During my stretches this morning, I asked for the lesson I was meant to learn and share today. The message that came into my awareness was patience. Honestly, patience is a concept that I’ve always had a little trouble with…haha I appreciate immediate results, but this is not always practical or in our best interests. In many ways, I feel that God has directed me to live on an island (where everything is typically much, much slower) to help me to really live and learn patience. I decided it would be a good exercise to reflect on patience and share some thoughts ;)

So what is patience? It’s defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. I like this definition. To me, it implies the underlying basis of patience — which is faith. Patience requires faith that everything is going to work out. But the catch is that it might not work out according to your expectations. I believe that the Universe operates so that the highest good will be fulfilled. The reality is that the highest good is not centered around every single want and need that you might have.

So what does this mean? It means that we must not become anxious or annoyed every single time something doesn’t work out our way. We have to zoom out and focus on the bigger picture. We have to force ourselves to look deeper into our situation and understand all that we must be grateful for. We must accept that, even though we may not see it yet, the current situation is intended to teach us something. What we are learning is likely the basis of inspiration for what we are meant to share with others. If we become overwhelmed, frustrated, or impatient, we miss the point.

“Do you have the patience to wait 
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?”  

– Lao-tzu

When we are unsettled, we become anxious. Making decisions based on feelings of anxiety can lead to more anxiety. Waiting a day, or even a week, to make a decision is often something we have the luxury of doing. However, in an unsettled state, we can feel the need to make the decision right away. If we allow ourselves calm moments of reflection, the answer usually comes to us. 

So, patience is also a practice of stepping away from the situation we are focused on to gain perspective. And meditation is a powerful way to interrupt negative thought patterns and create a calm environment which can restore the flow of divine inspiration.

No mud, no lotus is a Buddhist saying that I think captures the essence of what can happen if we allow our perceived suffering to be transformed. We recognize that every moment or situation may not meet our expectations, but we have faith that everything is happening for the highest good. Through this understanding, we are calm — which is another way of saying that we are patient. Our ability to move through challenges with patience and grace transforms us. Through our awareness, we grow to accept delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious…and, in doing so, we become the lotus.

Photo source: Lotus growing in mud