Jedi choose to act with patience, and not to react with anger.
(33 Jedi Traits)
Patience is a virtue. How many times have we heard it? The times we want to jump the gun and rush headlong in to something without a second thought. We can’t stand waiting for anything we think worth having now. It can take real presence of mind and self discipline to take a step back and patiently wait.
Patience is what we exercise when we listen to people when we want to speak. It is being able to sit when we want to stand. Being patient is willing to wait for our turn and graciously letting others go before us. Patience is knowing that things often happen in their own time and we must allow for that.
“Patience my young Padawan” – Yoda
In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda encounters Luke Skywalker who has crash landed on Dagobah and is seeking a Master Jedi, a great warrior. Luke is brash, rude and impatient and has little time for Yoda’s antics and gets frustrated in Yoda’s hut. All at once Yoda speaks to no one in the room “I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience”. A disembodied voice responds;
“The boy will learn patience” – Obi-wan Kenobi
Patience is a virtue and a discipline. It is the simplest lesson to learn but the hardest to practice.
I was always impatient in life. Whether it was people, place, jobs, circumstances, money, relationships there was never a time other than the right now. Bar attendants were never quick enough with service. A plane that was running late was a unforgivable inconvenience. Subordinates who could not deliver on time were useless. People I instructed who failed to catch on quickly were stupid. Someone who took their time explaining something was not worth the time. There was a perpetual sense of urgency and impatience. I had to be getting, going or being right now. No time to wait.
“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear. Can you remain unmoving until right action arises by itself” – Lao Tzu
Are we there yet?
One of the most important virtues we learn in recovery is patience with our selves. It pays to understand that progress takes time. Often the journey to that destination makes it all the worthwhile. A long rain that soaks in is far better than a fast and heavy rain that washes off. I have found that trying to rush my physical training leads to injury. Attempting to achieve milestones without taking enough time leads to failure and frustration. So it is with most things.
In recovery we take it “one day at a time” and handover the outcomes of our efforts to our Higher Power. To try to rush emotional and spiritual growth only leads to disappointment and frustration. Lack of progress or failure in one area can lead to despair or anger and force us to make reckless decisions. Progress, not perfection should be the key. Take it slow and steady. Give yourself time.
“No great thing is suddenly created” – Epictetus
Show people the same courtesy and patience that you expect from others. Especially those that are further back in their life journey. They have a lot to learn and we can help and guide them on the path. We must also learn to be patient with people who are rude, obnoxious or obstinate. There was a time not long ago when we were like that and were given allowances. We can be patient and respectful with others no matter who they are. Our principles and our self esteem must also be respected. We are no one’s s door mat.
Be patient, be Jedi
Next time you find yourself getting impatient with someone or are sitting in traffic ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I impatient?
- Is it worth the stress?
- Can I do anything about it?
The answer to the first question will reveal that the situation is largely out of your control. You probably can’t do anything to make the person change and the traffic jam exists despite your frustration. The first answer should lead to the second answer which should be no unless it is a “life and death emergency”. If there is nothing that can be done about it, why get angry?
If the last answer is yes then consider that option and take action. Otherwise give the person time or space and take time out yourself. Allow yourself to move through the traffic. Eventually it will clear. Deal with any consequences as they arise. Lastly take deep breaths and smile. What’s the hurry?