Guess what book I’ve been reading recently? Nope it doesn’t start with 50 and ends with grey haha! but its the same book I probably reference in almost all of my posts (i.e. Purification of the Heart). And one of the longest chapters in that book is one that tackles probably one of the most basic and fundamental of all human emotions, and that’s anger. In the book anger is compared to a swelling mass of emotion that is difficult to hold back once it is unleashed similar to trying to hold back a swelling mass of water. Anger is such an amazing phenomenon, if one reflects on its nature and occurrence in human life and character, and about its perils and liability, as well as its necessity in life.
But anger is not necessarily a negative emotion in and of itself. It is part of human creation, just as our flesh and limbs are. That’s because without anger, there are many things that would not have been achieved and in fact anger can be a positive motivator. However, there is another side to anger that we must be very careful about because if anger is not guided towards something useful, it can posses, consume and ultimately destroy an individual. And how many times have we seen or heard of a person who ruined his/her life because of a rash act or statement made in a fit of rage.
So the wisdom here is that anger is something that needs to be trained, but certainly not abolished. Again for if people completely suppressed their anger many of the injustices of the world would not have been opposed. Furthermore anger is said to be acceptable only at the right time, in the right place, for the right reasons and in the right amount.
There are basically four reasons people get angry according to the book. One reason is related to primal needs, such as food, shelter and life. When these are threatened, any normal person would feel vulnerable and respond with anger. Touch my food and I will literally touch your liver. Haha! But seriously this type of anger is not blameworthy at all and in fact necessary for without it we would have a society that is indifferent to crime and transgression. The second reason is related to position, dignity and the protection of one’s honor. So for example if someone is trying to belittle an individual or if someone feels as though they are not treated as well as they should be very often people would feel angry.
The third reason is a little more specific and relates to specific people with specific set of values. For example if a scholar sees a book being abused, he would become angry as opposed to an illiterate man on the other hand who would see nothing wrong with keeping a book on the floor or stepping on a book etc. The fourth kind is generally referred to as jealousy, and in our modern world we usually just refer to it as hate.
So knowing all of this, how does one go about dealing with anger. Well there are two cures that are referenced in the book, the first removes anger when it occurs and the second suppresses or thwarts it. Bare in mind that aside from the four reasons mentioned above one of the main reasons people become angry is because of slow WiFi haha! Just kidding is because they have inflated egos. But anyways the first cure is to remember the extensive praise and goodness associated with forbearance and humility and the ethic being promoted here is to simply “let go” and not allow insult to penetrate and manipulate one’s emotion.
The second is a little more spiritual but says to remember that nothing takes place without God’s leave and that life in general is a crucible of endless trials and when people forget that life is a constant struggle they often react severally when they are tried time and time again. Interesting stuff indeed, hope it helps you as much as its helped me and in conclusion I would like to leave you with some words to ponder over “A strong man is not one who can wrestle people, but one who controls himself when he is angry.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
God bless and don’t get angry!