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Patience, The Art of Intelligent Waiting

Patience, The Art of Intelligent Waiting

“Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life unfolds in spite of our impatience. The misfortune of it is that because of our impatience we don’t fully appreciate the joy and beauty of watching it unfold. And then there’s all the stress and discontentment along the way.

Especially today, with the rapid pace of modern life, lowering the level of impatience could help reduce a lot of the world’s stress. It is fortunate then that many of life’s experiences teach us that patience is possible. The impatience of youth, for instance, at last becomes patient because adulthood finally arrives. The impatience of the artist becomes patient because art is created. Driving in traffic becomes patient because the destination is finally reached.

Impatience, however, can have great costs. How much has impatience in people’s lives led to things that could have been but never were: a true friend lost because five minutes of conversation could not be spared; poor marks in school because of a lack of attention to instructors and instructions; immeasurable and uncountable opportunities gone by the wayside because judgment, anger and anxiety among other byproducts of impatience prevented people from ever knowing they existed.

People Waiting in OfficeIn contrast, how much is there in our lives that our patience has benefited us? Our true loves, cherished friends, close confidantes and other rewarding relationships nurtured through mutual listening, empathy and unconditional acceptance; a finished project at work whose success is owed to perseverance and attention to detail; a major breakthrough with a withdrawn child because of unwavering parental love, understanding and patience.

‘The Art of Intelligent Waiting’

Impatience, it is clear, is not an emotion that befalls only an unfortunate few. It may be true that there is a lot of impatience in some people, but there is a little impatience in all people.

Institute of HeartMath Founder Doc Childre characterizes patience as “the art of intelligent waiting” – waiting with purpose, positive intention and a sincere belief that waiting is an important element in the unfolding of all things.

“Patience is the practice of maintaining a state of inner ease and resilience when you are tempted to be impatient,” Doc says, “especially when the mind wants to force results, rather than remain in flow.

“Impatience is an invitation to frustration, shallow discernment, and faulty choices. With a little heart-focused intention and practice, we can effect a makeover by replacing impatience with patience – the secret sauce in the recipe for flow. When our hearts truly commit to becoming patient, then our minds will cooperate, surrender their resistance and take purposeful steps to manifest it.”

Although we may not always consciously acknowledge when we have slipped into impatience, this emotion certainly is not an involuntary one. There is no Man Waiting in Trafficreason we cannot opt to be patient in myriad situations throughout our busy days. Here are some common examples:

  • Encountering a neighbor, colleague or other acquaintance while on our way to the office, store, a meeting or other place.
  • Driving in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Waiting on that seemingly endless spinning wheel on the computer screen.
  • Listening to someone tell a long story about something that happened to him or her.
  • Fidgeting or clock-watching near the end of the work or school day.

Think of a time when you grew impatient in any of the situations above. Did you tell yourself, “I don’t want to be here,” or “I don’t have time for this.” How much effort would it have taken if you had gone to your heart instead and told yourself, “I have a choice. I don’t have to be impatient. I can make peace with this situation.”

“The greatest ideas in history often came to light in sudden bursts of inspiration. Then patience prepared them for the world.”

Patience through Inner Ease

Man MeditatingEven individuals who meditate and use heart tools still may experience some impatience, but these are practices that can diminish our impatience to a mild or hardly perceptible feeling that we can simply acknowledge and let go.

A primary goal of such practices should be to access your personal space of inner ease, where choosing not to be impatient comes more naturally and quickly.
“The state of ease is a refuge,” HeartMath’s Doc Childre writes in his booklet, The State of Ease, “a refuge for action in our hearts and minds. In ease, instead of reacting in the same old ways to the stresses and challenges of our harried world, we can take a little time to connect with the qualities of our hearts – love, care and compassion – and our hearts’ wisdom.” (Go to The State of Ease to download a free copy of the e-booklet.)

