Fixing Your Fire - 015 Anger | Irrational Anger
Wind-of-Fire-of-Fire: Enraged At Everything
With siyata d’shmaya, we continue to explain the element of fire and the trait of anger which stems from it. Now we will discuss the particular kind of anger that stems from wind-of-fire-of-fire. As mentioned earlier, this is a kind of explosive anger, in which the anger is spreading to many different directions.
It is similar to the nature of wind, which can blow in any of the four directions of the earth; hence, this kind of anger stems from “wind” (the direction) of “fire-of-fire” (intense outbursts of anger).
Let’s try to understand this better. Usually, when a person is angry, there is something that triggered the anger. He has some “reason” which provoked the anger, and sometimes, the anger spreads past that “reason” and it goes beyond the rational understanding of the anger. A person might become angry about something else as he’s in the midst of what he’s actually angry about. This is when anger “drags” him away from the original reason of his anger and pulls him further into the anger, where he finds more things to get angry about, as soon as his mind begins to think about those things [we discussed this in the previous chapter].
Sometimes, when a person is very angry about X, he will get angry as well over Y, just by merely thinking of Y, simply because his anger is already fueled. That is what anger may do – it becomes irrational, because it can ‘drag’ a person away from the logical reason that triggered his anger, and it ‘drags’ him into things which he really has no logical reason to be angry about.
Once he’s already burning with anger, he might not need any particular reason to keep the anger going, because the anger will continue to burn even when there’s no reason right now to fuel it; so he will get angry about other things that he really has no reason to be angry about. It is not because he’s trying to find new reasons to be angry about; it is just that he is [subconsciously] trying to release the anger from its potential state into its active state.
In the particular kind of anger that stems from wind-of-fire-of-fire, a person will get angry even about things that he has no reason to be angry about. We can see this kind of anger commonly in children. When a child becomes angry, and we try to calm him down by giving him a candy, he might be angry about everything and anything, and he’ll get even more upset when we try giving him the candy. This doesn’t make any sense, because he really does want the candy; if we would offer it to him when he’s calm, he would run to grab it. But when he’s raging, he will be angry about everything, and it doesn’t matter what. Even if we give him the best thing in the world, he will get more upset. This is an example of total “katnus mochin” (small-mindedness) that can result from anger.
In children you can see it plainly, but it also exists on a subtle level in some adults. Adults are usually more mature than children, because by the time a person has reached adulthood, he has developed some kind of balance between their intellect (mind) and their heart (emotion), to a certain degree; which we will soon explain more about. There are some adults who have tempers like immature children, and they get angry about everything that they think about, as they are in the midst of an intense fit of anger.
However, even an adult with the worst temper can restrain himself if he knows that the anger will somehow prevent him from something he desires very badly. So even when a person is amidst intense anger where he’s feeling angry about everything, he is still able to maintain some level of self-control. But if there is nothing in particular that would motivate him to hold himself back from the anger, he will ‘fly off the handle’ in his anger and get angry about everything and anything that he encounters.
Sometimes this kind of anger is expressed in even mature adults. If a child has done something that angered one of his parents, the parent may get very upset with the child and then he will get angry at all of his\her other children as well, even though the other children didn’t do anything. He\she has no reason that is motivating the continued anger, yet he continues to express rage. Everyone that he encounters then will suffer; his\her spouse, the neighbors – anyone. It doesn’t matter if he encounters another in person, or if he just thinks about another person then – he will get angry at that person whom he meets or thinks about.
There is no true reason that is causing him to get angry at any of these people. Once he has become angered, his anger will burst out into all directions. Obviously, there was something that triggered the anger in the first place. It may even be a silly reason, but there has to be some reason that triggered the anger.
So far, we have mentioned the example of a person who unleashes his anger on everyone in his close surroundings, once he has become angered from one of the family members. In some of these homes, the children become so afraid from the temper of this parent that they will all flee into their rooms once they sense that the angry outburst is coming, because they are simply terrified of being in the direct surroundings of that parent.
Two Possible Factors: Shutting Down Of Rational Mind, and Temporary Insanity
A person with this kind of terrifying temper simply loses self-control at whatever is taking place inside of himself then. There are two factors here to consider. When a person loses control as he’s raging, it can either because his mind totally shuts down then and he can’t think rationally, or, he might be experiencing temporary loss of mind – to a certain degree.
