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What does being patient really mean?

At beginning of 2020 I participated in an art workshop where we each chose a word for the year. Rather than creating specific resolutions we chose one word as our focus or inspiration for the year. The word I chose was patience. As we navigated that year of unknowns, ending so many conversations with "let's wait and see," I had plenty of opportunity to reflect on and practice patience.

What does it really mean to be patient? Is it simply a matter of waiting, of timing? Or is it an inner calmness you bring as you forge ahead anyways? Patience typically seems like a passive quality but is there a way to practice it more dynamically, with greater energy and intention? A large part of patience is accepting things as they are, as the quote from Swami Kriyananda above reminds us.

We can't skip over the "working with things as they are" and go straight to "change them to whatever we might like them to be." Even if we'd really like to. Even if it seems that things must change right now. It doesn't work that way, not with projects and certainly not with people; especially children.

How often do we try to create change in others or in circumstance, to make them what we'd like them to be? How often does this work? In my experience, not at all. It often ends in frustration, disappointment and hurt. Even if our intentions are good and we know someone or something could be "better," we must start first with things as they are.

How do we bridge that gap between the current reality and the higher potential, whether in ourselves, in our relationships, in our homes or in our world? We just stick with it. We don't give up. We keep holding that higher vision no matter what the current reality. We work with things as we are but we never lose hope. Through my experience as a teacher, nurturing the growth of both children and adults, I realize that patience is a trust in a longer rhythm, in a bigger picture, in the soul-reality; its faith in the possibility of miracles and the inevitability of progress and transformation.


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