We might think that only those who have the habit of often losing their temper need to focus on this subject. But this emotion is much deeper than it appears on the surface. One may have developed reasonable control over the violent expression of anger, and yet carry with in hidden anger, a hidden resentment. It takes many forms: touchiness, impatience, displeasure, jealousy, irritability, unhappiness, moodiness. Actually, every one of us has a problem with anger to some degree, unless we are in samadhi.
Anger, in any form, is caused by frustration of a desire. So the sure way to conquer anger is to strike at its roots: desires. The more yearnings we have, the more frustrations we have. It is impossible to fulfill them all, because the nature of sensory desire is that it is unending.The more we cater to a desire for anything, any experience, the more our attachment to it grows.
Ways to overcome desires:
Once we understand that desires are the cause of anger, we will want to know the ways of constructively dealing with them.
Fulfill them: Paramahansaji says that for wholesome simple desires, a good psychological practice is simply fulfill them. The trouble is that this often gives rise to new desires. So it is wise to discriminate well even with seemingly innocent wants.
Relinquish desires: Another way is to relinquish the desire, to a mental act of renunciation. As we awaken spiritually, this often happens quite naturally.
Transmute desires: If we cannot fulfill a desire, or it is harmful to do so we can remain free of inner frustration by transmuting that desire.This means we change our focus from a wrong object of desire to something that is good for us.
Cultivate soul calmness, Born out of Meditation: Meditation is the greatest remedy for anger or any other problem, because it attunes us with our real nature — God’s peace and bliss in our soul.
Leave the immediate environment: When anger threatens to overcome your self control, the best course is to get out of that environment or do some constructive work.
Calm the nervous system: If one is very angry, one should cool the nerve endings. A good way is take cold shower; or to apply a piece of ice or cold wet cloth to the openings of the body, as well as to the temples, navel, neck, armpits, soles of the feet, and palms of the hands. This helps to calm the life force in the nerves, promoting self control.
Finally Guruji said Meditation, carrying the peace of God, prayer, affirmation– all the ways saints teach– these are the ways to overcome the habit of anger.
——By Swami Mokshananda Giri An informal class given at SRF international headquarters, Los angeles