What is the cause of anger? From thinking about situations when I got angry in the past, I’ve deduced some stuff.
Will that help you in never getting angry again? It should, because exploring what the heck anger is, is the first step towards rising above it.
As I ran to catch my bus, I asked the man sitting at the window seat, “Does this bus go to Strand Cinema?” He gave me a blank look as if to say –“ mmmm, well…???” The bus was about to move, cars were rushing all around me, and I was getting late. I hopped in. The bus started moving. I asked the bus conductor, “Does this bus go to Strand cinema?” “ No way”, he said. I looked at that window-seat-man and for a moment I was angry at him. Why on earth did he not tell me that when I was getting in?
What was the cause of anger? As soon as the conductor told me the bus didn’t go to Strand Cinema – I realized that I would have to get down at the next stop. To top it, I was getting very, very late. It was pathetic to get down and run and catch a bus again – buses weren’t raining on me either. All this - I RESISTED INTENSELY. And as soon as I looked at that window-seat-man, I projected it all on him – I decided for the moment that HE was the cause of the situation that I was resisting since he could have prevented it.
After I had got into the right bus, there was a traffic jam. The cars in front just wouldn’t move! After a long time, when my bus finally made a move, a car came right in front of it from nowhere and completely BLOCKED our movement. For a moment I was angry at that car driver. Why the heck was he blocking my way?
What was the cause of anger here? As soon as the car blocked my way, I realized I would have to wait more – and the waiting felt bad. I realized I would get even more late. And I REALLY resisted this situation. And the CAR DRIVER was the cause of this situation, so I projected all my INTENSE RESISTANCE on him.
You see, in each case, I intensely resisted a situation and then decided that someone else was the cause of that situation – and I felt intense anger against the person.
So basically, what is anger? My anger definition is:
"intensely resisting what happened, and thrusting the situation upon someone else."
It’s as if you are saying – what has happened sucks – and YOU have made it happen! So I am angry at you.
When were you angry the last time? Try this. Clearly relive the complete situation. From start to end. Exactly what incited you? What thoughts came in at the moment you felt angry? Replay it very clearly, in slow motion. OK, do it now. I’ll do it with you. :)
Don’t you see something that happened that you just did not want to happen? And then you put the blame of that thing happening on someone else?
Once, I was talking to a friend. And I talked for a long, long time. My mother came in and she was upset that I had talked on phone for such a long time. This made me very angry. Why on earth should she stop me from talking to my friend? I couldn’t bear it.
Here’s the situation I was resisting – “My mom stopping me from talking on phone with a friend.” One, my not being able to talk to the friend – that was pathetic. Two, my own mother not letting me do it was unbearable.
I blamed my mom for the situation – I was angry at her.
At another time, I was missing X very much. So I called X. I wanted X to be with me that very instant. But X was at work and wouldn’t be with me for some time. So I got angry. I INTENSELY RESISTED X not being with me. And I blamed this on X of course because X could change this situation by coming.
So you see, everywhere something is happening, and you intensely resist what’s happening. That is the cause of anger, what causes anger.
Please, please look aside for 5 minutes and think about it. Is that true for you? Do you really find that the cause of anger is resisting something – when you look at your anger? Be a sport, tell me here.
It sounds pretty simple, saying – well if intensely resisting a situation is the cause of anger – accept the situation as it is. After all the situation IS as it is – so why resist it? Accept it. Cool.
And how easy it that?
When you really want your wife to come to this special event you just love, and she says – no I’m not coming – how easy is it to accept that and not resist it and blame her?
When you really, really want to feel loved and cared for, and this other person says, I’m busy, how easy is it to accept that and not resist it?
Yet, the solution is still the same: acceptance.
When you feel angry, relax. This is how the situation is right now. It's there right here no matter how much you fidget and worry and shout. Right now, you just have to accept it. Accept that things have gone wrong or that life sucks or that people can be bad.
Then, once you have accepted, that's when the solution begins. Not before that. Then you can ask - how can I change this situation? Or you can take steps to avoid that situation in the future. But all that can happen once you accept. If you continue to resist, you cannot solve anything. You'll end up getting frustrated.
I will try too. Because though I may write all this, it's always nice to be aware that we are all students.