Anger and Desire

18 Sep

Emotion contains both information and energy. The information communicated by an emotion is often easier to appreciate than is the energy which the emotions open up to us. In order to explore a bit more deeply the notion that emotion can give us energy, let’s give some attention to this feature of our awareness in its most potent form; the passions.

All emotion potentially opens us to the energy of life… to prana or chi. But some emotions are particularly potent. Anger is one of these which, when very strong, can be termed apassion. Any strongly felt emotion is a passion.

Anger can be a particularly strong “negative” emotion in that it is the feeling we have when we are hurt as a consequence of the choices of another. As hurt is the central feature of what we call “bad” feelings, and safety and satisfaction are the central feature of what we call “good” feelings, what might we call the emotion which arises when we experience safety and satisfaction as a consequence of the choices of another? Most especially, how do we feel toward those whose choices evoke in us the feelings of safety and satisfaction?

We certainly like those people, we want to be around them, we feel attracted to them, we may even say that we love them. But we are going to be careful with the word “love” because its meanings are so numerous. Acknowledging there are many words we could choose here, we are selecting desire as the word for the emotion which arises for us when we experience safety and satisfaction as a result of what we believe to be the choices of another.

We may thus see anger and desire as polar opposites. They both arise from choices others make, but one comes from bad feelings and one from good feelings. Certainly they are not mutually exclusive. It is not as though we either feel anger or we feel desire. We can easily feel them in the context of the same relationship and we can even feel them both at the same time in the same relationship. When the other is very important to us… when this is a significant relationship (when we spend a lot of time together, have strong feelings about the other, and the other makes choices which have a big impact on us) then we are likely to have both anger and desire arise together.

Because of the co-occurrence of anger and desire in our most significant relationships and because of the impact of these passions on the ways conflicts appear to us and the ways we typically react to those conflicts, we are helped to explore more deeply the interplay between them.

As we use the word anger to describe both an emotion and the behavior we manifest when we feel that emotion, what might be some words which describe our behavior when what we feel is desire? When we desire someone we may show it by some gesture of affection. And if the affection is mutual and the sexual orientation is harmonious, we may even express the desire through sexual affection leading to intercourse.

We assume that a couple expressing mutual affection in sexual ways is feeling the emotion of desire. They want each other. We also assume that a couple expressing mutual depreciation by yelling insults at each other is feeling the emotion of anger. And we can easily imagine the same couple at different times doing both. Indeed, we may have been a part of such a couple.

But is it a part of your experience to have been in a couple in which both anger and desire were having passionate expression at the same time? It may not have been your personal experience to have been caught up in the throes of rage and desire at the same time, but there is little doubt that this happens and even often happens. We get the emotions of anger and desire all tangled up, and we especially get the behaviors of anger and sex tangled up.

If you have any doubt that anger and sex get all caught up in each other, simply consider what is both the most common and the most vile of all curse words, fuck. While the origins of the word point to sexual intercourse, when one person hisses at another, “I’m going to fuck you up,” he isn’t talking about making love.

As you consider your own awareness of how anger and desire arise for you and are expressed in your most significant relationships, I would urge you to look at how anger and sex fit for you. How do they arise together in your own experience?

For some, the idea of being physically intimate with someone they were angry at is just unthinkable. That is the last thing they would want.

For some, fighting and fucking are both forms of intimacy. They are expressions of passion in the context of their most significant relationship. The best sex is the make-up sex after a fight. Starting a fight can be seen as a form of foreplay.

But for some sex can be an expression of the anger, not a form of intimacy or a show of desire. Rape is not a crime of passion in the sense that it is not about desire. It is about anger. And for the rapist, the anger may not even be towards the victim but towards what the victim represents to him.

Whatever is your relationship to anger and desire; how you relate to these passions and how you allow them to shape your behavior when you feel them have a huge impact on your most significant relationships. Watch for how they arise for you so that your choices are ones which use the energy creatively to generate what you and your partner both need.

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(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ This is a reblog. Visit the original post here


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