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The Anger Sword Intro

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Hi everyone.  Here is the introduction from my new non-fiction book on anger management called The Anger Sword.  This book will be released in 2018.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Introduction

How this book should be approached

 

Dear Reader

If we can be brutally honest with one another, I am probably not the best person to be writing a book on anger management.  Throughout most of my life, I have functioned with basically two emotions: Rage and barely suppressed rage.  In my almost fifty years of circling the sun, I’ve learned to live with it.  Hell, sometimes I can even control it, but there have been plenty of video game controllers thrown through television sets, or dates with my beautiful wife that have had to be cancelled because I punched the steering wheel and now she has to take me to a hospital to get my broken hand fixed.

Since you’ve picked up this book, I’m going to assume that sometimes anger takes over your decision-making process, and you would like to change that.  Good on you!  Self-mastery is an art more people should practice, after all who wants to be the person screaming at the barista at six o’clock in the morning, or who makes your coworkers hope you don’t own an assault rifle.  To reward you for your efforts, I’m going to let you off the hook before we even hit page one.

It’s okay to be angry sometimes.  Even Jesus was known to throw a table or two.

I know, right?! Who would have thought it?  Because of your outbursts you have probably been told at some point in your life to ‘get over it’ or to ‘just let it go’ or perhaps you’ve even scored the all-time worst thing a person can say to someone with anger management issues…’calm down’ (My daughter’s personal favorite is ‘have you taken your medication today?’)  In case you’re someone reading this book with hopes of possibly having a greater understanding of a loved one’s issues with anger, these phrases should be immediately added to your do-not-say-ever list.

Whatever new-age things you might hear like ‘anger is fears bodyguard’ or that being occasionally pissed off means you have some deeply buried issues to deal with, anger is a perfectly natural human emotion.  If you don’t believe me, go buy something from Ikea and then try to put it together. We’ve all experienced it, and if you’re paying attention, there’s a lot of things in the world to be pissed off about.  Bad things are going to happen to you during your life.  People can be mean and our society is in no way fair.  To me, it would be a little odd if you didn’t get angry when these things happen.

Anger can be a destructive force.  The Buddha once said that being angry with someone is like drinking poison hoping they will be the one to get sick.  While I can understand this analogy, it has never resonated with me.  I think it’s because if I was angry enough with someone to try to kill them, I don’t think I would do it with poison.  Poison isn’t visceral enough for me.  I want to feel their skull being crushed in my hands or be able to look into their eyes while trying to savor the moment (I know these are not very Buddha like thoughts, but now you might better understand why my website is called www.theworstbuddhist.com).  To help me better understand the parable of the poison, I came up with something called The Anger Sword.  The Anger Sword is just like any other sword except that it has rows of needle sharp spikes all along its handle.  There’s no way to use this sword without the spikes sticking through your hands.  This doesn’t mean that the sword will never be used, but we understand the pain we will endure by wielding it.

We all have had those moments where we’ve said or done something in anger that we later wish we could take back, but if we can have the inherent understanding that functioning from a place of rage more than often leads us to this place of regret, perhaps we will find different solutions to what frustrates us.  “Hulk Smash,” is cool in the comics and movies, but it might not be the best maxim to live your life by.

Victor Frankl said “between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom.” You can feel all the anger you want, what I’m going to suggest in this book is that you don’t always have to act on that anger.  When the gossipy coworker spreads a rumor about you that isn’t true, it’s perfectly normal to be mad about it.  Just don’t take the scissors from her desk and cut out clumps of her hair, okay?

This book will provide many ways to recognize that space between the stimulus which angers us and our reaction to it, and how to use that space to our advantage.  There will be examples from my time in the Marine Corps to the years I spent as a Buddhist monk, from medication to meditation, from the Socratic Method to jiu-jitsu, and everything in between.  Oh, and let’s throw a healthy dollop of humor in there as well, because the first step in controlling you anger is not taking everything so seriously.

Bruce Lee once said that if you want to learn something, you shouldn’t copy what another person who possesses that skill does, but rather seek the things they sought.  With that spirit in mind, I hope you will look at me as the woodshop teacher who is missing three fingers and half an ear.  I might not be able to show you how to build a Fein violin, but I can damn sure keep you from sticking your hand into the band saw.

 

Thanks for reading

Darren

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