When anger or fear arises in meditation, how do I deal with that?
There are various ways. See it first. Then accept that there is anger or fear. As you observe your anger or fear you will begin to relax, and as you do that it will begin to transform. In meditation, if you are resistant or avoiding to see or accept anger or fear or any other negativity, it will go on disturbing you. See it honestly, and when that energy begins to relax, you will relax thereby. Relaxation transforms the negative energy into sattvic or beneficial energy. Therefore you are not losing energy; you are changing or transforming it. This is the way to “resist not evil.”
I have heard that there are really only two feelings, love and fear, and anything else that we experience can be traced back to fear consciousness or love consciousness.
There are only two forces: light and darkness. Anxiety, worries, fears, doubt, and so on, come from darkness, ignorance. Fear is not the source. Love is the source. Fear is a symptom; it is not even a cause or effect; it is an impulse. All of a sudden your nervous system gets alerted to something unknown and you are afraid. Perhaps you feel threatened or insecure. Fear is a symptom simply telling you that you are not responding to or facing your situation. As soon as you honestly face your situation you will not fear.
Swamiji, could you talk about boldness and courage as opposed to arrogance and pride?
Whenever pride and arrogance arise in your mind, there and then you block your progress. But as soon as you are bold and courageous regarding any challenge or obstacle, you progress. How to distinguish between the pride and arrogance or boldness and courage? The easiest criterion is: whenever you are proud and arrogant you will be restless, excited, disturbed and miserable; whenever you are bold and courageous you will not feel restless, disturbed or confused. In boldness and courage there is still ego, at least at the outset, but it is much more purified than when you are proud and arrogant. If you are bold and courageous you are moving toward your goal, whether it is material or spiritual. If you are proud and arrogant, your goal is obstructed. In short, the perspective of the mind is based upon stark, naked ego. When you are bold and courageous, your ego softens. And humility plus courage gives you more enlightened power to reach the goal - I’m using “power” in the auspicious sense, Shakti.
The Vedas say: Nayatma Balhena Nalabhya, which in Sanskrit means, “Spirit, God, cannot be discovered by the weak.” Actually pride and arrogance are synonymous with weakness; only the weak are proud and arrogant. The truly strong are not proud; they are humble. If you are bold and courageous, you can face any situation calmly. If you face the situation excitedly you lose energy and power. Once you face what your problem is, that person or situation has no power over you; it is a fictitious shadow. Boldness and courage bring you nearer your soul, whereas the pride and arrogance are of the mind. Both are ego, but one is inauspicious ego and the other is auspicious ego. Boldness and courage serve only for the cause of truth or goodness or legitimacy. If you apply boldness and courage for untruth and dishonesty, such as in order to save face, it will not last long. You can be proud and arrogant upon untruth but you cannot be proud on truth. This needs practice, of course - how to really find out the distinction. All the virtues such as boldness, courage, honesty and humility are based upon truth and justice.
If I am in a situation with a dominant person and I try to calmly discuss things and he is flaring up and yelling, my temperament is to leave the situation and go be quiet somewhere else. Is that being weak?
That is quite fine if you are unable to react in an appropriate manner. But the day you will be able to react in a proper way, not fighting or reacting, that will be a step forward. The first way is called nvritti, the second is called privritti, according to the Gita. Nivritti is the path of renunciation; privritti is the path of involvement in the world. Let’s say you are aware of domination or exploitation or injustice around you. If you are not able to face it and deal with it in an appropriate, masterly way, then renounce the situation. Go quietly and sit under a tree or in your room. But if you can face it and react in an appropriate manner, that is still a step higher. In short, when you are able to master any situation around you, you are a yogi, but if you are not able to face a situation or defend yourself without being disturbed, simply renounce and be meek. Both ways are equally good in their respective places. When unrighteousness has an upper hand over righteousness, God comes in various forms to defend righteousness, even if an unrighteous person may be God’s devotee. No one is dear to God if he or she is not on truth and justice. Be sure about it.
Meek does not mean weak. Endure. Do not react or resist evil. Simply be on truth and justice. But virtues are necessary in order to do this. If you are just being stubborn on your point, then you are being unrighteous. You have to be very careful not only with your actions but with the principle also. Both have to join together. There are two ways here: be on the principle and act accordingly; then you are a yogi, or be a devotee of God and do not resist evil.
To give shelter to injustice is also injustice. The habit of domination is very common, probably ninety or ninety-five percent of people. Many times you are not aware that you are doing this. Five or ten or twenty years later you may realize that you were dominating over someone, and by that time the mischief has been done: your and their health has suffered; one of you has become fed up; a kind of rut or cold-heartedness has formed but then it is too late to forgive or apologize. Truth teaches us to see what justice is. In truth and justice, you do not dominate or rule over others, or others over you.
© 2012 by Truth Consciousness. Excerpted from the Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti: Guidance for Personal Transformation (N-10) and Courage and Boldness (K-2). For further information on the audio Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti please see page 51 or online at truthconsciousness.org.