The Four Abilities That Can Balance Anger
Let’s explain this more deeply. In the earlier chapters, we have essentially been explaining how to use the following four different abilities that can balance anger [and, in turn, these things go lost when a person is very angry]:
(1) Ritzuy (or ratzon) - Appeasement.Chazal warn that “We do not attempt ritzuy (appeasement) on someone who is in the midst of anger”. Hence, if the person would be able to gain the power of ritzuy (appeasement, or letting go), when he’s angry, it would counter the anger.
(2) Chochmah – Wisdom.Chazal say that “When one becomes angry, his chochmah (wisdom, or ability to think rationally and sensibly) leaves him.” Conversely, when one’s mind is controlling his emotions (when “the mind controls the heart”), he is maintaining his chochmah and that is how he can have self-control.
(3) Rachamim – Compassion. Chazal say that Hashem allows His anger to be overcome when He utilizes the middas harachamim (the trait of compassion), where His rachamim overcomes His anger. [We learn from this that on our own level, arousing compassion on the other person can overcome any anger that one has towards him].
(4) Gevurah – Strength. Elsewhere, Chazal state that Hashem overcomes His anger using the trait of gevurah (strength). [And so too, if a person can gain gevurah\strength as he’s angry, he can overcome the anger and restrain himself].
These four abilities (ritzuy\appeasement, chochmah\wisdom, rachamim\compassion, and gevurah\strength) are the four different ways to overcome anger. [This will be explained about later in this chapter].
Temporary Loss of Mind
In this chapter, we are explaining how we deal with anger that stems from wind-of-fire-of-fire, where a person’s anger is spreading into many different ‘directions’ and he is losing control over his temper. When this happens, a person’s mind is not functioning.
We brought the example of the child when he is raging, who is acting totally irrational. A child has no daas (rational, mature mind) at all. When one grows a little past childhood, he gains some level of daas and he is able to attain some kind of balance in himself where he can control himself somewhat even as he’s very angry. But during the actual moment of the rage, the person has temporarily lost his mind.
Now let us discuss how we deal with anger stemming from wind-of-fire-of-fire (irrational anger); much of this discussion can also be applied to dealing with all kinds of anger in general, but it is mainly applicable when dealing with irrational anger.
Three Kinds of Personalities: Mind\Intellect, Heart\Emotion, and Mind-Heart Integration
The general makeup of a person consists of the mind (intellect) and the heart (emotion). Generally speaking, we find two kinds of people in the world, with regards to the balance between mind\intellect and heart\emotion.
1) One kind of person is the rational type; it is his mind which is mainly dominant.
This kind of person might also get emotional sometimes, but only when there is a particular reason that turns on his emotions. Usually, the life of a rational kind of person is being run by his intellect, and not by his emotions. He is for the most part “asleep” when it comes to his emotions.
There is a verse, “I am asleep, but my heart is awake.” Unless there is something extreme which awakens his emotions, he will be “asleep” when it comes to his emotions, and his emotions\heart will only become “awake” if he goes through something particularly inspiring, which may jolt him. But for the most part, he lives from his rational intellect, and he is usually not acting upon his emotions. This kind of person, and this way of living, is very common and dominant in many people.
2) A second kind of person functions mainly from his emotions. The heart plays a central role in his life and in how he acts.
Sometimes he may also get involved with his thinking intellect, when he needs to. It is possible that a person learns Torah but he is mainly a “heart” person and not that much of an “intellect” person. He might even learn Torah from day until night, but in the inner makeup of his soul, he is mainly experiencing his life through heart\emotion, and not on the mind\intellect.
His rational mind is accessed only on a minimal level. He might possess much Torah knowledge and he might be able to memorize much information of Torah, but he is usually not the kind of person who is capable of deep thinking abilities. This is because he is usually missing the ability of daas that is in the mind\brain, which is the ability that balances out the mind with the heart. This kind of person acts mainly from his heart\emotion.
There are several types within this category of “heart” people. One kind of “heart” person is a very emotional person. He may be the type to cry often. Sometimes a person is a “warmer” kind of person, or his heart is very “open” – there are all kinds of terms that people may describe it as. If a person like this also has a strong and dominant element of fire in his soul, he will be an even more emotional kind of person. These are extremely emotional kinds of people, and often they experience a very intense kind of anger. They are very emotional to begin with, and they have a dominant amount of fire in their souls, and these two factors combine to ignite a very fiery kind of anger, when they become angered. When they get angry, they have almost nothing to restrain themselves from overreacting.
