One of my mother’s favourite sayings which she likes to use on a regular basis is, “Patience is a virtue!” I can still hear her saying it (no, make that singing it). She always reminded me of the virtue in that sing-songy parable-like, here’s the lesson of the day voice. The irony is that although she, by her own admission, is impatient, she believes it to be a virtue and an admirable quality to have, nonetheless! One of those cases of “Do as I say, and not as I do.”
My patience is being tested repeatedly recently – it’s like a constant tumor that keeps asserting itself on my awareness asking for me to correct. One of my triggers is the dreaded automated, “taking-you-through-9-options” recording. How is waiting for endless prompts faster service? Today, for example, I have already wasted over an hour troubleshooting with Dell on a hardware problem I’m having. After being raped with muzak for 20 minutes I had to resort to the only other option, Dell chat support, which proved to be another huge button pusher. I got to start over from scratch and try to explain what was going on as my full artillery of fingers slamming on the keyboard in frustration and impatience. I have the entire log of our chat which took an hour and ten minutes of my time, the result of which was complete and utter failure – zed success. My chat operator then apologized for the lack of resolution and referred me to yet another number. In an effort to determine whether this entire chat session had been computer or robot-generated I threw in a few provocative remarks such as, “Aaagh, I’m going to shoot myself in the face, I hate computers!” The person assured me I was talking to a human being, but did not seem to have a sense of humor around my provocations. Curious.
So here I am calling up on extraordinary reserves of patience to get through the day in a productive way. I am about to get back on the phone to continue to try to resolve the issue, but it is a real challenge to be mindful about not reacting or go on a tangent about the person’s obvious incompetence. Is it this person’s fault on the other end of the phone I”m having difficulties or is this a test for me to transform my impatient-I’m-the-Center-of-the-Universe nature?
Post offices, banks, airports, automated telephone options and tech support lines. They are all my archenemeses. Or perhaps they are still coming into my awareness simply because I have not transformed what needs to be transformed yet. Before I get on the phone and get bent out of shape about wasting more time I’m going to perceive this as an opportunity to be kind and patient and to assume that this person wants to help and is doing everything they can to do that.
Eradicating unsavory negative traits must first come with awareness of them. I think it’s safe to say I am acutely aware of them right now. In order to be patient I think one has to relinquish a certain amount of control around events as well. Impatience and a need to control are so closely related. To be patient requires that we acknowledge we are not the sole force exerting its will or creation in the universe. There are other forces and energies coming into play. By inserting patience we are allowing for a bigger picture or projection. By point of fact, we don’t know why things may need to take longer or why something isn’t happening so smoothly or on our own personal time clock.
A friend of mine told me a story about how she was waiting in line at the bank and the teller was moving extremely slowly, chatting up with other co-workers as she stood waiting and fuming getting increasingly distressed. She wanted to leave soon to get downtown so she could start shopping and start her day. Finally she left the bank and as she missed the bus having been delayed, she got a call on her cell phone. A friend of her was two blocks away in the hospital and had apparently tried to kill herself. She asked my friend to stop by right away that she really needed to talk to her. While the drama of the world stage isn’t always so obvious, the lesson was. We don’t always see the big picture when it comes to the workings of the universe. To be patient is to accept that our will for a certain situation is not necessarily the higest one and to trust that at the very least, exerting patience when it doesn’t feel natural is a step towards eliminating our Ego.
That said, I’m going to go for a walk and get a coffee and come back a beacon of patience and humility as I greet the next test of patience in my day. Or, I could try this.