Frustration Ends where Knowledge Begins

Dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangah teshu upa jayate 
Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodhah abhijayate
Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti vibhramah
Smrti-bhramsad buddhi naso buddhi nasat pranasyati
                                                                                    Bhagavad Gita, Chp 2, Sh 62, 63.
which means, Brooding on the objects of the senses, man develops an attachment to them; from attachment comes desire; from desire, anger sprouts forth. From anger proceeds delusion; from delusion, confused mind; from confused mind the ruin of the reason; due to the ruin of reason, he perishes.

We humans are constantly being challenged. How we deal with those challenges also shapes our personality. Each time the world forces itself upon us demanding, it is also challenging us to own the responsibility of our emotional reaction. One such challenge that we often face is to handle frustration. It is an emotion that occurs when one is blocked from reaching the desired goal. The block can be a physical or a mental one. Dealing with frustration has always been one of the worst nightmares for both teenagers and adults.

Though life teaches us to tolerate a little frustration without becoming too upset about it. Nevertheless, it keeps us proactively engaged with new goals and challenges. We all at one point or another had found ourselves face to face with frustration

I had been there many times but I still remember this incident when I couldn’t find a way to vent it and all hell broke loose. Flustered and irritated, I couldn’t notice the steam building up. And with every disapproval, it was expanding within me until I exploded under the pressure. It took me a lot of time and effort to bring peace and to rebuild the relationship that my anger almost damaged. I learnt my lesson the hard way that suppression can never help me get away from that emotion that I am running from.

I also realised how frustration and anger travel hand in hand. It is like a chain reaction and we have to stop it before it gets triggered(the above shlok also warns us the same).Who’s to blame then? Who needs to unlearn habits that cause such unpleasant episodes? A good analysis following an emotional storm will lead us to the realisation that nobody other than our state of mind was guilty of that painful experience. The reason was never the situation/thing/goal/person. Once we discover this, we will learn to respond to such situations. Like we discussed before, repression is never an option but we can practice healthy ways of dealing with it. It will be challenging at first, but overtime being mindful of that sliding point, we can learn to change the habitual reaction to a more positive discharge than a negative one.

Another observation is that we stay frustrated when we get to thinking that we are going nowhere. That happens when we start feeling powerless and what triggers that emotional state is when we only focus on the problem. I mean, we should look for ways to solve the problem in hand. By understanding the cause of frustration we can direct our energy to sketch a goal to resolve it. I know it is not easy but it is not difficult either. Look at the damage we cause to ourselves and disappointments we bring to our dear ones. Why I say dear ones, because oftentimes, we indulge in displaced aggression. It is easy that way, isn’t it?  When we can’t yell at the boss then we vent it at the spouse or someone close.

It is also unrealistic to think we can rid ourselves of this dangerous thing called frustration. It is not always dangerous, it motivates us to resolve things which are standing in between us and our goals. They only turn against us when they bring with them excessive emotional feelings of deep dissatisfaction and vanity. Have you noticed what Chronic frustration does to people? Their self-image deteriorates and goals that they chose would look impossible and unrealistic then. Some of them fall into a state of perpetual apathy.

Try it for yourself. Next time when you feel frustrated stuck in traffic, ask yourself if there’s something you could do, like finding another route. If there is nothing you could do, then ask yourself is it even worth your anger and time. You grow frustrated by over-thinking and over-analyzing anything that is not under your control. When the block is external and if there’s nothing could be done, we just have to wait. Even that quality of ‘waiting’ can teach us something, isn’t it?

And now it is our choice, whether to succumb to despair or take control of our life. If we don’t manage our emotions, it will start managing us and then life wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.

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Emotions and their play on the Troubled Minds

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Indriyani Pramathini Haranti Prasabham

Troubled senses snatch away the mind of even a wise man.

We all know what emotions do to our Mind and Body but we don’t do anything about it. From size zero to a happy mind, we crave but we just don’t do what is necessary. Why? Why? If we look at Science for an answer, it tells us that these are habits which are difficult to break. Habits are unconsciously driven to save energy. New ones only form by repetitions, creating a new nerve network in the brain. But when we are agitated, cornered or puzzled we often go back to our old habits. We also need to reason the necessity to shed those old habits. Look at few addicts who abstain from drugs at rehab but end up going back to their old habits as soon as they return. That is why reasoning is very important. This is where Science fails to answer. 21-Day Myth. Even at a professional set-up, few habits often put us in a bad light. If a manager gets really angry; he might be able to make a conscious effort to fake a smile but his body language gives it up. Now that tells us that working on the brim will not get us results.

If we go a little deeper, people are nothing but a mix of emotions, traits and habits. Mixed in certain proportions creates our unique personality.

Let us imagine a society controlled by our instincts alone. Can such a society survive? For obvious reasons, it will fall apart. So, we were conditioned to think in a way which does not challenge the societal norms. Basic emotions are very primitive and not under conscious control. However, few complex emotions like guilt and envy are bred by us into our kids. Every time we compare kids to somebody; putting them down when they open up to us are all shaping these complex emotions in them. And then we tell them they aren’t good emotions to keep. We build them and instruct them not to indulge in. We don’t even tell them how to not be in their company. Maybe we don’t know it ourselves. Accepting the child for what he/she is, will breed confidence in him/her. This will allow them to shape their goals better. I was reading an article in Deccan chronicle about a child named Binney been abandoned as he was suffering from Down’s syndrome. Parents are well off but they are ashamed of the kid. Will it not surprise you when you read about a software engineer having fought to adopt the baby while his own parents have disowned him? We live in a society such.

Even emotions such as joy which is essential or what we work for, also looks far-sighted. Bhagavad Gita says Dukka-Samyoga-Viyogam Yoga-Samjnitam. Severance of ties from sorrow is Yogam. Our ancestors have compared our Mind to a baby. If the baby picks up the phone, our commanding words will not work on the baby. We coax it to calmness by giving it a glittering toy and then the baby would give back the phone. The same way, the mind needs to be engaged in a changeless state to drop those emotions. Bhagavad Gita calls such a person as Sthithapragnya.

Arjuna who has fought several battles fell short of courage to wage the war. Maybe we aren’t engaging in a battle externally but internally our mind is battling conflicts all the time. That is no less than the Kurukshetra itself. My Guru often reminds us of the Kurukshetra within and propels us to destroy the vices before they sprout. Emotional Intelligence should no longer remain as a rare specimen. It is the need of the hour. Bhagavad Gita does the same in a more holistic approach.