You’re mad as hell. What are you doing about it?
I borrowed the title of this post from Kevin Burk’s new book, Anger Mastery. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we recognized why we are angry and knew what to do to not let it get the best of us? Wouldn’t it be super great if we could recognize what makes us angry and stop ourselves before we become an ogre with flaring nostrils and smoke coming out of our ears?
I interviewed Kevin to find out more about his new book and how it can help all of us lose the anger streak and gain the happy streak in its place.
Thank you for this interview, Kevin. In my experience, the world just seems like an angry place. Do you find that to be true?
Kevin: Without a doubt. In fact, that’s what prompted me to write Anger Mastery: Get Angry, Get Happy.
I can’t speak for the rest of the world (because I don’t have any experience of it), but Americans are angry. The amount of anger in this country today is unprecedented. The most visible way that it was manifesting at the time I was writing Anger Mastery, was through the Tea Party. Whatever your opinions of the Tea Party’s agenda, or of the Americans who have chosen to participate in this movement, what fuels the Tea Party is anger. It doesn’t matter what the members of the Tea Party think they’re angry about. All that matters is that because the Tea Party operates entirely from the consciousness of Anger, they will never improve any of the conditions they’re fighting to change; in fact, they will only succeed in making them worse.
A more recent expression of the level of anger in this country is the “Occupy” movement. Because this movement doesn’t have a set agenda, it hasn’t yet been co-opted; however, it’s no longer news, either.
I look at the political landscape, and see an unprecedented lack of civility, fueled by anger.
As much despair (and anger) as I felt about the conditions in America, I also had to face up to a difficult truth: None of this was any of my business. I have no interest in politics or government, and I’m not an elected official, so there’s absolutely nothing I can do, personally, to change the tone of the political landscape.
Still, I was inspired to take some kind of action. I just had to find a way to act that came from integrity, and stayed within the limits of “My Business.”
I can’t do anything to get other people to change their behavior; however, I can at least make it possible for others to move out of Victim Consciousness if they choose to do so. One of my particular talents is taking extremely complex, difficult concepts and making them accessible to a much greater audience. So, I wrote Anger Mastery: Get Angry, Get Happy.
Why are people in denial when it comes to admitting they have an anger problem?
Kevin: I’m not sure I’d call it denial; it’s more a question of ignorance. Our entire culture has a problem with anger: it’s considered to be unacceptable. From this perspective, people that have problems with anger are the ones who act out from anger, and are unable to control their rage. The general assumption is that if you don’t get angry, you don’t have a problem with anger.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Anger isn’t inherently bad, or inherently destructive. Anger is a powerful source of energy, like fire. And like fire, unchecked, uncontrolled, and unharnessed anger is dangerous and destructive. However, when you learn how to master your anger, you are able to use that energy in ways that are powerful, transformative and constructive. Mastering your Anger is the key to becoming truly happy.
The people who believe they don’t have a problem with anger because they never get angry need this process (and this book) most of all. What they’ve done is turned down the volume, so they don’t notice their anger, and then they invite other people to steal their energy, because they can’t use it. The problem is that you can’t just turn down the volume on the bad feelings. If you can’t feel your anger, you also can’t feel happy. And the more you suppress these feelings, and let other people steal your energy, the less happy you will become. And the worst part is that over time, you’ll forget that life could be any different than it is. Even the possibility of happiness won’t be a part of your reality anymore.
Why is reality subjective?
Kevin: No matter what you experience, it always feels real to you. When you’re dreaming, the dream is completely real. When you wake up, that feels completely real. You can’t compare two experiences and say that one feels more real than the other. Reality is subjective, because your experience of reality is defined by what you’re experiencing at any given moment.
In fact, there are two types of reality. There’s the “little r” reality, which includes everything that exists in your world. And then there’s the “Big R” Reality, which includes everything that exists, period. Your “little r” reality is a very, very, very small part of the “Big R” Reality.
The “Big R” Reality includes things like war and famine. I know that these things exist in the world; however, they don’t exist in my world. They’re not a part of my “little r” reality.
Happiness also exists in the “Big R” Reality. If happiness isn’t currently a part of your “little r” reality, then all you need to do is to change your “little r” reality, so you’re experiencing the part of the “Big R” Reality that includes happiness.
The Anger Mastery Process shows you how to do this.
How is your approach to anger unique?
Kevin: First, this approach has absolutely nothing to do with anger management. As popular as “anger management” is, it doesn’t do very much. When you manage your anger, you still experience it in painful, negative ways. The purpose of anger management is to teach you how to keep your anger to yourself, so it doesn’t bother other people. Anger management doesn’t help you to take back your power, it doesn’t help you to move out of Victim Consciousness. But most importantly, managing your anger won't help you to get happy.
And besides—anyone who’s ever worked in an office knows first-hand that “management” is a colossal waste of time and energy.
