Working with “waiting” today

When we look closely, we find that we pass a great deal of time within the mental frame of being “on our way to the next thing”— completing a task that has been hanging over us, getting to our next meal, disengaging from a phone conversation. Now is not as important as doing something to relieve the stress we feel from unmet wants and gnawing fears. We don’t like the feelings that arise inside us when we are forced simply to wait.

But in life we have to wait a lot. According to one study, the average person in our culture spends eleven days a year just waiting in lines — and this doesn’t count time in planes and cars waiting to “get there.” Nor does it include hours of listening to electronic messages or waiting for TV commercials to end so that we can get back to the main feature.  Throughout our day, red lights get in our way. Waiting is stressful, but it is part of the life of all creatures. As long as we have wants and fears, we are waiting for fulfillment or relief. The big question in spiritual practice is, how do we react to biological and psychological stress? Do we think having to wait and tolerate discomfort is a mistake, a glitch in the system?

Tara Brach, Blessings of a Patient Heart

2 thoughts on “Working with “waiting” today

  1. I travel a lot, and LOVE waiting, at airports especially. I would gladly go to the airport a few hours early, just to wait. Relax, and know that this is all I am supposed to do right now. Find a quiet spot… 🙂 (Well, sometimes I work, wometimes I look at people, and of course, then it is not just waiting!)
    I don’t think having to wait is a mistake. I see it at an opportunity, and years have taught me that this also is valuable time. And usually it is MY time. However, if I was waiting for a new kidney or something, I probably wouldt go so easy on it.
    Stress is when I have so many things on my list, that I can’t finish one until I have to start the next. Not being able to handle that is bad… I know it only adds to inefficiency… Which leaves me less hours to wait;)

  2. I have no problem in waiting when I am alone. If I have someone with me, I find it so stressful. I know most people would think the opposite, but waiting for hours doesn’t bother me if no one is there talking to me

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