The past six weeks have been instrumental in teaching me patience. Normally, I’m a very patient person, but every once in a while an event raises its head and says, “Hold still, son, you have a lot to learn about patience and the wonderful things that could happen when you learn the secret of waiting.”
Now, I must let you know that patience has not always been my strong point. In the days of my youth, I have been known to make quite a fuss when things did not move with the speed I wanted or expected.
Much as I have overcome most of the impulse to rant and rave when things don’t get done as promised, I still have vestiges of hidden pockets of impatience somewhere deep within me.
My office runs through the proper use of computers and their associated systems. Sometime over the last several weeks, my main computer ceased functioning and the manufacturer promised to fix it. What started out as a simple matter evolved into an extremely complex situation.
Every day, I spoke with the computer company and they promised that the repair would be done within days. About two weeks into the frustration, I was told that the replacement part could not be found and so they would have to give me a brand new machine. Naturally, I was delighted that I would now get a replacement with all the bells and whistles.
The promise was that within a week, the new machine would be shipped. When a week came and went without the computer arriving, I found my frustration level rising to uncommon heights. Strange visions of writing a thousand letters to the manufacturer’s corporate executives, or bashing the ailing computer with a baseball (or cricket) bat at high noon, with local and national press coverage crossed my mind.
I remembered, only too well, that an old, wise man had said that the last test of the master was overcoming impatience. But I was in no mood for masters or overcomings. The bumper sticker I saw on a car long ago described my deepest feelings. The sticker pictured a vulture sitting on a branch of a dead tree, sweat pouring from his head. The caption read: “Patience, my ass, I want to kill somebody”.
I thought of the bumper sticker and smiled. Since I had been waiting for over two weeks, one or two more days won’t make much difference. But the urge to take drastic measures came back in a few days when no new computer arrived.
Many times, in a rush to get from here to there or to do this or that, we make ourselves prisoners of time. Being a prisoner of time could be as terrible as being a prisoner in a dungeon. We make ourselves prisoners of time when all we do is rush to work, or rush here and rush there. We miss so much in life by rushing.
Somehow, the world passes us by, during our rushing and we wake up five, ten, or twenty years later and wonder where all the time has gone. Our children have grown up, our old jobs no longer exist, some of our friends have gone to another dimension and yet, the sun still rises.
If we were to slow our pace a bit and flow with the river of life, perhaps the problem would work out fine anyway. I have discovered that it is counter productive to force things to happen. It is much better to create a climate where we allow the things we want to occur.
With that in mind, I decided to let go of my attachment to outcomes. I was not going to fume and fret if my new computer did not arrive as promised. After all, I had been using my backup machines for a few weeks without undue hardship. What difference would another week or two make, anyway?
With those thoughts, I went about doing my work. Then, a few days later, I received an email which said that my new computer was being shipped the next day. All the proper specifications for the computer were in the email. The computer would be a brand new machine with the exact specifications of the old one. I was pleased — very, very pleased.
But the next day, when I checked the tracking information, I saw that the shipment was canceled. ARRGH!! The vision of the vulture on the bumper sticker returned with a vengeance, but I gently pushed it away. The computer will come when it comes I murmured, and I went on with other pressing matters. I didn’t even bother to call the manufacturer. I had done all I could do. Anything more would have just made me more frustrated.
Yes, the world does speak to us in thunder tones of truth. Listen and learn and life becomes more peaceful and joyous. Ignore the voice and frustration takes over. And so it was that the next day, I checked the tracking information again, not with the thought of getting my computer quickly, but just out of curiosity.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that my computer was shipped, but instead of sending an exact duplicate of the broken model, the company shipped me their most advanced machine that had just been released to the market a few days earlier. I would have waited a few months, if necessary, for that model. It was much more advanced than the old model I should have received. When the machine arrived, I smiled and said, “Thank you”, to no one in particular.
Perhaps, it was releasing the constraint of time from my consciousness that precipitated this outcome. The universe speaks to us in many ways. Many times, like impatient children, we want what we want and we want it now. But the universe has a way of saying, “I know what you want, my child, and I know that you want it now. But if you would wait just a little while longer, I will give you something much better than what you think you want.”
Strive to become free from the hustle and bustle of daily living. Release yourself from being a prisoner of time. In doing so, you’ll find that things have a magical way of working themselves out and that where there’s a “good” there’s a “better”. And where there’s a “better”, there’s a “best”. The universe wants you to have the best. Give it an opportunity to bring your “better” or “best”.