What is Patience?
Updated: Sep 28, 2018
Patience. Being an observer. Awareness. Real self. Karma. Karmic Flow. The Three States called Guna - states of inertia, passion, and virtue. Being in universal flow. Full yoga breathing.
The following is from an interview with Great Yoga Master Paramahamsa Yogacharya Maha Yogi on Yoga Academy Journal No.7
“Patience is being aware.”
Paramahamsa, in your books and talks, you always highlight the importance of being an observer. Then, who is this observer?
That observer is you. You are the one who witnesses. As you render your body healthy primarily by applying the Original Yoga System, your awareness also begins to develop. You begin to realize the body, mind, and the spiritual being that exists within the body.
As your awareness grows, you notice your real self. And you stop associating yourself with the body; you perceive that you are not the body, but a spiritual being within the body, and that you are the one who observes.
So, you begin to realize the observer - the witness within the body. That witness, [that] observer inside is you. In order to become an observer, awareness must improve.
How do we realize the observer within us?
By improving your awareness. During the deep relaxation part in the Original Yoga System practices, we are trying to distinguish the spirit from the body. In deep relaxation, you see that the essence inside of you is different from this body - you sense it, and after a while, you begin to feel yourself inside this body-box.
Consequently, you get to know who you are and see it clearly. You start saying, “the one who is observing is me, and the one talking to me is my mind.”
Is it possible for the “state of observing” to be long-lasting?
As the awareness grows, you feel yourself less like a body, [and] more like a spirit. You feel that you are not a body, [and instead,] that you are in the body and can clearly distinguish these two from each other. You say that, "I am in the body and using the body " - because it is a machine and we are using it. You come to realize this fact and after a while, you never forget it. This happens by means of awareness. For this to happen, you should be patient and must practice the Original Yoga System everyday regularly.
We would like to ask you a question about the concept of “patience” that we so often encounter and need in both the path of self-improvement and the other areas of life. What is patience?
Being patient is basically slowing down. Although, patience is a key factor to evolution, self-improvement, and for living, it is rarely observed in today’s society. Everyone is in a hurry, running around - nobody is patient.
In today’s world, we usually find it hard to slow down and be patient. Is it possible to speed things up by rushing?
If you are rushing, then it means you are not being patient. One who acts more hastily than normal gets out of the universal flow, and things go awry. You can see that things go wrong when you rush - you drop something and break it, or you tear something up, or you hit something. That’s because you get out of the universal harmony when acting hastily.
At the same time, the law of karma turns into an inhibiting power in these kinds of cases. Karma, time, and place all work together. Let’s assume that according to the law of karma, you need to get out of this room in three minutes, but you are trying to leave the room in one minute by rushing. What happens then? You might fall down, twist your ankle, hit something, or the phone might ring - briefly something shows up, and you cannot leave the room in one minute. That is, karma throws unexpected things at you - things that are not bound to you. You would still leave this room in three minutes, since you are required to get out in three minutes according to the law of karma.
Consequently, things unfold at a speed they are supposed to be - not at the speed you wish. Observe this in your own life, and you will see it works this way. Only when you transcend karma, do you not need be patience, because at that point, patience is not required. Patience is a quality needed in karmic life.
How can we improve the quality of patience?
In the Original Yoga System, the equivalent of being patient is, “being an observer”. In order to improve the quality of being patient, you first need to improve the quality of being an observer. You must observe. By doing this, you can act quickly within the karma. At that point, not only can you act quickly, but also [you] can manage not to get out of the universal harmony. You can remain harmonious with the universe and still act fast within this slowdown. Thus, a paradox comes true as truths are based on paradoxes. The paradox here is to be an observer and at the same time act as efficiently as possible.
“Impatience is bolting the banquet of life,
rather than savoring its taste.”
So is it possible to both be patient and act quickly?
When one tries to act fast, s/he actually aims to be efficient - to be quick and get done with the goal. That is the basic motive; however, the general karmic flow, which is the flow that requires people to reap what they sow, does not let that happen.
