Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Ramble - Patience

The word patience comes to us from the Middle English pacient and the Middle French patient, thence from the Latin word pati, meaning to undergo something, to suffer through or put up with something. Patience is a good word for one who aspires to authenticity or enlightenment, but it is definitely NOT a word for sissies.

When we act in patience, we are coping with provocations mild and severe, annoyance, misfortune, hardship and discomfort with serenity and fortitude, and we are doing so without irritation, whining or complaint. When we cultivate patience, we are acting from a place of grace, forbearance, acceptance and quiet confidence that "this too shall pass" - we are resting in the sure knowledge that the Great Round, the wheel of existence and the heavens will continue to turn as they should and as they must. We are resting easy in what John Tarrant calls the warm (sweet) darkness of uncertainty.

Patience is something of a mantra with me this winter as I peer through my windows into the village lanes and occasionally wander the safer areas of the Two Hundred Acre Wood in the Lanark Highlands. Alas, no ice glazed fields, snowy gorges, nunataks and steep slopes for me this year, and passing them by is difficult for someone who is passionate about rocky heights, inclines steep enough for rappeling and slopes strewn with glacial dropstones. I've had a few weak moments and done a little mild damage to myself this winter (thankfully none to the Pentax), and I am trying to cultivate patience: first of all for itself, secondly for the sake of my health, longevity and future wild rambling, and thirdly (I admit it cheerfully) because my surgeon yells at me.

The antique Buddha on the library table is a potent reminder of "what it's all about". Hour after hour and day after day, he sits patiently on the library table with his eyes closed and hands folded, and his message is clear. He tells me simply to breathe in and out and remember that the rocks and steep slopes will be there next year waiting for me.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever manage to "get my act together". Over sixty years on the trail now, and here I am, still just fumbling, bumbling and lurching along. Perhaps I should begin by being more patient with myself - that, it seems to me, is the hardest thing of all.


Bill Bittner said...

Very good article.

And it was a revelation for me to see effect the Buddha statue had on you.

As a former Catholic and dabbler in Hinduism, idols and statues have always been attractive to me. But always in a sense of something you either pray to or to which to make an offering. I never thought that the expression or posture portrayed could be inspirational.

I never had any desire to get a Buddha statue because I figured it's meant for offering stuff like food and incense. But now I want to get one to serve as an example of a state of acceptance.


Valerie said...

Thanks for this. Of all the things that I am impatient with, I am most impatient with myself. That must be the place to start...patience then acceptance.

So much to learn....

Perhaps these are your rocky heights and steep inclines to scale this winter? Be well....heal well.

Tabor said...

Patience is certainly an important goal when we are facing changes in our style of living and in giving up what sustains us. We must look for new sustenance. To me, that is the message of the Buddha.

Debbie said...

This was beautiful, Cate, and just what I needed to read this morning.

A phrase of my own from a very long time ago is, "It takes a lot of patience to be a patient." And it really does, doesn't it?

I smiled that your surgeon is yelling at you. We need to do a little rebelling from time to time too, eh?

Blessings on your journey, dear one. Know that I'm feeling blessed on my own this morning with your reminder that I am not alone in going back to learning to accept myself (too) ... again and again and again.

Love and big hugs to you on this spring-like morning.

Val said...

The Buddha reminds me that with patience and calmness I too, like him as a mere human, can see beyond... beyond the fields I know. I just forget to look.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Cate, what a meaningful post. The comments are special also.
At the end where you say "60 years" and will you ever learn.
Change that to 70 - and your words are mine. Blessings sent to you this early morning.

human about said...

Patience should has no limits and always in heart. Great blog, I added u in my link list, would u add me too. Thanx