Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” ~ Saadi
Remind yourself that there is no need to be impatient with yourself because you find the mind judging all the time or because you are tense or agitated or frightened, or because you have been practicing mindfulness for some time and nothing positive seems to have happened. To be patient is simply to be completely open to each moment, accepting it in its fullness, knowing that things can only unfold in their own time.
- Letting things unfold in their own time; persevering when nothing seems to be changing’
- A cake takes time to bake; however tempting it may be, premature removal from the oven will probably lead to disappointment.
- Practice patience with ourselves. Why rush through some moments in order to get to other ‘better’ ones? Each one is your life in that moment.
- Change happens in its own time. Rather than criticising our ‘slow’ progress, appreciate how far we have come and take pleasure in the journey.
Patience in practice
There are many activities that we can undertake to develop and practice patience. Activities such as gardening and baking are naturally patient. We plant the seeds, literally and metaphorically, and wait for something to emerge of its own accord. Poetry can also be a patient activity. You cannot skim read a poem. Instead, we take our time and allow the words to unfold. And nature teaches us about patience. Notice your response to the weather and the seasons. Are you desperately waiting for the spring to arrive? And spring to become summer? Can we patiently observe the first snowdrops without rushing to the next thing and the next?
And can we be patient with ourselves? As we learn a new skill, such as meditation, or anything we are trying to develop, can we allow changes to take place at their own rate?
When I was in my teens and 20s I was less patient than I am now. We live in a society of pressures and exams and often there is little time to stop and appreciate an achievement before moving onto the next one. When I began my first counselling placement back in 2011 I was acutely aware of my inexperience and was impatient to become more skilled. However, whenever we learn anything, we need to be a beginner at some point! These days I am a little more patient. I know that in every area of life there are people with more experience and skill, who I can learn from and that being impatient actually prevents me from being the best I can be right now.