“Patience is Power.” Fulton J. Sheen
So much of our lives are spent waiting. We wait, not just in the physical day-to-day sense of waiting in lines, waiting on hold on a phone, waiting for the cable guy; but also waiting in an existential sense. We often have the sense that we are waiting to become the person or to have the life for which we were created. Each one of us has within us a sense, sometimes strong and sometimes faint, of some great potential that lies within us. It can be frustrating to know that something more is meant for our lives . . . some greater purpose or task, but be unable to know exactly what it is, or how to manifest it in our lives.
That is where waiting comes in; and according to Bishop Sheen, it is where power can come into our lives, as we learn to wait patiently. We often do not realize all of the processes that can take place in our minds, our bodies, and our souls as we spend time waiting; but magnificent changes and developments can take place as we wait.
The analogy of the caterpillar waiting for days to emerge from the cocoon to become what it was ultimately intended to be . . . a beautiful butterfly, is relevant here. Waiting in a cocoon has to be very boring and dark. The life-form inside likely has no idea what, if anything, is happening; but lo and behold, one day it emerges a thing of great beauty, and even able to fly through the air!
Often, our existential waiting can be boring and even dark. We want to be more. We can question the reason for our existence. While waiting, some people even experience a “dark night of the soul” in which all meaning they formerly had in life, and even all of the things for which they were formerly grateful, appear meaningless to them now. My dear friend and colleague, Dr. Diane Askew reminded me when I was going through one of those existential crises in my life, that often when we are experiencing unexplainable frustration and self-doubt, we are actually purging something that we needed to cleanse out of our lives. We don’t have to analyze it, nor learn a lesson from it . . . but rather, just let it be. Let those feelings come and then let them naturally go. That was certainly true for me in that very brief existential crisis. The feelings came, the feelings went, and I was left feeling like I had just gotten rid of some toxins out of my body, mind, and spirit. I felt like I could go on waiting, patiently this time, for what I knew to be a new life ahead.
Another helpful perspective on waiting comes from my friend Dr. Joan Borysenko in she and her husband Gordon Dveirin’s book, Your Soul’s Compass: The times of waiting to know and fulfill our purpose in life can be times of building humility.
Humility is a necessary quality to have in ourselves in abundance if we are going to be fulfilled in our purpose. How many times have you heard the saying that “power corrupts good people”? And, how many good people have you seen go from being humble when they were starting out in a career, then becoming a malignant narcissist when they are successful? If we are to really feel fulfilled in realizing our full potential, we must remain humble. That often means, waiting while the humility and other qualities develop in us.
I will repeat, that it has been my experience that meditation is extremely beneficial, especially during times of waiting. We may not even know what is taking place in us as we meditate, but you will see the results later, if not immediately. Qualities develop in us, insights develop, and we can attain strength and power during those times of meditation.
Whether you are in a time of sensing a purpose in your life right now, or you are in a time of waiting, you are growing and you are fulfilling your destiny, now.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. April 26, 2017