Overcoming Fear, Anger, and Depression

By Swami Satchidananda

Fear, anger, and depression are all related. It all starts with fear. You want something and you become afraid of not getting it, or you get it, and you become afraid of losing it. There is a beautiful sequence in the Bhagavad Gita that illustrates this point. First you see something nice—something you think will make you happy. The next thought is, I must have it. Until you saw it in the window or somewhere you never even had any thought about it. Suddenly you think: I’ve always wanted that. Then, if you can’t get it—maybe you don’t have the money—you think of someone or something to blame, a scapegoat. Ah! That guy who owes me money—if he had returned it by now I would have the money I need. You become angry with him. Then the mind gets deluded by the anger. It is no longer functioning properly. You lose your memory and the mind gets into a delirium of sorts and you completely collapse! It all started with one little thought. So beware of what you think. Don’t let thoughts come from your mind at random, without your approval.

There is a proverb: A word is a bird, once it leaves its cage it can’t be brought back. A word is based on your thinking. You have to think properly. Learn to be aware of thoughts of fear, anger, and depression even before they begin to surface. Then, use discipline, check it out and if you cannot at least control the thought then control the word. If that is not possible then control the deed. First you think, then you speak and then, you act. But, prevention is better than cure. The best thing is to arrest the thought. Try not to let it express as a word but if it does, then at least don’t act on it. The person who can control their thoughts has nothing to be afraid of and where there is no fear there is no anger.

All anger is caused by fear and then depression follows. There are two ways to control the mind, One is that you do it yourself by your own intelligence. Analyze and reflect on your thoughts. That is the direct way, without anyone’s help. If you don’t have an analytic mind then there is a Blessed person that we call God to help us. Put the whole burden on God. Say: “God, you created me, You know what I should have and what I need. If I don’t get it, probably You think I don’t need it. You give me whatever I need and you take away whatever I don’t need. Why should I worry about it?

This devotional approach brings God into our lives. It helps a lot because sometimes when we try to do it all by ourselves, our capacity seems to be limited. It’s easier to trust God, to put complete faith in God and to say, God, you know what I need. Didn’t you prepare my food even before I came out or my mother’s womb?

God is interested in your welfare. There is an old Tamil saying that goes, “You fed that little frog in the rock.” This is based on a scientific fact. It was featured in a documentary. Someone found a rock but instead of being heavy, it was very light. When it was opened, they found a living frog—it was almost white because no light had penetrated the rock. Who fed it? How did it survive without a single hole to breathe through? Science cannot find an answer. That proves that there is an unseen force, a cosmic intelligence that you call God, that is taking care of everything at every minute. There is another old saying “Lord without you a minute speck of dust cannot move.” If we have that kind of faith, if we fully recognize that fact there is nothing to worry about, then there is nothing to be afraid of, and no reason to become angry or depressed.

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