There was a monk who was very impatient. You may wonder, why would a monk be impatient? Don’t they become monks so that they don’t have to deal with the world? Yes, that’s true. So imagine how impatient this monk was…
The more he tried, the more impatient he became. So he decided that he must get away to learn to be patient. So he built himself a little home deep in the woods, far away from civilization.
Years later, a man was traveling in those woods and met him. The man was amazed to find anyone living so far away from the rest of the world, so he asked the monk why he was there all by himself. The monk said that he was there to learn to be patient.
The traveler asked how long he had been there, and the monk replied: seven years. Stunned, the traveler asked, “If there is no one around to bother you, how will you know when you are patient?” Annoyed, the monk replied, “Get away from me. I have no time for you.”
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Every time you feel impatience welling up from deep within, remember the monk! Learn patience where you are, with situations that challenge your patience and people that push your buttons.
One evening after dinner the master and the disciple were looking at some photos. The disciple picked a beautiful photograph of a water lily, held it in his hands, and gazing upon it, asked, “Tell me master, how were you able to take such a splendid picture?”
With a smile, the master replied, “Well, I had to be very patient and very attentive. It was only after a few hours of compliments that the lily was willing to let me take her picture.”
Source | Based on a story told by Henri Nouwen in
Clowning in Rome (Image, 2000) page 87
Our difficult and very urgent task is to accept the truth that nature is not primarily a property to be possessed, but a gift to be received with admiration and gratitude. Only when we make a deep bow to the rivers, oceans, hills, and mountains that offer us a home, only then can they become transparent and reveal to us their real meaning.
Due to very bad weather, many flights, inbound and outbound, were delayed. At the airport counter there was a long line of people waiting to be rebooked, and the gate agent was doing her best to attend to everyone’s needs. Most of the customers were patiently waiting their turn. But one gentleman pushed his way to the front of the line and stated that he simply had to get on the next flight because he had an important meeting to attend. The agent politely explained that he had to wait his turn, that there were a lot of people in front of him. He kept insisting and then finally asked, in a very pompous tone of voice “do you know who I am?”
Without missing a beat, the seasoned agent grabbed the microphone and announced to the crowd: “Attention! Attention! Does anyone here know who this man is? He seems to have lost his identity!” The man was insulted and immediately countered with “Well, screw you.” And very calmly she responded, “Sir, you’ll have to get to the end of the line to do that, too. There are a lot of people ahead of you!”
The whole crowd burst into applause.
Source: Based on Loretta LaRoche, Life is Not a Stress Rehearsal
(Broadway, 2001) pages 11-12
There is road rage, air rage, cyber rage, gender rage, inner city rage, supermarket rage! Why is there such an enormous amount of rage?
Where does it stem from?
Of course, the sort of sarcasm depicted in the story could put any airline out of business pretty fast, but the applause from the crowd indicates that people are excited when arrogance is not rewarded. And isn’t that what a lot of rage is about? Arrogance, self-entitlement, a low threshold of frustration?
A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies and her mother told her no. The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, “Now Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don’t be upset. It won’t be long.”
Soon they came to the candy aisle, and the little girl began to shout for candy. And when told she couldn’t have any, began to cry. The mother said, “There, there, Monica, don’t cry – only two more aisles to go, and then we’ll be checking out.”
When they got to the check-out stand, the little girls immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there’d be no gum purchased. The mother patiently said, “Monica, we’ll be through this check out stand in 5 minutes and then you can go home and have a nice nap.”
The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Monica,” he began. Whereupon the mother said, “I’m Monica . . . my little girl’s name is Tammy.”
- Are you a patient person? How do you practice patience?
- What do you think is the relationship between patience and suffering? After all don’t we call someone who is in the hospital a patient?