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www.jainworld.com

July 7, 2003 at Ashland, KY

Samanji Shrutpragyaji Lectures

Anger Management

There are three kinds of problems generated by our behavior towards others.

1.    Our behavior causes or creates problems for others ( ex: stealing from someone)

2.    Our behavior causes problems for us.

3.  Our behavior causes problems for others and us.

     Anger is an example of this. We get upset at ourselves when we 

     are angry, and the other person is also made unhappy. Anger

     causes unhappiness for both.

There is a common misunderstanding about anger. We blame others for our anger. We often say other people are the cause, my anger is the result. This is not true. Anger is inside all of us. Here is an example using the analogy of a well and a bucket – outside circumstances are like a bucket and we are like a well. When you put a bucket in a well, whatever is in the well comes out. So if you are angry inside, circumstances will elicit an angry response from you. Since we cannot control everyone else’s behavior, thoughts and actions, we must control our own response (anger) to them.

To be peaceful is our normal state. We are angry only occasionally (so anger is a habit). Another interesting thing is that you need company (more than one) for anger and solitude for peace.

There are two kinds of anger – active and passive.

Active anger is when something happens (a glass breaks) and you are angry at the person who breaks it. But soon after that you are calm again. A person can be good at heart and blunt, and get angry often. That’s okay as long as you don’t hold grudges.

Passive anger is more dangerous. This kind of person is cool on the outside but very hot inside. He has anger, hatred, jealousy, and feelings of revenge inside him.

FOUR REASONS (CAUSES) FOR ANGER

1.     BEING OVERACTIVE

This means you have too much going on at once. You have overbooked and  overscheduled yourself and your family. The result is you are overly time conscious. Any delay makes you irritable and angry.

2.     EGO (AHANKAR)

If anyone says anything negative to you, your ego is hurt. You can’t handle any kind of criticism and you want to get even with that person.

3.     EXPECTATIONS

If you keep expectations and they are not fulfilled, you get angry. We must accept the fact that all of us have weaknesses. Accept the weaknesses of others and adjust to them. If you don’t, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment, which in turn will lead to anger.

4.     A NEGATIVE APPROACH

It is often said – What you think is what you are. What you think will happen, will probably happen. So don’t be negative in your thinking. Instead, be positive. Take a positive approach if something bad happens. For example, if you are making dal, and the salt is too little, don’t say “Oh No! There is less salt!” Instead say “Salt was just fine, dal became a little more.”

Now that we know the causes of anger, try to understand which ones trigger your anger and then try to control your anger. This doesn’t mean you can never be angry. When you discipline someone, you are making the conscious choice to be angry. This is controlled anger. However, just getting angry at small things, being irritable all the time is uncontrolled anger and this is not good.

Anger normally comes in adverse conditions and while living among other people. It’s east to be calm alone in the Himalayas. You get angry when you have human interaction. The key is to stay calm in adverse circumstances while living among people. Just like a piece of glass gets hot in the sun but a diamond doesn’t, in the same way if you get angry in adverse conditions, you are glass and if you stay calm you are a diamond.

Always remember, if someone else makes a mistake it is not necessary for you to be angry because that person will suffer the consequences of his action and if you make the mistake you have NO RIGHT to be angry.

HOW TO CONTROL ANGER

1.    Introspection – Think about your day. Reflect – if you were angry, was it active or passive, controlled or uncontrolled, and what caused it. Try to improve each day.

2.    Deep Breathing – practice this to control your anger.

3.    Maun Vrat (Keep silent) – This is probably hard for some, but try to fix a time of day for quiet reflection and don’t talk during that time period.

4.    Don’t accept negative situations. Ignore them. Remember if you don’t accept someone’s anger, it still belongs to them.

5.    Leave the negative situation – walk away. Remember you cannot change other people.

6.    Count backwards –10, 9, 8, 7…

7.    Talk softly and slowly. (talk less too). People who have a speedy nature, who talk fast and walk fast and work fast tend to be irritable and get angry easily.

8.    Sit down or better still lie down when you get angry.  

Have some EMPATHY – try to understand other’s perspectives and situations and what causes them to behave the way the