Guiding Light: Burn your anger

Anger is a wildfire, a forest fire which spreads from shrub to shrub, from tree to tree, consuming everything that comes it's way. In Hindi, we have a couplet which says: “Anger is the great inflictor of sorrow, the great sinner. First, it sets on fire its own mind, then the fire spreads to others.”

Anger creates a chain reaction. Someone gets mad at me– I must take it out on someone else, otherwise, it will keep on seething within me. That someone else must have it out on yet someone else. And the chain reaction goes on!

On the surface, we all are good and virtuous. But, within each one of us, there lie hidden so many weaknesses and imperfections, the worst elements within us, which are at times made manifest. Therefore, we must burn anger before anger burns us!

Anger is more destructive than fire, more disastrous than an earthquake. In anger, individuals fight each other, leading to dire consequences. In anger, nations fight each other and thousands of young, precious, promising lives are lost.

But the good news is: Anger can be controlled!

There are three ways of handling anger. There is the way of expression, which so many of us follow. We feel angry and release it through our words and actions. Expression gives us relief, for we get some satisfaction at having given a piece of our mind to the person who upset us. This relief, however, is temporary.

Resentments build up again, and we are ready for another spill out. Gradually, anger becomes a habit and the time comes when we become slaves to anger. We are controlled by anger, and anger is a terrible master. I read about a mother who, in a mood of anger, threw her own child into the fire!

The second way to handle anger is suppression. We suppress anger because we don't like to show people that we are angry. As psychologists tell us, suppression creates complexes which are not conducive to our mental well-being.

Then, there is the third, and the right way of handling anger. It is the way of forgiveness. When we forgive, we rise above anger.

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