Inflammation is a natural response to harmful stimuli.
What happens when the body is attacked? You break your ankle, cut yourself, burn your hand; what happens? The body releases inflammatory markers and initiates a whole cascade of events to try to heal and restore balance to the area. Inflammation serves as a method for the body to see clearly what is going on, and to implement the right tools to correct the situation.
The intended effect of inflammation is to restore the body to its natural state. To health and balance.
What happens when we are attacked? By our clients, co-workers, unruly drivers and just plain old rude people- we get inflammed! We get angry. Anger is actually a natural response to things that are out of order, things that are unjust and out of harmony (for the moment we will assume that it is not our perceptions and biases that are out of order).
But what is anger for?
Inflammation is for seeing clearly and allowing the body to dispatch the tools it needs to restore balance and health. Anger is also for seeing clearly and allowing us to dispatch the tools and resources needed to restore balance and harmony.
But let's face it, that is not the way anger goes down.
Inflammation makes no value judgements about the source of the stimulus, how or why it happened. Anger loves to say exactly whose fault it is, 'Yours'. When we get angry, we really aren't concerned with dispatching tools and resources to restore the situation, we are looking for validation, for revenge and for retribution. If anything, we don't want to heal the situation, we want to make it infected. We tell others about our injustice, we tweet about it and file complaints and work ourselves up into a real tizzy.
All in the hopes of being right.
Isn't it strange the extremes to which we will go to prove we are right. We will destroy ourselves, our relationships, our well being, our day. How many hours, days, weeks and years have we held onto anger? Are we healed yet? Are we right?
You will get angry, but use anger skillfully. Allow its intensity to let you see clearly, then dispatch tools to remedy the situation. What tools? Patience, kindness, compassion, generosity, honesty, vulnerability and patience. Patience rules the day when dealing with anger and injury.
And sometimes there will be scars.
The body doesn't try to fix or hide scars, it doesn't keep mulling over them and they no longer are perceived as needing to be healed. Once the healing process has occurred and a scar remains, it ornaments the body as a constant reminder of how much pain there is in the world. This reminder should encourage us to practice, so that when the time comes we have the tools and resources available to approach anger effectively and reduce the chances of developing another scar in the near or distant future.