Anger can be one of the biggest impediments to our progress along our spiritual path. This is because in harboring anger, we are only thinking about ourselves. This leaves no room for compassion, kindness and ultimately harmony within ourselves and the external world. Ultimately, it hurts us more than it does the person or thing we are expressing our anger toward.
How does anger arise?
Anger arises when something happens that is against our will or our desire. However, this is the tip of the iceberg. That anger you are experiencing is the result of something much deeper and as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:
“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, 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.”
Bhagavad Gita 2.62 + 2.63
*The definition of lust in this context is the self-centred desire, wanting to use things or people for my own enjoyment.
There are so many key points here, which we don’t have time to go over fully. When we are in a state of anger, we lose our intelligence i.e. we do dumb stuff. Whether it is to get revenge or whatever it may be. Have you ever tried to reason with an angry person? They just cannot see sense due to this lost intelligence.
How to Overcome Anger for Good?
Simply, we need to learn to forgive. That seems simple but it is actually difficult to do. Through the cultivation of our meditation practice, we can find the strength to forgive. Yes it requires strength, we are not weak when we forgive. Through the power of forgiveness, you are no longer controlled by that anger and your heart becomes free. You then start to experience more happiness, peace, compassion and so much more.
At this point in time, it is kinda like stepping through a door. You have your path behind you, everything that you know and everything that you have held onto. Now you have this amazing opportunity to step through the door of forgiveness and into a world of joy and peace.
But you don’t do this alone. You can your shelter, your meditation practice with you. It will help you to have that inner strength and courage to take that step. You have nothing to lose, except the imprisonment of anger!
When Anger Arises
Anger arises in the mind only. It pollutes our consciousness, it builds hardness around our hearts making it more difficult for us to experience the natural happiness, peace and spiritual love that is the very essence of the soul.
When you start experience anger, become aware of it. Acknowledge that it is there and try not to act upon it. Instead, practice this simple mindfulness meditation:
I am experiencing an emotion called anger in my mind.
I am separate from it.
I am not this emotion. I will simply let it pass through my mind and I will remain undisturbed by it.
Once it has passed, I will assess the situation and react as I need to in a calm and intelligent way.
Anger Out of Love
Sometimes we will experience anger, but it is actually coming from a place of love. For example, if your child runs out onto the road, you will probably yell at them! This kind of anger doesn’t pollute your consciousness and is sometimes required to protect those we love.
Meditation to Cultivate Forgiveness
By practicing regular mantra meditation, it allows us to chip away at the hardness around our hearts that is caused by anger. It allows our true selves to shine through and our very essence of love and happiness.
We start to experience a deeper happiness through our meditation practice and this is what inspires and motivates us to find the strength to forgive those who have hurt us.