The yoga of patience, part II

Patience is a quality associated with the root chakra, the Muladhara chakra.  The root chakra is associated with the element Earth.  Earth changes slowly and deliberately.  I’ve never seen a rock looking at a clock!
As I began to write yesterday, patience has an element of faith in the unknown.  When we are impatient, we allow the intellect and the ego to (attempt to) determine our course . We don’t tend to wait and see…we manipulate and cajole in order to secure our chosen outcome.
When one has faith, it’s easier to have patience.  In Yoga Sutra 1.19-1.20, Patanjali describes the two types of aspirants, characterizing the majority as requiring faith, as well as other characteristics.  When there is a deep faith in the course one is following, patience naturally follows.  Why rush? one thinks, my time will come.
Indeed it will.  Have faith, be patient, still your mind and follow your course.  Be true to your heart and your intuition. If in doubt, be kind and don’t fear, wait and see what happens. It will probably be better than you imagined.  Faith.  Patience.

The yoga of patience

Patience is accepting the unknown, indefinitely.  When we cultivate patience, we accept things as they are, for as long as they are meant to be that way.  This does not mean that we sit passively on the sidelines waiting for the sky to fall.  It means that we work steadily and conscientiously on our work, leaving everything that is not ours in peace.
What is our work?  Evidently it will differ from person to person, and we all probably have more than one important task to which we must apply ourselves.  But, if I may generalize, the work of yoga is the work of consciousness, the transformation of matter into mind into light.  Were are completing the process of photosynthesis, which is the conversion of light into carbohydrate.
Our work, therefore, is to become progressively happier, ever lighter.  When we allow ourselves to become light, we effect change on those around us.  These changes are usually just the ones that the impatient person sets out to change rapidly and forcefully.  Say we have a conflict at work:  the yogi meditates on the nature of the problem, turns it around and perceives it clearly from the other person’s point of view, allows the dust to settle, then uses the gentlest words available to quietly resolve or at least begin to resolve the problem.  The impatient person perceives the conflict.  If they are lucky enough not to burst right then and there, they go home and fume about it, thinking of all the cutting ripostes they were too slow to come up with at the time.  The next day, things get off to a good start, but at the slightest provocation everything flares up again and words are said in haste, often resulting in more misunderstanding.  Of course, this outcome is not only the result of impatience, but impatience is part of it.  Yoga cultivates patience, towards ourselves and others.  When you find yourself becoming impatient, breathe slowly and exhale fully.  Then look afresh and see if anything has changed.

What can I do?

Compassion arises spontaneously when sadhana (practice) clears and calms the cit (mind).   By embracing the reality of impermanence, we perceive the true fragility of everything.  Impermanence is beauty – a plastic flower may be attractive and last forever, but a real flower is glorious precisely because it is short lived.
Spring is all around right now.  Awakening, renewal, growth.  The meadows and hillsides are full of blossom – acacia, mimosa, poppy, lilac…  Humans resonate with this sense of renewal, no matter how far removed we are from Nature.  We are fortunate, here in Altea, to be surrounded by stunning natural beauty.  There is a strong seasonal rhythm here, like a slow drum beat, as the fruit trees successively bear their crops, the sea warms and cools, the rains come and go.
I too find myself with a sense of the new, the undiscovered.  I find myself asking “what can I do?  how can I take yoga out into the world?”  The normal route would be to find a place to give classes, print up posters, and then hope for the best.  But somehow this isn’t what I feel called to do. My special gift is my voice, and my special way of practicing yoga is through chant.  I love playing kirtan, singing mantra in the devotional (bhakti) style.  I want to organise fun kirtan and yoga themed evening events for people not into bars or alcohol.  I want to sing to and with people.  I want to celebrate life, live, be happy, be free.
So I am putting this energy out into the world.  World, please send me the place to do my kirtan celebration!


Ananda is a word used in both yogic and buddhist lexicons.  It means pure bliss or joy.  It is often found as a suffix in the spiritual names of those who have attained samadhi and thus live blissfully a human existence (eg:  Yogananda, Sivananda).
I am inviting ananda into my daily life.  I have become aware that at times my yoga practice is a little too, well, serious.  I have a serious side to me and naturally this translates to my practice.  But I also have a very whimsical and playful side.  I don’t feel that this translates into my practice.  I invite it to join in the fun!
I became aware of one fundamentally joyful and mysterious thing today, while holding Natarajasana:  I am alive!  Yes – I am alive and that is both joyful and mysterious.  Alive.  ALIVE!  With focus, I could watch the joy generated by my awareness of my own vitality transform into simple bliss, ananda.
So, dear yogis, let us be happy and joyful and celebrate our lives.  Let’s strive to be more conscious, more aware, more expansive and more creative.  I invite joy into my life…shall you do the same?