The Power of Patience
Another powerful quotation from the Dalai Lama shone like a jewel in the mud on my Facebook page today. Here is the quotation:
"The most important benefit of patience consists in the way it acts as a powerful antidote to the affliction of anger - the greatest threat to our inner peace, and therefore our happiness. The mind, or spirit, is not physical, it cannot be touched or harmed directly. Only negative thoughts and emotions can harm it. Therefore, only the corresponding positive quality can protect it."
Facebook - or the little slice of it that is reflected on my page - seems to be increasingly devoted to the expression of individuals' social and political imperatives. As such it mirrors our ever more polarized society. Dialog seems to have largely vanished from the forum of opinion, to be replaced by strident voices shouting from soapboxes on every corner. People are more devoted to their own ideas, prejudices and agendas than they are to other people. In spiritual terms, this is another manifestation of the power of ego to dominate any situation in which it its influence is not tempered by love and the awareness of Oneness.
There is no question that love and patience go hand in hand. Loving another person sometimes requires a patient understanding of that person's thoughts, emotions, and felt needs. Loving oneself requires the same patience. Loving a society, or the world, or the Universe requires patience and acceptance of the truth that regardless of the scope, events will not proceed according to our own personal values and priorities.
Ego is not patient. Ego wants what it wants, and it wants it now. Ego is angry. Spirit as manifested in the Universe has no need of patience because it exists outside of time; but as manifested in each of us, Spirit brings the patient ability to put today's emergencies into the context of eternity. A life spent in Oneness is a life of equanimity, knowing that every external tempest - including the tantrum of personal ego - is only a departure from Love and will be calmed by a return to stillness and the fundamental peace of Spirit.
Peace will not be found by out-shouting other egos. Peace comes from the realization that Love is All There Is -- right "now", right "here", not in some imagined (but unattainable) future time when the mind's priorities have been fully realized. As we go through our human existence working as hard as we can to produce the good that we wish for all beings, we can stay on course by returning daily to the inner awareness that the peace of Oneness is ours for the asking at any time and in any place.