Patience is the art of hoping

All through my childhood my grandmother would say to me “patience is a virtue”. And even before i knew what a virtue was i figured that if my nana kept talking about it then patience must be a good thing. She used to repeat herself a lot, she still does. And I often wonder if she repeats the same things to all her grandchildren or if she felt it was just me in particular who really needed to learn the lesson of patience.

In modern society we see patience being practised less & less. We live in an age of instant gratification. Where results are demanded and often met STRAIGHT AWAY. Think credit cards, 12 months interest free, instant music & movie downloads, drive through take-away, microwaves & microwave food, pre-made meals, pre-mixed drinks the list goes on and on.

isn’t it interesting then that in this age of instant gratification more and more people are turning to the practise of Yoga? A practise that can take weeks, months, years & even lifetimes to give results? A practise that requires more patience from us than nearly anything else we do.

Yoga actually helps us to practise patience, to cultivate it and to understand its necessity.

The sanskrit word for patience is “DHRITI”, which translates to mean endure or persevere. Often when we look up the meaning of ‘patience’ in a western dictionary there is mention of words like forbearance or tolerance of suffering.

Indeed Yoga helps us to stop trying to rid ourselves of circumstance. But also to recognise when we cannot and to learn how to live in those circumstances with grace & humility.

The type of patience we cultivate on the mat is a patience full of wisdom & clarity. We learn when & where to practise forbearance because we see our situation or environment from a more global point of view. We see the ‘bigger picture’.

We focus not just on what we want to obtain and more on creating the right environment for those things to come to fruition, naturally & in their own time.

We might see a particular pose as an end goal, but we begin to understand the necessity of opening up & preparing the body for that ss of it. We enjoy the process of expansion in the body, mind & heart as we practise.

Having said that, that’s not to say that most of us experience impatience on our practise at some time or another!

But here is what impatience gives us. Impatience makes us long for an imagined future, it actually robs us of time.
In contrast patience requires that we stay in the present moment, that we fully experience the ‘right now’. It gives us the gift of time & experience. it lets us taste all the moments of life whether humdrum or extraordinary.

And when we understand this we start to see patience as more than just a virtue, it’s a blessing.

Categories: Contemplate