This article appeared in the December, 2004-January, 2005 issue of The Isis Scrolls.
As we human beings adjust to the ever-increasing speed of modern life, we often lose our patience, and in ways that would have been unimaginable even a few short decades ago. We sigh when forced to wait at ATMs, curse our computers for being so slow and honk our horns at slowpokes in traffic. Timeliness certainly has its rightful place in the scheme of things, but it's sheer folly to demand that everyone and everything around us move at the pace we dictate. Most of us could learn to be a little more patient.
The good news is that patience is a mental skill, one that can be practiced and eventually mastered, even by the most impatient person.
Usually we hear about exercising patience as it pertains to something else, like raising children or starting a business. The idea of cultivating patience for its own sake gets little attention, but there are some strong, compelling reasons for doing so. Impatience makes us lose our perspective, which hinders our power to create what we want and makes us vulnerable to attracting more of what we don't want. And losing patience constitutes a misuse of spiritual power.
Think about it: most of us wouldn't even dream of handing over our innate power, for example, to think for ourselves to some religious authority or fascist dictator; yet daily we give away our power to remain calm and centered to things like long lines at the supermarket and inept sales transactions. If genius, as Michelangelo once asserted, is eternal patience, then surely we are all spiritual nincompoops at times.
Impatience also takes it toll on our bodies, because it generates stress, which elevates blood pressure and wreaks havoc with the body's internal organs and immune system. Lack of patience harms the social side of life too: it strains relationships, causes discord in group situations and sets a bad example. And impatience...