The above two kinds of people (mainly rational, or mainly emotional) are very common in the world; understandably, each of these categories can subdivide into more and more subtleties in one’s personality, but these are the two general types of personalities that are very commonly found in the world.
3) There is also a third group of people, who are not as common as the above two types: they have a natural integration between their mind and heart.
This doesn’t mean of course that they automatically internalize everything in their hearts that they know of. But by the very inner makeup of their personalities, they have a natural integration between their mind and heart. These people usually experience all areas of their life with a more complex perspective.
Let’s analyze this further. Some people are born with a more emotional nature, and they have worked on themselves so that their mind dominates their emotions. “And you shall know today, and you shall settle the matter upon your heart” is the foundation of all Avodas Hashem: one must achieve an integration between his mind and his heart, where the knowledge of the mind becomes internalized in the heart; this is indeed the truthful way of living. But there are some people who are already born with an integration between their mind and heart. In their very inner makeup that they are born with, which Hashem has designed them with, they have a natural integration between their mind\intellect and heart\emotion.
There are many varying kinds of people within this personality, but on a general note, their level of comprehension in their mind is usually restricted to the perception of their emotions. If they cannot relate to something on an emotional level, they have a hard time comprehending it even on an intellectual level. Sometimes this causes them to have much “scattering of the soul.” Sometimes it just simply causes their comprehension to be limited; if their heart cannot accept something, their intellect won’t either be able to accept it.
At the opposite extreme are those whose hearts are closed off from emotion, and it is only their minds which are active. As an example, there are people who are total geniuses, but there is nothing in their heart; they are empty from emotion.
But if someone is born with a natural integration between his mind and heart, he will only be to understand something if his emotions can first relate to it. If he thinks about something but he’s not getting a ‘feel’ for it, he will have difficulty thinking about it. If he thinks about it and he feels like he doesn’t have some kind of “emotional clarity” towards it, he also will have a hard time thinking about it.
These are just a few examples, and there are many more. It is a very complex kind of personality to understand, and there aren’t many like this in the world.
How The Above Three People React To Their Anger
Now that we have explained the above introduction, let’s return to discussing anger.
We have so far seen that the more that a person’s mind dominates and the weaker his emotions, the less he will have outbursts of anger.
This is also influenced by other factors as well. If a person has a strong amount of “earth” in his soul, coupled with a dominant mind and weaker emotions, there is far less of a chance of him getting angry. But even if he has a strong amount of “fire” in his soul, as long as his mind dominates his emotions, there is far less of a chance of him getting angry. Even if he does get angry, it won’t be that intense, because in the end of the day, this kind of person has a very rational approach towards things, so his emotions will not overtake him.
Of course, every person will sometimes experience intense anger sometimes, but these are extreme situations, and they don’t happen that often. It only happens when a person feels like he has been pushed over his tolerance level; these situations cause all people to feel an intense anger. But generally speaking, a mainly rational person has a mind that dominates his emotions, and his emotions are quiet and calm, so it is very unlikely that he will come to experience intense anger (wind-of-fire-of-fire).
(However, this is only true with adults. A child is a whole different story. An adult is capable of gadlus mochin (a mature, developed mind), whereas a child is not.)
As for people that are mainly emotional, whose hearts dominate their minds - their minds do not play that much of a role in how they act, so when they experience anger (and especially if they have a lot of “fire” in their souls), they can express a very intense and extreme kind of anger. They are acting from their hearts, as opposed to their minds.
It is hard to calm down when he’s angry, and it depends on how much “ritzuy” he is capable of, which would enable him to balance himself out; likewise, it will depend on how much gevurah or rachamim he has access to in himself. The power of chochmah, though, will not be of any use at all for a very emotional person, because as soon as his emotions are activated, it is very hard for him to balance out his emotions. Therefore, the person’s anger will be expressed in a very extreme way, because he doesn’t have a way to balance out his emotions as he’s experiencing them.
