On Patience and Pride

Tao lang ako


May hangganan ang pasensiya,


Pag ito naubos


Alam mo na ang mangyayari


Kundi pa, pwes malalaman mo na ngayon. 

 

This is what I wrote in an old blog. I still say this once in a while. Okay, often!

A lot of yogins say that they have become patient since they started their practice. I am not one of them. At least twice in different occasions Teacher Pio remarked “impatient ka” and it was not in the context of doing asanas.

Lord, I want to grow in patience…now na! – an impatient person’s prayer.

I am impatient but not in the bratty way as this prayer shows. Not that I want things right away—I know certain things take time such as ripening of a fruit—but I just could not stand inefficiency (e.g. I have to queue longer than I think I should only because all the clerks are attending to the needs of one customer), inattentiveness (e.g. I have to repeat my statement because the other party is not listening), and, as Teacher puts it, “third-class intelligence” (e.g. people keep doing what you keep telling them not to do, never learning from their mistakes). And whenever these scenes turn into heated arguments, I usually end them with a sigh and rolling of eyes, or with my favorite line: Ubos na ho ang pasensiya ko (I have lost my patience already.).

Teacher: But what does that statement really mean?

Student: I give up.

Teacher: Uh-hu…because you have extended all your patience, now you have nothing more to give. Extending patience is exercising compassion. You’ve run out of patience so it means you have given all your compassion. Isn’t that selflessness?

Student’s thought bubble: Hmmm…maybe a new way of looking at it….

Teacher: But patience is never lost. The more you give it or use it, the more you grow in that virtue. You give 100 percent of your patience and get 110 percent or more in return.

Patience is like knife. If you don’t use it, it’ll grow dull in its place. On the other hand, frequent use will just make it sharper.

Student: Ah….

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Last week I watched Al Jarreau and George Benson’s concert “Giving It Up.” Wow, what a gift of music they have! They sang “The Greatest Gift of All” and to my surprise, the song had a new meaning to me that night.

 

I believe the children are our are future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride 

 

I remembered my nine-month-old niece, Sarah. Whenever strange noise disturbs her (and that includes the sound of her sneezing and coughing) we always assure her that “it’s okay.” That’s enough to put her back to sleep or to let her continue playing. Whenever she achieves something (like reaching her ball or burping really well), we never fail to commend her with “good job!”

I wonder if adults could do the same thing with one another, that is, commending one another’s good work no matter how “small” or seemingly insignificant it is. Especially us Filipinos, we tend to be more generous with criticism than with appreciation. Ah, our infamous crab mentality! Sometimes we do not show appreciation simply because we are not/cannot be happy for other people or because we perceive them as a threat. Sometimes we refuse to show appreciation in our fear that it will make the other person proud, in effect feeding his/her “false ego.”

Just how many of us have come up to our yoga teachers and told them how good they are in our session today, for example? We may think they know it already or that they do not need to hear it. The truth is, they do because like us, they are only human.

On the other hand, how quick are we to complain about the pace of the class being too slow or too fast, or about not getting adjusted in poses or not learning new asanas or having the same old routine again or…(I can go on and on)? The same way, some teachers do not know how to give their students compliments, if only for the sake of building their confidence. At times I’d hear students say “parang wala na akong ginawang tama (as if I haven’t done anything right).” But then again, you cannot give what you do not have. And there goes the cycle.

If we do not show or tell a person (especially our children and the members of the next generation) his/her value, sooner or later, he/she would doubt what he/she is really worth. One might turn out to be an insecure person, unable to exercise sound judgment and make decisions, to take actions, to get out of unpleasant even abusive situations, to fight for one’s right, to stand up for one’s beliefs…or one might turn out to be a braggart, telling the whole world everything about oneself in an attempt to gain the much sought after affirmation. And if we do not put an end to this cycle….

 

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows

If I fail, if I succeed

At least I’ll live as I believe

No matter what they take from me

They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all

Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all 

 

That’s sense of pride. Unfortunately we often equate this word with sin, so let me just call it “confidence”. Confidence is valuing oneself, one’s character, life, efforts, or achievements; the “unhealthy pride” or “false ego” is valuing oneself relative to one’s perception of the others.

Just like poverty, belittling oneself (or “false humility”) does not earn one good karma.

And let us not make giving of affirmation or appreciation a mere lip service…sometimes we need to put our money where our mouth is.

 

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One thought on “On Patience and Pride

  1. Hmm…I’ve always seen people who complain as “triggers for improvement.”
    They pay the price for the next group of individuals to enjoy a better version of what was originally complained about. Progress.

    I too have that impatient quality, I trace it to AIM training. I like it because instead of just barking out impatience, I kind of influence things to go in a more progressive direction. I think that’s an exercise of true patience, when you coax things to move a certain way.

    So I pray you continue to embrace your “impatient” side…this world needs more people like that so that generations may be blessed.

    And as for affirmations, yes it’s nice to get that externally…but I find the best ones to be coming from inside.

    Namaste.

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