Practising patience

When you’re stuck in a queue is a great situation to practise patience.  Photo by Levi Jones on Unsplash

Patience, among other things, is the ability to endure inconvenience without reacting badly.  A patient person can have their way blocked, or their nerves jangled, and remain reasonably content and tolerant.

Our animal nature has within it something reactive.  It has been useful to us over the years.  If something annoyed our ancestors, they reacted by trying to remove the source of the annoyance.  Impatience bypasses reason, and so this automatic irritation response is quick and easy, requiring not much by way of thinking.

Unfortunately, in the modern age, this animal nature is less appropriate.  If we go around hyper-reactive to everything that annoys us, we will fall out with everyone around us, and life will become difficult.  If we are violent, we will suffer a criminal record and/or punishment.  If we are aggressive, we are likely to be ostracised and avoided.

It is a very useful skill, to be able to experience discomfort, but to remain peaceful and tranquil.  It can take years and years of practice.  To do it, we have to educate our own brain to compute things in a different way.  Instead of being overprotective of our selves, we need to reframe our attitude to cherish others.  Instead of always grasping our own prejudices and preconceptions, we need to learn mental flexibility, so that we can see life from all possible points of view.



What will be the next thing that gets in my way?  Will it be a pedestrian, or a car, blocking the road?  Will it be an interruption to my normal smooth schedule?

How will I react?  Will I default to my animal instincts, reacting with a snarl, and the urge to hit out or harm another person?  Will I be aggressive, starting a chain reaction which makes human relations worse?

Or will I be able to stay peaceful, appreciating the other person, and seeing life from their point of view?