“It has a lot to do with developing patience, not with the check-out person so much but with your own pain that arises, the rawness and the vulnerability, and sending some kind of warmth and love to that rawness and soreness. I think that’s how we have to practice.”
— Pema Chodron
In my experience, patience is a key quality that is nearly always and everywhere of benefit. If we have the inner peace and level-headedness to act as beneficially as we can, then we have the best conditions to serve others. But often enough we lack these qualities and realize later that we acted automatically and perhaps too hastily, and it didn’t work out so well. Sometimes we might even realize that we were mainly motivated by fear or lack of trust.
By developing an inner clarity about our feelings and sensitivities, and finding some kind of peace with them, we develop resources. Clarity and an inner calm space can give us access to a lot of knowledge, presence, and resiliency. Without this space, moments rush by in the speediness of our days.
Used to speed, we might even become upset with ourselves or others when things are not going faster or in a more streamlined fashion. Especially these days our feeling for time has become a little conflicted. We are easily impatient when something takes too much time, and once we have some time, we feel it slips away too quickly.
If we can find and allow for more calm moments during our days, we might feel more calm as well in those situations when we really need it. A calm mind is balanced, and can make balanced judgments. Impatience usually leads us to think in much more narrow ways. It might lead us to interpret the activities of others in ways that cause limited reactions. At the breakfast table, at work, or in traffic, patience can change a situation dramatically.
A little story
A man rows his boat upstream on a narrow, slow-moving river. He notices a covered boat coming downriver towards him, being driven erratically. He begins to get a little nervous, thinking the other boat should straighten out and move aside to make the passing easier. But the other driver barrels on, seemingly oblivious. Gradually the man becomes angry and heads for the safety of the shore, turning to shout at the driver as the boat floats past. He is surprised to see the other boat empty. His anger disappears immediately, and instead, concern for the missing driver appears spontaneously in his mind.
Like the man in the boat, we have our own ideas about situations and we have an opinion about what we think should happen. Often different things come together when we lose patience. In that moment we are in a conflict that’s too challenging, or have lived under exhausting conditions for too long a time, so that we can’t find a calm way anymore to address the situation. This can form into an artificial and unhealthy pattern which prevents us from adjusting in a better way.
Confidence and trust
In other situations we might find ourselves in clear, well-organized, peaceful, and fair conditions. Within these good conditions its much easier to maintain a calm, less nervous and confused inner way of being. Then it’s easier to trust ourselves and life and to make experiences that help maintain that confident and positive approach.
Whoever can experience living in a way like that might face even huge challenges with inner calm and peace. Their natural ability to care for their own well-being while also understanding others can help turn difficult situations into something beneficial. This then confirms their naturally relaxed and present approach to life.
The benefit of these powerful qualities
Having had positive experiences like that increases trust and confidence in our own abilities, which allows us again to be more patient and act in more beneficial ways. The nervous system can be resilient and our own ability for good judgment and level-headed reactions are more easily available. If we feel upset, nervous, and reactive we notice it and have an inner self-care habit in place that can enable us to respond very differently. Here as well, if we approach a situation with trust and a calm, smart, and patient approach, this is likely to create a good experience, which will again support more trust and confidence in future.
Mutual support of these helpful qualities
So, patience is a powerful player in the game of helpful qualities. These qualities all support one another and ourselves in living our life in a comfortable, successful, and positive manner. If I meet people who display these qualities in beautiful ways, I feel naturally safe and well. Also, it feels like such people support these qualities in myself, too.
In this way, bit by bit, we can create a positive atmosphere and inspire ourselves and others to develop and adjust our way of life and being. We can make decisions that support this life. Our nervous system can relax, enabling more inner peace and calm. This will strengthen our ability to remain balanced and act out of confidence.
How to do that?
Starting with sensing and acknowledging the inner states and sensitivities we notice in a given moment, we can grow into our authentic way of being. Bit by bit a new path is created by getting used to an inner atmosphere of allowance and non-reactivity. This will get more natural and easier with time. In any moment of accepting our own pain and vulnerability, we are developing towards more competency, level-headedness, clarity, and confidence. And it can feel that way, even in a moment of pain.
I wish you all the experience of patience, strength, and luck in this challenging time!
P.S: For a short time I offer FREE access to my new 6-week online course: “Joy and Ease, Meditative Skills for Modern Life”. You can find more about it here: