Waiting is an excellent teacher: for a few moments, we must accept things as they are. Opportunities abound, all day, every day, so we can’t find much excuse for not practicing!
Today, I waited for the water to get hot for my shower, for the water to get hot for our coffee, for the traffic-light to change on my way to work, for the phone call to go through to a serviceman, for the internet to download, for my lunch to heat up, for a tax‑accountant to return a call, for an appointment to show up at the office. . . it’s really interesting if I pause and list the moments of waiting in a normal day. I viewed only one of them as a gift; I grumbled about the rest of them: they were “irritants.”
Later, however, I sat with a person who was waiting for the results of his cancer tests. And it was not “If”; it was “’What and when.” His waiting changed (for a while) the way I saw my waiting.
Writing this, I commemorate his gift.
The Tale Wagged
Waiting can be irritating because “they” are keeping me from getting what I want when I want it; it’s their fault I’m impatient, frustrated, angry, right?
This way of perceiving delay and frustration is almost universal. To observe it closely as it unfolds within me is profitable. After all, since waiting shows up so often, might it be smart if I get to know this unwelcome guest?
Notice every time the guest disturbs your peace of mind and your charity toward others. Personify the guest; does it have a voice with familiar tones? (“Come on! Hurry up!”) Does he (or she) frown? Condemn?
Waiting puts me on hold. Waiting reminds me the universe really isn’t listening to my expectations; it makes me feel small and unimportant, and disconnects me from my plans, and throws into question all the accomplishments I’m counting on. It’s a good thing.
It can be like automatic meditation, a mini‑retreat — if I welcome it.
Yeah, but how do I put it into practice?
Life makes you wait often. But here’s a few ways for you to choose it on your own.
On your commute home this evening, pass on the radio. Or, tonight, just don’t turn on the TV. If it’s boring, remind yourself that you’re practicing “Waiting.” It’s as though you’re turning down an invitation to a party.
These “parties” will do fine without you, and you’ll do fine without the parties. Stay home. Pet the cat slowly. Let something (worry, for example) fall asleep in your silence.
Can be scary, at first, but give quietness a brief try. Wait sixty seconds before answering a text. Sit in the parking lot for two minutes before dashing in to the store.