Foundational Attitudes of Mindfulness: Patience (2 of 9)
Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about the attitude of mindfulness "patience" what it means and why it is important.
In the previous video, Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced us to the “first” attitude of mindfulness, non-judging. In this video, Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about the second attitude of mindfulness, that of patience.
Kabat-Zinn starts by pointing out that many a time, we might notice how impatient we get, wanting to get to the next thing as soon as possible. This is as if we are always in a rush to get somewhere else other than where we are right now. Because of this sense of impatience, we end up losing contact with the present moment.
Often, impatience arises when we wish things to be different than they actually are. In the book “Full Catastrophe Living” Jon Kabat-Zinn (2013) writes,
Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time. (p. 34)
So, patience is the ability to approach whatever is emerging in our experience with a sense of calmness and self-control. It also involves a degree of kindness and compassion for ourselves and others because the attitude of patience implies that we do not run away from feelings of discomfort like tension or agitation. As Kabat-Zinn (2013) says,
We give ourselves room to have these experiences. Why? Because we are having them anyway! When they come up, they are our reality, they are part of our life unfolding in this moment. (p. 34)
Further patience is a fundamental attitude for mindfulness practice because mindfulness does not unfold its benefits after a few hours of practising meditation. It is an experiential process of getting to know the mind and an attitude we adopt towards how we live our lives. Which, with time, gives rise to an emergent internal form of wisdom and understanding that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.
As Kabat-Zinn writes and explains in the video,
Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time. A child may try to help a butterfly to emerge by breaking open its chrysalis. Usually, the butterfly doesn’t benefit from this. Any adult knows that the butterfly can only emerge in its own time, that the process cannot be hurried. (Kabat-Zinn, 2013, p. 34)
P.S. The upcoming post will introduce the third attitude of mindfulness, “beginner’s mind.”
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York, NY: Delacorte.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are. New York, NY: Hyperion.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full catastrophe living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation (Revised and updated ed.). New York, NY: Random House USA Inc.