“Patience is never wasted; patience is a process through which a soul passes and becomes precious. Souls who have risen above the world’s limitations and sorrows, the world’s falseness and deception, they are the souls who have passed through patience.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan …
I have heard it said before that patience is a virtue. In fact, in the poem Psychomachia, written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius in 410 A.D., patience is one of the seven heavenly virtues that oppose the seven deadly sins. And the fact that it has been held to such great importance throughout much of our documented history is perhaps a good indication of how necessary and powerful it is towards the health of our body and soul.
For most of my life, I always considered patience an issue of personality–one is either a patient person, or has a higher degree of patience than most, or they are impatient. However, age and children have helped me to see things closer to how Hazrat sees them here–that patience is more of a spiritual matter… and if I wish to develop it, experience it, and share it with others, then I have to recognize and accept that patience is within my reach.
Another aspect of patience that I was misled about is that it is a choice of the mind–that it is chosen or obtained through intellect and logic. I often thought that I could convince myself to be patient in situations, even when challenged by other’s words or actions. However, the mind alone cannot obtain or keep such peace–it can only exist in the still waters of our hearts. Thus, as Hazrat tells us here, patience is in the realm of our spirits. And when I think about it in such a way, it only makes sense, as nearly all of the people I know who are truly patient are very spiritual as well.
And for us to experience a deeper measure of patience in our lives, all we really need to do is become more conscious of our feelings and our actions and to let our spirits guide us and assume a greater level of control over us. That way, during those times in which we find ourselves failing others–employing impatience when the opportunity for peace, mercy, and sufferance is available to us–perhaps we could simply ask ourselves, “What would I do if my eternal soul were fully in charge instead of my intellect?”
As physical beings, we will always have the tendency to trust our logic and our intellect when it comes to making decisions, and that is ok–our minds are wonderful and important gifts that provide for us a wealth of understanding. Yet there is another part of our beings available to us to help in making decisions–that “still, strong voice within” that can help us to be in touch with the eternal spiritual element of our being that is actually the very core of who we are.
Practice patience today, peace, mercy, and sufferance–that which is the opposite of wrath.
Questions to consider:
Why do most of us trust our logic and reason over our spirits?
How might we start to allow our spirits to play a greater role in all that we do in our lives?
How might you recognize when your spirit is leading you to a certain action versus your reason leading you there?
For further thought:
“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather, it is “timing;” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ~ Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