“‘Though one may conquer a thousand enemies on the battlefield, single handed, and conquer them a thousand times over, yet greater is the one who conquers oneself.” –The Buddha
Defeat your own demons of anger. In some ways, I think anger is the most dangerous emotion. If you are envious, depressed, anxious, you won’t escalate and hurt yourself or others…or land yourself in jail. But what can happen if you get seriously angry? Anything is possible. If there is a gun in the house, you may end up shooting your loved one or yourself! Anger is never RATIONAL. It is like some evil creature hijacked your brain’s control center. Anger is an interesting emotion in that anger breeds more anger and has the possibility of making you do something you may regret for the rest of your life. And anger leaves very deep scarring, both to yourself and to the person you direct your anger to.
In Ephesians 4:26-27, It says, “Be angry… do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. Never give to the Devil. Don’t go to bed when you have anger in your mind. It drives into your heart. Out of your heart it will come out into your lives.”
Anger can actually make you physically ugly as well. Think of it this way, an “enemy” of yours would WISH for you to look ugly and unhappy. “Anger” does this, just like a terrible “enemy”. Great thinkers like The Buddha described this phenomenon. Look at yourself in the mirror next time you are angry…isn’t it the worst possible picture of your face? Look at others when they are angry, look at the rage inside them that shows in their eyes, look at the grimace in and around their mouths, their flaring noses… Don’t even let anger start in your brain because it is like a horse that gallops so wildly, out of control.
Understand that your physical features are a projection and outward extension of your inner emotions. If you carry inside yourself anger, hate, rage, anxiety, and fear, your outside features will be unattractive and unpleasant.
Recall our last chapter’s strategies for avoiding the ills of letting Anger get the best of us: 1) Utilize the opposite emotion and meditate and pray about it: loving kindness, 2) Use compassion, 3) Bring equanimity, 4) Pragmatic physical and mental avoidance, and 5) Surrendering to “You reap what you sow” and Karma. And finally 6) Humor
Add to this what Thomas Jefferson famously suggested to us about anger and how it can disrupt the mind and what to do when faced with anger. The seventh factor is Time. He invoked a simple strategy: “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” Mark Twain, had a funny twist on this subject: “When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear.”
I will add though there are forms of anger that are permissible and good. It is called “righteous indignation” and you saw this when Jesus yelled at the Pharisees. God is also angered by the mistreatment of those who are helpless, the strangers, the widows, and the orphans (Exodus 22:21-24). Being angry when you see some serious human rights violations which will mobilize you to action to correct the laws or actions is good thing. However, much of what people get angry about is just simply unfathomably superficial occurrences, mere affronts, rarely of grave importance.