When a person is in the midst of an intense outburst of anger, he is often not even aware that he’s angry. He loses awareness. His ability to rationalize has left him totally, his heart is completely dominating and his mind isn’t working, so he doesn’t even feel what is taking place. He is not aware of what he is or isn’t angry about, and of what exactly is angering him right now.
Only later, when he calms down, can he figure out what triggered his anger. He might discover that it wasn’t worth getting so angry about it, just because he was bothered by something; especially if he broke things while he was angry or if he was screaming at the whole family, for no logical reason. He will remember that he lost control over himself and that he wasn’t even aware of it.
As for the third group of people that we mentioned – those who are born with a natural integration between his mind and heart – they will often experience a different kind of anger. When they get angry, they are dealing with another problem at the same time: their heart is full of anger and their minds are naturally connected to their heart (due to their inner makeup which is like this), so they will constantly be thinking over what they are angry about. They will keep agonizing over it, because they cannot separate their thoughts from their emotions.
Contrast this with the normal case of anger. In most scenarios of anger, a person has some ability to stop thinking about what’s making him angry. In a scenario where the heart dominates the mind, the person will keep raging; the emotions take over the thoughts. But in a person whose mind and heart are integrated, he can’t take his mind off the anger. His heart is angry, and his thoughts are connected to this anger, because in his very inner makeup, his mind is always connected to his heart. What will be the result? He can’t stop thinking about the anger! He will find that his anger is continuing to fuel and burn.
That is his disadvantage. But that’s only one side of the coin; now let’s see the other side of the coin. He also has an advantage: He is far more capable of awareness to his anger than most people are. Since his mind and heart are naturally connected, he will never be in a situation where his heart totally dominates. He will always be able to have awareness to his situation: “What exactly is making me angry? At whom am I angry at? What is the reason that made me angry?”
He has the advantage that even as he’s angry, he does not totally lose his ability of chochmah. His only problem is that he keeps thinking about the anger. On one hand, he has a hard time letting go of what’s angering him. On the other hand, if he has reached some level of refinement, he will be able to channel his thoughts into an awareness of the situation: “What is making me angry?” Then he will be able to view the situation more objectively, and he will restrain the anger greatly.
The Key To Solving Anger At Its Root: Achieving A Mind-Heart Integration
Let us understand the following, deeply.
We mentioned that there are generally four ways to rectify anger: ritzuy (appeasement), gevurah (strength), rachamim (compassion) and chochmah (wisdom). When we want to deal with anger, either can we can work on it directly [using any of these four abilities, which have been the core of the techniques discussed in the previous chapters and until now, with siyata d’shmaya], But there is also a more inner way to deal with anger, which deals with the root of anger itself: to develop an integration between the mind and the heart. Herein lays the root of how we rectify anger.
There is certainly truth to all of the many tips that exist on overcoming anger, and we are not invalidating those methods. But if we want to deal with the root of anger, it lies in developing an integration between the mind and heart.
Anger results from a certain disconnection between the mind and heart, where the heart temporarily takes over the mind; the stronger the heart dominates the mind, the more intense the anger will be. This is especially the case with anger that stems from fire-of-fire, where there is a total outburst of anger; and especially when it comes to the particular anger that stems from “wind”-of-fire-of-fire, when a person’s anger is completely irrational and he is getting angry at everyone and everything in front of him.
The root of how this intense anger is rectified when there is an awareness to the anger - which comes from integrating the mind with the heart. This is especially effective when dealing with anger that stems from wind-of-fire-of-fire, which is an extreme outburst of anger, but it is also the general method that solves all scenarios of anger at their root.
Thus, the depth of rectifying anger lies in integrating the mind and heart together. The more that a person achieves this integration, the more he will be able to restrain his anger. The further apart that the mind and heart are from each other, the more a person will lose his awareness when he gets angry, when his heart takes over his mind and he will have almost no self-control.
Overcoming Anger: Using The Quick Fixes, Along With Gradual Inner Work
Now we can understand the following.
For people who get very angry often – which stems from fire-of-fire, and especially if it is wind-of-fire-of-fire as described in this chapter – they need to know that there’s an avodah for them to work on their anger. They can try using any of the methods that we explained in the previous chapters, but they also need to be prepared to go through an overhaul to their entire character - which may take years: to develop an integration between their mind and heart.
