Patience will save your life if you are an alcoholic.
According to this definition in “The Joyful Path of Good Fortune”, “Patience is a virtuous mind that is able to bear any kind of suffering or harm… With patience, we can accept any pain that is inflicted upon us, and we can easily endure any pain that is inflicted upon us”.
I could finish there, and all that needs to be said is there. If craving is the problem, then patience is the solution. It is often said that some people focus on the difficulty and others the solution.
If we only could focus on developing the virtue of patience with whatever means we have employed, desiring another drink or demanding that our difficulties be removed would cease to be an issue.
According to this article in Tricycle, “Patience is motivated by our desire for inward and outward peace and by faith in our ability to accept things as they are. In Buddhism, patience has three essential aspects: gentle forbearance, calm endurance of hardship, and acceptance of the truth”. Forbearance, endurance, and acceptance. When I was a boy, I think these three lessons were ‘Put up’, ‘Man up’, and ‘Shut the fuck up’.
Perhaps I have learned a softer way to talk to myself now.
This enemy of anger has no function
Other than to cause me harm.
Both my friend Greg and I lost our Mums to dementia. He says that when his mum was suffering badly with delusions and anger at the world he would want her end to come sooner rather than later and I agree. My mum’s disease lasted 12 years and I didn’t know her nor she, me, for several years before death.
Greg’s Mum’s journey included living with him as the main carer for some years, moving to a caring facility and then bedridden incapacitation before dying. It’s difficult to watch that decline, and as loving sons we want the best, and that seems to be the end of forbearance.
The relationships we have with other siblings in these times is often strained because no two people will have the same feelings and thoughts about the sick person’s welfare. I remember screaming down the phone to my sisters, “When are you gunna come and care for your mother?”. What I really could have said was that I am struggling to watch our mother die like this.
The grieving includes getting the words out of our heads and then relating to another human. You are not the only one that feels this way. Other people have gone through similar experiences and have felt the same way. It’s okay to feel the way that we feel.
The feeling is real. The way that others or society dictate that you ought to feel is just an opinion.
“Every catastrophe that I have ever had, except this current one, has turned out okay”.
If I can forbear the current suffering and endure the time it takes for this karma to ripen, and if I can accept that it had to happen like this, then I will have trained in patience. And I will be a better human for having trained.
Benefits of Patience
Two side benefits that I rarely consider when I am training in patience.
- Impatience repels people away
- Patience attracts people to you
Impatience looks ugly. It tastes bad and has an odious, foul smell. It reminds others of their own impatience, which they detest, and they take it out on you. It’s a lose-lose situation.
On the other hand, when you show patience over and above, you are an attractive thing. People will admire you and want to be with you and learn what you got.
If you are inline for a promotion and the other applicant doesn’t display the same confident, calm patience that you obviously possess, guess who’s getting the position?
The ‘Rabbit and the Hare’ wasn’t read to generations of young ones for nothing. We want Hare!
(Did you here about the bald man who had a rabbit tattooed on his scalp because from a distance it looked like hare?)
Here is today’s homework:
From the Dharma, we learn that there are three types of patience-
Types of patience
- not retaliating
- voluntarily enduring suffering
- definitely thinking about Dharma
This article is already too long, so we will look at these separately in another time. But certainly having a card in one’s pocket reminding one of these three is a positive step.
Patience and Alcoholism
Patience is a crucial virtue for those struggling with alcoholism.
It is the ability to bear any kind of suffering or harm, according to the definition in “The Joyful Path of Good Fortune”.
“Patience is a virtuous mind that is able to bear any kind of suffering or harm… With patience, we can accept any pain that is inflicted upon us, and we can easily endure any pain that is inflicted upon us”.
One Day At A Time
Patience is the principle behind the catchphrase, ‘One day at a time’.
To not drink between meetings is a familiar tactic that is stemmed in patience.
Helping others is a way to not only build your compassion muscles, but develops patience in a real-world and practical way. By the time you have helped someone through their dilemma, your craving, or anger will have lost its sting.
Patience is a powerful tool for those struggling with alcoholism. By cultivating this virtue, we can overcome our cravings, develop spiritually, and promote peace in all aspects of our lives.
Remember, the first principle of Buddhism is that
‘Happiness is a peaceful mind’.
And don’t we all just want to be happy?