Let's see first what impatience is. Impatience is an emotional uneasiness that arise in us when we want to get or to achieve as soon as possible what we want or desire Impatience is usually accompanied by restlessness, anxiety, agony, worries, etc.
There is a huge variety of cases where the impatience arises but if we want to generalize a little bit, we would say that impatience arises in two cases:
When you want to achieve, possess or experience something pleasant or pleasurable, or something important for us. So we want to get or to experience the desired object as soon as possible; as I said before impatience is accompanied with emotions of restlessness, nervousness, anxiety, distress, discomfort, etc.
When these emotions are manifested in us this is some kind of suffering and the degree of suffering depends on the intensity of these negative emotions of which the intensity depends on the intensity of desire; the stronger the desire, the stronger the impatience and all other emotions will be.
In the case that there is a fixed day that our desire will be fulfilled, then the impatience makes us think that it would be nice if we could meet our desire earlier and also makes us to feel that the time pass very slow.
When we want to get out as soon as possible from a difficult or unpleasant external condition, from a disease or suffering; from what makes us suffer physically or psychologically.
When we are in a physically painful condition (due to disease) or psychologically painful one (due to loss of a loved one, loss of job, a failure, divorce, etc.), we want to get out of this painful condition as soon as possible. Since we are in a situation that we don’t want, together with impatience can arise emotions of anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, upset etc.
Impatience, anger and fear
Impatience, anger and fear usually go together. When impatience is manifested, anger assumes first a very subtle state. Anger can take the form of irritability, resentment, unrest etc. and then, depending on circumstances, it can take a huge form. Fear takes the form of anxiety, doubts, restlessness, anxiety and agony. Due to impatience, anger and fear we are in a state of stress, agitation and excitement which is a form of suffering. When these emotions intensify suffering is increased.
The majority is not willing to do something systematically to free their psyche from these emotional disorders that cause suffering and destroy our health and well-being. They accept them as a natural* or normal part of their life and usually try to find superficial ways to overcome these emotions at least for a while. Thus they use drinks, food, substances, pleasant impressions and activities in order to distract the mind and avoid feel these painful emotions.
* Natural: The question that arises is: How can something that creates suffering and disease can be natural or normal? What is natural by nature creates health, harmony and joy. Then how can the negative emotions and all other egoic disorders that create imbalance, disharmony, suffering, inner conflict, conflictive relationships etc. to be natural? The natural state of man is to be healthy, harmonious, joyful, and creative, and live in love and unity with everything.
Investigating the patience
Patience has to do with two things:
· External circumstances and
· Psychological states.
In relation to external circumstances, patience is not to react with negative emotions and thoughts, complaining or insulting and remain calm, peaceful and detached until the circumstances change by itself or by our effort and appropriate action. Patience does not mean that we will remain passive or inactive. Depending on the circumstances we must decide whether to act or not. But since we are in a positive mental and emotional state we can act from a better position and with a positive attitude (optimist attitude, concentration and tranquility) and thus act more effectively as well as we are in a state we can more easily accept the results of our action.
In relation with psychological states, patience is not to react with negative emotions and thoughts when a negative and emotional pattern is expressed in us and endure the emotional pain until it sinks*, trying at the same time, gently, to disidentify from the mental and emotional patterns and observe them dispassionately, staying alert and aware of the inner silent space within (if this is possible for us)
It is true that we haven’t yet the patience as a positive habitual virtue, so we have to practice and gradually to achieve it. Gradually we must develop patience in relation to the external circumstances and the psychological states.
* Until to sink by itself or by appropriate action: When the emotions aren’t strong and we are alert and present enough, by witnessing the mind (thinking and emotional), the emotions quickly fade away along with their associated thoughts.
If we were in a state of identification and suddenly we become conscious that we are in a state of impatience, gently we try to regain alertness and presence and disidentify from the negative thoughts and emotions observing them dispassionately while being aware of ourselves. In this case also if the emotions aren’t strong they will relatively quickly fade out together with the related thoughts.
If emotions are expressed strongly then naturally persist and continue to manifest for longer time. In this case we try to alleviate and pacify them applying an appropriate technique according to our knowledge, understanding and ability, but always maintaining a state of alert presence and connected with our silent space within.
