Swami Kriyananda said the following about the quality of patience:
“Patience,” it has been well said, “is the shortest path to God.” To attune the heart to the rhythms of Eternity, one must first adjust himself to life’s longer rhythms. He should not allow his mind to become absorbed in concentration on the little ripples at the surface of the sea.
Patience means also adjusting to whatever is in life, rather than wishing it were something else. Patience is a prerequisite for every type of success. For it is when we work with things as they are that we can change them to whatever we might like them to be. -Swami Kriyananda -Affirmations for Self-Healing
Sounds so simple. Then why do we find ourselves getting irritable, angry, and upset at times?
When I worked in New York City, I remember commuting home on the New Jersey turnpike one day. Like other drivers, I was mentally tired and exhausted after a long week of work. It was rush hour and traffic was heavy. Just before I exited the highway a car in front of me abruptly cut me off almost causing an accident. Rather than rolling with it as a normal rush hour experience, I succumbed to a fit of road rage. Patience at this time in my life was not a virtue! The only spiritual aspect I can share is that I laid on the horn for about seven seconds - one for each chakra! Perhaps it led to an awakening for the other driver. :)
Similarly, when we do not adjust to whatever is in life, we get road rage on our journey to Self-realization.
On the other hand, when we accept life as it is, then we find we can be patient. To accept life we first need to learn how to accept God fully in our hearts. When we begin to realize that God truly is in everything then how we treat others is an opportunity to serve and love Him through them. If we could see Divine Mother everywhere, as indeed She is, how would we act?
Paramhansa Yogananda called his book of prayer demands, “Whispers from Eternity.” Think of this: Divine Mother has been calling us lovingly and silently throughout all eternity. How patient She is with us! No matter how truant, ignorant, or indifferent we are, Her love never wavers.
We, then, in turn need to cultivate the same type of divine patience.
Here are some suggestions on how to practice patience:
- Attune to the longer rhythms in life. Then we can endure any ripples on the surface of the sea because we realize our abiding reality is in the vast ocean deeps of God consciousness.
- Learn to laugh at yourself. Watch you don’t slip into self-deprecation. But don’t take yourself too seriously. Take up the spiritual path with great fervor and seriousness. At the same time, through relaxed acceptance tap the wellspring of divine joy in your heart.
- Use your impatience as a gift. When you get irritable or angry direct it towards Divine Mother saying: “I didn’t ask to be created! You created me, You must release me.”
- When you find yourself being judgmental or critical, direct it toward yourself. This should be done with a tone of encouragement toward yourself, as you would speak with a friend who was asking for advice. In that same way our higher Self is whispering through our conscience. Master said to introspect and analyze yourself without developing an inferiority complex.
- As a friend of ours wrote in a song, “Keep calling Him! Whether He replies or not, keep calling Him.”
- Meditate intensely for short periods of time rather than forcing yourself to sit for long periods with the mind racing.
- Take at least one day a week to have a longer deeper meditation.
- Meditate with the attitude to please God.
- Meditate on Paramhansa Yogananda’s words:
“Do not expect a spiritual blossom every day in the garden of your life. Have faith that the Lord, if you surrender yourself to Him completely, will bring you divine fulfillment in His time, which is the right time.
“Having sown the seed of God-aspiration, water it daily with prayer and right action. Remove from your mind the weeds of lethargy, doubt, and indecision. When the sprouts of divine perception appear, tend them with devotional care.
“One morning you will behold, fully grown, the fairest flower of Self-realization.”
- Try Swami Kriyananda’s affirmation on patience:
I am neither the ripples at the surface of the sea, nor yet the crashing waves: I am the vast ocean deeps, unaffected by mighty surface storms, untouched by any superficial change.
Long have I called Thee, Lord, but Thou has not answered me. Ah, but for what long eons didst Thou endure my fickleness! In this life, Lord, and if need be through eternity, I will keep calling Thee!