Spice of life | Breathe out the anger, embrace inner peace
As a child, I regretfully recall breaking furniture when my uncle was late to taking me to the village railway station and throwing away my grandfather’s car keys, the moment he joked that he would attend a wedding alone
When actor Will Smith slapped comedian-host Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, the whole world sat up and took note of how anger can cause one to lose control. Just a few weeks later, a young Australian man found himself in the headlines after he threw hot coffee on a barista, the moment it was handed to him, because he had to wait for it for long. Consumed with rage, the man continued to cuss out the barista, who suffered grievous burn injuries, as he left the cafe.
Predictably, the horrifying news piece ended with a quote from a psychologist and helpline numbers for addressing mental health concerns. Sadly, it has become common for people, irrespective of their age, to flare up over the most trivial inconveniences. Case in point: after every few days, one reads about a nightmarish birthday party or wedding ceremony that turned into a bloodbath because someone lost their cool over something petty. Besides, the gruesome reports of gun violence that keep pouring in from the United States speak volumes.
We forget that anger is vitriolic, it takes a lot from us, including our health. Before we can direct our anger towards others, we are ourselves burned by it. In the wise words of Gautama Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone. You are the one who gets burned.”
For as long as I can remember, I was an angry soul and often let my emotions get the better of me. As a child, I regretfully recall breaking furniture when my uncle was late to taking me to the village railway station and throwing away my grandfather’s car keys, the moment he joked that he would attend a wedding alone. Anger continued to accompany me in adulthood as well and it is embarrassing to recall how I shouted at waiters and senior colleagues. The reason behind every outburst was the same: I wanted everyone to behave exactly as per my expectations, forgetting that everyone is different.
It was during my first solo trip to the US that I came to accept that anger was my biggest weakness. During library visits, I would pick up books on the mind. I also found a 10-day meditation camp, which firmly put me on the path of peace. As I was determined to help myself, the universe kept opening doors for me. The best realisations flowered in me during sewa at the Golden Temple kitchen for a year and a half. I came to the profound understanding that instead of changing others, we should change ourselves.
Few people realise that those of us who are labelled hotheads are not fond of their anger. They too yearn for inner peace. If spirituality is to be believed, they need to be treated with love and understanding. They will gradually change if we give them the support they need.
I leave you with a quote that I read on a train station wall in New York: “The world doesn’t need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” Do you agree?
(The writer is an Amritsar-based freelance contributor)