We all have encountered various episodes of anger at different junctures of life; sometimes as a victim and sometimes as an offender. Whenever we are the receiver of anger we tend to play a victim blaming the other and when we are the giver or the doer we tend to get defensive and accuse the other of provocation, never taking the responsibility of our inability to control the surge of energy that arises within us. If we spare a little time to introspect the real reason behind the outburst, we will realize that the anger which we throw at others or the others throw at us is nothing but a strong and intense energy-an emotion which is negative in nature. Anger is the outburst of accumulated energy within us in the form of suppressed emotions due to unfulfilled desires, failures or our inability to accept or change a situation or a person as they are or when the outcome of our action is not as per our expectation. Not accepting ourselves as we are and constantly comparing ourselves with others and cut-throat competition amongst the peer circle leads to dissatisfaction that causes irritation, frustration and anger in us.
Not just confined to the grown-ups, anger is seen in young children as well which they express in the form of bullying, tantrums, stubbornness and refusal to follow rules. Comparison with other children, multi-tasking and pressure to excel in all fields leads to insecurity, frustration, low self-esteem, stress which they let out as screaming, shouting, being destructive and physically hurting others and sometimes themselves. In short, whenever we are forced to behave or work against our liking or when we enforce our likes or dislikes on someone, reaction in the form of anger erupts as verbal spat or physical aggression.
Basically, anger is a clash of egos. Anger comes as a response or a reaction when our ego is hurt by words or actions performed by others. We not only get angry at others but there are times when we throw anger at our own self because of our difficulty to accept our failure or weaknesses. We often handle anger either by expressing or by suppressing it both of which affect our physical as well as mental health. When anger is lent out at others it is often towards someone weaker than us either physically or socially. As a repercussion we face strained relations, quarrels, physical aggression seen as road rage and domestic violence. Suppression happens when the anger is towards a person physically, economically or socially stronger than us as in the case of a parent-child or student-teacher or boss-subordinate interaction. We then try to look out for a circle of people who readily boost and nourish our ego and begin to avoid those who pinpoint our drawbacks and weaknesses. We get trapped by the play of our ego to such an extent that instead of giving up our anger, we readily forego those who do not justify or accept our anger. As a result of we not only lose important relations, we lose our feelings, emotions, friends but also our basic true nature which is love, compassion and peace.
Once a mad elephant on a rampage charged towards Buddha with an aim to attack him but when it came face to face with him, the elephant instead of attacking Buddha, bowed down and fell on his feet. The point here is that a person filled with ego and anger loses even that much sensibility which a mad elephant has !
The question that arises now is whether to express or suppress our anger. Either which way we follow, anger takes a toll on our physical, mental as well as emotional well being causing physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, increased pulse rate, stress leading to hormonal imbalance, irritation, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, anxiety in addition to strained relationships. It is important to understand that neither expression nor suppression is the solution. Instead of trying to either suppress or express, we should focus on transforming this negative energy into something creative and productive.
Amongst the number of techniques which are used at the time one experiences anger such as deep breathing, fight or flight response or backward counting, Meditation plays a key role in transcending this negative energy present within us. Regular meditation practice prepares us to accept our self and others as they are. Acceptance puts an end to the ongoing tussle that goes on in our mind. We become calmer and at ease and more receptive and responsive rather than impulsive. Meditation creates a positive shift of consciousness from the senses to the core making us more centered. Realizing the futility of comparison and mad race to acquire name, fame and material success, meditation endows us with a sense of understanding, decoding the purpose of life.