We make excuses for our anger, grief, and other emotions — let me explain…
It is clear that there is a cause for your anger, grief, fears, sadness, depression, anxiety, or whatever else is part of your personal experience. But this cause is you and not the object you are blaming it on. There is no object and has never been an object.
The subject and the object are the same thing
There is no denying your feelings, but you can’t begin to understand your own suffering until you come to know yourself by observing the very nature of the sense of self — how you think, where thoughts come from, whether there is stability in the self, what you tend to think about, what ideas have conditioned your way of thinking and your self image, etc. And, most importantly, the sense of self contains all of the emotions that exist, as its contents.
Does this make sense? If not, I’ll rephrase it: The self is a perceived fragment of consciousness, and as consciousness it contains all that exists within consciousness, including anger, greed, fear, and the rest of the contents. Therefore, no matter what you do or what course you take to free yourself from anger, for example, you cannot do it as the self.
If and when you can actually observe the dark corners of the self then some important facts become evident, including that the subject and object are not separate from one another. You are what you contain.
There are two perceived fragments at play that are part of our experience as human beings: the subjective and the objective. I use the word “perceived,” because the fragments are perceptions and not actual. The subjective sense of self is who you take yourself to be; and the objective, so-called “out there” reality, includes the situations, phenomena, ideas, memories, and circumstances that cause you to feel certain emotions and think in certain ways. We’re dealing with a divided mind that has split the sense of self into the subjective and objective, when in fact they are one and the same thing; a continuous, undivided fluid wholeness. It’s not so easy to see this as a fact, even if you get it intellectually, unless you were to observe it without the use of the self.
The self is the contents of consciousness
This is redundant, but it’s a difficult point to get: If you were to really delve deeply into the self you would find that it is made up of every possible ingredient of consciousness, including all the emotions, feelings, experiences, phenomena, fears, joys, failures, archetypes, successes, and so on. This is what you are made of, all of the contents in totality. It’s what we are all made of. When you say “me,” this is what the “me” is, fundamentally. Strangely, though, the “me” believes it is separate from its contents, which is why it believes that its anger is different from someone else’s anger and that anger is apart from itself. The self, which is the “me,” needs to attach the anger to an object, a cause.
The “me” believes it is separate from all that is in the objective world of phenomena, ideas, thoughts, expressions, and so on. For this reason, the “me” is always trying to qualify and quantify itself, saying, “I am this” or “I am that.” And it will say, “I am nice, you are selfish,” or “I am a good person and he is a bad person.”
Anger and other emotions are the same for everyone
Anger is the same for everyone, to use an example of one emotion out of a whole cache of emotions. There are not two angers, just as there are not two or more happys or multiple kinds of exhaustion or airs. Still, the “me” says it is angry because someone hit her car with a shopping cart, or because his boss was mean and made him work overtime on his anniversary.
The ‘me’ objectifies the world of expression and phenomena
The “me” objectifies everything, psychologically speaking. Of course, practically speaking , we need to objectify things or we’d always be running into walls, falling off cliffs, and talking only to ourselves. It would make playing the piano or bowling impossible. Psychologically, when we objectify the reason for our anger we are perpetuating a false relationship with the objective world, which is the notion that there is a separation between the seer and the seen, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience, and the anger and the one who is angry.
It is this false sense of separation that is at the root of our problems. It is proof that the “me” does not own up to what it actually is, and it is the reason why the self (“me”) is always in a state of conflict. And this conflict leads to immeasurable suffering for us as well as those with whom we interact on every level, from personally to societally to globally.
This is no easy concept to grasp, because it takes a great amount of enquiry into the nature of the self to see it clearly.