There is so much out there about meditation…and patience. And at some point, it all becomes a lot of talking. I find this is true when I teach here in Chicago. There is no replacement for your own sitting experience. My teacher says it’s best to keep things simple and teach with a lot of silence. So whenever I hear myself talking for more than a few minutes I feel a deep urge to hush up already.
At the end of this, throw all these words in the trash and go sit. And then see for yourself. Have your own experience. All I ask is that you don’t make up your mind too fast. Play with patience for a long time. And then see what your experience shows you to be true.
This will be short.
Okay. When we sit we need to have patience.
In my own experience on what I might unwisely call a bad day of sitting. Bad day? What? Truth be told, there is no bad day of sitting. There is only practice. All that matters is that we do it. Mind wanders. Mind doesn’t wander. Whatever. In the beginning, this is a hard concept. When we are new to this crazy thing, meditation. When we sit and sit and wonder, “So, what’s supposed to happen?” And we look around and wonder, how does everyone here sit so still? Argh.
So how does patience come in? Maybe (especially) on a so-called “bad” day. The mind feels pulled this way and that. The body aches. Or itches. Or sounds outside make us curious. We wonder, when will the bell ring to say this session is over. You name it. One of my worst challenges is the feeling of being too hot. That nearly drives me mad. What I notice is that the more I allow my mind to be pulled, the worse I feel. Hmmm … curious.
Lately, that feeling occurs less often. When I sit, I try to just watch the feeling of “hotness,” and take it with patience, as it is, with no judgement.
So, close to the end now. What’s the connection between patience when meditating and patience in everyday life?
I think the more we practice being patient with hot or cold or pains in the body (or whatever…the 10,00 things that seem to suddenly POP up) when we do sitting meditation the more we can begin to work with patience off the cushion or bench or chair.
I guess, it’s this simple. The body in meditation can be a pretty intense mirror. If we can learn to sit and just observe and not wiggle around or scratch or leap up screaming… then maybe we are a little less likely to flip someone off on the highway while driving to work. Or whatever. You know what drives you crazy during your day.
The point is…it’s no good if all the meditation is only for the time we sit on the cushion. It has to work for everyday too. Not all at once. But slowly. Piece by piece. Moment by moment. We can build our patience one minute at a time. One breath at a time.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself.