Here, I’d like to talk about anger and the manner in which it holds us back from our greater growth and development. Anger, like a lot of other qualities, clearly hinders our growth because it takes us out of a naturally loving frame of mind that isn’t easy to get back into, and there are plenty of other reasons it just isn’t good for us.
Anger holds us back from accessing and feeling a greater, more wholesome part of ourselves, and it stops us from feeling the sense of wellbeing that helps us thrive. Plenty has been said about the manner in which anger hinders our spiritual development, and I’d like to examine some of what’s been said here.
I think it’s essential that we surface and transmute every bit of anger we hold within if we want to find enlightenment or do anything spiritually helpful or significant, and fortunately, we’ve been given a wealth of assistance with doing just that.
First, Mahendranath Gupta tells us that anger and various other lower qualities are temporarily necessary for our lower-dimensional growth.
“God created anger, passion, and other troubles in order to mould great souls.” (1)
We’re here to learn and grow out of the lower vibrations, but to excel from the darkness, we first have to experience it in all of its forms so we can have a sense of what we’re growing away from.
Evolution is probably a lot easier on other planets whose civilizations don’t have to deal with the extreme negativity of the earth, but even they have to experience and understand darkness before they can move on from it. We can’t touch down into darkness without experiencing it intensely, but now that we have, we can start the journey back home.
Now that we have enough experience with darkness to understand it, it’s time to move on from it by refusing to continue feeding the lower qualities that keep us ensnared in it. Now’s the time to find and act on a greater level of self-discipline, because we’re ready to grow away from darkness and everything that keeps it in place.
According to Ajahn Sumedo’s experience, after so long on the path, anger’s replaced with peace of mind.
“Over the years, equanimity seemed to develop. One found that anger, annoyance and aversion began to fade out. And when your mind no longer inclines towards dwelling in aversion, you begin to have some joy and peace of mind.” (2)
I think we could all use this joy and peace of mind, and we’ll attain it when we learn to leave the tendency to be angry behind and embrace constant, free-flowing love. Unlike anger, love will support and nurture us as we grow out of lower mindsets and habit patterns and expand like never before, and this expansion will naturally entail a full-on release of anger.
As we embrace love, the lower qualities we would’ve otherwise been susceptible to will have less and less influence with each day that passes. The result will be an immensely expanded perception, and by the time we find full-on enlightenment, we’ll have long moved away from the restrictive qualities of the lower vibrations.
Paramahansa Ramakrishna tells us that “Anger arises when obstacles are placed in the way of desire.” (3)
If we’re rooted too deeply in the mind, mortal desires become much more appealing than spirit or enlightenment. If our mind perceives itself as being blocked from its goals or desires, it naturally expresses the negative and angry emotions that lay underneath the surface.
This is because the mind thinks it’s being blocked from something that’s essential for its survival, and it’ll send us plenty of angry signals and emotions that a lot of people choose to embrace. A lot of people use anger as a crutch that seems to help them cope in negative situations, and this is unfortunate given that we send a constant signal to the rest of the universe.
Our every emotion is felt via the signals we send out, but most of humanity doesn’t know we send these signals in our best and worst times. As it stands, most people won’t believe that there are numerous civilizations out there, waiting to be discovered, much less that they’re picking up on the signals and impressions we send out.
Sri Krishna tells us about the destructive process that results from an initial mortal desire.
“Thinking about sense-objects Will attach you to sense-objects; Grow attached, and you become addicted; Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; Be angry, and you confuse your mind; Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; Forget experience, you lose discrimination; Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.” (4)
When we’re rooted too deeply in the mind to listen to the intuitive voice that guides us, we lose track of the purpose of our existence on this planet. We forget that we’re here to bring a world of lost souls into the light, and if we dip too low, we can lose ourselves.
We, like anyone else, have the potential to get lost in the mucky unawareness of the lower vibrations, and I think it’s essential that we root ourselves in a greater perception as much and as often as possible. This can especially be said for those of us who want to raise the consciousness of the planet, and if our own vibration is too low, we can’t uplift anyone else.
Bodhidharma tells us that anger blocks our ability to remain on the path.
“To go from mortal to buddha, you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness and accept what life brings. If you’re always getting angry, you’ll turn your nature against the Way. There’s no advantage in deceiving yourself.” (5)
We don’t gain anything by expressing anger in unfavorable situations, and as Bodhidharma suggests, it’s far easier to take life as it comes and deal with everything in as detached and loving of a way as we can. We’re honing our spiritual understanding, but we can’t greet the higher realms until our vibration matches theirs.
Anger keeps us on a lower vibration and stops us from feeling the purer energy making its way to our minds and hearts, and if we want to walk the path ahead of us, we have to be willing to lay our anger aside and embrace life in all of its beauty and difficulty.
According to Paramahansa Ramakrishna, anger inhibits our judgment and clarity of mind.
“Through anger one loses one’s wits and cannot distinguish between right and wrong.” (6)
We lose our perception of what is and isn’t okay or acceptable when we’re really angry, and even though most people are able to show some self-control, others have a much harder time controlling their impulses.
Anger takes away our inhibition and makes us forget what is and isn’t acceptable.
For the most part, this is because we feel like our reality’s crumbling when we’re really angry, and nothing really matters or makes sense. All we can understand is our anger and/or the perceived unfairness of the situation we’re angry about, and other important things don’t really click in.
- Swami Chetananda, They Lived with God. Life Stories of Some Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1989, 205.
- Alan Cittaviveka Sumedho, Teachings from the Silent Mind. Great Gaddesden: Amaravati Publications, c1984; 1992, 63.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 247.
- Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 41.
- Red Pine, trans., The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma. Port Townsend, WA, Empty Bowl, 1987, 17.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ibid., 861.
Photo Credit: Verybestquotes.com
Concluded in Part 2 tomorrow.