Patience vs. Presence
In a recent yoga class, the teacher read a passage from a book regarding patience and presence. The passage read that patience is often thought of “having to wait”. And that was when I really connected with the reason why I haven’t been fond of this word.
As a society, we are told things like, “the best things are worth waiting for”, “in the end, it will all work out”, “good things come to those who wait” and so on. As I read these, there feels like a sense of struggle has to be experienced if anything of value or worth is to come to us.
I will fully admit, I am a person who doesn’t like waiting. Not for the subway, not in the line at the bank, not for business to pick up, not for anything. Part of me feels like even though a bit unrealistic, we aren’t that crazy to feel this way. That is why we are here, right? To experience life. I feel like it’s valid to have the things we want, live the life we want, and do the things we want because it is our divine right as human beings.
And then my teacher read this passage and “patience” became something new. Does being patient mean “having to wait” or does it simply mean, being present in the moment? Having appreciation for where you are in that breath in that time and space because when you are present, you are free. Free from waiting for anything. Can patience actually lead to freedom from waiting?
When I was in training, I remember my teacher, Rodney Yee, saying that the best way to pass the time is to be present. From a yoga perspective this makes perfect sense. When you are in a pose that is challenging and all you can think about is, “when will it be over???”, if you come back to your breath, drop in to being fully present, you begin to feel a sense of freedom. And then it’s over and you move into another pose. Can this be applied when we are off the mat?
Many of us have experienced the class where we started to move and in a blink we were in Savasana. We may have even wondered how we got there so fast. Was this a divine moment of being present? Was this a divine moment of being patient? Was this total and complete freedom?
Is there a time when you didn't want to wait anymore? I know for me, there will many of these times to come. So, I want to thank my teacher for reading this passage in class. For I now have a new way to be patient, to be present, to be free.