Certain lessons seem to emerge over and over again to pummel us in life, mainly because we’re not learning them. Sometimes it’s greater mastery that’s eluding us, that feeling of still missing a finer point of one of life’s mostly-assembled puzzles. Other times, it’s the basic level of something that we’re simply not getting—over and over again. While many people seem completely oblivious to the fact that there are any lessons in life beyond the “school of hard knocks” kind of stuff, even those of us who are spiritually aware can be ignoring painful issues that we have come here to this Earth to learn about.
One of those themes was bubbling up for me and Kate again over the last few weeks, coming to a head yesterday morning. It was about patience, something both of us readily admitted we had problems dealing with. We came by it honestly, the “go-go-go” igniting fire of our common astrological moon in Aries making it squirmy at best for us to wait for much of anything or resist provocation from anyone.
Outwardly, I seemed to most a patient man. I kept a good professional lid on things with difficult situations, students, visitors, and healing clients at The Mesa. I practiced great restraint, reminding myself it was the spiritual and loving thing to do, even when my emotions were telling me otherwise. I was able to get through long difficult tasks like 2hr hypnotherapy regression sessions, accounting snafus, or assembling websites with recalcitrant computers. People would often look at my artwork and say, “Oh, you must have lots of patience to do things like this.”
My usual reply would be that my definition of patience was “the ability to wait comfortably”, something I readily admitted having trouble with. Wikipedia defines patience as (in part): “… the level of endurance one can take before negativity.” What I saw myself as having was focus, determination, drive, and perseverance; the ability to stick with something until it was completed no matter how negative it all felt. All too often for me though, negativity held the ultimate victory.
I was pretty good at waiting, mind you. I could stand in line for hours for something I wanted, wait through a long diatribe for my chance for rebuttal, or years for our success with The Mesa, but I did it out of perseverance, self-discipline, and perceived necessity, and often without emotional or mental ease. (“Dis-ease?” Hmm…) I could doggedly put up with things or people that challenged me.
Patience seemed to me like little more than holding back. I often felt like a dog with a biscuit on his nose, listening to his owner saying “wait… wait… wait…,” salivating while anticipating the signal to eat the treat. I knew I would get what I wanted sooner or later, but the “how long?” of it sometimes drove me impatient. I was that way with physical or emotional pain. I could endure it if I knew relatively when it would stop, but became fearful and angry when my suffering appeared open ended.
I had more trouble mustering real patience in an easy, graceful way with certain tasks, but especially when it came to dealing with other people. In grade school I was great at waiting for Summer vacation to arrive, but had a hard time waiting comfortably for the kid in front of me to finish getting his drink from the water fountain. Later in life, I got impatient when someone walked or drove slowly in front of me, failed to understand what seemed like very clear instructions I was giving them, or when my species (Humanity, that is–) wasn’t “getting it” with respect to things like the dangers of runaway consumerism, the real price of fracking, the fact that all experience is shared experience, and that things that can’t be scientifically measured are still “real”.
Wikipedia’s article on patience goes on to state that the Buddhist definition of it makes a distinction from the English (Western) version, with patience also referring to “… not returning harm, rather than merely enduring a difficult situation. It is the ability to control one’s emotions even when being criticized or attacked.” As I read it, I understood that “returning harm” could come in the form of physical lashing out, but also as the emotional daggers I mightily resisted throwing. I still felt their sharpness, and that was not patience.
It was often sheer mental and emotional torture for me to be disagreed with or criticized. I felt like I was being “hit” and wanted to hit back. I neither knew nor had been taught any polite or “grown up” way to deal with the emotional energy generated within me, so I generally just stuffed it down and pretended I was OK with it. My threshold for frustration suppression was pretty high, but it took its toll on my body, mind, and spirit.
