Where does anger come from? No, not from what happens, but from what we think about what happens; from our opinion about what happens. Without an opinion, what happens is just what happens. As Shakespeare said, “There is nothing good or bad. Thinking makes it so.”
All experience comes through the three principles – mind, thought, and consciousness. No mind, no experience. No thought, no experience. No consciousness, no experience. Until people realize this fact they feel like helpless victims of circumstance. Yet when people realize the truth that their experience comes exclusively through mind, thought and consciousness, they no longer feel like helpless victims of what happens.
Back to anger management. It follows that anger is nothing more than the experience of our thinking and opinions. Thus, there is no “real cause” of anger “out there”. We are making it up. To change our experience we just need to change our mind. When our mind changes our experience changes.
If anger is coming from our own mind, what is in mind that makes us feel angry? What are we thinking? Condemnation! All condemnation comes with anger. No condemnation, no anger.
If we have to change our mind in order to change our experience, and if anger comes from condemnation, what frees us from anger? Forgiveness.
Remember a time when you forgave, or were forgiven. Take your time. Let it come to you. How many times have you forgiven and been forgiven? No need to count, just let yourself become aware of a time, of the many times that you have forgiven and been forgiven. OK? Are you there? Are you sensing that nice feeling? Feel the experience of forgiving and being forgiven?
Where is the anger now? This is the essence of anger management.
As a matter of fact, there is nothing to manage once you have forgiven. However, until you forgive, so long as you condemn, and justify your condemnation, you may need to manage your impulses to get even, to get revenge, to get justice. Retribution always comes with risks, negative side effects and complications. It requires us to manage our anger to avoid the dangerous side effects of acting it out, or to be very careful to avoid the dangers of getting even.
A change of heart, forgiveness, has no untoward side effects, no risks, and no negative consequences. It spares us the need to manage our anger, because we spend no time justifying it. Rather, we spend our time looking for and open to a change of heart, to a change of perspective, which is forgiveness.
Again, we are all free to decide. We have free will. We are free to choose the path of condemnation, anger and “payola”, or we can choose the path of forgiveness, a nice feeling, and generosity. The latter is impossible when we believe that our feelings come from what others do or fail to do; from what happens.
When people realize that their feelings are “the shadows of their thoughts”, as George Pransky of Pransky and Associates put it, they see that mind, thought, and consciousness are the sole sources of their experience and they are more motivated and likely to look for the solution to their anger in a change of heart (forgiveness), than in retribution.