I used to think patience is all about our capacity to wait for something to happen, but I have learnt that patience has nothing to do with waiting at all. Patience, I now know, is the graceful act of surrender to time. To be patient is to accept that all we do in any given moment is enough. Patience is to accept that reward does not necessarily follow effort. Patience is accepting that your breath need not have purpose beyond itself. I believe we can only find peace when we’ve become masters at patience.
Patience teaches us to expect nothing. To expect nothing does not mean we desire nothing. It simply means that we are brave enough to desire without being attached to what we desire. It means we are free to want without being held captive by what we want. Patience teaches us how to detach from our egos, our identities, our sense of self. Patience challenges us to let go of what we had planned for ourselves and to surrender who we might’ve imagined ourselves to be. Patience asks us to reconsider our desires. It invites us to consider letting go of them. Letting go of them doesn’t mean we no longer desire them, it simply means to surrender our desires to time, to the universe, to god. Patience reminds us that there is always much more at play in shaping our destinies than we’d like to admit. Patience offers us the most precious gift of all — time. It stretches it out for us. It reminds us that time is elastic, that time is relative, that time might flow at a different pace for me than it might flow for you. Patience humbles us. It shrinks us down as it reminds us of the much larger forces of the universe. And that is too when Patience scares us most as we realise how little we control and how much of our control depends on just one thing — our breath. And even that, our breath, the one thing we trust most to keep us alive and calm, will one day leave us without our control. Patience asks us to surrender all control, to completely let go of everything, even of our most precious breaths. Patience is after all preparing us for the greatest surrender of all — death. Shamans say we die the same way we live. They say the goal of life is to learn to die consciously, and if it is so, if the goal of Life is in fact death, then Patience must be her coach.
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