Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
We embarked on some thorny ruminations last week. The mirror of reflection had its first polish. Remember that at any stage, where doubts, worries, anxieties arise, do not hesitate to say 'help!' Reading these things in isolation can sometimes lead to brooding or taking on of issues that are unnecessary. Importantly, we must accept each thing which reveals itself to us, absorb it and allow it to find its balance within us. Simple suppression is useful in short-term protection. Long-term, however, this can lead to 'time bombs', particularly in the next item on the saadhaka's list…
ANGER; there is not one single person among us who has not felt the surge of this scourge. Let us be clear - there is a limited place for anger of the type which can express itself clearly and has appropriate reasoning behind it. For example, the parent who scolds the child who is about to put it's hand in the fire. This is a right and proper angry outburst as it protects and warns. A greater harm would have been done had it not been expressed. If, however, the parent uses this form of interaction in all things the child does, all sorts of negative consequences arise. Anger can build up like a pressure cooker, particularly if we do not know how to properly express our needs or how to set appropriate boundaries.
If we are generally in a state of anger at the world around us, the world will find a way to ensure that the anger gets fuel. This is a huge character impairment and in society, for the most part, we learn to suppress or displace our anger. Some of us become so adept at this we will deny the possibility that we have any anger to release. The problem then is that it can explode at the most unexpected times and often to unrelated events.
This is a widely recognised issue in modern thinking also and standard counselling can do a lot to help us recognise and relieve ourselves of 'anger issues'. All good and well for daily interaction. Here in Vedanta-land, it is important to recognise and understand where it is manifesting in other traits and root it out so as to not remain blocked in our spiritual progress.
HATRED; has a clear correlation to anger. Is it possible to hate without the first? It is the placement of the anger outside of us onto an object, situation or person. We make the external the justification for our anger. This is unwarranted. There is no place for hatred in yourself or out in the world.
CRUELTY; (incorporating other points in the list - EVIL THOUGHTS, ATROCIOUS DEEDS, AVENGING NATURE). This needs little explanation. We all see cruelty taking place each and every day in the world. Hidden cruelty, though, is rife. Society is starting to wake up to it; perpetration of unspeakable things against the young and vulnerable; ignorance or sadism at work against animals; husbands against wives, sometimes the reverse. It does not always have to be this immense. We can sometimes be cruel because the world hasn't given us what we want or expect, so we lash out in some way; or with-hold. Not because it is an appropriate action but because we somehow wish to exact some form of revenge.
CENSURE, CRITICISM, MISCHIEF-MONGERING, BACK-BITING; these four items all hold a similar context, hence are grouped together. Here we find levels of insecurity informing our behaviour...though to be fair, that would be a true statement about most of the negative character traits. Invariably we are inclined to the negative because we are in a state of low self-esteem; often without even recognising it. This does not mean that if one is in a position of some authority or expertise that there ought not to be some correction through criticism; it becomes counter-productive when it comes from a basis of the personal or where there is clear design to aggravate the 'target'. All too frequently, when we are with familiar people, we can fall into seeing things only in the negative and our interactions end up in this bracket. We have all experienced it...think sibling rivalry, a parent unsure of appropriate discipline, the child rebelling..
A word of caution. One of the things that may be arising is, rather than properly looking in the mirror for our own tendencies to these things, we could be thinking of times that such things were turned upon us. The bullying at school, for example, the narcissistic partner or the megalomaniac boss. What can happen is that we do our utmost to be the very opposite of these things. It is an irony that in trying so hard 'not to be' we can end up in an equally negative condition. There is an underlying drive behind all negativity. We shall deal with it individually later, but can you think what it is?