Are You Controlling Your Anger or is Your Anger Controlling You?
By Scott Shaw
In our lives, it is inevitable that each of us will encounter situations that we are not happy with. These situations can be defined by all kinds of variables but at the root of all of them is the fact that their occurrence makes us unhappy.
The question must be asked, “Where does our unhappiness arise from?” The answer to that question is quite simple — where dissatisfaction arises from is our desire for a particular life-situation to be played out in a certain manner of our choosing, but it is not.
Many people, when encountering a life situation that makes them unhappy, observe it for what it is. Yes, they may be become unhappy, frustrated, depressed, or even angry but they do not express these emotions in an unsavory manner. They may tell the person who is causing the situation that they are unhappy or even angry with what they are doing but they are mature enough to know that most life situations are not so important to allow the emotions that they evoke to move forward from that moment and define an entire life. Meaning, any actions you take when you are dissatisfied or angry should not be so all-encompassing that they may come to defining the rest of your existence or negatively influence the existence of any other person.
The truth be told, the majority of this world’s population is very selfish. People are out for themselves — they only think about themselves or those they care about and the rest of the world be damned. For those of us who walk the path of consciousness we may believe that this is the wrong way to encounter the world. None-the-less, this is the way it is. And, though we may hope to raise the overall consciousness of the world by us being the best person we can be, the majority of humanity does not possess this mindset. So, what are we left with? We are left with a world defined by individual desire and people acting out whenever their personal desires are not being met.
How do you act when you are not happy? How do you act when you are not getting what you want? How do you behave when you are angry? The answer to these questions is not only what sets the course for your own existence into motion but it also, at least partially, defines the lives of all those people whom interact with you. And, from there, it moves outwards to all of those people who interact with those people you have interacted with.
Here is a fact, few people ever take into consideration how what they are doing and how they are behaving is affecting their own evolution let-alone the lives of others whenever they are acting-out in an unenlightened manner.
How you behave in any given moment, how you react to your desires either being met or not being met, projects from you out onto the entire world. If, when are angry, you study this emotion and come to a deeper understanding of SELF, the world becomes a better place. This is because of the fact that you, personally, have become a more aware individual. If, on the other hand, you explode with your uncontrolled anger whenever you are not happy with the cards life has dealt you, this means that not only have you affected your own inner evolution in a negative manner but you have also negatively affect the lives of all those around you by not controlling your angry outbursts and irrational behavior. From this, not only have you personally become defined by your explosive nature but you make the lives of all of those people around you, whom you have forced to become aware of and interactive with your anger, much worse.
If you want to keep YOU as the central focus of all your thoughts and actions understand this, if you have hurt anyone by your actions or your behavior, no matter whether consciously or unconsciously, you have hurt yourself. That is what karma is.
Ultimately, you are the source point of the rest of the world! If you understand this then you become much more thoughtful about allowing your emotion to be in control of you as opposed to you being in control of them.
Again, it must be stated, most people don’t care. They do what they do with complete disregard for others. They feel they are justified in their emotions, deeds, and actions. If confronted with the fact of what they have done or how they have behaved is negatively affect the lives of others, at best, they will simply make excuses for their actions and/or claim they have the right to feel the way they want to feel — to behave the way they want to behave. They may even attempt to turn the scenario around on the individual who is expressing to them how their negative emotional actions are hurtful to the lives of others. But, all this is based upon are the excuses of an unenlightened individual who has allowed their emotions to run ramped and come to control them.
This is the source point for the dilemma of human emotion. People are emotional creatures. People find justification for their actions. People try to blame others, god, and life, for the way they are feeling. If a person has become entrenched in negative emotional behavior and/or negative emotional outbursts, they find some-one or some-philosophy to give them a logical and justifiable justification for the way they are behaving. What they do not do, however, is looking deeply within themselves, see that they are living their life in a negative manner, and thereby come to fix their internal psychological apparatus.
So, what can you, (as the person who chooses to live a life of positive consciousness), do? First of all, if you are one of those people who is defined by frustration and anger, take a long hard look at your life. Find out what you are dissatisfied or angry about. Most probably you will come to the conclusion that it is based upon you not getting the things you want, being with the people you want, achieving the goals you have set for yourself, or living the life and the lifestyle you had envisioned for yourself. Okay, so now you know. Now what? Here is the thing, you can work towards your dreams, but if working towards your dreams is based upon a mindset of anger, your dreams will be defined by anger-filled accomplished if they are ever lived at all. If you based your life upon constantly embracing the negative emotions of frustration and anger, all you will encounter is defeat — which will probably lead you to more anger. Why? Because not only have you locked yourself into constantly embracing a negative and self-defeating emotion but due to this emotion you have negatively affect the lives of all those you have encounter. Yes, you can lie to them and pretend to be something you are not. But, at the root of all personal growth and self-actualization is to embrace who you truly are, refine that inner being as necessary, and then project that positivity to the world. If you are good, you will be seen as good. If you have helped people and not hurt people, those who can help you will be more willing to do so. But, if you hurt yourself and hurt other through your unrelenting anger and frustration, what image and what energy do you think you are projecting to the world?
Negative only equals negativity. If you focus your life based upon negative emotions, you project those emotions from your inner being onto all those you interact with. No lie will hide the truth and only negativity can be born from negativity.
Life begins and ends with you. This is YOUR life. How are you going to live it? Is it going to be defined by your anger and your frustrations – letting those negative emotions emulate from you and define all of your personal life-space and relationships? Or, are you going to become MORE, are you going to delve into the essence of your being, analyzing and overcoming all negativity, fix any negativity you have unleashed, and not let something so temporary as an emotion come to define the definition of you to the world?
This is a chapter from the book, The Abstract Arsenal of Zen and the Psychology of Being: Further Zen Ramblings from the Internet
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No part of this article may be used without the expressed permission of Scott Shaw or his representatives.