Anger cannot be managed or avoided; it’s futility must be understood.
I recently met a former colleague of mine after 15 years. She used to work on my team. We got chatting. Over the conversation, she enquired if I still flew into rage like I used to back then. She recounted an instance when I had flung a picture frame from my desk at her because she walked up to report a mishap that had happened to a client deliverable. She said she was saved because she ducked in the nick of time! I was undoubtedly embarrassed being reminded of my forgettable, and shameful, past. I appear to have had a serious issue dealing with my anger.
My practice of mouna – daily silence periods – helped me immensely in understanding my anger and in channelizing that energy productively. This is what I have learnt.
You get angry with someone or with a situation because you feel you are unable to control them. Anger stems from an inherent want to control everything about your Life. Awareness of the true nature of Life is really the only way you can understand the futility of anger. Your education, your ability to earn a living, your logical thinking may tell you that Life can be controlled. But only when you go through inscrutable Life experiences and realize that Life has a mind of its own, that there are things and situations in Life that are beyond your control, will you come to accept your fallibility. Only then will you see the futility of anger. Once you understand that anger is a waste of energy, you will start conserving that energy. The more aware you are, the less you get angry with stuff you can’t control. That’s how you can channelize that energy into changing what you don’t like about your Life. This is what Gandhi did – he channelized his anger against the British governing us to lead a revolution that eventually got us independence. And at the highest level of evolution, you are able to invest all your energy, that may have been frittered away as mindless anger, in loving others, in healing the world – think Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama, and you will picture what I mean!
I have also learnt that anger cannot be managed or avoided. Anger will arise when you don’t get what you want or you get what you don’t want. You will be angered when someone disturbs your equilibrium; when someone does not fulfil a promise or lets you down. But if you are aware, you will let your anger arise and subside. You may be seized by the heat of the moment, you may start to lose your cool or grit your teeth, but you will seamlessly switch to seeing how pointless it is to hurl unchannelized energy at someone or something. This is how I have learnt to deal with my anger. I don’t try to manage or avoid it. I let it rise, whenever it does, and I let it go. And I guess I am able to do that because I understand anger – and Life – better today than I did 15 years ago.
The trigger for this post though was not my colleague recalling the angry young AVIS. It was what happened at a pharmacy this morning that led to this post. I had to buy a few medicines. And the storekeeper took awfully long. He kept attending to everyone else but me. When it finally came to payment time, my card transaction was declined even as I received an SMS from my bank saying my account had been debited. I then had to cough up precious cash to complete the purchase. When I got back home and narrated the experience to Vaani, I said something that made me realize how much I had evolved. I told her, “It’s okay. I am glad I kept my cool! Because, bade bade Life mein, aisi choti choti baatien hoti rehati hain…!” Meaning: “In a long eventful Life, such small events keep happening!”