Patience Starting With Myself

I do lack patience with myself and the situations that I find myself in. This can be seen in various aspects of my life:

  • The inner voice and tone that I use to talk to myself.
  • Frustration with my slow spiritual development.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by a situation.

From these feelings of frustration or being overwhelmed, I do not properly apply the dharma to my life. I am just reacting to my past karma arising in problems and difficult situations. These knee-jerk responses are not good decisions, they often feature panic, lack of foresight, and a general sense of unease or unhappiness.

The answer is to apply patience. In the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life’, Shantideva describes the following (ch.6 v.2):

There is no transgression like hatred,
And no fortitude like patience.
Thus I should strive in various ways
To meditation on patience.

This is patience, both towards myself as described above, but also towards others. Of course, if I am unable to practice patience with myself and my situation then how can I possibly practice patience with problem people and help others navigate difficult situations?

It is necessary to practice patience first with ourselves and the situations that we face. Then from this centre, we can grow out and apply patience to other people, other situations.