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Namah Journal

Consciousness and health

Reversing anger through Integral Yoga

James Anderson


The Integral Yoga has its own unique way of dealing with anger, as it does for all wrong movements. The ultimate goal is to transform it. The immediate priority in this process, for the sake of our well-being, is to reverse it by staying aligned to the Truth.

Anger is a hidden killer. It circulates in the earth atmosphere and its seed is present in virtually all of us. It can destroy our well-being. When we are driven by this wild force, we lose contact with our centre and when it is expended, our consciousness dumps down into an abyss. We are left exhausted, full of self-blame and stripped of all energy. Its effect is toxic on all it touches.

“Yes, anger is a harmful and wasteful force, harmful both to the person himself and to the one on whom it is thrown. You are right in saying that it must be got rid of. Anger immediately opens the door to hostile forces; it is as if you were calling them (1).”

The usual answer in therapeutic circles is to attempt to ‘manage’ anger; the reasoning suggests that this is something that can never be truly conquered. Integral Yoga however aims at even more than vanquishing this formidable vibration. Its goal is always transformation; there are no half-measures. This process involves the insertion of the Truth-Consciousness into every facet of daily life. Every movement, however negative, has a truth behind it and this consciousness makes it take shape. Anger has its own different hues and levels and every one of its gradations, including ‘righteous anger’ will one day be integrated within this Truth. Transformation over-passes every predetermined boundary and is consequently very much a long-term process. So reversing anger is a more immediate goal and a very necessary stepping-stone in this vaster context. The integral approach determines the whole, so as our anger starts to reverse the nature changes too. It is something never addressed and healed in isolation.

The Mother has said that anger “… is always a sign of weakness, impotence and incapacity (2).” However these words would be barely recognised in the society of today. Anger has become a common way of ‘getting things done’. It is viewed as an essential means of exerting power. ‘This is what ‘I’ want!’ Anger is a vast distortion of the will. It appears when the true will is virtually non-existent; it is a short-cut way for the vital ego to achieve its desires. If we look at anger candidly, we can see it is no more than a crutch that prevents us from relying on the true will that is available to all of us. It thrives on discontent. At the base of many a nature is a bed of thorns, an underlying irritability that can flare up at any moment. Thus addressing anger is critical to our well-being.

An impossibility?

But for many solving anger is a complete enigma. Everyone represents an ‘impossibility’ 1 that must change so that the goal of transformation can be accomplished. I suspect that anger is quite a common impossibility among many of us! In this Divine Work though, nothing can be regarded as truly impossible. The Mother herself said that, “….you are made to be master of your consciousness” and that, “….all that belongs to your consciousness you are able to master (3).” Anger can indeed be eradicated through yoga but not by virtue of any piecemeal or superficial approach. Only an integral action can accomplish the complete conquest. The only way to completely reverse anger is to pluck it out by its very roots.

The Integral way is to transform every false or distorted vibration to its divine counterpart. There is an atom of Truth in everything. Anger is just a feature of this total conversion. No single detail is ignored and everything is embraced in conjunction with the integrality of our own nature and being. The divine counterpart of anger vibrates to peace and serenity. It is the Psychic Being, the mover of transformation, that discovers and brings these higher qualities forward. These states are the truth behind the distortion. Every time it does this, something new in miniature is realised and it is a knowledge which heals.

In the Mother’s words, the process is “….to take up all the parts, all the movements, all the activities of one’s being and put them before this psychic consciousness so that they fall into their true place in relation to this centre ...(4)” With anger the counterparts are so distant from one another they are complete polarities. But the seed of truth is present everywhere and only the Psychic Being, our evolving soul, has the capacity to unearth it. The problem is, its presence gets veiled so much that dealing with anger can become remorseless and nothing is earned without much blood, sweat and tears. It is the same for anyone trying to change a ‘fixed’ part of their character. Time and again we have to face familiar patterns clothed each time in a different guise. Every disguise masks our connection to the Truth. So much effort is expended reversing such movements but the aspired result always arrives spontaneously. Spontaneity is always an aspect of the psychic influence.

We are liable to come across the vibration of anger at many times of the day. Usually it follows those who resonate most to it. Even if it doesn’t possess us we are bound to come across people who are themselves possessed. The truth is however, everyone we meet reflects some aspect of a reality that is imprinted deep inside ourselves. We may find some living in such a state of irritability that, when a certain button is pressed, an outburst will automatically occur.

