Bad-mouthing patience seems like heresy. Everyone asks how can I be more patient, when will I be more patient, why can’t I be more patient? We’ve seen what impatience can do, and we’re impatient to be patient. It’s a nice idea, but so far it’s gotten me nowhere.
I’m so fed up with myself that I’m not waiting for patience any longer. I’m going to elbow my way to the front of the line.
Maezumi Roshi once said, “If we were truly patient, we would never have any problems.” That tells us that all problems are problems of patience. Things aren’t the way we want them to be, and we want to change them into something else.
Patience is undisturbed with the way things are.
Impatience is disturbed with the way things are.
I’m disturbed most of the time, and that means I’m angry most of the time.
I’m angry most of the time. I really am. Are you?
And so I thought, “OK, I’m going to give up on this patience thing and let myself be angry. I’m going be undisturbed with myself.
Can you believe I said that? I said ,”let myself be angry.” I didn’t say, “let myself act angry,” although I still do that plenty too. I said “be angry.” There’s a difference.
When I let myself be angry, I say something like this:
When I don’t let myself be angry, holding out for that halo of patience to arrive, I say something like this:
And then I throw something like this:
the car into reverse and screech out of the driveway
That’s a lot of trouble, way more trouble than I want to keep picking up after, and so I’ve resolved to practice impatience. Radical impatience. I’m going to let myself be angry – that’s it, be angry – because the more angry I can admit to being the less angry I’ll be. The sooner I’m impatient with patience the sooner I’ll be undisturbed with the way I am.
Patience! I’m letting you go.