72 QUESTION: Does patience hinder ambition?
ANSWER: Patience, if it is really just that – and not a distortion, such as inertia – cannot be a hindrance to anything. Of course, it often happens that people make a virtue out of a fault. Those who are inert may deceive themselves and think they are patient. Those who are impatient may deceive themselves and think they are active and energetic. So it is always a question of finding the real trend or emotion. No asset can ever be detrimental.
Impatience, however, will hinder the fulfillment of ambition, because impatience is a form of immaturity. It is the child in you who wants everything, not only according to its own will, but also right now. The child cannot wait. As I explained last time, the child lives only in the Now, but in the wrong way. It does not feel the reality of the morrow, therefore it thinks that what is not accomplished now does not count and has no reality.
The mature being can wait. He or she realizes that if the desired goal is not accomplished right now, there must be reasons for the delay. Some of those reasons may be in the self, so that the time of waiting can be used constructively for finding and eliminating those reasons.
The time one has to spend waiting will be used to gain the necessary but still lacking insight, ability or understanding. So patience, if it is purely constructive – not inertia, inactivity or laziness – can only be an advantage. True patience will always know how to discriminate. At one time, just waiting will be indicated; at another time, action will be right.
Patience will prevail also during the time of most concentrated activity, because it is really an inner state and has nothing to do with the outer manifestation. The person who acts can be inwardly patient. The person who is outwardly completely inactive may be in an inner state of impatience.
QUESTION: I would like to hear a definition of patience.
ANSWER: Many definitions are possible. But in the frame of our discussion now I would like to put it this way: patience knows that one cannot always have exactly what one wants when one wants it. Patience is not hindered by the pressure and tension and anxiety of the soul.
If you analyze it you will find through the experience of your emotions that impatience, whenever felt, is accompanied by such feelings as tension, anxiety, inner pressure – all of which are based on a feeling of inadequacy and closely connected with the sense of “I will not be able to accomplish this,” whatever “this” is. This is impatience.
Patience can only exist in a securely mature person who knows his limitations, but knowing also his potentials, trusts in the self. The state of maturity that is your aim will bring, among many other assets, patience.