Patience doesn’t always come naturally. A variety of circumstances often seem to dictate how long our patience lasts, given that we have any in the first place. When we are going to an appointment and we are late, we will often have little patience with an insecure driver on the road that makes a mistake. When we are approaching an event, a long trip for example, and we expect it to make us happy, we become a slave to the excitement. Time seems to run slower the closer it gets, while our craving makes us suffer. When we have a speedy Internet connection at home and we are elsewhere, with a slow connection, it can happen that we give up trying to load the page entirely out of pure frustration. A big one, especially for yours truly, is being hungry and having to wait until it is time to eat or food is ready. It can be almost painful, and it can effect your mood so heavily that you start snapping at your environment without any good reason, besides the lack of patience on my part. Often our lack of patience also makes us feel like we are in the right.
“We had an appointment and you’re late!”; “Why would go left without using an indicator, you Idiot!”; “Why are you so slow, I’ve been waiting for over 10 minutes?”; “Well I only shouted at him because he made me loose my patience.”; “We need to kill the terrorists because they killed some of our people.”; “I’ve had it with you, go to your room and don’t come out till I allow you to.”; “You know what? You do it if you think you’re so much better at this”; “Go away I can’t stand the sight of you any more.”; “Why am I so stupid. I just can’t do this…”; ” I’m not good at riding a horse, and I will never be.”; “I’ve stopped that whole meditation thing because it never brought me anything, and I just can’t seem to calm my mind.”; “I’ve given up on…..”;
“I can’t take John doe anymore”
All of us probably have said something like that or similar. I certainly have. Mostly we will have felt anger or frustration. We felt like we are in the right because another, or even ourselves did us wrong. We are so convinced that we are right that it can quickly escalate, if we believe the reason justifies escalation. On a interpersonal level it can lead to friends falling out, a fight and possibly all the way to murder. On a societal level, a lack of patience can be seen in how we treat rule breakers, criminals, drug users, and other societies. We send them to prisons, so we don’t have to give them any more attention. We fight wars because we feel like one act of violence justifies similar or stronger retribution. On a personal level, it can lead to a lack of confidence all the way to depression and suicide.
So that’s what can happen with a lack of patience, but I would like to focus the main point of this article more on the value of patience. When one makes the effort to develop patience, wondrous and almost magical things can happen. If you are able, next time you feel your patience fading, try and take a deep breath and focus on staying calm, relaxed and patient. If someone is late for an appointment and you are press for time, use the valuable time that you think the other is taking from you. Use it to relax. Breath and focus on the breath, feel your muscle tensions ease up, and give your mind all the time it has to center. If thoughts of anger come in the way, you can let them go because it’s your time now. It doesn’t belong to the unsatisfied, stressed out ego, it belongs to you; remember the time you have NOW is so valuable! You have appointments later, obligations, or even lunch. Now that someone is late, there is spare time, time you can take back and give your cluttered mind a five minute rest. Call it meditation if you will, call it autogenic training, or simply rest; Realise that you can actually turn your anger into gratitude. Thank you for being late, thank you for offering my mind a 5 minute slot to rest. And always remember to breath deeply. Especially when you feel like your mood is slipping.
Simply the intention to practice patience can have beautiful realisations come with it. Once you don’t try to hurry things coming your way, you will realise that everything comes when the time is right. You will realise that practicing patience right NOW makes life so enjoyable. Suddenly each moment, even this moment where you are reading this article, becomes so special. A breath can motivate you to finish reading, even if you don’t like my style of writing. If you can’t find enjoyment in something, anything, I promise you it is possible to find enjoyment in the ability to stay patient. If what you’re giving attention to is annoying, let’s say a piece of homework, the deep breath and a short moment of relaxation can give you all the strength to endure it. And once you can give your attention to more pleasant things, you will find that you were able to compete the task much more effective, than if you had sat there moping about how annoying it is. Chances are you will get a much better grade as well.
Now if you don’t want to read about my experiences on how it helped me to suffer less in my spiritual development, I suggest that you skip the next paragraph. If you can open your mind to at least consider what I am writing, then be me guest to continue. I just felt like I had to include this because often when things get too spiritual, some people turn off and dismiss the valuable information they agreed with before.
In my personal development, patience is probably the greatest friend and challenger, at the moment. Wanting to understand why I was on a spiritual quest, has kept me in a somewhat impatient frenzy for over 5 years. It spawned me, more than once, to reason out certain occurances solely by intellect. I wanted to know why I was suddenly driven to meditate, eat vegetarian and explore that mind of mine, which often didn’t think the way society wanted it to. I wanted to find answers in a chat with a Buddhist monk and copy certain Buddhist rituals, only to find that the monk didn’t speak English and that I had no true understanding of the rituals. The monk actually asked me to explain meditation to the other listeners, because he couldn’t say it in English. So I had attended to learn but turned out to be the teacher. I read meditation books, and was attempting to contact spirits to give me answers. Nothing gave me an answer. Actually nothing gave me an idea of what the question was that I was trying to answer. I continously made different theories such as “it was meant to happen”, “I just randomly picked up on spirituality and found hope in it”, and “it is driven by karmic law”. None of these theories could calm my thirst to understand why I was walking the path I am on. Only the realisation that I need to breathe, and let everything come in its own time, helped reduce the spiritual suffering, if you will. I’m still waiting, but now, when I have the urge to understand more, I can let go easier. I rather take the time to reflect on which answers I have in this moment. And in the moments when I least expect it, something allows me to gain more insight as to who I really am. So far I’ve been granted to learn the following: I am a mere window of the infinite plain of consciousness, I can see with more than my physical eyes when in the right state of mind, the key to understanding lies within my consciousness and there are hints in all my daily experiences. Strangely, the more frequently I get into deep states of meditation, the more obvious the hints become. I have been meeting different, powerful souls, that have told me things about me which I didn’t know. A reiki master has been set along my path, and she gave me an understanding of the next questions I need to explore. I am still working on my patience, and I’ve realised that I really need to trust myself and be confident in my decisions and the way I am going. Essentially I need to walk on my own two feet and to take it step by step, rather than trying to run to the end on legs that I don’t trust to take me there. I have also learned that I am the student and the teacher at the same time, and I will be granted a lot more insight and spiritual powers, once I trust myself truly and fully.
Actually trust in oneself and patience go hand in hand. Trust yourself and you will be patient. When you can comfortably rely on yourself and your decision making, you can be patient in any situation, no matter how bad it may be. Trust that your body will sustain you for another few days, when you are getting hungry. Trust that you will find a solution, when things get overwhelming. Trust yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, how could you be patient with anyone, including yourself? Of course things go wrong from time to time. When that happens don’t feel like you can’t trust yourself next time. Trust that you will learn, no matter how many failed attempts you have to go through until you get where you want to go. Be patient with yourself and don’t try to force success. It will only lead to frustration, a lack of confidence, and suffering for you and others.
Once you find the confidence of trust and the bliss of patience, you will find much more at ease with yourself. You will find it easier to love your existence, and your mood becomes ever less dependent on your opinions of others and their actions.
Thanks for reading,