I have enough patience thank you very much. I don’t want anymore. Wow, that is not what I hear from most of my acquaintances. “Please God, grant me more patience,” is the usual story.
Well, here’s the deal. There is only one way to gain more patience and that is to have more opportunities to practice. Is that what you really want, more situations that require more patience?
You know the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” That is where some real patience is required. We ask casually, carelessly without even thinking about what we are saying, I wish, I want, I need, and so on. We receive without any awareness of how the results in our daily lives are connected to careless requests.
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, begins with, “Be impeccable with your word.” This requires great patience in paying attention to the words coming forth from our mouths, or simply rolling around in our brain, on and on and on. Other statements, “What you resist persists,” “What you focus on multiplies,” remind us how important it is to take care and patience for our own personal well-being.
Facebook often provides great opportunities for awareness. The whole political circus is both vastly entertaining and more than a little irritating. Comments from “friends” and their related “friends” may be soothing in their agreement, or even more upsetting in their differing opinions and the language used to express that difference. This allows us to practice the patience, of which we already have more than enough, to notice other feelings of reaction and resistance.
At what point does patience become detrimental rather than positive? How long is it appropriate to put up with detrimental behavior, whether it is physical, emotional or verbal? When does patience create enabling rather than accepting? Bailing out and helping out are two different processes. Patiently bailing out adult children is enabling and detrimental and a very different process from assisting those same adults as they are doing their very best to help themselves.
Check out these synonyms for patience: calm, forgiving, gentle, quiet, tolerant, forbearing, indulgent, long-suffering, uncomplaining, lenient, resigned, stoical. How long do you choose to be indulgent, long-suffering, uncomplaining, lenient, resigned, stoical? When is enough, enough?
Many scriptures describe patience as an aspect of love. However, using our spiritual discernment to balance judgment, love and patience takes inner work, and often, outer support from our spiritual companions and teachers. Be patient with yourself, ask the Divine within you for the assistance required, and remember you have enough patience, there is no need for more.
– Carol Landry
Rev. Carol Landry is Minister of Unity Church on the Mountain and a community activist that touches the universe. As Program Manager for Interfaith Mission Service in Huntsville, AL she develops and leads programs bringing people of diverse religious backgrounds to work together in the community. She is interested in Human Rights, Civil Rights, Social Action, Art and Culture.