Professional Student of Life
Adventures in personal growth
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. ~Lao Tzu
I recently ran across this quotation from one of the masters of Taoism and was struck by its truth. Simplicity, to me, means being truly authentic (because we only introduce complication into our lives when we’re trying to be something we’re not). Compassion, for ourselves and others, is the bedrock of a sane life.
But patience!!!! Ahhh, there you’ve got me. I don’t do patience well. And patience is not something this society encourages. We are told, both subtly and unsubtly, to make things happen. That tangible results are the only true indicator of success or failure. And, by the way, get it done yesterday!
But, like it or not, life will eventually teach you patience. The older I get, the more I have to admit that timing is often entirely out of my hands. Right now I’m still waiting for a negative Covid test to allow me to board a plane for the US. I have completed the required isolation after my first pre-flight test turned out positive, but no matter how much I encourage my cells through visualization, the test results still hover stubbornly under the cut-off line. Apparently, I’m not meant to go home just yet.
Accepting that gracefully is the hard part. Of course, there are many other things I’ve wished for fervently over the years that haven’t materialized, such as finding my “soulmate.” Is it just timing? Am I not ready? Am I wishing for the wrong thing? The answers to those questions are also hidden. The challenge is to trust that whatever is happening (or not), it’s meant to be that way.
This is next level from so-called “manifesting.” Manifestation is certainly a huge step up from feeling powerless and completely at the mercy of events, but it’s still a way that the ego tries to impose its agenda on life. The truth is, we can have the best energy in the world and still have seemingly random, negative things happen to us. That’s when we have to step even further back, looking at events from the highest possible perspective. Faith then joins hands with patience, helping us believe in the ultimate good, even in the face of apparent circumstances.
There’s no such thing as Miracle-Gro for the soul. We learn from “living the questions” – as Rainer Maria Rilke put it – one day, one month, one year at a time. Patience is letting time do its work to slowly transform us from the inside out, rather than trying to force a change from the outside in. It’s not easy, but our only real choice is whether or not to participate willingly in the process.
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