There are many techniques or methods to alleviate, pacify and dissolve the energy of the impatience as well as all negative emotions in general. In fact, the dissolution of the negative energy of impatience and all negative emotions is one of the most important goals in spiritual work.
Three phases to overcome and eliminate the psychological distortions
There are three phases to treat effectively the impatience as well as any other negative emotion and egoic tendency.
1. Preparation phase: Every morning and evening we dedicate time to develop the capacities and virtues by which we can confront and eliminate the impatience (in this case) as well as all the negative emotions and egoistic tendencies. Of course except of the time we dedicate every morning and evening to develop these capacities we practice them during the day.
2. The current phase: We apply our capacities and the techniques we have developed in the case an emotion is manifested and we remain alert to do so moment to moment; we are always alert to detect the movements of the egoic tendencies in our mind and heart and confront them when they are manifested.
3. After phase: Every night we dedicate sometime of our sadhana to make an analysis and introspection in order to investigate more deeply our psychological reactions during the day in order to understand and comprehend them more and dissolve them by appropriate means.
We need to develop the fundamental capacities that are essential for all spiritual work in general and the dissolution of each type of egoic tendencies. These are the dispassionate self-observation (witnessing mode), detachment, the discrimination, the concentration and the ability to be alert and aware of ourselves (self-awareness, Self-remembrance) and disidentify from the mind. In order to develop these capacities, we apply various practices like concentration, pranayama, meditation, self-inquiry, study, reflection, repetition of mantras and names of God etc.
These capacities are very important and are at the center of all spiritual practices. Once these capabilities have developed at a high level is very easy to observe, perceive and realize the movements of the ego in the thinking and emotional mind and thus not allow the egoic patterns play freely and be identified with them; that is, these capacities allow us to become aware of the movement of the egoic patterns from their first subtle movement and thus while they are very tiny waves we can easily stop the process before becoming a huge wave (which is more difficult to pacify); or if we have failed to stop the process in its very beginning and the thoughts and the associated with them emotions are manifested fully, then these capacities enable us not to identify completely with the egoic patterns and thus have the opportunity to act appropriately and dissolve them.
In the preparation phase we also pray to Divinity help us overcome the defects and we develop the virtue we want by doing affirmations, contemplation, visualizations and reflection on the benefits of patience and the consequences of impatience.
The current phase
The current phase is the time when impatience (or any other egoic tendency) arises and is manifested in us.
During all day we try to remain in a state of alert presence and dispassionate observation in order to impede the egoic mind to play freely and thus give it the opportunity to make us identify with it and their patterns. By being alert and present we can stop the arousal of thoughts and emotions in the very beginning and this is the best for us; but if we haven’t yet cultivated the capacity to remain alert and present enough (which is what happens in the majority) then we try to remain as dispassionate witnesses of the thoughts and emotions and try our best not to identify with them (more about how can we prevent identification: Self-awareness, identification and freedom). When we do not identify with the thoughts and emotions these subconscious egoic patterns cannot be fed and thus lose some of their energy. Moreover we can make a prayer to divine mother or to any form of divinity to dissolve the pattern and also to repeat a mantra or the name of God. The vibrations of mantra have the power to dissolve some of the negative energy and prevent the tendency to dominate us. Prayer and mantra are an essential part in the dissolution of the ego.
Actually when we pay full attention on thoughts which are not charged with emotional energy they fade out immediately; when our alertness and attentiveness relaxes then the ego ‘steals’ easily the attention and begins to express itself by thinking along with the associated emotions.
So the most important thing is to cultivate the ability to remain always alert, vigilant, attentive and aware of the silent space within; when we are alert and aware of the silence interior, we do not give room to the egoic tendencies to arise because all the attention is occupied. The repetition of mantra during all day is a great help to maintain this state.
We can achieve this meditative state and maintain it for a long time only when our mind has become pure enough and sattvic and we have practiced intense meditation for many years. Only a liberated one (who has dissolved his ego completely) never loses the luminous state of effortless and uninterrupted self-awareness. All the rest we have little by little by systematic regular sadhana to achieve it.
