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A Portrait in Patience

--by Pavithra Mehta (Jun 28, 2010)


Patience they said was a virtue. Only I wasn't ever quite sure why.

I always saw her as a rather plain-faced girl with a sweet smile. Too sweet. She was wont to sit in a straight-backed chair. Legs crossed neatly at the ankles, eyes downcast, hands cupped in lap, one inside the other- and in this way she managed to turn waiting into some kind of colorless prayer.

Patience- the Artist's model posing prettily for her portrait through the passage of time. But what did that accomplish is what I wanted to know. And where again lay the nobility in that bland brand of immobility?

But now I am beginning to realize that she is not quite as- lifeless- as that :-)
Patience has eyes that are keen and kind and look like they want to laugh. And she actually doesn’t sit still very much (except on the inside) and instead walks, sometimes runs, towards the things around her that are most in need of doing and she does them if she can and if she can't she tries anyway- even when it isn’t really her job and no one told her to do it. Patience sweeps the floor and changes the water in the flower bowls. She attends to phone calls and remembers to feed the dog. And you’d never know she was waiting for something important to happen- because she always seems to be happening in the middle of something important. Even if it's just cooking dinner.

And she makes me want to cultivate that quality inside.

Patience isn't a kind of soggycereal endurance of Intervals or the flat fizzlessness of soda forgotten on the windowledge. It isn't a somnambulist whirling through the night. Mindless of the waking world. Blind to everything but what Is Not.

It's crisper than that. And Real-er too. And so much more- engaging- and Alive.

Patience is a kind of understanding. An understanding that transcends the 'limitations' of the moment. It's a teacher standing at the blackboard repeating A is for Apple. B is for Boy. Day after day to small puzzled faces. Because she believes that one day they will make the leap that connects the sound to the letter the letter to the word the word to the shiny red contours of a classic fruit. Patience is a kind of trust. A trust that does its part and holds the rest lightly in an open palm. It's a farmer sowing seeds in springtime. Hoeing, watering, weeding. Because he believes the earth will do her part when the time comes. And Patience is a kind of acceptance. An acceptance that allows for doubt. It's a friend who holds your hand when you're not sure of the next step. Because no matter which way you go she'll come with you. Patience is a kind of love. A love that is its own explanation in bewildered circumstance. It is an old, old woman placing a wrinkledparchment hand against the cheek of a reckless child. Because her heart is too wise to make room for reproach. Too full to find place for offence.

And Patience is a kind of virtue. I think I see that now.

--Pavithra Mehta


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15 Previous Reflections:

 
On Aug 28, 2010 sebi wrote:

MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, THAT WAS WAY BEYOND MY WILDEST IMAGINATION

THANQ, PAVI, DEAR.



On Jul 7, 2010 Rod wrote:

 Pavi has done it againJ

She has taken a concept that was gasping and choking for breath, on life supports, and essentially inert, and breathed new air into its lungs with her creative skills. She has reminded us that patience is a person up and walking again (and sometimes running), very much alive, and guiding us in all of our daily activities.



On Jul 5, 2010 Pancho wrote:

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all.   Hermana Pavi has the virtue to amplify inspiration, poetry and magic. This is not the first time I've seen how her work produces an avalanche of love. She is the kind of writer, and human being, who gently whispers into the ear of our inner child: "C'mon, let's play! Compassion, courage and wisdom is fun!"   I surrender every time I hear her (and her family's) spirit way of talk/write/silence. Thank you hermana Pavititita :-)   These images here are beyond powerful: "Patience is a kind of understanding. An understanding that transcends the 'limitations' of the moment. It's a teacher standing at the blackboard repeating A is for Apple. B is for Boy. Day after day to small puzzled faces. Because she believes that one day they will make the leap that connects the sound to the letter the letter to the word the word to the shiny red contours of a classic fruit.  See full.

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all.
 
Hermana Pavi has the virtue to amplify inspiration, poetry and magic. This is not the first time I've seen how her work produces an avalanche of love. She is the kind of writer, and human being, who gently whispers into the ear of our inner child: "C'mon, let's play! Compassion, courage and wisdom is fun!"
 
