Patience isn’t just “being willing to wait.” Rather, it’s a general sense of relaxation and spaciousness that lets you stick with your meditation practice through ups and downs.
How Patience Helps
Patience keeps your practice from being a rollercoaster ride.
Patience keeps your meditation practice from zinging all over the place—highs and lows, inspiration and dejection, ten-day silent retreats and monthlong periods of no meditation—until you feel like you just want off the rollercoaster.
Patience also keeps you from being too hard on yourself, making meditation gentle and enjoyable rather than tortured, guilty, or seemingly impossible.
In short, with patience, you don’t get overly discouraged when things don’t go your way, or overly excited when they do—and that helps keep your practice strong and stable.
How to Foster Patience
- Let ambition, guilt, and other disturbing emotions come and go, with a “no big deal” mentality.
- Develop an instinct for relaxation: notice when your mental responses to something are starting to cycle, and just let those responses be.
Relying Too Heavily on Patience
When your meditation practice relies too heavily on patience without the other pillars, it can feel:
- Directionless: “I try sometimes, but I’m not really sure what makes it worth the trouble.”
- Over-casual: “I meditate whenever I’m stuck in traffic, and it works out.”
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