I can’t say for sure exactly when my own personal path of self discovery began, things of this nature can be hard to pinpoint. In truth there have been so many “beginnings” for me, many times when I feel as though the path has just opened up, or taken a turn leading to higher places.
It can sometimes be a simple thought, a conversation or the act of applying new perspectives to old vantage points. The more I become aware of these moments the more they seem to happen, it has gotten to the point where they do not feel quite as valuable to me, not as important. It has begun to lead me into a place of doubt, a feeling of going in circles, questions like “Am I even making progress?” arise lately.
It is important in these times to take a step back and stop being so serious, take a look at your progress in terms of a larger timeline. Questions like “How have things changed since last year?”, “Since five years ago?”. Impatience can kill efforts if you are not careful, this is a long path and it is best not to rush, best not to be too concerned with what is around the corner as opposed to what is at your feet, beside, and all around you. I you keep rushing to the bend in the path as to get a look at what is next on the path, you may find disappointment at every turn.
Getting better, like much else in life takes time, It is funny how often I must remind myself of this simple truth.
Here is an old zen story about an impatient Samurai: There was a Samurai who was quickly gaining a name for himself as being a proficient swordsman, an honorable adversary as well as being incredibly impatient. He was quick to lose his temper and was quickly becoming a danger to the village in which he lived.
Upon hearing of this young Samurai an old Zen Master decided he must teach him a lesson before things got out of control. The zen master invited the samurai over for some of his world famous miso soup, the samurai having heard of this soup gladly accepted.
When the Samurai arrived for dinner the Zen master assured him it would not be long before the soup was ready so eagerly the samurai waited. After some time the samurai asked “when is the soup going to be ready, I am very hungry and can hardly wait” The zen master replied “There was some difficulty in the preparation it will not be long now”
After some time longer the Samurai growing impatient yelled “Please zen master I am starving! How much longer must I wait?” The Zen master replied “It is almost done, there was again some difficulty in the preparation”
When the Samurai was just about to implode with hunger the zen master brought out the soup and served it to the Samurai. Upon his first taste the Samurai exclaimed “Zen master! This is the best miso soup I have ever had! Please you must tell me your secret.” ”There is no secret, it is only miso soup” replied the Zen master. ”There must be a secret, some special ingredient, I have never tasted soup so good! Please tell me the secret ingredient!” Insisted the Samurai.
“Time” replied the Zen master.
I recently read that little anecdote in a wonderful little book titled “The Te of Piglet” by Benjamin Hoff, if you have not read either the Tao of Pooh or it’s companion book the Te of Piglet, I would insist that you do, they are both very good books.
Yes time, it can change how we view most things in life, whether we feel we have too little of it, too much, felt it has been too long or not long enough. Try changing the timeline of things you are frustrated with, be honest and supportive of yourself and you will see things differently.
I will leave you with this thought: Getting better at something (especially life) takes time, how much time is different for everyone, the important thing is focusing on doing a little better whenever it is possible. If you remain focused on getting better, the time will take care of itself.