Patience: The Secret Pathway To Happiness


In self-compassion circles and throughout the history of advanced meditators, patience is a well-known secret pathway to happiness.  However, it is not what you think.  When I explain this to patients and colleagues, they quickly imagine themselves slowly dying in a line that spans miles.  This is not my idea of patience.  It is my idea of punishment.  The only thing that will give you is another opportunity to show that you can endure suffering.

Patience is actually the active management of waiting time for something you seek intentionally.  The waiting period, if you like.  This waiting time is precious, and can be used to garner so many riches or can be lost to the distraction gremlins.

Why Do We Need It?

Have you ever wondered why we need patience?  The simple answer would be because in life we must wait for things, and because we appreciate that which we attend.  A deeper answer would be that we need that time to recharge, and rejuvenate our bodies. 

Think about it.  If you spent your entire life pursuing and acquiring without any break, you would surely live a fatigued, and stressed life.  You would also never have time to reflect on what you desire most, and therefore would likely never attain it.

So, patience is a time of rest, and a time for reflection.  With the active rest of using the red caboose technique, following our breath, or simply saying the self-compassion phrases, the body and brain have time to unload that which burdens them, and recharge.  This rejuvenation allows us the opportunity to pursue life (family, exercise, hobbies, work) with greater ease and more gumption.  We also take this time to reflect a little bit about what matters most to us, and if we are oriented towards those goals, and have what it takes to reach them.

Three Ways To Maximize Your Patience/Waiting Time

Here are 3 quick steps to maximize your waiting time/patience.  First, choose a rejuvenating technique (e.g., following your breath, walking meditation, red caboose, biofeedback breathing), and engage in it for 5-10 minutes.  Second, get out a notepad and write down your three most important goals.  Third, write down the time and means that you have available to reach those goals.  If you have not found the time and means to achieve these goals, take the time to note each of these for your three goals.  Congratulations, patience/waiting time optimized!

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 161.  In The Books.