Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Some very good examples were set for me early in life by teachers in school. My high school choir director extended great praise and patience to all his students. When you think about how awful a chorus of high schoolers can sound …..most of the time, this man was a true saint to struggle through each number until we finally could sing it. He loved music, and was still willing to hear it massacred year after year, day after day. He was generally good natured, and very dapper in his fashion. He was by far the best dressed teacher we had at our school, and seemed to be the most sophisticated somehow. He was generally fun and upbeat, but insisted on discipline in class. When he was upset with us he would say “Frank, C., Elephant, Coulter never forgets an infraction.” His stern delivery of that line was always enough to handle any issue. We never actually witnessed the elephant bring up past offenses. He worked to make our roles in the choir a constant source of pride and mutual understanding. He taught us all the value of practice, precision and harmony. He was a living example of patience as virtue.
As an adult I have been very fortunate to study in person with His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. He came to Tucson in September 1993 for a teaching on patience. That was my first introduction to the meditation practices of Tibetan Buddhism, which are complicated to say the least. I studied for a year previous to his visit to get some background and study under my belt before he arrived. He covered a lot of material and empowered us to Green Tara, all of which was new to me. The crash course was not intended to convey the entire teaching in a few days, but to instill the value of practice. Like my high school choir director, His Holiness teaches all kinds of people who have no previous experience or ability to meditate. He teaches each person and group from scratch, using the ancient texts on the Bodhisattva’s way of life. He reaches each mind according to the readiness of the student to comprehend. One question he took from an audience member was about the best way to begin a personal meditation practice. His answer was simple. He told her, “Be nice.”
Since 1993 I have made efforts to be nice, and have recognized that it is easier said than done. To transform anger into patience is the ultimate practice. If anger has no hold on your mind you are free. If what bothers you about people and life can be surmounted by a practice of patience in all things, you have reached Nirvana. This teaching, so pure, simple and true, provides a lifetime of practice. He taught us that the folks in your life who make you angry also teach you patience. They provide a special gift without which we could not become enlightened. Nipping anger in the bud, transforming it into patience, is compassion in action. Anger may be a natural sentiment, but it is helpful to nobody, least of all to the person who harbors it. Compassion is a conscious choice, starting with one’s own inner demeanor.
Each month on the 20th a round of compassion is raised here. Please join #1000Speak to add your voice to the choir.
Patience is undervalued, and I plead guilty. I nearly lost my cool in a queue today! Thanks for the reminder!
This is a truly beautiful post! Compassion is indeed a greater reaction than anger. It’s not always the easy choice to make, but it’s by far the most beneficial one!
I really relate to a lot of the Buddhist practices. I like first of all that it is called practice. We always have room for improvement and we always need patience for ourselves and others.
That is right..a practice continues..and starts within. Thanks for visiting.
Patience is hard to keep and harder to teach. Thanks for this beautiful post! Just the thing I needed to read.
Do check out my post for this month: http://radhika-feelingfree.blogspot.com/2015/06/1000speak-compassion-begins-at-home.html 🙂
Wow. I love that you were able to get teachings from the Dalai Lama. That’s so impressive. It’s a great way to underscore a personal practice or to start one
This could not have come at a better time. I am eating away my insides with anger for a few so-called friends. I must detach and not express the anger. It does no one any good.