Impatience is a common experience in our modern world. We become impatient when traffic stops or slows, when we or someone else is late for a meeting, whenever we have to wait and “do nothing.” Signals of impatience can be both physical; the rapid heart beat, tapping fingers, jiggling legs, tightness in chest or stomach AND/OR mental; agitation, irritation, carelessness and anger. These are often combined with internal phrases of frustration sometimes spoken aloud such as “C’mon already, What’s taking so long? Hurry up for Pete’s sake! You idiot, get a move on! and many, even more colourful exhortations.
This week try to become aware of impatience as it arises during the day. Notice the signals in the body and the talk in the mind that accompany impatience. Ask yourself “Why am I in a rush? What do I want to rush ahead to get to?” See what answers arise.
Post notes saying ‘Notice Impatience’ in your environment, especially in places that are likely to push your buttons.
Impatience is a form of aversion to our experience, one of the three poisons described in Buddhist psychology (the other two being clinging and delusion) that are attributed to and responsible for the vast majority of human suffering. The term aversion refers to our mistaken belief that if we could get rid of someone or something, we will be happy. An often unnoticed example of this is our tendency to rush through tasks we consider boring, such as washing the dishes, so we can get to those things we consider more interesting or relaxing, such as watching the telly with our feet up.
When we learn to bring patience and moment to moment awareness to all aspects of our life, then those mundane activities that we were in a hurry to finish, become more rich and interesting. When the mind is not straining at the leash to pull us forward into the future, then these activities can also be relaxing.
So next time you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam or doing the washing up, see if you can stay present with the experience, receiving it with patience and spaciousness.
Spread the Word
If you think anyone else may enjoy trying these mindfulness practices with you, please do let your friends know by using the social media buttons below.
Image courtesy of Brett Jordan