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.