It is said that patience is a virtue – however, it can also be an antidote to anger and hatred.
As one of the sweetest creatures on earth just joined my family in the form of an 8 week old miniature pinscher puppy, I am desperately working on patience. Sometimes, it can be so difficult to be patient especially when I am dealing with my adolescent child, it feels like she is testing my patience – is she or is the problem actually mine? There is nothing outside of me causing my impatience, it is the way I am reacting to what she is doing.
Patience in itself is a virtue however there is a lot more attached to it – other virtues such as forgiveness, tolerance and forbearance. As we practice compassion towards others with an open mind, concern for others’ views will follow. The Buddha gave this advice: “…if anyone were to reproach you right to your face, even then you should abandon those urges and thoughts which are worldly. There you should train yourself thus: ‘Neither shall my mind be affected by this, nor shall I give vent to evil words; but I shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and I shall not give in to hatred.’ This is how you should train yourself.”
So what is patience? It is unconditionally accepting what is happening right now in the present moment. When we lack patience we reject the present moment and substitute it for some future moment from our imagination, thinking that this future imagination will help solve the problem. We can only have patience when we are present in the moment. It really does help to be aware and your meditation session is a great tool for that. You can look for patterns and triggers, and then work on an antidote.
When we examine the times we are impatient, we make ourself agitated, tense and angry – we would see that the person who is suffering greatly is us. So when we become more aware of our emotions by practicing being in the present moment, we will be able to notice impatience as it rises and then allow it to be. While it is not possible to stop our emotions and feelings from arising, we can at least be aware of them when they do arise. This way we will be able to let them pass and not just blindly follow them.
What we are looking for is an understanding of what triggers them and have an antidote ready when they arise. If we are an impatient person we have to work out why that is. It is usually because we are trying to multi-task, we have set ourselves an impossibly tight schedule or we think we know better than others. We may just be feeling anxious, unhappy or worried and not even know that it is because of impatience.