Ten Commandments of Everyday Living 8
not meet anger with anger
anger with anger has all the wisdom of going towards a gas leak with a
naked flame, and the resulting explosion is likely to be just as
destructive. What is likely
to be destroyed is the opportunity to communicate.
consciously or unconsciously, anger may be expressed in order to repel or
sabotage the delivery of unwelcome or uncomfortable statements; but all
too often the breakdown of communication is the unplanned but inevitable
outcome of a heated exchange which is, by its nature, a poor opportunity
for getting a point across. We
may like to think that we decimated the other person with the
effectiveness of our delivery – this is part of the rhetoric of anger -
but if you have ever observed
an exchange between two angry
people you will see that each
is so focussed on what they are giving out, neither is capable of
receiving what the other is saying.
conscious person cannot afford to blow up lines of communication, whether
they exist between different parts of himself or between himself and
another, or between different groups of people, because he has to know,
intellectually at first (if he cannot feel it) that the only sin is the
heresy of separateness. Without
communication there is separation, isolation and alienation.
serves the separated reality that feels threatened by different
perceptions and values. It
expresses the emotional investment that we have in our own way of looking
feel anger is to be made aware that something to which we are emotionally
attached has been transgressed. That
something may be precious to our spiritual identity or it may be precious
to the egotistical self. When
it is precious to our spiritual identity we call it righteous anger.
The example of Jesus scouring the temple in Jerusalem is probably
the most frequently cited example of righteous anger in Christian
tradition. Spiritually aware
people are inclined to feel that righteous anger is more acceptable than
other kinds of anger, or at least did so until Islamic extremists
unleashed on the West their own form of
can be used to very good effect. I
can think of one teacher who could bring a whole community to a state of
hyper awareness by ranting and raving at great length – hours on
occasions -over collective misdemeanours and levels of inattention.
These explosions of rage were all part of the drama of community
life, designed to stop people from falling asleep and to impress upon them
what is important. Emotion is
a fixative, and disquiet aroused by the shouting helped to fix the message
in the consciousness of his audience.
The teacher’s authority was such that no one challenged his right
to shout, and he relied upon this. His
was therefore anger expressed in a controlled environment.
Army boot camps work on a similar principle: those in charge rely
upon their authority holding up.
in a volatile world we choose to make a point or wake someone up by a
display of righteous anger, then the responsibility for that choice and
for the timing of its delivery is ours.
But when it comes to meeting
a display of righteous anger unleashed by someone else, then we no longer
call the shots. We just have
to accept that someone got in the revolving door before us, and we have to
let him come out the other side unless we want to destroy any possibility
of further communication. We cannot afford to meet anger with anger of our
own, righteous or otherwise. Righteous
anger meeting righteous anger is still one angry reaction too many.
conscious person has a responsibility to defuse a situation which may lead
to estrangement and isolation wherever he meets with it.
It is a tremendous challenge and one that requires us to be awake,
because the nature of anger is such that it will call up a vehement
reaction in anyone who has a responsive Mars.
Like attracts like on the astral plane.
exist, and unconstructive attitudes and courses of action exist also.
Not meeting anger with anger is not at all the same thing as
backing down, letting another ride roughshod all over you or allowing
yourself to be bullied or silenced when a considered assessment of the
situation recommends that another view be upheld. Like all the Ten
Commandments of Modern Life given by KH, the instruction to not meet
anger with anger is advice in energy management, designed to help us to
use time and create opportunity, not simply for ourselves but for our
planet also. Too often the
spiritually-minded use backing down as the line of least resistance, and
by doing so leave the way clear for aggressors.
centuries now, western spirituality has been defined by passive values and
an unease about assertiveness. We
live with the consequences of this in the form of today’s world which
revolves around a spiritual void which is waiting to be filled by
responsible action and initiatives proceeding from conscious
instruction to not meet anger with anger places upon us a responsibility
to find another way and perhaps another time to make points that we
consider need to be made. This may take effort, strategy, hard work and
courage, but the person who does this will almost certainly give himself
an advantage because a fit of anger may deliver a warning shot but it does
not make a good case.