A commentary on the book The Gift of Arun Gandhi

Anger could be, undoubtedly, one of the most destructive emotions a human being can experience. A moment of thoughtless rage could destroy our own lives and the lives of others in many different ways.

Nowadays, we are witnessing expressions of angry outbursts in many societies around the globe; anger that regardless the reason may have been suppressed for quite a long time. But neither having explosions of anger, nor suppressing it seems to be the way that leads to the solution of a problem, whatever that problem may be.

Arun Gandhi, in his book The Gift describes how he was a boy full of rage since he suffered from discrimination being an Indian child raised in South Africa, but how his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, taught him to use that anger for good.

Mahatma Gandhi explained Arun that anger is good as long as he could learn to use that anger for good:

Anger to people is like gas to the automobile –it fuels you to move forward and get to a better place. Without it we would not be motivated to rise a challenge. It is an energy that compels us to define what is just and unjust.”

But in order to learn how to use anger to improve our lives and not the other way around, we need to gain understanding on how to channel that energy intelligently.

Mahatma Gandhi taught Arun that anger can be used to intimidate and attack, which usually causes the problem to escalate; or anger could be the fuel to have the strength to understand another’s viewpoint and have the capacity to forgive. He explained Arun that if he wanted to use his anger wisely he needed to build a strong and healthy mind. Having control over his mind would prevent his anger from narrowing his world and giving him the option to react differently. He recalls his grandfather telling him about the need to treat anger as a warning that something is wrong; training his mind would help him to respond properly in the future. Instead of reacting, inflicting emotional harm to others, a strong mind can focus on the solution that may work for everyone.

Learning to manage our anger wisely can definitely help us getting to a better place; we cannot have intensity or determination without the possibility of anger. So as to learn how to use anger for good, we need to have the capacity to be self-observant, to comprehend what is the root of anger and have the courage to start opening, so we can recognize the value of other’s people perspectives.

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