Meditation and being a calm person are often seen as synonyms and for a good reason. The practice improves your quality of life in a broad sense, not only by making you calmer, focused, compassionate, and having more empathy, but other aspects that have a strong relation to those things.
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For instance, someone that meditates a lot is more likely to be a patient person, because of how they’ve conditioned their mind.
Now, as for meditation directly making you more patient, that’s a yes and no. Patience in itself creates more patience, just like playing the guitar makes you better at playing the guitar.
However, some people are more naturally inclined to that, but that’s not to say that someone that isn’t patient can’t become patient.
Meditation trains your mind to be quiet and not be reactive to the thoughts you get – those thoughts are many times meant to throw you off your session for the mind’s convenience.
The mind doesn’t feel good about meditation at the beginning, but that changes as you condition it, and thus, the byproduct is that you can become more patient.
You’re likely to lose patience if you engage in something you find boring. That’s no surprise, but you can wire yourself to enjoy something you find boring, to start with. In this case, most of those who start with meditation don’t have a problem with getting it right, they just have consistency issues.
Starting out is the easy part, sticking through is boring, because we want to see benefits now.
That’s how the monkey mind is wired, if we don’t see measurable progress from one day to another we tend to lean onto the thinking that things are lost and things will stay like that forever.
Even if the progress is small at first, it compounds and builds on itself, and the shortcut to making the entire journey pain-free is loving the journey.
At some point, the boredom of meditation transitions into calmness and a deep sense of peace. Something that even a beginner can experience, should they give the practice reasonably enough time.
Meditation puts your patience to the test – in the mind of the average person starting out, I can hear the thought “why would I sit there doing nothing for 20 minutes when I could do Xyz?” because by sitting and listening to your breath, you exercise self-control.
And you’re not letting yourself get overpowered by the temptations of the mind. The mind is great at tricking us and convincing us to do something that’s fun all the time because it gets this short-term gratification which often comes at our own expense.
But by constantly engaging in feel-good sensations for the short-term, we raise the bars for what we consider fun, and what was previously fun becomes boring.
On the other hand, exercising self-control, makes you appreciate the things you found fun, enjoy them to a greater extent without worrying about the future or the past, but being in the now, mindful about said things you’re doing.
That self-control you exercise through meditations that are as short as 20 minutes is enough to build on that patience, assuming you are actually meditating, focusing on your breath, and being there rather than just sitting.
Less Stress and More Patience
Meditation is a great discipline, but there’s one misconception about the practice because of how the results you get from meditation have been portrayed. I constantly myself reiterate what you get from meditation and emphasize the importance of practicing it.
Once you start meditating, it’s hard to stop because you start asking yourself how you could go on all this time without it, at least, in most cases, and assuming you’ve been in it long enough to notice any changes.
But the misconception is that once you meditate for months, stress will be eradicated from your life, and while yes, meditation can help make you live a stress-free life, it doesn’t remove stress completely, but the major difference is in how that stress affects you.
If it doesn’t affect you, it becomes obsolete. It can become almost completely unnoticeable.
Of course, that’s not to say that all your problems will naturally go away on their own simply by meditating, but when you’re more patient, you’re less reactive to the thoughts emanating from stress, because of the understanding that you get from yourself, rather than being judgmental of yourself.
And this non-judgment is applied to other people in your surroundings because how you treat yourself will often be the equivalent to how you treat others.
Reversing The Equation
Another reason many aren’t patient is going back to what I said at the beginning. We simply want things to happen here and now, without understanding there’s a process behind it, and because we’ve wired our minds for things to happen quickly or in a specific timeframe.
Wanting things to happen now while simultaneously not being in the now. Can you see how this speaks against itself?
This equation needs to be reversed to live a fulfilling day-to-day life. Living in the now is when an individual can do something while seeing the long-term response to said action done now.
A good analogy would be planting a seed, but one you will reap the rewards from in the future.
Being patient allows you to enjoy the entire process of planting that seed and watering it. It’s been shown nonetheless that those who are able to wait and delay short-term gratification and instead aim for long-term gratification tend to be more successful.
Selective Patience and Meditation
There’s something known as selective patience. You don’t have to be patient with everything, just like you don’t have to be disciplined with everything, even if how you do one thing would generally be a predictor as to how you do other things.
But because meditation directly helps you with focus, that focus can be used to develop your patience on one specific area in your life, which will usually spread to other parts but doesn’t necessarily have to.
The way you become more patient is by practicing it. But you can practice it selectively through mindfulness with what you’re doing at the time of doing it.
Now, I’m talking outside of meditation, of course, once it’s done and once you’ve developed the habit of meditation, and you retain the focus you’ve gotten from the meditation sessions.
Using that focus to train your patience in one specific area, for instance, when you’re learning a new skill and things don’t go as quickly as they should, with meditation, you learn to enjoy the journey on things which in turn, makes having patience much easier.
Understanding Where Your Impatience Comes From
Once you dive into meditation, you get an insight into yourself. Sometimes, that’s done through shadow work, other times it’s as simple as being respectful of any sensations you feel during a meditation session, and allowing these to happen, just like you let thoughts flow freely.
But by understanding yourself, you may get a glimpse of where the impatience comes from and by finding the source of said lack of patience, you’re able to tackle it more effectively by either applying more focus or discipline in that specific area of your life.
For this, it’s best to do meditation alone. While meditation in a group or with someone else can be great and allow you to grow, the solitude and quietness of meditation let you be with your thoughts, take a step back and get to know yourself without any judgment attached.
This is part of exercising self-control and managing yourself better, rather than believing any thoughts that you get that aren’t yours, to begin with, and allowing said thought to disrupt your sense of peace and patience. The more you train your mind to have less power over you and your decisions, the less it will.