Cyprianism finds itself in a season which includes a focus on the mastery of Wrath – Anger. This morning’s meditation had its focus there and I’ll be honest, it was not easy. Anger (and its related action, rage) is complex, to say the least. Full of subtle nuance and extreme power. And I could not state more strongly: our culture has all but lost the ability to be properly angry.
I mean, yeah, we’re angry. We’re really angry (Actually hurt, hopeless and frustrated, but we don’t realize that). That’s obvious to anyone with a Facebook account. But we’re not properly angry. And there’s a difference.
Cyprianism teaches that Anger is like fire. Fire can warm us when we are cold. Fire can help us cook delicious meals. Fire can turn iron ore into steel in a metallurgical device known as a “blast furnace”. But fire can also burn our houses down. The heat from one tiny ember smoldering on the tip of a carelessly discarded cigarette butt can destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of forest, even costing people their lives.
Fire can also beget fire without diminishing any of the power and size of the original flame. A small fire can even beget a large fire.
Fire is not a “zero sum game”. One candle lights another and we have twice the light in a room. Knock one candle over and the drapes are engulfed in flame. The whole house burns down.
Fire itself has no morality. No judgement. No religion. No thoughts of its own. No hypocrisy. It does, however, “play favorites”. It enjoys oxygen and kindling more than, for example, asbestos.
Anger is the same in all ways. Anger cannot be good. Nor can it be bad. It can only be. And it can only be if we allow it. There is no particular morality in Anger. It is we who add our own ingredients to it. We either have mastery over it, or we don’t. Most often, we don’t.
How do we know whether our Anger is being explored and exercised properly? Well, the litmus test in Cyprianism is this: Does my Anger serve Beauty? But more than that, do the actions I take because of my Anger serve Beauty? Simple. But as usual, complex and nuanced. Even though this is easy to grasp at first glance, putting it into practice is hard. It requires the “night work” involved in figuring out your truest motivations and desires.
I’m Angry because of politics. Does that serve Beauty? It might and it might not. Do my actions taken because of this Anger serve Beauty? They might. And they might not. At the end of the day, it is a very personal journey that requires a lot of “night work” and introspection. But most of all, it requires relationship. And relationships take Vulnerability (so yes, we’re back at the First Key). Remember that the Watchful Eye to which we Cyprians endeavor to submit is twofold. It is the eye of the light of our inner work. And is the eye of those around us in whom we entrust our Vulnerability – our deep, honest relationships (those are hard). Cyprians must have both for a full exploration.
I invite you to meditate on the following poem from The Seed:
when i quiver under the cool of night
i find my heat in you
when i muddle and pitch under crimson skies
you find me with light
where i might build tottering failures
you steel and brace to strengthen me
as injustice stokes unrestful embers
i commit myself to bellows
and as Kalliste is turned at ruin,
treasonous rage will mar its master
but my dignity is rite
the arsonist’s fondness for the flame
i’ll tempt the conflagration
and hold it in a tinder hand
the intensity of an ire,
slowly burning, shy of madness
will scorch the edges of emotion
and drag us poised to progress
And here’s some fun with words: Anger easily becomes Danger, but it just as easily becomes Angel (a messenger). Danger is anger that has been “added to”. Angel is anger when something has “been replaced”.