Powerful Words from Gandhi–How to Turn Anger into Effective Action

Wise words from Gandhi teach us that the best use of our anger towards the injustices we see or experience is to be actively involved in creating solutions to the problem and practice non-violent resistance. This principle can be applied to anything in our lives. It takes great insight and self-control to use our energy in this way.

I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world.
– Mahatma Gandhi

From Eknath Easwaran’s Thought for the Day

Mahatma Gandhi provides a perfect example of how anger can be harnessed. As a young, unknown, brown-skinned lawyer traveling in South Africa on business, he was roughly thrown from the train because he refused to surrender his first-class ticket and move to the third-class compartment. He spent a cold, sleepless night on the railway platform.

Later, he said this was the turning point of his life: for on that night, full of anger because of this personal injustice, as well as the countless injustices suffered by so many others every day in South Africa, he resolved not to rest until he had set those injustices right. On that night he conquered his anger and vowed to resist injustice, not by violence or retaliation, but through the loving power of nonviolent resistance, which elevates the consciousness of both oppressed and oppressor.

We may never be called on to liberate a people or lead a vast nation, but Gandhi’s example can apply in a small way in our own lives, when we decide to return good will for ill will, love for hatred, in the innumerable little acts of daily life.

3 thoughts on “Powerful Words from Gandhi–How to Turn Anger into Effective Action”

  1. I’ll try to apply this to what started last Thursday afternoon down at MSU. I got a legal parking permit. I went to the library. True is was hot but my windows were down & there was a nice breeze. School cop came because my dogs were in there. The broke in. Dogs refused water & just sat there. There was no panting. I was charge with a misdemeaner because my dogs don’t wear their licenses. They were training collars & weren’t out of my van. The cop also falsely cited me altering my permit, which I certainly did not.
    Went to court in Friday. Need to go again on July 29. Judge is letting me go to ICA & to Spain in August but I can be sentenced to 90 days in jail & hundreds of dollars in fine. Pray that I keep cool & that this goes away!

  2. That this harnessing of power and redirecting it through compassion “elevates the consciousness of both oppressed and oppressor” is powerful stuff.

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