And what is impatience? It's simply an unhappiness with whatever this current moment is. So the best way to face this impatient is to stop and take another breath.
Linking the Breath with the Current Moment
Breathing is such a simple thing, is it not? You do it all the time, and when you focus on it, it can be profoundly relaxing and purifying. It's here all the time, but we somehow forget it. We seem to end up living our lives breathlessly. Constantly running from one thing to the next, we can barely keep up with it all. And you absolutely can't do this in awakening. While I often describe a spiritual awakening as running 3 marathons internally, you can't actually do that by "doing" things. A lot of space is needed simply for being in the moment, which may be lying on your yoga mat, couch, or a grassy hill.
However, the breath can help you out a lot when this impatience issue arises. Breathe into this feeling. See what it is about. You always want to know what these feelings are about. If they didn't have some kind of message, we wouldn't send these signals to ourselves. If it is simply the ego complaining that life isn't working within its worldview, then breathe that out. Just let it go. If the impatience is actually telling you that you're neglecting something, then that may be something that actually requires action. But by pausing to breathe and bring awareness to it, this moves you out of a reactive space. Reactive spaces are always fear driven. Something happens, and we impulsively (not intuitively) react to do something. It's essentially an inner fight, flight, or freeze mechanism that doesn't allow us to properly respond to a situation.
So pause and breathe. Then decide if an action is truly necessary.
The Many Stories of Ego Impatience
Oh, there are so many stories egos tell us. They're kind of like ghost stories. They're just meant to scare you into action most of the time. Some of these inner mechanisms got built up onto of other issues, which is why it's important to journal and take apart of the pieces. In a spiritual awakening, a lot of that is already happening, which should help you along in the process. That's part of the gift of this time of your life. You are already being unglued and opened up, and that makes it easier to release and heal old pains.
So when the ego impatience comes and you think you should be doing something else somewhere, delve into the stories. Find what truths may be twisted up in them, and draw them out. That way you can leave the rest of the nonsense in the trash where it belongs.
Here are some common ego stories during a spiritual awakening, but I really encourage you to see them as shell issues. You've got to open them up.
- I'm being lazy just lying here. I need to be doing something.
- I need to be making a living somehow.
- I need to have a relationship with someone other than my floor.
- My body is uncomfortable. I want this feeling to go away. How do I make it go away?
Taking Apart the Ego
You know, one of the things I intuitively did in my process before awakening was to start taking myself apart. I wasn't holding on to every aspect of my ego, although there were still plenty of parts of it that had to go out kicking and screaming. Taking apart the ego starts by bringing awareness to yourself and how you are moving through your life. Then you start questioning assumptions. Let's start with the first bullet above about "laziness."
In a society where being "productive" means doing something all the time, not doing something is considered lazy. It's given a negative social connotation. I can't tell you how many people say to me that they feel lazy when all they do is lie around or just go for an occasional walk doing this process. That's part of why I use the marathon metaphor; it gives the current ego that's being destroyed a sense of being productive. And it is and it isn't. This is just the paradox of being. Being simply is. It isn't a doing, but yet, things in life shift dramatically (a kind of doing and action) when you move into that space. And that space if very fluid, changing, flowing, alive. So it's one of the ways where the ego that is being created has to be comfortable with the reality of paradox that we live in.
But to go back to the laziness thing, people become scared not necessarily of being lazy, but of social disapproval. And because they accept this as the right way of thinking, that kind of approval also becomes inner disapproval for not doing anything. So part of the healing and awareness needed is around letting go of the myth of "doing" and being always "productive" as a good thing to do.
Meeting Your Needs During Awakening
Now I will say that it is important to find a space where your basic needs are met. That kind of "productivity" is important. If you can't work, then it is important to find friends, a spiritual community, family, or some set of spiritual caretakers to help you out. They are out there if you sincerely look for them. Others of you may be able to do what I did which is to work and save up a bunch of money and then collapse into the awakening again. It is a tough road to travel, however.
Some of the core messages around always doing is that you will meet your needs and therefore not starve to death, homeless in the cold night. It sounds dramatic, right? But really, there's a fear of death issue that underlies a lot of these core issues, and because you're healing and opening in such a deep way, a lot of core issues will be ignited as they are being released from you. I definitely felt at times like I had some terrible disease or I was dying. Fortunately, I had enough awareness to know that none of that was true. It was just my old ego that was dying as were a lot of other old karmas and issues that I'd identified with. Bringing my awareness to these truths helped me out a lot and allowed me to look at my situation more clearly. My situation was that my basic needs were met, and I was healthy. I was truly okay.
So I let go a little more into the awakening process.
Still Impatient: Selectively Funneling Your Energy
Okay, this is coming with a big ole caveat. This is only something you should do if you really feel intuitively guided to do it. Remember that it is always about checking in with your inner knowing (as with all things including when you read my blogs or talk to me).
Many of you are trying to put the cart before the horse. I see a lot of this happening with healers who try to offer their services too soon. They can become easily drained and depleted, and they can also unconsciously take on other people's issues because they don't fully understand their own space and capabilities.
Okay? Message received? Start "doing" things only if this feels true to your intuition.
Yes. I really am belaboring the point. I just understand how ingrained this "doing" mentality is in many of our egos. That's why sitting still and breathing into the present moment is both the most infuriating and healthful thing you can do to deal with it.
All right, then find a little bit of work that is aligned with your heart. Just a little. Writers may start up a blog to share with close friends. Healers may take a class on healing. Businesspeople may listen to teleseminars about sustainable businesses. Wherever your heart is and your intuition is leading you, that's a good place to put a little bit of energy. It will help you start to create a new foundation in this life, and you may be able to placate the whining, impatient ego that thinks it needs to be doing something during this sacred process.
Last Thoughts on Patience and Cultivating Your Awakening
Always remember that this is a sacred time of life. It is like when the rains come. Sure it may seem stormy, and there may be flooding in your basement. But this is the water of life that is going to help you grow a beautiful and bountiful harvest. In no other place of life could cultivating patience and your awakening be quite so important. I know life is now suddenly very uncertain. I know you feel a little lost and adrift, but trust me, you are going in the right direction if you are finding the tools to care for yourself and to live from this deep space of love. In some ways, you are pregnant with you. That's rebirth, and you have this amazing chance to remake yourself in a way that will feel tremendously amazing and true to who you really are. No more fake smiles and attempts to do things you don't want to do.
So when impatience comes and rattles through your bones, breathe it in. Look at it. See it fully, and then let it out. Don't rush a beautiful thing.
All will unfold perfectly as it should.
This beautiful picture comes from my student, Jenn.