My granddaughter received a small wooden hand loom for Christmas. She is hoping that her Grandma, she who crochets and attempts to knit, will be able to show her how it works. As I have never weaved before, but have always wanted to learn, this will be a lesson for both of us.
In my ever continuing study of different spiritual practices, I recently came across the word, "sutra." Sutras are defined as: "Threads of wisdom that offer guidelines for living a meaningful and purposeful life." Much like the challenge to learn how to use my granddaughter's loom, sutras challenge us to be better people. I have chosen five sutras to work with over the next five weeks. They are: patience, acceptance, defenselessness, compassion and abundance. I chose these five because they were the focus of a guided meditation on sutras that my meditation teacher, Davidji, used recently and they resonated with me. So today we will take a look at patience.
What a fast-paced, crazy world we live in! It seems as if we want to live our lives On Demand, just like on TV. We want it, and we want it now. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Mother Nature created that way? Even God took seven days! However, there is no better place to learn the value of patience than in a garden (you knew that was coming, right?).
When we plant a garden, we start by putting a seed in the ground, watering it, and keeping watch over it so that it gets the right amount of sunlight and moisture to take root. If we are really lucky and everything goes according to the rules of nature, at some point we will begin to see the first tiny green shoots poking their heads up through the soil. We watch as the miracle of creation takes place before our eyes as the plant goes from seed, to shoot, to seedling. It forms stems, then leaves and, eventually, grows into what it is meant to be, either a flower or food. While we are watching and nurturing our plant, we immerse ourselves in the fresh air, the sunshine, the smell of the earth and the sights and sounds of an ever-changing, ever evolving world. Can you imagine what we miss when we are so impatient that all we can focus on is the end result? We want our food and we want it now! That's like saying we want our children but we don't want to wait 9 months to have them and 18 or so years for them to grow up. Think of all the wonders of life that we would miss if we had children that way: their first smile, their first step, the first time they say "Mommy."
We do the same thing in our every day lives. Driving to work, we fuss and fume when we're stuck in traffic instead of seeing it as an opportunity to take a deep breath, maybe meditate a little, or look up in the sky to do a little cloud-watching. We pace back and forth waiting for that phone call or the reply to that email when we could be putting that time to good use taking some deep, cleansing breaths and being grateful that we have a job. We race through our household chores in an effort to get them done instead of enjoying the feel of a fresh, clean home and a well exercised body.
Here's the thing - being impatient doesn't change the outcome of a situation, it just makes the situation more stressful. The plant will grow when it's ready. So will the kids. The traffic will move when it moves and that's the long and short of it. The smart money is on seeing patience as a friend, as a gift of time and discovery, an opportunity to catch something wonderful that we might have missed if we'd been rushing and fussing.
Our time on this journey we call life is limited. It goes by in the blink of an eye. Why not sit back and enjoy every single minute of it. Take the time to relax, and have patience. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a life. Be patient with it and it will give you years of wonder and enjoyment.
And so it is.