When we sit in silent prayer or meditation, patience is the essence of the activity. It requires patience to sit, and the more we sit, the more patient we become. Whatever is your spiritual practice, whatever keeps you centered and grounded on a daily basis, patience is the key.
We learn patience. This learning of patience, though, is also growth in compassion and love.
In the Christian Bible we read that, “Love is patient. Love is kind.” Patience is a form of kindness. It is a gentle, kind compassion toward others and toward ourselves.
The point of spiritual disciplines, of dedicating one’s self to daily spiritual practices, is not to master the practice. Getting better is not the objective. One may in fact get worse! The point is to develop patience, to continually come back to a grounding spot. In this way, our spiritual practice is a true practice, a practice for how to live inside the loop: we lose our focus or get uncentered and distracted, then we become mindful of this, then we reground. Rinse and repeat. Patience is the key to growing as we experience these loops. Compassion towards our self, toward our weaknesses.
Without compassion toward your weaknesses, toward your tendency to get ungrounded and uncentered, you can never experience genuine change. You can never force yourself to transform. Kind, gentle patience is the key. Patience is an act of compassion and grace.