I saw something recently that made my blood boil – a video surveillance tape showing a 71-year-old man being attacked by two teenagers.
The footage shows the septuagenarian walking along a street when the hoodlums approach and kick him, knocking him to the ground. When the man (wearing a Sikh turban) gets up, he is kicked again and knocked to the ground, where his turban falls off his head. Then one of the ruffians kicks him multiple times while he is on the ground and spits on him. The two then walk away.
What a hateful, repulsive, horrific, abominable, repugnant display of human behavior.
Although I felt justified in being incensed, I began to slip into the belief that anger is bad and that I needed to get it under control.
As I examined this inner conflict, I considered how our goal as spiritual beings is to live life in peace and love and I acknowledged the reality that there are situations that push our buttons.
The truth is that as spiritual beings, part of our journey includes experiencing the diverse complexities of human emotions, including anger. I concluded that anger is not always a bad thing. In fact, some anger can actually be healthy and constructive.
Yes, it is true that anger can hurt us, but it is also true that anger can unleash what it really feels like to care. Healthy anger can help us ascertain our truth and take a stand for what we value.
I concluded that my anger was a healthy response to injustice, an instinctive response to unfairness. My anger was a form of protest to the unfair treatment (or abuse) of the man –Sahib Singh Natt. It was the unfairness, or injustice, that provoked my anger, or indignation. Therefore, the anger was not the problem. The injustice that provoked the anger was the problem.
My anger revealed that I value the humane, fair, and just treatment of others.
When anger tells us that something is wrong, it also provides the energy to make it right. My anger moved me to prayer for Sahib Singh Natt and his family and his attackers and their families. And it fueled me with the determination to continue raising my voice against injustice and taking actions that will move the needle toward justice.
I encourage you to do the same.