Hi everybody, its been a while. Too long of a while. Life gets hectic sometimes. I thought I'd share with you something that I'm working on. I'm not entirely sure if it is an essay, or a report, or what have you. I've been deeply evaluating my sinful and virtuous nature, and here's a sneak peek. My first topic is on the Deadly Sin of Wrath, so here it is.
I lived a childhood and adolescence riddled with feelings of anger; towards myself, towards my family, towards my friends, employer, and the world in general for it’s unfair and cruel nature. As stated in my previous book, I embarked on a journey to completely overhaul my outlook of life, and followed certain, specific practices that have helped me overcome negative feelings and live in a constant state of inner peace. That being said, I am certainly fallible, if not by predisposition from my past, then by human nature, and suffer from the same negative feelings as anybody else.
The first of the deadly sins on my list to examine is commonly listed as Anger, however I opt to use its less common name, Wrath. I prefer to refer to it as Wrath, as it has a certain intonation of extremity. The reason I lean towards one over the other stems from their very definition. A quick glimpse into the dictionary and you will find anger defined as a “strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” or “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” This certainly isn’t a positive emotion, by any sense, and we would much prefer that we live a life free from it. However, it doesn’t have a sinful resonance to it. In fact, I believe that anger is an essential part to our humanity. I believe feelings of anger when we are hurt, or threatened, or we feel as though we have been wronged are crucial to our ability to stand for what we believe in. I don’t think we could feel joy or elation when we meet someone, or happen upon an event which aligns with our goals or creed in life without feelings of anger when the opposites are true. Anger has caused many great changes in our world. When a government is wronging the people, an employer causing the employees distress, or people perform harmful acts to each other, it is the feeling of anger that lights the spark in us to inspire us to stand up and make a change, or fight for our rights.
If it wasn’t for people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X becoming angry at the current state of affairs when it came to how African Americans were treated, they may not have made any progress in their struggle for equality. The same goes for the women’s rights movement, the LGBTQ movement, the Russian Revolution, so on and so forth. Anger is, I believe, a necessary emotion that enables us to stand up, and push towards a better tomorrow.
Wrath, on the other hand, is defined as “strong vengeful anger or indignation.” We may say “my father is angry with me,” or “I fear inciting my father’s wrath.” They have very different intonations. A husband who is angry at his wife may not speak with her for a few hours, and that’s one thing, but a wife who suffers her husband’s wrath, that is something else entirely.
At this point, I would like to point out, again, that in writing this, my primary focus is to conduct a thorough investigation into my current state of being, and examine carefully how sinful or virtuous I am in my life. My previous book was written for the benefit of the reader, I already practice everything i wrote about. These writings are for the benefit of myself, so that I might become a better person. My goal at the end of my investigation is to live a life filled with Virtue, while at the same time minimizing my Sin. In saying that, I also hope that while reading this, you take the time to examine your life, as I have mine, and reap the same rewards that I hope to find as I dive deeper into my own psyche.
I like to be open with my writing, and share my innermost feelings and secrets with you all. In Inner Peace Made Easy I shared stories about my life which I had never previously shared. I put out in the open my accomplishments as well as my shortcomings and failures. I fear these writings may be more riddled with mistakes and failures than they are with my successes, however, I am happy to share them, in hopes that my inquisition may benefit all of us, in some way.
I am proud to say that I consider myself fairly competent when it comes to living my life on the right side of Wrath. I have become very level headed, and that is ever strengthened by my disconnection from what you may refer to as “real life.” I spend most of my time inquiring into realms beyond time and space, and the current reality. I am much more interested in the many lives I live in my dreams than I am in the ongoings or non-goings of the waking life. I have resigned myself to the fact that this life I have been born in to is full of suffering, disappointment, hardship, challenges and struggle. I no longer fight against it, I simply accept this truth and work with it. My disconnection from reality has led me down a path with few friends and few expectations. At one point, I had a great number of friends, too many, in fact, that I was always letting someone down to please someone else. I couldn’t keep up with it all. And so in my quest for inner peace, I culled my acquaintances until I had the very select few people that I call friend and interact with, and even then, if you ask any of them, you might find that they will tell you that I am completely absent from their lives unless they are either in dire need of my support or I am in need of theirs.
That may seem unrelated, and somewhat off topic, however, I feel it lands right on the money. It is impossible for me to fight with my brother, as I speak with him on holidays and special occasions. He has no opportunity to incite my Wrath. The same goes for my sister, my coworkers, or my friends. I manage to live a life that is almost entirely free of the Sin because I have taken away the opportunity for others to call on it. The government hasn’t done anything so impactful to incite it, and my employer leaves me alone to do my job, for the most part; even my mother, who lives with me, gets very few opportunities to disappoint me or let me down on a large enough scale to summon this Sin as I spend most of my time on my own in my own private space.
For me this is perfect. I prefer to be alone, and I would rather sit alone and ponder life, the soul, the universe, so on and so forth than to interact with other people. I could be the poster boy for introversion. Some people prefer company. I believe most people do. We are a social animal, and we crave social interactions and social status. It is hardwired in to us to acquire status, and to work as a tribe. I would never suggest to anyone to become as distant as I am. In fact, I feel a lot of guilt. I feel guilt constantly. I know my father would love to hear from me more often, I believe my siblings would love a phone call once in awhile. I know my mother would love for me to tell her about my day, about my successes, failures, worries, relationship, plans and dreams. But that isn’t who I am, and if any of them are reading this, please accept my apology.
But the point is, I give others very few chances to upset me, and so I rarely feel Anger, let alone Wrath, except, of course, for when I do. I can count on one hand, with a finger to spare, how many people have been subject to my Wrath. Unfortunately for them, and for me, my Wrath has always brought tears. On none of the four occasions have I not done an immense amount of damage to the victim who suffered it, as well as myself, there have been tears on both sides, every time. Not only were tears shed by the recipient of my Wrath; in every instance I have shed them as well, and I remember and carry the burden of guilt for each instance. I suppose the immense damage done to myself and others is the very reason why Evagrius Ponticus named them Deadly Sins. Worse yet, three out of four of the victims of my Wrath have been my biggest supporters, people I love dearly and, in times of clarity, are people whom I would swear an oath to never hurt.
I am proud to admit that I have only attacked, never physically, mind you, four people in a state of Wrath. I am loathe to admit, however, that even for all of my training on attaining inner peace, the last time was but last week. Somebody very dear to me made a decision that was important for their own well being, simultaneously breaking a promise to me which was important for mine. I was counting on them, and, as I said, I count on very few people for even fewer things.
I wish that I would have been able to step back and think things through. I wish I could have fallen back on all my practices of inner peace and drawn the strength I needed to view the situation from their viewpoint to better understand what was happening. However, being human, my cortisol spiked, and I drew both guns and held nothing back. In the short span of a couple of hours, I had done two life times worth of emotional damage to them, to myself, and to our relationship with each other.
What could I have done differently? What could I have done to prevent this slip in to the devastating Sin of Wrath? I will give it careful thought and meditate on it, and return to it later in the book. We can never undo what is done, but a phrase resonates in my mind, “What is broken can be reforged.” I hope that in the future I do less reforging, and simply find a way to choose a path free from Wrath.
I will spend a great deal of time pondering this and return to it later in my writings. Hopefully I can come up with an answer.