Patience doesn’t mean just waiting around for something, bored out of your mind, and sometimes out of good behavior too. Patience can mean understanding something from its point of view. If you remember how hard it was to master simple skills when you were three, or five, and really feel it, then perhaps you can be patient a little more easily when someone is taking a long time to learn something. When you are being forced to wait for something, like a bus or something on its own schedule and not yours, the odd thing you can do is to notice, really notice, what is around you. If you’re sitting on a wooden bench, for instance, look at the pattern of the wood grain, and really study it. Make shapes from it in your mind, and let your mind wander off into imagination. And if you’re not on a bench, look at the people around you and make up stories about them, or look at their clothing, or look at the flowers nearby. When you’re bores, always pay more attention, not less!
Unless you are being forced to wait in a bare, blank room, there is always something to look at, and always something to use your imagination with.
Sometimes when you make a bad mistake, it’s so hard to forgive yourself! It’s because there is a voice inside that says, “You could have done it better, so you should have done it better! You did something stupid, so now you not only have to fix it, you have to punish yourself for being stupid.” And this voice adds, “I don’t forgive you.”
But the thing to remember: it is not the critic inside of you that should decide whether or not you should be forgiven! It’s the God inside of you, the Great Spirit of your inner self that should forgive you, because only that spirit has that right, and never the critical voices inside.
Sometimes, if you fast-forward through a movie, you can tell what is going on in a different way, and there seem to be three kinds of stories. The first kind is where some people get together, have a fight, and then something blows up, and then some other people get together, have a a fight, and then something blows up, and then some other people… and so on. The second kind is where there is some kind of problem, whether from nature or with more people fighting, and other people get together to solve the problem, most often with good results because everyone is helping each other. The third kind of movie is where there is one person that has a problem inside of himself, and he either solves it with help, or he makes everyone else in the movie run around and fix the things he’s broken, and if they’re lucky, try to fix him so that he doesn’t hurt everyone anymore.
Now: which movie is your life? Are you the center of attention, making everyone else walk around you as though on eggshells, working so hard not to set you off? Or do you look for fights all the time, and blow things up by breaking things, having a tantrum, or hurting someone so you have another fight? Or do you work together with others to solve problems, whether the problems are in the outer world, with your friends, or even with yourself? Which of these movies is most likely to end well?
There are so many movies and stories about some bad man who collects and army of nasty things, from commandos to demons to zombies, and wants to use them to conquer the world. Generally, because that is the way the story goes, the good guys foil his plans in various heroic and wonderful ways, sometimes at the last minute. But I have always wondered: Whatever would that “king of the world” do with the world when he conquered it? Sure, he can plunder the riches, but there are only so many of them on the planet, and if he or his armies kill most of everyone, then there is no one to make any beautiful new things, because the conqueror can’t or won’t make anything beautiful for himself. Keeping everyone enslaved and miserable certainly does not work well in the long run. Unhappy people rebel! And there is no way he can run everything: this means he has to trust others to take care of things. But who can he trust? Anyone vicious enough to want to hang out with such a big bully has got to be a bully himself, and has got to want to get power away from the bully as soon as possible, and so on, and so on.
It seems to me that conquering the world is far more trouble than it looks, and most bullies have not thought things through. The ones to watch out for are the ones that have considered all the pitfalls of world domination, and that have figured out how to get things the way they want them so subtly that you don’t realize your freedom is being stolen from you even when it is. Watch out for those!