Previous post: Some prayer exercises
Monday morning, Pastor asked me to pray about some anger management issues among our youth. Some have been somatizing their anger, e.g. having seizures; others have got in fights at school. Tuesday morning it came to me that I have already reported a number of techniques to use, in the previous post above. The new notions that came to me are here below.
It won’t be feasible for me to teach these to the children myself, since Youth Group meets on Sundays after the deadline for me to get back to the shelter. But some of them may be usable in Children’s Sermons.
This is a different version of “Trash Day,” to be used in the moment that some hater may be bullying you.
Judaism teaches that your soul is “a spark (Hebrew: nitzotz) of the divine” — a tiny portion of the actual stuff of God. It is, as it were, a living fire. If you were to see it as it is, you wouldn’t be able to look at it for more than a split second, it’s so bright.
Your soul is more brilliant than this.
This is the real you. A welder’s torch is so bright, the welder must wear a mask to protect his or her eyes. Your soul is more brilliant than that. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world,” and this is what he meant.
You deserve to be in awe of yourself.
You can use this fire when people are attacking you.
Imagine their negativity as darkness coming toward you. Let the fire within you flame up, enough to consume (burn up) all that negativity as it comes, to produce even more light and positive feelings that you can send back toward the person. Be sure that your speech and actions correspond to this light, rather than to the person’s negativity.
As a last resort, …
… if you have a ton of rage you can’t get rid of any other way, you can let yourself throw a planned, non-destructive tantrum. At a convenient time and place, take the trash can (or, better, the recycling bin), and wild out on its contents. Pour all your rage into ripping, tearing, wadding up, crushing. Tin cans and plastic bottles are good; they can absorb a lot of energy.
You won’t be hurting anything: all this stuff is trash already.
When you’re done, while you clean up the mess you made, be proud of yourself. You can brag: “Now. I sure showed them!”
One may be surprised that I invite you to think of a tantrum as a prayer exercise. So it is.
Keep yourself “regular”
Make it part of your daily prayer life: seek to cleanse yourself of anger every day. Then you’ll be less likely to get a “load” of anger all built up (constipation) that may come out, destructively, all at once.
About sacrifices and burnt offerings
The Jews had a complicated system of sacrifices for all sorts of purposes, including the forgiveness of sin. These included “burnt offerings.”
In a burnt offering, the sacrificial animal — a goat, sheep, or bull — was put on top of the altar, a platform made of stones. The priest killed it there, and then the whole thing was burned, “turned into smoke,” until nothing was left.
The sacrificial animal was said to be “devoted to destruction.”
This seems to me to be a ritual and symbolic representation of something human beings need to do — sacrifice. It is not something God needs. But on those occasions when dreams and expectations are broken beyond repair, the formerly positive energies (feelings) associated with them become negativities, toxic and trash. They must be “devoted to destruction.” We need to “give them up” — sacrifice them — be purged of them — in order to get on well with life.
A number of the prayer exercises I’ve described here enable one to do that. The difference is, instead of using the fire on the altar, they use the fire of one’s soul.
Originally posted 2015-11-05.