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.

How not to agonize over a Life that you don’t want

Don’t waste your time trying to make meaning out of Life. You simply can’t. Any effort in that direction will only frustrate you.
When your Life doesn’t go the way you want it to, your mind will throw up some seemingly relevant questions that also appear to be critical: “What’s the point in me living a Life that I don’t want?”, “Why should I go through experiences that make me suffer?”, “What is the purpose of Life?”. There can be more questions – it depends on how frustrated or disturbed you are with your Life. But none of these questions will be answered by your merely asking them. When you understand what Life is, these questions may not even arise and even if they do, they won’t matter.
The first point to internalize is that you, me, each of us is having a Life that we never asked for. You didn’t ask to be born, did you? So, the argument that you don’t want to live a Life that you don’t want is absurd. You have been created. And you must live as long as your Life lasts. Since you did not have a say in your creation, in your birth, don’t seek to have a say in your death. Let death happen on its own. It is inevitable as it is – so let it come when it must. You or I need not and must not be even thinking of death just because we don’t get some things that we want from Life. Instead invest the time you spend brooding in living. Life has not promised you a painless tenure on this planet. In fact, Life promises you nothing. So when you experience pain, which is natural and likely to happen several times in your lifetime, don’t resist it. Resisting is pointless. It is the resisting that causes suffering. Pain is just pain. Suffering arises when you wish that there is no pain. Drop that wish and bingo, all your suffering vanishes! Instantaneously, just like that! So, at one level, since your birth is choice-less and since you have no control over what happens to you in Life, it may appear that there really is no purpose to your creation. But if you look beyond just yourself, you will see how purposeful your Life can actually be. If you can share what you have with people around you – with those who need your love, your compassion, your understanding, your time, your knowledge, your talent or perhaps your money – you can make a difference to their lives. And that way your Life becomes useful. But even if you don’t want to touch another Life and just want to live all by yourself, Life’s beautiful when you stop imposing conditions on your Life and drop all expectations.
Life is beautiful as it is. The way it is. To see its beauty, to experience Life’s magic, you must let go of your urge to intellectualize it. You cannot make any meaning out of Life by applying reason and logic to it. It is an experience. And an experience is gone through, it is felt, it cannot be explained or understood. Every experience that you go through, whether you want it or not, teaches you something new about Life. And through your learning, consistently and continuously, you appreciate Life better.
In the face of Life’s trials and challenges, don’t think of death as an option. It is not. The important thing to remember is that very often, what you don’t want will arrive in your Life. You can’t get rid of it by wishing it weren’t there. The more you wish that way, the more you will suffer. But you can avoid suffering, if you simply accept Life for what it is. If possible, and if you are up to it, make a difference to another Life. In a choice-less Life, this is the only choice you have. And when you exercise it, not only do you encounter inner peace, you also prevent your mind from imagining absurd, morbid perspectives!