Overcoming anger and ego

There are techniques we can practise to overcome our anger and ego, but first and foremost we need to make our mind stronger. When the mind is powerful, we can think and behave as we should. We do not act on impulse and regret it later. People can take extreme steps in a fit of rage. I have visited prisons to give talks, and met inmates who ended up behind bars for having done something wrong in a moment of fury. This is what anger can do: in one second it can mar the rest of our life.
In daily life there are situations that test our patience and tolerance, and we may get irritated, but we have to resolve to remain calm. When I started on my spiritual journey, I recognised early on the fact that anger can do great harm when you are living and working with a team. If you angrily denounce or reprimand someone, they will stop cooperating with you and your work will suffer. On the other hand, if you treat everyone with love and respect and keep them motivated, they have high spirits and then any amount of work feels like play.
Anger arises from expectations. We have various expectations from different people and when they are not fulfilled, we become angry. We must understand that nobody can fulfil all our expectations: everyone has their own way of thinking, behaving, their level of intelligence and efficiency. And why speak of others – can we do everything that others expect of us? If there are four people working with us and each one has a different expectation, can we satisfy all of them? That is impossible. It is sensible, and wise, to reduce our expectations, and we will find that our anger has subsided.
We also need to analyse our expectations: is the other person capable of doing what we expect of them? Is it reasonable to expect someone to do something they are incapable of? We should note the strengths and weaknesses of others and deal with them accordingly. If someone is a slow worker, instead of badgering or sidelining them we can give them tasks that are not too urgent or too heavy. That way they can make a useful contribution and help us in our work.
A simple exercise to harness the power of the subconscious mind can free us from anger. The subconscious mind is most active immediately after we wake up in the morning. On waking up, for ten minutes we can tell ourselves, with conviction, that ‘I am peaceful… free from anger…’ When we do this every day, our consciousness is imbued with this thought. Then, if something triggers anger in us, we will immediately remember, ‘No, I am a peaceful… anger is not my quality… it is alien to me.’
Another major cause of anger is ego. An inflated ego makes us rigid and resistant to change or different opinions and ideas. There is unwillingness to recognise our shortcomings or accept our mistakes and learn from them. There is also self-centredness and reduced empathy. The bigger the ego, the more easily we feel insulted if others do not treat us the way we want. The result of all of this is disappointment, stress, and conflict.
One thought that helps reduce and finish our ego is: ‘My talents and abilities are a gift from God”. Remembering this makes us grateful and humble, not conceited: the more we achieve and the higher we go, the more the feelings of gratitude increase.
It is also good to have an easy-going nature. That helps us remain light and take challenges, disappointments, and all kinds of people and their behaviour in our stride.
Paying attention to these small things goes a long way towards freeing us from anger and making our life peaceful, light, and enjoyable.
B.K. Surya is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu.

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