Hide and Seek: The Power of Awareness

Chapter Nine

Anger

Anger is a powerful emotion that emerges when our desires become entangled with attachments or aversions to specific outcomes. When we hold a desire attached to a specific outcome and that outcome is either unmet or diverges from our envisioned scenario, we become angry. It is the emotional response to the frustration of not getting what we want.

Ego:

An ego, in its purest form, exists within us as the consciousness of “I Am.” However, when the ego becomes impure, ensnared in the clutches of attachment and aversion, it evolves into “I want.” This impure ego gives rise to endless desires tethered to self-centered outcomes, transforming into a selfish and grasping force. When the outcomes we are attached to are obstructed or altered, our ego reacts, giving rise to the flames of anger.

Manifestations of Anger:

Anger takes on various forms and manifestations, ranging from impatience and disrespect to overt displays of rage. It can manifest as a raised eyebrow, blame, resentment, frustration, annoyance, a grudge, or even escalate to conflict, judgments, irritations, and rigid stances. Anger is not a single emotion but rather a complex spectrum of reactions rooted in desire, attachment and aversion.

The Illusion of External Happiness:

Amid our grasping, we mistakenly believe that external circumstances hold the key to our internal happiness. We become consumed with the belief that certain outcomes are required to create our joy and satisfaction. This misperception of the source, where someone or something outside ourselves is expected to provide our happiness, sets the stage for an unwinnable game of expectations.

Genuine happiness arises from within, not as a gift from external entities. Thus, we find ourselves resenting the world, and the world reciprocates, as everyone harbors self-centered desires attached to specific outcomes: “Make me happy,” “End my suffering,” “Agree with me,” or “Give me what I want.” This heavy burden placed on external factors to satisfy our need for happiness fosters perpetual attachment to our expected outcomes and resulting disappointment.

Responsibility:

When anger surfaces, we must recognize that we are not victims. Instead, we are grappling with frustration stemming from our attachments. Often, we attribute our anger to external factors, exclaiming, “They made me so mad” or “That made me so upset.” While external stimuli can certainly trigger our emotions, what is awakened within us is entirely our own. We bear complete responsibility for our feelings and anger. It is our ego, our grasping desires, our attachments, our aversions, and our expectations that fuel our anger. This inner turmoil is ignited by our selfish desires, our yearning for specific outcomes, and our tendency to push away those that don’t align with our expectations.

We may perceive others as the source of our unhappiness, frustration, and anger, but the reality is that it is always our own internal desire grasping for outcomes that turns ‘other’ into ‘enemy’ and peace into anger when we do not receive our desired outcome. In our misperception, we unfairly blame others for our discontent and subsequently seek justification. The path to liberation from anger begins with relinquishing our egoic attachments, selfish desires, and aversions, as well as our unrealistic expectations.

Resolution:

When anger begins to bubble up, it’s essential to identify our grasping, recognize the underlying desire, and acknowledge the attachment or aversion to a specific outcome. By clearly discerning anger as a manifestation of grasping desires with attachments or aversions to outcomes, we can begin to lessen its grip on us. Anger often remains just below the surface, becoming a familiar companion in our lives. Overcoming it requires awareness of seeing deeply.

Every egoic desire carries some degree of attachment or aversion to an outcome, making anger a potential response when those expectations are thwarted. If we possess a grasping ego full of desires, our anger tends to flare up when we fail to achieve our desired outcomes. However, when we remain in acceptance, unburdened by attachment or grasping, events are less likely to trigger anger. When we maintain neutrality to outcomes, we are less likely to suffer when our expectations are unmet, delayed, altered, or when outcomes differ from our preconceived notions. Focus our energy and attention on our actions and view outcomes with acceptance. Act intently, without attachment to the fruits of action.

Embracing acceptance enables us to live without anger. Approaching life with an attitude of allowing releases our grasping tendencies. Living in the present moment liberates us from attaching ourselves to specific future outcomes. Love, patience, and compassion are virtues that can extinguish anger. Ultimately, transcending grasping desires with attachments to outcomes is the key to eradicating anger from our lives.

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