Disclaimer – This dialogue is neither a figment of imagination nor a real one; and the same applies to the characters as well. The character MAnvi is one I see myself in, though at times different. Her thAthA is one who seems much familiar. Much of these dialogues are a trigger from a book or a discourse by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Any error in the way I have blogged upon, on any aspect is due to an error in my understanding alone.
A walk in the woods is what they stepped out for, MAnvi and her thAthA. As she saw the tall trees that were so beautifully spaced out and yet gave that dense look from afar, MAnvi began this discussion..
MAnvi: thAthA, a few years back, when I would get angry I would have people advising me not to get angry and that anger is not a good emotion to have. I could never understand this because it sounded as though I had bad emotions. But that anger would well up in me and I am not inviting it. It just makes its presence. People would tell me that I am getting angry and that I should not have it but no one told me HOW to resolve that anger.
MAnvi looked sideways at her thAthA and saw that he was looking for a place to sit down. They found two nice thick logs and sat on them.
thAthA: MAnvi, go on..
MAnvi (looking thoughtfully at the trees that were stretching deep into the woods, continued): Not knowing the ‘HOW’ of resolving that anger, would make me even more angry. Recently I listened to something that set me thinking on this aspect, thAthA.
Knowing her penchant for introspection and looking at her deep in thought, he knew that the wheels of change were turning inside her.
MAnvi (looking at her thAthA who had his eyes closed and listening, went on): When we are angry, there is always a background for it. This background could be due to many unresolved anger moments and we don’t know which of these unresolved moments is triggering the current anger. In a situation that makes us angry, we see the emotion of anger first. This just gets triggered and we may pay no thought or heed to it, being as instantaneous as it is.
Many times, it is only much later when we have relatively calmed down, are we able to pay thought to why we got angry.
thAthA, am I making sense?
MAnvi: This is getting interesting, Manvi. Go on..
MAnvi: thAthA, when we look back to think on why we got angry, we only look at what happened to make us angry. We don’t really go into any other detail. There is a process that happens in the background of our mind. Anger is due to a pain caused within us, which is caused because of an expectation that is not met. When we get angry, the actual reason for that anger is a conclusion that is made or drawn by us at that moment.. This conclusion we draw quite mechanically.
For example, when a person says that we are to be blamed for something that went wrong, we are pained by that because, we did not expect that person to say this; and we think have done nothing to make something go wrong. We also draw or make a conclusion that what the person did was unfair. That conclusion of ‘unfairness’ triggers that anger. or we think a person has been rude to us and we get angry. The fact that we think that they have been rude, is itself a conclusion that we have drawn, isn’t it?
This anger and conclusion drawn could be at oneself also being pained by our own actions; due to expectations we had from ourselves, that were not met.
So there is already a baggage of unresolved moments of anger, and then one more situation happens, a conclusion is drawn and the current anger erupts.
thAthA: So if we could go back to our many moments of anger, we may find that we have drawn many conclusions isn’t it not, MAnvi?
MAnvi: I think so, thAthA.
thAthA: So did you also learn HOW to resolve the anger?
MAnvi: thAthA, I don’t think we can do anything about the many moments of unresolved anger that is already within us. I hope that as we resolve the anger that surfaces in the current situations that we encounter, the earlier ones will also get resolved over time. Let me state the how this resolving happens thAthA, step by step..
– To start with, we need to be conscious of the anger that gets triggered.
– To start with we would realise that we have drawn the conclusion, after some time had elapsed. This conclusion was drawn mechanically, as I had shared earlier
– As we become more and more conscious of anger when it is being triggered, we would recognize the fact that we are drawing a conclusion at the time when we are angry
– Over time, given our increased awareness of the arising of anger, we would also recognise that we are going to draw a conclusion before we draw it
– As we become conscious of the fact that we are drawing a conclusion when we get angry, there is a space that is being created between the conclusion and anger. When we become alert to the creation of this space, neither the conclusion nor the anger happens mechanically. thAthA, this is when the the resolving of anger begins, within us. I think this is the way we get past anger, we grow out of anger. I don’t think this would stop us from drawing a conclusion or getting angry but it may minimise the frequency.
thAthA: MAnvi, I am impressed by the way you have introspected on this and the visual imagery you helped me to build, of this step by step resolving of anger. I wonder if this is what happens in many other emotions such as frustration and helplessness.
MAnvi: Perhaps it does, thAthA. Maybe this understanding of HOW to resolve anger will help in those also..
As MAnvi and her thAthA walked back home a little while later, there was silence in the air as both of them gave each other the space, to contemplate on what was discussed..