind. The thought of me breaking someones kneecaps makes me laugh. Then I realize I should get up and write and here we are!
As the flames continue to burn and emotions run high, remember there is a mind and body component to this process and it will take mind and body practices to come back to center and put the fire out. Mind processes: reading ("When things fall apart" is a good start!), writing, talking, meditating... Body processes: Running, yoga, power yoga (aka Martial arts!), surfing, breath work... and yes I know some of these over lap, Mind and Body are one unit.
If all that does not work then you are stuck with Thich Nat Han, if that little yoda-monk does not help with his soft calm water voice than nothing will! Occasionally fire and anger need to burn hot to get things done. Anger is useful, people got angry and now I am not a slave. Sometimes things need to burn to the ground to allow something new to emerge. What do we want to rebuild? We got this, I can't think of a better place to rebuild in a way that makes the future brighter. So let's chop our wood and carry our water. And for goodness sake, get the leaves off your roof!