In existence, everything is in harmony; nothing is a coincidence, and everything has a cause and effect. If one only wants to get faster, then he [she] gets out of the universal harmony and faces impediments. Yet, if he [she] is in the “observer mode,” then he [she] can get faster even when going with the karmic flow. This is an extraordinary phenomenon. That is why it seems paradoxical. You can understand this when you experience it.
Consequently, if you act fast out of the flow - that is, if you become impatient and act hastily - then the flow slows you down. Yet, if you act within the flow by remaining an “observer,” then something extraordinary happens - you can speed up the flow.
“Real patience is slowing down, realizing the rhythm of existence, and being in harmony with this flow. The way to achieve this is to attain harmony and balance by practicing the Original Yoga System.
You mentioned a karmic flow, what is it exactly?
According to the law of karma, one has to reap what s/he has sown in a specific place and time. Every action causes an effect, which in turn creates a reaction. That is, every effect is a cause, and every reaction is indeed a result. Again, each result is a new cause. This cause-effect chain lasts through the end of the universe. This is also a flow, a flow that the karmic life unfolds within the universal harmony. Only those who practice the Original Yoga System regularly, can get out of this flow. Otherwise, no one can get rid of the influence of this flow.
Paramahamsa, how can we speed up this karmic flow?
Karmic flow is a phenomenon of the material plane - the objective plane. You, on the other hand, are an eternal conscious being, and can influence the outside world with your consciousness. For this reason, instead of getting out of the flow and acting quickly, you can remain an observer and utilize your quality of consciousness - thus, influencing the objective world and speeding up the karmic flow. Otherwise, you will get impatient, the flow will impede you, and things will go awry. As a result, you will get worn out both physically and mentally by acting impatiently.
Being patient is to keep observing while at the same time continuing performing, which means being an active observer. Meditation is a passive observation carried out during deep relaxation. In active observation, however, one is both an observer and a performer. If you perform while observing, then you can influence the objective world with your consciousness and speed up the flow. This is an unusual phenomenon and means being patient. This is precious knowledge.
Sometimes we are not able to be patient even if we want to do so…
People tell you to be patient, yet, no one can easily feel patient, since all actions are karmic interactions. For instance, there are three states called Guna influencing the material world: states of inertia, passion, and virtue. All actions are carried out under the influence of these three states. If the state of passion is at work, desires and the actions to make those desires come true will be under the influence of passion.
That is to say, meanwhile, the desires are all about passion and are formed with the influence of this quality. One begins to act faster, tries to achieve some results quickly. No matter how much you remind him to be patient, he just can’t since he is now under the influence of universal powers and being drifted.
How can we become active observers to be patient?
You can become active observers by practicing the Original Yoga System regularly. You will both observe and perform, thus speeding up the objective flow. Meanwhile, you can remain passive, that is, you can speed up the flow so much that even when you remain passive, the flow takes you with it. All these things take time.
At this moment, to be patient, you can practice the Full Yoga Breathing, and this begins with belly breathing. Whenever you see that there is an unnecessary urge to speed up and emotional tension is rising, stop and apply the Full Yoga Breathing.
Impatience always causes emotional tension, since you want to reach to a higher bar - a point where the karma does not allow you to reach. In this case, you need to get into the observer mode. Full Yoga Breathing will not only give you more energy, but also get you into an observer mode, thus making you more patient. You will feel relieved and will see that there is no need to rush.
It is really pointless to rush, isn’t it?
Rushing might seem reasonable at the time, yet, in the universal perspective, it is pointless - as everything is within the universal flow. There is a certain timing in this order and you cannot get out of that timing. For instance, think of someone who leaves home two hours earlier, [to] not to be late for work, and having an accident and still getting to work half an hour late, or never making it to his workplace. Or [in another instance] one might leave late for work, but still speed things up by remaining an active observer - by wishing and concentrating, he might unexpectedly arrive at work on time. This is the secret to being patient: Full Yoga Breathing, observation and then performance.
An interview with Great Yoga Master Paramahamsa Yogacharya Maha Yogi on Yoga Academy Journal No.7