Do you have the patience to wait til your mud has settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself? - Lao Tzu
Slow and steady wins the race. Or does it? In this dot com era, it seems the hare triumphs. We learn that patience is a virtue. But why? What is the purpose of walking like a tortoise while the hares dart by us? Is this “patience is a virtue” statement a way for those in power to keep us down? What’s going on here?
When we’re being impatient, we’re slamming around, throwing our weight this way and that, but we’re not going anywhere. And we’re getting increasingly frustrated. We lash out at ourselves and those around us. We ignore people, pets and tasks important to us. This frustration hurts us and our relationships. There’s a small possibility that we’ll get lucky and slam through to the finish line unexpectedly. But even that will have unwelcome side effects as we live in a constant state of reaction.
Lao Tzu likens patience to letting the mud settle and the water become clear. As we wait, we watch our mud. Eventually, we see it spinning in turmoil. We realize … this is not the time to make a decision, to take action. We must watch for longer. In time, the mud settles. There is clarity. Organically, right action becomes apparent. Then we can proceed with confidence, without second-guessing. Our passion has a clear path now and all we need to do is follow it, welcome it.
We can think of the ways we act when we’re slamming around, frustrated, lashing out and ignoring. What suffering that causes in us and those around us! Practicing patience allows us to maintain our relationships to our friends, family, work, coworkers, pets and even strangers. Yoga reminds us to take a breath, become present, focus and stay steady. It’s not a race. It’s a practice. Everything’s a practice.