Again, that doesn’t mean that there’s no point for them to try using any of the techniques that have been explained until now, in the previous chapters. But when a person has a problem with his temper, there is inner work to be done – in addition to using techniques.
There are people who have been trying various techniques for 2, 4, or 4 years to deal with anger, and they say that it didn’t help them that much. They have rarely seen success at overcoming their anger. Many times people try using the advice of Chazal when it comes to dealing with anger, which we have been explaining until now, yet they still don’t feel a big change happening in themselves. Sometimes this is because they are not using the right methods that will work for them, and they really need something else. But there is a deeper reason of why this happens. It is because all of the techniques in dealing with anger are not solving the anger at its root. They are helpful, but they don’t solve the root of the issue that is anger.
The root of anger, as we have explained, is when there is somewhat of a disconnection between the mind and the heart. The solution to anger, then, will lie inchanging the inner makeup of the soul that the person has right now. When there is a problem in the very inner makeup of the soul [as is the case with people who often have problems with their temper], using various techniques to deal with anger will not solve this problem, because it never gets to the root.
On a deeper and more all-inclusive level, all of the problems in the soul are rectified by achieving a balance in the soul. The soul contains four elements, and the elements become impaired when they are not in balance with each other. The root of fixing all of our middos lies in balancing out the four elements with each other. This is a general description, and when we apply this specifically to anger, it lies in achieving an integration between the mind and heart.
Thus, in order to rectify anger at its root, we must understand the general avodah that we have of integrating with the heart. Therefore, let us emphasize that if a person’s main bad middah is anger, he should make temporary use of the techniques mentioned until now, but at the same time, he also needs to be prepared for a huge overhaul to his entire inner makeup. That - and only that - is what will truly fix his anger. The other techniques given until now in conquering anger will be helpful to him a little bit, but it will not fix the anger at its root, as needed.
That being the case, let’s briefly explain how we need to go about achieving an integration between the mind and heart.
The Extremes of Mind\Torah and Heart\Tefillah
The mind and the heart are generally referred to as Torah (mind\intellect\thinking) and Tefillah (heart\emotion). The Torah makes use of our thinking minds, and tefillah makes use of our emotions, for tefillah is called “service of the heart”, as it is about pouring out our hearts to Hashem. These are two major areas of our inner development.
Some people are mainly “Torah” people. They are mainly immersed in Torah, and less in their tefillah. This is because their mind dominates their heart. It is their minds which are mainly active, whereas their hearts are left in the background. Such a person might form certain beliefs that life is mainly all about Torah learning and nothing else. He might bring proof to this belief from many statements in Chazal which stress the importance of Torah learning.
The words of Chazal, of course, are true, and he is right when he quotes them. But it doesn’t come from the truth. It is because his emotions are weak and his mind is at the forefront, so naturally, he needs to ‘prove’ from the words of Chazal that Torah is the main thing, and not tefillah.
We know of course that the main thing is Torah, but when a person says this, it is not necessarily because he has reached this conclusion. It can simply be because he has never yet given any inner order to the abilities of his soul, so he leans toward the other extreme, which says that only Torah is important; and he finds many statements in Chazal to support this belief.
Others are at the opposite extreme. They are mainly into tefillah, the “service of the heart”, and they are less into Torah learning. However, it not because they really value the importance of tefillah. It is rather because they have an imbalance in their souls. Their emotions are more powerful than their thinking abilities, so naturally, they are drawn towards tefillah, which gives expression to their emotions. It does not stem that much from a reverence for tefillah. It is simply because they haven’t yet given balance to their souls.
In either above of the two extremes – whether the area of Torah is given preference and tefillah is ignored, or vice versa – in either case, it is like the concept of bribery, which doesn’t enable the mind to see the correct perspective. The inner makeup in each person’s soul is different, so each person has different things that he is drawn to. A person will find support to any of his beliefs in the words of Chazal, and he will find whatever he wants to find. In fact, a person will be able to find anything he wants to find in the words of Chazal – whatever he wants to find, he will find proof there to what he’s looking for…
Now, if a person is searching for truth, he will find what he is really meant to find. This is the case when a person learns Torah lishmah (for pure motives).But if a person hasn’t yet refined his soul, his soul is left unbalanced, for he has never yet given inner order to his soul’s abilities; he will find in the words of Chazal whatever he “wants” to find, and that is how he will rationalize his beliefs and opinions.
