Monday, May 11, 2009

Progressing With Patience

Doing The Best We Can In These Difficult Times

It is not always easy to meet the expectations we hold ourselves to. We may find ourselves in a situation such as just finishing a meditation, yoga session, or having listened to some calming music or read an enlightening book, and harsh realities suddenly confront us and present a challenge.

It is then that we often have difficulty retaining our sense of peace and balance. A long line at the store, slow-moving traffic, or any other stressful situation can unnerve us and leave us wondering why the tranquility and spiritual equilibrium we work so hard to cultivate is so quick to dissipate in the face of stressors.

I have recently found myself to be "short" in conversation with my mother and others, when asked how life is progressing in these difficult times. I just don't want to be confronted by those stressors.

We may feel guilty and angry at ourselves, or even feel like a hypocrite for not being able to maintain control after practicing being centered. However, being patient with ourselves during these times will help us more in our soul’s journey than frustration at our perceived lack of progress.

Doing the best we can in our quest for spiritual growth is vastly more important than striving for perfection.Just because we are devoted to following a spiritual path, attaining inner peace, or living a specific ideology, does not mean we should expect to achieve perfection. When we approach our personal evolution mindfully, we can experience intense emotions, such as anger, without feeling that we have somehow failed. By simply being aware of what we are experiencing and recognizing that our feelings are temporary, we begin taking the necessary steps to regaining our internal balance.

Accepting that difficult situations will arise from time to time and treating our reaction to them as if they are passing events rather than a part of who we are can help us move past them.

"This too shall pass" is a favorite mantra of mine. I can recall waiting for a bus, exhausted and eager to sit, or enduring a hardship and wishing that it would just be over with already. In the same manner, I've often looked forward to a happy event, only to have it end too soon These things do pass in time, and we need to be aware of their existence - lest time itself pass us by in a wave of emotion and reaction.

Practicing this form of acceptance and paying attention to our reactions in order to learn from them makes it easier for us to return to our center more easily in the future. Since our experiences won’t be similar to others’ and our behavior will be shaped by those all those experiences, we may never stop reacting strongly to the challenging situations we encounter, and that is okay.

Even if we are able to do nothing more than acknowledge what we are feeling and that there is little we can do to affect our current circumstances, in time we can alter our reaction to such circumstances. We can gradually learn to let negative thoughts come into our mind, recognize them, and then let them go. We may never reach a place of perfect peace, but we can find serenity in having done our best.

In these trying times, I wish you patience & quiet faith.

With love & light,


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