Once, a man asked Jesus, how many times should I forgive a person who has wronged me? 7 times or 70 times? To which Jesus replied, you have to forgive a person “7 times 70” times.
Anger!! Isn’t this something that each one of us wants to have control over? Undoubtedly, anger is one of the immediate causes for lots of heartaches and ruin. Do we have a choice whether to be angry? It is cardinal that we have to look at the root cause of anger in order to comprehend it.
“While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops an attachment for them and from such attachment lust develops and from lust anger arises.”
Simply put, when a person develops any attachment to an object or someone, there is a level of expectation that needs be satisfied. When this expectation is contradicted, the person enters the state of anger.
When we were kids we felt that we had the power to control anything and everything. We expected to have command over everyone around us to justify the satisfaction of our desires and needs. As we matured, we realised that our expectations may be unrealistic.
The state where a person gets angry begins with a thought. We get very attached to this thought and is hard to let go. This is the thought that flows from us to the object of expectation, this is called attachment.
How do we know that we’re attached to a material desire(or a person)? When we get that materialistic possession in your hands, we feel a sense of happiness that has met with our expectation. Imagine what would it be like if it never met our expectation. Disappointment? Anger? It is also the same in the case of a person. If we continue to keep the thought in mind and keep thinking about it, the flow of thought is strengthened. So at first, we are drawn towards it and then we desire it. With the desire(or an unsatisfied desire), anger is born. The thoughts flowing through us gets diverted and leads towards destruction.
For instance, imagine you’re driving your car and suddenly you get obstructed by someone or something. Along with the fear, how much angry do you get?
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
Anger leads to delusion. Psychologists refer to anger as ‘temporary madness’. With delusion comes the loss or confusion of memory, which leads to the loss of intellect. The emotion called anger builds up so quickly and to such extent that we lose the ability to think. This destroys us. “Anger is like a double sided sword, both you and the other person get destroyed.”
“It is the potential to choose free will that has made the humans superior to the rest of the living creatures.”
The intellect must be watched over, cared and developed. We must know how vulnerable we are to annihilation. And it all starts with one thought, the thought of desiring and attachment. So, does that mean a man should have no desires or any attachments? No, that’s not the point. Every human has a distinct set of desires. It is just that we have to be selective about our desires.
For instance, your friends plan to go to a resort. They invite you to join them. You ask yourself, “Why not? Let me go too.” As soon as this thought enters your mind, the intellect must consider all the constraints like, can I afford to go? or when you have loads of work. Your intellect must quickly dismiss the thought of going to the resort when it’s not possible.
“Your intellect must prompt you to act in accordance to what the situation demands.”
Every thought need not be eliminated. If it is practical by any means, you can pursue it. An average person has about 60,000 thoughts each day. 70% of those thoughts are the thoughts from yesterday. Train and tune the mind to be selective over the desires and attachments. And, if the desires/attachments are sensible, go and pursue them wholeheartedly. When our desires are selective, we tend to concentrate on them and accomplish them quickly. This sense of accomplishment satisfies our expectation and there is no room for frustration or disappointment. Thus, eliminating anger.
“A better world or a better mind doesn’t happen over night. It takes years of patience and practice to get it done.”
Finally, I want to thank and give credits to my close friend Praveen Rajagopal for helping me in writing this.