As the saying goes, ‘patience is a virtue – It can also be an antidote to anger and hatred. However, it can actually be quite difficult to be patient. When I was younger I used to think that people really tried my patience. Through presence and understanding I realized the problem was actually mine. There was nothing outside of me causing my impatience, it all stemmed from my own mind. The problem wasn’t what people were doing, it was they way I was reacting to what they were doing.
So what is patience? It is unconditionally accepting what is happening right now in the present moment. When you lack patience you are rejecting the present moment, substituting some future moment from your imagination, thinking that this future moment will help solve the imagined problem with the present moment. So we can only have patience when we are present in the moment.
Patience and the lack of it are emotions and can be worked on during your meditation session. When I looked back over my day and saw that I had been impatient, which in the early years was quite a lot, I would see that the only person who was suffering greatly was me. I was making myself agitated, tense and angry. It was only after looking closely at my impatience that I could start to let it be. Now, I cannot say my impatience has gone forever, that would be unreasonable, but I am able to catch it as it rises and then let it be.
If we are an impatient person we have to work out why that is. It is usually because we are trying to multi-task, we have set ourselves an impossibly tight schedule or we think we know better than others. We may just be feeling anxious, unhappy or worried and not even know that it is because of impatience. It really does help to be aware and your meditation session is a great tool for that. You can look for patterns and triggers, and then work on an antidote.
Let us remember – patience may seem bitter at times but its fruit is always sweet.
Peace and Love, Jim