Monday, April 13, 2009


Patience is, it seems, a buzzword in many spiritual communities. People sincerely want to cultivate it, and are very much aware of how our speed addicted, multitasking society fails to support it. And yet, how many of us know what patience looks like, or how it manifests in our lives? How often do we simply believe that patience means putting up with something we don't like until it changes or until our mind changes around it?

Pema Chodron speaks of patience as being able to relax in any conditions. You can see this when you're able to step back from your thoughts and reactions to a particular situation and are able to see it for what it is. And yet, I'd like to also add that patience is not only an in the moment quality, but also a long term process which manifests moment by moment. During yoga, in down dog, the ease of it tonight came out of a several month commitment to daily (or almost daily practice) without knowing what the results would be. A year ago, every time into down dog was a trip into stiffness and some pain, even though I didn't push beyond my limits. So, patience is a quality of practice that manifests in the moment, but is birthed moment by moment in practice. In other words, you aren't going to just wake up one day and "have it;" you have to cultivate it.

Overall, it's in the ability to be ok with not knowing for sure, both in our practice and in the rest of our lives, that we learn how patience will manifest in just the right way, moment after moment. In a way, patience is loving what is, exactly as it is. It's a simple, and complex, as that.

1 comment:

Jennifer Campaniolo said...

It seems that patience has become a lost art. Instant gratification is what people want--I know I do! But there's something to be said for just devoting yourself to the process, and letting that be enough. Sooner or later, things will naturally change.