Patience by Ian

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Patience - Trust

When I was growing up I was always told that “patience is a virtue” and that “good things come to those who wait”. This was a piece of advice from my parents that I found useful and I was able to practice it from an early age. I found waiting for things happily to be a somewhat natural state for me.

It wasn’t always easy though. Living in London for 10 years with the big city pace of life and the pressure of working in industries like finance and TV sometimes took me away from my awareness and centre into the culture of frustration.

One particular example of this I noted was using the London Underground, travelling to work or going home after a busy day. Entering the tube network involves going down escalators, along corridors and eventually arriving at a platform where there is an indicator which tells you when the next train is due to arrive.

Normally this displays 1 minute, 2 minutes or maybe 3 minutes. Sometimes though there can be delays and the sign can show 5 minutes, 7 minutes or even more. In these situations people get extremely upset and it is interesting to note the reaction. I have caught myself doing it as well, the stories that begin to run through our minds – how can this be happening to me, 7 whole minutes just waiting for the train! My day/evening/life is ruined!

Of course, from a distance, from the witness perspective, we can see that this is a nonsensical, psychological suffering that we are imposing on ourselves. It makes no real difference in the big scheme of things if I wait 3 minutes or 7 minutes, so why worry?

Allowing ourselves to react from the heart in times of irritation or distress in daily life mean that we are moving away from the patterns of conditioned response. By taking time and allowing ourselves to view negative emotions from the witness consciousness we can be more in the present moment and respond to life’s challenges with greater compassion and empathy. The first step in mastering patience is in awareness. We have to acknowledge when we are becoming impatient, when we are frustrated and when we begin to get irritated in situations. Then we can begin to act by focusing, breathing and not reacting in our usual way.


Patience - Yoga

As we move from a grasping approach towards self­realisation into surrender and trust in the best outcome of the universe we can try our best but without judgement over the results.

If we practice from the heart then transformation will occur; there is no guarantee when it will occur but being relaxed about the outcome both helps our practice and is also  enhanced by our practice.

This is something which is true of all of the Attitudes recommended in Hridaya yoga. By practising we naturally come into resonance with these characteristics but at the same time by observing them in our lives we become mentally purified and our practice is enhanced.

Patience is a theme which is prominent in all major religions. In Christianity it is considered one of the most important virtues.

In Judaism it is taught that we should wait for God and in Proverbs it is written ­ “The patient man shows much good sense, but the quick­tempered man displays folly at its height”

In Islam, sabr or patience with belief in Allah, is considered one of the greatest virtues;

Buddhism contains patience as one of the paramitas or perfections practiced by Bodhisattvas in order to attain enlightenment and in Hinduism patience and forbearance are considered essential attributes. The practitioner should be able to endure unwelcome conditions in a happy frame of mind with the understanding that it is karma playing out in the universal scheme of things.

So take the time to observe your frustration and anxiety and let go of any desire to change it. In daily life, begin to take these moments of impatience and observe them without judgement. Slowly allow yourself the time to observe these things arising and then go beyond the limitation that they are presenting.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. kris

    beautiful, ian. thanks!

  2. Jessica Summers

    This is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Christina

    Thank you Ian – that’s exactly what I needed to read right now, being back in the city 🙂

  4. Tamara

    Thankyou for reminding me Ian! Such an important attitude to cultivate and live with an open Heart 🙂

  5. Emma

    So lovely to read. Thank you for sharing your insights Ian… it is said nowadays that patience is a siddhi – a supernatural power – that must be cultivated with practice. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of this power!

  6. esther

    in india i saw a poster hanging at the wall: “next train: after some time…” 😉 being in india always teaches me patience like nothing else..

  7. Jen

    One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from A Course in Miracles: “Infinite patience leads to immediate results”. A paradox which confounds the mind but the heart understands perfectly!

  8. Ava

    Ah yes, the heart understands perfectly:D

  9. Tiffany

    Gratitude for this simple reminder Ian.

  10. Giselle

    Patience as the art of being fully present knowing that there is nowhere else to be or nothing else to do… just BEING!! Thanks so much Ian, for the divine reminder

  11. Cristina Espinosa

    So simple and so true… Thank you Ian !!

  12. Adina

    Ian, your article is really topical and very well thought. I like to see somebody who really looks at life with an objective view and understands the patterns we build – and impatience is indeed a vasana we tend to hard-code into our life patterns – and then seeks for ways to rebuild our patterns and cultivate positive vasanas. However, I would add something to your thoughtful approach on impatience (which is focused on the way you address it as an individual facing life and the world). I would add a view to impatience that addresses understanding the others – and the way we perceive them and relate to them. We need to learn to cultivate patience in learning how to understand the others and report to the others in a way that is free from predetermined stereotype thinking patterns, samskaras and projections. We live in a world that is driven by assumption – and assumption is the direct manifestation of impatience in perceiving and assessing the others. Impatience and assumptions act as hindrances in developing quality spiritual interactions with the people around us, hindrances on the spiritual path, and hindrances to the overall evolution of humanity.

  13. Ian

    Thanks everyone for the kind words!
    Thanks especially to Adina for pointing out that looking from the eyes of others without predjudice is hugely important on the path!

  14. Will

    Thank you for sharing Ian 🙂 Patience was not one of my strengths, but with more meditation practice more patience has come.

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