Humility and the Art of Patience
Today, I learned a big lesson about the relationship between Humility and Patience.
You will remember that we are defining Humility as, "Occupy a rightful space, neither too much nor too little. Focus neither on your own virtues nor the faults of others (Alan Morinis. Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar p. 45.)."
So, what happened? I was setting up a new site, and as soon as I set up my domain name, it wouldn't let me log in. In my line of work, this is not an unforeseeable problem, but it cause me to freak out in an unjustifiable way.
Luckily, I didn't say or do anything outlandish, but I did loose my patience. This one little thing, the same sort of thing I have been through several times before, took over my mind, and I couldn't focus on anything else. Why?
When I thought about it, this wasn't an issue of my own pride. I didn't think, "How dare tech support make me wait!" What happened was a good example of my own self-effacement.
I had just tested the site and everything looked good. I posted the announcement that the new community site was up, and then I lost access. I saw this technological hiccup as an example of my own failure to deliver on a promise that I had just made. This hiccup, for which no one was at fault, took on all my feelings of inadequacy.
It took up the space I should have. I knew that I just had to wait for everything to click into place if you will, but this self created demon of inadequacy shamed me, and caused me to shrink away from the person I am, and made me ignore everything I knew about the situation.
When everything just started working, I had to apologize for wasting the time of tech support. Now, I had a new problem: I was now laser focused on my own shortcomings.
I had to let go. I had to consciously occupy my rightful space, neither too much nor too little, focusing neither on my own perceived faults nor the virtues of others. Events were out of my hands and this was not a problem that I caused or that I could fix. I did what I could have done, but I should have been patient.
I wanted to share this experience because I am sure I am not the only one who allows things like this happen. The power of mindfulness lets up recognize this problems arise, and like everything else, we have to learn to just let go.
Let go of what holds you back. Occupy your right space, careful not to take up too little or too much. It isn't easy, but it gets easier every time you do it. May we all find the peace that passes all understanding.