“Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you’re waiting” Joyce Meyer
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“All I want is to be patient and I want it now.” Diogo Carrico
“Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” http://www.oxforddictionaries.com
Patience can be described as the art of acceptance; the talent to put on hold one’s desires; the skill to accept the things one can’t change; or of actively waiting for the desired outcome to be accomplished. Like most things in life, it requires constant practice to become any good at it.
With today’s ever urgent lifestyle, the practice of patient is more important than ever. We live in an instantaneous society and with our immediate access to information, we tend to demand instant and perfect results in everything.
The pursuit and consumption of unrelenting information (fuelled by endlessly innovative technology), in an effort of trying to keep up with society’s imbedded (and irresponsible) competitiveness and unmeasured ambition, leads to feelings of incompetence, failure, anxiety, disappointment and sickness.
Nature works with its own unique schedules, but we keep trying to rush it. When we try to keep up with the ever faster external stimuli, we’re working against ourselves because our bodies weren’t built for speeds of 1000 Zillion bites per second.
Without patient, without paying attention to our inner and natural rhythms, we tend to suffer more. I agree with the opinion that whilst pain is at times inevitable, suffering is a choice. So when one becomes stressed for failing to get the expected outcome, one is actively choosing to suffer.
Patience being a virtue, I have never been the most virtuous of men. I have always wanted the end result without having to wait and regularly took shortcuts in indispensable steps. I was even contemptuous of those who took the proper time to do it well… such a judgemental idiot.
I have been slowing down (with constant practice and reminders) and I’m starting to see things differently. I’ve been learning that Nature, in its perfection, shouldn’t be hasted and that there are certain things that take time to materialise. Only immediate health situations should be labelled as emergencies and there is no need to rush otherwise – oh, and some toilet runs too.
My girls have been my best teachers and I’m learning more and more about the art of patience through them. Children, in their quest for instant and continuous gratification, are the most impatient of beings and this provides the best medium for my practice.
It also allows me a chance to teach: that it is important to be bored at times, even essential – boredom kindles the imagination; that mum and dad are independent beings as well, with individual needs that don’t allow playing 8 hours a day every day; and to instil the absolute importance of ‘me time’ and ‘quiet time’, alone or in each other’s company.
Other situations where I have been cultivating the art of patience is in unavoidable waiting periods: bus stop, bus, traffic, doctor’s waiting room, queues, etc. I have been rejecting the need ‘to be productive’ or ‘to be entertained’, by keeping my portable glowing screen in my pocket and deciding to focus on my surroundings instead.
I’m working on developing a constant mindset where the important thing is what’s happening now. Kind of an ‘opened eye’ meditation. Watching the birds and the cars go by whilst waiting for the bus is not ‘a waste of time’.
When I look around though, I still get amazed at the huge amount of swiping fingers and tilted necks with unnaturally brightened faces. Reading the body expressions triggered by someone seemingly looking at the palm of the hand is also quite amusing. What’s not so amusing is the way we now tend to interact with each other, but that’s for another dissertation.
I get the feeling that, generally, life is being lived way too fast with diminishing tolerance and acceptance. At a pace, so fast and self-centred, I believe to be harmful if one tries to keep up with.
Should I slow down when everyone else seems to be sprinting? “Absolutely”. But won’t I be left behind? ”Well, all movement is relative!!”