Patience Is Painful

Jan 13, 2014 | Updated Mar 15, 2014

"You just have to have patience."

"Patience? What are you talking about? I don't have time for patience! I want what I want, and I want it now! In fact, I don't want it now. I need it now!"

Sound familiar? Stuff to do just seems to keep piling up and yet time just keeps moving. There's not enough time to do everything we want to do, the car in front of us is moving too slow, the store clerk is nowhere to be found, we're on hold waiting for an operator, the check is in the mail, we're not old enough yet, we don't have enough money to get that item, it's not the weekend yet, the baby isn't here yet, the car isn't ready, and some day I'll have all the things I want.

What is it about being "patience" that's so hard? Well, if you look it up in a dictionary, you'll discover that the word "patience" comes from a Latin word which means to suffer. So, if you are asking me to be patient, you are asking me to suffer. Ugh! I don't want to suffer. I want to be fulfilled, now! I don't like suffering. To be patient is to suffer. I have to defer my gratification until some time later? That's painful. That's suffering.

So, what's the way out of this suffering? Am I supposed to enjoy suffering? If I can enjoy suffering then I can be patient. But I don't want to teach myself to enjoy suffering. That seems rather silly.

The way out of this patience or suffering dilemma is just to be "present." Don't ask me to be patient, ask me to be present.

If I'm truly present, then I'm experiencing the bliss of the moment. There isn't any anywhere to go but this very moment. There's nothing to wait for. It's in this moment that I can take action steps toward my goal, and if I'm present in this moment, each action step can be filled with joy and peace. I don't have to delay my gratification, because I'm enjoying the process of moving through time toward my goal. Accomplishing the goal is nice, however as strange as it may seem, getting the end result is not the experience I'm looking for. The bliss of each moment is what I'm looking for. Patience is not part of the process. Suffering is not required. Being present is the key.

I don't need to teach myself or my children to be patient. Teaching myself and my children to be present in the moment is one of the keys to having a joy-filled life.

How can we discover the present moment? The simplest answer is to contact your five senses. What are you hearing? What smells can you pick up? Describe in detail what you're seeing. Notice what you are tasting. What are you feeling? Is the air cool as you inhale and warm as you are exhaling? Touch your heart with your hand and feel your heart beat. Focus on small details and the present moment will show up. The magic of the world will begin to reveal itself. Joy and peace are present. You are present. It's all here now.