The state of ease can be achieved within minutes with HeartMath’s Inner-Ease® Technique any time you feel at risk or are in the grip of impatience. When you practice Inner-Ease on a regular basis, you can add more flow to your life and greatly reduce episodes of impatience.

Developing Patience (Adapted from the Inner-Ease Technique.)

  • If you are feeling impatient, acknowledge your feelings as soon as you sense that you are out of sync – experiencing feelings such as impatience, frustration, anxiety, being judgmental or mental gridlock.
  • Take a short time-out to do heart-focused breathing: breathe a little slower than usual, and imagine you are breathing through your heart or chest area.People In Line
  • As you do heart-focused breathing, imagine with each breath that you are drawing in feelings of patience and inner ease.
  • Anchor these feelings of patience and inner peace in your heart. Do this throughout your daily tasks, interactions and challenges.

Remember, the presence of sincere patience means the absence of so many byproducts of impatience: negative emotions like anger, disappointment, frustration and blame among others. Rather than draining yourself and creating negative energy, you can increase your energy and resilience. Sincere patience means approaching situations with a positive attitude, care, understanding and genuine allowance.

The long lines at the store, traffic jams and slow computers won’t instantly disappear as you practice Inner Ease. However, the state of inner ease helps us attune our mental and emotional nature to the most reasonable and effective way for responding to each situation that life brings us.


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Sara, from Institute of HeartMath

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.


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12:53AM PST on Feb 27, 2015

Nothing has done as much to dramatically expand my capacity for patience as getting a puppy. I have to take everything on his terms and teach him new lessons or tricks when he's developmentally ready for them. And, no matter how tired or frazzled I am about whatever, I accept him as he is, even when he is really naughty. I am learning that patience is definitely an important part of love.

10:27PM PST on Feb 26, 2015

Our modern society is too focused on instant gradification. Two recent
university studies indicate that highly technical nations are in a condition of social decline due to the increased "speed" we all now expect from everything. We must once again learn to slow-down and enjoy life.

5:02PM PST on Feb 26, 2015

Just because we live in a 4G world, it doesn't mean we were supposed to "live fast". So much impatience today causes anxiety, stress, poor attitudes... What's the hurry? Slow down, enjoy life and let those detours encourage you to find new adventures.

3:29AM PST on Feb 26, 2015

Thank you

11:04PM PST on Feb 25, 2015

Very nice.

10:07PM PST on Feb 24, 2015

I bought a new printer, and I couldn't register it in my account because they said that I had Gmail instead of Yahoo. I spent about 24 hours on hold, being transferred. I talked and screamed to at least 18 people. 5 hours Fri. I tried twice and one block was over 4 hours. 1 hour on Sat. Mon they called up and that was from 12 to a little after 5 Then they hung up, and my son couldn't print from his PC anymore. So I called back about 8. After 2 hours of saying a I can't do a reset, I found Paul, in India, gave me phone numbers direct to to different departments. This morning I checked my Email. It said to reset my password by going to That still didn't work. I had questions about the ink cartridges. The darn thing shuts off after 15 minutes. We are so used to having a smart printer that when we lifted the lid to make a copy, it was ready to go- it woke up. Now we have to press about 5 buttons. If you want to learn patience- just buy a new HP All-in-One. At least this is what's going on here. Did you know that you can take the color cartridges out and print in just black? That's the only improvement. I wish my old one could have lived another 10 years.

3:40PM PST on Feb 22, 2015

I think patience is subtly related to one's relationship with conscience.

10:44AM PST on Feb 22, 2015


4:36PM PST on Feb 21, 2015

Ty. Very true!

2:53AM PST on Feb 21, 2015

This topic is on my list of resolutions this year. Some good info. If only more people would practice heart focused breathing in traffic!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Signed the petition..thanks for the article

while I said noted, however, i think the saying "as powerful" is a stretch......good, another option…

Such a loving story, great to hear they are increasing, thank you for sharing


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