I steadfastly reserved tantrums for private, or when I simply couldn’t bear things any longer at times when my cup ranneth over. A couple of days ago, a combination of circumstances (Getting a runaround from Verizon on our week long home phone outage and a separate issue with the Mesa account, spending an hour counseling a friend I accidently autodialed when making another call, helping Kate with balky online shopping services, and having every other size cardboard shipping box except the ones I needed.) on top of other issues that had been building for weeks caused my endurance of life’s flow to wear so thin that I erupted into outward anger.
Usually these days, consciously witnessing myself getting angry would have been even more upsetting to me, but in the heat of this particular moment I didn’t even care that I was or what the root level cause might have been. On top of everything else, (or because of it) I had suddenly developed mild conjunctivitis (pinkeye) in my left eye, making my vision blurry. I knew it was all telling me something, but at the time I had no interest in deciphering what the lesson was.
It wasn’t until the following morning that I was mentally and emotionally collected enough to start asking myself and my Guides questions about why I had gotten so angry. I also looked in Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, to see her take on my pinkeye “dis-ease”. In her view, it was all about frustration, anger and “not wanting to see”, pretty much what I had been experiencing, but what in particular, was I wanting to look away from?
As I started to talk with my Guides and my overlapping inner selves asking what I didn’t like seeing, what first surfaced was blame about the behavior of others; unaware people and the deteriorating conditions in the world around me. I knew that things would take some time to resolve through Creation’s efforts as we moved through 2012 and beyond, but I was externalizing my lack of ease and needed to find a way to be at peace inside of myself with all of life.
It didn’t take long to figure out that it was all about patience again, a lesson that kept cropping up for me, but what specifically had caused the pressure cooker to explode? Kate helped me with some muscle testing (Kinesiology) to get a better picture of my inner landscape. Statements about my “I” and inner “YOU” showed that they were having no real problem with patience; enduring without negativity. We came down to the sense that it was the still-young “Brad” component of my Being that was refusing to have patience with life as it presented itself. Being told, “Be patient, Brad,” elicited a weak or NO response, evidence of fearful resistance inside me.
We proceeded to the living room floor to do a NO/YES Guided Head Movement healing for my inner “Brad”, starting with that same statement, “Be patient, Brad”. This led us through a chain of deeper and deeper levels of the issue that emerged as the healing progressed. We asked “Brad” if “he” knew how to be patient, and got a surprising YES muscle test. Was he willing to be? NO, … but why?
My mind drifted to the idea of patience as an energy stream. Where did it come from, I wondered? Could I create it? It felt that way. As I was about to ask my Guides about it, I could feel it flow into me from Creation/God just from turning my attention to it. My Guides indicated that I could generate patience energy, and my other inner parts agreed that they could create it—but not “Brad”.
We shifted to a healing to help “Brad” accept that he could create patience, but my attention was on the still flowing energy from Creation. Suddenly I singled out something that I was feeling within that sensation, much the way one would detect a hint of vanilla within a more complex scent. It was the love component of patience, something I had never thought about or was aware of having experienced in my life.
As I felt my way into this loving patience from God, I had a flash of recognition and burst into tears, releasing old frustration and pain I had been storing for most of my life. This was the potential of patience, I thought, the possibility to elevate it from rough “put-up-with-ness” to an act of love. I was feeling God’s infinite and non-judgmental loving patience with me, what some might call “Grace”.
I have rarely, if ever, experienced from people any sort of loving patience for me when I tripped up, didn’t understand, lagged behind, was afraid, or fell flat on my face. In that moment I imagined what it might look like, and saw a scene of some kind elder gently guiding my hand to make something I was struggling with. There was no criticism, no push for perfection, no hurry. We were in the moment together without time. It was warm and beautiful. It was also an experience I had never had and longed for. That vision started tears flowing again.
When I was growing up, my parents had little patience for anything or anyone, let alone me. They had not learned it. At best what they had for me was limited and conditional tolerance, and certainly not the unconditional love that goes beyond simple “enduring without negativity”. I never felt loving patience in school, through religion, or in relationships with adults. I was unable to give it to myself because I had no idea how it all worked.
