Remember the days when we didn't have instant satisfaction. The anticipation of life has left us. One of my favorite past times was walking around with my Polaroid camera and taking pictures. I remember when I took a photo the anticipation I felt waiting to see what I'd captured. The days of waiting and developing has truly gone away. We're an instant society, and though it has many perks, there are many downsides as well.
In a word, PATIENCE is a lost art. We are raising children to not understand or have the ability to comprehend what it means to have this virtue. In many scenarios in life we must practice patience, love, empathy, and compassion. It's my hope we can continue to develop this muscle, by being conscious to others and ourselves. Life has its way of slowing us down, ensuring that we take time to smell the roses and indulge in every beautiful moment that is given. Take time to enjoy your life and love ones. Time is a gift, savor it and relish in every moment.
For the majority of us, patience doesn’t come easily. And when it does come, it’s often fleeting. The rest of the time, we rush, we interrupt, we get exasperated when people squeeze ahead of us in line, we charge things now rather than paying cash later, we curse drivers who impede our progress in the fast lane.
From decisions made in haste to words spoken without reflection, impatience can cause a vast amount of pain, waste and damage. (This writer owes the demise of one Toyota to an unwillingness to endure the length of a red traffic light.)
Fortunately, even if we aren’t born with a great deal of patience, it’s a virtue that even the most agitated among us can develop, according to American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. It’s a skill, she asserts, one that we can hone with focus and practice.
When it is time to wait, surrender to the waiting. There are wisdoms that can only be born through time. Hidden out of sight, life is brewing. We cannot force anything to come. Something that is born before its time will sicken or die. Embrace time. Everything you have surrendered will finally reappear, distilled by time into a deeper and more powerful offering.
nterpreting challenging circumstances as novel opportunities doesn’t always come naturally, of course. Here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Bypass blame: Rather than faulting anyone in particular for the fact that you have to wait or adjust your plans, try entertaining the notion that the delay just is. Who knows, it may even turn out to be to your advantage: If not for the wait, perhaps you might have encountered a bigger problem — or accident — instead.
- Be thankful for small blessings: If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, and you have a cell phone that allows you to call and explain your delay to whoever is waiting for you, that’s a blessing. And once you make that call, you’re free to begin embracing more blessings, like the opportunity to listen to some great music while actively strengthening your patience muscles. See if you can sit in traffic without wishing ill upon a single driver, even if several of them manage to get their cars into the moving lane before you do. Try radiating goodwill instead.
- Write your own history: Keep in mind that you are always authoring your own experience. Eventually, the irritating circumstances you are dealing with will be over, and you’ll be left with the choices you made in the interim. Do you want to look back on losing your cool at the DMV, or do you want to look back on having made an honorable, embarrassment-free escape from a bad situation? The choice is yours.
Always Remember to Pull Tolerance From Positivity
It’s easier to have patience when we’re awash in good feelings. When we’re newly in love, for example, it seems like nothing can disturb our sense of well-being. Late busses, long waits for restaurant tables, canceled flights — we take them all in stride.
When we are feeling generally happy, our ability to comfortably tolerate annoyances skyrockets. According to Chödrön, we can use that dynamic to our advantage in pursuing Shantideva’s third instruction: Develop tolerance.
This doesn’t involve gritting our teeth and bearing reality. On the contrary, it involves actively noticing and cultivating positive feelings. To begin, Chödrön suggests paying attention to pleasant, everyday sensations and experiences, like the pleasure of eating when you’re hungry, putting warm socks on cold feet, or seeing a beautiful bank of clouds in the sky. She calls this “cheerfulness practice,” and it can do a lot to lengthen our proverbial fuse.
There will always be things that push us to impatience. But practicing with little annoyances, as Chödrön shows us, can build a greater capacity for humor and perspective overall. So when the truly big challenges come along, there’s grace. Waiting for you.
Whenever you feel the burn of impatience, just keep your eyes on the prize of your own equanimity.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. -Joseph Campbell
Article Resource: Experience Life
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