The Empty Boat-2

Elsewhere I wrote that anger arises when somewhere you are hurt within. Different people express their pain differently. Some shout, some withdraw. Some forgive, some forsake. Some fret, some forget. These are individual choices, personal matters. Your choice is entirely in your hands. Bear in mind though if you are going to yell in anger or keep harboring it inside you, it’ll gradually destroy your goodness like rust destroys iron. And, when inherent goodness is gone, you have no hope of being at peace.

An angry person may have whatever opinion about him or her, deep inside though, they suffer from a lack of self-esteem. And believe it or not, your sense of self-esteem is directly proportional to your degree of selflessness. The more selfless you are, the stronger you will be. And the stronger you are, the greater your self-esteem. Only someone with high self-esteem can be calm. It is much easier for such a person to direct his or her energy in a more productive way than to shout and get mad.

Therefore, one good way to rise above anger is to build your self-esteem. And, you can do that by serving someone or some cause, by doing selfless service. Even every tiny random act of kindness is a mighty deposit in your account of self-worth. This is the inward journey of conquering yourself. You help others and you help yourself.

The more you look within for answers to your emotions, the less you hold others responsible for your feelings. They will still come and slam into you, but you learn to look upon them as empty boats. They are just drifting. No doubt, you may still feel bad or off when they spoil your paint-job, when they damage your carefully-protected belongings. Yet, this doesn’t mean they will also evoke anger in you. And this calls for a subtle distinction I must elucidate right away.

You see, not being angry doesn’t mean you don’t get hurt. Living in our world, it’s impossible to not get hurt by our loved ones. It will happen. That is not in your hands. If someone hits you with a stick, you will feel the pain. How you choose to respond though is what differentiates a good person from a great one. You may choose to take away their stick, distance yourself from them, yell at them, hit them back or even love them in return.

Other than being hurt, there is, however, one more cause of anger. No one likes to hear it but a closer diagnosis of the world will clearly reveal it to you. It is self-obsession. The more obsessed you are with yourself, the angrier you get at the slightest of conflict. Self-obsessed people take themselves very seriously. Whether it be their life, religion or their opinions, everything is a serious matter for them. These are the ones who, even after seeing an empty boat, will keep yelling and cursing the one who abandoned that boat at the first place. A self-obsessed person does not know what to do with his or her anger. Once again the antidote is going beyond your individual existence and embarking on a journey greater than the sum total of one’s selfish desires.

Mulla Nasrudin moved to a new town and needed some financial assistance. Nobody would lend him any money though. Dejected, he was sitting outside the mosque when he struck up a conversation with a stranger.
A few minutes into the chat and Mulla asked, “So, how’s business?”
“Couldn’t be better!” the man said.
“Can I borrow fifty dollars then?”
“Fifty dollars?” he exclaimed. “No way! I don’t even know you.”
“That’s strange,” replied Nasrudin. “In the previous village, people wouldn’t lend me money because they knew me. And here, no one lends me because they don’t know me.”

It’s the same with anger. Some will take the liberty to snub you, shout at you, to be angry with you because they know you. They know that you will accept such behavior. And some will be mad at you because they don’t know you. They are looking at you through their own filter. At any rate, let it not bother you beyond a reasonable point because it’s not about you, it’s about them. So long as you are not “them”, you are good.

I once read a quote that said, “Open your mouth when what you have to say is more beautiful than silence.” This pretty much sums up the best way to ascertain how best to express your displeasure. Every little thing we do, say or think, every thought we brood over, every emotion we harbor adds to the weight. You may not be able to entirely empty your boat, but don’t keep it overloaded either. Heavy objects sink faster. Really, it’s that simple. Be light, be free.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: