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On meditation and … patience

by Andy Puddicombe

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Question:

Hello Andy,

Though most of the time I am a calm person (especially since Headspace), I can be very impatient sometimes, especially with technology. Since I’ve been doing Headspace, though I’ve been more relaxed than usual, I find that my impatience can lead to some situations where I feel stressed. I was wondering if it’s possible to train patience through some style of meditation?

Andy’s answer:

Great to hear Headspace has been making a difference in your life and that you’ve found yourself experiencing less impatience than before.

This change is no coincidence and it will only continue over time. In fact, experiencing less impatience is a natural consequence of a regular meditation practice. Obviously the journey is different for everyone and the speed of change can vary greatly, but the process usually looks something like this:

  1. Before meditation we often experience impatience, but are not always aware of it and not always able to label it clearly as impatience.
  2. When we begin meditation, we tend to see things a bit more clearly and may even think we are experiencing more impatience(!). Obviously this is not the case, it is simply a matter of having more clarity and being able to identify it as impatience.
  3. As we continue to meditate on a regular basis, not only do we tend to become more clear about our feelings, but those which trouble us the most tend to decrease as our resistance toward them lessens.

The most important aspect to remember throughout is that patience is not something we need to develop. Instead, we need to learn how to let go of impatience. This may sound like the same thing, but it’s actually quite different.

Patience is an inherent part of a calm and clear mind. If we know this, if we understand it, then we do not try to “create” patience; instead we simply let go of the noise and our involvement in that activity and thereby experience patience. In this scenario we can say that the absence of impatience has led to the experience of patience.

However, if we feel that we need to try and “create” patience, then we will likely feel more stressed about the process, perhaps spend a lot of time thinking about the process, possibility and potential, and may even create more impatience in the mind.

Hope this is helpful.

Warm wishes,

Andy

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace. In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten-year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India. His transition back to lay life in 2004 was no less extraordinary. Training briefly at Moscow State Circus, he returned to London where he completed a degree in Circus Arts with the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama, whilst drawing up the early plans for what was later to become Headspace.