"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor Frankl
The sea offers a certain peace to me that allows for many of my best ideas to materialise while taking photos. Surrounded by the fresh smell of the ocean, the sounds of the waves the cold fresh moist air, and then of course the way it looks… my mind can work here.
The ocean has always reminded me of an almost human spirited being that I can very easily relate to.
While out on Saturday morning I found a little spot and ended up taking quite a few consecutive images of this view. It struck me how much each image changed without me having moved at all. These images kindled in me an analogy to human emotions and while sitting there the thought went through me that life would be a lot less painful if I could objectively view my own emotions like I was viewing the Oceans speedy transformations happening in front of me in that moment.
This offcourse would require considerable patience. A staying power that would allow one to stay in the moment long enough to experience this viewing.
From the Latin word pati "to endure, to allow, to permit, to suffer or to undergo."
Patience bargains with all human emotions. By lingering in that moment as Frankil suggests we can view emotions and the change of these emotions. In so doing we have the opportunity to learn about ourselves, our way of interaction with others as well as with this world.
Maybe patience does not need to be the constant endurance of pain, but more of a surrender to it. Through the simple act of surrendering, allowing, permitting the feeling of suffering we can move through the endurance of suffering with more grace. Perhaps, allowing and stepping back for one moment brings clarity, a new way of seeing a specific situation from a different viewpoint.
The following beautiful Buddhist story about patience may portray this theory much more accurately than my meanderings:
Buddha and his disciples decided to undertake a journey in which they would have to cross various territories and cities. One day, they saw a lake in the distance. They decided to stop there since they were thirsty. When they arrived, Buddha said to his youngest and most impatient disciple: “I’m thirsty. Can you bring me some water from that lake?”
The disciple went to the lake, but when he arrived he noticed that a wagon of oxen was crossing it. Little by little, the water became cloudy. After this happened, the disciple thought, “I can’t give the teacher this muddy water to drink.” Thus, he went back and told Buddha, “The water is very muddy, I don’t think we can drink it.”
After about a half an hour later, Buddha asked the disciple to go back to the lake and bring him some water to drink. However, the water was still dirty. Once he returned, he said to Buddha: “We can’t drink that water. We should walk to the town to get something to drink”.
Buddha didn’t answer him. However, he didn’t make any movement either. He just stayed there. After a while, Buddha asked the disciple once again to go back to the lake and bring him water.As he didn’t want to challenge his master, he went to the lake. However, he was furious because he didn’t understand why he had asked him to go back again. Since the water was muddy, they couldn’t drink it.
When he arrived, he observed that the water now looked crystal clear. Thus, he collected some and brought it to Buddha. He looked at the water and said to the disciple, “What have you done to clean the water?” The disciple didn’t understand the question. It was obvious that he hadn’t done anything.
The Buddha looked at him and explained, “You waited and let it be. Therefore, the mud settled on its own and now the water is clear. Your mind is like that too! When it’s muddy, you have to let it be. Give it some time. Don’t be impatient. On the contrary, be patient. It’ll reach a balance on its own. You don’t have to make any effort to calm it down. Everything will pass on its own as long as you don’t hold on to it.”
Editor Bryonies Wise from the elephant journal describes patience as an act of compassion toward ourselves and our emotions.
We don’t have to adopt any one emotion as real and solid we can step back and maybe even move through allowing ourselves the space to alter suffering into endurance, permitance, allowing - letting go.