Overcoming anger


Please help me overcome my anger. I had only just begun my spiritual path when my husband and I found out that his brother had taken all of the benefits of the inheritance that the father had left for his 3 sons. Leaving us with huge financial hardship. His brother is very active in the christian church and feels he's done nothing wrong. We haven't spoken to him for 3 years. I have allowed myself to be completely derailed from my spiritual path, I am ashamed to come before God with such anger.

—Susan, United States


Dear Susan,

I’m sorry you’ve had to suffer in such a difficult situation. You don’t say anything about your familiarity with the spiritual path, so I will just launch in as best I can.

One of the most helpful things I’ve found from the yogic path is the concept of karma and reincarnation. To explain these briefly: Reincarnation says that our soul is reborn in different bodies until we realize our unity with God. Part of that involves learning lessons of love, and learning from mistakes we’ve made. Karma is the loving vehicle through which God shows us mistakes we’ve made in the past – not as punishment, but to help us know that we never want to make that mistake in future.

In other words, if in the past we have taken something from someone, our karma will place us in the role of having something taken from us. I want to emphasize again that the purpose here is not to make us suffer for past wrongs but to move forth through life in greater wisdom and love.

In a practical way, I find that when something negative or unpleasant happens in life, I don’t need to waste a lot of time wondering, Why me?! but can move forward with the thought: okay, this is being given to me by God because I need to learn a lesson from it. It doesn’t make it easy, necessarily, but saves one step of the process of freeing myself from any negative feelings I might have.

This explanation is so simplistic, but I can’t write forever here! I really recommend your reading the book Karma and Reincarnation by Paramhansa Yogananda. The subject is profound and liberating. Since we don’t have to waste time rejecting the experience, we can say, Okay – how can I deal with it?

If you are unfamiliar with the idea of karma, what I’m saying may be very hard for you to swallow. Please know that this is not meant to be insulting in any way. According to the yogic teachings the soul goes through 5 to 8 million lives before it finds freedom. We have not been “kind” in all of those lives. We can expect that we’ve made a great deal of mistakes – all of us, even the greatest saints.

So, the first step would be to accept that, while looking at things as they have happened in this life – the theft of the inheritance – is incredibly unfair, there must be a karmic reason that it is happening to you. Gettng free of anger involves first of all accepting: This is mine. Though perhaps in this life I would never consider theft, I have earned this at some point or it would not be happening.

The next step is to realize that God created this whole process of souls living in delusion and the fact that we have to work our way back toward perfect divine love and freedom. So, God would never judge you for your anger! He’s the one who gave you the capacity to feel anger. God knows how difficult the challenges He’s created are for us.

The only one who can heal you of such intense anger IS God. One of the key things for us to understand is that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect before we can come to Him. Rather, it is through asking for His help, that we can grow closer to Him.

It would be so wonderful if you could visit an Ananda community, or come to The Expanding Light Retreat at Ananda Village. We would be happy to talk to you in more depth about how to build a positive and transformative relationship with God.

Truly, being able to accept the situation and then offer your anger to God is the most powerful step toward becoming free of it.

If you want to set up a phone counseling session with me, you can send an email to this site to me personally. I just can’t go very far not knowing anything about you.

You have been given a huge challenge, and I hope you will keep seeking the spiritual solution to become free of it.

God bless you,

Nayaswami Anandi