Do you ever completely lose your patience with a situation, person or event? For most of us, there are times when impatience bubbles its way up to the surface of our mind despite our best efforts to be calm and collected. Why does this happen?
Reasons Why We Lose Patience
- Someone doesn’t catch our meaning quickly enough.
- Someone repeatedly makes the same mistake, despite being corrected each time.
- The changes we want happen too slowly.
- Certain projects take too long or seem inefficient.
- Someone keeps us waiting.
- We have to repeat a dull, monotonous task.
Sound familiar? They do to me. In fact, I can think of all the examples from my own life that have happened over the last week alone.
As reasons for losing patience go, all these examples are flawed because they blame the external world. Losing patience is an internal experience. In the examples above, losing patience is not inevitable. These situations could have been met with kindness, compassion, calm or even surrender. The real reason we lose patience lies in our own mind. (How do I cool down my mind?)
The Opposite of Mindful
Let’s explore this further. To be mindful and present in the moment is actually the opposite of losing patience. When we accept the moment right now, exactly as it shows up, we find ourselves being completely okay with being here, whatever that entails. We remain patient. (Learn How To Be More Mindful.)
We Resist What's Happening Now
Losing patience occurs when our mind races ahead and doesn't want to accept the moment that we are in right now. Our mind, instead, decides to resist being here; it wants to get us somewhere else, and fast. Of course, once we get to somewhere else, there’s no guarantee that this will feel any better because our mind will be just as restless as ever. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before we lose patience again. (What would Patanjali say about our changing states of mind?)
Meditation Builds PatienceThis is exactly why meditation helps us cultivate patience. When we meditate, we practice making peace with the present moment and surrendering to it. We learn to notice those bubbles of impatience and to recognize them as attempts to get out of the present moment. Most of all, when we meditate, we are faced with the fact that losing patience is something that comes from within. It may appear to be triggered by external events, but ultimately, it’s a reaction of our own mind. The more we meditate, the easier it becomes to choose a more measured and mindful response. This makes it less likely that the next time someone keeps us waiting we lose it altogether. (How often should I meditate?)