Worth the Wait: A Lesson in Patience

There is a natural process that cannot be rushed.  Some things need time to ripen. Though luckily for us, some things are also, well worth the wait.

As my melons grew bigger on the vine, so did my impatience. Do I pick now? Or do I leave them alone? I turned to Google for answers but what I got in response was just a whole bunch more questions. 

Like … What kind of melon? What color is it? How does it smell? How many days has it spent on the vine? Geez! I only wanted to know whether my melon is ripe. A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would be sufficient, I think. 

Which is the kind of straightforward answer I imagine Arjuna was hoping for as he stood in the middle of a battlefield in the Bhagavad Gita. Should he fight like a warrior? Or keep peace like a yogi? He turns to his friend and teacher to tell him what is right. But just like Google, Arjuna is asked to look again. Investigate more and dig a little deeper, he’s told.

OK, I admit – Arjuna’s dilemma was a bit more urgent and damning than mine. Though all the more reason for Krishna to be a bit more swift and direct. But no, this kind of learning cannot be rushed. Understanding takes time. And besides, questions of the heart are rarely so precise.

So no matter how anxious Arjuna may have been to settle the matter, Krishna takes his time.

You should never yield to cowardice, O Pārtha, it does not suit you.

Abandon this lowly faintness of heart. Stand up! Scorcher of the Foe. (2.3)

In other words: Don’t be afraid to spend time with these questions. Be patient! You can do this.

This is a process not meant to be turned so quickly into a solution.

Yet who amongst us likes to wait? Especially in today’s age of information, we are used to having answers right at our fingertips. From news to groceries, we live in a world of instant gratification. So it’s not just that we don’t like to wait. We almost don’t know how. Though we’re learning …

Because this year has literally been a year of just waiting.

We have waited for votes to be counted, a presidency to change, for restrictions to be lifted, to be reunited with family. and for a pandemic to end. Krishna was right – this is not for the faint of heart. Especially with all that’s at stake.

“Contemplative practice is just that: a practice rather than a finished, static entity. It takes time and patience, and with continued practice we slowly polish a path toward deeper understanding.

Richard Freeman + Mary Taylor, When love comes to Light

Time and patience. This is just one of the many lessons from the Gita. And nature as well …

Inevitably, I would become tired of waiting and pluck a melon hastily from the vine. But when I cut it open, I’d find it still green. Which was again my reminder: there is a natural process that cannot be rushed. That even though we can’t see it, change is happening. So trust and be patient.

Some things need time to ripen. But luckily for us, some things are also, well worth the wait.

About the Artist …

Alex Christie is an illustrator and yoga practitioner. You can find more of her work on Instagram and her online shop. She is offering custom yoga portraits in November and December.

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