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Cultivating patience

Three kernels of corn.

A story about patience.

Three young men were once given three kernels of corn each by a wise sage who advised them to go out into the world and use the corn to bring themselves good fortune.

The first young man put his three kernels of corn into a bowl of hot broth and ate them.

The second, wanting to outdo the first planted his three kernels of corn. Within a few months he had three stalks of corn. He took the ears of corn from the stalk, boiled them, and had enough corn for three meals.

The third man also planted his three kernels of corn, but when his three stalks of corn produced, he stripped one of the stalks and replanted all of the seeds in it. He gave the second stalk to a sweet maiden and ate the third himself. His one full stalk’s worth of replanted kernels gave him 200 stalks of corn and the kernels of these he continued to replant. Setting aside only just enough for him to eat, he eventually planted a hundred acres of corn. With his fortune, he not only won the hand of the sweet maiden but purchased the land owned by her father. And never hungered again.

Patience is a form of wisdom. Basically, when we are patient we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things just need to unfold in their own time and manner. A child can try to help a butterfly to emerge by breaking open it's chrysalis but the butterfly never benefits from this. This process cannot be hurried. In life there are things that we just need to wait for. Just as the child waits for the butterfly and the young man waits for his corn to grow.

There is a study that says that we will spend an average of 11 days of our life just waiting in lines, this does not include any other kinds of waiting, such as traffic lights or slow internet. There are many things we get to be patient about. We wait for others, our spouses, children, parents, coworkers and friends. When others interfere with our progress we become frustrated and turn our frustration on them. A coworker takes a sick day and we miss a deadline because of it. A child goofs around instead of getting dressed, our spouse forgets to pay the bills, the contractor you hired takes a month to complete a kitchen remodel that he told you he would have done in a week. The more we become attached to our agenda the more irritated we become, and we don’t like the feelings that come up when we are forced to wait.

Patience is the capacity to feel at home, to be accepting in the face of the tension and the anxiety of stress.

To learn patience you always have to start with yourself.

Here are three ways we can begin to cultivate patience.

1. We can realize that moments pass. No matter how difficult this moment is, it will pass. We recognize and acknowledge the uncomfortable feelings that come with having patience and try to focus on the physical sensations of the uncomfortableness. What does uncomfortable feel like in my body?

2. We can ask ourselves, what really matters? Is this really going to matter in a year from now, or even next week or tomorrow?

3. We can recognize what patience is teaching us. What were we missing by not being patient and what are we gaining with it?

Patience opens our hearts and helps us to slow down. When we slow down, others can find healing and comfort in us. By releasing our attachment to wanting to have life go a certain way we actually realize all the good stuff that is in our life already.

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