In this week’s spotlight I wish to discuss patience. Lao Tse is credited with offering this advice, “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
We live at a time when folks seem to rush to conclusions, and judgments, and are easily riled over the slightest disagreements. We don’t seem to have time to hear each other out or the patience to consider alternative options. Add to this the constant state of increased arousal driven in large by world events, the news, the pundits, and the daily pressures of life, and many of us are wound tight, ready to explode over the slightest perceived provocation.
Change of Heart
Think about the last time you really heard someone out who proposed an alternative point of view, or when you bit your tongue and allowed someone to explain their perspective. When was the last time you truly listened instead of silently marshaling what you were going to say next? How often do you find yourself cutting someone off with your own interrupting thoughts? How long has it been since someone else’s ideas really moved you—even leading to a change in heart?
Patience is much more than a virtue—it is often the key to understanding, understanding another and understanding our self. We all can be altogether too quick to jump to conclusions, to overstate our positions, to underestimate another, and to over estimate ourselves. You’ve often heard me speak of life and the lessons we learn both as a school and an opportunity to grow into ourselves. Growing into ourselves, coming to grips with who we really are in the sense of our strengths and weaknesses, our authentic self, is the path to self-actualization.
When we’re impatient with the world, we’re invariably inpatient with ourselves. In this state we can easily delude ourselves in ways that hide true awareness, knowledge, and wisdom. I would encourage everyone today to reach down inside and remind yourself that life, it’s meaning and value, comes in daily doses one opportunity at a time and we miss those opportunities when we fail to be patient, listen, evaluate, and learn.
It may take some perseverance before you discover the perfection in patience, but remember the words of John Quincy Adams, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
My thoughts, what are yours?
As always, thanks for the read.