It’s that time of the year when some dreams are manifested, and seeds of a future vision are sowed. Yes, it’s A level and GCSE time. I want to talk today to students sitting for exams and families supporting them and remind them about a subtle thought that can make this phase a stepping-stone towards living your best life.
Subhashita is a literary genre of Sanskrit epigrammatic poems, and their message is an aphorism, maxim, advice, fact, truth, lesson, or riddle. The authors of most Subhashita are unknown. This form of Indian epigrammatic poetry had a wide following, were created, memorised, and transmitted by word of mouth.
My absolute gratitude to seers and poets who gave us these pearls of wisdom. I want to share today this beautiful piece of Subhashitavali, which very beautifully conveys the concept of patience.
शनैः पन्थाः शनैः कन्था शनैः पर्वतमस्तके ।
शनैः विद्या शनैः वित्तं पञ्चैतानि शनैः शनैः ॥
Slowly the journey reaches its end; it takes time to become a Yogi. Climbing a mountain or acquiring knowledge or obtaining money is also achieved in due course of time by constant effort.
One of the biggest challenges that we are facing in current times is the loss of patience. ‘When a 60-second video can make you a viral sensation, why would you invest time in learning the intricacies of the art.’ This was the typical reaction of youngsters when I asked their opinion on patience. To them, my answer was that if you want to rise like a wave, shine for a moment and merge back in the ocean, then it’s OK to follow a shortcut in life, but if you aim to become the ocean, then you need to embrace patience. It’s a choice.
Nature fosters patience, and that’s the reason why it has sustained since eternity. Any task, thought, or action that is performed in harmony with the natural course of the law of nature will eventually be sustainable and fruitful.
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We are children of nature, made of the five elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Space. Patience allows these very potent elements within us to manifest in their totality within us. The study of Vedanta reflects on meditating constantly with patience on the Panchmahabutass in order to realise our true potential and strengthen our mental, physical and emotional well-being.
My five points on how you can embrace patience.
1. Embrace Silence: Silence is the seed of humans' emotional and intellectual evolution. In silence, we return to our natural state of being and find space to self-introspect. The outer opinions dilute when the inner voice strengthens. This is the time to expand patience and bring thoughts in alignment with nature. Practice meditative silence every day for at least 10 minutes to enhance patience. With time you will see that your ideas have more clarity, and your work has more grace and positive outcome.
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2. Work Persistently: There are days when we are fired and motivated to achieve the best, and then there are days when fear and doubt creep in. This is natural. As the above mentioned Subhashitavali says, that climbing a mountain takes time and persistence; similarly, achieving the best view takes persistence. Every day, remind yourself why you started and make a habit of working towards that direction, small or big steps. If you wish to be a bestseller, make a point to write something every day. It could be a few lines or a story. Don’t judge the pace; focus on consistency. With time, patience will become second nature.
3. Do not Compare: One of the perils of social media is the falsehood of reality that it portrays, which can quickly become a distraction. You may be working hard to achieve your dream, which seems to have been easily achieved by someone else. Always remember that you may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg rather than the whole picture. Every success goes through years of persistent hard work, self-belief, failures, rejections, and learning. One must embrace immense patience to master an art or prepare oneself for the right opportunity. Be wary of being swayed by the false notion of instant success. Focus on your unique path and the unique blueprint of your life.
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4. Be Mindful of the present moment: Accepting what is in the present and being in the current moment can help you foster the art of patience. The life you are living at this very moment, the people you are with and the situation you are in; are all your current gifts to help you live optimally. If you are a student, your ability to grasp concepts, your mind and your intellect is your asset. I always advise people to frequently do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) on self. SWOT is a very powerful management concept, but I find it very useful as a personal analysis tool too.
5. Become a student of life: I cannot reinforce enough on this very simple concept of becoming a forever student of life. Start observing the perfection of nature, case studies, situations, actions, and reactions. Take time to contemplate the lessons you learn daily from people, nature and situations and make small notes. You will soon realise that every moment become a triumph moment of learning. The urgency to achieve something big is diluted, bringing inner happiness and peace, the two tools that amplify patience and help you become your best version.
In conclusion, I want to reinforce that patience makes us the master of the art that we wish to learn. A master of any subject can break barriers, leave footprints, redefine perception, and raise human consciousness.
So, reminding you all again: शनैः शनै (Slowly, slowly).
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Ekta Bajaj is a writer, visual artist, motivational speaker and Co-Founder of the award-winning publishing company, Author In Me. She is also the author of the empowering book, ‘The Voice of Kali’, and co-author of ‘Book of Affirmations for Children’. Her deep passion for storytelling and positive thinking has inspired her to research the ancient knowledge of Vedanta that provides a holistic approach towards developing mental and emotional strength.