Unbounded Patience

What is momentous is being patient without complaining
Unbounded Patience
"Be it doctor’s clinic, grocery shop, filling station, ATMs, hospitals or red traffic signals—we usually bump across the lines. Result: the queue is nowhere but the quagmire is."Flickr [Creative Commons]

We are all in a rush. We want to be first. We cannot wait. Waiting is a national anathema for us. We jump over queues. We push over lines.

Be it doctor’s clinic, grocery shop, filling station, ATMs, hospitals or red traffic signals—we usually bump across the lines. Result: the queue is nowhere but the quagmire is.

Apart from waiting on line, we also muddle up when things do not happen fast or do not happen as per our plan. We face acute patience deficit. We want to defeat time and race ahead. Get things done quickly and see the world around us turning as per our desires. But, when it does not happen, we fret and fume, lose our sense and start grumbling and groaning.

In Rudyard Kipling’s legendary poem ‘IF’, patience is one of the attributes that emerges not as a construct of time but honest endurance amidst problems and difficult situations.

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating…

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same…

Kipling actually refers to the ‘commission bias’—the human tendency to err on the side of action over inaction. Many a time, when we don’t see anything happening, we get impatient and perpetrate anything to see the results. Rather than letting things unfold in their own time, assessing what really matters, we defy our discretion and tumble in troubles.

Joyce Meyer said, ‘Patience is not the ability to wait but how you act while you are waiting’. So, patience is not about how long you can wait, but how well you behave while you are waiting. It is the reflection of one’s ability to display good attitude and demeanor while waiting. And most importantly, the harmony of mind per se towards waiting.

Why this patience deficit? Why are we so impatient? Why do we want to jump over? Why do we get frustrated with the plans of Providence? Why don’t we tolerate disagreement? There can be many answers. The dominant one seems the growing neo-liberalism—the epidemic of self-harm, seclusion and social phobia—which leaves little room for value education and negates its inclusion and importance in daily life. The impatience, as such, thrives so easily. Ignorance of virtue, naturally, breeds seeds of vice.

The import of patience is prominently revealed in holy Quran. In a research work, ‘Patience in the Qur’an’ by Hanan Muhammad, it says—“Allah has mentioned patience in the Quran in 90 places.” The various verses of holy Quran depict the value of patience so vividly. In chapter Al-Imran, it declares-“Allah surely loves those who are the Sabireen, patient” (Verse 146).

It seems so ironical that we don’t yearn to be loved by Allah and secure His help since He promises it for those who exhibit patience. We are simply missing out some precious blessings for the want of patience.

Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) said, “It is difficult to be patient but to waste the rewards for patience is worse”. If only we realize the loss!

Is it really so difficult to be patient? Perhaps, yes. It needs determination and resilience to wait and watch the divine designs unfold. Because what is momentous is being patient without complaining. For this entails set of virtues like self-will, humility and magnanimity. It needs generous attitude to let things happen, as the wind blows in the opposite direction. Of course, being patient means wrestling with the winds of time. They say the pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails. That’s exactly what a patient person does—he adjusts with time and moves on calmly. Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace wrote, “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” When people can’t wail and complain, patience is the only weapon to prevail.

Enduring with patience happens to be amongst the highest virtues of human kind. Patience at a smaller level or over a bigger issue, eventually, prevails. Patience forms the basic part of limited freewill bestowed to every human being. From small mundane things to more solemn situations in life, patience is an inseparable essence for living a meaningful and content life. There is no point leaping over the lines and violating the simple rules of such humble life. As such, most of the knee-jerk reactions which may vary from willful wickedness to awful abuse; spate of reckless decisions; impulsive reactions; and circumstantial emotional outbursts can prove to be lethal for self and relations, public or personal. And then, there is no point in being remorseful for taking wrong turns and choosing aberrant approaches over the unbounded patience.

To end with what an Arab poet said:

“Let events flow in their

predestined path,

And do not sleep except

with a clear mind,

Between the period of

the blinking

of the eye and its opening,

Allah changes things

from one state to another.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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