When a person is drawn towards any of these extremes and he lives at one of the extremes, he will find some ‘proof’ from Chazal to his way of living and thinking. The truth is, however, that even with all of his ‘proofs’, he doesn’t understand even one of these ‘proofs’ that he has found.
Only when a person has achieved an integration between his mind and his heart, can he see the true meaning that is hidden in a statement of Chazal. There are also different ways to understand the truth contained in each statement of Chazal, as there is a rule, “their words, and their words, are the words of the living G-d.” But if a person hasn’t yet achieved a balance between his mind and heart, the extreme that he is living at will “choose” which statement of Chazal he sees and how it can be explained. Whether he is mainly intellectual or mainly emotional, he is not understanding the true meaning of any proof he finds in Chazal.
Our avodah of fixing our middos, and fixing anger especially, depends on achieving an integration between the mind and heart. Therefore, one needs to suspect himself - for many years - that the way of life he has chosen for himself might not be suitable for his particular soul. He must face himself honestly and realize that he did not necessarily choose his way of living because he thought that it was the “will of Hashem”; or because he thought that “this is the ikkar (the main thing)”; or whatever term that a person will use. It is rather because his inner makeup is leaning towards any one of two extremes (either the extreme of intellect\mind\Torah, or the extreme of emotion\heart\tefillah).
Sometimes a person fulfills his main task in life by being at either of the two extremes, but if it because he has chosen to ignore the other extreme, in favor of the other extreme that he leans towards, this is an incorrect perspective to live from.
Torah, Avodah and Chessed – How Much Time For Each?
So in order to fix anger, through integrating the mind with the heart, this avodah needs an “introduction” that must come way before it.
Consider the following. Chazal state that the world stands on three pillars – Torah, avodah [or tefillah, which is in place of the avodah], and gemilus chassadim (kindness). How much time should a person devote to learning Torah, to davening, and to doing acts of kindness for others?
Some people will bring proof from Chazal that all you need to do is learn Torah. Others will bring proof from Chazal that the main thing is davening a lot, and others will bring proof from Chazal that chessed should be our number one priority. What is the real answer to this question? Should we get a wise scholar to conclude what the psak will be about this? What is the true way to live life?
If you have read any of the biographies of Gedolim of the past, you can see that there were different kinds of Gedolim, who each concentrated on different areas. They didn’t all do the same thing. The Gemara says that the descendants of Eli HaKohen have a curse of premature death, but if they learn Torah, they can live longer, and if they learn Torah and do chessed, they can live even longer; Abaye merited to live longer due to his Torah learning, and Rava lived even longer because he learned Torah and he also did chessed. There are no set rules from Chazal for how much Torah to learn and how much time to devote to chessed. The avodah of each person depends on each person’s soul root, and the order that has been given to the inner makeup of one’s soul.
Therefore, the beginning of one’s change of attitude must be: that he does not know where his true area of emphasis should be in. One must realize that he has no idea if he is supposed to be more of a “mind” person or more of a “heart” person; whether his main area of avodah lies in Torah learning or in tefillah. Getting more specific, there is also the area of gemilus chassadim (kindness), and one has no idea how much time he should devote to it, versus how much he needs to learn Torah and how much he needs to devote to davening.
One needs to feels that he is unclear about this. That lack of clarity should lead a person to realize that finding your truthful place in life (whether it is Torah learning, tefillah, or chessed) depends on how much inner refinement you have attained. That shows you where your particular place lies.
At first you will be uncertain about it, and slowly you will be able to figure it out. That is how you will be able to achieve a balance between your mind and heart, achieving an integration between them. Understandably, at the beginning of one’s Avodas Hashem, there is less balance between the mind and the heart; as you continue in Avodas Hashem, there should be more of a balance between the mind and the heart. But one needs to see that there are two extremes to live life in, and to try to reach a balance between the two extremes.
Gaining Clarity About The Mind and Heart - and Integrating Them
The mind is like the sun, and the heart is like the moon. The word “mind” in Hebrew is moach, from the word chammah, the sun, and the word for “heart” is lev, from the word levanah, the moon; this shows us that the mind is parallel to the sun and the heart is parallel to the moon. The sun and moon represent opposites; the sun is the day and the moon is nighttime. They are interchanging, but they each connect the day and night together. In the winter, the days are shorter and the nights are longer, and in the summer, the days are longer and the nights are shorter; the same goes for our soul – there are times when our “sun” (mind) dominates, and there are times where our “moon” (heart) dominates. The mind and heart are constantly moving within us.
