Patience is the Truth
Apr 01, 2020 09:00AM
By Trish Ahjel Roberts
When I was a teenager, I wrote a long poem about my lack of desire or interest in patience. I knew it was supposed to be a virtue, but I didn’t care. I wanted what I wanted, and I wanted it now. Since then, I’ve realized that overnight sensations can be decades in the making. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. And working for. And, it’s a lot more fun when you can enjoy the process.
At times, I’ve wanted things so desperately without having the wisdom to know what was best. I wanted the wrong men and the wrong jobs, and I was unhappy when I got them. I’ve wanted houses, cars and businesses without fully understanding the responsibilities of ownership. I’ve longed for a husband and hungered for divorce. I’ve learned I’m not alone. I’ve wanted things I’ve never experienced, and then, when I got them, I didn’t want them anymore.
For most of us, when we have a dream that hasn’t yet come to fruition, we want it now. We can’t wait, and any waiting that is forced upon us feels cruel. The uncertainty of the future seems unkind, yet we might be completely unprepared for the reality of the dream. There have been countless stories of young celebrities who, unprepared for the demands of the fame they dreamed of, lost their lives to drugs, loneliness and depression. Whitney Houston. Amy Winehouse. Jimi Hendrix. Kurt Cobain.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.” This manner of gracefully accepting reality opens the door for truth and wisdom. Patience allows us to endure an uncomfortable situation with tolerance, and perhaps even bliss. When I surrendered to the sweetness of life and stopped pushing for all my perceived goals, my impatience turned to joy. Once I realized my time must subjugate itself to Divine time, I could relax and just be. I believe that’s the essence of patience, and it’s indescribably peaceful.
In this way, I see patience as a form of mindfulness. In Kadampa Buddhism, we often talk of “patient acceptance” in every moment. Each moment is what it is, and it’s exactly as it’s supposed to be. There’s no point in worrying about the next moment or past moments. The only time we have any control over is the moment that we’re in. The only decision to make is what we’re doing right now. When the moment feels good, we don’t need a strategy. Patience is accepting moments that don’t feel good. These unloved moments are still the truth, whether we like them or not.
While, as a child, I was taught that patience is a virtue, as an adult, I’ve learned that patience is a learned skill that comes from mindfully accepting each moment as it arises without anger. It allows me to steep in my emotions and infuses me with unfiltered truth. Instead of trying to dictate what the moment should be, I have learned to flow with it.
When the world doesn’t move at my preferred pace, I look for messages in the detours. When I’m in traffic, I give thanks that I am not the reason for the traffic. I wonder if the traffic is slowing me down and keeping me safe in a way I don’t understand. In my mind, I wish other travelers happiness and a safe journey.
When a business endeavor doesn’t happen according to my schedule, I look for the lessons. What did I learn doing the work? Did a missed attempt reroute me to an even better place?When a relationship doesn’t happen as I would have liked, I wonder, is it because I’m not ready to connect with the right person yet? Do I still have emotional and spiritual work to do before I can even identify another kindred soul?
I’ve come to realize I can’t control the output; I can only control the input. I choose to give my passion, focus and energy to the world and confidently, joyfully and patiently wait for what is to manifest.
Author Trish Ahjel Roberts is a self-actualization coach, yogi, founder of Black Vegan Life tm and creator of the 2020 retreat, “Thinking Outside the Chrysalis.” This is an excerpt from her upcoming book. More at HoneyButterflyz.com.