I surrender every time I hear her (and her family's) spirit way of talk/write/silence. Thank you hermana Pavititita :-)
 
These images here are beyond powerful:

"Patience is a kind of understanding. An understanding that transcends the 'limitations' of the moment. It's a teacher standing at the blackboard repeating A is for Apple. B is for Boy. Day after day to small puzzled faces. Because she believes that one day they will make the leap that connects the sound to the letter the letter to the word the word to the shiny red contours of a classic fruit. Patience is a kind of trust. A trust that does its part and holds the rest lightly in an open palm. It's a farmer sowing seeds in springtime. Hoeing, watering, weeding. Because he believes the earth will do her part when the time comes. And Patience is a kind of acceptance. An acceptance that allows for doubt. It's a friend who holds your hand when you're not sure of the next step. Because no matter which way you go she'll come with you. Patience is a kind of love. A love that is its own explanation in bewildered circumstance. It is an old, old woman placing a wrinkledparchment hand against the cheek of a reckless child. Because her heart is too wise to make room for reproach. Too full to find place for offence."

As usual, the muse Pavi have sparked the writer in me...

1. Patience is a kind of compassion.
2. Patience is a kind of courage.
3. Patience is a kind of wisdom.


1. Patience is a kind of compassion.
Because all of us are one as if the Grand Human Family were a grand human body with all its trillions of cells. When one inflicts suffering on others, one is bringing suffering on oneself.

2. Patience is a kind of courage.
Feeling and thinking always about the well being of all–including the British people– to achieve independence, Gandhi spent 2,338 days in jail. It seems that Gandhi had an incredible patience to launch serious civil disobedience campaigns every ten years: Satyagraha in South Africa, Non-Cooperation campaign in India, The Dandi Salt March and Quit India!

3. Patience is a kind of wisdom.

The nonviolent soldier of Islam, and one of the closest collaborators of Gandhi, Abdul Ghaffar Khan said: "If I can summarize nonviolence in one word it would be Patience." To say this when he spent about half of his life (~49 years!) in jail or forced exile, requires a sever doses of Vitamin "P": patience. A masterwork of the Universal Love.

Patience is a kind of wisdom that it is everywhere in the Cosmos. Ourselves are the result of a ~14 billion year masterpiece.

Over the years, I've been using references to the Grand Canyon as a way to stress patience and our individual and unique contributions. I read about the canyon, know the scientific facts, saw plenty of pictures, understood the geological process involved in its formation, surfed the internet  but never been physically there. Yesterday, my perspective was reinforced forever when I smelled the the Grand Canyon. I was humbled by the beauty of it and reminded that the love force, the soul force, works in a slow but powerful way. One small step at a time. Another kind molecule of water, another generous photon from a star, another courageous molecule of air, coming and going, kissing the sediments of the blueprint of humanity to expose and rejoice the colors of our moral grandeur and spiritual audacity...

May our lives be devoted to service of the Earth Community Canyon.
 
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.
Pancho

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On Jul 1, 2010 ritesh mathur wrote:

 nice....really empathetic



On Jun 30, 2010 Neha Tripathi wrote:

Awesum passage....!!  Truly said "Patience" is the trust ... Being Patient is nt dat easy but still it makes u strong n bring a sense of hope in "U".... It allows u to see d world in d form u wish..... Add colors to ur life....



On Jun 30, 2010 karthik wrote:

 

awesome ... now i know why i have so little patience ;-) 



On Jun 29, 2010 Marilyn wrote:

I am inspired by these words. It makes me pause to think that perhaps I am patient, I just hadn't stop to really reflect on the simplicity of it. Thank you!



On Jun 29, 2010 Theresa Clarkson farrell wrote:

Patience is a form of action - Auguste Rodin

this I have come to learn.



On Jun 29, 2010 Linda Campbell wrote:

Very beautiful, just what I needed to be reminded of...thanks. I will continue to be patient.....



On Jun 29, 2010 Conrad wrote:

Thanks for the beautiful statement. I am inspired. Patience is is up there with kindness for being wise. You have my gratitude.

Conrad



On Jun 29, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

I was explaining patience to someone this week, and this passage does a much better job! I loved the poetic approach. Especially these lines: "Patience is a kind of love. A love that is its own explanation in bewildered circumstance. It is an old, old woman placing a wrinkled parchment hand against the cheek of a reckless child." Patience seems to be both a decision and an outcome. As a decision, it is the old woman knowing deep within that all is well, and the reckless child will be fine and beyond anyone's control. It is the old woman's harnessing of her deepest wisdom and picking an alternative from a space of freedom, not desperation. When such decisions have been made over and over, through committed practice, patience becomes a state-of-being, where there isn't a second thought given to it. We are not doing it, we are it. Patience is the manifestation of withholding of judgment. I loved this too, "Patience is a kind of trust. A trust that does its part and ho  See full.

