Issue 11, June 29, 2009
— Guy Finley,
Develop the Power of Patience
In this issue:FEATURE: Michael Michalko, 100 Monkeys Vince Chiles, Crisis Resolution Guy Finley, Develop the Power of Patience Phoebe Chongchua, Are You Buried Beneath Rubbish? Dr Michael G. Holt, Things to Know About Meditation Sharon Elaine, Affirmations for a New Day Joe Love, You Are What You Believe Wider Screenings, When Harry Divorced SallyEventsReviewsEarlier issues
spiritual force is missing from our lives. We are about to gather ample
evidence of this fact, and learn ways to recover this crucial force
that we unknowingly give away.
The power we're missing is patience. Real patience is not about waiting
for one's expectations to be fulfilled. This is the kind of patience
that we have now, and as we will see, it is necessarily filled with
impatience; so, it isn't so much that we are actually patient, as it is
that we are hanging around, impatiently, waiting for that moment to get
what we have hoped for.
This kind of patience is a contrivance. We pretend to have patience
while inwardly our own unappeased thoughts and feelings pound on us.
What we are about to study are some facts about the true nature of
patience, and what it is that we have to acquire ¬– meaning what we
have to understand – if there is any chance for any of us to become a
different order of human being.
The way our present mind meets life is much like a machine. Most of our
lives are spent in automatic reactions to moments where an expectation
of ours meets either the fulfillment or the denial of our dreams. We
have yet to see that our own conditioned expectations always set us up
for a sorrow of some kind or another.
And what a sad state of affairs this is; our hopes are tied to the
secret source of our heartaches – not just for our pressing wish to
acquire more money, a better house, more respect, another relationship,
what have you, but also according to the degree to which we demand that
these expectations be met.
What must we do to change our unconscious condition? First, we must get
to the point where we see, and admit, our essential powerlessness to
provide for ourselves what we believe can make us happy. This is a
necessary stage in our spiritual development: to realize we don't have
a clue how to help ourselves become whole. This discovery alone makes
it possible for us to learn real patience.
There are many references to the nature of real patience throughout all
great scriptures the world over, including both New and Old Testaments.
From Luke: "In your patience possess ye your souls." From James: "But
let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire,
wanting nothing. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only,
deceiving yourself." And the last one that I'll mention here comes from
Romans 8:24: "For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not
hope. For what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for
that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
What these passages would convey to us is that the true spiritual path
can't have anything to do with some imagined quality of consciousness
that we can give to ourselves because, for one thing, in the very
imagining of that quality, whatever its name, we end up becoming
impatient to possess it! This is a vital point: Our desires create an
extremely powerful second force in us; and gradually, as we struggle to
be seen as we hope others will see us – loving, wise, strong, gentle,
and patient – we come unglued! Instead of being patient, kind, and
compassionate, we become the opposite: a raging volcano of conflicting
desires that finally explodes. Clearly this approach doesn't work.
In order to achieve our hope for what is not seen – a new and true
patience, a forgiveness of others that sets us free, whatever that
spiritual state may be that we know exists but that eludes us ¬– we
must learn something altogether new: We must learn what it means to be
patient with what we can no longer do and be. There is an immense
difference in this idea versus setting out to win a pleasing identity.
At present, our impatience with what we hope to do or become is born
out of a series of mental images and expectations that are created in a
mind asleep to its own considerations. From these images we take
imagined pleasure and power, without ever coming to understand why we
remain unable to manifest these self-pleasing images except under
certain favorable conditions.
Here is a whole different idea: We must stop pretending. We must learn
a new kind of patience – not with regard to getting what we want, but
with those pressing, stressed parts of us that insist we must have (or
be) what we want when we want it!
Can we see the difference between these two actions? The former
patience is an illusion: the idea that if we are just patient and
swallow what we must to get our hands on what we want, that patience
will prove itself in the end and we will get our reward. This new and
conscious patience that we speak of has nothing to do with the love of
things, or of sensations, but with the love of what is True, what is
good and graceful, spiritual in nature. It embraces the love of that
which cannot be owned outright by any human being but that must be
permitted to possess us if we are ever to know its peace-giving and
perfectly patient presence.
Inside of this new idea of patience we can begin to understand so much
of what has been so elusive for us, including freeing ourselves from
this terrible sense of emptiness that always follows having
expectations either fulfilled or dashed.
Until we understand and develop a patience born of true and higher
self-knowledge, we cannot hope for anything approaching the calm
contentment of a fully conscious life. Real patience has nothing to do
with that familiar opposite of impatience we tolerate while waiting for
what we want. Not wanting to show just how impatient we feel is not the
same as being patient.
Real patience never feels like a punishment or an enforced morality; it
is a pleasurable act born of consciously participating in the process
of God's life as it unfolds within us moment-to-moment. Such patience
is a natural feature of a life awakened to its real place and role in
the cosmos; it is both seed and fruit of a faith that cannot be shaken.
To help us grow in the new understanding we need to realize this higher
order of ourselves, and to give us a practical way to incorporate some
of these higher ideas into our everyday lives, I have designed some
special spiritual exercises. 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
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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