Different Aspects of Mindfulness

by Dhammasami | 2000 | 11,593 words

A Collection of Talks on Mindfulness Meditation...

Chapter 7 - Developing Patience

WE ARE aware of how we can be impatient when being agitated or distracted continuously. Even the sound coming from a cats movements can disturb us enormously and make us very distracted. With continued distraction, we may become impatient and think of getting rid of the cat. Impatience has developed. In such circumstances, we should merely observe impatience and not try to get rid of the cat. We should try to see how it is changing us and making us a different person.

It is neither the cat who is making noises nor you who are getting agitated that is to be blamed. Both cat and agitation are just meditation objects. Go through the agitated moments mindfully experiencing them. You will find that agitation leaves no lasting impact on your mind, and at the end of the day, you are as happy as ever, not being over shadowed or overcome by this agitation.

At the beginning, it is also crucial to view impatience in the right context. Impatience is not something to be regarded as something to reject. It is just another meditation object. Do not blame yourself for being impatient. Do not justify your being impatient either. Try to accept it and go through it mindfully. Patience is a very important quality of mind. Without it, we stand to lose a lot in life. The way to develop patience is to observe impatience itself when it arises. Again, notice it in relation to the initial object so that impatience will not carry you away.

Having patience means not to get agitated or frustrated easily Of course, you still do what you should do in normal life. Nevertheless, you are able to keep yourself calm in the face of unsatisfying circumstances. Patience does not mean you do nothing, being inactive and staying idle. The Buddha took whatever measure necessary to teach the monks without being agitated. Not all the monks were wonderful even during the time of the Buddha. Sometimes He had to ask them to leave the monastery for being so naughty.

When pain arises, you notice that. You do not change your posture immediately but try your best to observe it as long as possible. This is patience. When the pain increases and becomes unbearable, you can change your posture slowly and mindfully. You are still a patient person. You do not torture yourself by carrying out what is beyond your limit.

When you have patience, you have more courage to face things in life. Patience is not a negative factor as some would like to think. It is a very positive quality Patience is developed along with determination when you make an effort to observe pain. Patience and determination are virtues to be cultivated, not gifts. Together they help you to be active and at the same time stable. Patience alone without determination can be dull and inactive. Determination divorced of patience brings anxiety and pressure.

The opposite of patience is irritation, agitation, aversion, impatience, disappointment, frustration, anger and hatred. The more we confront and deal with these opposite natures in the meditative way the more we develop patience.

Patience is helpful to mindfulness. It is an ability to sustain us in times of difficulty. It is a sign of stability, and being harmonious with oneself, the lack of which could only mean that one is unsteady and restless.