July 9, 2008

Patience and Practice

Where does patience come from? Does it come from a practice and what we choose to do? Does it come from a perspective on how important we consider everyday events? Does it come from the managing the ego and attachment, not always needing things to be the way we expect? Does it come from defeat and realizing that our energy is wasted when we get impatient?

People tell me that they don't have patience. What does that mean? Are you patient?

I'm patient when I'm on the freeway, unless I am late for something. I'm patient with my kids, unless I am trying to focus on something. I'm patient with my friends, unless they push my buttons. I'm patient with my cat, except at 4am when she is meowing in my ear.

ZenHabits has a post on how to become patient. He lists many tools for fending off frustration. Does the practice of counting, breathing, and other stress-relievers actually increase our patience? Or do they distract us? After time, do we start to become naturally more patient because we see how we don't have to be impatient for things to happen?

When we sit in Zazen, we are practicing patience, in many forms. Zen, in general, is a practice in patience. Yet, patience has this mysterious quality that you can't put your finger on, or fix. Perhaps, part of being patient is accepting that, sometimes, we're not.


Michelle N. said...

For me... Patience is the surrender of the control we never really had to begin with. Those pesky expectations. I have been through so much in the past four years, I feel like I have gained the wisdom of an 80 year old Zen Master...but my hair color and skin elasticity seem also to be that of the 80 y/o Zen Master...damn.

Michelle N.

MikeC said...

I've been out of town this week, so I'm just now getting caught up.

I'm reminded of the tongue-in-cheek prayer in the Christian tradition: "God, give me patience, and give it to me right now!"

Karen said...

I agree with michelle in that patience is the realization that you do not really have control of another person's actions. You have your agenda, they have theirs, and they won't necessarily mesh.

JenPB said...

My daughter was born really patient. I mean, she was THE most patient baby I'd ever met! She'd wait, she'll still wait, but over the years she has watched me, learned from me, and, sadly, picked up some of my habits related to my LACK of patience. :(

It's such a bummer to spend so many fantastic hours, days, weeks and years with your child and have them pick up the seconds or minutes of poor behavior.

We talk about it - trying to pick up the good habits you see in the people you love, respect, or, heck, don't even know. But is it human nature to focus on the bad? (There's your next question of the day!) :)