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Practicing Patience

December 14, 2009

Impatience is intimately related to many of the problems of our inner and outer lives. Assuming you agree, how do we learn to be more patient?

The first step is simply to see, sense, and feel just how impatient we actually are, as well as how this impatience produces so much pointless activity and negativity in our lives. Each of us needs to verify this for ourselves. In many cases the awareness itself of our impatience will help us become more patient. But what if it doesn’t? What can we do? Can we practice patience?

Yes, of course, there are many ways to practice patience–if we really wish to. One of the most effective ways comes from the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Tarthang Tulku, who says: “Instead of running after patience, relax and let it come to you. Loosen the tension in your body; open your concentration and allow your emotional energy to flow. Let the warm, soothing energy of patience arise within you and flow through your body easily and freely. This practice is the act of patience.”

During these difficult times of economic and international stress, turmoil, and conflict this is a practice that can pay many dividends.

Though I cannot remember in which book I read the above passage, one of my favorite books by Tarthang Tulku is Openness Mind. And while I couldn’t find the passage there, the book has other insights on the importance of patience. For example, he says there: “When we consciously develop patience, it can become a natural and appropriate response to each new situation; we strengthen ourselves for even more difficult times.”

The question remains, however: do we really wish to be patient, or are we all too ready to succumb to the allure of impatience, to the ubiquitous but erroneous assumption that it will help get things done faster and better?

For more articles and essays, please visit my Harmonious Awakening website.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rubin Baronian permalink
    December 24, 2009 2:52 pm

    The insights described are much appreciated.

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