Any time we sense irritation, frustration or anger emerging inside our consciousness, if we take a close look at it, we will notice we are fighting a war in our consciousness with one of these three: either with another person, most obviously or with the past or with our self.
We are at war with the past because our anger is always towards something that has already happened and looking at it we react emotionally which means we are trying to change it, which is impossible. Any scene that has taken place a year ago, a month ago or even a second ago cannot be changed. We may be completely convinced and we may believe we can. That’s because we hold this belief subconsciously. Somewhere and sometime in the past, we have picked up and absorbed the belief that the world and its circumstances should shape up exactly as we want.
When our internal desire of a certain type of circumstances is not fulfilled, or in other words something against this belief happens, our instant reaction is one of the various forms of anger and we tend to try and change the incident that has happened in a far-off past or a past that has just gone by. We keep replaying a revised incident, with words and actions that we would have liked and that suit our convenience and we also keep nullifying the actual incident or remain in a un-acceptance mode towards it. This is like fighting a war with the incident. We tend to do this inside our minds, repeatedly, even realizing somewhere deep within, that it is impossible.
We are at a subtle war with another person when he/she has done something which we perceive or judge to be wrong and our anger is an attempt to change them or take revenge. This is the second belief that is embedded very deeply in our consciousness that the world, including its entire people, should do exactly what we want them to, or what we think they should do. Perhaps we have not yet realized that it is impossible to control others and make them change. The lack of awareness and realization of this truth, which we will definitely realize at some point or the other, doesn’t let us become anger-free very easily. People will always make their own decisions and control their own actions, always. They can definitely be influenced, but they cannot be controlled. When our internal desire of a certain type of behavior from people is not fulfilled, or in other words something against the above belief happens, our instant reaction is one of resentment or irritation or frustration or hatred which are all forms of anger.
One of the most important attributes of a great soul is the ability to not have even a trace of desire for revenge inside and the ability to forgive someone who has supposedly wronged him in anyway. Don’t we all acknowledge that such an individual who has freed himself completely from all anger forms earns our and everyone else’s respect and deepest admiration, and we give him the medal of greatness inside our minds and even physically? So doesn’t that mean we intuitively know that this anger is an incorrect emotion and peace, good wishes and forgiveness are the correct ones, in harmony with the basic nature of the human spirit?
We are at war with our self when we fail to make the world do exactly what we want, or we believe we have let our self down. An e.g. of a war with one self is – Suppose you are standing in a queue waiting for your chance to arrive, only to discover an hour later, just when your chance is about to arrive, that the time for the counter to close has come and the counter has closed. You get upset, but with whom? Perhaps the person at the counter at first and may be with the other people in the queue and then with yourself, for not having found out the time of closing of the counter. There are two failures that make you uneasy here. First you failed to ask someone early enough, which would have saved you the hour time loss. Second, you failed to control your emotions of anger. Although you might not externally admit that you failed, inside you know. Because of these two failures, you then start to get angry with yourself. The thought pattern that goes inside your mind: to fail is to lose, to lose is to be sorrowful, to be sorrowful causes me to become angry, as you look for an external cause of your sadness which, in this case, is initially the person at the counter and the other people in the queue (who would have known the time of closing and could have told you). So you demonstrate to others your justified anger towards them. But deep inside you know it is you yourself that has made you sorrowful.
As the anger builds up inside you, again, after a while, you find someone else outside on whom you vent out your anger. You seem to feel better as a result, but it’s only temporary. The next time you become angry; interrupt the pattern of your anger by asking yourself two simple questions: Who are you fighting a war with? Answer: Yourself. Who is suffering the most due to the war? Answer: Yourself. And if your anger is directed at yourself for your own supposed failure then just tell yourself, “There is no such thing as failure, only a different result from the one that I expected and results are not going to be exactly as I want, expect or desire. That is a rule of the game of life.”
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