Most Silent Sundays do not begin by conjuring “vomiting,” as signaled by today’s title. If one thinks further, however, it is not hard to link the verbal or behavioral spewing of an emotion to emesis. If one ingests tainted or allergenic food, vomit helps to cleanse the system of the perpetrator; when one harbors distasteful emotion, such as anger, harsh words may be regurgitated. Unfortunately, when one emits emotion in this way, the emesis of expression does not purify; it stokes the inner dis-ease and aggravates the external consequence.
For several months, I have been actively engaging with the causes and continuances of anger from personal yesteryear. I am beginning to notice a direct link from the past; a through line as I have aged; and a new manifestation of and target for my angry reactions to very specific situations and types of people. In all of this, I am slowly recognizing the great gift of “triggers.” It has recently dawned on me that a person who is relatively new to my life may be the very annoyance that I need, in order to observe and recalibrate my typical response to a special brand of anger.
Said person is, frankly, not one who inspires compassion and empathy: Most who cross her path are either dismayed by her words in the moment; or, perhaps worse, taken in by her fleeting friendliness, only to be later stunned when she turns. The key, I believe, is to maintain one’s ethos, steadfastness, and equipoise in every encounter with this person (or any other who “sets you off”). Although I have managed to do so most of the time, my “nemesis” returns time and again with a different, out-of-the-blue bone to pick (on bones that have been picked clean long ago).
As this pattern continued over the course of the last several months, I consciously began practices and meditations whose aim was to conquer or diffuse inner anger; recently, I embarked upon a 40-day kriya to repair damage of long-held anger. And then just yesterday, Nemesis threw another curve ball, one that landed on a tender spot in my heart and psyche. My response was silence, despite the fuming words forming in my mind: The pathway from thought to tongue was clear for take-off, yet I remained silent; as I battled to not inflame the situation with my own broiling vitriol, I suddenly recognized the futility of engaging. My aim would have been to override her goal, and a battle would have begun. My response would have been the ingredient necessary to create conflict: It takes two to tangle (pun intended).
As I nodded and walked away, she, too, let the moment drop. I became aware that the time spent dredging, identifying, addressing, feeling, and navigating a new approach to old anger was beginning to make inroads. Although today’s practice focuses on anger, it also provides a general release of damaging emotional detritus; this allows the inner sanctums to be replaced with insight and equanimity.
To begin the emesis of bone-deep, detrimental emotion, lie on the ground, on belly or back: Wriggle. Squirm. Tense and release at will: face, hands, toes, belly, shoulders. As you work to roust and awaken feelings of which you may not even be aware, let any sound issue forth. As the organic unwinding and verbalizing continues, note any particular areas of stickiness, and any oft-repeated sounds. Continue for 5 minutes. (You may still yourself, take a steadying breath break, or otherwise gather yourself at any point; then, recommit to writhing and sounding.)
When you have finished writhing and releasing, lie on your back (if you are not already there). With the entire body, create the shape of a crescent: Bring both legs as far to the right on the floor as possible; curve the body down to the right, keeping both shoulders on the ground. The left arm may reach up by the ear, or remain down by the side. Stay in this deep left-side opening stretch for 1 minute. Then, bend the crescent to the left, creating a stretch for the right side; remain here and breathe steadily for 1 more minute.
From your back, roll to one side, and come into a seated posture: crossed-leg, Lotus, or legs stretched straight out. Using your hands to help lift you, inhale as you raise the buttocks off the ground; exhale as you drop them back down. Find a rapid, consistent pace: Continue these Body Drops for 3 minutes. (If your wrists begin to ache, fist the hands to stabilize the joint.)
Next, still seated, draw the knees in toward the chest, and wrap the arms around the legs to create a ball of your body. Inhale as you rock back on your spine; exhale to rock up. Continue this playful movement for 1 minute.
With the nervous system thoroughly stimulated, sit quietly in your favorite mediation pose. Place one hand in the palm of the other, both palms up, hands nestled in to the low belly. As the breath steadies and deepens, turn your closed eyes up to gaze at the Third Eye. With your innermost self attuned to the Spiritual Eye, take a mental journey through your life: Ponder recent moments and long-ago memories in which your emotions seemed to be a significant factor in the outcome of a situation. Note any patterns resurgences of a particular feeling, circumstance, or persona. Contemplate in this manner for 5-11 minutes.
When you are ready, stand up. (If standing is problematic for you, you may remain seated and participate with the arm movement only.) If standing, begin to run or march, knees high; concurrently, alternate punches forward. With each punch, exhale: The pace of your movement will dictate the pace of your breath. Continue for 3 minutes.
Now, help yourself to the floor, and come into a plank posture (as if preparing to do a push-up). In the held plank, begin Breath of Fire: Keep the eyes open, gazing intently to a spot slightly ahead of you on the floor; continue for 1 minute.
Lower down from plank, and shift back into Baby Pose; remain here until the breath quiets and resumes steady, full respiration. Then, rise up onto all fours, and begin Cat/Cow spinal flexes: Inhale as you arch the spine into Cow; exhale to round the spine fully into Cat. As you move and breathe, consider how you would like to respond to a situation that previously may have unnerved you or tested your commitment to spiritually minded words and actions. With this in mind, attach a mantra to the Cat/Cow flexes: Chant, “Ong,” in Cow; “So Hung” as you round into Cat.
This mantra provides potency for whatever you intend to achieve: In this case, the desired outcome is one of “being and doing better,” despite external provocation. Continue the spinal flexes with mantra for an additional 3 minutes.
To finish your practice, sit comfortably, hands in Prayer Pose at the Heart Center. Turn your closed eyes up to gaze at the Third Eye. Find the innate melody and harmony of your breath’s rhythm. Breathe in this simple, traditional posture for 3-5 minutes. Then, ease into Svasana for at least another 5 minutes.