From Vara Prasad, Instructor, Sahaja Online
We hear a lot about road rage these days and recently I had my own experience with it. Driving in an area unfamiliar to me, I had to stop rather abruptly before merging on to the main road due to the cars on that road driving much faster than I was expecting. A driver on the main road, despite having been in no danger from me, stopped his car in front of me and proceeded to get out, come over to my car, kick my door, swear at me and then drive off again, whilst I thanked my good fortune for not ending up with a bloody nose.
Clearly, this was a massive over-reaction on the other driver’s part to what should have been a minor incident. It left me wondering about the role anger plays in our society. Everywhere we look there is a lot of anger and sometimes it seems as though these levels of anger are increasing.
So how do you deal with anger?
After the 2016 election in the US, a Pew Research study showed how Facebook users began using the “Angry” button more than “Love” in response to lawmakers’ posts.
Then we have the infamous trolls on Twitter. Social media amplifies anger as if we needed the already abundant anger in our society to be multiplied and passed on to more people.
Coming back to my own personal situation, I thought about how I (and others) would normally react to incidents such as the one described above and came up with a few options, along with the possible consequences of each action.
1) Try to Teach The Other Party a Lesson by Taking revenge.
This option may give a satisfying feeling of victory, but in the end, what has really been achieved? You are essentially repeating the same mistake that was committed by the other person and in the end, everyone is angry and no one learns anything productive. In addition, in cases such as my road rage incident, the driver took a risk to himself and others in stopping his car in the road just to try to teach me a lesson.
2) Hurl Some Choice Abuse at The Other Party.
Less dramatic than the first option, this option still magnifies the initial anger. Not to mention the effect on people nearby who will overhear you. Think of small children, who these days learn to swear long before they learn the real meaning of any of the words they are saying.
3) Just Move on.
You take the bad behavior on the chin, accept that some people are immature, get over it and move on. This may seem like the most boring option, however, it is also the most positive since you diffuse your own reaction to the situation as rapidly as possible.
If you think we’re going to tell you to take option 3, well, you’re partially correct. But it’s a lot more nuanced and so this option has two further variations.
Move on grudgingly, conditioning yourself mentally that anger is not good for you. But this will create pent-up anger inside you. Maybe you’ll reach home and kick your dog to release this anger inside you after feeling temporarily happy that you were the better person.
Move on and do nothing because you hardly felt any negative emotion inside you. You felt like you were watching a show in which you were the main character. You watched your own reactions and feelings. There were hardly any, other than surprise maybe. You were the detached and calm witness to the proceedings.
Option 3 shouldn’t have to be about training yourself to be the better person or taking the higher road. Those are concepts and advice you receive from Self-help sites and quacks still struggling with themselves but out to teach others.
And an entire Seinfeld episode made fun of this concept many years ago.
At Sahaja, we deliver Option 3(b) – the one of being a detached witness to your problems and difficult situations – to you through the experience of meditation. When you reach this higher state of consciousness day in and day out, the precise state and feeling you have is the one described above in this option.
Both pent up anger and the feeling of anger recede inside you – slowly but surely and permanently. There is an intrinsic change in the way you perceive and react to external triggers that otherwise cause anger within you.
How this works is elaborated in our section on Anger. But the simple solution is the practice of meditation regularly. And not just any meditation, but the real stuff that elevates you to a perceptible higher state due to which a healing force percolates into the very core of your being.
Technically, we meditators shouldn’t have to do any Anger management at all, our meditation should help prevent the anger from originating in the first place. Hope you understand, how do you deal with anger.