fear, anger and passion

passion is an energy level

I already talked about this in this post: passion …

what about anger

Well, first: anger is a secondary mental emotion, a combination of the primary emotion: sadness, the absence of love: fear, and a mental aspect – a story: He’s taken my seat, if I do not react he will do it again – I have to show my teeth – when I did this in the past it worked too, it shows that I am strong and not to be messed with.

so you want to control your anger …

If we reduce passion to an absolute minimum, we really control emotions, primary and secondary. There is no energy left to feed them. But we then become like robots, uncreative, uninspired, without awe, without feelings. And wasn’t it a theme in SciFi literature, to give androids some feelings too?
I actually have encountered people who do this consciously. Talking to them at first gives one the impression that they ‘play’ the victim, but they do not. They don’t seem to care about anything. No passion, no anger, no love, no compassion. (indeed, no compassion without passion)

OK, so we do not touch passion,
then what:
we could try and control emotion
(at least that’s what we think).

self control and self discipline …

Control and discipline means effort: there are several ways …

repression -> we stow the problem away in the subconscious, but we get head-aches, sleeping disorder, depression or worse. In stead of getting angry and seeing that we are, there is this terrible migraine.
I often get to feel very tired when not expressing what I repress. When I identify my being tired when being asked to do the things that I do not want to do. Then I’m unable to refuse, either because of repression mechanism from childhood or out of some strange politeness (which comes down to the same thing), or because there is no other way out. I then I feel so very tired, at once!

Repression is not healthy. The energy finds its way and attacks body, emotional system and self esteem.

suppression -> consciously operating on emotion – only mind can do that, only the mental part of mind. So we all know how it works. We make fists in anger, but our words are well chosen. The anger somehow dissipates. But the energy does not disappear. The second time the same thing happens, extra energy is fed into the sleeping volcano. And the energy keeps building up. Until mind cannot control it anymore.
Either the energy gets released on the spot, or minutes, or hours later, shouting at another person for no reason (abuse of an easier victim), kicking a sign board (Vick the Vandal is born), … the energy get released.

sublimation -> using the energy of the anger – building a work of art with some mahogany board, a hammer, and one thousand 5 inch nails. Creating that very sad but extremely beautiful painting, an expression of your sad soul which refuses to release its tears.  Making music. Listening to music. …

substitution -> reaching out for a cigarette, a drink, … any addiction will do

Needless to say, this does not only apply to anger. Frustration at any level, not being able to express sadness, not being able to express sexuality, … etcetera.


A habit is shortcut in the mind. We might see that anger itself, is often just a habit. Not every action needs a reaction. Not every sadness has to be translated into fear of losing something.
We can reprogram our own mind not to react when provoked this or that way.
Like teaching a dog only to bark when strangers are around, and not at the milk man, or at shouting children.


Learn to know how your mind works, dis-identify from mind when not using it. 🙂
Anger is a reaction from the mind.

If you know how your mind and your emotions work, this can lead to the identification of anger, instead of identification with anger. I am not the anger, the anger is in my mind, but if I don’t feed it, if I don’t recall stories, the anger will perhaps just show on my face (or not), and fade away.
The anger itself will fizzle out.

However at the same time, right action can emerge. Sometimes action is necessary. Such action, when seeing things as they really are, is always compassionate and loving.

Insight is difficult, but this is what mindfulness and awareness is all about. Not identifying with mind, or anger, or shame. Seeing the stories of the mind, not acting on them. Noticing them.

A thought is nothing more than a thought.
An opinion is nothing more than an opinion.
If you can catch yourself,  that you are communicating one or the other opinion.
If you see at that moment, that this is just an opinion, just one, nothing more.
Not unlike in meditation when you are watching a thought.
Then perhaps you can also catch yourself when you want to defend, just that opinion.
And you can become aware that most opinions do not need to be defended.
They can be juxtaposed in a mosaic and looked upon from different perspectives.
And perhaps then, seeing all perspectives next to each other,
might lead you to a greater truth,
a lesser reaction,
and right action.

27 thoughts on “fear, anger and passion

  1. “But we then become like robots, uncreative, uninspired, without awe, without feelings.”

    I seek an even emotional state because it leads to a ‘free’ mind, I think- a mind that is not tethered to the Self. I can tether it to others, to nature, to the world, as needed, and DO love.

    One of the ways I am striving to do this is not so much by downplaying my thoughts/opinions, but by reducing the identities and values that lead to the need to have them in the first place. No value or identity to be defended- no opinion, judgment, etc, that need to be communicated or asserted ONTO anyone. I can just listen and be present for OTHERS, instead of for my Self, which is a fundamental part of loving them.

    ***I don’t get much chance to READ my favorite blogs as often as I’d like, and I regret having been away from yours for a while. I want to start paying more attention here. You have some great things to share and say. I sense we travel in the same direction in many ways, but diverge enough to make for very interesting reading and exchanges 🙂


    • Yes, the identities or persona, and the values, they all lead to opinions that need to be defended in one or the other way. I learned to listen over the past 10 years or so.
      I see the problem of keeping in touch with other blogs myself. It’s quite a struggle to visit most of my friends blogs at least once a week.

