They say patience is a virtue. “Says who?” I wondered. So of course I did what any 21st century, over-thinking, impatient woman would do, I googled it.
Did you know the idea of patience being virtuous has been around since the 14th century? It’s attributed to a poem by William Langland, called Piers Plowman. However, I didn’t choose this topic as a history lesson, but rather to share what I’ve learned about being patient, or the “Practice of Presence” as I like to call it.
I believe everything we experience happens for a reason. The timing of events often escapes our understanding. It is through hindsight that we can look back and see the true meaning of life’s events.
Life’s timing became evident to me as I wrote my memoir – a coming of age story that spans the first 25 years of my life. As I looked back, I realized I was in a hurry to grow up and be out on my own. I rushed to get married, have children and start a family. But there were “disruptions” – life forced me to slow down, to pay attention, to wait. Often, there was nothing I could do but be patient and pray for guidance.
“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
~ Lao Tzu
I didn’t realize in those early years that life was teaching me the art of presence – patience. Mastering the art of presence takes practice. Life has given me plenty of opportunities to practice – and still does! When I’m running late for an appointment, being stopped at every red light – I breathe and try to accept that I have no control over the red lights. When I’m in line at the grocery store and the customer in front of me is haggling with the cashier over their coupons, I stop and breathe. I remind myself, “You are right here, right now, be present. Don’t fight with life, accept what is – practice wu-wei, non-doing, non-reaction.”
I encourage you to practice the art of presence – patience. Whether you chose meditation, prayer, or mindfulness – practice every day! Even a few minutes each day can make a difference. Practicing presence prepares you for life’s “disruptions”.
William Langland was on to something – patience is a virtue, one worth practicing.