Cultivating mindfulness requires a little more than just following a set of instructions or guided meditations. In practising mindfulness, you will have to bring your whole being to the process. You can’t just assume a meditative posture and think something will happen or play a tape and think that tape will ‘do something’ for you. The attitude with which you undertake the practise of paying attention and being in the present is crucial.
These attitudes are both needed for practising mindfulness and are in turn cultivated by its practise. Each one relies on and influences the degree to which you are able to develop the others. Working on any one will rapidly lead you to the others.
In a series of small blogs, Urban Mindfulness will discuss the different attitudes that form the pillars mindfulness practise.
2 – Patience
We might say that patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or annoyance without becoming angry or anxious. With patience you understand that sometimes, things will have to unfold at their own pace.
In practicing mindfulness, you intentionally bring patience toward your own mind, body and inner experiences. Reminding yourself that there is no need to be impatient with yourself if the judging mind pops up again and again or if you feel agitated or anxious. Instead you allow yourself to have these experiences. Why? Because you will have them anyway.
In meditation, sooner or later you will be confronted with a wandering mind, agitation or restlessness. Patience allows you to accept the wandering tendency of the mind without getting caught up in it. It reminds you that you don’t have to fill up every moment with activities or thinking in order for them to be rich. Patience allows you to manage stress and suffering while experiencing more calm acceptance of life as it is and trusting that things will unfold in their own time.
Where to start practising patience? One option is by recognising impatience as it arises. Often when people or our environment don’t conform to your expectations: when your expectations and reality are out of sync. Then, investigate how impatience feels in your body and how the thinking mind reacts to it. Lastly, see if you can allow yourself to be impatient while investigating how that feels. By doing that. That’s it. You’ve already taken a big step in practising patience!