Meditation can be perceived in more than one way. On one level, it is a tool, because it can help you feel happier and be at peace with yourself, help with chronic pain, combat stress, foster physical health, and make you sleep better. However, on a much deeper level, you can use it as a doorway into the subconscious, which always remains the unknown, no matter how hard you try to illuminate it.
Profound thoughts about your future or past life are mixed with everyday thoughts about what we need to do, buy, see, or take. Whatever you’re concerned about, you’d somehow “wake up” from a trance only to notice that you had spent 20 minutes replaying a painful memory over and over.
Patience in the 21st Century
Patience can be cultivated with the right meditation practice. People often have a hard time cultivating this quality, because our society is pretty much built around instant gratification. The things we want can be ordered online, rush delivered, or downloaded. So, it’s a little jarring when we’re asked to be patient. Yet, it is often necessary.
Cultivating patience through meditation doesn’t have to be seen as a practice of sitting and waiting, but is rooted in being present in what’s happening around us. We may define patience as being with things as they are, as opposed to how we want them to be.
What Can We Do About It?
When you notice you’re getting impatient when going about your day-to-day life, you can do a lot of different things. You can stop and check in with your body, take an upright posture and root yourself on a chair or the floor. For a sense of groundedness, you have to connect with your lower body, your bones, legs, and feet. Check your breathing, and simply focus on breathing in and out. How does this help? You need to cut through the habitual ways that your mind wants to speed up the stream of consciousness, and meditation enables you to do so. Instead of letting the mind start its good old “this is happening now, that other thing’s not happening now, why is it not happening now?”, which eventually leads to freaking out, meditation is there to just bring yourself back to your body and the present moment.
History teaches us about the meditative use of different substances (read: hallucinogenic drugs) by the shamans of different indigenous, ancient civilizations. Consuming hard hallucinogens to induce yourself in a deep meditative state is far from advisable. However, light and relaxing marijuana edibles in smaller amounts are known for their relaxing effects, as well as smoking the very herb.
A fairly simple recitation practice can be very helpful for patience-cultivating meditation. Just subtly recite: “Patience. Patience. Patience”, and you’ll notice that the more you do that, the more you’ll actually start to let your body relax and become charged with that quality. What you’re doing is like taking a mental sword to slice through the habitual reactions you normally have, cutting right into them and returning to your body in an instant. When reciting, the best thing is to choose a number of repetitions and commit to a complete cycle of reciting.
Instead of reciting “patience”, you might want to recite “gentleness or kindness”, depending on your needs (for example, if you’re working in a very aggressive workplace environment). When you finish, just return to that awareness of the environment, but without the habitual speed.
When you notice that your mind has drifted off, bring it back to patience. It will enable you to rest your mind and be aware of what’s really going on. We can infuse any quality that we want to see and move ourselves to a different direction. As you engage in your day, we wish you much patience as well as understanding of the chaotic environment. Stay aware and meditate.