Anger or Threat to Self-Image?
Look forward to moments of pain in your life. In the night, recreate the situation in your mind. Disturbances mean something is wrong and if something is wrong, it’s about me. The mind will automatically focus on the other – it’s his fault, he shouldn’t have done it, etc. But bring the focus to yourself.
Let’s say you are angry at your father and husband at home, your boss and colleague at work. These four people bring about different intensities of anger in your reactions. With your husband it’s a 9 because he is around you every day. If you meet your father once every 2 or 3 years, the intensity of anger there will be lower. But if he starts living with you, the intensity will come back to 9 as it was in your childhood. It’s the same with the boss and colleague – because you interact with them every day, the intensity is of the level 9.
When you sit in the night and do an internal scanning, not only will the anger come up at all people of level 9 but also at people whose memories have been suppressed because of non-interaction. Even people of level 6 e.g. neighbours, people we meet sometimes or people of level 2 like the shop owner or someone on the street will evoke level 9 anger.
All people evoke level 9 anger when they threaten you in some way. I get most angry with my husband, boss, colleague because they are the ones who most often threaten my identity, what I think I am. They don’t behave with me the way I want them to. I feel most ‘less than’ with them. A shopkeeper, if he suddenly says something personal to me, will suddenly take up the role of a level 9 person by evoking the same intensity of anger. So it is never the person who is making me angry. What makes me angry is the threat to my self-image. The greater the threat, the more the anger.
Soon you will start knowing taste of anger of different levels – 2, 3, 4, 9. You will know the feel of your skin, its oiliness, the voice tone will become more nervous, sharper, you will start the process of blaming.
Now when you start seeing these symptoms, what will you do? Only one thing works, especially for people who are crude by nature. People who can’t see because they have no mental observation powers and are simply lost in instant gratification, in being happy. They have no patience at all, although they like to show they have it. They say I am an easygoing person, everyone likes me. And so if you don’t like me, it’s your fault, not mine.
The one who is angry is angry at the mental level because that is where the image is threatened. So what does he do? He tries to make himself like the rest of the world. That’s the biggest mistake. But he doesn’t know what else to do. He feels the rest of the world is doing okay, then why am I feeling insecure, threatened? This person has to stop himself from going the the way of the world. He has to walk alone and walk with two things – his pride and integrity.
Pride and Integrity
Don’t ever leave your pride. That pride makes you an independent person, it makes you less dependent on other people. It stops you from bowing down to an authority, a concept. It will always challenge whatever the concept, whatever the authority or group. Keep that pride intact. Only let the pride go in front of one person – God. And when such a person bows down before God, he really bows down. Others just make a show of doing so.
Develop integrity. I got angry at the shopkeeper. Now when the mind moves to blame, you will say, but I too do the same thing, this is not the first time it has happened to me, I am the one who always gets angry so how can I blame him? This way you start looking inwards.
While examining such a situation, you will say this makes me insecure, it threatens me. But what is being threatened? You think you will lose what you have.
False pride will say who cares if I lose it all? But there is also fear that comes up. This fear too has a function. It keeps us with people, it doesn’t let us run away from them. Pride makes us walk with our head held high. But it doesn’t mean we desert our relationships. Pride can also become arrogance. So fear helps. Internally we walk alone, externally we walk amidst society. And that fear keeps us grounded, doesn’t let us make rash decisions.
With integrity, we start asking questions and drilling (not digging) deeper until you will come to the end of life. You will say this is how I was born and you will realize this has come from before birth. So now what? So now if you don’t know where to go, at least now you know not to do the same drama with the husband or the shopkeeper. At the same time, without that drama you will not know. So the drama is needed, otherwise you won’t get the emotional thrust.
So stay in the situation with the people who are troubling you. But every time such a situation comes up, your finger should always be towards you. Normally, it always goes towards the other, NEVER comes to us. Krishna is called maakhan chor. In every situation, he extracts joy. And what is joy? Bliss. The cream of life – maakhan. It is about simply being with oneself.
But we don’t know what this oneself is. To find out, we have to be in difficult situations with others. Other people are mirrors and there are thousands to show us who we are from every angle. Every moment, a reflection is telling me who I am, every moment, the jigsaw puzzle is coming together, I’m becoming whole. The hole is becoming whole.
But to see this, attention is required. All the time, pay attention to the centre of the chest so that attention doesn’t move. Whatever happens, just see what is happening, what is my setting in this. What am I doing? What is this trying to tell me? Who am I in this situation? Each and every piece is taken from each and every mirror.
Right now, it all looks like fragmented mirrors. But if you zoom out, you will see one big mirror within which an illusion of thousands of mirrors is created – what we call existence. And we are not in that. We are not living in existence. We are living somewhere else. But by seeing this endless reflection of mirrors, I feel like I am living this.
The real joy is only about becoming whole. And that is by extracting what your own setting is from situations where there are others around you.
Integrity and pride will make you observe more. It won’t let you cheat and do even a little bit less. You will know this is the only way to do it. Others may not see, but you will know when you falter.