Words: Martha Roberts
1. See anger as fuel for change
At the age of 12, Arun was told by his grandfather, ‘Anger is good. I get angry all the time.’ He explained that anger is to people like petrol is to a car: ‘It fuels you to move forward and get to a better place,’ he said. ‘Without it, we’d not be motivated to rise to a challenge. It is an energy that compels us to define what is just and unjust.’ Rather than trying to ignore your anger, see it as a warning that something is wrong – and needs to be fixed. The key is learning to ‘channel it to positive ends’.
2. Don’t shut yourself down to ideas
It’s all too easy to resent people challenging how you do things, but having a closed mindset can be a breeding ground for anger. His grandfather would tell him that the mind should be like a room with many open windows where the breeze flows in, yet not one dominates. ‘You give yourself and the world a great gift when you choose to take a wider view and look for commonalities rather than differences,’ he says.
3. Do control ‘exercises’ every day
His grandfather told Arun that gaining control over his mind by doing anger exercises would ensure he responded properly when faced with anger-inducing situations. Sit in a quiet room and concentrate for a minute or more on an object before closing your eyes and imagining it. The longer you can hold the image for, the more it shows that you’re pushing out distractions and gaining control of your mind.
4. Embrace the pillars of peace
Arun says: ‘My grandfather wanted people to understand the nuances of non-violence well beyond avoiding physical aggression.’ He lived by the five pillars of non-violence which were: respect, understanding, acceptance, appreciation and compassion. Apply these to situations you encounter each day, and you will find that the pursuit of helping individuals, and, therefore the world, will help to calm you down.
Adapted from ‘Gift Of Anger’ by Arun Gandhi (Michael Joseph, £14.99)