Although each of the 100+ strens in this series contribute to creating a joyous, meaningful life, today’s wisdom, “The Importance of Patience” and the following, “The Secret of Acquiring Patience,” are among the most powerful I have to offer.
We require patience to pursue the common sense solutions that are necessary for long term benefits. Patience is critical for teaching ourselves the wisdoms that free us from dictators and for wisely self-managing our creative power. Patience is also the means by which we come to value prevention and thereby spare ourselves the need to repair damage from impulsive actions. Prevention is action we take now to convert a future negative event into a non-event. Since future non-events are seldom rewarding, we require considerable patience to initiate preventive action.
Every newborn expresses the “impatient” motto, “I want what I want when I want it.” The immature mind divides the world into two entities, “me” and “not me.” A baby is helpless and requires that every need be provided; crying loudly and angrily for as long as it takes to get attention is one of the universal hallmarks of impatience. Our work-in-progress is transforming ourselves from a demanding, self-centered crybaby into a powerful and wise creator.
Patience is the voluntary decision to forgo immediate reward or to tolerate stress because we understand that an alternative action brings us preferable lasting future benefits. Patience involves applying common sense wisdom to knowledge. We imagine alternative courses of action, apply logic to choose from among them, and then devise a preferred course of action to reach the future goal. Patience is the mother of good judgment. Resignation, on the other hand, implies passively submitting to authority other than our own. For example, instinct and tradition demand that we automatically follow their directions even when they are not supported by common sense. Instinct and tradition are powerful dictators because they are hard-wired with emotion. Common sense intelligence is supported by logic; logic is devoid of emotion. This is why instinct and tradition usually dominate intellect until we attach emotion to common sense thinking.
Instinct pre-wires us during the nine months that precede our birth. We inherit a vast repertoire of the trial-and-error behaviors that have survived virtually every test nature has created over billions of years. Instinct’s pre-wired commands to protect our self and our tribe irrespective of the harm to others, along with our superior intelligence, explains why we are among the 2-3% of earth’s creatures that have avoided extinction through the ongoing drama of creation. Instinct advocates the mindless emergency survival of the fittest and fight or flight responses that were successful in a primitive environment.
Tradition consists of the tried and true solutions that our ancestors proved were effective to solve yesterday’s problems based on yesterday’s knowledge. From birth through the two or three decades we require to free our thinking from fate and circumstance, we submit to whatever programming our nurturers make of us. Tradition determines our language, which country, religion, and political view constitute “our” tribe, our gender behavior, and even what we are supposed to think.
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