Patience is usually associated with waiting. But Patience as a spiritual attitude does not mean a state of standing still or passive waiting, but rather an ACTIVE waiting – waiting to see what will come while you are submitting to Universal Will.
For submission to the Universal Will brings subsequent manifestation of the Universal Spirit. Heavenly bodies exemplify this kind of patience. So does nature.
From the I Ching: (hexagram 5 – Waiting)
“All beings have need of nourishment from above. But the gift of food comes in its own time, and for this one must wait. This hexagram shows the clouds in the heavens, giving rain to refresh all that grows and to provide mankind with food and drink. The rain will come of its own time. We cannot make it come; we have to wait for it. The idea of waiting is further suggested by the attributes of the two tri – grams—strength within, danger in front. Strength in the face of danger does not plunge ahead, but bides its time, whereas weakness in the face of danger grows agitated and has not the patience to wait.”
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Patience is very pertinent to self-discipline and meditation. Almost always, a person who begins to meditate, will get frustrated. The separate self rebels against the attempt to transcend it, and it will shift the mind into high gear, jabbering away, and doing everything it can to distract the concentration. Furthermore, getting impatient with oneself, because of a failing of self-discipline of any kind, gives the separate self just what it wants. Such frustration is accompanied by stopping the self-discipline, and feeding of negative thoughts. That’s how the separate self succeeds in distracting you and getting you off course. These are tricks the self is using against you, pulling at you with, and they can only be overcome by having the patience to be consistent and persevering. Instead of wasting time and giving energy to the separate self by ‘getting upset with yourself’, simply start your meditation again, or start your self-discipline again. If you do this, you defeat its tricks, and eventually win. Such patience pays off.
From the I Ching: (hexagram 52 – Keeping Still – Mountain)
“…When a man has thus become calm, he may turn to the outside world. He no longer sees it in the struggle and tumult of individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace of mind which is needed for acting in harmony with them. Whoever acts from these deep levels makes no mistakes.”
Selfishness has created all our problems. Everyone desperately cries out for happiness. Tolerance, humility, and patience are things that make for happiness, yet most people avoid them. And few are willing to pay the price for happiness – transcending the separate self by living a life of Unselfish Love.
It is simple cause and effect: the seed sown must one day be reaped. We disappointed others in the past. When we find ourselves being disappointed, we can learn patience.
Patience gives us all of time and space to understand things.
When we use our free will and mind to walk a path of spiritual growth, our return to Oneness is accompanied by suffering. There is no way around it. We must endure this suffering, with patience, understanding, and humility – the more humble we are, the more quickly, and easily, we will finally return to Oneness.
Humility is the opposite of being egotistical, or self-centered. It is the way of true Love, being receptive to God, surrendering to the Universal Spirit, the Universal Will, flowing, and being in harmony with the Universe. Humility is the most endearing and beautiful quality. But it is the most important quality you could ever have as a student, or a true teacher serving God.
To a person who lacks humility, ‘appearing’ to ‘be right’ is more important than actually ‘being right’ (which might require admitting making a mistake in order to correct oneself so they can actually ‘be right’). A person who is humble, doesn’t ‘personally’ or ‘selfishly’ care if they are right or wrong, they are just concerned with being right for the sake of helping others, thus they are more often right than wrong, and will more quickly correct any mistakes if they find they are wrong. They also seek perfection in the service of God, and welcome the criticism of others, so that they may correct mistakes they have missed.
Having the ‘attention’ of others, is also important to those who lack humility.
Ego-ism, self-centeredness, pride (in the sense of being ‘personally’ proud), and its close relative, vanity, are the opposite qualities of humility. The egotistical and self-centered person wants to control everything ‘his or her way’, and sees his or her self as the most important thing there is – and the thing which all other things, and all other beings, revolve around. The prideful person wants credit for their accomplishments. The humble person attributes all of their successes, capabilities, and accomplishments, to simple facts of reality, or God working through them, rather than to their own prideful abilities.
“The person who gives importance to physical appearances also doesn’t understand the beauty of humility.”
Rather than the egotistical attitude of the separate self, which is one of being a great mountain, humility is having an attitude of being a receptive little valley.
Nature wears down the great mountain, and fills the valley with rich topsoil, lakes, and abundance. Thus, a person who is truly humble, and in need, cannot be passed by, and is made great by God.
A person with a humble attitude, learns very quickly, adapts to situations easily and quickly, “flows” with whatever changes are presented to them by life or people, and can communicate and relate to others better than anyone else. Why? Simply because they “get out of their own way”. They get their “self” out of the way of dealing with the rest of the world and reality. Thus, their separateness doesn’t wall off their openness to others, or anything in life, nature, or the Universe.
Rather than putting time and energy into “themselves”, or defending themselves or their ideas, they keep an open mind and consider the input of others. They also don’t wall off their own Unselfish Love and compassion for others.
Often, students, like animals, will seek to establish a “pecking order” amongst other students. Everyone wants to consider themselves more evolved, or “higher”, than the other. Generally, the ones that are most concerned with this, are the least humble, and thus the least evolved. Jesus emphasized this at the last supper.
Remember the earlier story? It was a custom to wash the dust off a guest’s feet, but the apostles were all too “important” to lower themselves to wash the others’ feet.
So Jesus did it, shocking them, and driving home the important point of humility, reminding them that, “The greatest among you would be the servant to all.”
In the end, those who make it their priority to be “number one” will be the last, and those who’s priority is to be humble, will be number one (and not care whether or not they are number one).