“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.” – St. Francis de Sales
They say patience is a virtue, in its usual understanding, patience is a trait or quality deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of good moral being. Patience is thought to make us better people.
The dictionary definition of patience:
- the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
- an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
- quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
For me the real meaning and significance of patience has only recently been revealed.
To me these definitions are too superficial and don’t reveal the deeper reality of patience as a beautiful manifestation of consciousness.
With the usual definition, patience is understood with an end in mind, a person will only be patient because there is something in it for him. He is being patient because he believes that in the future his situation will be comfortable, will be better. His patience is only skin deep.
Patience is not a virtue or an ideal that one has to pursue, but is simply a by product of someone who is learning to infuse their life with awareness, someone who is learning to master themselves. What I mean by mastering, is someone who deeply understands his own psyche and learns to tame his mind. Someone who has learned to really observe himself in a scientific way.
He has seen how his own mind works and has learned to disassociate his sense of self from his thoughts. He has realized his true nature as the silent witness who observes his thoughts and calmly abides in this space.
When one is not ruled by incessant mental chatter, sooner or later, moments of incredible peace and silence will descend upon the person. When mental activity is reduced, one will catch glimpses of being in the “now”, being one with existence. When one is in the moment, one feels delightful and is eternally patient, true patience because there is no where to go, the “here” and “now” is enough.
Not having any compulsion to do or become something other then what one is being in the moment is a sublime experience. This means your attention is free, it is not identified to any inner or outer object, just the freedom to look. This is seeing with eyes full of wonder.
Seeing with eyes of wonder is to really learn about something for the first time. Perceiving reality as it is without imposing any of your own ideas about it. You allow reality to reveal its mysteries to you, which means you are open, you are innocent.
The Importance of Patience
Abiding in this deep field of patience one realizes one of the greatest truths, which is that nothing in life is permanent, its nature is transient. Life is then perceived as a dreamlike phenomena. In true moments of patience one is able to perceive life as it arises spontaneously each moment, there is direct contact, with no mental labelings to come between you and reality. This is not an intellectual understanding but something you feel with your entire organism. It becomes your own existential truth.
Deeply knowing that life’s nature is impermanence and by directly experiencing this state, one learns to accept life as it is. This is what true patience is, learning to accept life as it is, all the while knowing that it each moment is changing, so there is no need to be impatient, no need to suffer unnecessarily. Being impatient just means your going against life, you’re not accepting the current moment, by not accepting the current moment you are only half-living.
To become patient you simply need to be become more aware, more mindful. But remember that patience is not a personality or character trait we are trying to cultivate. Patience will just be a quality that we radiate the more conscious we become.
Meditation is learning to simply be patient with ones self, learning to watch the mind and accept whatever arises. In time our focus is transferred from our never ending thought process to our silent witness, who can then rise above the thinking mind. You will then be able to sense yourself moment to moment in space/time, your presence will grow stronger, you become integrated (body,mind,spirit), you will feel centered.
Next time your having a cup of coffee, go slow, be mindful of your movements as you reach for the cup. Bring your total attention to it, try to sense your hands from the inside out, sense the energy pulsating within.
Our movements are usually unconscious, bring as much consciousness to it as you can, you will feel a different quality to it. Feel the texture of the paper cup on your fingers. Smell the aroma of the coffee beans. Don’t think, just feel, let your senses function at their ordinary level, you simply need to direct your attention to them, don’t interpret, don’t label, just “be” the experience.
Follow the liquids trickle down your throat. Feel the chair you are sitting on, become aware of the sitter, acknowledge your existence in this very moment.
Now, tell me, doesn’t it feel good to be alive? Do you feel patient without trying to be patient?…if you brought your whole energy, your whole awareness to it, you should. Now, do this with everything in your life, start with little things, in time you will be able to maintain this sense of patience with life’s more challenging situations.
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