In this week’s Torah portion, Moses speaks to the enslaved Jewish people in Egypt and tells them that they will be delivered from slavery and redeemed through wonders by
They don’t listen to him. They are impatient. They are exhausted from bondage.
The Ramban explains that they were so worn down that they didn’t even have the strength to listen to Moses speak, even if it were about their upcoming redemption!
While we probably can’t relate to being slaves in Egypt, we can all relate to being impatient, we have all reacted impatiently to situations. If you're impatient, you may make rash decisions with negative consequences.
What can we do when we are impatient?
I didn’t realize how impatient I was until I started meditating and was frustrated that it wasn’t going “better.” Why couldn’t I focus? Why were thoughts bombarding me whenever I sat down to meditate?
I had expectations that I would get the hang of it more quickly, and those expectations fostered disappointment. I thought about giving up.
Until one of my teachers wisely advised me to try to be okay with whatever experience I was having during my meditation practice. She told me not to fight it, and to notice the impatience and where I felt it in my body.
Learning patience takes practice, and part of it is also learning how to be compassionate with oneself. We can learn how to transform impatience into patience through accepting things in our life by focusing on the present moment.
Does that mean we just accept pain, and suffering? No, but we can learn how to accept these experiences by allowing ourselves to feel whatever we are feeling moment to moment.
Many of us just want the feelings or sensations to go away.
By becoming more mindful of the moment, we allow ourselves to come to terms with things as they are, even if our sensations or thoughts are difficult or painful.
It can be challenging for people who are first starting this practice.
Start by bringing your attention to your breath, by breathing in through your nose, following the air to your belly, and letting your abdomen expand fully.
If your mind wanders, just notice where it has gone and redirect it to your breath.
You will probably have to do this over and over again. If you can accept that, you will lower your frustration and become more patient with yourself.
To be truly patient is simply to be completely open to and accepting of each moment for what it is. We can come to realize that things can only unfold in their own time.