(The principal of a large school in Bombay gave us a list of frequently asked questions by 13 year old children in her school and asked us whether we can prepare answers in the light of a spiritual perspective. When we looked at the question we found that they are not mere “kid-stuff.” Most of them are either fundamental and existential questions related to world and God or psychological problems faced by most of us. This series is an attempt to answer these questions from the children’s perspective in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We don’t know how far we have succeeded in communicating to the children. Nevertheless, we hope these answer may be of some help to teachers and parents who have to deal with children. There are around thirty questions with answers given in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We will post these questions at regular intervals.)
Why don’t I have control over my emotions and anger?
Probably because we are carried away by our emotion and become the emotions or the anger. You are asking, “why don’t I have control,” but when you have the emotion or anger, there is no “I” to control. You are the anger or emotion and there is nothing left of you or the “I” to control. So the first step in acquiring control or mastery over our emotions is to recover the “I”. When you have the emotion or the anger, you have to become aware “I am having the emotion or anger.” When you are able to do this, then the next step is to know that “I am” is different from the emotion or anger. You are not the emotion or anger. The emotion or anger is something happening in you, an inner movement in you and you are not that. This is the second step towards control.
The third step is to become more and more alert and conscious of your thought and feelings and learn to observe them as a detached witness or a spectator looking at something interesting within you. You are now very much aware you are not the emotion or anger. You are the witness looking at the thoughts, feelings and emotions raising falling and disappearing like waves in a sea, but you are not carried away or disturbed by them.
When you have arrived at this stage, you are now in a position to control your mind and heart like a rider controls his horse. To achieve this control it is not enough to watch your thoughts and feeling but exercise your power of discrimination and will. Observe deeply and carefully what are the type of thoughts and feelings which brings peace, joy, happiness or love and conversely what are the thoughts and feeling which lead to the opposite, which makes you restless, unhappy, miserable, depressed, violent, and vengeful. When you are able to discriminate in this way, then you have to ask to yourself what I want to be? Happy, peaceful and loving or unhappy and miserable? And every sensible person wants to be happy, peaceful and loving.
So what is the next step to be taken by a sensible person? He or she has to use his or her will to reject all thoughts and feelings which lead to a negative state of consciousness like misery, unhappiness, violence and cultivate those thoughts and feelings which leads to a positive and bright state of consciousness like peace, happiness, joy, love.