The Value of Patience in Understanding the Others and Developing Spiritual Relationships
By Adina Riposan-Taylor (Saraswati Devi)
See Adina’s Bio
In the view of living with Pure Intention and an Open Heart, we need to learn to cultivate patience in learning how to perceive the others and relate to the others in a way that is free from predetermined stereotype thinking patterns, samskaras and projections. We live in a world that is driven by assumption – and assumption is the direct manifestation of impatience in understanding and assessing the others. Impatience and assumptions act as hindrances in developing quality spiritual interactions with the people around us, hindrances on one’s own spiritual path, and hindrances to the overall evolution of humanity.
We know impatience is a state of mind – an agitated mind, a hyperactive mind, a life lived in the mind. Therefore, impatience in understanding the other, the person one relates to, the values of the other, the life pattern the other has been building, the purposes the other has been following, impatience in grasping who the other really is, this impatience practically manifests as “re-creating” the other in one’s mind in the manner in which one’s agitated mind wants to perceive the other. Not having the patience to observe and learn and really understand the other, the mind projects its own distorted perceptions, samskaras and current or past life dissatisfactions into developing a fake distorted image of the other – practically, a figure of his/her own imagination – that will become the leading driving force in any further interactions and behavioural conduct.
Rushing into defining the other, jumping into judgement and putting labels on the other, will only lead to developing that “image of the other” in one’s impatient and agitated mind that will further create a vasana, a negative pattern of enforcing one’s own “image of the other” onto the “real other”, trying to “re-create” the other, and thus creating conflict between “image” and “reality” of the otehr, turning this conflict into drama, permanent suffering, unreasonable expectations that are never met, and a permanent source of dissatisfaction with the present moment.
One often met example of such conflict is when one feels he/she really “loves” the other, but what one really loves is the distorted image of the other that one has created in its own mind, the figure of imagination, the projection, while “hating” the real life manifestation of the other that never complies to the expectations built and artificially related to the “image”. And conflict and drama will be there, expectations on the other will never be met, and love will turn into hate and resentment for not being able to “re-create” the other, for not being able to turn the other into the image one created in his/her own impatient and agitated mind.
Patience keeps us in the present moment and in resonance with the Absolute Truth. Impatience comes from the mind, patience comes from the Heart! When trying to understand the others, allowing the response to arise from the heart, rather than to come from the mind and mental reactions, we learn, with time, to break the stimulus-response patterns (the rushing patterns) and stop reacting just like unconscious “Pavlov’s dogs”. Cultivating non-reactivity helps in this process tremendously. Patience is “giving time to your heart to act” – the basis for real spiritual progress and for developing pure spiritual relationships. While rush and impatience in judgement and labelling will make one the slave of its own negative emotions (anger, envy, jealousy, insecurity, pride or frustration), ultimately projected on the other, patience will quiet the mind and will help cultivating spiritual positive emotions and qualities of love, compassion, empathy, that will allow us to welcome the other and perceive the other with an insight coming from a pure heart.
As patience is a quality that is the basis of all spiritual realisation, it moves one from the realm of the ego to the realm of surrender and trust to the divine consciousness. We need to apply this in our relationships with the others too. It may also mean taking “baby steps” in cultivating patience and perseverance in the way we learn to perceive, to know, and to really understand the others. And the way we learn to drop our own projections and escape pre-determined stereotype perceptions on people and the way we perceive the world.
Then, we will be able to really live with a clear mind and engage in actions that lead to positive outcomes, bring happiness in our relationships with the others and eliminate any conflicts. And the willingness to cultivate such patience in relating to the others is a way to live with Pure Intention and an Open Heart.