I find it quite humorous that the number one search term that’s used to find this blog is usually something that has “impatience” or “patience” in it. You would think something like, say: yoga, yoga sutras, Oprah, or spirituality would come up but oh no…I’m being found for my biggest weakness!
While I’m glad I’m not the only person who seems to be afflicted with this scuttling sense for rushing all the time, the fact that I’m seeing this search term appear with increasing frequency is becoming disturbing to me.
Let’s start off by reiterating Why Patience is Annoying:
- The necessity of patience implies we’re waiting, stuck, not in motion, or held in place by a circumstance outside of us. This is decisively inconvenient when we have plans and expectations that are then altered, changed, or have to be completely scrapped.
- Per my yoga teacher, “we’re dying everyday.” Right! So why do we have time to wait??? For anything! No one is getting any younger and every precious second should be used wisely as we deem fit. Who ever considers waiting to be productive?
- Having patience obstructs a sense of control…we make things happen. Us. Period.
- Ever heard of the economic theory of an Opportunity Cost? It explains how we measure the value of our choices and what the tradeoff might have produced. The outlay can be an actual monetary cost to us or a more perceptual price of time and attention.
- In fact as I’m writing this, hurricane Sandy is projected to hit NYC around the time I was supposed to leave for vacation. Patience right now – sucks! I have a time frame to work with yet I’m dependent on other people to make decisions which is taking an excruciating long time. Also, this coincidence of subject and circumstance is severely not funny!
But seriously, if we look at all of the above this is a state of constantly being agitated, frustrated, analyzed, and stressed. Is this how we really want to live? In a mental wrath of upheaval to constantly be perfect, productive, and effective?
Why We Should Reconsider Patience:
- Our level of patience is in direct proportion to our depth of faith in how divinity, ourselves, and humanity in general are entwined. We have to accept that we’re all dependent on each other, or as other spiritual teachers say, “we’re all connected.” This is a vulnerability that is uncomfortable because we see being independent as a strength and dependency as a weakness. But being independent implies a state of disconnection. Aren’t we all looking to connect more often and more profoundly?
- We all want to rush to the conclusion of an outcome to know how we’ll be affected and to be free to jump into action. Living like this is existing in a very fearful state because we’re constantly readying ourselves to be protective. Where is the sense of faith in ourselves that we can handle anything? And regardless of if it is positive or negative, what’s going to happen is meant to teach us something about ourselves or the people around us. Everything happens for a reason…
- My yoga teacher also says, “Drop the expectation.” It’s largely our assumptions that drive our sense for what a result will be. We can only control our thoughts and our actions. That’s it. We have to surrender control to the higher power beyond us.
- Getting ahead of ourselves is a form of the ego. Whether we guess what someone is going to say or what is to happen next, it’s a way of proving how smart we are.
- We have to stop economizing everything. It’s capitalistic. Be kind and practice self-compassion, knowing the choice you made was the best possible one to be selected with the information you had at that time.
- Impatience is a rejection of the present. We’re already looking, and perhaps living in, the future. One of the main goals of yoga is to be fully present in the now. Sri Swami Satchidananda says in Yoga Sutra 1.14, “If you are patient, your mind is more settled, and what you do will be more perfect. If you are unsettled and anxious to get the result, you are already disturbed; nothing done with that disturbed mind will have quality.”
For any of us seeking “patience reform” we cannot expect to master this skill quickly. Just like anything else we have to give ourselves time to learn and keep trying. Start small and then build on your growth. Beginning with say, a natural disaster, is probably a little ambitious (which yes, I did attempt and it did not go well)…