How to get rid of irritation and anger? To understand that there is no real reason for anger and irritation. One of the three major sins enumerated in the Vedas is anger (besides lust and greed). There can be no love in a heart, where there is anger or irritation. Anger and irritation are the denial of love. And this is the most basic sin, followed by all the rest. If we do not commit the sin of denying love, we automatically set ourselves free from other sinful thoughts and actions.
We always have a choice how to react to a situation. Acceptance of the situation brings peace and love and disapproval of the situation has as a consequence lots of negative emotions, such as irritation, anger, sadness, spite, resentment, pain, fear, etc. You’d probably say: «It’s easy to say «Choose how to react». But it is not so easy to do in practice. If I am annoyed with something, how can I react differently?»
In truth, it is very easy to react to the situation with acceptance, if we understand that our negative reaction to the situation is not based on reality. It is not based on Truth.
Our reaction is based on our thoughts about the reality which we yearn to have. Reality is what is happening here and now, what is true. Illusion and lie is what we think about what reality should be. When we do not accept the reality, the idea that the reality must be different is running in our heads. Our mind does not agree with what is happening and rebels, causing irritation, or anger, stress, pain, etc.
For example, you are driving in a car with a friend, but suddenly get stuck in a traffic jam and don’t move. Your friend, sitting nearby, is chomping very loudly, chewing a cud. You start to get nervous because of the traffic jam, as you want to move forward. And the nasty chomping of your friend makes you even more annoyed.
What is the reality in this situation? You are in a traffic jam and standing still. Your friend is champing.
What is the illusion in this situation? You wish the car was moving and there was no traffic jam. You think your friend should not chomp. Please note that all this is happening just in your mind, and not in the reality. So it is not real, it is an illusion.
Realizing that these illusory thoughts are pointless and useless, which only put a strain on you or bring negative emotions, you may be quite willing to brush them aside. When you realize that these thoughts are of no use, they will start to disappear. If you continue to think that you should not be in a traffic jam and your friend should not chomp (in other words, that the reality must be different), it will irritate you more, because the reality will remain the same. To resist it mentally is just the same as to beat your head against a wall.
Brushing away thoughts of how reality should be, you get immersed in tranquility, acceptance, and most importantly — you start to love the existing reality as such. You become one harmonious whole with the reality, that is, you get into a life stream and do not resist it. When you are in this stream, your actions automatically become harmonious with reality, giving the best results. Everything gets on by itself. Exactly as it is planned in this Universe for its harmonious existence, and not as you would like it to be. If you are a harmonious particle of the Universe that does not resist the reality and lives in the flow with it, then everything in your life goes the best way possible for you to live in harmony.
Situation acceptance technique:
Analyze the disturbing situation according to the following points:
- What is the reality? (What is really happening?)
- What is the illusion? (What do you think about what is happening: what should reality be in your opinion?) This is that false thought that prevents you from accepting the present and causes negative emotions.
- Imagine yourself without the false idea. (Ask yourself what you will be if you do not have this false thought that the reality must be different). Then imagine yourself still having that thought. You will see yourself how the absence or presence of this thought affects you.
- Ask yourself: Are you ready to brush away this thought? If the answer is «yes», then the thought will go away by itself, you will accept the present and feel peace and love. If the answer is «no», then ask yourself if there is any reason to keep having that thought? Finding the cause, make sure that it is also false, that is, it confirms your thought that the reality must be different and does not confirm the true reality.
The reason turns out to be false and meaningless. Repeat the fourth point until your mind wants to get rid of this thought. Usually it does not take more than two times. You will find there is no real reason, on no occasion, to feel anything in the present, except acceptance and love.
Negative emotions signal us that in reality something is not happening the way we want. Sometimes it pushes us to action to change the situation, but it is not always possible to change the reality. For example, if you are 150 cm in height, then no matter how hard you are trying to change this reality, you will never be 180 cm tall. Or, if you get stuck in a traffic jam and have nowhere to go, there is nothing to do but to accept and come to love this jam, which teaches you patience, humility and serenity so well.
Externally we can (and sometimes must) make an effort to change the situation, but internally we should keep humility.
For example, you can hint to your friend politely and calmly, without reproaches and complaints, that he is chomping loudly and this is giving you discomfort. You can get out of the car and go the rest of the way on foot or use another mode of transport. If the attempt to change the situation is made without irritation, with love and internal acceptance of the situation, no matter how it turns out and preferably with good humor, the situation will be resolved. And even if it is not, accept it, anyway, and you will be calm and remain in love. Is this not happiness? This is the real humility before the Supreme power, the Universe, the reality, call it as you prefer. Humility is within you and outside you can act to change the situation. Humility is an internal attitude to accept reality with love.
When the cause of irritation or any other negative emotion is some other person, you cannot usually change the situation. Because we cannot change another person. We can only give another person knowledge and show the way how to change (provided that he wants it and is ready to listen to you), but only he can change himself. What is more, not everybody wants to hear from you a precept how he should live. In response, you can be showed your path, and where it is better for you to go with your good intentions
You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.
The best solution in this situation is to change yourself. Or rather, change your attitude towards this person. Accept him what he is in reality, and brush away a thought about what he should be in your opinion. All in all, when your mind gets accustomed to accept this person, he will cease to annoy you or to cause other negative emotions. You will ascend to a higher development level, rising above the rejection, which this person, your Teacher, wanted to teach you. As a result, usually that person’s behavior changes, or unchanged, he disappears from your life, or completely ceases to «trouble» you. You can accept yourself in the same way.
Seeing the reality and brushing away false thoughts, you will realize that there is no real reason for anger, irritation, or any other negative reaction to the situation. In reality there is only acceptance, peace and love. And that is our true nature, which is characteristic of our higher Self, our soul.
Woe to Wit
We bring our own sufferings upon ourselves, resisting the reality. Accept what is happening, brush away a thought of what reality should be in your opinion. And you will see how you are filled with peace and love, and your sufferings get sidelined. Then you realize that sufferings are sent to us only to strengthen our love.
This article is based on my realizations after reading the book «Loving What is» by Byron Katie. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.