The one who is angry is often helpless

Being angry with a situation and expressing your anger on everyone and everything around you is never an intelligent response.

I watched a beautiful Malayalam film the other day called Manjadikuru. Made by Anjali Menon (of Bangalore Days fame), the film tells the story of a family as seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy, Vicky. One of the protagonists of the film is a man called Raghu (played by Rahman). And Raghu is forever angry with his family – with his brother and his sisters. Raghu’s anger seems often irrational and habituated. As in one moment he could be complaining about his brother’s decision to turn a Naxalite, abdicating his family responsibilities, and the other moment he could be ranting about his sisters flocking together only to seek a share in the family wealth. So, Vicky, while narrating the story, concludes that his big learning watching Raghu’s bouts of anger is that those who are angry are often helpless.
Anjali Menon (who is also the writer of the film) shares a phenomenal spiritual insight there. Something that I can totally relate to. I used to be prone to senseless bouts of anger too. I once remember, as a 20-year-old, flinging my shaving razor at our television – which left it cracked – because I could not have a reasonable, logical conversation with my parents. Years later, when these anger spells had become far too frequent and had begun to ruin my professional stature, I discovered that each time I lost it, I was choosing to express myself in a violent sort of way only because I was unable to control what was going on or what others were saying or doing or because I was unable to convince someone. Bottomline: my helplessness was manifesting as anger.
Through diligent practice of mouna (daily silence periods), I learnt that your helplessness is nothing but a ego-based position. Why do you need to convince anybody? You have a right to your opinion. And they have a right to theirs. It is only when you try to force your view on someone and you fail, it is only when you try to control a situation and you fail, that you get angry. But the truth is that you never were in control of anything or anyone. Things just happen. People just behave the way they want to. So, just go with the flow. There is no need to be angry. And even if you do experience anger, channelize it constructively. Anger is nothing but the energy within you. Don’t squander it through violent thought, expression or action. Simply use it to drive change in a logical, legitimate fashion. This is what Gandhi did to practise ahimsa and help secure India her independence. This is what anger, when used constructively, can eventually yield.

So, if you are experiencing too much anger within you, pause and ask yourself if you are responding so only because you are helpless? In asking that question, you may well unlock the way to a lifetime of inner peace.

Being helpless is being Human

When you are helpless, accept your helplessness. Don’t fight it, don’t hate it. Just be helpless.
I know though that this idea of accepting your helplessness doesn’t sound appealing at all. Because nobody likes to be helpless. Besides, after all, problems are meant to be solved. And when you can’t solve a Life problem, you will naturally dislike the entire situation. What you must realize is that your disliking something is not going to make it go away. What you resist will always persist – this is the Law of Life. So it is with helplessness too.
Problems are of two kinds: those that can be solved by you and those that can’t be solved by you. For instance, if your computer crashes, you can either have it fixed or use someone else’s computer. But what if your teenaged son dies in a car crash because the driver was drunk? What can you do to solve the problem of your son’s untimely death? There will be times in Life when no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to solve some of your problems. You will not see a way out either. Your helplessness will make you feel wretched. You will find that all your academic education and your years of professional experience or all the money you have will be worthless in the wake of the Life situation you find yourself in. Even if you have been adept at crises management, there will be times, when your skills and strategies may just not work. What do you when you feel so vulnerable, so helpless and completely clueless?
My experiences in Life have taught me that when you don’t know what’s happening, or don’t know what to do, you must just go with the flow. You must simply accept your helplessness as part of your learning curve. I am sure you must have faced such situations too. Or you may be going through one just now. Wishing that you had all the answers and solutions to Life’s problems is being naïve. What can you do when your three-and-a-half year old daughter is diagnosed with acute leukaemia? What can you do when you are laid off from your first job owing to an organizational restructuring within a week of you being hailed as the best performer on the team? What do you do when your spouse cheats on you only because an old flame has come back into his Life? What do you do when your wife commits suicide leaving you two young children to raise? Some Life situations can fox you and leave you numb. And helpless. You will not know where to begin and which direction to head in. You can then either give up on Life or you can accept your helplessness and allow Life to guide you and lead you. People around you, your family and friends, will have myriad opinions and suggestions. Some will even say that you are not doing enough. But if you have the right intentions, if your motive is pure, simply make your efforts to turn around your situation daily and leave the rest to Life.
When you let Life sort situations out for you, your problem may not vanish magically or be solved miraculously. But you will survive one day at a time, with all your needs being provided for by Life. Well, that’s a miracle by itself, isn’t it? You will witness this miracle daily if you accept your helplessness and don’t resist it!
Being helpless in a situation is being human. To say that you don’t know how to solve a problem is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of high awareness and extreme humility. Because the truth is that all of Life’s problems sort themselves out over time. There is no other way. So, when you accept that Life is bigger, stronger and more capable than you are, your problems will not bother you. They will be there. But they won’t hold you hostage or cripple you. Then your helplessness will dissolve and you will find inner peace despite your circumstances.

