The workshop was spread over virtually all of January, with 5 sessions taking place at 17.00 for one hour duration. There were 32 participants for the session. The sessions were as follows:
January 2nd Dr. Alok Pandey – The Yogic Understanding of Anger
January 9th Dr. Debabrata Sahani – Anger: Transform not Suppress
January 16th James Anderson – Working with Your Anger
January 23rd Dr. Yogesh Mohan – Transforming Anger to Positive Energy
January 30th Dr. soumitra Basu – Transforming Anger
The aim of this workshop was to go beyond the limitations of the current cure for this impulse. Conventional therapy aims at management which implies that anger is something which cannot be wholly controlled, let alone transformed. It also strove to raise our understanding of Integral Yoga Psychology.
Various approaches and techniques were discussed by Dr. Alok Pandey, for instance the raja yogic method of ‘substitution’, which works by replacing a defective impulse by its opposite (lust with love, for instance) or anger with peace, calm and equanimity. This requires persistent practice and over time, the higher qualities will weaken the defective impulse. However, it doesn’t amount to transformation. To transform something, one has to go to the root of the energy, which is not below but upwards. Sri Krishna revealed that the roots of creation (Ashwattha tree) are above and every tendency, however small, distorted or perverted owed its origin to something above. There has to be an attempt to bring into everything this higher Truth. The force of anger Rudra: energy) is divine in origin.
The destiny of anger is to transmute it to its divine element and not use it for any personal agenda but exclusively for a higher purpose. The way to transform anger is to become free of ego, by offering it to the Mother. When there is no ‘I’ left, there is only the Divine. Once Peace is established in the being, the lower impulses will transmute into their higher form.
Since anger exists, Dr. Debabrata Sahani stated, it must have been created by the Divine for a purpose. The principle of creation is based on the trinity of Creation, Maintenance and Destruction. Destruction is an essential element of Creation, because if something new has to be created, the old has to be destroyed. The energy which brings about destruction is anger.
If viewed at a deep level, this anger is another form of love. The Divine loves, therefore destroys those elements which have outlived their purpose and creates space for something new and useful.
Sri Aurobindo wrote that, “All problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony”.
Harmony emanates from directing the right energy in the right place, at the right time and towards the right recipient. It has tremendous vital force and the problem is, we do not control anger; it controls us.
We have to learn to say, ‘No’. Otherwise we become a public place where such outside energies can seize us. Anger must be expressed consciously and used as a condiment but no more.
The root cause of anger, James Anderson said, is our separation from the soul. Once we are connected to that, there is no necessity for anger. The Integral approach does not look at any movement in isolation. It addresses the whole and everything inside us is interconnected. So anger cannot be viewed in isolation. Furthermore, it views everything in the context of our connection to our soul essence – the Psychic Being.
Anger is a wrong movement and a sign of weakness and incapacity. If we want to conquer anger, we have to conquer our ego and we do that piece by piece through our consciousness. We have to learn to step back from this movement and ‘catch’ it as soon as it arises. We are made, according to the Mother, to be “master” of our consciousness and everything that belongs to our consciousness, we are “able to master”.
We have to become conscious of our ‘triggers’. If we learn to catch and offer simultaneously through our sadhana, anger can be transformed.
To get to the root of every anomaly, we have to work inside. It is possible to work through the portal of the body to do this. This is the process of psychicisation and the torchlight is our consciousness.
There was an extended exercise in substituting wrong movements 9of which anger is just a part) through the consciousness investing everything with a psychic and dynamic peace.
Dr. Yogesh Mohan conducted an interactive session where areas of difficulty were raised by the participants and addressed in turn. Everybody feels justified when angry. Each individual believes that what he or she thinks or perceives is correct. But it is not possible to be always right or always wrong. To believe otherwise means there is no scope for progress. To question this assumption is a good starting-point. What is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ also changes over time. To introspect into our thought-processes is healthy and gives us a little more flexibility in viewing situations from the other’s point of view. When we notice that we are all evolving we become more accommodating of others.
In the family context, there is no need to detach, only to love and that means not trying to control or change others.
Rather than succumbing to a negative influence, we need to side with the positive force – the Divine. If any adverse circumstance arises, we must invoke the power of the Divine so that what is not divine may transform into the Divine. In dealing with hostile forces, we need to build a strong aura of protection around ourselves, which comes only by being deeply rooted in the Divine. We need to learn to cut off from negative forces. At a subtle level, anger is an Asuric force, which captures you and takes control over you. This understanding of anger as something that is not a part of your true being, then it becomes possible to say, ‘No’ to it. Then it becomes possible to reject anger as soon as it rises.
Dr. Soumitra Basu started by addressing the metaphysical aspects of anger. Harmony is the spontaneous expression of the higher nature. This higher nature manifests when one is free from the control of the ego and consequently is aware of the unity of creation in all its multiplicity.
Integral Yoga aims at bringing the higher Light to the darker side of human nature in order to transform it. The key is harmony and this harmony can get disrupted when he or she tries to pull down big spiritual forces which throw the person off balance, leading to anger. Therefore, bringing harmony into the system and establishing a strong foundation is essential.
Our emotions need to be cognised otherwise the contradictory parts will seek expression in different forms. They need to be analysed and intellectually understood. This is a common reason for anger in children.
Anger is not delinquency. It is a result of stress. That is why the ability to relax and counter stress is a key management technique.
For anger arising through inter-personal contact, it is very fruitful to step back. The pause shifts us from an unconscious reaction to a more controlled response. We must remember the Mother and try to step into our inner consciousness. Then one’s reaction becomes free from the bounds of the ego.
As usual for Dr. Soumitra Basu, the session was laden with many practical and transformative exercises One exercise was given to relax and feel every part of the body feeling ever-heavier.
Read Sri Aurobindo’s The Golden Light’ and see it pouring down through every part of your being!
“Dr. Alok’s wisdom. Dr. Debu’s sweetness, James’ grounding, Dr. yogesh’s practicality, Dr. Basu’s brilliance – I gained so much from all of you. Thank you!”
“Very good perspective from the Light of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo was given.”
“The experiential session by James ji was beautiful.”
“The practical guidance of stepping back, turning within, stilling the mind, witness. Dr. Basu’s session combined both practice and understanding/knowledge in the light of Sri Aurobindo very well.”