How not to get angry when you want to!

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Do you ever get angry? Well, let me tell you that after being around as a normal person for 24 years and then becoming a weird monk, some conditioning from the past still tends to haunt me now and then.

Our attitude towards life takes years  to change. And it never does completely. There will always be an aspect of you that accompanies you all the way in this life. If you think there is more to life than this stinky little bag of bones and flesh called the body, you will see that some conditioning can last over lifetimes. And there are the usual culprits that are most difficult to deal with – lust, anger and greed for more. The interesting thing is that doesn’t matter how much you try to stay away from them, they never give up on you. Bad, huh?

Here’s something interesting. We would like to be free of anger, and to some extent greed too. But have you ever thought of being free from lust? Never thought it was a bad thing even, did you? Even though we hear of all the things that fatal attraction to the opposite gender does, we can’t imagine a life without sex desire.

The 5200 year old Bhagavad Gita has something to say about this. Here’s a verse from the second chapter

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.

Lust is usually the source of all anger. It doesn’t have to be for a woman or a man, it can even be for things, possessions, and wealth.

Aha! Now things are a bit clearer. Can you think of something that comes just before anger?

It’s usually ‘Frustration’.

So here’s a formula I came up with based on this:

Attachment to something + Unexpected outcome = Frustration + Anger

I hope it makes sense. I think it’s true anyway. So you can try and balance out the equation to reduce frustration and anger. Here are two important practical tips. They encompass everything:

  1. Don’t be too attached to an outcome: You can’t control what happens in life. You can only control how you react to it. So try your best and be detached from the results.
  2. It’s not the end of the world: If it was, you wouldn’t be alive to read this. It may seem like it while it’s happening, but trust me; give it some time and you’ll be fine.
  3. Don’t react based on instincts. Pause, and use your intelligence: Allow the blood to flow into your brain (haha). In the heat of the moment, you may want to say and do a lot of things. But relax, go home, think about it, and then act.
  4. Better to forgive them, else it will be even more difficult to forgive yourself later: Forgiveness is actually more beneficial to you, than retaliation. Forgiveness will give you peace of mind, preserve relationships, and make you a bigger person. Retaliation will do the opposite for something that’s already happened and that you couldn’t have changed anyway.

Well, so what I’m saying is – calm down, relax, go home, have a glass of orange juice and watch friends on TV. Wake up the next day, do some yoga and think about it over a hot strawberry tea before you do something. You’ll come back to this blog and thank me then. I’ll wait for your comments…

Radha Govinda has been living as a monk at Bhaktivedanta Manor for over 8 years now, and is a musician, motivational speaker and a writer. He likes sharing inspirational stories and wisdom from the ancient East and has a passion to encourage people to take up spritual practices. He holds a Master's degree in Mechatronics and worked in Control Systems engineering for Fluor before deciding to take up spiritual life full time as a monk in 2009. He now travels around the country sharing his experiences with people interested in yoga and spirituality.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Hi, thanks for this really amazing post. I found it very helpful to control my anger. Found the bit on forgiveness especially helpful!

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