Patience also contains a wonderful teaching about desire: wish for something, sure, but be at peace when you can’t have it. Patience knows you can’t make the river flow any faster.
I am continually blown away by people’s lack of patience. Recently I was on the receiving end of an old lady’s road rage because I was making a left turn and she didn’t have the sense to drive around me. Everywhere I go that involves being with the general public I witness people being impatience. I see people on the verge of nervous breakdowns as they wait for their carry out order at McDonalds. It is a rare day when someone doesn’t honk at me during my evening commute. I know I am an old man, and I tend to drive defensively, but I am also a courteous driver. If you are trying to merge into my lane I even flash my lights to let you know I see you and I’ve got your back. A lack of patience in dealing with everyday inconveniences shows a great deal of selfishness on people’s parts. We live in a time when people expect instant gratification because they believe their needs matter more than anyone else’s. There have been instances when I have shown patience that were criticized as a lack of assertiveness. I wasn’t being unassertive. I was just not being a jerk. Yesterday I was talking to a man that came to check my home air conditioning. The guy impressed me with his overall knowledge of many subjects. He was obviously well read and educated. I was just trying to establish some rapport with the guy. However, he saw my outdoor Buddha sitting in front of my air conditioner and the next thing I know we are discussing Buddhism. The simplest, cleaned up definition of Buddhism is “Don’t be a jerk”. Remember this the next time you are inclined to be impatient.
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