The Chain of Anger And Its Many Faces
certain man was running away from what he thought was a mishap that had befallen him. In the process he hit his toe on a stub and injured it. He yelled and his lips tore in the process. The pain shot through his veins and he started whining and weeping. Because he could hardly use his torn lip, his eyes did most of the weeping. The pressure was so much on his eyes that his eyeballs popped out and before he knew it, one of his eyeballs fell from its socket and headed for the floor. Quickly, he reached out to pick up the eyeball before it would be soiled or sustain more damage, but because he did not have his good sight and could not really see well enough with the remaining eyeball, his coordination was poor and his hand hit the ground roughly and too quickly. The sudden impact caused his fingers to break, and so his misery continued.
Wretched and deep in his hopeless situation, he suddenly realized that he could have stopped the trend of injuries to himself much earlier in the chain of events. In that early moment of despair, two opposing questions had burned in his mind - should he stop his agitation and seek an end to the perilous chain or should he remain agitated and perhaps ride the self-destructive chain to the end? But he was too engrossed in the initial provocation or misery to even ponder the question.
Now you must be wondering if the above story is a true one or mere fiction. In fact, the story has been adapted from an idiom or sayings of the ďIbosĒ (a tribe in southeastern Nigeria) about the man of ill fate who lost his eyes while lamenting and further broke his hands when he bent over to pick up his eyes that had fallen as he cried.
Much as the story seems to highlight the mishaps of a man, one that would elicit sympathy by some observers or dismissal by others as improbable in true life, it is indeed an example of how man can bring more problems to himself due to anger, impatience and a failure to pause in the face of hard times to learn the lessons and correct a given situation before things gets out of hand. Just as one small lie could lead to one bigger lie and even more, so can a minute provocation ride the currents of anger and develop into a massive catastrophe too immense to handle if not nipped in the bud.
Usually, when offended by situations we confront in life, the first instinct in most cases is to retaliate or react to the situation in the manner it has appeared to us. For instance, we want to respond violently if we feel the action was violently offensive to us (directly or vicariously our relative or loved one is offended). We want to respond rudely if we perceive anotherís interaction with us to be rude. We want to cheat if we think we have been cheated. We want to gossip if we think someone has gossiped against us. We seek to harm another if we think we have been harmed whether the harm was intentional or not. Sometimes in executing any of these retaliatory impulses, we go beyond the level of the initial action and increase our response simply because we feel we were the victims and that the offending person deserves more injury or harm since he initiated the first offensive action.
In all, it is all about vengeance encouraged by our inability to control our anger, which could manifest in the guise of any of the retaliatory behaviors enumerated above. The tricky thing is that anger manifests in ways and faces we do not easily recognize and unless we forgive the situation we are bound to emotionally ride the chain of provocation and thereby worsen a situation that could have been easily resolved.
Anger being one of the passions of the mind, remains one of the main challenges of mankind. It remains a challenge to nations, communities, and individuals. It could cause the greatest havoc when the person giving life to it does
not realize that he/she is being propelled by anger. If unchecked, it could stall or hurt our business or personal relationships and it could distract us from focusing on our goals and progress in life. More importantly, it could be an impediment on our objective to improve as Divine beings of love, forgiveness, patience, charity, tolerance, and understanding which all could help in the purity of Soul.
I am learning that fighting anger is usually not the way out. I am still learning that being alert to catch it in time despite its many faces (and disguises) remains
one of its biggest antidote. The tough part is to always be alert so as to be aware for it could creep into oneís consciousness at the most unexpected moment. Perhaps when one has made this alertness a way of life such that he is aware of any attempted incursion by anger in his life, then he could say that he has conquered anger like some great ones have done. It could be tough. I donít know about you, but I am
still learning and working on mine.
The Invasion of Anger
And the chain of anger so creeps in
Upon your life like a thief at Night
While you sleep with guards let down
For you have very little cared to watch.
All seem like a dream and yet unreal
In the dark, a stranger lurks in your room
He fans your ego and swells your wrath
Pleased with yourself you let him in
Your eyes so drowsy and even sleepy
On your imagination he plays a game
For you have seen not his true face
And now you think he is a friend
So then you let him wreck some havoc
The harm youíve done is so immense
For in emotion you have dipped yourself
Regrets and pity now keep you company
So now it hurts and you feel the pinch
The effects of your cause do now reflect
You wake to behold a stranger close
He has taken a place and a hold in you
You seek to regain your space again
For now awake sanity seeks to return
You resolve, not in emotion act again
But how alert can you be from now?
©Oliver O. Mbamara,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver Mbamara is an Administrative Law Judge with the State of New York.
He is also a filmmaker and a Published Poet and playwright. For more on Oliver, please visit
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