Patience: The Language of Nature
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Patience is an awesome thing to have.
I was reflecting today about how in my mid twenties I realized that I possessed very little patience. I don’t know the exact moment I realized, but I recall feeling impatient and cognizing that I needed more in life overall. It occurred to me at the time that I might need to actively cultivate patience. This realization of patience being a practice led me to explore the value of it in my life and how to work with it.
During the year my precious mother was sick I recall sitting by her bed at Sloan Kettering. The light was streaming through the oversized hospital window. It overlooked an uninspiring expansive industrial landscape that told the story of man’s attempt to move forward. I noticed there was not a drop of nature visible. At the time, it made me smile inside. Somehow it was fitting and matched our circumstances. My mother’s problem seemed linked with man’s similar attempts. There was nothing alternative or natural about her care at that stage and therefore there was a palpable lack of inspiration surrounding the circumstance.
Anyhow that particular day was one of our ‘good days’ at Sloan where you not only felt like your loved one may actually experience healing, but you somehow felt that whatever was happening was just as it should be. I sat there open and receptive and decided to take in that good feeling. Then I began to laugh… every experience with the hospital from the initial emergent care to the administering of medicines, to the interaction with the various people that work there from the technicians, to the nurses, to the doctors, the whole experience was filled with lots of waiting. It was a kind of ‘hurry up and wait’ experience. Wait for the doctors. Definitely. Wait for the nurses to administer medicines. Yes. Wait for the technicians to help bathe and clean the bed, the physical therapists to exercise and build strength in the muscles. Wait for the next test. Wait to be admitted and wait to be released. It was clear that the entire experience was built around the notion of needing to cultivate patience.
I turned to my mother that day after we had gone through another round of waiting: Waiting for scans, lab results, doctors etc. and said to her, “Well now I know why they call us patients because to undergo this process you need to have a lot of patience.” She agreed and we both chuckled together. I started to consider … did illness start in the body from a kind of impatience with one’s self or one’s body… since we were sharing a kind of crash course in patience, what was the value of it and was there a way that we somehow lost contact with it that led us to need it so much at that time.
I discovered that there was great value in developing patience and that patience was a key factor in the happiness code. Here are a few things I realized in the cultivation of patience:
- Patience requires attention to breath.
- When patience is active I feel internal space.
- It feels good to offer this to others and to receive it from them.
- In an active state of patience, I experience clarity in my thoughts and openness in my heart.
- Patience allows me to be open to the moment and to receive it more fully.
- Patience requires that I sit with the energy that is moving through me.
- Study a flower growing, the sun rising or setting, a frog leaping: Patience puts you in accord with nature.
- Having patience allows me to stay grounded and connected with my self.
Luminous Soul Cultivate Patience Exercise:
This month, cultivate patience in your life. Work to be patient in all that you do and observe the results on an inner and outer level.
Write in your journal all that you discover.
© 2014 Luminous Soul/Sanskrit Studies & Manorama