Anyone who lives in an urban setting has had to deal with traffic and knows how important it is to be patient when it confronts us. When we’re sitting in traffic, getting upset about the state of affairs is not going to get us to where we’re going any faster. It’s just going to enhance our feeling of aggravation.

Impatience can be very counter-productive because there are some things in life that just take time. Picking a fruit before it’s ripe is not going to make it suddenly ripen. Therefore, an ability to be patient and wait for things to take shape is a very important quality in a person who wishes to experience enduring satisfaction. In addition, as the Buddha pointed out, patience is an essential quality for dealing with difficult people.

It is indeed a fault for one
Who returns anger for anger.
Not giving anger for anger,
One wins a double victory.

He behaves for the good of both:
Himself and the other person.
Knowing well the other’s anger,
He is mindful and remains calm.

In this way he is healing both:
Himself and the other person.
The people who think “He’s a fool,”
Just don’t understand the dhamma.*

This is of course easier said than done. If we accept this as the ideal, we need a way to practice doing it. We need a training regime for bringing the mind back to the present moment where whatever it was that made us angry has passed and ceased to exist. This step is necessary to let go of the anger because as long as we are concerned with what happened in the past, it will keep making us upset.

Through insight meditation, we get a chance to practice the very useful tool of letting go which will make us more patient and therefore, happier.

*Vepacitti Sutta: Calm in the Face of Anger (SN 11.4), translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 2 November 2013

Share this:

(1) Always Be a Diamond, C. Peaceful Families and Communities