What is one of the most valuable commodities that anyone can possess in this day and age? What is the one precious thing we all seem to lack? Have you guessed what this ‘eighth wonder of the world’ is? Well, it is the virtue of patience, of course! I believe that, given the opportunity, some of us would even trade all of our earthly possessions for a lifelong supply of this magical substance.
If everyone could take a pill to become instantly self-restrained, tolerant and long-suffering, many professionals would have to be made redundant, including customer complaint managers, divorce lawyers, emergency room nurses, traffic officers, therapists and, of course, psychic advisors.
The newly founded ‘Patience Company’ will no doubt become the most powerful corporation in the world. They would probably expand their range very quickly, to include tempting product variations like Patient Persistence, Peaceful Perseverance and Powerfully Present. These life changing potions will permanently alter our reality as we know it. It will in time deliver to us much of the joy and fulfillment so many of us desire.
We will not have the compulsion to act impulsively, before we consider the future consequences of our words and deeds. We will have confidence in the successful outcomes of our manifested desires, even if it takes a hundred years to accomplish. We will accept that when we ask it will be given, one way or the other, and always when the time is right. We will intuitively know that everything is as it is intended to be, every second of every day. We will understand that the 'Law of Attraction' is not the name of a fast-food restaurant.
Over the years, I have seen how a lack of patience, uncontrolled emotions and rash actions can crush dreams, destroy lives and wreak havoc in relationships. It does not surprise me that patience features as one of the most valued virtues in many religions, including Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Buddhism regards it as one of the perfections that must be achieved on the path to Enlightenment.
I constantly advise clients to remain calm, be patient and allow the future to unfold in its own time. To very little avail. Those who do heed my advice always reap the rewards in the end. But they are few and far between. Many simply cannot conquer the urge to act before the time is right; they find it hard to contain their emotions – be it anger, anxiety, desire or desperation. They do not see that patience is sometimes the best form of action.
If only they would accept that the human ego is fueled by fear and petulant self-interest, and realize that when the ego takes over in any situation you are bound to get way ahead of yourself, and it will usually lead you to make a royal mess of things.
Our lack of patience comes from our fear of the unknown, and our intolerance of uncertainty. We are reluctant to accept that nothing is ever certain or secure in our human experience. The only security we really do have in this lifetime is the knowledge that there is absolutely no certainty. There is no such thing as a ‘sure thing’ when it comes to the human condition, except for the fact that this lifetime will eventually come to an end for all of us. Sir Francis Bacon said that “if we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and we are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.”
Our increasingly fast-paced society and constant technological advancement also does not serve us well in the patience department. We like to call it ‘efficiency’ and ‘progress’, but how are we supposed to teach our children the virtue of patience, when they live in a world where just about everything is easily accessible, and often instantly available? All it takes is one swipe of a credit card, or the click of a mouse button. No wonder we have so little forbearance, and zero perseverance.
Some of us have become so ridiculously impatient that we cannot even wait for the world to end in its own good time. Oh no, some of us demand an immediate apocalypse, be it this year or the next. And for those who are privileged to be chosen to survive there must be an instant DNA upgrade included in the deal ... non-negotiable. Immediate gratification is what we have come to expect and demand.
If only we could relinquishing our unyielding ideas of how things must be, and how quickly they must come to pass. If we could just cut loose and surrender to the boundless possibilities that await us. If we could just kick our heels up and run spontaneously wild with the mysteries of life. If only we had a some patience in a bottle ... how smooth the ride would be!
© 2011 Anthon St Maarten