Recognising the Onset of Passion Can Save Your Life

I rarely lose my temper and because of that, I find it strange that people can lose theirs, because I've always valued presence of mind over passion.

Have you heard of crimes of passion, where in court, the perpetrator says they didn't intend to rape her, beat him up or kill them? Yes, a person can blame their passions because in the heat of the moment, they really do lose control over their mind.

However, it doesn't mean they are blameless, because passions CAN be controlled. Nay, they must! We have been given methods to manage and rein them in. We just have to use them.

Passion affects the human physiology in different ways, and learning to manage them can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

One afternoon, I was driving to pick up my wife and daughter, when a car turned suddenly into my lane. Instead of apologising, one of its passengers berated me, and the driver also started cursing. My blood boiled to a point I hadn't experienced in a long time.

With both our windows down, he screamed to pull over and 'settle' while I screamed to him to be sensible. Seeing there were four of them in the car, my brain immediately laid out an intricate plan of how I would take them out one by one after I pulled over.

Just as immediately, I realised I was breathing hard, and my anger was reaching a superpoint (where I would quickly lose control over my actions). I immediately recovered my breathing and smiled at him and said "Enough of that". I was aware he might want to insist, so I was ready for anything. Amazingly, he backed off and drove off.

If I had persisted with my desire-inspired plans, I could have been seriously hurt and gotten into trouble.

Several days earlier, my daughter Alisha was playing at a funland, and the sheer size of it, and the many toys and facilities would take any child's breath away. For Alisha, it was more dangerous, because she has asthma, inherited from me.

After a few minutes of running around, she started coughing and tearing up. Her uncle thought she had swallowed her saliva, but I knew the signs better. I immediately grabbed her and told her to calm down and breathe.

I held her close so her chest could feel mine and we breathed together. Asthma can be deadly when you experience an attack and panic. That's when the passion of fear takes over, and you spiral deeper and deeper into breathlessness.

I've been teaching her to manage her asthma these last few years, so, in the moment of her panic, only key words worked for me to trigger her to follow me breathing.

We breathed together, in and out, until she calmed down, and when her mindfulness kicked in, she could willfully practice breathing for herself. Within five minutes, she was back and running around again. A couple of times, I noticed her stop to sit down and breathe. It means that she has learned to recognise the onset of an attack and take action before she could panic.

For someone with anger issues, or even asthma, recognising the signs of getting close to losing control is important to maintaining it. There's no way to be ready for it. You learn when you're in the situation. But at least you can prepare by training your reflexes.

When your desire is exhorting you to do evil deeds, this too is leading up to passion. Do you know how far you can go before you lose control?