play as an antidote to anger

Try to be angry when you’re arranging fridge magnets into sentences.

Actively try to hold onto that anger while playing ‘Simon Says’ with kids or building a lego house.

Recently, I’ve been experiencing anger, and specifically, holding that anger – not simply a passing feeling. Since then, I’ve learned that a child-like play is the perfect antidote to anger (actual child not necessarily required).

First, let’s go on the wild ride* of how I reached that conclusion.

*everything’s relative

Mantra meditation: focusing and quieting the mind using a Sanskrit sound, word or phrase repeated either aloud or silently. 

The meaning of each word and even each letter in the Sanskrit alphabet is created by or exists in it’s sound. Sanskirt is an ancient Indian language used in the ancient texts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. A bija, or seed mantra, is the word or letter that contains meaning. 

I’m not typically in an angry state – it feels heavy. I was tired of it and was willing to try any magic pill. Still, I wanted to avoid any possibly addictive substance, which includes alcohol (even if it was ‘just a glass to unwind’). Therefore, I started with a Google search for alternative methods such as meditative practices specific to releasing anger. When my search results landed on ‘Sanskirt Chanting’ I thought, well, I haven’t heard that it’s impaired anyone’s life yet. 

First, I came across the Buddhist Bodhisattva Vajrapani and a simple mantra of “Om Vradrapani Hum.” Below is the video I used:

My first impression of the demonic blue depiction of the Bodhisattva is that Vajrapani has his own issues to work out first. Upon a later study, I learned his highly energized depiction is more of fierce determination of the awakened mind rather than an menacing anger. I can get behind that. Being so, I sat with this video and alternated between repeating the mantras out loud and in my head, in no particular pattern.

My intention was to follow the full 30:00 minutes, but my computer battery died about halfway into the video.

To reach nirvana, you must first make sure you’re connected to power. I’ve also read that you must repeat any mantra 108 times to get the full effect. I repeated it maybe 40 times and found out later I was mispronouncing half of it. Accordingly, it’s critical to get the pronunciation correct since it’s the vibrations of the sound affecting your internal energy (or so I’ve read).

Though I fell short of the suggested method, I still felt a rush of spark-like energy to my feet in a series of pulses and waves of energy bouncing back and forward from my left foot to my right foot. Full disclosure: I had also been leaning forward sitting criss cross, inadvertently restricting blood flow to my feet for at least 15 minutes. Sure, the needle-and-pin sensation was probably less Vajrapani and more the general workings of blood flow. As I already said, I still very distinctively found an almost jumping sensation from foot to foot. In allowing this sensation to happen, I felt compelled to sway, doing so while feeling slightly ridiculous (and reveling in that itself). Am I here to say I was being overtaken by the spirit of the Gods? Nope. 

After this initial endevour, I was still holding most of my anger. I invested 15 minutes without any transformative results. SAD. Still, a simple verbal thought entered my mind: “play more.” Was this a direct dispatch from Vradrapani himself? Did I see him appear like a genie in my bedroom out of a peppermint essential oil bottle? No, instead, it felt like a simple suggestion coming from myself, with no greater importance than if I’d thought, “hey, go grab a turkey sandwich.” Equal gospel. 

For the time being, this is what I understand meditation to be: different ways to clear space for suggestions from your own mind – and maybe more importantly, your own mind in a relaxed and stimulus-free state. 

Specifically, mantra meditation makes you focus on a specific issue, given that you’ve already been able to identity it within yourself (which is a seperate preceding challenge). I know that I’m angry, and I’m giving my mind time to settle into this condition. Could I designate the mantra “Buh-da-da-da Daaa! I’m lovin’ it” as my anger mantra and receive the same effects? Within my own experience, I’m not sure yet. Mantra meditation is an ancient practice, and I’d be interested in learning through study and practice how creating the specific sound waves changes internal energy.

*Disclaimer: Harry Potter is fiction – in reality, please only incorporate in a healthy and balanced capacity.

*Additional disclaimer: if you are a legislator of public policy, the figure in your mind does not leave your mind and affect other people.

For this reason, even if the imagery, the Bodhisattvas, or the mantras exist only in my mind, does that make them any less real? I’m stealing this idea directly from J.K. Rowling’s Dumbledore:  “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?“*

First and foremost, seek the help of a licensed therapist if anger is consistently obstructing your daily life. Otherwise, if it’s a minor, but pesky ailment, I recommend two things: 

  1. Take the time to sit with anger, introduce yourself, and have a cup  of tea.
  2. Play. Specifically, do something that takes you back to childhood. Don’t buy an adult coloring book, buy a real child’s coloring book (check a local thrift store). Part of play is imagination – do some simple, creative – lower your expectations to that of an elementary-aged product. If it’s just short of the Michaelangelo’s David, then that’s fine (for now).

In the end, there’s always something to try – keep seeking your antidotes.

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