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Spirituality

5 Spiritual Antidotes for Anger

David Langness | May 14, 2015

PART 5 IN SERIES Frenzy Fury Rage and Anger

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

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David Langness | May 14, 2015

PART 5 IN SERIES Frenzy Fury Rage and Anger

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

Sanctify your ears from the idle talk of them that are the symbols of denial and the exponents of violence and anger. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 72.

Come and cast down your weapons of wrath, till unity is won! Come and in the Lord’s true path each one help each one. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 273.

So far in this series of essays on rage and anger, we’ve looked at the source of violent rage in the oldest part of the human brain; we’ve explored uncontrolled anger in children and adults; we’ve examined the history of berserk fury in war; and we’ve surveyed what the original scriptures of the world’s great Faiths have to say about the subject. All of them unanimously oppose the human expression of anger and rage toward others, and counsel us to avoid it like we would a ferocious beast.

Angry-driverSome people, though, have a different view. They see the expression of anger as a right; view it as healthy and cathartic; and say that suppressing your anger can lead to harmful physical or psychological effects. One study even found that suppressing your anger can lead to higher blood pressure and an increased risk for heart attacks. Several researchers and scholars, in the latest development in this ever-evolving field, believe that overtly expressing anger may reduce physiological stress in the short term– but also reinforce patterns of aggressive, angry behavior and lead to future outbursts and more long-term stress.

Whatever your view of this as-yet-unsettled debate, we do know that every time our well of inner anger boils over, we each face a threefold choice:

  • Rage, which may lead to hostility and violence.

  • Hostile inaction—withdrawal, resentment, passive-aggressiveness, etc.

  • Or finding a way to constructively turn anger into something positive.

The Baha’i teachings have a clear recommendation—forego the first two choices, and concentrate your energies on the third:

Let nothing grieve thee, and be thou angered at none. It behoveth thee to be content with the Will of God, and a true and loving and trusted friend to all the peoples of the earth, without any exceptions whatever. This is the quality of the sincere, the way of the saints, the emblem of those who believe in the unity of God… – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 25.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But short of holding hands and singing Kumbaya, how can we actually do it? As a start, the Baha’i teachings suggest, we could all try to follow these five spiritual guidelines:

  • Overlook the shortcomings of others:

    • The friends of God should become the manifestors in this world of this mercy and love. They should not dwell on the shortcomings of others. Ceaselessly should they be thinking how they may benefit others and show service and co-operation. Thus should they regard every stranger, putting aside such prejudices and superstitions as might prevent friendly relations. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 1, p. 9.

  • Practice forgiveness:

    • We must look upon our enemies with a sin-covering eye and act with justice when confronted with any injustice whatsoever, forgive all, consider the whole of humanity as our own family, the whole earth as our own country, be sympathetic with all suffering, nurse the sick, offer a shelter to the exiled, help the poor and those in need, dress all wounds and share the happiness of each one. – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 41.

  • Stop backbiting and dwelling on the bad qualities of others:

    • Waste not your precious time in fault-finding and backbiting. Polish the surface of the mirrors of your hearts from the dross of human frailties. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 4, p. 104.

  • Instead, search for and affirm their praiseworthy qualities:

  • Try to be patient, kind and merciful.

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Comments

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  • Nicolili Basta
    Aug 22, 2019
    -
    I have a genuine question: It states "It behoveth thee to be content with the Will of God, and a true and loving and trusted friend to all the peoples of the earth, without any exceptions whatever.", so why are we expected to cut off Covenant breakers (besides the obvious answer of them breaking the covenant)? As a Baha'i, I have always felt confused by this.
    • Nicolili Basta
      Aug 22, 2019
      -
      This is a great article by the way. Sorry if my question is a bit off topic, if there is a better place to post this question, please let me know!
  • Brandon Naylor
    Nov 19, 2018
    -
    Useless article in regards to being angry at GOD Himself. I am not surprised most Bahai's dont address that issue.
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