Patience is a virtue, and a virtue which I can’t say I’ve mastered in my life. While I was in India I realized that I’m a very impatient individual contrary to my belief that I actually am patient. Let me expand. I am patient with the people that come in my life and the situations that are thrown at me. But, I’ve realized that I am not patient with myself. This is something that was further noticed during my vipassana experience.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
India: I took yoga classes for two and a half months. Surprisingly, there is a process in which you learn the different poses and maneuvers. Yes, I knew this going in. Did I keep this in mind within the first week and a half? Nope. My teacher was teaching me the process. First, I had to learn pranayama. We spent the entire first week on just that. One hour every day. Next, we moved on to learning stretches; I’m talking about flex your toes, bend your knees, completely basic stretches. In the back of my mind, I’m screaming, “I know all of this! Lets get straight to the head stands.” And then we moved onto very basic moves that I had already practiced during my regular yoga sessions in Memphis. I began getting very impatient a few weeks in. All I could think of was how I want to learn more advanced techniques and poses in yoga. That wasn’t going to happen.
Vipassana: If you read my posts on vipassana (if not, check them out here), you read how I was getting bored the first few days, especially when I realized that we weren’t even practicing the real vipassana technique, just a precursor to it. Of course, in the beginning I was thinking how I just wanted to get to the real deal.
Point of both of these scenarios: I feel as though I am more prepared than I actually am. I want a challenge from the get-go. I don’t like easy. What I learned from my yoga experience, was that through learning the basics, I’m strengthening my foundation so that I can be more successful when I actually do begin some more advanced poses. The basic crunches and bicycles and leg lifts that I was having to do in the beginning of my yoga training in India strengthens my core, which is really essential for a basic surya namaskar. Each step is built upon the prior. The same goes with what happened at vipassana. If I jumped straight into vipassana meditation without the basic foundation of ana pans where I’m learning to just concentrate my mind, then during actual vipassana, I wouldn’t have figured what the heck Goenke was talking about!
It’s as easy as this. When I was little, I would always watch people take the stairs 2 or 3 steps at a time, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to so bad, but looking back, I wasn’t ready for it. I needed practice. I needed to be patient. As silly as this little anecdote is, I think it gets my point across. You can’t jump straight to the big leagues, when you can’t even throw the ball. Okay, I’m done with my ridiculous metaphors and stories.
So, why am I writing about patience today? I came upon this quote:
“Please remember that patience is in and of itself a great challenge, and that it often holds the key to breaking through a seeming impasse.” Daisaku Ikeda
I was having these thoughts about patience when I was in India, and I even was talking to my friend back in the states how I was frustrated with my yoga teacher because I didn’t want to do this baby stuff. I realized I have a major patience issue.
This quote really resonates with me, in that patience really is a great challenge, an even greater challenge when it comes to being patient with yourself. I think humans are very eager individuals. It’s really easy for us to jump ahead, but when we don’t succeed at that stage, we get overwhelmed with disappointment in ourselves, and we quit. But, if we build ourselves one step at a time, we’re setting ourselves up for success.
Patience is a virtue, but one that takes great effort to actually instill in our lives.
Happy first day of February!