Why wait? Life is short.
I’ve grown up incredibly impatient. I was extremely efficient, doing everything at once, and got upset by people and circumstances that held me back. Patience for me was a synonym for laziness.
If you know what you want, you should go there and get it, right? Yet, in every area of my life- from spirituality to business development, I’ve bumped into the need for patience.
Gladly, life always finds a way to bring you exactly what you need to learn (if you dare to listen). In my case, I had the perfect role model for patience right at home: my mother, the most patient of all beings. Yet, it took me decades to grasp the immense power of this virtue.
Here are the reasons I learned that make patience a highly needed quality for living joyful and fulfilling lives.
1. Impatience = Fear
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Leo Tolstoy
How long have you given yourself to work on your dreams? Or to meet new people instead of settling for an ok relationship?
Impatience camouflages our fears, taking us to go for the second or third-best instead of devoting ourselves to what we truly want — out of fear it might not happen. By feeling so, we say something “is good enough for now”, and allow ourselves to stay there.
The result? Because we do not give ourselves time and energy to go after what we want, we settle. Because we lack patience, we get attached to what is not good enough. Because we are scared, our impatience drives us to settle for less than what we truly want.
Cultivating patience is cultivating self-love. It is about allowing ourselves to take the time we need to get what we truly want in life. If love always wins, it is because love is patient.
“To lose patience is to lose the battle.” Mahatma Gandhi
2. Slow Down: Be Here, Now
Patience allows us to slow down, and not take things so seriously. To take a breather, and relax in our bodies, minds, and hearts, regardless of what is going on. To feel and process what is going on, instead of escaping ourselves.
It is an invitation to not make a drama, to not run away from this present moment, and observe. This simple act allows us to see things that we would miss if we were in a rush. In this way, it allows us to connect much deeper to life and all around us. As we stay present, we grasp new lessons in what is, and we understand what is happening around us on a deeper level. We process our emotions.
As we trust and rest, we can more easily connect, we become friends with the dark, and we stay present in it, ultimately cultivating lightness.
“Your mind is constantly hijacking you from the present moment — either Into the past or into the future, but it never allows you to be now, to be here. By infinite patience is meant that “I trust, I am not worried. I am not rushing for tomorrow. I will rest in this moment. I will allow this moment its totality. I will explore this moment with my totality.” Then immediately, without even a second in between, something wells up within you, something overwhelms you: a kind of music, a kind of melody, a feeling of well-being, as if everything is as it should be, you are at home, nothing is needed, all is perfect. That feeling is bliss — that everything else as it is, is right; it is absolutely okay, it cannot be better. That feeling is bliss, but that feeling is possible only when you relax, are patient, unhurried.” Osho
3. Acknowledge and Respect the Flow of Life
Life is much bigger than any of us. The universe is a living organism, and not just taking orders from us.
The thing is, anything we do takes time to bear fruits. In a way, this is about acknowledging and respecting the flow of life — and dancing with it, in oneness, instead of forcing our way through it. Co-creating, in a loving relationship with life.
When striving for immediate gratification, we want the fruits without harvesting. This is not how it works. We are to garden our life, and have as much joy as possible doing it. Life is a long journey, and if we don’t live it, what are we running towards but completion, a.k.a. death?
“Nature never rushes, yet everything gets done.” Lao Tzu
This is a never-ending road. You will always have things on your to-do list… There is no “once I get there”. “Once you get there” is nothing but a point before you establish another point to get to. Even if all you want next is to meditate the whole day or paint your bedroom wall. So we’d better rush less, and enjoy more.
This is an invitation to balance fire and water, solar and lunar, yin and yang energies within you: to absolutely keep walking forward — in total presence, connected, and in joy. Enjoy seeing the fruits of your work blossom, and how to become a better gardener of your dreams.
The truth is, Rome wasn’t built in one day. Things will not happen without some kind of work, and you will not work and persist if you lack patience.
4. Impatience = Control Issues & Lack of Trust
No one can do it better than you, right? If you have issues with control, chances are you have issues with trust. Not only trusting other people but trust as a whole. Trust in life, trust in oneness.
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.” David G. Allen
No one has control over everything. That means that whatever the scenario, there are more forces at play than what you do and what you want. How about working with them? Even if you really want to go out with you friend right now, your friend might need 30 minutes more. Nothing weird about it.
Patience is the act of embodying our lack of control. Of respecting the will and need of others and not forcing ourselves over things. Of accepting that things have their own way. Of accepting obstacles as learning experiences. Of accepting the free will of others. Be it for tolerance, for understanding, or for love.
And who knows — maybe you escaped being run over by a car because you left later than you wanted. Who knows all we are avoiding by our “delays” — accepting the infinite possibilities of scenarios is part of releasing control over our rigidity.
We can know what we want and work for it — but we cannot force it to happen. Heck, even if you order a cheese pizza, you might still get a broccoli pizza delivered. We have no control. When we lack patience, deep down we are living in fear that things will not go our way. At that moment, we are by default separated from the whole.
Can we trust that if things do not go our way, it is completely ok?
In fact, it might even bring something unexpected and extraordinary. Patience is the ultimate act of trust in the bigger picture. We do not always know what is best. That said, I am a firm believer in intuition; at times our apparent lack of patience can also be an inner knowing of other variables to our highest good; in other words, timing. Everything has its time and it eventually comes. It just happens that in this day and age, we are highly affected by impatience, but that said, discernment is the master key.
“Impatience also shows that you are not trusting your dreams, you are not trusting your totality of longing. Patience simply means: I will wait, whatever time it takes for the spring to come — but I will not wait patiently; I will wait with a heart throbbing, desiring, waiting… each moment, day in, day out. Waiting for the ship is a very total action on your part — because the action is total, your trust is total.” Osho
Control and fear bring tension. Patience brings relaxation, which allows us to live with lightness, ease, and joy.
5. Clarity — and the Lack Thereof
Patience invites us to handle pieces of the puzzle that are out of our control with love and understanding- meaning that we don’t know when these pieces will come into place, or how they will act, or their consequences.
When we want total clarity and certainty, what we want is control. Clear outcomes, clear deadlines.
The thing is, we are not supposed to know everything. If we had complete clarity and knew how everything would play out, we wouldn’t need to deal with insecurities and lack of trust. This is on purpose, by design, for what would be the growth and expansion in that? Courage only exists when there is fear and doubts to beat. Courage, like patience, is a virtue from the heart, from when we choose to act out of love instead of out of fear.
Anyone can drive 100 km, while only being able to see 2 meters ahead of them. If patience is trust, then patience is an invitation to take on that road and enjoy the drive, seeing every new 2 meters with ease and wonder.
Patience is connected to resilience, both of which are qualities of a mature willpower. Most people think of willpower only as synonym for strength, but a mature willpower keeps going skillfully.
“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.” Isaac Newton
This is my favorite reason to be patient. We can know perfectly well what we want — however, how and when it will come together is beyond our control. Working on our dreams is above all a work of co-creation, between on one side what we want and what we can do through our will and actions, and on the other side a set of external circumstances that can go for or against us- from unexpected opportunities, adversities, and people. Patience allows us to work well with all these circumstances, as a whole. Everything in its due time.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Proverb
The more we recognize how we are connected to each other, the more we realize that we are not moving toward our visions as an individual, but as a whole. The more we are impatient, get irritated, and try to push things through, the more we are seeing ourselves as separated from the whole. Patience is a side-effect of connection and understanding oneness. It is not only about getting something but about how we get there — but getting there together.
Love is understanding and generates connection. In this sense of embodying oneness, the trust of patience is an act of love and strength. When we do not trust, when we need control, we are first and foremost acting out of fear — which again disconnects us even more from the whole. Patience in this sense becomes a test of how much we can (or cannot) love.
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams
The other side of the coin…
Like any virtue, patience also has its possible distortion, a vice so to speak. Virtues happen right in the middle of two extremes. What lies in one of the extremes we all know: lack of patience, irritability, lack of trust, fear, and exacerbated control.
And what lies on the other side of the spectrum? Infinite patience that is total yin, passive energy, waiting for others or the universe to work itself out and deliver what we want without moving a finger. That is fine for things we don’t care about at all — or for fun sexual foreplay.
However, when we do that permanently, we give away the life within us that wants to move. In this way, we neglect ourselves, escape our hearts and dreams, evade responsibility, and accept everything. Like someone in a terrible relationship who just stays there, despite being upset. And just like that, we victimize ourselves, and stay in situations we don’t want.
“Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice.” George Jackson
Patience doesn’t mean backing off and not taking action. Just like loving does not mean accepting everything and letting someone step on you, patience does not mean expecting everything to happen on its own.
“Patience is not passive waiting. Patience is active acceptance of the process required to attain your goals and dreams.” Ray A. Davis
Patience is a virtue that spiritual development has often challenged me on, exactly because it is a virtue of love and oneness. As with any other quality, it doesn’t exist on its own: patience doesn’t exclude activity or creativity; it just shows a different way of putting things together.
Patience knows when and how to act from a place of love — and not from fear that things might not happen according to one’s way. It is a quality that supports deep listening and connection, and, with that, we can relax in life a bit more and not take ourselves so seriously.
“Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its won unhurried pace.” Brian Weiss
As we expand in consciousness, what we are asked to do is to expand in love, and in understanding- qualities that bring about patience. When we get to a place of exerting patience in an authentic way, and not forcing it, we’re on our way to the understanding and oneness of love. Not the emotional love we normally focus on, but the spiritual love which begins with understanding.
What situations are there in your life now for you to release the tension and practice more love, trust, and understanding?
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