• Gita Matlock

Practicing Patience

“Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far.” Swahili Proverb

Eleven months into this pandemic, we are all being pushed to practice a high degree of patience. Patience as we wait to see our loved ones safely. Patience as our business growth is stymied. Patience as we await our turn for a vaccine. Whatever is currently on hold in your life, I suspect you too have suffered moments of anxiety or frustration over the time spent waiting.

The lesson of patience and learning to surrender to “right timing” has come front and center for me too. These recent years have been a string of lessons in the value of patience. I knew in my heart that a change was needed years before Herd Spirit manifested in my life. Those years were marked with many successes and many failures in the practice of patience.

When we are able to wait for the time to ripen, all manner of blessings unfold before us. When we push, we often end up exhausted and nowhere nearer the goal. Sometimes, we even roll backward.

Patience does not mean doing nothing. That is a misconception that results in even greater levels of frustration and anxiety. Patience, instead, is an act of faith that requires a great deal of effort to practice. It is active, not passive, making it the direct balm to our suffering if we can learn to use it.

Patience is practiced as a cycle that looks something like this:

We begin with reflection, noticing where we hold tension in the body, what thoughts are causing us to suffer, what situation we believe needs to change?

Next, we breathe deeply. We pause and practice releasing tension in the body, returning our mind to a state of receptivity, where superconscious solutions are found. Receptivity is marked by an inner state of calmness. (If you’re curious whether you are calm right now, check out this Calmness Inventory, put together by the author of Calm Compassionate Children, Usha Dermond, and made available by Conscious Families.)

When we’re in that balanced frame of mind, we take a step forward. We do what is in front of us to do. This may not look like solving the problem at all. What is before us may be a pile of dishes, it may be a report for work, it may be caring for a loved one. What’s important is that we take the step before us with an open heart.

Here we pause and breathe again. Before bringing any thought into the equation, it’s essential to return the body to a resting state.

Then we return to reflection. We check in with body, mind, and heart to see if the action we took was the right one. If we reflect that during our activity, we remain mindful and receptive, we know we’re on the right path.

We rinse and repeat indefinitely.

Patience is not simply waiting for the “universe” to answer our prayers or fix our problems. Patience is a practice of tuning into our innermost Self, moving energy with care, and reflecting inward again to remain connected to truth. It takes great energy to practice patience, but the rewards are always worthwhile.

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