A major part of our avodah is to slowly achieve clarity about our mind and heart and how they are integrated. The more a person achieves a balance between his mind and heart, the more he achieves a rectification to all of his middos, to some level. With anger especially, this is the case. When a person is angry, he loses his chochmah - but when a person has an integration between his mind and heart, he won’t lose himself when he gets angry.
One can only to begin reach it (the integration between the mind and the heart) through a pure and quiet place in himself, where a person recognizes well that the areas of mind and heart need to become integrated with each other, and from growing clarity towards life, and slowly, this can balance out the mind and heart with each other. Even after a person reaches some kind of clarity, there will still be times where he will have more or less clarity, and not every moment in his life will be at the same level of clarity. But he will have a solid path to live life with: he is on a path of balancing out his mind and heart with each other, which integrates them more and more.
When this is the way a person lives, he is touching upon the very root of tikkun hamiddos, and fixing anger especially. One also needs to make use of the various techniques in conquering anger which we mentioned until now, but the main part of the solution lies in balancing the mind with the heart. The gain from this will be that even when a person is angry, it won’t get blown out of proportion; it will be kept within proper boundaries.
Of course, anger by its very essence is an emotion that goes beyond its proper boundaries; but the point is that it won’t get too out of hand, when a person has a balance between his mind and heart.
The Mind-Heart Integration Leads to Awareness of the Anger
As a result, even when a person is experiencing the intense and extreme kind of anger that stems from wind-of-fire-of-fire, he will at least be aware that he is angry. That is a gain for him, in and of itself.
There is a well-known story that someone once came to the Chazon Ish and complained to him that he struggles with lustful desires. The Chazon Ish said to him, “The fact that you are at least aware of it, is already enough.” The very awareness to a bad character trait already enables a person to place boundaries on that bad middah, because he is pained over it and he’s concerned about it.
Of course, this does not always solve the bad middah at hand, and it was enough only for that person who came to the Chazon Ish; it depends on one’s personal situation. But the very ability of having a balance between his mind and heart and integrating them, is what enables a person not to totally lose his daas when he’s angry. Even if he does lose his mind for a moment, he will be able to immediately regain control over himself, because he is aware of his anger.
The next step, after he becomes aware of the anger, is to realize that in spite of the fact that he is angry, there must be boundaries to his anger.
While a person is raging, his mind will tell him one thing and his heart will be telling him another thing, and his anger continues to burn, and at a certain point he releases it outward, and soon he is exploding in anger at things that have nothing to do what he’s really angry about; he’s getting angry at others in front of him when it doesn’t it make any sense to be angry with them. But if he is at least aware of the anger and to the fact that he is in the midst of an explosion, getting used to this awareness will slowly lead him towards an integration between his mind and heart.
The more that a person deepens this integration, the clearer his awareness will be towards his anger, and slowly as times goes on, his angry and irrational explosions will be much less frequent, and they will also be more controlled. Instead of releasing his anger into all four directions, it will stay within his own “four cubits” – it will be greatly restrained, so that it doesn’t leave his own space and burst out at others.
As mentioned, this is especially effective when dealing with the explosive and irrational kind of anger that stems from wind-of-fire-of-fire, but on a more inclusive level, it is the root of fixing the entire trait of anger, and it is also the root of all tikkun hamiddos. The more that the mind and heart become integrated with each other, all of the middos are fixed by this (to some level). Even more so, integrating the mind with the heart is a concept that builds the entire whole of the person.
 In Hebrew: mivneh hapenimi
 See Fixing Your Fire_Anger_011_Scattering of the Soul
 Gittin 6b
 decision of halachah
 Editor’s Note: The Rav was asked how exactly one must go about achieving this avodah of “integration of the mind and the heart”. The Rav replied that “It is not something which can be explained briefly, as it is a major fundamental in Avodas Hashem which takes a long time to acquire…. There are many different ways of how to achieve it, but here we are discussing how we can attain it via the means of gaining awareness to anger. When one becomes aware of his anger, this furthers the connection between the mind and heart.”