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How to get rid of aggressiveness?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): I was asked how to get out of aggressiveness. First of all, you have to totally forget that aggressiveness is the issue. All problems arise from ignorance, all problems including aggressiveness. And it is a part of ignorance to assume that aggression is an important problem or is a central problem.

If you are aggressive, then surely you are not seeing something. I could as well say that if you are aggressive, then watch your aggression. But that will be difficult for you because, in the moment of anger, it is just too theoretical to say – ‘watch.’ It is extremely difficult to watch yourself right in the moment of anger. Later on, you can go into memories and conduct the post-mortem but not at the moment. So, I will not say watch anger; I am saying see what you are ignoring. Seeing what is in front of you is sometimes more difficult than seeing what you are ignoring. Seeing what you are ignoring is easier, so have a look at that.

What are you ignoring? Is aggression the central problem? Where there is aggression, there are bound to be a hundred problems related to aggression, but not caused by aggression, just related. All are caused by a central evil, which we will take up a little later. When somebody says, “My problem is jealousy.” I ask him, “Is ambition not your problem? Is spitefulness not your problem? Is competitiveness not your problem? Is worrying not your problem?”

All of these are problems but they are somehow evading you. You have somehow convinced yourself that your central and important problem is jealousy. Whereas the fact is, that there can be no jealousy without a set of accompanying issues. These accompanying issues are what we ignore. So, I am not saying, ‘Have a deep look at jealousy,’ because probably you are incapable of that. I am saying, ‘Ask yourself whether there are not many other related problems in your life!’

When someone says that lovelessness is my problem, then I ask him, ‘Is ignorance not your problem? Is internal gossip not your problem? Is the need for excitement, not your problem?’ All of these are your problems. But you don't even recognize that these problems are there. When you do not recognize that there is an entire set of problems you are facing, then what do you do? You pick up any particular problem and start treating it as – ‘the problem’- as the central problem. Whereas, that problem is just a symptom. That which you are regarding as a disease is just a symptom. But in regarding the symptom as the disease, you have very cleverly obfuscated the real disease.

Please understand this. If I ask each of us, all of us, to write down the two most important problems in their life on a small sheet and collect those sheets. I’ll have some fifty problems here with me, with very little overlap, right? But anybody who is facing even one of those problems would actually be facing all fifty. But what do we say - that only the two that I have written down are the most important ones. The fact is – all fifty are present in life.

Where there is ambition, there will be lovelessness. They are one and the same thing. So how can you say that ambition is my problem but lovelessness is not?

Where there is fear, there will be hope. So how can you say that daydreaming is a problem but hopefulness is not? All these are interrelated and when you see the interrelation of this, you see that this web, this web of interrelated problems is actually dominating your entire life. This web is covering your entire mind. Now you cannot say that a part of the mind is a problem. Now you have to accept that your mind in totality is the problem. That whatever you are doing, is a problem.

But if you just say, that aggression is the problem, then you are falsely claiming that the rest of my life is not a problem. And this I assure you is a totally false claim. You cannot say that a corner of my mind is diseased and the rest of my mind is healthy. The thing is a unified whole. If you are healthy, the health will show up in every aspect of your life. And if you are sick, the sickness will show up in every aspect of your life. So, if somebody says, “Sir, my problem is that I cannot concentrate in the office,” then I know immediately that the fellow cannot have good relations even at home. But the fellow wants to believe and insists that “No sir, at home - I am the apple of all eyes; at home, I am the most loving being; it is only in an office that I feel sleepy and unproductive.” Impossible!

You are in the same unit. Problems at the office are a sure indication of problems at home. Bad dreams are a sure indication that your days are not passing peacefully. With peaceful days, you will surely have peaceful nights. A bad body is a clear indication that there is something wrong with the mind also. Somebody who cannot have honest relations with his friends, obviously cannot have honest relations with colleagues in the workplace also. Somebody who has no love, no relationship with animals and plants and the whole ecology, cannot have real love towards his kids also. So, if someone says my problem is that I am violent towards nature, then surely that violence will be evident even in the fellow’s relationship with everything else.

Are you getting?

So firstly, stop believing that aggression is the problem. It is a symptom. It is an indication, it is an indication like fever, like a fever. Fever in itself is rarely a problem. The presence of fever indicates that there is something wrong with the bodily system. So, forget aggression, forget aggression totally. Now pay attention to those moments which you think are alright moments, normal moments, the so-called healthy moments. The aggression you already acknowledged as an unhealthy moment - don't you? Your moment of anger or violence you anyway categorize as a bad and unwanted moment. I repeat - that moment has a lot of force.

If I say that watch when anger comes, it will just be an impractical thing. Watch those moments which you call normal; watch yourself when you go shopping; watch yourself when you are talking to the neighbors or relatives; watch yourself watching TV serials. Those are the moments when you are a little more settled and it will be more possible for you to observe yourself. Look at the so-called normal moments of your life.

Yes! you may have a violent relationship – alright. Look at those relationships which you think are not violent. Look at life in its totality. Then you will be able to see that entire web. Forget that you know the disease. You do not know the disease. When you look at the so-called healthy portions of your life and mind, then you will be able to see that the disease is all-pervasive. It infects all parts of the body – like viral fever. Everything in the body aches - right from head till toe. Are you getting it?

Can we just keep our diagnosis of our problems, away for a while? Can we come with an empty mind, not with a homemade diagnosis? And that's what most patients like to do. When they reach the doctor, they want to tell everything about the disease, and often the doctor does not want to hear and the patients feel offended. They say – ‘My disease, I know so much about it. I wanted to tell the doctor. He didn't even listen properly.’ Has it happened to you? The patient always has a great belief in his self-diagnosis. I know my disease. If you know your disease, why have you gone to the doctor? Cure yourself. And if you know so much, why are you diseased at all, first place?

So, forget about aggression. Look at the little, small, tiny instances of life; the day-to-day routine activities;

How do I sit? How do I talk? How do I write? What am I full of? What am I thinking all the time? What makes me nervous? What are my hopes? What are my insecurities? When someone tells me that she has achieved a lot, how do I feel? When I see someone begging, how do I feel? So-called little things.

It would be easier to distance yourself from the event and watch there. So, start from there. Then you will discover a lot more. Discovering the extent of the illusion is a step in the direction of freedom from illusion, right!

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