I was explaining patience to someone this week, and this passage does a much better job! I loved the poetic approach. Especially these lines: "Patience is a kind of love. A love that is its own explanation in bewildered circumstance. It is an old, old woman placing a wrinkled parchment hand against the cheek of a reckless child."

Patience seems to be both a decision and an outcome. As a decision, it is the old woman knowing deep within that all is well, and the reckless child will be fine and beyond anyone's control. It is the old woman's harnessing of her deepest wisdom and picking an alternative from a space of freedom, not desperation. When such decisions have been made over and over, through committed practice, patience becomes a state-of-being, where there isn't a second thought given to it. We are not doing it, we are it.

Patience is the manifestation of withholding of judgment. I loved this too, "Patience is a kind of trust. A trust that does its part and holds the rest lightly in an open palm."

The sibling of patience is acceptance. A wise one once told me that the real sign of progress was in the level of acceptance one displayed of others, where one was equanimous with what is in front.

How do I know if I'm being a dullhead accepting what should not be accepted? I've found that wholesome acceptance has been accompanied by love, at a level that is unmistakeable. Dullheaded acceptance, on the other hand, has no expansion associated with it; rather, I've noticed fear.

Loved the previous reflections.

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On Jun 29, 2010 viral wrote:

adding on to the reflections on meditation that Nikki started, i agree -- Though it isn’t its primary raison d’être, meditation is a perfect training ground for developing patience. Take being aware of the breath -- an invaluable tool in meditation. But even if we try meditating with the breath for five minutes , we quickly see how unstable our attention actually is. As a new meditator, it can feel hopeless -- mere seconds go by and the mind is already lost in some memory or day dream, gone for many minutes at a time. We might find that the mind actually wanders much faster in meditation than it does in our more everyday experiences (like say, reading a book). And that’s because everything is magnified in meditation. It’s designed to be that way, so that awareness can sharpen and refinement can happen at a subtler level of mind. Over years of practicing, I came to experience the principle at play here: when things realign at the core, this transformation r  See full.

adding on to the reflections on meditation that Nikki started, i agree -- Though it isn’t its primary raison d’être, meditation is a perfect training ground for developing patience. Take being aware of the breath -- an invaluable tool in meditation. But even if we try meditating with the breath for five minutes , we quickly see how unstable our attention actually is. As a new meditator, it can feel hopeless -- mere seconds go by and the mind is already lost in some memory or day dream, gone for many minutes at a time. We might find that the mind actually wanders much faster in meditation than it does in our more everyday experiences (like say, reading a book). And that’s because everything is magnified in meditation. It’s designed to be that way, so that awareness can sharpen and refinement can happen at a subtler level of mind. Over years of practicing, I came to experience the principle at play here: when things realign at the core, this transformation ripples upward from the depths to the surface, and outward into the rest of our lives. So each time we realize that the mind is no longer focused, that realization presents us with an immediate opportunity to practice a new way of being. And that opportunity can only come alive  -- with a heart of patience.

Wrote up a much longer piece recently on this.

all in all, awesome passage, wonderful recording, and great comments ... melissa, regarding the male/female energy, turns out the author is also female :-)

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On Jun 29, 2010 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

Synchronicity.  I got what I needed to hear and read and practice. Thanks for the gift.-wisdom in poetry.

 

jagdish P Dave



On Jun 29, 2010 Nikki wrote:

Just beautiful! Thank you for the opportunity to open my day with such inspiring thought ...  Indeed patience is what I appreciate mostly about my meditation practice and what most folks in a society who puts urgency first could benefit from in our world.  



On Jun 29, 2010 Melissa B. wrote:
There's a variety of characters to meet on this road I'm traveling to cultivating patience. In those dull moments bereft of activity: There's Calm. There's Smug Satisfaction (i.e., "Dang I'm being so patient right now!") There's Fear. Doubt. Guilt. My favorite is Inspiration. I'm bored and irritated on a crowded dirty subway train folks elbowing each other and ZAP! I'm struck by the beauty of this or that gesture or vivid color or kind or funny word. The key phrase for me in the reading is "patience is a kind of acceptance." Am I getting towards being with the blank moments before Inspiration pops up? I also find it interesting that the author's vision of patience is very female. For me, perhaps because I'm a woman, I find it more embodied by male energy.