Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

As promised in the last blog, following are five ways that we can work to develop real patience within ourselves:

1. We must develop the patience to let disturbances pass by without picking them up: This means we need to see that the reason we painfully resist any moment of life as it unfolds is that it runs contrary to our present notions of what we need to be happy and free. But the fact is, in spite of all our best ideas, we have never found this freedom from what pains us. Why? Each time we are drawn into a struggle with what disturbs us – meaning that we become identified with it – this struggle strengthens our conviction that our expectation is legitimate. How can the source of what sits behind our suffering liberate us from itself? It can’t; but to practice the patience of letting disturbances pass by frees us from both our expectations and their pain.

2. We must develop the patience to be concerned with the character of our own consciousness before we attempt to make over the character of another: We are in everybody’s life: Nobody walks by us – not even strangers – to whom we don’t give a makeover in our minds. We unconsciously sit in judgment of all we meet. What causes this mechanical reaction in us? Our present nature is limited to knowing itself through what amounts to a constant considering of anyone (and everything) that it perceives to be different from itself. So, this false nature necessarily looks, as a rule, upon the manifestations of others as a disturbance, a disturbance that we don’t know what to do with, except for trying to straighten out what has offended us. So, we must learn to patiently observe and consciously bear this part of our nature that gets negative when anyone or anything doesn’t match its desire. We need to put this judgmental aspect of ourselves behind us, and that takes patiently learning to ignore its demands that others conform to our expectations. New freedom follows.

3. We must develop the patience to be kind to those who do not care for us as we believe they should: This means that we can no longer do and be someone who meets others with the expectation that unless they give us our proper due, we will have nothing to do with them. What kind of human being is that? This level of self-work takes rigorous self-examination, beginning with wondering why we see some people as foes. The answer is simple: They don’t give us the deference we deserve. The unconscious nature that runs us through its resentments would prove, by the pain it produces in us, that others are wrong for being the way they are. Now we know that it is what has to go.

4. We must develop the patience to realize that we are not the only one who suffers: When we are suffering, we are sure that absolutely nobody else endures the kind of pain that we do. So, to consider the suffering of another human being almost never enters into our mind, unless it’s self-serving in some way. Then we envision ourselves as a rescuing hero. On the other hand, we can learn to realize that whenever someone we know is angry or anxious, whose heart is aching, that he or she is suffering just as we do. This kind of higher self-awareness awakens compassion. And in this awakened state we are willing to be patient towards both that person in pain, as well as towards the pain in us that this same person has stimulated.

5. We must develop the patience to work for what is True until the truth in our work reveals itself to us: If all that a flower needs to bloom is given to it, how much more so must this be true when it comes to the spiritual education of a soul? If we have hope in things unseen, and work patiently for their fruition in us, how could it be that we wouldn’t be given all that we need? Our task is to watch and wait; to do the work it takes to come to the end of that false nature within us under whose impatient influence we presently live. This dark nature is the soil out of which grows a level of self that is insatiable; whereas our True Self, and the true patience in which it is rooted, fulfill and perfect each other for all time.

Let us work to realize that long patience within us that we will need for the long run. Remember: Patient persistence in our labors, coupled with persistent patience throughout each one – these two powers serve not only to perfect the task at hand, but also work in harmony to perfect the hand that undertakes the task.

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