    • I can only wish you insight in your self, and the will to see what really is, in stead of what conventions, past and tradition try to tell us.

  2. Yes, I think anger is a reaction to pain of any kind. Irritability is a cousin to anger? What do you think? I battle with both. But this is a sore subject for me because I bristle a bit when Italians are put down for being so emotional, being an Italian American. It does, however, seem to be true. But passion is a vital force. Now I cannot remember where I read this or who said it but I have heard of yogis or monks working themselves up into a lather of anger before meditating to get the energy going and putting it into their meditation to reach higher planes of consciousness. Have you heard of such a thing? I know I read it somewhere (sorry to be so vague). So maybe passion can be a good and spiritual thing and Italians don’t have to be put down. Then of course there is Tantric Yoga. Not anger, but passion and energy utilized to reach high spiritual planes.

    • Irritability, frustration, moods, … all predecessors of anger. You could see them as a sign, or as a red alert on the ramsay meter 🙂
      There is nothing wrong with passion. It makes life interesting, within limits that is 🙂 But if you overflow with passion, mindfulness becomes much more difficult.
      I do not remember ever having read anything about yogi’s fighting with their self inflicted anger. But everything is possible in this crazy and colourful world.
      I think that playing with the energies is less important than seeing what is.

  3. I like it when referring to all thoughts and actions as, basically, opinions. They are, now that I think about it (that’s my opinion, anyway).
    Also, Vick the Vandal was my hero for awhile when I lived in repression (suppression).

  4. Anger is something that I will admit that I have struggled with. I never thought of myself as an angry person – for 50 years – I never thought of myself that way. I began to have extreme behavior problems with my older son, after the younger one was born. I had seen anger in my father. He would turn red and swell up but never hurt us physically. I was under no small amount of stress at the time from business and my in-laws (both of them at the same time) dying of cancer.

    My anger arises from frustration and defiance. I can’t really say it is just “an opinion”. However, I do appreciate any and all perspectives on doing “better” with it. I like the thought of “a lesser reaction” or a “right action”. “If you can catch yourself, that you are communicating …” “watching a thought”.

    “Insight is difficult, but this is what mindfulness and awareness is all about. Not identifying with mind, or anger, or shame. Seeing the stories of the mind, not acting on them. Noticing them.” I’ve been thinking about this one lately. Could I simply observe ? I’m feeling anger . . . what’s causing it ? . . . does it really matter ? Sometimes it does. “Sometimes action is necessary. Such action, when seeing things as they really are, is always compassionate and loving.”

    Like you say – “suppression” doesn’t work – “The second time the same thing happens, extra energy is fed into the sleeping volcano. And the energy keeps building up. Until mind cannot control it anymore.” I’ve seen it too many times. I’m convinced.

    Talking about anger is important. Hiding it doesn’t help. Understanding it – might.

    • I am going for a 3 layer approach. This is what I’ve been doing in the past 5 years:

      Sublimation is easier than changing habits, and changing habits is easier than awareness.

      Sublimation uses and taps the energy. I kind of channelled Vick the Vandal. It is important to get rid of the energy!

      Changing habits is not easy, and can only be done in specific cases that occur regularly. I learned not to get angry on the road, most of the time. That is a habit. It goes on automatic after a certain time. It only 🙂 took me one year for the traffic habit. But every habit has to be tackled on its own. Lot’s of work, but fast result for often recurring situations.

      Insight is the predecessor to awareness. Identifying with awareness can take many years, even decades. Insight through meditation is a mandatory first. Insight alone cost me (lazy me) something like 5 years. But many determined people only need 2 or 3 months.
      Insight itself, doesn’t change the unwanted behaviour, but brings it on the table, after they have happened.

      After the insight, identity can shift, but often it does not, from mind to observer. The observer is aware of what is going on, and does not feed the anger by becoming conscious of it while it arises. ‘After they have happened’, slowly becomes ‘while it is going on’ (Oh, he’s pushing my buttons – and now my buttons cannot be pushed since I know what is going on)

      does this make any sense?

      • Thanks, Bert. Sure, it makes sense. Interestingly, I used insights from responding to this blog, the very same day – with good effect. But I’ve since had one or two little melt downs. I used to really struggle with the fact that I got angry. Then, I learned about the “purpose” of anger; and anger that doesn’t have a true purpose, I would say is habitual bad humor. Anyway, anger is meant to flare up quickly – and does it ever !! It’s purpose is to provoke change. So, I suppose, if one can stay conscious enough to witness/observe, rather than react, they could while they are noticing their “buttons pushed” ask, what is it about this that I would like to change ? Perhaps, from asking that question, a method to deflect the emergence of the button pushing behavior could arise. I don’t know, but it is an interesting possibility to me at the moment.

