Our first experience in life is gestation, or a waiting period; from the beginning, it’s intended for us to learn patience. Yet, so many of us struggle with patience our entire lives.
When we ‘do’ learn patience, we are able to enjoy our lives to a greater degree. More specifically, patience leads towards enjoyment of:
● Childhood — impatient children tend to want what’s in the future to happen now. They can’t grow up quickly enough, get their driver’s licenses, go on dates, go off to college, or “start their lives”. I remember wishing away years of my life; enjoying myself along the way, but always focused on the future rather than present moment.
● Education — so we’re forced to go to school, get a high school degree, and then we’re encouraged to get higher education; some of us will, some of us won’t. But, how many people take the time to pursue an education in life curiosities after high school, college, or graduate school? Honestly speaking, are you continuing your education over time, learning about all of life’s idiosyncrasies, how the world around you works, different cultures, languages, and ways of living? Are you still curious? And do you pursue your curiosities actively, and in a logical way to discover? So many of us are in a rush to finish school, and we never look back.
● Love — many couples can’t wait to sleep together. Because intercourse is so urgent, many lovely phases of relationship building are skipped, and likely lost forever. For example, an hour of making out, intimate discussions about what you like or don’t like, or sharing ideas, fantasies, or preferences ahead of time. The most intimate connection is foregone for instant gratification, possibly sacrificing long-term relationship success. Due to impatience, sex becomes about ‘banging’, rather than ‘making love’, which changes a lot about your life.
● Parenting — many parents “can’t wait” for their children to become old enough to go to school, so they have more free time. Another group of parents can’t wait for their kids to be out of the house and grown up, only to realize this means they are now older, too, and less able to do what they fantasized about doing 18 years earlier.
● Career — I’ll never forget working at a hospital and listening to the staff have conversations of “only 14 more years until retirement” with a response of “Ha! I only have 8.5 years until retirement!”. This blew my mind; throwing away some of the best years of your life, starting your day at 5–6am, getting home after 7pm with a workout, and repeating 5 days per week for the rest of your healthiest years. My goodness. Please take a step back. This is your life.
When we learn patience — and how to enjoy the process — we stop yearning for death and begin enjoying our lives. Patience leads to present tense, and present tense leads to the perception of Heaven on Earth.
Today’s thought exercise: where in your life are you lacking patience? And, if you learned to enjoy the process, how much better would your life become?
Sent to you with love, compassion, and gratitude,
Originally published at drkareem.com on November 29, 2017.