If an emotion (and the related with this emotion thoughts persist), then we try to deal with them properly. We can apply a very effective technique that I call it one-pointed, discriminative enquiry by which we can stop the identification, and facilitate the dissolution of the egoic energy and pacify the mind. We can apply this technique together with prayer and mantra.
There are also other ways which can help us pacify the emotions: we can make some deep breaths, contemplate and affirm the opposite virtue of that emotion, leave the place we were, we repeat a mantra like Om, Om Nama Shivay, Om Shanti (Peace), pray to God or Goddess Mother to eliminate the energy of emotion, make a positive statement, affirm that we are pure consciousness ever free and peaceful and not the mind and the body, use the method of ho-oponopono, method of Sedona, EFT etc.. Of course to apply these techniques effectively we must practice them regularly.
This is the phase after the manifestation of the negative emotion or any other egoic tendency, in which we work with the impatience and with any other emotion that was manifested in connection with the incident. I shall discuss this issue in another essay with more details, here I will give only a few basic guidelines.
At this stage we work with the emotions and thoughts in relation with the event (or situation) that these emotions were expressed. At night we assume a relaxed position and remember the situation, the persons and the circumstances; along with the images we recall from the memory the emotions and the thoughts in order to investigate and understand them. It is important to understand why these egoic patterns arise in us, how they deceive us, how they work and what desire, need or belief is the fundamental cause that creates them. Discernment is a very important capacity that can help us discover and understand the nature of these tendencies. That’s why we must develop this most important mental faculty.
Since we understand (at least at some level) what happened and why these emotions were manifested in us, we apply a technique to eliminate them; we can achieve this by one-pointed, discriminative enquiry, prayer, visualization, (or prayer and visualization together), the dissolution of the tendency in the 49 subconscious levels, taking Bach flowers, EFT (tapping), sedona method.
If there is a wrong belief associated with these emotions and thoughts we have to work with it and change it. We must also work with the desire or ‘need’ that is related to these thoughts and emotions and which are the original cause of the negative emotions.
Removing desire and emotions related to impatience
To eliminate impatience we must also desire, (which is the root of impatience, and also eliminate anger and fear, the main emotions that always come up with impatience. Remember that impatience arises when we want or desire something or when we like or dislike something (this pair of like-dislike is also a modification of desire-energy) or when we are afraid of something. Remember that negative emotions have desire as its root cause.So, gluttony or sexual passion and impatience go together. We become impatient to eat when gluttony arises and we become also impatient to make love and experience sexual pleasure and the orgasmic pleasure when lust arises. If we dissolve desire and passion impatience also will dissolve as well; desire and impatience are the same energy that assumes these two different forms. More accurately the desire-energy modifies as impatience because wants to experience the desired object as quick as possible. That’s why in order to overcome impatience we must also dissolve the desire which is related with this situation and which is the cause of impatience as well as of anger, fear, disappointment and depression.
The root of all is egoism, since all the egoic expressions or tendencies are just an expansion of our egoism or ego. The ego is the center around of which all the egoic tendencies revolve and the essential nature of egoism is lust and desire.
I desire, I want (pleasure, possessions, comfort, success, fame, money, etc.), I am afraid, I am angry, I am impatient, I hope, I think, I believe, I eat, I feel pleasure, I... everything has to do with our Ego or egoism; everything is a projection and an expansion of our ego of which the essential nature is desire. Thus, if we eliminate the Egoism, the whole egoic tree with all its patterns and tendencies will end up; the same will happen if we eliminate the desire.
But the majority of people cannot work directly with the root of egoic tendencies the strong sense ‘I am the body’ (‘the body is me’) or with the impulse of desire. It takes a lot of preparation as well as spiritual and mental abilities at a very high level to do so. So it is recommended to work with the various branches or expressions of the ego in the beginning, and gradually by regular systematic Sadhana (daily program of spiritual practices) to develop all necessary mental and emotional capacities which will enable us march forward our goal’ the dissolution of ego and the realization of our true nature. Without to develop the capacities of discernment (discrimination) detachment, self-awareness, dispassion, dispassionate observation (witnessing), one-pointness and tranquility of mind, concentration, forbearance, self-confidence, will-power, determination and intense longing for liberation or realization we cannot have a real progress on the spiritual path.