When you master your anger, however, you take back your power. You’re no longer at the mercy of your anger. In fact, when you master your anger, you make anger your bitch. The surface results are the same as with anger management—others see you as nicer, less aggressive, and less prone to inappropriate expressions of frustration and rage. That’s all on the outside. On the inside, you’re no longer miserable. You feel empowered, you feel energized, and you feel infinitely happier than you did before.
Second, I address the true nature of Anger. Anger isn’t just an emotion; Anger is also a specific, calibrated level of consciousness. I introduce readers to the work of Dr. David R. Hawkins, the foremost researcher into human consciousness. This distinction is critical, and among other things, allows you to fully understand the difference between being angry (living in the “little r” reality of Anger) and feeling angry (experiencing the energy of anger, but not being limited by the consciousness of Anger).
And third, my approach incorporates a liberal dose of humor. Seriously. Anger Mastery: Get Angry, Get Happy is laugh-out-loud funny.
After writing the book did you come away with an even better understanding of people’s anger issues?
Kevin: Aha! A trick question! After writing the book, I came away with an even deeper understanding that other people’s anger issues are none of my business.
That’s the fine line that I had to walk through this entire process. I absolutely know how powerful the Anger Mastery Process is, both from personal experience, and from observing the transformations in my clients and students who have embraced these techniques. But the most fundamental and important component of the Anger Mastery Process is integrity, which requires that I stay completely within the boundaries of “My Business.”
It’s a rather delicate balance. It means that I can write a book about anger, and make available simple, practical techniques that will absolutely help anyone to move out of Victim Consciousness and become Happy; however, it also means that it’s none of my business if anyone follows my advice or not.
What this experience has done is deepen my compassion for other people. I can recognize how much pain they’re in, because that was my “little r” reality ten years ago. Compassion is not pity, however (pity comes from Victim Consciousness). It’s not my business to get you to change your life. But if you would like my support in that process, I’m both willing and able to give it.
Can you provide us with an excerpt?
Kevin: Sure. This is from Chapter 5: The Lure of Victim Consciousness
Now that you know how to get out of Victim Consciousness, let’s explore why you would want to go there in the first place.
The appeal of Victim Consciousness is all in the marketing. First of all, they never call it Victim Consciousness; they call it First Kingdom, which tested much better in the focus groups. It sounds exclusive and lavish, and it’s first, so it must be the best.
It’s no wonder that the sales pitch for Victim Consciousness is so compelling: Desire lives in the heart of First Kingdom. The ads and billboards and commercials all promise such wonderful experiences, and in such big, easy-to-read print. You find yourself wanting these experiences so badly that you don’t bother to read the fine print. But beware: the big print giveth, but the fine print taketh away. Consider this chapter to be a magnifying glass. It’s time for you to read the fine print.
The Sales Pitch: No Pressure, No Responsibility, and No Blame
Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Is your life filled with obligations and duties that you’d rather avoid? Does it seem like no matter how often you eat all of your vegetables, you never get dessert?
Well, take a vacation from all of the pressure and responsibility of your life and spend some time in First Kingdom! Leave your cares and obligations at the door. When you come to First Kingdom, your life is no longer your problem. You don’t have to worry about deadlines or promises, or obligations. In First Kingdom, you get to focus on you.
You know what else you don’t have to worry about in First Kingdom? Consequences! If things start to fall apart (and rest assured, they will), it won’t be your fault. How could it be your fault? It wasn’t your responsibility! Sure, there will be a lot of finger-pointing and trying to place the blame, but none of the blame will ever stick to you. Because nothing is your fault, you can’t be punished or held accountable.
Isn’t it time to let someone else do the work and be responsible? Aren’t you entitled to a break? Come back to First Kingdom! We’re waiting for you!
The Fine Print
When you give up responsibility, you must also give up your power.
The reason that nothing is ever your fault is that no matter the situation, you are the victim: impotent, marginalized, abused and weak. No one expects you to succeed at anything.
When you give up your power, responsibility, and accountability, you forfeit your ability to express yourself creatively.
When you give up the risk, you also give up the reward. Being immune to blame means you are ineligible to receive credit, validation, or appreciation.
Thanks for stopping by! What’s next for you?
Kevin: I’m working on a video and planning a social media campaign to make people aware of the Anger Mastery Book Study Facilitation Guide. This is a free resource (available at http://www.GetAngryGetHappy.com) that allows anyone to facilitate a six-week class/book study on Anger Mastery. I think this is the sort of thing that many spiritual communities and churches would find extremely valuable. Plus, it’s a great way to sell more books.
You can visit Kevin’s website at www.GetAngryGetHappy.com.
To get your paperback copy of ANGER MASTERY by Kevin Burk: http://www.amazon.com/Anger-Mastery-Kevin-B-Burk/dp/0975968238
To purchase a copy of ANGER MASTERY at Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anger-mastery-kevin-b-burk/1104012568
Buy the book directly from the author at www.GetAngryGetHappy.com
Like Kevin Burk on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngerMastery