How to be “good” at waiting…

by Don Christensen on June 29, 2011

 

“Waiting is painful.

Forgetting is painful.

But not knowing which to do

is the worse kind of suffering.”

~ Paulo Coelho


Imagine never waiting for anything again. Ever.

For sure, life would never be the same, but not for the reason you think.

Realistically, to wait is to suffer. The suffering can come in many forms. It can come in the form of being or feeling irritated while waiting five whole seconds for a YouTube video to be buffered before it starts to play (Irritated—really? Its coming from outer space!). Or suffering may also show up as anguish while you wait for your doctor’s phone call regarding the results of your biopsy. Simply put, this suffering is your spirit’s warning system that you’re missing out on life in some way, because you’re not present. Your spirit (or soul or heart) wants you to enjoy life and is devoted to guide you there in the healthiest way possible–if you’re willing and able to listen to it.

Waiting

My life changed in some way the day I learned that there are dialects in the world which contain no word for boredom. These would be languages (such as Hindi and Swahili) which emerged from a time when humans were much more interconnected with both their inner and outer environment. This is not to say that these old world cultures received everything they wanted through immediacy, yet were more in touch with their interconnectedness, particularly by way of their bodies being their guides. When one is connected in this way, one is aware, and when one is aware, one doesn’t wait. In a situation where we don’t immediately receive what we want, we can practice the art of being, or being present. And when we’re present, boredom doesn’t exist as there is no possibility of waiting.

Think of someone in your life whom you consider extremely patient. Your Mom? Your Dad? Your Grandfather? This would not be an example of a person who is ‘good at waiting’, but someone who easily finds acceptance around the things which take time to materialize. What other qualities does this person hold which can be related to their awareness? How about gratefulness, humility or wisdom? Interestingly the word patience has its origin in Latin, stemming from the verb pati or ‘suffering’. Meanwhile acceptance also has its origin in Latin; accipere or ‘to accept, or to take’.

Waiting

The person who appears extremely patient is likely accepting what is happening, or taking that time, that opportunity to be in that very moment.

 Consider the gift that comes with having to wait. For the student on a conscious path, waiting is the opportunity to check in and notice how the suffering is being self-created.

How can you become more aware and in the present?

Have you tried meditation? Take twenty minutes each day to just “be” on your own. Studies show that individuals who practice meditation can clear distracting thoughts (like impatience) from their minds more quickly than individuals who don’t meditate. That sort of ability comes in handy when you are sitting in the Frankfurt airport waiting for your connecting flight which has been delayed—again.

You can prepare for moments when you need to wait by spending just 20 minutes a day meditating. You don’t have to do anything actually. Just sit in a quiet place and focus on your breath going in your nose and out your mouth. Whenever a distracting thought pops up, don’t allow yourself to go there. Just note the thought, let it go, and focus back on your breath. With practice, your mind will quiet down, and your ability to dismiss unwanted thoughts will improve. Being aware and in the moment will come to you.

Yoga? If you are practicing yoga, bring it back to your practice. Invite your awareness inside the body and notice it’s attempt to generate more ease, relaxation and stability. 

‘Wait and see’ is a commonly used phrase in the English language–one that often creates suffering. Rather than suffering, empower yourself by turning this phrase into a choice; ‘wait or see’.

What works for you? Let us know.

Haven’t tried any of these yet? Why not give it a try?

Until next time,

Don

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