Through my tears, I had found the next deeper level of my pain. Not only had I missed out on loving patience, I realized that with its prior absence in my life I had come to see myself unworthy of it. My young mind had no other rationale for missing out on what seemed so vital.
People are pretty impatient these days, especially in our American culture. With instant communication, fast food, next day shipping, and microwave cooking, we have developed a “drive thru” mentality that leaves almost no room for loving patience. Its lack shows up as rudeness, road-rage, paltry 15 minute appointments allotted for doctor visits, “No Child Left Behind”, attention deficit disorder, and a culture that demands instant gratification … or else. Aren’t we worthy of loving patience?
When one of our healing clients states that they feel unworthy, we ask, Unworthy of what? Love? Being cared for? We know that there is a specific issue. Through muscle testing we asked my inner “Brad” if he was worthy of patience and got a NO response. We asked if he was worthy of God’s patience, and got another NO. We also asked if he was blocking God’s patience and got a YES. I wasn’t letting it through because I felt I didn’t deserve it. “Brad” still perceived the vestigial and anthropomorphic God of my childhood who was even more impatient than his parents. I had imprinted a concept of God, rather than being schooled in God’s energy. I was still learning about it.
For my healing, Kate told my inner “Brad” that he was worthy of patience and guided my head for NO (“shaking”) then YES (nodding) as we have learned to do. As I lay there opening to it, many more things became clear. I got a sense of how much energy I had stuffed down in frustration, anger, and fear from the impatience of others with me, resulting in my own lack of easy patience. I saw how surrendering to loving patience was a major part of “releasing the outcome” and the creative flow, and that my lack of it had jammed the gears of my art making and manifesting of many things I wanted.
The more I “tried” to be patient and merely tolerated, the more my desires seemed to elude me, often for long periods of time; the ensuing frustration eroding my patience even further. I realized the enormity of the loving patience exhibited by God, my Guides, and the Higher Beings who look after me, and how hard Creation must have had to work to give me the great abundance it already has.
As “Brad’s” resistance faded and my energy shifted as the healing progressed, I saw scenes of times when I was impatient with others. I saw how we all mirror that negativity back and forth between us; impatience begetting impatience, anger begetting anger. I saw the need to learn this amazing new lesson of engaging loving patience well, and teach it to children, introducing them to its energy to free them from this cultural cycle. I felt deserving of patience, especially from God, knowing that from that higher source it would be infinitely granted no matter what.
Watching what I was experiencing, Kate recognized that she had a similar issue about feeling unworthy of patience. As a consequence she also had trouble with holding on to tolerance without negativity for extended periods of time. On a still and quiet night when her first marriage was on the verge of divorce and her mother slipping into dementia, she had actually heard the oak tree that lives next to our deck speak the word out loud to her. “Patience.”
At times when our positive tolerance for things like a lack of financial reward for our work, people who were afraid of change, and viral materialism in our outer world wore thin, Kate and I bounced impatience back and forth with each other, amplifying the discordant energy like the multiple images seen in two facing mirrors. We did our best to be patient out of respect for each other, but I saw when it would slip away from her, and she from me.
We talked about times we remembered being short with each other or reacting negatively to being questioned or criticized, and knew that it could be different. I had already done the hard work of deep emotional digging. From witnessing my own struggle empathically, Kate’s healing was faster and less emotional. We both felt hugely different. By nightfall, my eye was much better.
At this time of holidays, family gatherings, and resolutions for the New Year, why don’t we all look for ways to practice being more lovingly patient with each other and ourselves. The upcoming Winter Solstice is an energetic window just perfect for that kind of change. In doing so, we can tap into the flow of loving patience from Creation, be buoyed up by it, and spread that light around the world. This is just the kind of thing that needs to happen to make 2012 the pivotal year it has been prophesied to be for Humanity. I’m willing to release the outcome and be lovingly patient, … and so is “Brad”.