Much is made of patience in this world. It’s thrown up as an example of a prized and glorious virtue. The core definition of it is: A state of endurance under difficult circumstances. The capacity to accept and or tolerate delay, provocation, problems, annoyance or suffering without becoming anxious or annoyed.
What ego is saying is that if you want to be a good little citizen you must tolerate whatever crud is thrown at you. That’s life, right? And if you can’t tolerate what it dishes out you’re weak as water. So brave up, man up, take your licks like a man, and if you’re a woman take ‘em like a man anyway, when the going gets tough, big boys don’t cry, keep a stiff upper lip dear boy, cliche cliche cliche.
Do you see what’s going on here? It’s like someone getting into your face and sneering, I’m going to make your life miserable until the day you die and if you’ve got any kind of spine you’ll cop it sweet. And to prove that we got ‘spine’ we accept the clichés as reality and do our utmost to try and live up to the meaningless and mindless tasks and set-tos.
Anyone who has been exposed to suffering, delay, provocation, humiliation, failure, tragedy, etcetera, which according to ego’s definition of patience they must endure, knows that not only is such an attempt futile, it is in the long term impossible to achieve. Somewhere along the line something’s got to give, be it your health, nerves or sanity. Something will give.
Try the following interpretation of patience instead: an opportunity to understand a situation as it truly is and then be guided towards its removal through understanding and meaningful resolution.
There is one natural space within which you will find yourself practicing true patience: being in the present. Being in the present / in the moment, is another way of saying that you are living life as it stands; dealing with whatever situation you find yourself in and not escaping into the illusions of either the past or the future.
Being in the now, in the moment, is the closest we get to being in Creation whilst on this level of awareness.
Thích Nhất Hạnh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and author, wrote: The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments. Not only does being in the moment negate the need for patience it places you into peace and immortality.
Patience is just another irrational concept you run through the mind over and over and are rewarded every time you comply. Patience is a virtue. The fruits of patience are sweet. Have patience in all things, blah, blah, blah.
Here is what I would call a more accurate interpretation of ego’s version of patience: being one of those dancing monkeys you see in the circus. The monkey dances not because he understands the tune, and I’m pretty sure the monkey isn’t loving it. They haven’t got humans playing music in the jungle, the monkey’s natural habitat, to which the monkeys do a happy jig. Nor did mummy and daddy monkey send baby monkey to music and dancing classes. The monkey dances because bad things will happen if he doesn’t. And the sad, pathetic, little show goes on.
Son of Love and Creation, a dancing monkey? You starting to see anything wrong with this picture?
Seen clearly, patience is another ego concept designed to distract. Don’t look for patience. Look for peace of mind. A mind at peace has nothing to be patient about. A mind at peace performs no tricks and dances to no stupid, mindless tunes.
Lao Tzu put it beautifully with this: Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
The answer is ‘Yes we can,” but will we?