        • Oh yah, meltdowns, they take several years to slowly evaporate until you have only 10 a year or so 🙂 – they never completely go!!! You have to put that in mind, otherwise you feel a failure in no time. If you can defuse 1 out of 10 situations, this can later go to 7 out of 10. The others won’t notice. They only see the 3 out of 10 as 3 out of 3.
          If I can get rid of my anger this life, there is no need to enlightenment at all 🙂
          Anger has no real purpose … Sadness has a purpose.
          We get angry after having explained 1 thing in 7 different ways, but getting angry is not the way they will understand. They will understand that you give up.
          In stead of getting angry we can say ‘this is so frustrating – time to take a rest and think of better action’
          I used to think, like you that some anger is justified, but it isn’t. Right action is justified but it becomes wrong action under anger. Anger is indeed a melt down. Some functions in the brain get overloaded and don’t function well any more.
          I make faces, some funny, some strange when frustrated. This helps. Very often. People do not expect this, and even after they get used to it, they still want to mimic and laughing is never far away. And the anger energy does not emerge.
          But staying conscious about myself, that ueber awareness, is not for me, yet. Need to be a Buddha, to do it all the time. Sometimes I see it, and often I don’t.
          I go for making better habits, most of the time. That seems to work for me. Habits in traffic, habit making funny faces … sometimes sublimation – using the energy.
          Sometimes running away from an explosive situation. (to cool down myself)
          Sometimes seeing what really happens … and then trying not to laugh at the other angry person … if necessary, go out for 15 minutes cool down. (I don’t need to cool down then, but the other needs to)

  5. I hope you are well again! It is amazing how you develop your own systematic approach to philosophy (or whatever field this is – I am not sure – your approach is a class of its own). Do you keep a database of all the terms you explain here (serious question)?

    • Health is a lot better, thank you.
      What I do cannot be science, since there is no object, only a subject, and no measurements, only impressions. Analysing my own mind and consciousness in an empirical way, through introspection, contemplation and meditation. So I don’t know what it is worth to anybody else.
      I have indeed been thinking of creating a glossary of terms. This is not going to be easy. I will have to rename some terms in all posts when doing this.

  6. it is only my opinion but I think anger stems from instinctual defence mechanisms and is deeply engrained in our psyches…having had issues with anger I have learned to accept my anger and not act upon it…but then I am of the opinion every emotion positive or negative is valid and doesn’t need to be justified, but at the same time doesn’t need to be acted upon, just accepted…which is a lot easier said then done

    • Yes, anger can come from deep down. Like a dog protecting its food, 2 crocs fighting to mate.
      But I do not think that our anger comes from there. We have contaminated anger. It’s our fear that makes us angry. Fear for the past repeating, so our anger protects us from a fear that is not primal either. A fear to not to be promoted, a fear to be the last to get a seat, …
      So the source of primal fear and anger, the primary emotional part is there.
      But it has become deformed into something avoidable. Into something to be avoided altogether. It has become a film of bad expectation in our head, a story with a bad ending, and we get angry. Somebody cut me in traffic. Sad, but there is no sequel. There is no reason to get angry. You park badly and while parking you hit a pole. Anger has no purpose here. I think that these days, 99.9% of our anger is like that: stories in our head.

      • “Anger is stories in our head”. I agree. Very nice.

        I have always thought of anger as the acting out of unrecognized emotional hurt. We get angry because we don’t realize we are actually hurting on an emotional level. But you make a good point: anger is expressed fear. Food for thought!

        • Yes, the pure emotion is initially sadness. Then the sadness gets connected to the anger by fear for more sadness … and perhaps also a desire not to experience more pain.

      • Wow… The synthesis of recognition in tjtherien’s comment and your response, Bert, are a very thorough review of what makes it possible for anger to arise, as well as our sophisticated perversion of it’s natural use.
        This was an outstanding piece.
        In my journey, as I tackled anger, I ran into anxiety. As I address anxiety, I stare at this illusion of a permanent “Self”. It seems like anger, fear, or anxiety really are complex emotions, unskillfully designed to protect our sense of “self”.
        I really appreciate the thought put into your work.
        Peace, Loren

        • Thank you, Loren, for the appreciation and for your contribution to this discussion.
          I don’t see fear as an emotion but as the absence of love, felt at any level of consciousness.
          As well as physical, emotional, mental and transmental. A very strong contributor to confusion, and together with mind, adding complexity to anger, greed, envy, jealousy, shame, guilt and so on.

          • Awesome. I can accept that. It sure does a great job of entangling itself with the rest of our experience, huh?

            A year or two ago, my wife introduced me to Rollo May’s “The Meaning of Anxiety” and, in essence,presented me a doorway into existential philosophy. This book was one of a handful that had an instant impact on my whole understanding of my behaviors and experiences. It also does a fantastic job of detailing the existentially functional traits of Anxiety and its contrasting partner Fear.

            Your description of fear as the “absence of love” ties in great with the picture of the unending struggle between Being and Non-Being that is experienced at every level of who we are.

            I Love It!!



            • I lost my cardboard house of metaphysics a little more than one year ago. Since then I’m in the unknowing. Very liberating.
              Love and Light to you and your family

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