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Positivity in Action: A Painful Patience

Positivity in Action: A Painful Patience

“Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.”  –Leonardo DaVinci

I had never understood the virtue of patience as a curative for the things that make you angry.  I never learned how this most evolved form of patience, is actually a form of emotional austerity, which keeps you from getting hooked by our instinctual angry responses. I recently listened to Pema Chodron explain how the virtue of patience keeps you from “biting the hook” that life throws your way.  Instead of letting anger and resentment be the first response, the practice of patience trains you to hold the frustration, anger and pain of the wrong doing before jumping to make things worse.  It requires courage to not hurt back and an inner quiet, which allows you to hang onto yourself  at the same time.

There are other kinds of patient acts that prepare us for this more grown up version. Lessons that help develop this ability include: learning to wait for someone to finish something that should have been done ten minutes ago or the patience to teach and re-teach a child how to tie their shoe. Feeling hungry and waiting for food to be cooked and served is good practice, just as wanting something badly and having to wait and save up enough money to get it.   Growing into the patience that keeps you from saying mean words with increasing speed and frequency, is a form of prayer.

Today, I had the opportunity to feel how challenging it is to be still when my mind was racing, and every fiber of my being wants to combat the wrong with an equal dose of malice.  Literally this is where prayers become action verbs.   It takes so much strength to overcome the desire to make it worse.  You have to train your mind vigilantly to do nothing in those situations.  Gratitude and compassion feel mostly like a hollow shell with little left to embody.   Holding still with anger, frustration and resentment, and not growing it, feels so unnatural that you lose your appetite.

It is unnatural because when you are wronged, there are so many good reasons to retaliate.  It is not easy to get to this prayerful patience, which isn’t about right or wrong doing.   This capacity for patience lives in the field beyond right and wrong, where things are the way they are.  The question that deserves attention is how long do I want to keep fanning the flames of my anger. How much of my life energy do I want to give to this?

It takes patience to learn patience.  I am happy for all of the  practice I have had on the little irritations.  I am grateful for the many years that I have learned to wait.  It is slowly allowing me  to grow into holding the most challenging patience of all,  the stillness of holding my own anger and overcoming the compulsion to hurt back.

Read more: Blogs, Guidance, Inspiration, Self-Help, Spirit, Wendy's Positivity Quest, , , , , , ,

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

41 comments

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6:19PM PDT on May 9, 2012

Thank you

3:08AM PDT on May 9, 2012

Thanks.

7:22PM PDT on May 8, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:42AM PDT on May 8, 2012

Heather M. you are very wise lady!

7:10AM PDT on May 8, 2012

thanks.

6:59AM PDT on May 8, 2012

When somebody unjustly hurts you, and you have evolved past anger, you still have your life thrown away. Somehow, unjust metaphysical beings enter MY realm and do this. I am quite patient, yet, how do I proceed in a meaningful way in my life? When the lies are thick and neverending and the deceit and trickery never stops, what do you do? How do you move on to a more meaningful life?
I can cut MY carbon footprint, I can eat vegan, not use pesticides, plant trees etc., treat my dog with loving kindness etc., but beyond that? I long for a larger contribution that is sustaining but cannot connect...

5:28AM PDT on May 8, 2012

thanks

4:45AM PDT on May 8, 2012

When somebody intentionally hurts you unjustly the natural response is anger. However if not released it can be a very destructive force. It takes time to learn to let go of anger and allow one greater to take it on our behalf. Love your enemies, is so so difficult but the end result for the one who can reach such a goal must be so much peace and even contentment, surely. ' A person who rules their spirit is greater than one who controls an army.' This I believe.

4:45AM PDT on May 8, 2012

When somebody intentionally hurts you unjustly the natural response is anger. However if not released it can be a very destructive force. It takes time to learn to let go of anger and allow one greater to take it on our behalf. Love your enemies, is so so difficult but the end result for the one who can reach such a goal must be so much peace and even contentment, surely. ' A person who rules their spirit is greater than one who controls an army.' This I believe.

4:45AM PDT on May 8, 2012

When somebody intentionally hurts you unjustly the natural response is anger. However if not released it can be a very destructive force. It takes time to learn to let go of anger and allow one greater to take it on our behalf. Love your enemies, is so so difficult but the end result for the one who can reach such a goal must be so much peace and even contentment, surely. ' A person who rules their spirit is greater than one who controls an army.' This I believe.

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