This post is part of a series.
No matter how far I progress in the spiritual life, I still have a subterranean anger that defies resolution. Sure, I have days of bliss and contentment, but more often, I have a nagging anger that can display itself in insults, impatience, internet rants, or plain discontent and moodiness. Whence this ongoing demon?
Now, I have done what some might consider a lot of personal work. I’ve been through secular and Christian counseling, done inner child work, masculine identity work, forgiven my parents for their mistakes, and even forgiven my former abusive church. I practice awareness meditation and Christian prayer, and have been in and out of yoga for decades – you’d think I’d be fully equanimous by now.
So what are the possible sources of my discontent? Let’s brainstorm.
- Sinfulness – yep, maybe the Bible is correct that we are all deeply broken, and even if we have become people of faith, that brokenness is never fully healed until we get new, glorious, imperishable bodies (read the description in 1 Corinthians 15, wow).
- Damage to Self – perhaps the damage done to my self-concept during a childhood with divorced parents is something that one never recovers from.
- Sickness, Suffering, and Death – no matter how hard we try, none of us escape this life alive. Perhaps the real spectre of aging and death is something we all rage against subconsciously. Again, this makes the Christian gospel especially poignant (Hebrews 2:15)
- Denial of Self – Most of us have experienced the shift after 30 where we realize that many of the things we’ve pursued were not our call. Instead, we’ve been obeying the wishes of our families, our society, and our fears. This can lead to regret. I’ve tried over the years to navigate closer to what I feel my inner joy, bliss, and callings are. But perhaps I haven’t dug deeply enough?
- Unfulfilled Potential – Having just turned 50 (holy crap! how did that happen so fast?!?), I realize now that very few people, if any, fulfill their potential. In fact, after hearing a great lecture on “Fulfilling your calling, not your potential,” I realized that fulfilling our potential is not entirely possible in this life, nor is it necessary for contentment. But still, I envy people like those startup geeks who seem to have money and all day to pursue whatever interests them. But the grass is not always greener, is it? Just see the divorce rate among celebrities.
- Marriage – This is a sensitive subject, since I have a wonderful wife. I feel like a heel broaching the subject, but I wonder if many of us, especially men, hold out for the perfect spouse, and never find them – so we get married, but deep down we wish that we had found that imaginary perfect match – the so-called ‘soulmate.’ I think this is a hard perspective to shake, but after we get married, the dream girl has to die, and the girl we have married is the one we love – love what you have, have what you love, eh? Being angry about not marrying the perfect person, or the person who gets you totally (’cause only God really does that, so don’t put that on your spouse!) helps you miss out on life, keeps you from full intimacy, and can drive your subterranean dissatisfaction. Something to surrender to God so that you can be free.
You tell me why you are mad, deep down. Or just suggest what you think are other reasons.