Waiting Like the Buddha

file4001264776522Would you say you’re good at waiting?  How do you react when you’re stuck in a traffic jam?  A long line at the grocery store or the post office?

I’m not particularly fond of waiting, nor am I good at it.  Like so many character attributes to which I aspire, I do find that waiting is infinitely easier when I’m emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Consume quickly, move fast, pile on stress

Everything seems speeded up, don’t you think?  For the sake of convenience, and to cram 24 hours of activities into 17 (generously leaving yourself seven hours to sleep), most of the things you and I consume–whether it’s food, entertainment or services–happens so fast.

Do you sometimes feel like there is a drill sergeant standing behind you blowing a whistle and screaming, MOVE, MOVE, MOVE?  There is you know, and he (or she) carries your name.

The more we yell at ourselves to get to the next thing, the more stress we pile on and the more we age.  Gotta have, gotta do, gotta be here or there, gotta get it done . . . make sure you carve out time for your pending heart attack or stroke.

I’m making light of a serious subject.  Why can’t we just s-l-o-w d-o-w-n a-n-d W-A-I-T?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole idea of constantly rushing for a couple of weeks now, ever since the 42-year-old husband of a friend of mine had an aneurysm and died.  I’ve been especially thinking about their two small children, the younger one only a year old.

I’m not suggesting that incessant doing caused his death.  No way.  My heart cracks open thinking of my friend and her babies.  What she wouldn’t give . . .

Think, though, of the many moments lost to the dizzying pace of 21st century life.  Precious moments that could be spent enjoying the beauty of your love’s face or gently caressing your sleeping baby (either the two-legged or four-legged brand, or both).

A story about Buddha

Recently, I read a Pema Chödrön story about the night the Buddha waited for enlightenment.  Apparently while he sat waiting under a tree, forces of Mara (she explains these as obstacles that cause confusion and loss of confidence in our own wisdom) shot arrows to distract the Buddha.

I suppose the approach of enlightenment is a fleeting thing, like “blink and you miss it.”

Anyway, Chödrön reports that Buddha calmly turned the arrows of distraction into beautiful flowers.  The longer he waited, the more his surroundings turned to fields of flowers.

Isn’t that a terrific notion?  While waiting for whatever it is you’re waiting for, look for the beauty around you.  Look closely with concentration because the chances are excellent that whatever you notice that is good and beautiful, is an arrow turned into a flower.

This week, instead of doing, doing, doing, try being, being, being.  Be right where you are without rushing to the next place.  Wait in joy, rather than rushing with impatience.

Close your eyes and wait for the hint of floral in the air . . . wait, like the Buddha.

Photo courtesy of Djb78

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for your story, it has been very inspiring for me. I was in a relationship with someone for a couple of years that never really valued or appreciated me. I thank God that He allowed me to be removed from that situation. It showed me a lot about what I wanted in a relationship. I am at a point now that I am ready to be in a relationship with a good man. But waiting really is the hard part, because I want God’s best for my life I refuse to settle for anything less.

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