We get angry when we create a desire that holds an attachment or aversion to an outcome and that outcome is denied or different from our expectation. Anger arises when we don’t get what we want or we get what we don’t want, when our attachment to our expected outcome is frustrated.
A pure ego lives in the experience of ‘I Am”. An impure ego, immersed in negative impressions, lives in the experience of ‘I want’. It creates endless desires that are attached to selfish outcomes. Our ego becomes self-grasping. When the outcomes we are attached to are thwarted, the ego reacts and anger arises.
Anger shows itself in many ways; impatience, disrespect, getting mad, a raised eyebrow, blame, a resentment, frustration, annoyance, a grudge, a war, a judgment, an irritation, rage, a rigid stance, an unkind word.
In the midst of self-grasping, we expect the outside world to make us happy inside. At the same time, others look to us to satisfy their desire to be happy. This misperception that someone or something outside of us can make us happy represents an unwinnable game of expectations. Happiness is Self-arising inside. It is not bestowed upon us from an outside person, place or thing. So, we are angry at the world and the world is angry at us because everyone is living with a selfish desire attached to an outcome; make me happy, end my suffering, agree with me, give me what I want. We place a heavy burden upon the outside person, place, thing or circumstance to satisfy our need to be happy. We live in this expectation and we remain very attached to our expected outcomes.
We use the expression, “They made me so mad.” Something or someone outside of us can trigger us, but what is triggered inside of us is 100% ours. We are 100% responsible for our feelings, our anger. It is our ego, our self-grasping desire, our attachment, our aversion that create our anger. It is our selfish desires, our grasping for outcomes and our pushing away outcomes that light the fire of anger. It is the anger that is already within us that makes the other an enemy. In our misperception, we blame the other for our unhappiness, frustration and anger. Then we justify it. When we end our egoic grasping, our selfish desire, our attachment, our aversion and our expectation, we free ourselves from anger.
When we feel anger arising, identify our self-grasping, see the desire and see the attachment or aversion to an outcome. See anger clearly for what it is; a grasping desire with an attachment or aversion to an outcome. Seeing deeply what we are really experiencing will lessen the anger.
All egoic desires hold some degree of attachment or aversion to an outcome, so all desires will create some anger when that outcome is denied. When we have a self-grasping ego, if we don’t get our way, if we don’t achieve our outcome, we enflame our anger. When desire is neutral, it will not become attached or grasping. We desire to breathe, to eat, to laugh, to receive pleasure. Ultimately we desire the bliss of the Self. If we are attached to the outcome of our selfish desire, even for enlightenment, we will suffer when it doesn’t happen, when it is delayed, when it is thwarted or when something different than our expectation shows up.
This is why living with acceptance lets us live without anger. Living with a mindset of allowing releases the grasping and pushing away. Living in the present moment lets the future unfold without our attachment to any required outcome. Love, patience and compassion are the virtues that destroy anger. Ultimately, ending self-grasping ends anger.