The greatest enemy any person can have lies within – in the dark corners of the mind. Desire and Anger. Where you find one, the other is not far behind. When a desire is thwarted or denied, it turns to anger. It is easy to blame one's anger on something or someone else, but no matter the provocation, anger is always a product of one's own creation.
If you get angry, you have no one to blame but yourself. Things are what they are. You may not be able to change the circumstances around you, but you can control the way you choose to react to them. How we react to anything around us is ALWAYS a choice. If you have ever heard someone say “he's lost it” about an angry person, what they mean to say is that the person has lost control of their own emotional reaction.
Anger is the worst enemy because of its connection to an unending chain of desire. Whenever there is one desire, there is bound to be another that follows. Each time some dissatisfaction arises, we are presented an opportunity to head off a reaction of anger. We all occasionally have feelings of being unsettled or uncentered; something just doesn't sit well with us, and we can't pinpoint exactly what it is. When we feel wronged we feel justified in reacting against it. Anger takes over, not just with our emotions, but every part of us unavoidably oozes with negativity. There is no way of hiding it, or hiding from it.
When things begin to churn within for either an obvious affront or unexplained reasons, that is when we must find the discipline to keep control of our reaction. Who is in charge? You or whatever it is that you believe is provoking you? When you can dissolve a desire before it gathers you up in the cycle that turns into anger, when you can catch the seed of desire and render it harmless, the reward is that you are a happy person.
Establishing control over your own cravings is what we call discipline. You may think that you are what you are and that how you react is out of your control. But each one of us was born with the free will to pull back on the reigns at any time we choose. Reaction is ALWAYS a matter of choice. If you feel you are a helpless captive of your own desires, you are simply letting your impulses and emotions run your life without making any effort to control them. This is the cause of your continued unhappiness.
A person who does nothing about his anger exists in a living hell. Even if they think they are a good person, they are controlled by a dark undercurrent of anger that runs through everything they do. Unless a person recognizes it and anticipates it, this hidden flow of anger is difficult if not impossible to overcome.
We cannot be happy if we are always looking for an opportunity to get back at someone. Something somewhere agitated us and until we can discover what that something or someone is, acknowledge that we own the anger, then release it, we cannot get rid of it.
There is a wonderful light within each of us that many people never experience because they are buried under layers and layers of anger and unfulfilled desires. When life becomes painful because of difficult choices, they prefer to run away or quit rather than face what it is that is causing their pain. But an unlimited amount of love and light is available to each us if we can just turn off the flow of unfulfilled desires... chasing after so many things that really have no real value. Even if a person catches what they are chasing, the pleasure of attainment doesn't last very long because there is always some other desire that steps up to take its place, then another, and another. There is no end to the chase. No ultimate fulfillment. No nirvana to embrace after an endless parade of desires are achieved.
As long as there is unfinished business, there is no peace, and a person remains in an agitated state perpetually. It doesn't matter how smart you are or how successful, as long as you have this annoying agitation eating away at you from within, you will never be happy.
Freedom from anger is a truly magnificent virtue. To achieve the happiness we all seek, we must monitor the mind. Watch how we react to things. That is discipline. It is all a matter of focus. Focus on the seeds of desire and anger, to begin. When we can trace the footsteps of anger and unfulfilled desire without being compelled to follow wherever they lead, we are exercising the power to understand ourselves and on the road to genuine happiness. It may seem like a lot of work, but it can be a great task filled with joy as we rediscover ourselves.
Tackling our limitations, like our inability to conquer our anger, opens us to the limitless powers each of us have. One thing leads to another and soon we may find that we forgive ourselves of our past bad behavior, and also that of others. We expand our thinking about others and the world at large. As the heart settles we are free to find happiness in whatever direction we turn.
Do what a great teacher once said when asked how to give up anger: “Just drop it.” Just do it. In the process of letting go of anger, think about it through self-inquiry, and you'll find yourself transcending the layers and layers of impressions and consequences that have accumulated around your heart, dissolving ultimately in a desired flood of light and love. Just drop it. Just do it.
in the thoughtful words of Lao Tsu:
Can you coax your mind in its wandering
and keep to the original Oneness?
Can you let your body
become supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?