Celebrate Helplessness!

Be ecstatic when you feel helplessness. You may not always find solutions to what you are confronted with, but you will find peace. 
The normal human tendency is to grieve over being helpless. You are watching someone close to you die. Maybe a disease. Maybe an addiction. You have tried everything. Medicine. Counseling. Yet the person is dying __ and you feel powerless. Helpless. Or you know someone is taking a wrong decision. Like a sibling or a child or a friend entering into a relationship __ business or personal. Again you have tried making that person see sense. You have advised caution and have held a mirror. But no, the person in question, is intent on committing hara-kiri. What do you? You end up wringing your hands in despair.
Sometimes, your own situation may be one of helplessness. What do you do when each time you try to pick up and wind up the threads of your Life, they are snatched away, knotted up and thrown asunder? I have a personal situation, a relationship, which to most human beings is sacred, but to me it just doesn’t exist. And I have a business situation which, despite my best efforts, refuses to correct itself. There have been times when I have fought with both situations. And grieved endlessly. Until, after years of battling, of agonizing, I realized that your helplessness is a stark reminder that you are not in control. That your game is being played by Life all along. And that you are merely to allow yourself to be played with!
When this realization dawns, it is an awakening moment. It is an intensely private moment of discovery. You can call it enlightenment. Here you are, with all your education and upbringing, imagining that you are in control. You grieve therefore because this situation you are faced with refuses to listen to you. When you try, cry, lament, kick around, fail, try again, kick again, scream, agonize, suffer, give up, and come back to try again__somewhere in your nth attempt to regain control of your Life, you see the writing on the wall. And it reads: “Smile. Relax. Life’s in charge!”  
Allowing yourself to be played with by Life does not mean inaction and resignation. It means acceptance and humble submission. It is to do what you think you can, and what you must, without grieving.
Helplessness is actually a great feeling. It celebrates the dropping of the ego. Why do you feel helpless? Because you are unable to control some things about your Life. And the desire to control, to stay on top, is your ego at work. Nothing else. Helplessness leads also to understanding the true nature of your Self and to peace. Take hurricane Sandy or the March 2011 Japanese earthquake. Despite mankind’s greatest discoveries and scientific advancements, what were we humans able to do against nature’s will? We were helpless. We were mere spectators to events that were happening to us, around us, about us. In a way, helplessness always begins with sorrow. With grief. But if you are aware and awake, your grief will be replaced soon with acceptance and peace. Because Life is such __ transient, impermanent. So, why grieve?
Instead enjoy the cosmic process of teaching you to surrender. There is great joy in this surrender. Because initially you will resist. Then you will realize the futility of such resistance. And then when you finally give in, you accept, you humbly submit, you will exult! Because you will feel great inner peace. It’s beautiful. You have to experience it to believe it!  
So, take any situation in your Life that you are dealing with currently. And celebrate your helplessness. Choose a time when you are alone. Stand at your balcony, on the beach, in the middle of a busy street, or sprawl on your carpet as if no one was watching, and in your intensely private moment, in your personal space, let go and tell Life, “Come take me!”. Cry if you must. Scream if it want to. Just rejoice over your helplessness. Feel a new peace embracing you. Not only will you feel better, you will want more of it!
This then is your true prayerful state. Because prayer is not what you recite. Prayer is what you feel when you are one with the Universe. When you accept your helplessness, your egolessness, even momentarily, you will be blissful!