Many of us are so unaware of our inner movements that we feel helpless against their continual appearance. The consequences of chronic anger are well known and the problem bites deep into our physical health. It has almost become an inevitable consequence of modern living. Over the centuries it has become a fixed societal and cultural pattern and a standard defence-mechanism. It has solidified over time and buried its roots into every facet of our existence. The state is highly contagious and, if directed back at us, not many can claim to be unmoved by its onslaught. Anger is so powerful its waves can possess nations and continents, so what hope does the solitary individual ever have?

It is the individual, however, who dons the mantle for true change. Everyone has the opportunity to look closely inside. If not, anger can get engrained and become a constant feature of the ‘personality’. Once the roots are established, the ‘character’ rarely changes. It takes a monumental effort to change the momentum. This is where yoga steps in. The ‘impossibility’ has to change. The first necessity is to watch our movements because unless we remain attentive, anger will become habitual. We have to be conscious of every groove in our nature.

I have noticed the tendency inside myself. I have found that when placed in front of a particular person or subjected to a particular circumstance or situated even in a particular location (the permutations are endless), I find there are triggers fixed inside me that can easily convert the unease into something much more damaging. We have to be very watchful. These triggers are buried deep inside our subconscious. If the habit is allowed to persist, every time we ‘see red’ we become a slave to this disturbing force.

The solution

When practising Integral Yoga, we adopt two movements that act as a panacea for every difficulty we face in daily life. The Mother speaks about the art of ‘stepping back’ in this very issue (see page 4). Surely, this is a definitive solution for everyday living. By stepping back, we disengage from the drama and, if we are connected, we are in the perfect station to look at everything in a truer light. We step back not only from the play outside but also from the reaction that is trying to arise from inside. When we witness the phenomenon from this perspective the truth behind the drama starts to come forward. In this passage, the Mother describes beautifully its way of dissipating the effect of anger. This process truly cleanses the atmosphere in everyone involved — not least ourselves! The second movement arises from an attitude of surrender. We offer everything, good or bad, to a higher power. It works very well in tandem with the movement of stepping back. Offering can be done always. Anger, like everything, can be added very effectively to the sacrificial fire. It is more potent if done when the memory is still fresh inside. We should aim to always close the gap between outbreak and offering. With practice, offering becomes an instantaneous response. It is poise as well as action. It is only the Divine who can reshape every distortion. We have just to hand it over to Her. With loving trust, anger can become an irrelevance but it takes considerable patience and perseverance.

If anger is to be reversed we have to stay very attentive and awake. That means we have to remain aligned to our Truth. When we aren’t, anger can easily intrude. A simple call may be enough. There is no reason for anger to appear when we are in the right consciousness. Inevitably the connection will recede but we need to learn to pick up the thread immediately. The consciousness must never be allowed to go to sleep. Only the nature is allowed its rest. If anger comes we must be ready for it. We don’t look for it in isolation but we must be prepared for a wrong movement at any given moment. When this movement comes the consciousness will be ready to process and transform it. When the psychic influence is present the alchemy will occur and anger will be restored to its divine counterpart.

The aim is to make this process simultaneous and spontaneous. The moment anger appears, the consciousness is poised for action. For anger to entirely disappear we need to realise its cause and only the consciousness has the capacity to decipher it. Once the cause is realised, anger is expunged because this knowledge truly heals. We might have to go through many layers before reaching the root. Truly, we are not doing the sādhanā for ourselves but to collaborate in the Mother’s Work. We must bear and reverse the anger of the collectivity. Ultimately we must transform the anger of humanity. Only the individual is capable of doing this and only the Truth can heal.

Most of all, one must never give up. These movements of nature can indeed be reversed. A fatalistic attitude won’t help. We must always remember that we are much greater than our nature. Nature doesn’t define us; only the Truth can do that. These wrong movements only cloud our Truth. When every wrong movement is turned to right and when every wrong movement including anger is reversed, the vaster work of transformation will surely unfold.


1. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo, Volume 31. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2014, p. 267.

2. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 10. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2001, p. 81.

3. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 4; 2003, p. 74.

4. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 8; 2003, p. 22.

5. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 5; 2003, p. 361.

1The Mother stated that, “Each one here represents an impossibility to be resolved, but as for Your Divine Grace all things are possible. Your work will be, in the detail as in the ensemble, the accomplishment of all the impossibilities transformed into divine realisations (5).”

James Anderson is a member of SAIIIHR and coordinating editor of NAMAH.

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Vibration of anger



The Mother